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Suns’ Devin Booker scores 70 in loss to Celtics

The Phoenix Suns made history two nights in a row.

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The Suns started the youngest lineup ever Thursday, with an average of 21 years and 14 days. Worse, the Suns were down to eight players and lost by 26 to the Brooklyn Nets. The lineup was younger than several of the Sweet 16 teams still in the NCAA tournament. 

Friday also netted a loss, but Devin Booker kept them in it. He scored 70 points for the Suns, and helped Phoenix claw back from a 20-point first quarter deficit. Booker’s scoring eventually won over the Boston crowd, who began cheering for him as the Suns tried to keep the game going late, calling timeouts to give Booker a chance to score more points. He finished with the highest single-game total in franchise history, but lost to the Celtics 130-120.

Booker joined Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor and Kobe Bryant as players to reach 70 in one game.

Booker was 21 of 40 from the field, four of 11 from the 3-point range and was 24 of 26 shooting free throws. The former Kentucky star also had eight rebounds and six assists. He averaged 20.9 points per game before Friday. 

South Carolina trolls USA Today after beating Duke

Consider the 2017 NCAA Tournament party crashed after South Carolina’s upset win on Sunday night.

The Gamecocks took down No. 2 seed Duke in a game that many pundits had all but given the Blue Devils prior the the meeting in Greenville. After all, the South Carolina program had just won its first NCAA tournament game in 44 years and had never visited the Sweet 16. They’d be happy with just one win against Marquette, right? Wrong.

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In fact, USA Today was so confident that the Gamecocks would fold on Sunday that its sports account tweeted out a message after No. 1 seed Villanova fell to Wisconsin on Saturday, proclaiming: “Duke’s path to the Final Four looks ridiculously clear with Villanova’s loss.”

Let’s just say the fine folks at South Carolina bookmarked that tweet for future reference.

On Sunday night, in the moments following the Gamecocks’ historic victory, the school’s official Twitter account sent out this zinger to the news publication:

South Carolina will next play Baylor for a chance to advance to the Elite 8 for the first time in program history.

Photos: NCAA cheerleaders

They cheer on the teams at every NCAA game. Take a look at some of the cheerleaders you may see during March Madness.

2017 NCAA Tournament: Brackets, schedules, predictions, players to watch

Rejoice, college basketball fans: The 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket is officially out.

>> Click here to download your printable bracket (PDF)

Here's what you need to know about each region:

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2017 NCAA Tournament East Region

Bracket:

Here it is: the East Region #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/SENjhn4ryU— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The top four seeds are Villanova, Duke, Baylor and Florida. Potential sleepers in the region are SMU and Virginia. And the upset darlings could be UNC-Wilmington and East Tennessee State.Schedule:

  • No. 1 Villanova vs. Mt. Saint Mary’s/New Orleans, 7:10 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech, Approx 9:40 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 5 Virginia vs. No. 12 UNC-Wilmington,  12:40 p.m. on truTV, Thursday
  • No. 4 Florida vs. No. 13 East Tennessee State, Approx 3:10 p.m. on truTV, Thursday
  • No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Troy, 7:20 p.m. on TBS, Friday
  • No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 10 Marquette, Approx 9:50 p.m. on TBS, Friday
  • No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 New Mexico State, 12:40 p.m. on truTV, Friday
  • No. 6 SMU vs. No. 11 Providence/USC, Approx 3:10 p.m. on truTV, Friday

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 5 Virginia, No. 2 Duke vs. No. 6 SMU
  • Elite Eight: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 2 Duke
  • Final Four: No. 2 Duke

Players to watch:

  • Villanova’s Josh Hart: Hart was the Big East Player of the year and a key piece of last year’s national championship team.
  • Duke’s Luke Kennard: Kennard and Jayson Tatum helped lead Duke to the ACC Tournament title.
  • Baylor’s Jonathan Motley: Motley had a monster year for the Bears and is one of the best big men in the country.
  • Virginia’s London Perrantes: Perrantes was a key piece of last year’s Virginia team that went to the Elite Eight.

