Monday's Sports In Brief

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Associated Press

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 3:37 AM

BOSTON (AP) — LeBron James and the Miami Heat escaped Boston with their 23rd win in a row. All that's in front of them now is the NBA record for consecutive victories.

Five years to the day after the Celtics snapped Houston's winning streak at 22 games, James scored 37 points and made the go-ahead basket with 10.5 seconds left in Miami's 105-103 victory on Monday night. After overcoming the largest deficit they've faced during their streak, the only team left for the Heat to catch is the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who won 33 in a row.

Jeff Green scored a career-high 43 points for Boston, which was without Kevin Garnett for the second straight game. Paul Pierce had 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Celtics, but he missed a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left that could have given Boston the win.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The 76ers' Andrew Bynum gamble was a bust. At least, for this season.

Philadelphia now has to decide if it will offer the former All-Star center any kind of long-term deal without him ever playing a second for the franchise.

Bynum's season is officially over, and he's set for season-ending arthroscopic surgery on both knees Tuesday. He has not played this season because of bone bruises in both of his knees. The 25-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and may never play a game for the Sixers.

The arthroscopic surgery will be performed by Dr. David Altchek of the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York. The procedure will clean out loose bodies from within the knees in an attempt to alleviate pain and swelling.

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WOODS & VONN

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Sports has a new power couple: Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn confirmed they're dating.

Two months after rumors began circulating in Europe, Woods and Vonn posted separate items on their Facebook pages to announce their relationship. The posts include photos of golf's 14-time major winner and the Olympic and World Cup downhill ski champion.

"This season has been great so far and I'm happy with my wins at Torrey and Doral," Woods said. "Something nice that's happened off the course was meeting Lindsey Vonn. Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating."

Woods posted four photos with Vonn on his page, while Vonn's had one of those photos.

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WOMEN'S NCAA TOURNAMENT

Brittney Griner and Baylor's path to a second straight national championship will have a familiar feel.

Then again, so will the whole NCAA women's basketball tournament. For the first time ever, the top four seeds are the same for consecutive seasons. Baylor, Connecticut, Notre Dame and Stanford all earned No. 1 spots when the field was announced.

Unlike the men's side, where it was a topsy-turvy season with major upsets seemingly every week, women's basketball hasn't had the same parity. The top six teams in the final Associated Press poll only had two losses outside of each other, the fewest by far since writers began voting for the AP's No. 1 in the 1994-95 season.

The women's basketball madness gets started Saturday — the first step en route to the Final Four, which begins April 7 in New Orleans.

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Gonzaga's first stint on top of The Associated Press' college basketball poll lasted through the final Top 25 of the season.

The Bulldogs (31-2), the fourth of the four top seeds in the NCAA tournament, were a runaway No. 1 for a third straight week, receiving 45 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel. They become the first school from a non-BCS conference to finish No. 1 in the final poll since Massachusetts of the Atlantic 10 in 1996.

Louisville, the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, is second and got the other first-place votes.

In the women's poll, Baylor finished No. 1 in The Associated Press women's basketball poll for the second straight year. The Lady Bears were the top choice for the final 11 weeks of the season and received all 40 first-place votes for the fourth straight week.

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PRO FOOTBALL

PHOENIX (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens certainly will get to celebrate their Super Bowl triumph again in their home stadium, maybe even while honoring the retired Ray Lewis. It just might not happen to open the next NFL season.

Downtown Baltimore already will be a busy place on Sept. 5, when the league planned to hold its traditional Thursday kickoff game hosted by the champions. The Orioles have a night game at Camden Yards, which shares parking lots with the Ravens' home stadium.

Unless the Ravens and the NFL can get the Orioles to run a reverse and move the game to the afternoon or to another day — without violating any Major League Baseball rules — Joe Flacco and company could open on the road. So far, there's been no progress, and Sept. 4 is not an option because it's the first night of Rosh Hashanah.

Commissioner Roger Goodell also said the playoffs will not expand this season, but it will be discussed for the future. Last December, Goodell spoke about adding two or four teams to the current 12-team format.

