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Sport Briefs - March 25, 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 8:02 AM

Monday’s Sports In Brief

By The Associated Press

GOLF

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods is back to No. 1 in the world with a game that looks as good as ever.

Woods walked off the 18th green Monday waving his putter over his head — his magic wand this week at Bay Hill — to acknowledge the fans who have seen this act before. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the eighth time to tie a PGA Tour record that had not been touched in 48 years.

This win had extra significance. It returned Woods to the top of the world ranking for the first time since the final week of October 2010, the longest spell of his career.

“It’s a byproduct of hard work, patience and getting back to winning golf tournaments,” he said.

Woods never let anyone closer than two shots in the final round at Bay Hill that was delayed one day by storms. With a conservative bogey he could afford on the last hole, he closed with a 2-under 70 for a two-shot win over Justin Rose.

Next up is the Masters, where Woods will try to end his five-year drought in the majors.

PRO BASKETBALL

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — LeBron James finished with 24 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, and the Miami Heat won their 27th straight game by running away in the final minutes to beat the Orlando Magic 108-94.

The Heat now are within six games of matching the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the longest winning streak in NBA history.

The four-game road trip for Miami continues in Chicago on Wednesday, followed by a Friday matchup in New Orleans — which snapped Denver’s 15-game winning streak on Monday night. Miami’s trip ends Sunday in San Antonio.

Dwyane Wade missed his second straight contest with a sore right knee, but plans to play at Chicago on Wednesday.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Add another investor to the group Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is assembling to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.

Johnson announced that Paul Jacobs, CEO of the international technology company Qualcomm, has agreed to become part of the Sacramento bid. Jacobs joins a group that includes billionaire investor Ron Burkle, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and TIBCO Software CEO Vivek Ranadive.

“A true Dream Team! This Fab Four is a bracket buster,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) — Boston’s Kevin Garnett is expected to miss at least a week with inflammation in his left ankle as the Celtics practice patience with their 36-year-old star.

Coach Doc Rivers, preparing his team for a playoff run, said he doesn’t think Garnett will be out for the long term.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ben Howland kept it classy in departing as UCLA’s basketball coach, thanking the athletic director who had fired him a day earlier while noting the high expectations that come with running a program that owns a record 11 national championships.

Howland was applauded by supporters as he walked into a news conference at Pauley Pavilion for the last time. The 55-year-old coach expressed gratitude for his 10-year run in Westwood, the longest tenure since John Wooden retired in 1975 after 27 years on the sideline.

Howland had a 233-107 record that included three consecutive Final Four appearances and four Pac-12 titles, including this season, when the Bruins were 25-10. Their season ended with a 20-point loss to Minnesota in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota fired Tubby Smith, cutting ties with the veteran coach one day after the Golden Gophers lost to Florida in the NCAA tournament.

Athletics director Norwood Teague announced the decision and said it was time for a “fresh set of eyes” on the program.

Smith was 124-81 (.610) in six seasons at Minnesota, helping to bring the program back to respectability and ramping up expectations for a team hit hard by an academic cheating scandal.

Smith won 20 games five times. But he went just 46-62 in Big Ten play and never finished higher than sixth in the conference. The Gophers made three NCAA tournament appearances under Smith. They beat UCLA this year before losing on Sunday.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University’s men’s basketball team got an unexpected new fan when they arrived home after their latest NCAA tournament victory.

A plane carrying New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow was refueling in Wichita when the Shockers’ bus arrived Sunday after their upset win over top-seeded Gonzaga. Tebow’s representative asked coach Gregg Marshall if the Heisman Trophy winner could talk to the team.

Wearing a pink sweater over a tie and untucked shirt, Tebow got on the team bus, grabbed a microphone and told the players their surprising run to the Sweet 16 is something they will remember for the rest of their lives, regardless of what they do in the future. He also congratulated them and said they were an inspiration to many people.

BASEBALL

PHOENIX (AP) — Kyle Lohse waited all winter and finally found a home with Milwaukee.

Lohse and the Brewers completed a three-year contract worth $33 million, a big boost to their suspect rotation exactly a week before the season opener at home against Colorado.

Lohse enjoyed his best season in the majors last year, going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA and helping the St. Louis Cardinals earn an NL wild-card spot.

AUTO RACING

Denny Hamlin suffered a compression fracture in his lower spine during a last-lap crash while racing for the win against former teammate Joey Logano, and Joe Gibbs Racing gave no indication how long its driver could be sidelined.

“I just want to go home,” Hamlin tweeted from a hospital in Southern California. He later posted a photo of himself giving a thumbs-up and appeared to be wearing a back brace.

The team said he has what is called an L1 compression fracture; essentially, the first vertebra in the lumbar section of his spine collapsed.

Hamlin was released from the hospital Monday night, and JGR said he’d return to North Carolina to be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates. A reporter from USA Today spoke to Hamlin outside the hospital and reported Hamlin, wearing a back brace, walked out on his own.

NHL

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning hired Jon Cooper as their new coach.

Cooper had been coaching Syracuse of the AHL, Tampa Bay’s top minor league affiliate. He is replacing Guy Boucher, who was fired Sunday after 2 1/2 years with the team.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Alexander Semin has found a home with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The team said that the left winger has agreed to a five-year contract extension that will pay him $7 million per season and keep him with the Hurricanes through 2017-18.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins continued to bolster their roster for a Stanley Cup run, acquiring San Jose defenseman Doug Murray for a pair of second-round picks.

The 33-year-old Murray will give the Penguins a physical presence at the blue line along with plenty of playoff experience. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Murray has three assists in 29 games for the struggling Sharks this season and a minus-8 rating.

The trade marks the second aggressive move in as many days for Pittsburgh, which brought in veteran forward Brenden Morrow from Dallas on Sunday in exchange for promising defenseman prospect Joe Morrow.

 

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