 

2017 NCAA Tournament West Region

Bracket:Time to make your picks in the West Region. #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/eQ1llCKWjX— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017

The No. 1 seed in the region is Gonzaga, which completed a 32-1 regular season, followed by Arizona at No. 2, Florida State at No. 3 and West Virginia as the No. 4 seed. The region also features teams that could pull an upset like No. 12 Princeton or No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast.Schedule:

  • No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 South Dakota State, 2 p.m. ET on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt, Approx 4:30 p.m. on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Princeton, 12:15 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 13 Bucknell, Approx 2:45 p.m. on CBS Thursday
  • No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 North Dakota, Approx 9:50 p.m. on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 7 Saint Mary’s vs. No 10. VCU, 7:20 p.m. ET on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast, Approx 9:20 p.m. on TNT, Thursday
  • No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Xavier, 6:50 p.m. on TNT, Thursday

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 6 Maryland
  • Elite 8: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 2 Arizona
  • Final Four: No. 1 Gonzaga

Players to watch:

  • Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss: Williams-Goss is one of the top point guards in the country and easily one of the best talents the Bulldogs have ever had.
  • Arizona’s Allonzo Trier: Trier’s return from an PED suspension helped change the trajectory of Arizona’s season and could get the Wildcats to the Final Four.
  • Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac: Isaac is one of the most talented players in the country and figures to be a top NBA draft pick.
  • Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski: Karnowski is more mountain than man as he’s listed at 7-foot-1 and 300 pounds. But he’s also an extremely skilled big (averaging 12.6 points, 6 rebounds).

 

2017 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region

Bracket: The Midwest Region #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/o1lYukeITh— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 12, 2017

The Kansas Jayhawks lead the way as the No. 1 seed, followed by Louisville, Oregon and Purdue to round out the top four. Lower seeds like Rhode Island or Nevada could prove to be bracket busters if they come to play later this week.Schedule: 

Thursday, March 16: 

  • No. 5 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Nevada (Milwaukee), 9 p.m., truTV
  • No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 Vermont (Milwaukee), 6:27 p.m., truTV

Friday, March 17: 

  • No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 N.C. Central -or- UC Davis (Tulsa, Okla.), 6:50 p.m., TNT
  • No. 8 Miami vs. No. 9 Michigan State (Tulsa, Okla.), 9:20 p.m., TNT
  • No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 Rhode Island (Sacramento, Calif.), 3:30 p.m., TBS
  • No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 14 Iona (Sacramento, Calif.), 1:00 p.m., TBS
  • No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State (Indianapolis), 11:15 a.m., CBS
  • No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 15 Jacksonville State (Indianapolis), 1:45 p.m., CBS

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 8 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Purdue, No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 2 Louisville
  • Elite Eight: No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 2 Louisville
  • Final Four: No. 2 Louisville

Players to watch:

  • Kansas’ Frank Mason: The Big 12 player of the year, Mason has had one of the best seasons in all of college basketball.
  • Oregon’s Dillon Brooks: Also a player of the year, but in the Pac 12, Brooks will need to have a standout tournament to compensate for the serious injury suffered by teammate Chris Boucher.
  • Michigan State’s Miles Bridges: Bridges will have Kansas sweating if both teams advance to the round of 32. He’s one of the most-athletic players in the country.
  • Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan: The third major conference player of the year winner in the Midwest Region, Swanigan laid waste to the Big Ten as the Boilermakers took home the regular-season conference crown.

 

2017 NCAA Tournament South Region

Bracket: 

Let's take a complete look at the South Region. #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/41ODmegBGQ— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017

The Tar Heels are somewhat of a surprise pick for the No. 1 seed. North Carolina fell to Duke twice, including in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, and the committee rewarded the Blue Devils with a No. 2 seed. Still, North Carolina is very deserving, having won the ACC regular-season title.

