AP Sports Digest

January 21, 2020 - 2:29 am

The highlights of the AP Sports report. An up-to-the minute listing of all stories planned, including games and events, is available in Coverage Plan on AP Newsroom, http://newsroom.ap.org/coverageplan. You can also find a link to Coverage Plan on the left navigation of the Newsroom home page, http://newsroom.ap.org.

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MELBOURNE, Australia -- Former No. 1 Maria Sharapova lost 6-3, 6-4 to 19th-seeded Donna Vekic at the Australian Open. The five-time Grand Slam title winner got into the main draw at Melbourne Park via a wild card granted by organizers, helped by the fact she won the 2008 title here. Top-seeded Rafael Nadal advanced easily in the match following at Rod Laver Arena, beating Hugo Dellien in straight sets. By Dennis Passa. SENT: 680 words, photos. Will be updated.


NEW YORK — During the fall of 2011, a couple of months after the NFL's lockout of the players ended and the regular season began as scheduled, a class of graduate students was asked to rate the pro sports commissioners. Roger Goodell stood first, far above his peers. A few years later after such issues as player misconduct, bounties and deflated football scandals, health and safety issues, and skyrocketing cost of tickets became prevalent, a similar class rated Goodell much lower. Time to reassess? By Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 1,950 words, photos by 4 a.m.


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Kyle Shanahan knows one mistake he wants to avoid in his second trip to the Super Bowl. When Shanahan made his first trip to the big game as offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons three years ago, his week in Houston got off to a stressful start when a reporter mistakenly took his backpack that included his iPad playbook at media night. The backpack also included tickets to the game and cash. That led to a frantic search that finally ended when Shanahan found the reporter who made the mistake and made the switch. By Josh Dubow. UPCOMING: 420 words, photos by 4 a.m.


PORTLAND, Ore. — Damian Lillard set a franchise record with 61 points, including a career-best 11 3-pointers, and the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the equally depleted Golden State Warriors 129-124 in overtime. Lillard's previous career high was 60 points earlier this season against Brooklyn. It was the seventh regular-season game of Lillard's career with more than 50 points. By Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 695 words, photos. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.



DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — There’s a flaw, the way Kyle Busch sees it, in the championship ring he picked up last month. The ring represents his 2019 NASCAR championship, with no recognition that it is his second title. Busch wants it fixed to show what he’s earned over his career because when he’s done, he doesn’t want a collection of seven different rings. Seven? Yes, that’s right. Two months removed from that second title, Busch is confident — adamant almost — that he will close his career at minimum tied with greats Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson. Although his bid for a third championship doesn’t begin until the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16, his racing season starts this weekend with a cameo appearance in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. By Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 1,100 words, photos by 4 a.m.



Managers AJ Hinch, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltrán lost their jobs in the wake of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scam, leaving three teams needing to fill spots in the dugout just three weeks before the start of spring training. On and off the field, the fallout from one of the biggest scandals in Major League Baseball history is bound to carry over. Will there be beanballs or stories of cheating schemes from the past? And what effect will this have on the legacy of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and the Astros who won the 2017 World Series? By Ben Walker. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 4 a.m.


Tom Brady is all the buzz even as the Super Bowl in Miami next week won't feature the New England Patriots quarterback for the first time in four years. Brady is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career and he says he'll be “open-minded about the process." Brady will be 43 next season and has has said he'd like to play at least to age 45. Brady and the Patriots won their first eight games in 2019 but they lost five of their last nine counting their wild-card loss. By Arnie Stapleton. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 4 a.m.



BOSTON -- Kemba Walker scored 20 points to end a career-long personal losing streak against LeBron James, and Jayson Tatum scored 27 to lead the Boston Celtics past the Los Angeles Lakers 139-107. It was the biggest loss of the season for the top team in the Western Conference. James had 15 points and 13 assists for the Lakers, who had won 10 of their previous 11 games. Walker had been 0-28 in his career against James. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 860 words, photos.


NEW YORK — Zion Williamson is set to make his NBA debut, which will bring plenty of excitement to New Orleans. It will also bring some challenges to coach Alvin Gentry. That's what Philadelphia coach Brett Brown learned from his experiences when the wait for a franchise star was finally over. Brown had to wait out injury-delayed NBA debuts for both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Both players had foot injuries to begin their careers. Embiid missed two seasons and Simmons one. Williamson, the No. 1 pick, is set to play his first game Wednesday against San Antonio. By Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 4 a.m.


SAN DIEGO — Jack Nicklaus turns 80 on Tuesday and has no interest in retirement. Nicklaus stopped competing long ago except for the occasional exhibition. He keeps involved with golf course design and helping wife Barbara with the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation. What he relay enjoys is staying relevant. He says he is flattered by the number of young players who want to spend time with him and ask questions about the majors. Also keeping him relevant is Tiger Woods and the chase to match the 18 majors Nicklaus won in his career. By Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 975 words, photos by 4 a.m.


Tuesday's Time Schedule


L.A. Clippers at Dallas, 8:30 p.m,


Vegas at Boston, 7 p.m.

Winnipeg at Carolina, 7 p.m.

N.Y. Islanders at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Florida at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.


Top 25


No. 3 Kansas vs. Kansas State, 7 p.m.

No. 4 San Diego State vs. Wyoming, 11 p.m.

No. 8 Duke vs. Miami, 9 p.m.

No. 9 Villanova vs. No. 13 Butler, 7 p.m.

No. 15 Kentucky vs. Georgia, 7 p.m.

No. 17 Maryland at Northwestern, 7 p.m.

No. 18 Texas Tech at TCU, 8 p.m.

No. 21 Illinois at Purdue, 7 p.m.

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