Wednesday’s Sports In Brief
HOUSTON (AP) — Klay Thompson scored 30 points, DeMarcus Cousins had a season-high 27 and the Golden State Warriors snapped Houston’s nine-game winning streak with a 106-104 victory over the Rockets.
Playing without injured star Kevin Durant, the Warriors bounced back after a loss to Phoenix on Sunday and avoided being swept by Houston after the Rockets won the first three meetings this season.
Golden State, which had lost six of 10 overall, is 4 1/2 games ahead of Houston atop the Western Conference standings. The Rockets are tied with Oklahoma City for third place behind Denver.
After trailing by 14 in the fourth quarter, a three-point play by Chris Paul got Houston within one with 10.8 seconds left. Stephen Curry made two free throws with eight seconds remaining to make it 106-103, and James Harden hit one of two from the line at the other end with 6.4 seconds to go. The miss on the second one bounced high off the rim and was rebounded by Andre Iguodala, securing Golden State’s victoryGOLF
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook scored 31 points in his 26th triple-double of the season, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Brooklyn Nets 108-96.
Westbrook added 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the 130th triple-double of his career.
Paul George scored 25 points and Jerami Grant added 15 for the Thunder, who shot 49 percent in the second half. Oklahoma City has won three of four as it battles to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Rookie general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden had meticulously put together a plan to rebuild the Oakland Raiders with three first-round draft picks and a couple of smart free agent signings when they suddenly got sent in a different direction last week.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were willing to trade the NFL’s most prolific wide receiver for two mid-round draft picks, assuming the Raiders could come to terms on a new contract for Antonio Brown.
The Raiders dealt third- and fifth-round picks in the upcoming draft to the Steelers and gave Brown a new three-year contract worth $50.125 million, a relatively small price to pay for a player who has averaged more than 100 catches and 1,500 yards receiving per season over the last six years.
The trade, made official a day after it was agreed to, ended a very messy and very public divorce between Brown and the team that helped mold him from a sixth-round pick into arguably the greatest wide receiver of his generation.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The “Killer Bs” era is officially over in Pittsburgh. Antonio Brown is an Oakland Raider. Le’Veon Bell is a New York Jet, and Ben Roethlisberger will be part of a roster that will be considerably younger in 2019 thanks to an influx of draft picks.
The Steelers began free agency by completing a deal that sent Brown, a four-time All-Pro wide receiver, to Oakland in exchange for a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick in next month’s draft, a quiet end to more than two months of drama in which Brown made it publicly know he’d rather continue his career elsewhere than return to Pittsburgh in 2019.
Brown’s departure leaves the Steelers thin at wide receiver. JuJu Smith-Schuster emerged as a full-blown star in 2018 — hauling in 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns while earning a spot in the Pro Bowl — but James Washington was only sporadically effective as a rookie.
Bell, who sat out last season after declining to sign his $14.5 franchise tender, agreed to a four-year deal with the New York Jets.
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns returned as an expansion team in 1999. They became a real one this week.
It only took 20 mostly tortuous years — and one tremendous trade.
With a shocking, blockbuster deal for superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns flipped the NFL on its helmet and instantaneously changed their national perception. They’re the talk of the league, and for the first time in forever, it’s for the right reasons.
No longer a punching bag, the Browns are punching back. From hopeless to hope-filled. Finally.
Shortly after the league’s free-agent signing period and its new calendar year opened, the Browns made their acquisition of Beckham from the New York Giants official. It’s a done deal, and it’s starting to sink in for Cleveland’s impassioned and pained fan base, which has been waiting decades for its beloved football team to return to glory.
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — A couple of teenagers are shaking things up at the BNP Paribas Open.
Bianca Andreescu, an 18-year-old Canadian, routed two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza 6-0, 6-1 in 52 minutes to reach the semifinals.
Miomir Kecmanovic, a 19-year-old Serb ranked 130th in the world, became the first lucky loser to reach the quarterfinals at Indian Wells since 1990, advancing when Yoshihito Nishioka retired in the second set.
The kids are all right, indeed.
In the semifinals, Andreescu will play sixth-seed Elina Svitolina, who beat Marketa Vondrousova 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Kecmanovic next plays 13th-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic, who beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-3.
Rafael Nadal defeated qualifier Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-4 and remains on track for a potential semifinal against five-time champion Roger Federer in the bottom half of the draw.