The Rundown for February 23, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 28,188,571 and the nation’s death toll stands at 500,244, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… At a White House ceremony last night, President Joe Biden called for a moment of silence to remember the more than a half-million Americans who have died of coronavirus. He also ordered all flags on federal property to be lowered to half-staff for the next five days.

MERRICK GARLAND CONFIRMATION HEARING… Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland answered wide-ranging questions yesterday on the first day of his Senate confirmation hearings. The former federal prosecutor told the Senate judiciary committee that overseeing the prosecution of those responsible for the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will be his initial priority. He also also said the Justice Department could be open to new policies on federal-level gun control reforms. Garland pledged that his Justice Department will take seriously racial and social inequality.

SUPREME COURT CLEARS RELEASE OF TRUMP TAXES… The Supreme Court yesterday dealt former President Donald Trump a blow by declining to block New York prosecutors from obtaining eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had subpoenaed the documents in August 2019 as part of an ongoing investigation into possible tax, insurance and bank fraud. Trump and the Trump Organization have denied any wrongdoing.

EL CHAPO’S WIFE ARRESTED IN U.S… Federal agents yesterday arrested the wife of imprisoned Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. A single-count criminal complaint charges Emma Coronel Aispuro with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the U.S. The Justice Department also accused her of helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 and participating in the planning of a second prison escape before Guzman was extradited to the U.S.

MARIJUANA LEGAL IN NEW JERSEY… New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy yesterday signed three bills that legalize up to six ounces of recreational marijuana in the state. His signature comes after voters legalized marijuana in November after three years of legislative, financial and legal battles. New Jersey still needs to license new dispensaries to meet the needs for the state’s 100,000 medical marijuana patients.

ENTERTAINMENT
OBAMA, SPRINGSTEEN PAIR ON PODCAST
… Former President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen are pairing up on a new eight-episode Spotify podcast. “Renegades: Born in the USA” features Obama and Springsteen sitting down to discuss race, fatherhood, marriage and the future of the U.S. Obama and his wife Michelle Obama announced in 2019 that their production company, Higher Ground, would partner with Spotify to produce exclusive podcasts.

DAFT PUNK IS DONE… The French electronic music duo Daft Punk announced yesterday that it is breaking up after 28 years. French musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter were known for wearing elaborate helmets, assuming robot personas and despising celebrity. The six-time Grammy Award winners composed the score for the 2010 film “Tron: Legacy’ and influenced numerous musicians with their music and mythology. Their 2013 single, “Get Lucky,” featuring vocals by Pharrell Williams, made it to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. They made No. 1 as part of The Weeknd’s 2016 single, “Starboy,” which they performed on, co-wrote and co-produced.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

Chicago 120 – HOUSTON 100… The Bulls pulled away with a big third quarter and handed the Rockets their eighth straight loss. Colby White scored 24 points and brought down 10 rebounds. Zack LaVine added 21 points. Wendell Carter Jr. finished with 18 points and 13 boards.

DALLAS 102 – Memphis 92… The Mavericks built a big lead early and cruised past the Grizzlies. Tim Hardaway Jr. came off the bench to score a game-high 29 points. Luka Doncic dropped in 21 points.

Miami 108 – OKLAHOMA CITY 94… The Heat rallied past the Thunder in the second half. Duncan Robinson made six 3-pointers on his way to 22 points. Kendrick Nunn added 20 points. Bam Adebayo finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds.

PHOENIX 132 – Portland 100… The Suns blew the game open with a dominating third quarter on their way past the Trail Blazers. Devin Booker scored a game-high 34 points.

UTAH 132 – Charlotte 110… The Jazz used a 26-2 fourth-quarter run to blow away the Hornets. Utah made a team-record 28 3-pointers, including 19 off the bench. Donovan Mitchell was 8-of-17 from beyond the arc and finished with 23 points to lead seven players in double figures. Joe Ingles and Georges Niang added 21 points apiece. Jordan Clarkson tossed in 20 points.

Washington 127 – L.A. LAKERS 124… The Wizards came from 14 points down at the break to outlast the Lakers for their fifth straight win. Bradley Beal led all scorers with 33 points. Russell Westbrook had 32 points, 14 boards and nine assists.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Atlanta is at Cleveland…
Orlando hosts Detroit…
Sacramento is at Brooklyn…
New York hosts Golden State…
Philadelphia is at Toronto…
Dallas hosts Boston…
Minnesota is at Milwaukee…
Denver hosts Portland…
Washington is at the L.A. Clippers

NHL SCOREBOARD
Tampa Bay 4 – CAROLINA 2… Ondrej Palat netted a tie-breaking goal in the third quarter to help push the Lightning past the Hurricanes. Viktor Hedman had goal and an assist.

Calgary 3 – TORONTO 0… Goalie David Rittich stopped all 34 shots as the Flames blanked the Maple Leafs. Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk both had a goal and an assist.

FLORIDA 3 – Dallas 1… The Panthers skated past the Stars after spotting them an early lead. Keith Yandle scored a go-ahead goal late in the second period.

N.Y. ISLANDERS 3 – Buffalo 2… Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored a power-play goal to break a tie with less than five minutes remaining and the Islanders hung on to edge the Sabres. The victory was New York’s sixth in a row over Buffalo.

Los Angeles 3 – ST. LOUIS 0… Goalie Jonathan Quick made 30 saves in his 54th career shutout and the Kings breezed past the Blues. Dustin Brown netted a pair of goals.

Vegas 3 – COLORADO 0… Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 shots at goal as the Golden Knights whitewashed the Avalanche. Vegas did all its scoring in the second period with Alex Tuch finding the net twice.

ARIZONA 4 – Anaheim 3… The Coyotes erased a three-goal deficit in upending the Ducks. Christian Dvorack’s second goal of the game came early in the third period and proved decisive. Jakob Chychrun scored a goal and assisted on another.

Minnesota 6 – SAN JOSE 2… Six different players found the net as the Wild tamed the Sharks. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and three assists. Victor Rask netted a goal and set up two others.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Buffalo is at New Jersey…
Washington hosts Pittsburgh…
Chicago is at Columbus…
Ottawa hosts Montreal…
Nashville is at Detroit…
Vancouver hosts Edmonton

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD
OKLAHOMA STATE 74, No. 18 Texas Tech 69…
No. 19 USC 72, Oregon 58

MLB NEWS… Seattle Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather resigned yesterday amid backlash he received for comments he made to a Rotary Club earlier this month. Mather targeted several of the team’s players in comments that were shockingly candid and drew condemnation from Major League Baseball. His resignation is effective immediately, with Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton taking on the roles of CEO and team president on an interim basis.

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