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With Three Rookies in the Starting Lineup, the Knicks Fall to the Blazers
Damian Lillard scored 30 points and the Portland Trail Blazers never trailed Thursday in a 110-95 victory over the Knicks, who played without Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose. In their place, the Knicks started the rookies Ron Baker, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez. The Blazers went 11 for 21 on 3-pointers and moved within a game of the Denver Nuggets for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Lillard entered Thursday's game averaging 31.2 points since the All-Star break and did not cool off.
Matthews, Nylander lead Maple Leafs past Devils 4-2
His surging Toronto Maple Leafs did just that, helped by some emerging rookie stars. Auston Matthews had two assists and William Nylander had a goal and an assist as the Maple Leafs topped the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Thursday night for their seventh win in nine games. Later in the period, following a handoff from Matthews, Nylander scored his 21st goal of the year. He has 11 goals and 25 points since Feb 1 to lead the Leafs, totaling 56 points on the season.
Turris, Ryan score in shootout as Senators edge Penguins
The Ottawa Senators got a big win, but lost a player in the process. Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan scored in the shootout as the Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 Thursday night. Methot grabbed Crosby by the jersey after the whistle and had a few words for the Penguins' captain before leaving the ice. Hoffman had another great opportunity for the Senators but his rocket of a shot late in the period rang off the crossbar.
Barea ejected for flagrant, but did Griffin flop?
J.J Brea, who's maybe 6-feet tall and 185 pounds, was ejected after getting into an altercation with Blake Griffin during the third quarter of the Mavericks' 97-95 win over the Clippers in Dallas on Thursday night. By altercation, I mean Barea apparently was able to knock over Griffin, who's at least 10 inches taller and 70 pounds heavier. It was deemed to be excessive contact, so Brea was ejected with a flagrant two.
Oilers score 5 in third period, beat Avalanche 7-4
Eberle scored twice in Edmonton's five-goal third period and also added an assist. Caggiula beat Jeremy Smith to give Edmonton a 5-4 lead, Eberle added to it and Draisaitl scored into an empty net in the final minute to seal it. Mikko Rantanen had two goals, JT Compher and Rene Bourque had a goal each and Nathan MacKinnon finished with two assists for Colorado. Talbot gave way to Brossoit to start the third, but it was Edmonton's offense that sparked the comeback.
Ducks end Michigan's run with 69-68 victory, head to Elite 8
For the Ducks (32-5), it's on to the Elite Eight for the second straight year. We weren't sharp as we would have liked to have been today, but you have to credit Oregon with that. After Walton missed a layup on the other end, Dorsey gave the Ducks the lead. They shot just 39.3 percent against the Ducks and didn't seem to have that special ingredient they showed last week.
American League West capsules
Hamels was acquired in July 2015, and Darvish missed the beginning of last season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Since going to the World Series with Texas in 2011, he's been back with two other teams. Beltre goes into his 20th major league season 58 hits shy of 3,000, and Andrus is coming off his best offensive year. Dyson excelled as the closer last year, while Bush and Barnette established themselves with strong performances as 30-something rookies.
Bob Huggins tries to make sense of officiating in West Virginia loss
When your team makes just 16 of 60 shots from the field, it's hard to pin the loss on the officials. After No 4 seed West Virginia shot just 22.6% from the field in a 61-58 loss to No 1 seed Gonzaga on Thursday, Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins seemed at a loss himself. West Virginia would be whistled for 25 fouls, Gonzaga would be whistled for 26 and, unfavorably, that slowed the Mountaineers.
No. 1 Kansas overwhelms No. 4 Purdue, advances to Elite Eight
Could it be that one night the late shots wouldn't go down, or an opponents' would. Kansas (31-4) will face No 3 Oregon (32-5) on Sunday for a berth in the Final Four. Its performance against Purdue mimicked was reminiscent of one a few days earlier, in Tulsa in the Round of 32, against another Big Ten opponent.
Ice hockey: U.S. women expect player solidarity in wage dispute
The US women's ice hockey team has expressed confidence that any American players approached to stand in for them at the upcoming world championship would refuse. With the women threatening a boycott of the tournament over a wage dispute, the team said in statement on Thursday that USA Hockey was contacting other players to replace them. For that reason, and the fact that the younger players identify with us, we are confident that they would choose not to play.
