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Aldridge Powers Trail Blazers Over Nuggets, 120-114

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 11 rebounds as Portland (47-25) outpaced the Denver Nuggets (28-46), 120-114 Saturday night.

In 35 minutes of action, Aldridge was 13-of 20 from the field. Shooting guard Arron Affalo contributed 21 points while point guard Damian Lillard had eight points and 10 assists.

With 5:36 left in the game, Denver cut Portland’s lead to 101-98 on a three-pointer from guard Jameer Nelson. The Blazers would respond with a 7-0 run to put them ahead 108-98 with 2:29 to play.

Nelson finished the game with 22 points and shooting guard Randy Foye had 17 points for the Nuggets.

Portland sweeps the season series, 4-0.

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Koivu & Niederreiter Lead Wild Past Kings, 4-1

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(ST. PAUL, Minn.) -- Center Mikko Koivu and forward Nino Niederreiter each scored two goals as the Minnesota Wild (44-25-7; 95pts) iced the Los Angeles Kings (37-24-14; 88pts), 4-1 on Saturday night.

Niederreiter put the Wild on the scoreboard first at 3:15 into the first period with an assist from Koivu and forward Chris Stewart. Minnesota would increase its lead to 2-0, 10:24 later in the opening period on a backhander from Koviu.

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk stopped 31-of-32 shots he faced while Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones were a combined 16-of-19 in the net for the Kings.

Koviu now has 14 goals on the season while Niederreiter has 24.

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Mirotic Scores 24 Points in Bulls 111-80 Win Against Knicks

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Six players scored in double-figures for the Bulls led by power forward Nikola Mirotic with 24 points as Chicago (45-29) beat New York (14-60), 111-80 Saturday night. It’s the Knicks franchise-record 60th loss of the season.

Mirotic was 8-for-15 from the field and 3-of-7 from beyond the arc in 26 minutes of action. Bulls power forward Pau Gasol contributed 19 points and 12 rebounds while shooting guard Jimmy Butler had 18 points, four assists and five steals.

Chicago jumped out to a 28-17 first quarter lead and cruised into half-time up, 54-34. Gasol had 13 points in the first half while Mirtoic poured in 11 points.

Center Andrea Bargani led the way for the Knicks with 14 points and seven rebounds. 

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Terence Newman Joins Vikings

NFL via Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Cornerback Terence Newman signed a one-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings.

The deal means the 36-year-old Newman will be reunited with Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, who was Newman's defensive coordinator for four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and two with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Newman started 13 games for the Bengals last season, recording 75 tackles, 15 passes defended, and one interception. While that was a down year for the two-time Pro Bowler, Zimmer is still confident he can play.

“That’s the biggest thing. He can still play. He came in the league later. I think he was 25 when he came in,” Zimmer said. “He struggled a little bit in Dallas and then played great in Cincinnati. Last year, he didn’t play quite as good, so seemingly with me, we get things fixed a little bit. I really respect him, and I think he really respects me.”

Newman was selected with the fifth overall pick of the 2003 NFL Draft by Dallas. Since then he's played 12 NFL seasons, nine with Dallas and three with Cincinnati. During that time he's played in 174 games, compiling 744 tackles, 161 passes defended, 37 interceptions, eight forced fumbles, and four defensive touchdowns.

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Wisconsin's Hot Shooting Buries Arizona, Sends Badgers to Final Four

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Top-ranked Wisconsin hits 10 of 12, 3-point attempts in the second half to eliminate No. 2 Arizona 85-78, Saturday, from the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament and reach its second straight Final Four.

Frank Kaminsky scored 29 points and Sam Dekker added a career-high 27 to oust the Wildcats in the Elite 8 for the second-straight season.

Arizona (34-4) led at halftime and played solid the entire second half but couldn't match the ridiculous shots the Badgers continually hit from long-distance.

"Eventually when that ball gets out, everybody on the court can shoot it, and they get you with an open 3 that breaks your back," Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. "They had two 3s at the half. Think about that."

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley each scored 17 points for Arizona, with senior T.J. McConnell providing a gutsy performance scoring 14 and dishing out five assists in the loss.

Arizona lost despite hitting 28 of its 30 free throw attempts.

Wisconsin (35-3) is now headed to Indianapolis where it will play Kentucky, with the winner heading to the National Championship game.

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Kentucky Overcomes Late Deficit to KO Notre Dame, Advance to Final Four

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- The luck of the Irish ran out.

Leading most of the second half, No. 3 Notre Dame slowly watched top-ranked Kentucky come back and eventually take the lead for good when Andrew Harrison made two free throws with six seconds remaining, as the Wildcats edge the Fighting Irish 68-66 to advance to the Final Four of the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Kentucky (38-0) gets to continue its undefeated season with large thanks to the Harrison twins. Aaron Harrison made an NBA range 3-pointer with 3:18 remaining to give Kentucky its first lead since the 15:06 mark of the second half. Notre Dame's Jerian Grant answered Harrison's three with one of his own with 2:36 remaining to put Notre Dame up by two. Karl-Anthony Towns then scored two of his game-high 25 points to tie the contest before the other Harrison hit his free throws to seal the game.

Notre Dame (32-6), which had a decided size disadvantage with the Cats, was only outrebounded by one in the loss. It also doubled Kentucky 16-8 in assists.

Zach Auguste scored 20 while Steve Vasturia and Grant added 16 and 15 points respectively in a losing effort.

Kentucky advances to the National Semifinal in Indianapolis next weekend where it will meet Wisconsin.

