Monday Sports in Brief
Harden returned after missing Saturday’s win over Golden State with a neck injury. His run of games with 30 or more points was the second-longest in NBA history behind a 65-game streak by Wilt Chamberlain.
Harden, who said he was still bothered by the neck problem Monday morning, missed all 10 3-pointers he attempted. He got to 28 points with 23.3 seconds left and had the ball on Houston’s last possession but did not attempt a shot from half court with the game in hand.
Harden last came up short of 30 points in a Dec. 11 win over Portland, when he had 29. During the streak, he scored 50 or more points four times, including a career-high 61 in a win at the Knicks on Jan. 23.
NEW YORK (AP) — Gonzaga is back atop the AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll.
The Zags moved up a spot Monday to begin a second stint at No. 1 this season, both times replacing Duke at the top. Gonzaga (27-2) spent two weeks at No. 1 after beating the Blue Devils to win the Maui Invitational in November.
Virginia moved up a spot to No. 2, while the Blue Devils fell to third after losing at home to rival North Carolina — which climbed to a season-high fifth behind Kentucky.
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke freshman Zion Williamson will miss a second straight game with a mild right knee sprain he suffered last week.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said Monday that the national player of the year candidate won’t play Tuesday night when the third-ranked Blue Devils visit No. 20 Virginia Tech.
Williamson was hurt in the opening minute of an 88-72 loss to North Carolina. He sprained his knee when he planted his foot while dribbling and his left shoe tore apart.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are going all in on their late-season NHL playoff push.
The Blue Jackets followed up last week’s addition of Ottawa forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel by acquiring New York Rangers defenseman Adam McQuaid and New Jersey goalie Keith Kinkaid as Monday’s NHL trade deadline arrived — moves overshadowed by a series of trades made by some of the top contenders in the Western Conference.
A year after reaching the Stanley Cup Final, the Vegas Golden Knights not only acquired Ottawa forward Mark Stone but also reached an agreement to sign the pending unrestricted free agent to a contract extension.
The Central Division-leading Winnipeg Jets completed six trades, most notably acquiring center Kevin Hayes by sending forward Brendan Lemieux and a first-round pick to the retooling Rangers.
The Nashville Predators, one point behind Winnipeg, acquired forward Mikael Granlund in a trade that sent Kevin Fiala to Minnesota, and then added power forward Wayne Simmonds in a deal with Philadelphia.
Aside from Columbus, the most notable move in the East involved the Boston Bruins. They acquired forward Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Wild and center Eric Staal have agreed to terms on a two-year, $6.5 million contract extension, after the NHL trade deadline passed with the 15-year veteran staying put in Minnesota.
The deal with Staal was struck Monday, when the Wild dealt forward Mikael Granlund to Nashville for forward Kevin Fiala. Staal is in the final season of a three-year, $10.5 million contract he signed as a free agent. His salary cap hit over the next two seasons will decrease from $3.5 million to $3.25 million.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Raiders are making progress toward completing a lease to keep the team at the Oakland Coliseum for at least one more season.
Coliseum Authority director Scott McKibben said Monday that the two sides are having “good, constructive talks” for finalizing a new lease for 2019 with an option for 2020. But McKibben says there are still details to be worked out before a contract can be brought to the board for approval. McKibben says that could happen by the end of next week.
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns have re-signed left tackle Greg Robinson for next season after he revived his career in 2018.
A 2014 No. 2 overall draft pick, Robinson played all 16 games for Cleveland last season, starting the final eight. He solidified an important position following the retirement of 10-time Pro Bowler Joe Thomas and the team’s experiments with Joel Bitonio and rookie Desmond Harrison at left tackle.
Robinson was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in March, but he’s decided to stay with the Browns for another season.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams have added three coaches to their staff, including the son of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Wes Phillips will join the Rams as tight ends coach. The younger Phillips had spent the past five seasons with Washington, where he worked with Rams coach Sean McVay from 2014-16.
Passing game coordinator Shane Waldron had coached tight ends the past two seasons but will take over quarterbacks after Zac Taylor was hired as Cincinnati’s head coach.
Zac Robinson has been hired as assistant quarterbacks coach.
Berry worked three seasons with the Browns after seven years in Indianapolis and helped lead talent evaluation and scouting. His role had diminished under new general manager John Dorsey, who brought in Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith from Green Bay.
Berry worked under Sashi Berry, who was fired and replaced by Dorsey.
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers re-signed defensive back Jaylen Watkins on Monday. Watkins missed last season after suffering a knee injury in the second preseason game.
Prior to the injury, Watkins was seeing time as a nickel cornerback and safety.
SEATTLE (AP) — Former NFL head coach Jim Zorn will be the coach and general manager of Seattle’s franchise in the new XFL.
XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck made the announcement Monday. Zorn was head coach of the Washington Redskins for two seasons, but has been out of coaching since 2012.
He has strong Seattle ties as the quarterback for the Seahawks from 1976 to 1984. He also served as an assistant coach for the Seahawks during two stints, including quarterbacks coach from 2001-07.
NEW YORK (AP) — Making another move to keep their core of players together, the New York Yankees agreed to a $70 million, seven-year contract with outfielder Aaron Hicks.
Hicks’ agreement adds $64 million in guaranteed money over six seasons and club option for 2026 that could make it worth $81.5 million over eight seasons.
A 29-year-old switch-hitter, Hicks took over as the Yankees primary center fielder last year and set career highs with 137 games, 27 homers and 79 RBIs. He agreed on Jan. 11 to a $6 million, one-year contract and would have been eligible for free agency after this season.
ESPN has added more mixed martial arts content, agreeing to a multiyear deal with the Professional Fighters League.
Six regular-season events, three playoffs and the league championship on Dec. 31 will air on either ESPN2, ESPN Plus or ESPN Deportes beginning in May. The shows will air mostly on Thursday nights, beginning May 9.