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Friday’s Sports Minute: Harden pours in 50 as Rockets soar past Lakers

Here’s a look at some of today’s big sports stories.

Rockets beat Lakers behind Harden’s 50
James Harden and the Houston Rockets cooled off the Los Angeles Lakers last night.

Harden poured in 50 points in his second triple-double of the season as the Rockets won their second straight since a three-game slide, 126-111 against the Lakers. The NBA’s reigning MVP scored 11 points during a 13-2 spurt that put Houston ahead, 122-108.

Harden also had 10 rebounds and 11 assists in his 37th career triple-double.

LeBron James had a team-high 29 points for the Lakers, who had won two straight and six of seven.

Checking out last night’s other NBA action:
— LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and the Spurs posted their most lopsided win of the season in a 125-87 laugher against the Clippers. Rudy Gay added 21 points and DeMar DeRozan had 14 with seven assists in San Antonio’s fourth consecutive victory.
— Nikola Vucevic scored 26 points, including a tiebreaking jumper with 28 seconds remaining in the Magic’s 97-91 triumph over the Bulls in Mexico City. Vucevic shot 11 for 21 from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds, while D.J. Augustin added 15 points for Orlando.
— T.J. Warren scored a season-high 30 points and the Suns snapped a 10-game losing streak by beating the Mavericks, 99-89. Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki made his season debut and scored two points off the bench while becoming the first player in league history to play 21 seasons with the same team.

Trier signs guaranteed deal
The New York Knicks have signed guard Allonzo Trier to a guaranteed deal after the undrafted rookie’s strong start to the season.

Trier is averaging 11.3 points in 27 games and is shooting 39.1 percent from 3-point range, which ranks third among first-year players.

The Knicks waived guard Ron Baker to make room on the roster for Trier’s contract.

Also in the NBA:
— The Nets and guard Spencer Dinwiddie have agreed to a three-year contract extension worth about $34 million. The package was finalized a day after Dinwiddie set an NBA season high for backups by scoring 39 points in a win at Philadelphia.

Carson Wentz sits out practice second day in a row
There’s a good chance the Philadelphia Eagles will use Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles as their starting quarterback Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

Starter Carson Wentz sat out practice on Thursday because of a back injury.

Two people familiar with the quarterback’s injury confirmed reports that Wentz has a fractured vertebra, but the team is awaiting further evaluation before making a definitive determination on his status.

Foles led Philadelphia to its first NFL title since 1960 and started the first two games this season, going 1-1. He hasn’t taken a snap in a game since Week 2.

In other NFL news:
— Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is having further evaluation of the injured quad that kept him out of last Sunday’s 40-16 rout of the Redskins. Beckham is second on the team with 77 catches for a team-high 1,052 yards and six touchdowns.
—Falcons receiver Julio Jones has been sent home with flu-like symptoms but is expected to play Sunday against Arizona. The two-time All-Pro leads the NFL in yards receiving and has five straight 1,400-yard seasons.
— Bills running back LeSean McCoy returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday, a day after being held out because a left hamstring injury suffered in last Sunday’s loss to the Jets. Coach Sean McDermott said the team will continue evaluating McCoy’s progress before determining whether he can play Sunday versus the Lions.
— The Browns will be without rookie starting cornerback Denzel Ward, who will miss his second straight game Saturday at Denver with a concussion.
— Jets running back Isaiah Crowell and wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will not play against the Texans on Saturday because of injuries.
— A Texas jury has returned a $25 million verdict against former Cowboys player Josh Brent and the owner of a now-defunct nightclub in the death of Brent’s teammate, Jerry Brown Jr. Brown was killed six years ago when the car Brent was driving at 110 mph in a 45-mph zone overturned in Irving, a Dallas suburb. Brent had a blood-alcohol level of .18 percent, more than twice the legal limit for driving.

Rangers get Lynn
The Indians, Mariners and Rays have worked out a three-team deal that sends first baseman Carlos Santana back to Cleveland and moves slugger Edwin Encarnacion to Seattle.

The Rays got infielder Yandy Diaz and minor league right-hander Cole Sulser from Cleveland, the Indians acquired first baseman Jake Bauers from Tampa Bay and the Mariners wound up with a competitive balance round B draft pick. Tampa Bay will send $5 million to Seattle and the Mariners will pay $6 million to Cleveland.

