Monday’s Sports In Brief
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The NBA postponed the Los Angeles Lakers’ next game against the Clippers on Tuesday night after the deaths of retired superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash.
The league announced the decision in a statement, saying it “was made out of respect for the Lakers organization.”
The Lakers learned about the crash while flying home from an East Coast road trip Sunday. LeBron James and several other players appeared to be visibly affected by the news when they got off the plane.
James made his first public comments Monday night in an Instagram post including several photos of himself with Bryant. The four-time NBA MVP and 16-time All-Star said he was “heartbroken and devastated,” and had been crying repeatedly while trying to write about Bryant.
James, who joined the Lakers last season, said the two spoke by phone Sunday morning after James passed Bryant for third place on the NBA’s career scoring list Saturday night.
MIAMI (AP) — Bam Adebayo got his third triple-double of the season in his last opportunity to impress Eastern Conference All-Star voters, Duncan Robinson scored 21 points and the Miami Heat eased past the Orlando Magic 113-92.
Adebayo finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He’s a candidate to be a reserve selection for the All-Star Game; coaches pick those teams, and their ballots are due at the NBA office on Tuesday for an announcement on Thursday.
Jimmy Butler scored 19 points, Goran Dragic had 14 and Tyler Herro scored 13 for Miami. The Heat improved to 13-0 at home against Eastern Conference teams.
Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other seven victims of the helicopter crash in Southern California were remembered, as has been the case in every game since the news broke on Sunday.
The Heat played a video tribute pregame, putting 24.8 seconds — part of a series of nods to Bryant’s jersey numbers with the Los Angeles Lakers — on the scoreboard. The Heat took a 24-second violation to start the game, the Magic then took an 8-second violation. Several players had messages to remember Bryant and his daughter scrawled on their sneakers.
And at halftime, the Oscar-winning animated version of Bryant’s poem “Dear Basketball” was shown on the arena screens.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Buddy Hield scored a career-high 42 points to help the Sacramento Kings rally from a 27-point deficit for a 133-129 overtime victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
De’Aaron Fox scored 22 for the Kings, putting back the rebound of his intentionally missed free throw as part of a 33-11 run over the final 5:42 of regulation.
Andrew Wiggins had 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Timberwolves, who lost their 10th consecutive game.
Hield scored 18 points in the final 4:36 of regulation
MIAMI (AP) — Chants of “Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!” broke a moment of a silence that kicked off a more subdued Super Bowl media night.
The NFL opened the most hyped week in professional sports with mixed emotions, one day after retired superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others died in a helicopter crash in California.
The Kansas City Chiefs took the stage first on what typically is a wild evening filled with zany antics by quasi-media members. One television reporter wearing a short, white dress and sailor’s cap asked a few players to do the Floss dance with her but the atmosphere was mostly deflated.
Fans of the Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers made some noise. Still, it seemed there were more media than fans in the seats at Marlins Park, making it look a lot like a baseball game in the middle of summer than the NFL’s annual version of a music festival.
Players tried to soak in the excitement of their first trip — for many — to the Super Bowl while struggling with the news of Bryant’s death.
NEW YORK (AP) — Big league players, managers and fans might be hearing a lot more from umpires this season.
Replay review decisions could be announced at the ballpark by umps wearing microphones, several people familiar with the plan told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no decision has been made.
Major League Baseball and the umpires are actively discussing the possibility. If the technical aspects can be worked out and the umps are comfortable with the concept, they could be mic’d up sometime this year — both sides say there’s lots of work to do, making it uncertain whether this could be in place by opening day on March 26.
The NFL and NHL have their referees announce the results of replay reviews. In the NBA, the arena public address announcers relay decisions.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — When the Arizona Diamondbacks landed ace Madison Bumgarner in free agency last month, the three-time World Series winner made a surprising offer, one that came with a very urgent catch.
Bumgarner told the Diamondbacks they could defer some of the money on his five-year deal if they promised to spend the up-front savings on making the club better in 2020.
Arizona followed through Monday, acquiring two-time Gold Glove outfielder Starling Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
That frees up Ketel Marte — no relation to Starling Marte — to move to second base on a semi-permanent basis. Ketel Marte split time between the center field and second last year while making the All-Star team for the first time and finishing fourth in NL MVP balloting.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos signed a $64 million, four-year deal with the Reds, Cincinnati’s latest big-money move to emerge from years of losing.
The deal allows Castellanos to opt out and become a free agent after the 2020 or 2021 seasons. He gets salaries of $16 million in 2020, $14 million in 2021, and $16 million in 2022 and 2023. There’s a mutual option for 2024 at $20 million with a buyout of $2 million.
It was the fourth significant move by the Reds, among the most active teams in free agency since their sixth consecutive losing season.
The Reds have has committed $164 million to new players, including the two biggest free agent deals in club history. Cincinnati signed second baseman Mike Moustakas to a $64 million, four-year contract and added left-handed starter Wade Miley on a $15 million, two-year deal. Outfielder Shogo Akiyama, an All-Star in his native Japan, got a $21 million, three-year deal.