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BC-AP Sports Digest

February 13, 2019

The supervisor is Bob Lentz, followed by Rebecca Miller at 9 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. For up-to-the-minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477. All times EST.

A handful of moves at the NBA trade deadline means whoever is crowned “Beast of the East” should be an even tougher challenger to Golden State’s recent dominance of the Finals. But Toronto coach Nick Nurse tells PodcastOne Sports Now he’s focused on the making the mix-and-matchup Raptors versatile enough get past their new-look conference rivals when the playoffs roll around.

https://www.podcastone.com/podcastone-sports-now

TOP STORIES

BKC--T25-DUKE-LOUISVILLE

LOUISVILLE, Ky. _Looking tired and beaten while trailing Louisville by 23 points, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told his players they would win the game. Whether he believed it or not didn’t matter. The Blue Devils bought in and found their energy in the final 10 minutes to mount one of their biggest comebacks ever. By Gary B. Graves. SENT: 660 words, photos.

BKN--CELTICS-76ERS

PHILADELPHIA _ The Boston Celtics still own the Philadelphia 76ers, no matter who is on the court. Gordon Hayward scored 26 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:50 remaining, and Boston beat Philadelphia 112-109. Al Horford had 23 and Jayson Tatum scored 20 and grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Celtics continued their dominance over the Sixers. By Rob Maaddi. SENT: 690 words, photos.

SOC--SMASHING THE LOFT

French soccer players are turning to the courts to fight workplace bullying and a practice known in France’s top leagues by an English word, “le loft.” It refers to the no-man’s land where clubs park footballers they no longer want but cannot get rid of immediately or who have fallen out of favor with club officials. Players subjected to the most extreme forms of “lofting” have described themselves as being treated like lepers, suddenly ostracized and subjected to petty humiliations. By John Leicester. UPCOMING: 1,300 words, photos by 4 a.m.

DOG SHOW

NEW YORK _Wire fox terriers are still King at Westminster. A wire fox from Brazil who’s won big in Europe became America’s top dog Tuesday night, beating out a crowd-pleasing longhaired dachshund and popular Sussex spaniel. There were some boos — along with modest cheers — at Madison Square Garden when judge Peter Green pointed at the 7-year-old King. By Ben Walker. SENT: 660 words, photos.

SPORTS SHOWCASE

BKN--ALL-STAR-SHOOTING THE STEPBACK

James Harden turned to it to become the NBA’s most unstoppable scorer. Luka Doncic has ridden it to stardom on both sides of the Atlantic. The step-back 3-pointer is the perfect weapon for the modern NBA, practically a necessity in a game where the ability to find space to shoot from behind the arc is more valued than ever before. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos by 4 a.m.

BKC--MURRAY STATE-MORANT’S RISE

Ja Morant is trying to stay grounded following his meteoric rise to the bright lights of college basketball’s national stage. While high-flying dunks have turned the Murray State sophomore point guard into a social media sensation, his floor leadership along with that vertical leap might make him an NBA draft lottery pick. By Gary B. Graves. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos by 4 a.m.

COMMENTARY

GLF--ON THE FRINGE-TIGER & PHIL

LOS ANGELES _ The 144-man field at Riviera, the strongest of the West Coast swing, has 88 players who have combined to win 496 times on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson account for 25 percent of those victories. Mickelson believes even at their ages, they can keep growing the trophy collection. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 820 words, photos.

With:

_ GLF--GOLF NOTES. By Doug Ferguson. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.

_ GLF--GOLF GLANCE. SENT: 1,050 words.

NFL

FBN--STEELERS-BROWN

PITTSBURGH _ The Pittsburgh Steelers still haven’t decided whether there’s a path for wayward wide receiver Antonio Brown to return in 2019. Not that it matters to Brown. He’s already made up his mind. By Will Graves. SENT: 770 words, photos.

FBN--MURRAY’S OPTIONS

Kyler Murray has chosen football over baseball, at least for now. It is anyone’s guess when the world will see another athlete with the skills and opportunity to have such a choice. Few athletes have positioned themselves to have such dynamic options. And in this age of youth sports specialization, it may become rarer still. By Cliff Brunt. SENT: 860 words, photos.

Also:

_ FBN--RAIDERS-STADIUM _ By Football Writer Josh Dubow. SENT:210 words.

_ FBN--CHIEFS-THOMAS RETIRES _ By Dave Skretta. SENT: 580 words.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BKC--T25-LSU-KENTUCKY

LEXINGTON, Ky. _ A tip-in at the buzzer by Kavell Bigby-Williams helped No. 19 LSU finish off its biggest comeback of the season and finally beat Kentucky. The Tigers have won six games on the road this season after Tuesday’s 73-71 victory over the No. 5 Wildcats. They’ve survived several close calls. LSU has won three overtime games in the Southeastern Conference and the last three games have been decided by less than five points. SENT: 680 words, photos.

BKC--T25-MICHIGAN-PENN ST

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Lamar Stevens pumped his arms, pointed with two fingers to the Bryce Jordan Center hardwood and screamed toward Penn State’s student section. This is his court. Penn State’s rangy forward owned it Tuesday night, then shared it with hundreds of fans who rushed Stevens and his teammates after Penn State upset No. 6 Michigan 75-69. SENT: 820 words, photos.

