Update on the latest sports-UPDATED

NFL-NFC CHAMPIONSHIP

Buccaneers advance to Super Bowl

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers advance to the Super Bowl, beating the Green Bay Packers 31-26 in the NFC championship game.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ road magic have them heading home to the Super Bowl, the first team to play in one on their home field. Brady owns six Super Bowl rings with New England and now heads to his 10th NFL championship game with his new team. With help from a stifling pass rush led by Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul combining for five sacks, and a curious late call by the Packers, Brady and the Bucs beat top-seeded Green Bay 31-26 for the NFC title Sunday.

The Bucs earned their franchise-record eighth consecutive road victory to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since their 2002 championship season.

Green Bay running back Aaron Jones left Sunday’s NFC championship game early in the third quarter with a chest injury suffered when he was tackled and fumbled going to the ground on a hit by Tampa Bay safety Jordan Whitehead.

Jones’ fumble set up Tom Brady’s third touchdown of the day, putting Tampa Bay up 28-10. Whitehead left with a shoulder injury on Green Bay’s next possession. Jones remained on the sideline.

NFL-AFC CHAMPIONSHIP-INACTIVES

Chiefs have Edwards-Helaire, no Bell, Watkins vs Bills

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have Clyde Edwards-Helaire but are missing fellow running back Le’Veon Bell and veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins for their AFC championship game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Edwards-Helaire has been out since mid-December, when the 32nd overall draft pick sustained a high-ankle sprain in a game in New Orleans. Edwards-Helaire returned to practice for a single day before he was inactive in last week’s divisional-round win over the Browns, but he looked good this week in practice and was active for the Bills.

Edwards-Helaire was fourth among all rookies with 1,100 yards from scrimmage, even though he played just 13 games.

The Bills have defensive tackle Vernon Butler and wide receiver Gabriel Davis available against Kansas City. Butler had been questionable with a quadriceps injury and Davis had been questionable with an ankle injury.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (mah-HOHMZ’), who was cleared Friday of the concussion he sustained last weekend, was on the field for pregame warmups and moving around well. Mahomes had no injury designation on the final injury report, even though the reigning Super Bowl MVP also has been dealing with a case of turf toe this week.

NBA-SCHEDULE

Clippers beat Thunder 108-101, tie for NBA’s best record

UNDATED (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat Oklahoma City 108-101 for their seventh consecutive victory and second straight over the Thunder. Serge Ibaka added 17 points. At 13-4, the Clippers are tied with the Lakers for the best record in the NBA. Leonard’s total was one off his season high to go with nine rebounds and eight assists. He had 31 points in LA’s 14-point win over the Thunder on Friday night. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 23 points against his former team, and George Hill added 22 points. Oklahoma City has lost three in a row and five of six.

Elsewhere in the NBA:

— OG Anunoby (an-oo-NOH’-bee) scored a season-high 30 points and made three free throws in the final minute to break a tie and help the surging Toronto Raptors beat the Indiana Pacers 107-102. The Raptors have won two straight and five of their last six. They played this one without injured All-Stars Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam (see-A’-kam). Toronto took control midway through the second quarter and extended the lead to 58-47 at the half. After Indiana took two brief leads early in the fourth, the Raptors broke an 82-all tie with an 8-0 run and hung on. Myles Turner had 25 points and six blocks to lead the Pacers, who have lost three of four.

NHL-SCHEDULE

Suter scores first 3 NHL goals as Blackhawks beat Red Wings

UNDATED (AP) — Pius Suter scored his first three NHL goals, Kevin Lankinen made 25 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 6-2 for their second straight win.

Connor Murphy and Mattias Janmark each had a goal and an assist as Chicago swept its two-game set with Detroit after beginning the season with four straight losses in Florida. Phillipp Kurashev also scored, and Patrick Kane had two assists.

Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice for Detroit, and Jonathan Bernier made 29 saves. The Red Wings lost for the third time in their past four games.

Elsewhere in ice action:

— Linus Ullmark stopped 28 shots in regulation and overtime and three more in the shootout to help the Buffalo Sabres beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 for just their second victory in six games this season. Ullmark picked up his first win of the season six days after learning of the death of his father at age 63. It was Ullmark’s second consecutive start after taking some time away from playing hockey. Colin Miller, Victor Olfosson and Eric Staal each scored on the power play for Buffalo. Vitek Vanecek made a career-best 45 saves for Washington.

NHL-OBIT-ARMSTRONG

Hockey Hall of Famer George Armstrong dies at 90

TORONTO (AP) — George Armstrong, who captained the Toronto Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the 1960s, has died.

Armstrong had 296 goals and 417 assists over 21 seasons for the Leafs, including 12 seasons as team captain, and is the franchise’s leader in games played, variously listed at 1,187 or 1,888. The right wing had 26 goals and 34 assists in 110 playoff games. Known as the “Chief,” Armstrong was one of the first players of Indigenous descent to play professional hockey.

His death was announced today by the Maple Leafs, who said he died of heart complications, citing his family. Armstrong was 90.

