DETROIT (AP)Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 20 of his 29 points in the first quarter, returning to the lineup after a five-game absence to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 150-130 win over the Detroit Pistons.
The two-time MVP was joined by three-time All-Star Khris Middleton, putting the Bucks’ prolific duo in the same lineup for the first time in more than a month. Antetokounmpo had been out with a sore left knee. Middleton, who hadn’t played since Dec. 15 due to a sore right knee, had eight points and four assists.
The Bucks scored 49 points in the first quarter, two shy of the NBA record, and led Detroit by 25 after Antetokounmpo made all six of his shots in eight-plus minutes.
Milwaukee led 83-55 at halftime and 115-92 after three quarters and finished with a season high in points in a game that wasn’t competitive beyond the opening minutes.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 33 points and rookie Jalen Duren had a season-high 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Pistons, who have won an Eastern Conference-low 12 games.
HOUSTON (AP) – Jalen Green scored a career-high 42 points and the Houston Rockets held on for a 119-114 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves to snap a 13-game losing streak.
Green, the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, had 21 points by halftime and kept up his strong play in the second half to lead the Rockets to their first victory since Dec. 26 at Chicago. They ended their longest skid of the season and also a 10-game home losing streak, winning at home for the first time since Dec. 13 against Phoenix.
Anthony Edwards had 31 points and D’Angelo Russell tied a season high with 30 for the Timberwolves, who had won two straight.
ORLANDO (AP) – Paolo Banchero scored 23 points, Jonathan Isaac played in an NBA game for the first time in 2 1/2 years and the Orlando Magic broke the Boston Celtics’ nine-game winning streak with a 113-98 victory.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown scored 26 points apiece for the Celtics, who managed just three points after Tatum’s 3-pointer cut Orlando’s lead to 97-95 with 6:20 remaining.
Wendell Carter Jr. had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic. Cole Anthony came off the bench with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Isaac missed 211 games since tearing his ACL in the NBA’s restart at Walt Disney World on Aug. 2, 2020. He finished with 10 points, three rebounds and two steals, playing about 9 1/2 minutes.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Lakers acquired former lottery pick Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and a package of second-round draft picks.
Hachimura and the Wizards did not agree on a rookie extension before the season started, which prompted speculation that the Japanese power forward wouldn’t be in their long-term plans.
And it makes sense for the Lakers to be seeking help. At 22-25, they’re in 12th place in the Western Conference, but entered Monday just two games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 6 spot and four games back of the New Orleans Pelicans for No. 4 in the West – with LeBron James averaging nearly 30 points per game and a belief that Anthony Davis will be back from injury sooner than later.
The 6-foot-8 Hachimura figures to provide the Lakers with wing defense and 3-point shooting ability, two clear needs for a team fighting to stay afloat during Davis’ latest lengthy injury absence.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Hall of Fame football player Shannon Sharpe apologized Monday after getting into a heated courtside conversation with Memphis Grizzlies players Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks and Morant’s father during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Fox Sports personality issued the apology during the ”Undisputed” show with Skip Bayless.
Sharpe exchanged words with Brooks throughout the first half Friday and then yelled at Morant on the final possession of the second quarter. After the halftime buzzer sounded, Brooks yelled at Sharpe and Sharpe motioned toward Brooks.
Morant walked toward Sharpe at his courtside seat before center Steven Adams stepped in front of him. Tee Morant, Ja Morant’s father, also got involved in the conversation before security at Crypto.com Arena separated everyone.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Carolina Panthers interviewed Sean Payton for their coaching vacancy on Monday.
Panthers owner David Tepper has also interviewed Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, former Detroit Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell and Steve Wilks, who was the team’s interim head coach this season, for the job.
The 59-year-old Payton is drawing plenty of interest from NFL teams with head coaching openings. including the Denver Broncos.
Payton did not coach this past season, but the New Orleans Saints still hold his rights. It’s unclear what type of draft pick compensation it would take from the Panthers to lure Payton from their division rivals.
NEW YORK (AP) – Purdue is back at No. 1 in the AP Top 25. Alabama is right behind the Boilermakers.
Purdue (19-1, 8-1 Big Ten) returned to the top spot in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, moving up two spots after Temple knocked off No. 1 Houston over the weekend. The Boilermakers received 39 first-place votes from a 62-person media panel after a volatile week where just two teams kept the same spot from a week ago.
Alabama (17-2, 7-0 SEC) climbed two spots to No. 2, picking up 23 first-place votes for its highest ranking since reaching No. 1 in 2002-03. Houston, Tennessee and Kansas State round out the top five.
NEW YORK (AP) – For the first time in the 47-year history of The Associated Press women’s basketball poll no team from Texas is in the Top 25.
The Texas Longhorns fell out of Monday’s poll, ending a 835-week run that had at least one team from the Lone Star state in the rankings. From Wayland Baptist, Stephen F. Austin and Baylor appearing in the first poll in 1976 to Texas’ No. 25 ranking last week, there has always been at least one team from the state in the poll until now.
No. 1 South Carolina (20-0), which has 26 consecutive victories dating to its run to the NCAA championship last season was again a unanimous choice from the 28-member national media panel. The Gamecocks have been ranked atop the poll for 31 consecutive weeks – the fourth-longest streak ever. Only UConn (51 and 34 weeks) and Louisiana Tech (36) have had longer runs at No. 1.
Ohio State (19-0) reamined No. 2 behind the Gamecocks going into a week that includes games against No. 11 Iowa and sixth-ranked Indiana. Stanford flipped places with LSU for No. 3 after beating then-No. 8 Utah and No. 25 Colorado, which dropped a spot after the loss. LSU (19-0) is fourth and UConn fifth.
Notre Dame, UCLA, Utah followed the sixth-ranked Hoosiers. Maryland and Iowa were tied for 10th.