Update on the latest in sports:
Panthers fire coach Ron Rivera
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers have fired coach Ron Rivera with four games left in the NFL season.
Secondary coach Perry Fewell was been named interim head coach Tuesday. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner will transition to special assistant to the head coach, and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner will serve as offensive coordinator.
Panthers owner David Tepper says in a statement that “I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team. I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community.”
Tepper will begin a search for a new coach immediately.
Rivera was hired in 2011 and is the team’s winningest coach, but since losing to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 four seasons ago, the Panthers are 29-31 and have not won a playoff game. The team is 5-7 this season.
Browns release Chris Smith
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns have released defensive end Chris Smith, whose girlfriend was killed in a roadside accident earlier this season. Smith spent the past two seasons with Cleveland. He did not play in Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh despite the Browns being short-handed on the defensive line with Myles Garrett out due to an indefinite suspension. Smith’s girlfriend, Petara Cordero, was struck and killed by a car on Sept. 11 while standing on the side of a highway after Smith’s car had swerved and crashed.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
— Coach Mike Tomlin confirms Tuesday that quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges will make his second straight start on Sunday when the Steelers visit the Arizona Cardinals. Tomlin named Hodges the starter over Mason Rudolph before last week’s meeting with Cleveland but stressed he was not committing to anything beyond the game against the Browns.
Division leaders test each other in seven-game NBA slate
UNDATED (AP) — One is the reigning champ, the other a champ from long ago, but both have had surprising success this season. At 14-5, the Miami Heat lead the NBA’s Southeast Divison, while the 15-4 Raptors are back atop the Atlantic, despite the departure of their championship catalyst, Kawhi (kuh-WY’) Leonard. The two meet in Toronto tonight.
In Denver, the Northwest Division-leading Nuggets get a visit from the Pacific leaders. LeBron James and the Lakers had been on a 10-game win streak before dropping their most recent game to Dallas Sunday. Denver is trying to get back on a winning track too, after dropping an overtime decision to Sacramento Saturday.
And we have a first versus worst, situation in New Orleans, where the last place Pelicans play host to the Southwest Division-leading Mavericks.
The rest of the schedule has Detroit at Cleveland, Orlando visiting Washington and the Houston Rockets in San Antonio to play the Spurs. The late game has the L.A. Clippers at home against Portland.
Intriguing matchups in 10-game Tuesday night on ice
UNDATED (AP) — Boston is on a good run. Seven straight wins has them tied with Washington for the most points on the season. Tonight, they continue their homestand with a visit from the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina has had a solid start to the season and is coming off a win over the Lightning Saturday night.
The Capitals’ road trip takes them all the way out to the West Coast tonight to play San Jose. Washington is on a 3-win streak, while the Sharks are coming off back-to-back wins themselves.
The N.Y. Islanders downed the Red Wings 4-1 in Detroit last night, and they get straight back to work tonight in Montreal against a struggling Canadiens team.
Elsewhere, the Florida Panthers are hosting the Minnesota Wild, Arizona is at Columbus, the Vegas Golden Knights are in New Jersey to face the Devils, and Philadelphia gets a visit from the Maple Leafs. Tampa Bay is at Nashville, the Jets and Stars meet in Winnipeg and the Canucks are home to the Ottawa Senators.
TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
1 v 4, 10 v 11 highlight seven-game slate
UNDATED (AP) — Louisville moved to No. 1 and Michigan had a historic climb to No. 4 in another wild week in The Associated Press Top 25. Tonight, those two meet in Louisville. Cardinals coach Chris Mack sees it as an opportunity “to see where our team’s at and whatever happens, try to get better.”
The three-day ACC/Big Ten Challenge has some marquee games, starting tonight with No. 10 Duke visiting No. 11 Michigan State. The Blue Devils (7-1) dropped nine spots in this week’s poll after losing to Stephen F. Austin and struggling to put away Winthrop at home. Meanwhile, the Spartans (5-2) labored in the Maui Invitational opener as All-American point guard Cassius Winston continues to struggle with his brother’s death.
Other top 25 teams in action:
— No. 15 Memphis vs. Bradley, 9 p.m.
— No. 17 Florida State at Indiana, 9 p.m.
— No. 18 Baylor vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore, 7:30 p.m.
— No. 19 Dayton vs. Houston Baptist, 7 p.m.
— No. 24 Butler at Mississippi, 7 p.m.
Oakland reaches two-year deal with Diekman
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Left-handed reliever Jake Diekman has reached agreement on a $7.5 million, two-year contract with the Oakland Athletics.
Diekman joined the club in a trade from Kansas City before last July’s deadline. His deal includes a team option for the 2022 season.
Oakland also announced Tuesday that it reached minor league agreements with right-hander Jordan Weems and outfielder Dillon Thomas and each receives an invite to spring training.