The region’s top four seeds are North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA and Butler.Schedule:

  • No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Texas Southern, Friday 2 p.m., truTV
  • No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Seton Hall, Friday 12:30 p.m., TNT
  • No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee, Thursday 3 p.m., TNT
  • No. 4 Butler vs. No. 13 Winthrop, Thursday 12:30 p.m. TNT
  • No. 6 Cincinnati vs. Kansas State/Wake Forest, Friday 7:27 p.m. truTV
  • No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 14 Kent State, 10 p.m., TNT, Friday
  • No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Wichita State, Friday 7:10 p.m., CBS
  • No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Northern Kentucky, Friday 9:40 p.m., CBS

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Minnesota, No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 UCLA
  • Elite Eight: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Kentucky
  • Final Four: No. 2 Kentucky

Players to watch:

  • Kentucky’s Malik Monk: A star freshman among young stars who helped lead the Wildcats to the SEC regular season and tournament championships.
  • UCLA’s Lonzo Ball: Projected to be one of the top picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-6 freshman averaged a very healthy 14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists for the Bruins.
  • North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks: Along with fellow upperclassmen Justin Jackson and Joel Berry IIMeeks led UNC to the regular-season ACC championship and could help take the Tar Heels back to the NCAA final.

Youth basketball coach blocks own player's shot

When this coach says “no,” he means it. Emphatically.

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In a video that is making the rounds on social media, a youth basketball coach is exhorting his team to take a shot. One of his players takes a pass, and instead of shooting, begins dribbling the wrong way toward the other basket.

The coach screams “noooo!” and then takes matters into his own hands. As the player prepares to make a layup, the coach swoops in for a savage block that would make any NBA player proud.

The video made its way to the internet, where it is drawing plenty of interest. There is no information about where the game took place and when it happened, but the player who suffered the tomahawk block and fell to the ground on the play is probably glad he is remaining anonymous for now.

But that was some great defense on the coach’s part. And a lesson learned by his player.

<iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FKaxFOBi70A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Portland fan makes halfcourt shot to win minivan

It was a night of long shots during Thursday night's NBA game in Portland, as a fan won a car with a left-handed halfcourt toss and Oklahoma City’s Taj Gibson made a 61-foot buzzer-beater just before halftime.

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 Peter Crum of Beaverton, Oregon, hit a halfcourt shot during a promotion between the third and fourth quarters to win a new Toyota minivan.

“I’ll tell you what, I knew it was tracking, I just hoped it had the distance,” Crum said.

Gibson, meanwhile, threw up a high-arcing shot from beyond halfcourt. The ball swished through the net to snap a tie, giving the Thunder a 60-57 halftime lead.

Gibson scored 15 points, but it wasn’t enough as the hometown Trail Blazers rallied for a 114-109 victory.

Peter from Beaverton has range -- and a new @Toyota! pic.twitter.com/maj8DvTSeT — Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 3, 2017 🚨Taj Gibson with the last minute interception and TD throw🚨@okcthunder up 60-57 at halftime, Russell Westbrook leads w/ 27 Pts! pic.twitter.com/SfJmetblFb — NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 3, 2017

DeMarcus Cousins reportedly traded to Pelicans in blockbuster deal

The Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins has reportedly been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Buddy Hield and at least one first-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical:

Deal with the Pels includes guard Buddy Hield, and a 2017 first-round pick to the Kings for Cousins, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 20, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Sources: New Orleans is also sending the Kings a 2017 second-round pick (via Philadelphia) and Tyreke Evans in deal, league sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 20, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Once again: BUDDY HIELD, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, one future first-round pick & one future second for DeMarcus Cousins, sources say— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

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Cousins is arguably one of the top big men in the NBA today, and pairing him with Anthony Davis and standout guard Jrue Holiday makes a serious trio in New Orleans.

The move to trade Cousins comes on the heels of the Kings making public proclamations to keep the disgruntled center.

Here’s what Yahoo! reported led to eventually trading the center:

“Two incidents in particular – an expletive-laced remark Cousins made about Golden State after Sacramento’s overtime win over the Warriors on Feb. 6 and the astonishing 17th technical foul this season, and resulting one-game suspension, against New Orleans on Feb. 12 – have caused Ranadive to have serious concerns about tethering the franchise to Cousins long term.”

The Kings were at significant risk to lose a 2017 Top-10 protected pick to Chicago, and trade increases chances to hold onto it.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 20, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Whether Cousins remains in New Orleans following next season, the last on his current contract, remains to be seen.

Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving says world is flat

There’s no getting around it: Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving said he believes the world is flat.

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During a Friday podcast hosted by teammates Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson, Irving declared that the Earth is flat, the Huffington Post reported.

“This is not even a conspiracy theory. The Earth is flat,” Irving said. The point guard blamed “them” for lying, but did not clarify who “they” are, the Huffington Post reported.

