Weekend Sports in Brief

Sports

NBA

ATLANTA (AP)Even in the strangest NBA All-Star Game of them all, LeBron James was still the perfect captain.

Team LeBron showed off its high-flying and long-range skills during a dominating run to close out the first half, setting up a 170-150 romp over Team Durant in the league’s 70th midseason showcase Sunday night.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo was the game MVP after shooting 16 of 16 for 35 points.

Bradley Beal led Team Durant with 26 points.

Also, Stephen Curry shot his way to another 3-point title and Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis won the Skills Competition. Portland’s Anfernee Simons showed off his leaping ability and creativity to beat New York’s Obi Toppin and Indiana’s Cassius Stanley in the two-round dunk contest.

Philadelphia 76ers teammates Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were ruled out of the All-Star Game after being flagged by coronavirus contact tracing.

The 76ers and the NBA learned of the situation with Embiid and Simmons – which stemmed from getting haircuts – on Saturday night and made the decision Sunday morning that neither could play about nine hours before the scheduled tipoff.

NEW YORK (AP) – Blake Griffin has agreed to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, a person with knowledge of the details said Sunday.

Griffin became a free agent Friday when the former All-Star completed a buyout agreement with the Detroit Pistons. He cleared waivers Sunday and was eligible to sign with any team.

He decided to join All-Stars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden in Brooklyn, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no announcement.

– By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney.

MLB

CLEVELAND (AP) – The Cleveland Indians have broken COVID-19 protocols for the third time in less than a year, this time costing them third baseman Jose Ramirez and slugger Franmil Reyes.

Manager Terry Francona said Sunday the two players were sent to their Arizona homes while the Indians wait to hear from Major League Baseball when they can rejoin the team.

Francona said Reyes, who had a virus-related misstep last season, and Ramirez went out to dinner on Friday following an exhibition game in Mesa against the Chicago Cubs.

NHL

BOSTON (AP) – Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo was released from the hospital Saturday after spending the night following a head hit from Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson, who was suspended seven games.

Wilson was suspended and will miss games for the next two weeks after a Zoom hearing to discuss the incident.

Wilson will next be eligible to play when Washington hosts the Rangers on March 20. He’ll forfeit $311,782 in salary.

AUTO RACING

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Kyle Larson celebrated his return to NASCAR with his first victory since his nearly yearlong suspension.

Larson won Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his first victory with new team Hendrick Motorsports.

He ran only four races last season before he was suspended for using a racial slur while playing an online racing game.

NASCAR lifted the suspension at the start of this season and Hendrick was willing to give Larson a second chance.

LAS VEGAS (AP) – AJ Allmendinger raced to the first victory of his comeback season by passing Daniel Hemric on the final restart in the Xfinity Series race Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Allmendinger this year agreed to his first fulltime season since 2018 in a deal with Kaulig Racing.

The victory was the sixth in the Xfinity Series for Allmendinger, who retired at the end of the 2018 season rather than drive for an uncompetitive team.

GOLF

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – The long ball helped Bryson DeChambeau outlast Lee Westwood on Sunday in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, only the key shots were as much with his putter as his driver.

DeChambeau holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the front nine and a 50-foot par putt early on the back nine. He closed it out with a nervy 5-foot par putt for a 1-under 71 and a one-shot victory over the 47-year-old Westwood.

Corey Conners was third at 8 under after a 74.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from The Players Championship next week with what his manager described as a strained right knee.

Koepka won the Phoenix Open last month and was a runner-up in the Workday Championship last week. He has been saddled the last few years with injuries to his left knee, including a partially torn patella.

His manager at Hambric Sports, Blake Smith, said Koepka would meet with doctors this week for a better evaluation and no further details.

OCALA, Fla. (AP) – Austin Ernst won the Drive On Championship for her third LPGA Tour title, pulling away to beat fellow former NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho by five strokes at Golden Ocala.

Tied for the lead with Kupcho after each of the first two rounds and a stroke ahead entering the day, Ernst closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the wire-to-wire victory at 15-under 273.

WNBA

NEW YORK (AP) – The WNBA and the Players’ Association have agreed to an opt-in process for this season’s draft, the league confirmed to The Associated Press.

Every eligible player who would like to make themselves available for the draft, which is expected to be held in April, must renounce their remaining intercollegiate eligibility. A player who wishes to opt-in must email the league no later than April 1.

MMA

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Jan Blachowicz defended his UFC light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Israel Adesanya at UFC 259.

Aljamain Sterling won the UFC bantamweight title when Petr Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee strike in the fourth round.

Two-division champion Amanda Nunes also defended her featherweight belt with ease, beating Megan Anderson by submission 2:03 into the first round.

HORSE RACING

ARCADIA, Calif (AP) – Life Is Good won the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes by eight lengths Saturday for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, affirming the 3-year-old colt’s status as the West Coast’s top Kentucky Derby hopeful.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Life Is Good led all the way, and despite drifting out very wide through the stretch, was timed in 1:42.18 over 1 1/16 miles. Smith blamed the infield video board for distracting the colt.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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