Magic end skid by thumping Blazers
UNDATED (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder had Russell Westbrook back in the lineup on Tuesday night, but they failed to gain ground on the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs now lead the NBA's Western Conference by 2 ½ games over the Thunder following Oklahoma City's 128-119 overtime loss at Dallas.
Dirk Nowitzki scored seven of his 32 points in overtime and finished with 10 rebounds and six assists. Jose Calderon went 6 for 8 from 3-point range and finished with 22 points.
Westbrook scored 23 for Oklahoma City, none in overtime. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 43 points and has scored at least 25 in 36 consecutive games. That's the longest such streak since Michael Jordan's 40-game run during the 1986-87 season.
Also in the NBA:
— Dion Waiters scored 24 points and Luol Deng (LOO'-ul dehng) added 19 as Cleveland downed Toronto 102-100 to end a five-game losing streak. The Raptors stormed back from a 21-point deficit before their lead in the Atlantic Division was trimmed to 1 ½ games over Brooklyn.
— Orlando had dropped nine straight before Tobias Harris contributed 25 points and 11 rebounds to the Magic's 95-85 win over Portland. Nik Vucevic added 22 points and 10 boards for the Magic, who closed the third quarter on an 11-2 run and increased their lead to 19 early in the fourth.
— The Lakers were on the right side of a laugher for a change as Xavier Henry scored 22 points and Nick Young 20 in a 127-96 rout of the Knicks in Los Angeles. New York actually led 22-14 after one period before the Lakers outscored the Knicks 87-51 over the next two quarters.
Nuggets lose Hickson to knee surgery
DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets say forward J.J. Hickson has had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right knee injured last Friday in Dallas. The 25-year-old averaged 11.8 points and 9.2 rebounds this season.
MLB hopes to alter drug agreement
NEW YORK (AP) — People familiar with the negotiations tell The Associated Press that baseball players and management hope to reach a new drug agreement by Sunday. The new agreement would increase initial penalties for muscle-building steroids and decrease suspensions for some positive tests caused by unintentional use.
While the lengths have not been finalized, one of the people with knowledge of the negotiations says the sides are discussing a 100-game ban for an initial violation and a season-long ban for a second. For inadvertent use, the penalty for a first violation would be cut in half to 25 games.
The deal would also eliminate the loophole allowing Alex Rodriguez to earn almost $4 million during his season-long ban.
Dodgers top spenders
NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers have knocked the New York Yankees off baseball's payroll perch, part of an offseason spending spree that has the average salary approaching $4 million for the first time.
The Dodgers are ending the Yankees' 15-year streak as baseball's biggest spenders. The Dodgers have a projected payroll of $235 million, according to study of all major league contracts by The Associated Press. That's $31 million more than the Yankees' player payroll.
Texas ace to miss opener...Ex-closer Feliz optioned out
UNDATED (AP) — Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish has been scratched from his scheduled start in Monday's season opener because of stiffness in his neck. Darvish is scheduled to return to Texas to be examined by a spine and back specialist. The Rangers haven't said who will start the opener in Darvish's place. The likely possibility is left-hander Martin Perez.
The Rangers also optioned former World Series and All-Star closer Neftali Feliz to the minor leagues.
Also in the majors:
— The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired right-hander Vance Worley from the Minnesota Twins for cash. Worley was the Twins' starter on opening day last year but went 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts for the team, spending most of the season at Triple-A-Rochester.
— The Seattle Mariners have released left-hander Randy Wolf at his request. Wolf made five starts this spring and had a 4.26 ERA in 19 innings.
— Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Patrick Corbin has undergone season-ending elbow surgery after a second opinion confirmed the need for the ligament repair. The 16-game winner felt discomfort and had to leave his start last week. He will be out all of this season and possibly part of the next.
Bills owner dies
Tuesday was not a good day for Buffalo Bills fans
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Bills owner and American Football League co-founder Ralph Wilson has died at 95. He was instrumental in the AFL-NFL merger and watched his team win four consecutive AFC championships from 1990-93 without winning the Super Bowl. Wilson had been in failing health for several years after hip surgery in 2011, two years after he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
And Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is expected to undergo surgery following the return of oral cancer. His wife, Jill, says the cancer is aggressive and starting to spread. The 54-year-old former Buffalo Bills star is being treated in New York City. His brother Dan Kelly has told The Associated Press that doctors are leaning toward surgery on Thursday or perhaps April 1.
Kelly's Buffalo doctors said on March 14 the return of the cancer was discovered when he came for follow-up tests after surgery to remove cancerous cells last year.
Owners tweak reviews
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — NFL owners have passed a rule allowing referees to consult with director of officiating Dean Blandino and his staff to help determine whether a call should be upheld or overturned. NFL officials said the change should speed up the process. Blandino and other staff will be monitoring the games from league offices in New York, and they will immediately begin reviewing challenges before the referee even gets to his monitor.
Report: Detroit lands free agent safety
UNDATED (AP) — The Lions and free agent safety James Ihedigbo (ee-HEHD'-ee-boh) have reportedly come to terms on a two year contract. A person familiar with negotiations told The Associated Press of the move on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. Ihedigbo made 99 tackles and had three interceptions for the Baltimore Ravens last year.
Irsay's court hearing delayed
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors postponed an initial court appearance for Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay following his arrest on drug-related charges.
