Joel Embiid inspired the Philadelphia 76ers to a thrilling 108-103 road win over the Boston Celtics with 41 points including 17 in the fourth quarter on Monday.

Embiid's remarkable final period also included a steal from a last-ditch Celtics inbound with 3.9 seconds on the clock and the 76ers leading 106-103.

The 76ers center made 14 of 27 shots from the field (52 percent) and collected 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and four blocks.

Tobias Harris (25 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Seth Curry (26 points, four rebounds and seven assists) provided good support for Embiid.

Jayson Tatum had a down game for the Celtics, only managing 17 points, while Jaylen Brown scored 30 points with five rebounds and four assists.


Draymond's season-first triple-double

Stephen Curry scored 30 points including four three-pointers but Draymond Green (16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists) stole the show with his first triple-double of the season as the Golden State Warriors beat the Sacramento Kings 113-98. Green also had two blocks and two steals.

Dejounte Murray became the first player in San Antonio Spurs history to reach six triple-doubles in one season, with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists as they won 116-92 over the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul George returned from an elbow injury with 25 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Clippers.

Rudy Gobert dominated with 23 points and 21 rebounds as the Utah Jazz improved to 21-9 with a 112-102 win over the Charlotte Hornets. LaMelo Ball (21 points, 11 assists and six rebounds) and Miles Bridges (21 points and 11 rebounds) were good for the Hornets.


Grizzlies cannot win with Morant

Ja Morant could not lift the Memphis Grizzlies upon his return from injury, managing only 16 points in a 102-99 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had rookie Josh Giddey (19 points and 11 assists) impress. The Grizzlies bizarrely went 10-2 without Morant during his three-week absence, having been 9-10.

The Minnesota Vikings did not look like a playoff team Monday, but they managed to remain in the NFC postseason picture with a 17-9 defeat of the slumping Chicago Bears. 

Kirk Cousins threw a pair of touchdown passes for Minnesota but finished with just 87 yards passing, the lowest total in his 118 career NFL starts. 

Ugly as it was at times, that proved to be enough for the Vikings (7-7) as the Bears, who lost for the eighth time in nine games, could not find a way into the end zone until the closing seconds. 

Though Chicago out-gained Minnesota 370 to 193, the Bears (4-10) fumbled the ball away three times and came up empty on four of their five red-zone opportunities. 

Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields was more efficient than Cousins, completing 26 of 39 passes for 285 yards, but he repeatedly proved unable to complete the big pass when Chicago needed it. 

The Bears made it past the Vikings' 25-yard line on three consecutive second-half drives but saw each of them end with a failed fourth-down conversion. They finally tacked on a Fields-to-Jesper Horsted touchdown on the final play of the game, but by then it was too late. 

That otherwise-meaningless touchdown also emphasised the tightrope the Vikings have walked all year, as it was their 11th consecutive game decided by eight points or fewer, one shy of the NFL record.

The victory kept the Vikings in the NFC wild-card picture but they face an uphill climb, with games against the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers the next two weeks before a home rematch with the Bears to close the regular season. 

The National Hockey League will begin its Christmas break early due to coronavirus-related postponements. 

The league announced Monday that it will pause games for five days beginning Wednesday, with the schedule set to resume December 27. 

With that move, the final games before the break are set for Tuesday, with the Washington Capitals visiting the Philadelphia Flyers and the Vegas Golden Knights hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The other eight games set to be played Tuesday already had been postponed due to COVID-19. 

Four of the five games scheduled for Monday also were postponed, with only the Dallas Stars-Minnesota Wild game taking place. 

The early break will officially wipe out all 19 games scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, all but five of which already had been called off. 

Players are now set to report back to their teams on December 26 for testing, practice and travel. All members of a team's travelling party must have a negative COVID-19 test before entering a team facility upon return. 

Monday's decision came a day after the league said it would pause all games that involved cross-border travel between the United States and Canada, in addition to multiple individual teams being shut down due to positive COVID-19 tests. 

"With the number one priority of maintaining the health and safety of our NHL community, and amid changing and unpredictable conditions, we are determined to remain flexible and adaptable both in terms of scheduling and in adjusting protocols as necessary," the league said in a statement Sunday.   



Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George will return for Monday's game against the San Antonio Spurs after a fortnight out with an elbow injury.

George has missed the Clippers' past five games due to a right elbow sprain. He last played on December 6 in a win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The seven-time NBA All-Star is averaging 25 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists across 24 games this season.

The 16-14 Clippers, who reached the Western Conference semifinals last season, have not been at full strength all season, with Kawhi Leonard still absent with an ACL knee injury, while Serge Ibaka, Jason Preston, Marcus Morris and Isaiah Hartenstein have all had issues too.

"It's frustrating," Clippers head coach Ty Lue said. "We can't get a rhythm of how we want to play when all of our guys are here.

"But everyone is dealing with the same thing, I am pretty sure ... but just having a chance to have our whole team for five, 10 games, just see how it looks going forward. ... But it is frustrating."

Former NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant has returned for the Memphis Grizzlies after more than three weeks out with a left knee sprain.