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Bruins Ruin Lundqvist's Return

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Milan Lucic scored twice to help the Boston Bruins upend the New York Rangers 4-2 Saturday, spoiling goalie Henrik Lundqvist's return to the ice.

Lundqvist, who missed the past seven weeks with a vascular injury, was instantly challenged. Lucic scored just 1:41 into the game when a puck went off his skate and past the former Vezina Trophy winner. Lucic scored again just over seven minutes later when Torey Krug dished the puck to the B's hulking winger, who slapped it between Lunqvist's legs for a 2-0 lead.

"It seemed like everything kind of kept rolling after we got that break on the first goal," Lucic said. "It's good to see us step up and play the way we can play. Right now it's just continuing to recapture what we had here tonight."

The Bruins did receive a scare early in the second period when goalie Tuukka Rask left the game for the locker room. He didn't return to the bench but Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after the game that it appeared Rask was just dehydrated.

"He's scheduled to travel with us, he's scheduled to be with us and he should be fine for (Sunday against Carolina)," Julien said. "We just found out at the beginning of the second (period). I said, `Are you still having those symptoms?' He said, `Yep.' So I said, `Let's get you out of here."

Rick Nash scored his 40th goal of the season for the Rangers (47-20-7, 101pts) in the loss.

With the win the Bruins (37-25-13, 87pts) snap a six-game losing streak and take over sole possession of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

 

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Scoreboard Roundup - 3/28/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NHL: Boston Bruins 4 (37-25-13, 87 pts) - New York Rangers 2 (47-20-7, 101 pts)

Detroit Red Wings 4 (40-22-12, 92 pts) - Tampa Bay Lightning 0 (46-23-7, 99 pts)

Nashville Predators 4 (47-21-8, 102 pts) - Washington Capitals 3 (40-25-10, 90 pts)

Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (41-23-11, 93 pts) - Arizona Coyotes 2 (23-45-8, 54 pts)

San Jose Sharks 3 (37-30-8, 82 pts) - Philadelphia Flyers 2 (30-29-17, 77 pts)(F/SO)

Anahiem Ducks 3 (48-22-7, 103 pts) - New York Islanders 2 (44-27-5, 93 pts)

Carolina Hurricanes 3 (28-36-10, 66 pts) - New Jersey Devils 1 (31-32-12, 74 pts)

Toronto Maple Leafs 4 (28-42-6, 62 pts) - Ottawa Sentators 3 (37-25-12, 86 pts) (F/OT)

Montreal Canadiens 3 (47-21-8, 102 pts) - Florida Panthers 2 (34-26-15, 83 pts) (F/OT)

Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (36-35-4, 76 pts) - St. Louis Blues 2 (46-22-7, 99 pts)

Minnesota Wild 4 (44-25-7, 95 pts) - Los Angeles Kings 1 (37-24-14, 88 pts)

Colorado Avalanche 5 (34-28-12, 80 pts) - Buffalo Sabres 3 (20-46-8, 48 pts)

Dallas Stars 4 (37-29-10, 84pts) - Vancouver Canucks 3 (43-27-5, 91pts) (F/OT)

NCAAM: (1) Wisconsin 85 - (2) Arizona 78

(1) Kentucky 68 - (3) Notre Dame 66

NBA: Charlotte Hornets 115 (31-41)- Atlanta Hawks 100 (55-18)

Chicago Bulls 111 (45-29) - New York Knicks 80 (14-60)

Golden State Warriors 108 (60-13) - Milwaukee Bucks 95 (36-37)

Utah Jazz 94 (32-41) - Oklahoma City Thunder 89 (41-32)

Portland Trail Blazers 120 (47-25) - Denver Nuggets 114 (28-46)

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Longhorns Fire Rick Barnes

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Tx) -- After seventeen seasons, the Texas Longhorns will be seeking a new leader for their men's basketball program.

The University informed Rick Barnes Saturday that he will be relieved of his duties, according to ESPN.

The Longhorns suffered a first-round exit in this season's NCAA tournament when they were knocked out by Butler 56-48. Texas finished the regular season 20-14 with an 8-10 record in the Big 12.

The 60 year-old Barnes amassed a 402-108 record in his tenure, overseeing the growth of future NBA stars such as T.J. Ford, Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge.

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Cubs Phenom Kris Bryant and Theo Epstein at Odds Over Major League Call-Up

Brian D. Kersey(MESA, Ariz.) -- Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has arguably been the best player in the Major Leagues during spring training. Despite the dominance he's shown at the plate, he's still expected to start the season in the minors.

Bryant is leading all Major League players this season with nine home runs while also hitting .406 and has 15 RBIs.

"I look at it as 'Why not me?' " Bryant said Friday morning. "I think I'm the type of guy that can go out there and do it. I've made it a point of mine to come out here and show them that I can."

This has not come at of nowhere as Bryant is regarded as one of the best minor league prospects in all of baseball. Which could be why the team could ultimately decide to keep him in the minors, for now.

If Bryant makes the Cubs' Opening Day roster, he'll be a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs keep him in the minors till at least mid-April, he won't be eligible for free agency till after the 2021 season.

"I've never put a guy on an Opening Day roster who hadn't played in the big leagues previously. In 13 years, I've never done it," Epstein told ESPN. "I'm not saying I'd never do it, but the general rule, the presumption, is to allow those guys to go out, play, get comfortable, get in rhythm, and come up when you handpick just the right moment for them to have success."

In AA and AAA combined in 2014, Bryant hit .325 with 43 home runs and 110 RBIs.

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