Surrounded by six Pro Football Hall of Famers at a news conference, Goodell and Jim Brown announced that the league will pay $42 million as part of a settlement with a group of retired players who sued over the use of their names and images without their consent.

Moments later, Goodell came down hard on teams that consider asking questions about a player's sexual orientation at the scouting combine. Michigan quarterback-turned-receiver Denard Robinson, Colorado tight end Nick Kasa and Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell indicated they were asked about it last month in Indianapolis.

PHOENIX (AP) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said his team's contract offer to Wes Welker was better than what the receiver got in Denver.

Kraft also said Welker's agent, David Dunn, "misrepresented" Welker's market value.

When asked about Patriots quarterback Tom Brady being upset that Welker left after Brady reworked his own contract, Kraft adds Monday: "I don't answer to Tom Brady. He's an important member of the team and we chatted. He has never put a demand" on the Patriots.

Welker got a two-year, $12 million deal with the Broncos.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans switched backup quarterbacks all in the span of a few hours, going from veteran Matt Hasselbeck to Ryan Fitzpatrick.

A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that the Titans agreed to a two-year deal with Fitzpatrick, the former Buffalo Bills quarterback. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced by Tennessee officials, who met with Fitzpatrick at the NFL meetings in Phoenix.

The move came hours after Hasselbeck, 37, was released Monday because of his $5.5 million contract and a $7.5 million salary cap hit. Fitzpatrick, 30, was released the day free agency opened, a day before the team was due to pay him a $3 million bonus.

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BASEBALL

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Late lineup addition Moises Sierra hit a tying RBI double in the fifth, Jose Reyes added a go-ahead single two batters later and the Dominican Republic reached the championship of the World Baseball Classic with a 4-1 win against the Netherlands.

Now, it's Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico, Take Two, for the title. The teams will play Tuesday at AT&T Park just three days after the Dominicans (7-0) won Saturday in Miami before each club flew West.

One of these proud island nations will get to throw quite a party.

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Chris Carpenter realizes his baseball career may be over.

The 37-year-old right-hander made a surprise appearance at the St. Louis Cardinals' spring-training camp Monday and said he's still dealing with numbing and tingling sensations in his pitching hand, arm and shoulder.

Asked if he wanted to continue pitching, Carpenter said, "I do. I just don't think I can."

The 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner is 144-94 with a 3.76 ERA in 15 big league seasons. He underwent neurogenic thoracic outlet surgery last July to eliminate a nerve issue that he's pitched with in his right shoulder since 2008. He returned to make three starts in September and three in the playoffs and planned on a healthful start to 2013.

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley will miss at least the first two weeks of the season after breaking the tip of his left thumb.

Headley was injured Sunday while sliding into second base trying to break up a double play. He went to San Diego, and an exam Monday revealed the fracture. The injury is not likely to require surgery and will need about a month to heal.

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STEUBENVILLE CASE

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The head football coach at Steubenville High School and the owners of a house where an infamous 12-minute video was filmed could be investigated as Ohio prosecutors look into how adults responded to allegations of rape last year.

One day after a judge convicted two high school football players of raping the 16-year-old girl in August, Steubenville's top official said she welcomed a new, wide-ranging probe into possible wrongdoing connected with the rape.

The announcement of the guilty verdict was barely an hour old Sunday when state Attorney General Mike DeWine said he was continuing his investigation and would consider charges against anyone who failed to speak up after the summertime attack. That group could include other teens, parents, school officials and coaches for the high school's beloved football team, which has won nine state championships.

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AUTO RACING

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Authorities are investigating whether a faulty steering wheel caused a California raceway crash that killed two people, including the young cousin of the teenage driver, officials said.

The Yuba County Sheriff's Department is looking into witness reports that the detachable steering wheel came off just before 17-year-old Chase Johnson's car careened off the dirt track and crashed into pit row Saturday evening, Undersheriff Jerry Read said.

Race car owner Dale Wondergem, 68, of Grass Valley and Marcus Johnson, 14, of Santa Rosa were killed by the collision at Marysville Raceway Park, about 40 miles north of Sacramento, officials said.

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