Griffin scores 37 as Clippers hold off Suns

NBA: Blake Griffin scored 22 of his 37 points in the first quarter and made 14 of 16 shots before fouling out, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the visiting Phoenix Suns 112-105 on Monday night for their eighth straight victory.

Darren Collison scored 20 points and Chris Paul added 17 points and 11 assists for the Pacific Division leaders, who shot 55.1 percent from the field and improved to 23-1 when shooting at least 50 percent.

Goran Dragic had 23 points and five assists for the Suns.

Sixers’ streak at 17: Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 28 points as the New York Knicks defeated visiting Philadelphia 123-110, sending the 76ers to their 17th straight loss.

Amar’e Stoudemire added 23 points, J.R. Smith 22 and Carmelo Anthony 20 as the Knicks won their fourth game in a row.

Heat clinch playoff spot: Dwyane Wade scored 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, LeBron James led all scorers with 23 points and the Miami Heat clinched a playoff spot by beating the visiting Washington Wizards 99-90. Chris Bosh scored 22 for the Heat, who snapped a three-game slide.

Seven-goal third lifts Isles past Canucks

NHL: Matt Martin scored the winner in the Islanders’ seven-goal third period, and visiting New York erased a three-goal deficit in the final period to beat the Vancouver Canucks 7-4 on Monday night.

The Islanders tied their team record for goals in a period, matching the mark set in the second period of a 9-4 win over the New York Rangers on Dec. 23, 1978.

The Canucks lost for the 12th time in 14 games.

Crosby leads Pens past Caps: Sidney Crosby had a hand in both early goals as Pittsburgh converted on two of its first three shots, Chris Kunitz scored twice, and the visiting Penguins beat Alex Ovechkin’s struggling Washington Capitals 3-2. The Penguins beat Washington for the seventh straight time.

Happy return for Carlyle: Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak each had a goal and two assists, and the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrated coach Randy Carlyle’s return to Anaheim with a 3-1 victory over the Ducks. Carlyle was back at the Honda Center for the first time since the Ducks fired the only coach to lead the franchise to a Stanley Cup title.

Kings win eighth straight: Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist to lead the Los Angeles Kings to their eighth straight win with a 3-2 victory over the host Calgary Flames.

Kings’ Nolan suspended: The NHL suspended Los Angeles Kings forward Jordan Nolan for one game for punching an Oilers forward. Nolan will lose $3,589 in salary.

Late in the second period of the Kings’ 4-2 win at Edmonton on Sunday, Nolan punched Oilers forward Jesse Joensuu in the jaw in front of the Kings’ net.

Joensuu’s arms were tied up by a linesman when he was struck by Nolan.

UConn wins inaugural AAC tournament

Women’s basketball: Breanna Stewart scored 20 points and top-ranked Connecticut beat No. 3 Louisville 72-52 in Uncasville, Conn., to win the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament.

With the victory, UConn (34-0) became the 14th team to enter the NCAA tournament without a loss. It’s the sixth time that the Huskies have accomplished that feat. They’ve won the national championship four of those years.

Shoni Schimmel led Louisville (30-4) with 20 points.

Baylor wins Big 12: Odyssey Sims overcame an ankle injury and scored 19 points to help No. 9 Baylor defeat No. 7 West Virginia 74-71 in Oklahoma City in the Big 12 championship game.

Kansas’ Embiid likely out first weekend

Men’s basketball: Kansas center Joel Embiid is expected to miss the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Embiid got a second opinion on his ailing lower back from a specialist in Los Angeles, and the school said the physician confirmed the original diagnosis of a stress fracture.

The school says Embiid’s treatment for the injury makes him “unlikely to play in the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.”

Delaware back in tourney: Carl Baptiste scored a career-high 24 points, including a go-ahead layup with 10 seconds left, and top-seeded Delaware squeezed past William & Mary 75-74 in Baltimore to win the Colonial Athletic Association championship and earn a berth in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 15 years.

Manhattan captures MAAC: George Beamon scored 16 points and Manhattan held off rival Iona 71-68 in Springfield, Mass., for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and the Jaspers’ first NCAA tournament berth in a decade.

Wofford going dancing: Karl Cochran scored 23 points as Wofford defeated Western Carolina 56-53 in Asheville, N.C., to capture the Southern Conference championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament.

U.S. women suffer rare two-game skid

Miscellany: The United States women’s soccer team is having a memorable trip to the Algarve Cup – for all the wrong reasons.

The Americans lost consecutive games for the first time in 13 years and conceded five goals in a match for the first time in the team’s 29-year history, finishing last in their group following a 5-3 defeat to Denmark at Albufeira, Portugal.

Winless at 0-2-1, the U.S. faces Austria in the ninth-place game Wednesday. The Americans had won the title nine times in 18 previous trips.

Man in Sharper case posts bond: A man booked on two aggravated rape charges in a New Orleans case also involving former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper has posted a $400,000 bond.

Erik Nunez, 26, and Sharper each face two aggravated rape charges.

Family of dead racer vindicated: The family of a Canadian skicross racer killed two years ago at a World Cup event feels vindicated now that authorities no longer blame him for the crash and instead have made courses safer.

Immediately after the crash in Grindelwald, Switzerland, on March 10, 2012, ski officials angered the family and others in the skiing community by suggesting Nik Zoricic was to blame.

The family contended the death was “entirely avoidable” and called the course finish line a “death trap.”

In a letter to his parents this month, the International Ski Federation said it has updated its safety guidelines and beefed up the staff and experts who help organizers construct a course and its safety measures.

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