The podcast began with a discussion on hotel aliases and childbirth, but quickly turned to aliens and conspiracy theories, Yahoo! Sports reported.

“What it really came down to for me,” Irving said, “was everything that was particularly thrown in front of me, I had to be like, ‘OK, this is all a facade, this is all something that they ultimately want me to believe in that is true or whether or not or whatever.’”

His flat Earther remarks trended on Twitter later that day. ESPN writer Arash Markazi asked Irving about it later that night.

“What’s your thoughts on that?” Markazi asked. 

“I think people should do their own research,” Kyrie said flatly. “Hopefully they’ll either back my belief or throw it in the water.”

Irving is not alone in his belief. The Flat Earth Society, whose aims are to promote and initiate discussion of Flat Earth theory as well as archive Flat Earth literature.”

Kyrie Irving was trending on Twitter today because he believes the Earth is flat. I asked him about it. pic.twitter.com/ODe9aP9qmK— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 18, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Kyrie Irving not only believes the Earth is flat but that the jury is still out on what dinosaurs actually looked like. pic.twitter.com/0lkra9gPE3— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 18, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Nobody is more woke than @kyrieirving. Nobody. A post shared by Ball Don't Lie (@yahooballdontlie) on Feb 17, 2017 at 6:23pm PST <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

Mark Cuban takes dig at president with uniform No. 46

Mark Cuban apparently had a uniform response to President Donald Trump’s recent tweet that the Dallas Mavericks’ owner was “not smart enough to run for president.”

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Competing in Friday night’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, Cuban wore a No. 46 jersey. A source told ESPN that the jersey number, which would represent the number of the next president of the United States, was a likely response to Trump, the 45th president.

Cuban initially said that his favorite number, 23, was taken and that "23 times 2 is 46," ESPN reported. No one on the West celebrity squad wore No. 23, however.

He later said that his choice was "just to (mess) with everybody, because that is what I do.”

"You've got to have fun with it. You can't take it too seriously,” Cuban told ESPN. “So we'll see."

Cuban had hinted about his uniform number earlier Friday, ESPN reported.

"Yeah, yeah, watch the jersey number, not my game," said Cuban, who finished scoreless with one rebound and a steal in 17 minutes as the West lost 88-59 to the East. "Yeah, it was fun. You've got to have some fun with all of this. You can't take yourself too seriously. Some people do. I don't."

Trump posted a tweet about Cuban on Feb. 12, writing: "I know Mark Cuban well. He backed me big-time but I wasn't interested in taking all of his calls. He's not smart enough to run for president!"

Cuban, a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, has been critical of Trump, especially on Twitter. On Friday, Cuban posted six tweets in which he slammed Trump's policies and character.

I know Mark Cuban well. He backed me big-time but I wasn't interested in taking all of his calls.He's not smart enough to run for president!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

It's a waste of time to try to turn Pinocchio into a real President. The focus needs to be on the Geppettos and legislators around him— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) February 16, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Charles Oakley, NBA legend, arrested after altercation at Knicks game

Basketball fans were stunned Wednesday when an altercation erupted on the sidelines as the New York Knicks took on the Los Angeles Clippers at Madison Square Garden.

During the game, former Knick and NBA legend Charles Oakley, 53, appeared to shout at and shove security officials. Oakley was restrained and escorted out of the game by several security guards.

>> See the video here

Charles Oakley shoves Madison Square Garden security and is escorted out of the building in strange scene pic.twitter.com/lTphvnSzFV— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 9, 2017

It’s unclear what happened to cause the scuffle, but it was later reported that Oakley was arrested at the scene and would be charged with three counts of assault.

>> Read more trending news

UPDATE: @ABC7NY has learned, per NYPD, Charles Oakley will be charged with three counts of assault. #Knicks— Ryan Field (@RyanFieldABC) February 9, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The Knicks also released a statement on the matter. 

>> Check it out here

pic.twitter.com/EebgCEqQxC— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) February 9, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Oakley, one of the most famous enforcers in the NBA from the mid-'80s through the '90s, played 10 seasons for the Knicks in his 19-season NBA career. Oakley also played for Chicago, Toronto and Houston.

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