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The NBA has fined Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving $50,000 for violating its health and safety protocols. The league also says he could return to team activities with the Nets on Saturday. The league adds he would be fined for each game he misses during a five-day quarantine period that would end Saturday if he continues to test negative for the coronavirus. Irving has missed the last five games while away from the Nets for personal reasons. The point guard was seen in a video on social media during his absence at an indoor family party while not wearing a mask.

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A federal appeals court in New York has upheld convictions against a sports marketer, an aspiring agent and a financial adviser in a college basketball scandal that spoiled the careers of several coaches. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said in its written decision Friday that the ends didn't justify the means for defendants who maintained that what they did was the way it's done in college basketball programs. The convictions grew from the 2017 arrests of 10 individuals in what authorities described as a conspiracy to pay bribes to ensure NBA-bound college basketball stars would pledge allegiance to certain agents and handlers. Authorities said other bribes ensured top players would go to certain schools.

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The Boston Celtics expect their unplanned weeklong hiatus because of coronavirus-related issues to end Friday, when they’re scheduled to play host to the Orlando Magic. But Saturday's game in Phoenix between the Suns and Indiana Pacers has been called off. Boston had three games that would have been played between Sunday and Wednesday postponed because some players were positive and others were ruled out because contact tracing showed that they could have been exposed to the virus. Meanwhile, the NBA is considering even more testing if teams can enlist local labs to save time.

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Before Nets brought James Harden to Brooklyn, general manager Sean Marks needed to hear if Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were willing to share the stage and the ball. All the players told Marks what he needed to hear so the GM pulled the trigger on the blockbuster deal. The Nets acquired Harden, the three-time scoring champion, from Houston. The deal gives the Nets three of the best scorers in the NBA. But they will have to sacrifice shots to make it work. Marks says they will because they have told him they are committed to winning.

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The Brooklyn Nets have acquired three-time scoring champion James Harden from the Houston Rockets, a deal that reunites him with Kevin Durant and gives him the move he has sought for weeks. Harden is going to the Nets as part of a deal that also involves Indiana and Cleveland. The Nets paid a heavy price, trading four players and giving Houston three first-round picks and the right to swap first-round picks four times. The deal was struck less than 24 hours after Harden seemed to deliver a farewell address to the Rockets on Tuesday night.

AP
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Mac McClung made a long jumper with 3 seconds left and No. 15 Texas Tech rallied to beat No. 4 Texas 79-77 on Wednesday night, ending the Longhorns’ perfect start in the Big 12. Texas led almost the entire game and a blistering start against one of the top defensive teams in the country had the Longhorns in control before a sloppy finish and a flurry of late Texas Tech 3-pointers snatched the win for the Red Raiders. McClung’s shot was originally ruled a 3-pointer before a video review. Texas had a final chance, but Matt Coleman’s desperation 3-pointer never came close to the basket. Coleman also missed a shot in traffic for the lead with 17 seconds left. McClung finished with 22 points.

AP
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Texas Tech guard Mac McClung, front left, who hit the winning shot against Texas in the final seconds of an NCAA college basketball game, celebrates with teammates Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Texas Tech won 79-77. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AP
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Texas Tech guard Kevin McCullar (15) grabs a rebound next to Texas forward Greg Brown (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)