Good morning to everyone but especially to...
It's hard to score at least 40 points in back-to-back games and be overshadowed, but with the recent scoring binges in the NBA, that's what's happened to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Tuesday night, he made sure no one would outshine him.
The Greek Freak racked up a career-high 55 points in a 123-113 win over the Wizards.
- It ties the second-most points in a game in Bucks history. Michael Redd scored 57 in a 2006 contest.
- Antetokounmpo joins Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Flynn Robinson as the only Bucks players to score 40+ in three straight games.
- Antetokounmpo also joins Russell Westbrook and Moses Malone as the only players to have 40+ points and 10+ rebounds in three straight games since the 1976 NBA merger.
Our Jack Maloney was at the game to see Antetokounmpo's dominance live and up close, while Brad Botkin took a look at some potential reasons behind the recent scoring outbursts from stars this season.
- Botkin: "Just 10 weeks into the schedule, there have already been 14 performances of at least 50 points this season. That matches the total from all of 2020-21. There were 19 50-point games last season. At this pace, there's a good chance that total gets dusted by the All-Star break. ... What we are watching this season is amazing stuff. It's not about the defense. Or the foul calls. Or the pace. It's about a league that has never been more stocked with all-time offensive talent. I, too, miss a lot of things about the 80's and 90's era NBA game. But from a pure skill standpoint, I can't imagine a better time to be an NBA fan."
- Kansas State beat No. 6 Texas, 116-103. It's the most points by an unranked team in a road win over a top-10 team ever. Markquis Nowell had 36 points for the Wildcats, and Keyontae Johnson had 28.
- Pitt upended No. 11 Virginia, 68-65. The Panthers are 4-0 in ACC play.
- Fresno State beat No. 21 New Mexico, the last unbeaten team in the nation, 71-67.
Not so honorable mentions
- Zion Williamson will miss multiple weeks with his hamstring injury.
- The U.S. Soccer Federation is investigating Gregg Berhalter for a physical altercation with his now-wife that took place in the early 1990s. Berhalter says the incident led to a blackmail attempt during the World Cup.
Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition; Bills-Bengals will not be played this week 🏈
Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition in the ICU at University of Cincinnati Medical Center after suffering cardiac arrest following a tackle he made Monday night against the Bengals. Hamlin's family released a statement Tuesday, and family spokesperson Jordon Rooney said in part, "I can't speak specifically on his medical condition. All I'll say is, he's fighting."
Here's some newer essential details on how the league's schedule has been affected:
- The NFL announced Tuesday that the Bills-Bengals game will not be played this week.
- In a statement, the league said it continues to be in contact with Hamlin's medical team and that no decision regarding resumption of the game has been made other than that it won't be this week.
- Hence, the Week 18 schedule seems to be set, with only the Ravens' game time against the Bengals still up in the air. That game will be played at either 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. Sunday. The Bills will host the Patriots at 1 p.m. Sunday.
We'll continue to keep you updated as to Hamlin's status -- and the fate of the Bills-Bengals game -- right here. As for everything else surrounding the situation:
- Hamlin's toy drive fundraiser has raised over $5 million, with donations rolling in from several teams and players such as Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey, among others.
- Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin offered a thoughtful statement on Hamlin, a Pittsburgh-area native and University of Pittsburgh product with whom Tomlin is close.
- If you're not familiar with Hamlin or his story, here's what you need to know.
- An NFL cardiologist provided some insight on the situation.
- The Pro Football Hall of Fame postponed announcing its Modern-Era Player finalists for 2023.
March Madness expansion among recommendations to NCAA 🏀
The NCAA Transformation Committee released its official recommendations Tuesday, and among the most notable is enabling Division I sports with at least 200 teams to field postseason tournaments with as much as 25 percent of the sport's membership, as Matt Norlander reported in October.
With 363 Division I basketball teams, the recommendation essentially says March Madness could expand from its current 68 teams to as many to 90.
However, don't expect drastic or immediate change, Matt writes.
- Norlander: "One potential outcome of these recommendations could be down-the-road expansion of the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments. However, industry sources have told CBS Sports there is not a lot of momentum for that change in the near future. There remains the possibility the NCAA Tournament doesn't expand at all, sources told CBS Sports. ... Conversely, if expansion ever did happen, it might also mean an increase on a minor scale: going from 68 to 72.
Another key detail? This wasn't nearly as landscape-changing as it could have been. Notably, "Division I is not going to shrink in size and it is not going to be split up into multiple tiers, as was previously speculated on," Matt writes.
While the expanded postseason recommendation grabs the headlines, there are other important suggestions, such as...
- Requiring every D-I institution to account for health insurance for injuries related to athletic endeavors.
- Allowing more benefits, including financial support, travel expenses, food, etc.
- Encouraging each sport to allow self-governance.
The recommendations are expected to be formally adopted at next week's NCAA Convention. You can read our entire story on the committee's recommendations here.
Red Sox, Rafael Devers avoid arbitration, but what's next? ⚾
The Red Sox and star third baseman Rafael Devers reached a one-year, $17.5-million deal to avoid arbitration on Tuesday. While it's not the long-term deal Boston was likely hoping for, at least the two sides came to some sort of an agreement.
- This was Devers' final arbitration-eligible offseason. He can hit free agency next offseason.
- Devers, 26, has been an All-Star each of the last two seasons and received MVP votes in three of the last four campaigns.
- Over the last four seasons, Devers leads MLB in extra-base hits and is third in hits and RBI.
Red Sox fans have seen this movie before, notes Matt Snyder.
- Snyder: "Still, the bigger picture here is the future of Devers for the full 2023 season and then 2024 and beyond. We've seen the Red Sox trade Mookie Betts a year prior to hitting free agency and let Xander Bogaerts walk this winter. ... The last news we heard on a possible Devers extension with the Red Sox was that they were far apart in negotiations. It was a few weeks ago and things can change quickly, but there haven't been any reports of progress since then."
What we're watching Wednesday 📺
🏒 Devils at Red Wings, 7 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Bucks at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 20 Missouri at No. 13 Arkansas, 8:30 p.m. on SEC Network
🏀 No. 17 TCU at No. 19 Baylor, 9 p.m. on ESPN2
🏒 Lightning at Wild, 9:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Heat at Lakers, 10 p.m. on ESPN