NBA

BKN--JAZZ-WARRIORS

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State wasn’t as crisp offensively as it usually is, and the two-time defending NBA champs certainly know they’ll need to get better coming out of the All-Star break. Some heady defense early and late, along with some timely perimeter scoring from Stephen Curry helped make up for it. SENT: 840 words, photos.

With:

_ BKN--NBA-SIMMONS-JOHNSON _ SENT: 200 words, photo.

BASEBALL

BBN--GIANTS-POSEY’S PROGRESS

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. _ Buster Posey is eager to get going again behind the plate for the San Francisco Giants following season-ending right hip surgery last year. By Janie McCauley. SENT: 830 words, photos.

Also:

_ Spring training stories on the Mariners, Orioles, Braves, Giants, Reds and Dodgers.

HOCKEY

HKN--AROUND THE NHL

NHL goaltenders prepare for the unexpected and unpredictable, ready for pucks deflecting off sticks, bodies, feet or even a divot in the ice past all the gear designed to help defend their net. The freaky, fluky or simply weird goals can be laughed off by goalies who know sometimes the puck just takes a funny bounce. By Teresa M. Walker. UPCOMING: 1,100 words, photos by 4 a.m.

HKN--BLACKHAWKS-BRUINS

BOSTON _ The Boston Bruins needed someone to replace David Pastrnak’s production while their leading scorer recovers from thumb surgery. For one night, at least, they found the solution: just about everyone. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 600 words, photos.

Also:

_ HKW--US-CANADA _ SENT: 380 words, photos.

SOCCER

SOC--MAN UNITED-PSG

MANCHESTER, England _ Kylian Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain handed Manchester United a reality check under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, winning 2-0 in the Champions League last-16 Tuesday to inflict the interim manager’s first loss. SENT: 470 words, photos.

SOC--ROMA-PORTO

ROME _ Nicolo Zaniolo had already made a name for himself in Italy this season. On Tuesday, he introduced himself on the European stage as well. SENT: 500 words, photos.

With:

_ SOC--CHAMPIONS LEAGUE-SALA TRIBUTE _ SENT: 110 words, photos.

SKIING

SKI--WORLDS-SHIFFRIN

ARE, Sweden _ American skier Mikaela Shiffrin says she admires the way tennis star Naomi Osaka has handled herself as she starts on the long road to emulating Serena Williams. Shiffrin is also trying to overtake an all-time great in her own sport and is already close to topping Lindsey Vonn as the most successful female skier in history. Shiffrin says she is growing into the role as a “face of skiing” even though being a poster girl doesn’t come naturally to her. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 900 words, photos.

Also:

_ SKI--WORLDS-TEAM EVENT _ By Andrew Dampf. SENT: 320 words, photos.

AUTO RACING

CAR--NASCAR-GAMBLING

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ NASCAR has put a ban in place on drivers gambling on races, not that it was really a problem. But the rest of the fan base? NASCAR is all in and hopes an interest in legalized betting in a growing number of states can stir interest in the sport. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 980 words, photos.

CAR--INDYCARE-SWEDISH INVASION

AUSTIN, Texas _ After their early years racing each other in karts, Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist took very different paths chasing checkered flags around the globe before finally landing in the United States. Now they represent a “Swedish invasion” of IndyCar as two series rookies with vast experience and big expectations heading into the 2019 season. By Jim Vertuno. SENT: 710 words, photos.

COLLEGE BASEBALL

BBC--COLLEGE BASEBALL PREVIEW

OMAHA, Neb. _ Oregon State has won 111 of its last 130 baseball games, is coming off its third national championship since 2006 and its career coaching wins leader Pat Casey retired last fall. Enter Pat Bailey, the 63-year-old interim head coach who hopes to earn the permanent job for 2020. By Eric Olson. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

With:

_ BBC--COLLEGE BASEBALL PREVIEW-PLAYERS TO WATCH _ SENT: 660 words, photos.

_ BBC--COLLEGE BASEBALL PREVIEW-RULE CHANGES _ SENT: 530 words.

OBITUARIES

SOC--OBIT-BANKS

LONDON _ Gordon Banks, the World Cup-winning England goalkeeper who was also known for blocking a header from Pele that many consider the greatest save in soccer history, has died. He was 81. By Rob Harris. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

CAPSULES

_ BKN--NBA CAPSULES

_ HKN--NHL CAPSULES

_ BKC--TOP 25 CAPSULES

___

Wednesday Time Schedule (EST)

NBA

Brooklyn at Cleveland, 7 p.m.

Milwaukee at Indiana, 7 p.m.

Detroit at Boston, 7:30 p.m.

Philadelphia at New York, 7:30 p.m.

Washington at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

Houston at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Memphis at Chicago, 8 p.m.

Miami at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Sacramento at Denver, 9 p.m.

Golden State at Portland, 10:30 p.m.

Phoenix at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

NHL

Edmonton at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m.

Vancouver at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m.

TOP 25 BASKETBALL

Men

No. 1 Tennessee vs. South Carolina, 6:30 p.m.

No. 13 Villanova vs. Providence, 6:30 p.m.

No. 15 Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m.

No. 17 Florida State vs. Wake Forest, 7 p.m.

No. 22 Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech, 8 p.m.

Women

No. 1 Baylor at Kansas State, 8 p.m.

No. 6 Notre Dame at Boston College, 7 p.m.

No. 12 N.C. State at No. 16 Syracuse, 7 p.m.

No. 18 Iowa State at TCU, 7:30 p.m.

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