Mavs Beat Warriors on Dirk Night; Nets Win in Kyrie's Return
The Dallas Mavericks celebrated the great Dirk Nowitzki before Wednesday night's game, and then went on to get their biggest win of the season, taking down the top-seeded Golden State Warriors, 99-82. Luka Doncic scored 26 points on Dirk's jersey retirement night, helping the Mavs to their first four-game winning streak of the season, and in Doncic's third game back. Luka added eight assists and seven rebounds, while making 10-of-12 shots from the free throw line, as the Mavs got the win despite playing without Kristaps Porzingis. They also took advantage of a cold-shooting Steph Curry, who was just 1-for-9 from three-point range and is now 8-for-41 over the past two games. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets welcomed back their part-time star Kyrie Irving on the road for a 129-121 win over the Indiana Pacers. Irving scored 22 points and helped the Nets overcome a 19-point overall deficit, and a 13-point halftime deficit to avoid an upset. The former NBA Champion point guard played 32 minutes and helped the Nets snap their three-game losing streak. Kevin Durant led the Nets with 39 points, sending the Pacers to their 25th loss despite Domantas Sabonis' 32 points and 12 rebounds, as well as Lance Stephenson's surprising 30-point effort.
Other key scores saw Bojan Bogdanovic score a season-high 36 points in the Utah Jazz's 115-109 victory against the Denver Nuggets. The Toronto Raptors sent the Milwaukee Bucks to their second straight home loss, 117-111, with Pascal Siakam's 33 points. And Max Strus' 25 points helped the Miami Heat overcome playing without Jimmy Butler in a 115-109 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Penguins Stay Red Hot; Maple Leafs Top Struggling Oilers
The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing themselves right back in to the thick of the playoff picture by being the NHL's hottest team following a 5-3 victory against St. Louis Blues. Sidney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues scored 12 seconds apart in the third period, rallying the home team to their ninth straight win. Bryan Rust scored twice, while Brock McGinn also added a goal, helping the Penguins to their longest win streak since getting 15 straight victories in March 2013. It is also the longest active streak in the league, and has tied the Carolina Hurricanes for the longest in the league this season. The Penguins have now improved to 14-2-1 over the past 17 games. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs took advantage of a struggling Edmonton Oilers team with a 4-2 home win Wednesday night. Ilya Mikheyev scored the tiebreaking power play goal in the third, sending the Oilers to their 11th loss in the past 13 games. John Tavares and T.J. Brodie also scored, while William Nylander added two assists to support Jack Campbell in net, who had 28 saves. The Leafs improved to 20-4-1 over their past 25 games, while the Oilers are now 0-3-2 on their road trip and have gone just 2-9-2 since their 16-5-0 start.
Penguins Send Lafferty to Blackhawks For Nylander
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks completed a trade in the NHL on Wednesday, with the Penguins sending forward Sam Lafferty to the Blackhawks in exchange for forward Alex Nylander. The 26-year-old Lafferty is signed through this season and totaled no goals and two assists over 10 games this season. He was a fourth-round pick of the Penguins in 2014, but has compiled just six goals and 15 assists over 94 career NHL games. The 23-year-old Nylander has spent this year in the AHL with Rockford, posting eight goals and four assists over 23 games. That came one season after posting 10 goals and 16 assists over 23 games for Chicago. He was the eighth overall pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2016, but was traded to the Windy City in July 2019.
Iowa State Bounces Back; Tennessee Pulls Off OT Win
The 11th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones bounced back from a loss to top-ranked Baylor, which dropped them two spots in the AP Polls, as they got a 51-47 win over the 25th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders. Izaiah Brockington had a clutch four-point play with 1:52 remaining, putting his team ahead for good, as he led the way with 14 points and nine rebounds. Alijaz Kunc added 13 points for the Cyclones, who moved to an even 1-1 in Big 12 play and 13-1 overall this season. The Red Raiders dropped their conference opener with this road loss, but they were led by Davion Warren's 12 points in their third defeat of the season. Meanwhile, the 18th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers needed overtime to survive with a 66-60 victory against urnanked Ole Miss at home. Santiago Vescovi hit two clutch three-pointers late, rallying his team to their first conference win and 10th win overall this season. The Vols never led in regulation, but went on to outscore the Rebels, 15-9, in the extra five minutes. The road team was missing five players in their conference opener due to COVID protocols, but were led by Tye Fagan's 23 points in the loss.
Other key scores saw the 10th-ranked Michigan State Spartans win their eighth straight game, 79-67, over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Josh Carlton had a career-high 30 points in the 12th-ranked Houston Cougars' 83-66 rout of South Florida. The 15th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide outscored the Florida Gators, 47-31, after halftime for an 83-70 win. And the 19th-ranked Villanova Wildcats cruised past Creighton, 75-41, behind Justin Moore's 22 points.
NFL Exploring New Location For Super Bowl 56
The National Football League may have to go a different rout for Super Bowl 56 in February due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The event is scheduled to take place at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13th, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. As of Wednesday, it is looking like AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys has already been contacted to host the event. It would be the second straight year that a big event was relocated there, as the 2020 Rose Bowl was moved there from Pasadena, California due to COVID-19.
Bengals to Play Without Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon in Finale
The Cincinnati Bengals will be shorthanded for their season finale on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, as quarterback Joe Burrow and running back Joe Mixon will both sit out. Burrow is sitting out to rest his sore right knee after he hobbled off the field at the end of their big win over the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, while Mixon has tested positive for COVID-19. His results came back on Wednesday and he now joins four other teammates on the COVID-19 reserved list. Mixon ranked second in the league with 1,205 rushing yards on 292 attempts, while ranking fourth with 13 touchdowns. Backup QB Brandon Allen will get the start for the Bengals, who clinched the AFC North last Sunday.