Morant, who was the second pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, was back in the Grizzlies' starting line-up for Monday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The young gun had not played since he hobbled off in their 132-100 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on November 26.

The 22-year-old had been averaging 24.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game until the injury. He was shooting at 47.6 percent from the field.

The Grizzlies had remarkably held a 10-2 record in his absence, improving from 9-10 to 19-12 prior to the Thunder game.

In the early part of this year, Morant had been spoken about as a potential Most Improved Player candidate, despite already scoring 19.1 points per game last year – the 36th-most in the league.

The New York Mets believe Buck Showalter is the man who will lead the team back to the postseason after a five-year absence. 

Showalter officially took over as Mets manager on Monday, agreeing to a three-year deal. 

Owner Steve Cohen had announced the hire via Twitter on Saturday. 

"Buck has been one of the best baseball minds for the last two decades and he makes teams better,” Cohen said in a release. "We have a lot of talent on this team and Buck is the right manager to take us to the next level and lead us to sustained success. I am excited he is our new manager."

The 65-year-old Showalter has 20 years of experience managing MLB teams, most recently leading the Baltimore Orioles to three postseason appearances during his stint there from 2010-18. 

He previously managed the Texas Rangers (2003-06), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2000) and New York Yankees (1992-95). 

A three-time Manager of the Year, Showalter has a career record of 1,551-1,517.

He has twice led teams to the postseason after they had lost more than 90 games the previous years, and the Mets will be hoping for a repeat of that magic after posting just one winning campaign since their last postseason trip in 2016. 

He replaces Luis Rojas, who had his contract option declined after going 103-119 the last two seasons. 

Showalter will be the fifth man to manage the Yankees and Mets, joining Casey Stengel, Yogi Berra, Dallas Green and Joe Torre.

Jack Grealish and Phil Foden have been warned about their off-field behaviour by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after being pictured on a night out.

Grealish and Foden dropped out of City's starting line-up for Sunday's 4-0 win at Newcastle with Guardiola hinting post-game that the decision was not rotation.

On Monday, The Telegraph published a photo of the pair believed to be at a nightclub following last Tuesday's 7-0 rout of Leeds United.

According to the report, City staff were unimpressed with the condition of Grealish and Foden when they arrived at a recovery session the next day, with Guardiola absent to attend Sergio Aguero's retirement conference in Barcelona but kept informed on the situation.

"I pay a lot of attention to behaviour on and off the pitch," Guardiola said after Sunday's game.

Guardiola added on BBC Radio 5 Live: "And when off the pitch is not proper they are not going to play.

"So they have to be focused all the time because the distractions in the Christmastime and everything that happens - you have to still be focused."

Grealish and Foden along with John Stones were the only changes from the starting XI that beat Leeds, with the latter used as a 70th-minute substitute against the Magpies.

The City manager had labelled Grealish as "outstanding" after he scored in the win over Leeds last week.

The Raiders kept their playoff hopes alive Monday as Daniel Carlson's 48-yard field goal on the game's final play gave Las Vegas a 16-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns. 

Carlson's third field goal of the game was a devastating blow to the Browns, who were on the brink of what would have been a remarkable victory despite playing without eight starters and head coach Kevin Stefanski in a game pushed back two days due to COVID-19 concerns. 

But the home side were left to lament what might have been after Derek Carr engineered the 28th game-winning final drive of his career to put Carlson in range for the winning kick. 

The quarterback got the Raiders off to a hot start, completing his first nine passes of the game as Las Vegas rolled to a touchdown on their opening possession, but the visitors could not find the end zone again as Cleveland's defense stiffened. 

In the meantime, the Browns got their offense on track after star running back Nick Chubb was limited to just 14 yards on six carries in the first half. 

Chubb got the Browns on the scoreboard with a four-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter and played a key part in the drive that set up third-string quarterback Nick Mullens' six-yard TD pass to Harrison Bryant that put the Browns up 14-13 with 3:45 to play. 

The Browns (7-7) intercepted a long heave from Carr on the ensuing Raiders possession but could not run out the clock, giving Las Vegas one last chance at a desperately needed win. 

The Raiders (7-7) had lost five of six games entering Monday, including an ugly 48-9 defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs in their previous game, and another defeat would have put them on the brink of elimination from playoff contention. 

A two-day postponement of the Philadelphia Eagles' game against the Washington Football Team bought Jalen Hurts some valuable recovery time. 

Philadelphia's quarterback is expected to start Tuesday after an ankle injury suffered November 28 against the New York Giants kept him out of the Eagles' most recent game on December 5. 

Hurts did work through all of Friday's practice as usual but would still have been listed as questionable if the game had been played Sunday as originally scheduled, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni told reporters. 

With a bye last week and an extra two days of treatment thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak affecting Washington that prompted the delay, Hurts should be at full speed Tuesday. 

"I feel pretty confident and feel really good about where he is at right now," Sirianni said.

Backup Gardner Minshew had a brilliant outing in place of Hurts before the bye, completing 20 of 25 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-18 road defeat of the New York Jets. 