Robin Lopez stars in Bulls' Snapchat musical
The Chicago Bulls came up with another extremely creative Snapchat Story on Thursday - inspired by Beauty and the Beast. The fact that Lopez agreed to dress as Gaston and run around the arena for a Snapchat Story is amazing. Putting together an entertaining Snap Story is one thing, but getting a player as fun as Lopez involved is next-level. Props to him, and props to the Bulls, BMO Harris Bank and Second City for putting that together.
Xavier surges to lead over No. 2 seed Arizona
The Jayhawks blew out UC Davis 100-62 in their opener, then trounced No 9 seed Michigan State 90-70 to reach the Sweet 16. Now, they've pushed their lead over fellow Big Ten powerhouse Purdue to 78-60 with less than 8 minutes left at the Sprint Center. The Jayhawks' biggest lead came moments after Ryan Cline buried a 3-pointer to get Purdue within 58-54.
Senators player's finger left disgustingly bloody
The Senators beat the Penguins on Thursday night, but Marc Methot had to leave the game early after a brutal finger injury. Sidney Crosby slashed Methot's finger, and while there was no penalty, Methot's finger was left bloody. It even appeared to be dangling, though that could be the fingernail - it's tough to tell with all the blood.
Playoff push: DeRozan, Raptors take down Heat
Down by 15 early, the Toronto Raptors had no reason to panic. DeMar DeRozan scored 40 points - doing that back-to-back for the first time in his career - and the Raptors clamped down defensively in the final three quarters to beat the Miami Heat 101-84 on Thursday night. Our give-a-crap level is pretty high, and it's one of those things where when you count us out, we find a way. Very inspiring, just to see him out there battling, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Paajarvi scored twice to lead Blues to 4-1 win over Canucks
Magnus Paajarvi scored twice to lead the St Louis Blues to a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. Kyle Brodziak and Alex Pietrangelo also scored for the Blues who won their fourth straight to give them nine wins in their last 10. Jake Allen made 27 saves for his seventh win in eight starts while allowing just nine goals in the stretch.
Xavier Keeps Pace With Arizona at Half Behind Trevon Bluiett
In yet another closely-contested first half on Thursday night, No 2 Arizona led No 11 Xavier, 37-35, going into the break. It was the Wildcats (32-4) that started much the stronger, scoring 7 unanswered points within the first three minutes. Not for the first time this tournament, Xavier (23-13) turned to the junior guard Trevon Bluiett for the answers. Bluiett notched up 18 points in the half, hitting 7 of his 8 shots.
Hard Work, Failure and Passion: How a Horse Trainer Made It
How Baffert got from this little track on the grits-and-hard-toast circuit to some of the world's richest races has a lot to do with hard work and failure. He trained a few as a hobby, but mostly we were there to listen to the old-timers tell stories. It took him 12 lean years as a quarter-horse trainer to surpass $1 million in earnings. In Arrogate, Baffert has a horse who has won six of his seven races and is considered the best in the world.
Dubai World Cup Features a Strong Group of U.S. Horses
There are eight races carded for the Dubai World Cup on Saturday with $29 million in purse money at stake. The marquee race is the $10 million Dubai World Cup. In years past, it has been won by horses like Cigar, Silver Charm and California Chrome. A strong contingent of American horses will be in the starting gate, led by the California-based Arrogate, who was named Longines World's Best Racehorse in 2016.
Hamilton fastest in first free practice in Australia
Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets ahead of new Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas in the first free practice session at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday. Red Bull drivers Dan Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were third and fourth fastest respectively, with the Ferraris rounding out the top six. Hamilton and Bottas posted their fastest laps on the quicker ultra-soft tires, while other drivers stuck with the super softs, leaving the true pace of the cars unclear.
Rinne leads Predators past Flames 3-1
Pekka Rinne made 24 saves to lead the Nashville Predators over the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Thursday night. Calle Jarnkrok, Colton Sissons and Ryan Ellis scored, and Colin Wilson had two assists for Nashville, which has won five of six. After winning 17 of 21, the Flames have lost two straight. There, Sissons kicked the puck to his forehand before beating Johnson who was outside the crease to challenge a potential shot by Wilson.

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