A look at some of the big sports stories making headlines today, Friday, March 6.
BULLS OUTLAST THUNDER
The Chicago Bulls were able to end Russell Westbrook’s string of triple-doubles at four straight games. More important, they pulled out a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Chicago beat the Thunder 108-105 on E’Twaun Moore’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left. The Bulls trailed by a point until Moore sent them to their second straight win. He finished with 19 points on 9 of 10 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench.
Nikola Mirotic finished with 26 points, while Pau Gasol and Mike Dunleavy each had 21 for the Bulls.
Westbrook produced 43 points, seven assists and eight rebounds for the Thunder, but he also stepped out of bounds after receiving the inbounds pass following Moore’s go-ahead bucket.
In the only other NBA game, Portland picked up its fifth straight win as LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds in a 94-75 triumph over Dallas. Nicolas Batum added 15 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who finished the game without starting guard Wesley Matthews because of a left foot injury.
WILDCATS, BADGERS WIN CONFERENCE CROWNS
Fifth-ranked Arizona and No. 6 Wisconsin have wrapped up the regular-season conference championships.
The Wildcats are Pac-12 champs after Brandon Ashley matched his career high with 21 points in a 99-60 pounding of California. Kaleb Tarczewski added 14 points and T.J. McConnell tied his career best with 11 assists in Arizona’s most lopsided win of the season.
The Wildcats are 27-3 overall and 15-2 in the Pac-12.
Frank Kaminsky had 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting as the Badgers beat Minnesota 76-63 to claim the Big Ten title. Sam Dekker added 20 points and Nigel Hayes finished with 12 and nine rebounds as Wisconsin improved to 27-3 overall and 15-2 in the conference.
In other top-25 action:
MANNING SIGNS NEW DEAL, PANTHERS INK TE OLSEN
Peyton Manning has passed his physical and signed his revised contract with the Denver Broncos.
The five-time MVP agreed to a $4 million pay cut to $15 million, but he can earn all of it back through incentives.
Manning mulled retirement after the Broncos’ playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. But he determined he still had the health and hunger to keep playing at age 39.
ISLES BEAT PREDATORS
The New York Islanders have regained sole possession of the Atlantic Division lead while extending Nashville’s season-worst losing streak.
The Isles blew a 3-1 lead in the third period before Brock Nelson scored with 6:08 remaining to send New York to a 4-3 win at Nashville. John Tavares and Nick Leddy each had a goal and an assist as the Islanders moved two points ahead of the Rangers for the Metropolitan Division lead.
Mike Ribeiro and Craig Smith scored 31 seconds apart to tie the game before the Predators suffered their fifth straight loss.
The Islanders also trail the Eastern Conference by just one point to Montreal after the Canadiens squandered a third-period lead and lost 4-3 at Los Angeles. Marian Gaborik scored twice in regulation before providing one of the Kings’ three shootout goals. Gaborik’s tying goal with 45 seconds left in regulation helped the Kings to pull into a virtual tie with Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
DARVISH OUTING CUT SHORT
Rangers ace Yu Darvish left his spring training debut with tightness in his right triceps after pitching a scoreless first inning Thursday against Kansas City. He threw 10 of 12 pitches for strikes before leaving for precautionary reasons.
A Rangers spokesman said he would be reevaluated Friday.
HOLMES GOES LOW AT DORAL
J.B. Holmes tamed the Blue Monster course at Doral with a 10-under 62. That’s good for a four-shot lead after the first round of the Cadillac Championship. Ryan Moore is alone in second.
The top 50 golfers in the world are entered in a tournament for the first time since the 2012 PGA Championship.
France’s Alexander Levy shot a 4-under 68 and is tied with Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson for third place.
This is the first of the World Golf Championship tournaments of the year.
PARK, TSENG TIED FOR LEAD
Inbee Park and Yani Tseng both shot 6-under 66 to share the lead after the opening round of the HSBC Women’s Champions. Angela Stanford trails by a shot with No. 1-ranked Lydia Ko in a group that is two strokes back. The 17-year-old Ko went into the event on a two-tournament winning streak.
PHELPS HOPING TO COMPETE IN WORLDS
There have been discussions about US swimmer Michael Phelps possibly competing in the world championships to be held in Russia starting in late July. However, a USA Swimming spokesman has characterized any conversations as informal and preliminary.
Phelps received a six-month suspension for his second drunken driving arrest, a punishment that ends April 6. He had already qualified for worlds, the biggest international meet leading up to next year’s Rio Olympics.
The 18-time Olympic champion agreed he would not represent the U.S. at the world meet as part of his suspension by USA Swimming handed down last fall.