Encarnacion had 32 home runs and 107 RBIs while batting .246 with Cleveland this year. He leads the majors in homers and RBIs since 2012.
Santana hit .229 with 24 home runs, 86 RBIs and 110 walks for the Phillies last season.

In other MLB news:
— Reliever Jeurys Familia is back with the Mets after the two sides worked out a three-year, $30 million package. Familia had spent his entire career with New York before being traded to Oakland last July. He set a team record with a National League-leading 51 saves in 2016, and he was 8-6 with 18 saves in 24 chances for the Mets and Athletics this year.
— The Rangers have worked out a three-year, $30 million package with free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, pending a physical. The 31-year-old Lynn has double-digit wins in all six seasons he has been a regular starter since after his rookie year of 2011. He went 10-10 with a 4.77 ERA in 31 appearances with 29 starts in 2018 pitching for the Twins and Yankees.
—The Brewers have added another reliever to their strong bullpen, getting durable left-hander Alex Claudio from the Rangers for a draft pick. Claudio was 4-2 with a 4.48 ERA and one save in 65 relief appearances and one start this year.
— A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that reliever Joe Kelly has agreed to a $25 million, three-year contract with the Dodgers. The 30-year-old right-hander was 4-2 with a 4.39 ERA and two saves in 73 games this year for the World Series champion Red Sox. Kelly pitched in all five World Series games this year and did not allow a run, striking out 10 in six innings.

Badgers rock Tigers
The 16th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers are 9-2 following the most productive opening half in school history.

The Badgers shot 71 percent while scoring a team-record 68 first-half points in a 101-60 drubbing of Savannah State. Brad Davison was 6 of 9 from 3-point range while scoring a season-high 24 points to lead the Badgers.

Preseason All-American Ethan Happ had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and freshman Tai Strickland added a career-best 14 points for Wisconsin.

Bolts top Leafs in Vasilevskiy’s return
Andrei Vasilevskiy made his return to the Tampa Bay net last night and helped the Lightning stretch their lead in the NHL’s Atlantic Division to eight points over Toronto.

Vasilevskiy made 23 saves in the second period alone and 48 overall as the Lightning beat the Maple Leafs, 4-1 for their eighth straight win. He was perfect after Kasperi Kapanen’s goal put the Leafs ahead 5 ½ minutes into the game.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Nashville kept its one-point lead over Winnipeg in the Central Division by getting a goal from Colton Sissons 3:05 into overtime to complete a 4-3 decision over the Canucks. The Predators led 3-1 with just over four minutes remaining in regulation before Brock Boeser scored a power-play and Bo Horvat tied it with a short-handed tally.
— The Jets won their third in a row by nipping the Oilers, 5-4 on defenseman Josh Morrissey’s goal 41 seconds into overtime. Mark Scheifele, Mathieu Perreault, Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine also scored for Winnipeg, which blew a 3-1 lead before ending Edmonton’s four-game winning streak.
— Artemi Panarin scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky turned back 29 shots as the Blue Jackets beat the Kings, 4-1 to end a two-game skid. Lukas Sedlak and Josh Anderson also scored and Cam Atkinson had two assists to help Columbus send Los Angeles to its seventh loss in nine games.
— Jeff Skinner continued his torrid scoring pace by notching his 22nd goal in the Sabres’ 3-1 victory against the Coyotes. Casey Mittelstadt and Evan Rodrigues also scored and Carter Hutton stopped 25 shots as Buffalo improved to 11-3-2 at home, matching their win total from last season at KeyBank Center.
— The Wild cruised to a 5-1 win over the Panthers behind Nino Niederreiter’s two goals and one assist. Ryan Suter set up three goals and Devan Dubnyk handled 30 shots for Minnesota, which has back-to-back wins since a 1-5-0 skid.
— Timo Meier scored twice and Joe Thornton provided the eventual game-winner in the third period to send the Sharks past the Stars, 3-2. The game was tied 1-1 until Meier and Thornton tallied 5:06 apart.
— Jeff Petry supplied two goals and the Canadiens outscored the Hurricanes 4-3 in the third period of a wild 6-4 win against Carolina. The game was tied 2-2 until Brendan Gallagher and Artturi Lehkonen scored in the first 4:22 of the final period of Montreal’s fifth win in seven games since a five-game losing streak.

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