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Update on the latest in sports:

March 18, 2019


Duke back on top; ACC sits 1-2-3 atop final AP Top 25

NEW YORK (AP) — Duke is back on top followed by Virginia and North Carolina to give the Atlantic Coast Conference a 1-2-3 showing in the final AP Top 25 poll this season.

The Blue Devils jumped from fifth to first Monday after winning last week’s league tournament with the return of freshman star Zion Williamson from a knee sprain. That made Duke the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.

The Cavaliers and Tar Heels stayed in their positions in what is believed to be the first time a conference has claimed the top three spots in the final AP poll.

Gonzaga fell from first to fourth, while Michigan State climbed to fifth.

Utah State was 25th for its first AP poll appearance since the final poll in 2011.


Nuggets at Boston; Spurs host Warriors

UNDATED (AP) — The Denver Nuggets are a game behind Golden State for the NBA’s Western Conference lead as they visit the Boston Celtics tonight. The Celtics are within a game of Indiana for fourth seed in the East and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The San Antonio Spurs are riding a season-high eight-game winning streak heading into tonight’s matchup at home against Golden State. The win streak has the Spurs sixth in the Western Conference and a half-game ahead of Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors have won two straight, even without injured All-Star forward Kevin Durant.

The Utah Jazz try to improve their playoff positioning as they face Bradley Beal and the all-but-eliminated Washington Wizards.

In other action tonight:

- The Detroit Pistons visit the Cleveland Cavaliers.

- The New York Knicks visit the Toronto Raptors.

- Miami visits Oklahoma City.

- New Orleans travels to Dallas.

- Chicago travels to Phoenix.

- Indiana visits Portland.


Pistons resting Blake Griffin vs Cavs for playoff push

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Detroit Pistons will rest forward Blake Griffin for at least one game this week to keep him as fresh as possible for their final postseason push. Griffin will sit out tonight’s game against the Cavaliers after scoring 25 points in 33 minutes in a win over Toronto.

While the Pistons sit Griffin, the Cavs could be without forward Kevin Love, who is questionable with a sore back. He took a hard fall in Saturday’s loss at Dallas.


Lightning hosts Coyotes

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning tries to extend a four-game winning streak tonight against the visiting Arizona Coyotes. Tampa Bay has already set team records with 55 victories and 114 points following Saturday’s 6-3 win over Washington. The Coyotes hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Minnesota.

In other NHL action tonight:

— The San Jose Sharks look to bounce back from their first consecutive home losses in regulation when they host the Vegas Golden Knights. The Sharks trail the Calgary Flames by one point and come off Saturday’s 4-2 loss to visiting Nashville. The Golden Knights have won eight of nine, including last night’s 6-3 victory over Edmonton.

— The Winnipeg Jets try to keep their narrow lead atop the Central Division when they visit the Los Angeles Kings, who are last in the Western Conference.

— The Vancouver Canucks visit the Chicago Blackhawks.


Capitals sign local product Joe Snively of Yale

ARLINGTON, VA (AP) - The Washington Capitals have signed college free agent forward and local product Joe Snively to a two-year entry-level contract that begins next season. Snively is 23 and a native of nearby Herndon, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, and played his youth hockey at the Capitals’ practice facility as part of the Little Caps program. He was Yale’s leading scorer in each of his four seasons there and reportedly drew interest from two-thirds of the NHL.


Yankees’ Ellsbury expects to play again after hip surgery

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jacoby Ellsbury says he expects to play again, but it’s not clear when that might happen.

The 35-year-old New York Yankees center fielder reported more than a month late to spring training after a rehab program in Arizona for hip surgery. He also had issues with plantar fasciitis during the offseason.

Ellsbury is guaranteed more than $21 million annually through 2020 as part of a $153 million, seven-year contract.


Kang, Gonzalez win starting jobs in Pirates’ infield

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Jung Ho Kang and Erik Gonzalez have won starting jobs with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kang beat out Colin Moran at third base and Erik Gonzalez has won the shortstop competition over Kevin Newman.

Kang missed the entire 2017 season and the beginning of 2018 because he was unable to secure a work visa to travel from his native South Korea following a third DUI arrest. He then underwent wrist surgery last year before returning to the Pirates for the final three games of the season.


Union head praises Jays for raising minor league pay by half

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP)— Union head Tony Clark is applauding the Toronto Blue Jays’ decision to give minor league players a 50 percent raise, and he hopes other clubs will do the same.

Many players have made as little as $1,100 per month in recent seasons and don’t get paid during spring training or the offseason. Those who don’t receive lucrative signing bonuses often struggle to afford meals, rent and basic equipment like cleats and bats.

Toronto is the first club to announce such a raise.


MLB’s Leroy Stanton, traded with Nolan Ryan, dies in crash

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man who was killed in a car crash last week has been identified as a former Major League Baseball player who was a member of the Seattle Mariners during its inaugural season.

News outlets report Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken says 72-year-old Leroy Stanton was killed March 13 when he disregarded a stop sign, hit a tree and was ejected from his pickup truck. Troopers say he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time.

Stanton hailed from Latta, South Carolina, and spent nine years in the MLB, appearing in more than 800 games as an outfielder. He started with the New York Mets in 1970, and was part of the later-infamous 1971 trade that sent Nolan Ryan, Stanton and two other Mets to the then-California Angels.


Packers sign Lewis

UNDATED (AP) — The Green Bay Packers have re-signed veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis. A 13-year veteran, Lewis played in all 16 games for the team last season, but had only three receptions for 39 yards. He was signed in 2018 to help block in Green Bay’s running game, but the Packers ranked 22nd in the league on the ground.

In other NFL moves:

— The Washington Redskins have agreed to terms on a contract with wide receiver Brian Quick. Quick returns to the Redskins after playing with them for parts of the past two seasons. The 29-year-old could be counted on to replace receiver Maurice Harris, who was not tendered a qualifying offer and signed with the New England Patriots.

— The Oakland Raiders have re-signed free agent return specialist Dwayne Harris. Harris averaged 14.1 yards per punt return last season, the second-best mark in franchise history and tied for the NFL lead. The 31-year-old Harris also averaged 22.9 yards per kick return and was a key member of the coverage units.

— The San Francisco 49ers have re-signed defensive back Jimmie Ward to a one-year deal. The 27-year-old Ward has played only 51 games over five seasons because of various injuries. He has experience playing both cornerback and safety and offers versatility for San Francisco.