- Associated Press - Monday, February 19, 2018


LOS ANGELES (AP) - LeBron James picked a winner in the NBA All-Star Game.

James scored 29 points and hit the go-ahead layup with 34.5 seconds to play, winning his third All-Star Game MVP award while his hand-picked team rallied to win an uncommonly entertaining showcase, beating Team Stephen 148-145 Sunday night.

For the first time in the 67 editions of the All-Star Game, the league abandoned the traditional East-West format used since 1951 and allowed team captains James and Stephen Curry to choose their own rosters.

That twist turned a sometimes staid event into the world’s richest pickup game, and the intrigue was reflected on the Staples Center court, where a real basketball game broke out.

LeBron’s team even won an All-Star game with defense: On the final possession, James and Kevin Durant blanketed Curry, preventing the 3-point-shooting superstar from getting off a potential tying shot.

Both teams played defense for long stretches and contested many shots, with LeBron’s group even picking up full-court late in the first half. Team LeBron also rallied from a double-digit deficit in the final minutes, tying it at 144-144 on James’ 3-pointer with 1:31 to play.

LA native DeMar DeRozan hit one free throw to put Team Steph ahead, but LeBron claimed the lead with his layup after some sharp passing by his teammates. DeRozan then made a turnover on an attempted pass to Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Russell Westbrook broke out for a layup with 10.7 seconds left.

Team Steph had one last chance, but even the usually unguardable Curry couldn’t find enough space to launch a 3 between his fellow captain and Durant, his Golden State teammate. Curry finished with 11 points on 4-for-14 shooting.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Austin Dillon put the No. 3 back in victory lane in the Daytona 500.

Dillon drove the iconic car number made famous by Dale Earnhardt to the win 17 years to the day the Hall of Famer was killed in an accident on the final lap of the Daytona 500. The win also comes during the 20th anniversary celebration of Earnhardt’s only victory in “The Great American Race.”

Dillon wasn’t a factor in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet until the final lap in overtime when he got a push from Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. that helped him get to leader Aric Almirola. Dillon spun Almirola then whizzed on by to give Childress, his grandfather, an iconic victory in that beloved No. 3.

As for the aggressive move that wrecked Almirola? Dillon was doing what has to be done to win at Daytona.

Wallace, the first black driver in the Daytona 500 field since 1969, finished second in a 1-2 finish for Chevrolet and Childress’ engine program.

Denny Hamlin, the 2016 winner, finished third in a Toyota.


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Bubba Watson ended two years without winning with his third victory at Riviera.

Watson seized control with two par putts and a bunker shot he holed for birdie on the par-3 14th hole. He closed with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot victory over Kevin Na and Tony Finau.

It was his first victory since Riviera two years ago - the longest drought of the decade for the two-time Masters champion.

He wrapped up another fun-filled week in L.A. on and off the golf course, although winning for the 10th time in his career was far more enjoyable than getting rejected by Tracy McGrady in the NBA All-Star celebrity game.

Watson moves into the top 50 and is eligible for the World Golf Championship next week in Mexico.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Christian Coleman broke the world indoor record in the 60 meters in 6.34 seconds Sunday to win his first U.S. title in the final event of the USA Track & Field Indoor National Championships.

Coleman had run a world-best a month ago at the Clemson Invitational, but the mark was not recognized because electronic blocks were not used.

This time there was no doubt when he put on an extra burst about midway through the run, pulling away from former champion Ronnie Baker, who finished with a personal best of 6.40.

Despite the record, he said there’s room for improvement.

When the time was posted, Coleman celebrated, raising his arms and bouncing back down the track.

Sharika Nelvis set the crowd buzzing with an American record in the 60 hurdles at 7.70.

Nelvis had to come from behind to win it, surging over the final hurdle to kick it to the finish.

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