OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers has declined to answer questions about his whistleblower role in the sign-stealing scam that has engulfed Major League Baseball. Fiers spoke on Friday, a day ahead of an A's fan event. It was his first public appearance since revealing that the Houston Astros used electronics to illicitly steal signs from opposing catchers in 2017. Fiers played for the Astros that season. Fiers says he doesn't want to be a distraction to the A's this year. His Oakland teammates praised him for telling The Athletic that his former club cheated.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 45 points and had 10 assists, and the Houston Rockets rallied past the Minnesota Timberwolves 131-124. Houston overcame another tough night from James Harden, who was 3-of-13 shooting and scored a season-low 12 points. Westbrook helped key a second-half comeback after Minnesota led by six points in the third quarter. Eric Gordon scored a season-high 27 points off the bench for Houston, which won its second straight game following a season-long, four-game losing streak. Karl-Anthony Towns had 30 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, which has lost eight straight. Andrew Wiggins scored 28 points.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Devin Booker had 35 points before fouling out and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the San Antonio Spurs 103-99. The victory Friday night snapped an 11-game skid in San Antonio. The Suns used a size advantage over a smaller lineup to end the Spurs’ three-game winning streak and win in San Antonio for the first time since Feb. 27, 2013. DeMar DeRozan had 30 points and eight rebounds for San Antonio. The Spurs had won six of nine entering their second game of the season against Phoenix.
CHICAGO (AP) — Dallas Keuchel has become the first member of the 2017 Houston Astros to offer a public apology for the team's sign-stealing scheme during their run to the World Series championship. Now with the Chicago White Sox, the left-hander says he felt what happened in Houston was blown out of proportion, but he was sorry. He spoke Friday at a White Sox fan convention. An investigation by Major League Baseball found the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter's odds of getting a hit.
DALLAS (AP) — Three people with knowledge of the deal say the Dallas Mavericks are on the verge of acquiring center Willie Cauley-Stein in a trade with the Golden State Warriors. Dallas moved quickly on a replacement after losing Dwight Powell to a season-ending Achilles injury. The Warriors will get a second-round pick in this year's draft. The Mavericks acquired Justin Patton and cash in a separate deal with Oklahoma City. Dallas will make room from Cauley-Stein by waiving Patton. The Thunder got rookie Isaiah Roby from the Mavericks.
DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks sensation Luka Doncic is set to be the youngest All-Star starter since LeBron James 15 years ago. It's yet another link between the 20-year-old Doncic and the player he grew up admiring as a young pro in Spain. Doncic is in line for his All-Star debut in his second season. James also was in his second year when he made his first appearance and first start in 2005. Doncic came close to topping James as the leading vote-getter. Instead, James will be a captain and decide who to take with the first pick in the All-Star draft.
UNDATED (AP) — The Southeastern Conference didn’t do much to help its basketball reputation the first two months of the season when it struggled through nonconference play. A chance to redeem itself comes this weekend. The SEC has plenty of possibilities for attention-getting victories Saturday during the Big 12-SEC Challenge. The most notable opportunities involve Florida hosting No. 1 Baylor and Tennessee visiting No. 3 Kansas. The Big 12 has three schools rated among the top seven teams in the NET rankings. The SEC has only one team higher than 24th.