NFL-NEWS

Greg Olsen announces retirement

UNDATED (AP) — Veteran tight end Greg Olsen is retiring from the NFL to become a broadcaster. Olsen announced Sunday that he is ending his 14-year career to join Fox as a game analyst.

The first tight end with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Olsen, 35, played for the Bears, Panthers and Seahawks. In his nine seasons with Carolina, Olsen made three Pro Bowls, one Super Bowl, had 524 catches for 6,463 yards and 39 touchdowns. He also was a team leader for the Panthers. Olsen spent his final season in Seattle, making 24 receptions and scoring once.

Overall, he made 742 receptions for 8,683 yards and 60 TDs.

In other NFL news:

— Three days after choosing Nick Sirianni to be their new coach, the Philadelphia Eagles made it official. The team announced Sirianni’s hiring Sunday on Twitter with a photo of Sirianni wearing an Eagles visor and the caption: “Copped ourselves a head coach.” Sirianni was the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts the past three seasons. He worked under coach Frank Reich, who was offensive coordinator in Philadelphia when the Eagles won the Super Bowl three years ago. The 39-year-old Sirianni previously served as an assistant coach with the Chiefs and Chargers.

MLB-YANKEES-PIRATES TRADE

Yankees get Jameson Taillon from Pirates for 4 prospects

NEW YORK (AP) — The Yankees have made a second offseason addition to their starting rotation, acquiring right-hander Jameson Taillon (TY’-ahn) from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday for four prospects.

Pittsburgh received right-handers Roansy Contreras and Miguel Yajure, infielder Maikol Escotto and outfielder Canaan Smith.

Taillon would join a rotation headed by his former Pirates teammate Gerrit Cole. It also is projected to include Deivi García, Jordan Montgomery and Corey Kluber, who has a pending $11 million, one-year contract subject to a successful physical. In addition, Luis Severino is expected to return from Tommy John surgery last Feb. 27 and Domingo Germán is expected back from a domestic violence suspension that caused him to miss last season.

This deal makes it less likely the Yankees will re-sign Masahiro Tanaka, who became a free agent. New York lost two other starters to free agency, J.A. Happ, who signed with Minnesota, and James Paxton, who remains unsigned.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NBA-HEAT

Heat planning to bring back some fans, with help from dogs

MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat are bringing back some fans, with help from some dogs.

The Heat will use coronavirus-sniffing dogs at AmericanAirlines Arena to screen fans who want to attend their games. They’ve been working on the plan for months, and the highly trained dogs have been in place for some games this season where the team has allowed a handful of guests — mostly friends and family of players and staff.

Starting this week, a limited number of ticket holders will be in the seats as well, provided they get past the dogs first.

The first Heat game with ticket holders is set for Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers. Monday is the first day that season ticket holders will be able to start securing their seats.

The Heat have sold out 451 consecutive games, the sixth-longest streak in NBA history. Sellouts, obviously, aren’t happening this year. The Heat will keep attendance under 2,000 for now, or less than 10% of the building’s typical capacity.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan pauses athletics amid COVID-19 variant positives

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The entire University of Michigan athletic department is pausing after several positive tests for the new COVID-19 variant that transmits at a higher rate.

The state Department of Health and Human Services issued the mandate Saturday, with the school saying it follows the positive COVID-19 tests for several individuals linked to the athletic department. The entire department could be in quarantine for two weeks.

The 11th-ranked women’s basketball team was set to play at home against Purdue on Sunday. That was one of four athletic events the school had scheduled. The men’s tennis team was hosting a tournament while women’s tennis was in Atlanta. The men’s gymnastics event at Nebraska was also postponed.

The seventh-ranked men’s basketball team wasn’t supposed to play until Wednesday at Penn State. Michigan’s men’s team leads the Big Ten and had four games scheduled in the next two weeks, including a big rivalry game against Michigan State on Feb. 6.

GOLF-LPGA TOUR

Jessica Korda rallies to beat Kang in playoff at LPGA opener

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla (AP) — Jessica Korda ended nearly three years without a victory. She rallied at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions to beat Danielle Kang in playoff with a 30-foot birdie putt. Korda closed with a 5-under 66.

She was two behind at the start of the final round and fell four shots behind early.

Kang made her first bogey of the tournament on the 15th hole, and Korda caught her with a birdie on the next hole to set up the dramatic finish in the LPGA Tour opener.

Kang missed an 18-foot birdie putt in the playoff. Nelly Korda finished two behind.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-WTA-AUSTRALIAN OPEN

WTA event added for quarantining players in Melbourne

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Women’s Tennis Association has announced a new tournament in Melbourne for players undergoing a 14-day quarantine without an opportunity to practice ahead of the Australian Open beginning Feb. 8.

The new tournament will be staged from Feb. 3-7 and will cater for players who have not been able to train. A total of 72 players remain in hard lockdown after three chartered flights to the Australian Open returned positive COVID-19 cases.

Two ATP men’s tournaments will be pushed back 24 hours to start on Feb. 1 and the ATP Cup will get underway a day later.

WTA players in hard quarantine include former Australian Open champions Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber as well as 2019 U.S. Open winner Bianca Andreescu (an-dree-EHS’-koo).

Categories: National Sports