Hurts had insisted all week heading into that game that he hoped to play, but the Eagles (6-7) opted to err on the side of caution. 

Now there appears no doubt about Hurts' readiness, as he did not appear on the team's injury report Monday. 

"I’ve been coming in every day doing everything I can in my power to be available," Hurts told reporters last week. "At this point of the season, everybody is playing for a lot. Regardless of who’s out there ... we are going to try to go out and play good football all around.

"They have something to fight for and so do we. We want this win in December."

The 23-year-old Hurts has completed 60.1 per cent of his passes for 2,435 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions, in addition to rushing for 695 yards and eight more scores. 

He could end up facing Washington's third-choice QB, as starter Taylor Heinicke and his backup Kyle Allen both are on the COVID list, though they could test out shortly before the game. 


Travis Kelce was among the first five players named to the 2022 Pro Bowl on Monday but also appeared on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Kansas City Chiefs tight end caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Thursday's overtime win against the Los Angeles Chargers.

That was one of two scores as Kelce had a career-high 191 receiving yards on 10 catches.

Only three other players this year have had more receiving yards in a game, while that display ranked joint-seventh among tight ends since 1960.

This level of performance showed why Kelce joined four others, including record-breaking 15-time Pro Bowler Tom Brady, in being recognised as an all-star yet again.

But Kelce's immediate focus is on the Chiefs' push for the number one seed in the AFC.

The 32-year-old's appearance on the COVID list prompted concern, although the player is vaccinated and so will have the opportunity to test out of NFL protocols before Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kelce was one of a host of NFL players to test positive for coronavirus on Monday – reported to be around 50, a single-day record.

Kansas City's AFC West rivals the Chargers confirmed Joey Bosa was among them and would not return in time to play the Houston Texans in Week 16.

Quarterback Daniel Jones will miss the rest of the NFL season for the New York Giants due to a neck injury, it was announced on Monday.

The Giants are currently bottom of the NFC East with a record of 4-10 and have lost their past three games. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (Achilles) has also been placed on injured reserve along with Jones after picking up an injury in Sunday's 21-6 loss at home to the Dallas Cowboys.

Jones has not played since the 13-10 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12, the Giants' last win, and just three games of the season now remain.

Giants head trainer Ronnie Barnes said in a statement released by the team on Monday: "Over the course of the past few weeks, Daniel has been examined by Dr. Frank Cammisa of Hospital for Special Surgery and Dr. Robert Watkins of the Marina Spine Center at Marina Del Rey Hospital.

"Our medical team has continued to consult with Dr. Cammisa and Dr. Watkins regarding Daniel's condition and symptoms, and at this point, Daniel has not been cleared for contact.

"We felt the prudent decision was to place Daniel on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. With continued rest and treatment, we expect a full recovery."

In Jones' absence, backup Mike Glennon has played at QB the past three games for the Giants, failing to reach more than 200 yards passing in each of them and throwing three interceptions in Sunday's defeat to the Cowboys.

Jared Goff was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, less than 24 hours after leading the lowly Detroit Lions to a sensational victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

After an awful season, the Lions have shown fight in recent weeks, getting their first win of the year against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13.

But Sunday's stunning 30-12 defeat of the NFC West-leading Cardinals came as a complete shock.

One-time MVP candidate Kyler Murray continued his uneven form at quarterback for Arizona following his return from injury, but Goff excelled for Detroit.

The former Los Angeles Ram completed 21 of 26 passes for 216 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions – albeit he tossed two pickable passes despite identifying an open target with 25 of his attempts. A passer rating of 139.7 was the fifth-best of Goff's NFL career.

But the Lions' hopes of ending the year with momentum were hit on Monday by news of Goff's move to the COVID list.

Goff has missed only one game since moving to Detroit this season, with deputy Tim Boyle in from the start for the Week 11 defeat to the Cleveland Browns, throwing zero TDs and two picks.

The Lions (2-11-1) go to the Atlanta Falcons (6-8) on Sunday.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian has all but officially qualified in the two-woman bobsleigh for next year’s Winter Olympics in China based on the latest International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) rankings.

Tom Brady is to become the first player in NFL history to feature in 15 Pro Bowls after being among the first five participants named for this season's game.

The first Pro Bowlers of the 2021 season were revealed on billboards in Las Vegas, which will host the annual NFL all-star game on 6 February at Allegiant Stadium.

The other confirmed players to feature are Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams), Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams), Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis Colts) and Travis Kelce (Kansas City Chiefs).

Brady will overtake Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez, Bruce Matthews and Merlin Olsen, who all featured in 14 Pro Bowls.

The legendary quarterback has guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 10-4 record and first place in the NFC South, with just one more victory needed to secure the division title. Brady currently boasts the best 2021 numbers in most major passing categories, including yards (4,348), attempts (602), completions (404) and touchdown passes (36).

The 44-year-old has won more Super Bowls than any other player in history (seven) and also holds the record for most Super Bowl MVP awards (five).

The full reveal of the AFC and NFC teams for this year's Pro Bowl will take place on Wednesday.

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