Tuesday’s Sports In Brief

National Sports

TENNIS

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)Novak Djokovic held a practice session, a day after he left immigration detention, focusing on defending his Australian Open title even while he still faces the prospect of deportation because he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19.

The top-ranked tennis star hit the show courts of Melbourne Park, where the tournament is held, within hours of winning a legal battle that allowed him to stay in the country.

At issue is whether he has a valid exemption to rules requiring vaccination to enter Australia since he recently recovered from COVID-19. A judge ruled Monday he could stay, but the immigration minister could still send him home.

There were also new questions raised Tuesday over an immigration form, on which he said he had not traveled in the 14 days before his flight to Australia. The Monte Carlo-based athlete was seen in Spain and Serbia in that two-week period.

NFL

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – The New York Giants have cleaned house, firing coach Joe Judge a day after general manager Dave Gettleman retired.

The Giants announced the move late Tuesday afternoon, ending speculation that the owners planned to hire a new general manager and let him determine the 40-year-old coach’s fate.

Judge posted a 10-23 record in two seasons, including an embarrassing 4-13 mark this past season. The campaign ended with a six-game losing streak in which the offense did almost nothing with quarterback Daniel Jones sidelined with a neck injury.

Co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said they felt it was best for the Giants to move in another direction after five straight seasons of double-digit losses.

The Giants have made the playoffs once since winning the Super Bowl in February 2012. They have gone through four coaches in the past six seasons, starting with Ben McAdoo in 2016, interim coach Steve Spagnuolo, Pat Shurmur in 2018 and Judge who was hired in 2020.

Mara said he met with Judge on Monday and again on Tuesday, informing him of the decision at the second meeting.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – The Denver Broncos have cleared their final legal hurdle to begin the process of transferring ownership of the team, likely through a sale of the franchise valued at nearly $4 billion.

Denver County District Court Judge Shelley I. Gilman ruled Tuesday that a right of first refusal agreement between late owners Pat Bowlen and Edgar Kaiser ”is no longer valid or enforceable in any respect” and ”has terminated in its entirety.”

General manager George Paton has sought permission to speak with a half dozen candidates to replace Vic Fangio, whom he fired Sunday morning following Denver’s 7-10 finish that gave him a 19-30 record in three seasons.

The Broncos haven’t reached the playoffs since winning Super Bowl 50 six years ago and they’ve churned through 10 starting quarterbacks since Peyton Manning’s retirement following that 2015 championship season.

Pat Bowlen died in 2019, a month shy of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, following a long bout with Alzheimer’s. Several years earlier he had appointed a three-person trust to determine the future of the franchise.(backslash)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Carolina Panthers fired three assistant coaches, including special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn, offensive line coach Pat Meyer and defensive line coach Frank Okam.

Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said on Monday the team’s primary goal this offseason was to improve its offensive and defensive lines, saying that success ”starts up front.”

Carolina’s offensive line struggled all season and quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Cam Newton spent most of the season under heavy duress. The Panthers allowed 52 sacks, fifth most in the NFL and the team finished 5-12 and lost its final seven games.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball and the players’ association are scheduled to meet Thursday, ending a 42-day break in negotiations that began when management started a lockout, the sport’s first work stoppage since 1995.

With the scheduled start of spring training five weeks away, management was planning to make a new proposal to players, several people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

The sides last met Dec. 1 in Irving, Texas, a brief session that broke off hours before the collective bargaining agreement expired. Since then, negotiations have been limited to peripheral issues. The meeting Thursday is scheduled to be conducted by video conference.

NBA

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Ja Morant scored 29 points, including five in the final minute, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors 116-108 for their 10th straight win.

Ziaire Williams and Tyus Jones had 17 points each for Memphis. Jones keyed a fourth-quarter rally that put the Grizzlies ahead for good. He finished 6 for 8 from the field, including connecting on all five of his 3-point attempts.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 27 points, while Klay Thompson finished with 14 points. Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II scored 13 each.

CLEVELAND (AP) – Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman has been rewarded for the team’s turnaround with a contract extension and new job title, a person familiar with Cleveland’s plans told the Associated Press.

Altman, who has re-shaped the Cavs’ roster and moved them back into playoff contention, has agreed to the extension through the 2027-28 season, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not made the deal official.

Altman will also assume the new title of president of basketball operations, the person said. The team is expected to announce the deal Wednesday.

NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Nikita Kucherov scored a hat trick, Steven Stamokos had a goal and two assists, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-1.

Anthony Cirelli had a goal and an assist, Ondrej Palat extended his scoring streak to four games, and the Lightning got three assists from Alex Killorn and two from Victor Hedman. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 17 saves for his 20th win of the season.

Tampa Bay (24-9-5) has won three of four following a three-game skid to keep pace with the Florida Panthers atop the NHL standings with 53 points.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

WACO, Texas (AP) – Texas Tech ended No. 1 Baylor’s nation-best winning streak at 21 games, with the 19th-ranked Red Raiders getting a second consecutive victory over a Top 10 team while still not at full strength.

Kevin McCullar, not even close to fully healthy after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury, had 12 points with a key 3-pointer late as Texas Tech won 65-62 to hand Baylor its first loss since before last season’s NCAA Tournament. The 19th-ranked Red Raiders are still without injured leading scorer Terrence Shannon.

Baylor (15-1, 3-1 Big 12) had lost only once at home over the past three seasons. The last loss anywhere had been in the Big 12 tournament last March. The Bears then won all six NCAA tourney games on the way to their first national title.

The Red Raiders (12-3, 2-1) had their biggest lead at 59-52 when McCullar hit his 3 from the left corner in front of their bench with 2:39 left, and they held on to follow up their home win Saturday over then-No. 6 Kansas.

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