Irsay had been scheduled to go to court today following his March 16 arrest on preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. But the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office issued a statement Tuesday saying the hearing was postponed "unless or until" formal charges are filed against him.
Blues beat sputtering Leafs
The St. Louis Blues bolstered their hopes for the Presidents' Trophy while adding to Toronto's recent woes.
UNDATED (AP) — David Backes (BAK'-ehs) registered a hat trick and Ryan Miller stopped 22 shots in the Blues' second straight win, 5-3 over the Maple Leafs. Alex Steen and T.J. Oshie (OH'-shee) each had a goal and two assists for the Blues, who top the NHL with 105 points.
The Maple Leafs suffered their sixth straight loss to fall into a four-way tie with Detroit, Washington and Columbus for the last two Eastern Conference playoff berths.
San Jose remains just two points behind the Blues after Joe Pavelski had a hat trick and an assist in the Sharks' 5-2 win at Edmonton. Patrick Marleau and Marty Havlat also scored as the Sharks improved to 8-1-2 in their last 11 games.
Also on ice:
— Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith each had a goal and an assist as Chicago doubled up Dallas 4-2. Kris Versteeg and Marian Hossa also scored for the Blackhawks, who are still six points behind the West-leading Blues.
— Gabriel Landeskog scored twice in regulation and added the winner in the shootout to lead Colorado past Nashville 5-4 to end a three-game losing streak. The outcome keeps the Avalanche three points behind the Hawks for fourth place in the West and home-ice advantage in the first round.
— Phoenix knocked off Pittsburgh 3-2 on Mikkel Boedker's tiebreaking goal with 6:42 remaining. David Moss and Antoine Vermette also scored and Shane Doan had two assists as the Coyotes moved three points ahead of the Stars for the final Western Conference playoff berth.
— Carey Price picked up his fifth shutout of the season and 24th of his career by stopping 24 shots in Montreal's 2-0 win against Buffalo. The game was tied until Max Pacioretty (pash-uh-RET'-ee) and Daniel Briere (bree-EHR') scored in the final 9:07, giving the Canadiens a five-point lead over the New York Rangers for third place in the East.
— Anze Kopitar (AHN'-zhay KOH'-pih-tahr) and Jeff Carter scored shootout goals as Los Angeles outlasted Washington 5-4. Dwight King, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown notched consecutive goals to put the Kings ahead 4-3 in the third, but Evgeny Kuznetsov (kooz-NEHT'-sahf) netted his first NHL goal to tie the game with 42 seconds left in regulation.
— Ryan Johansen scored twice and Cam Atkinson provided the game-winner seven minutes into the third period to lift Columbus past Detroit 4-2. Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and an assist, while James Wisniewski (wihz-NOO'-skee) set up three goals for the winners.
— Vincent Trocheck and Brandon Pirri scored in a shootout to complete Florida's comeback in a 3-2 win against Ottawa. The Senators led 2-0 until Sean Bergenheim and Trocheck scored 23 seconds apart late in the second period.
— Colin McDonald and Matt Martin each scored twice as the New York Islanders downed Carolina 5-4. Martin's first goal of the night put the Islanders ahead 4-0 just 11 minutes into the game.
Pens lose Malkin
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin will miss two to three weeks while recovering from a foot injury. The club says the former MVP was hurt during his first shift in Sunday's 1-0 loss to St. Louis.
Malkin is seventh in the league with 72 points despite missing 11 games for various reasons.
New pact for Billy D
UNDATED (AP) — Florida men's basketball coach Billy Donovan has signed a three-year contract extension that raises his average salary to $3.7 million over the next six years. The Gators this season have reached the Sweet 16 after going 18-0 in Southeastern Conference play, winning the SEC tournament and earning the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. They are the first SEC team to go 18-0 in regular season conference games.
Class of 2014 for Hall announced
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Shaquille O'Neal of LSU, Grant Hill Duke and Darrell Griffith from Louisville headline the 2014 College Basketball Hall of Fame class. They will be joined at the induction ceremony in November by Zelmo Beaty (BAY'-tee) from Prairie View A&M; Final Four coaches Dale Brown of LSU and Gary Williams of Maryland; longtime coach and author Glenn Wilkes Sr. and Howard Garfinkle, the founder of the Five-Star Basketball Camp.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas guard Wayne Selden has announced that he will return for his sophomore season. Selden was considered a first-round talent coming out of high school, but an up-and-down campaign may have caused his stock to drop. The 6-foot-5 Selden averaged nearly 10 points for the Jayhawks this season.
Former winner to drive pace car...Nabors will sing one more time
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — There will be a familiar face in the pace car for this year's Indianapolis 500 as it has been announced that three-time winner Dario Franchitti (DAH'-ree-oh fran-KEE'-tee) will drive the pace lap for the 98th running of the Indy 500 in May.
Franchitti was forced to retire in November from injuries suffered in an October IndyCar race at Houston. The four-time series champion won the Indy 500 in 2007, 2010 and 2012.
And Jim Nabors, better known perhaps as Gomer Pyle, says this year's Indianapolis 500 will be the last time he performs "Back Home Again in Indiana" live to a global audience of race fans. The 83-year-old says his health limits his travels from his home in Hawaii, so he'll be "retiring" from singing the ode at the Indianapolis 500 after the May 25 race. Nabors has performed the song live at the race every year since 1987 with the exception of 2007 and 2012. This year will be his 35th performance.