The Rundown for March 22, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 29,605,933 and the nation’s death toll stands at 538,052, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Covid-19 cases are increasing in 21 states and health officials are alarmed that highly infectious variants are spreading while governors begin to relax restrictions on businesses…. New York has reported its first case of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in Brazil. Scientists at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City discovered the variant in a 90-year-old Brooklyn resident with no travel history. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of last Thursday, there were 48 cases of the P.1 variant in 15 states and territories throughout the U.S.

DEFENSE SEC AUSTIN IN AFGHANISTAN… Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made a surprise visit to Afghanistan yesterday during his tour of Asia. After meeting with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Austin told reporters, “I am here to listen and learn.” Austin did not answer questions about whether the Taliban have met conditions that would lead full withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, per an agreement reached last year.

MAYORKAS SAYS BORDER IS CLOSED… Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas declared yesterday that the U.S. southern border is closed but backed away from other questions about the Biden administration’s handling of the migrant influx. During an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week,” Mayorkas said the administration is doing all it can to encourage migrants not to come. Documents obtained by CNN and CBS News claim more than 5,000 unaccompanied children are being held in Customs and Border Protection facilities. According to the documents, the children are being held in custody for an average of 136 hours, which is nearly twice the 72-hour limit outlined by U.S. law. Mayorkas explained that facilities are being overwhelmed while the administration is “rebuilding the system” left in place by its predecessor.

PROSECUTOR SAYS SEDITION CHARGES COMING… A federal prosecutor believes investigators have found evidence that would likely allow the government to file sedition charges against some of those involved in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. During an appearance last night on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin said facts already support sedition charges and even more facts are being uncovered. The Justice Department has already filed cases against 400 suspects involved in the attack, but charges haven’t included sedition. Most suspects have been charged with trespassing or assaulting officers, with a smaller number charged with conspiracy to obstruct Congress.

MIAMI BEACH EXTENDS CURFEW… Miami Beach officials have extended an 8 p.m. curfew and emergency powers for up to three weeks to help control spring-break crowds. The city’s South Beach District has been overwhelmed by rowdy college-age partiers, leading some businesses to close voluntarily out of concern for public safety. During an emergency meeting of the city commission yesterday, Mayor Dan Gelber said all manner of out-of-town and out-of-state visitors, not just college students, were filling the streets since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on February 26 called the state an “oasis of freedom” from coronavirus restrictions.

ENTERTAINMENT
MORGAN WALLEN REMAINS ATOP ALBUM CHART
… Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” sold 69,000 to become the first album since Whitney Houston’s “Whitney” in 1987 to spend its first 10 weeks atop the Billboard 200 album chart. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” remained in second place after selling 40,000 units. Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” jumped to No. 3 on sales of 37,000 copies. The Weeknd’s “After Hours” stayed at No. 4 with 32,000 units sold. R&B singer Giveon’s “When It’s All Said and Done… Take Time” sold 31,000 copies to debut in fifth place.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE… “Raya and the Last Dragon” took in $5.1 million to top the box office for a second straight week. “Tom and Jerry” opened in second place with $3.8 million. Another newcomer, “The Courier,” took in $2 million to finish third. “Chaos Walking” brought in $1.9 for a fourth-place finish. “The Croods: A New Age” capped the top five with $620,000.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

Indiana 109 – MIAMI 106 (OT)… The Pacers recovered to outlast the Heat after blowing a double-digit fourth-quarter lead. Justin Holiday made back-to-back 3-pointers and Malcolm Brogdon hit from downtown during a 9-0 run in overtime. Domantas Sabonis scored 17 points to lead a balanced scoring attack and brought down 11 rebounds.

Oklahoma City 114 – HOUSTON 112… The Thunder held on at the end to hand the Rockets their 20th straight loss. Luguentz Dort pumped in 23 points. Mosses Brown grabbed 14 boards to go with his 13 points.

New Orleans 113 – DENVER 108… Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson scored 30 points apiece to power the Pelicans past the Nuggets. Nickeil Alexander-Walker tossed in 20 points. Steven Adams gathered 13 rebounds.

BOSTON 112 – Orlando 96… The Celtics shook off a slow start to roll past the Magic. Jaylen Brown scored a career-high 10 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 23 points. Jayson Tatum added 23 points.

BROOKLYN 113 – Washington 106.. Kyrie Irving scored 28 points and James Harden added 26 as the Nets fought off the Wizards. Blake Griffin had a dunk in his debut for Brooklyn.

CLEVELAND 116 – Toronto 105… Collin Sexton scored 23 of his game-high 36 points in the second half and the Cavaliers dealt the Raptors their eighth straight loss. Jarrett Allen powered his way to 17 points and 15 boards.

Chicago 100 – DETROIT 86… The Bulls rode their defense to a win over the Pistons. Zach LaVine led a balanced scoring attack with 18 points. Daniel Gafford came off the bench to collect 11 rebounds.

Philadelphia 101 – NEW YORK 100 (OT)… Tobias Harris’ two free throws with 5.3 seconds remaining carried the 76ers past the Knicks. Harris finished with 20 points. Shake Milton delivered 21 points off the bench.

PHOENIX 111 – L.A. Lakers 94… The Suns cruised past a Laker squad that was playing without the injured LeBron James. Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton scored 26 points apiece. Chris Paul racked up 11 points, 10 boards and 13 assists.

Dallas 132 – PORTLAND 92… Luka Doncic let it up for 37 points before sitting out the fourth quarter of the Mavericks’ rout of the Trail Blazers. Josh Richardson added 21 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Sacramento is at Cleveland…
Minnesota hosts Oklahoma City…
Charlotte is at San Antonio…
Chicago hosts Utah…
Toronto is at Houston…
Memphis hosts Boston…
Indiana is at Milwaukee…
the L.A. Clippers host Atlanta

NHL SCOREBOARD
New Jersey 2 – PITTSBURGH 1 (OT)… Jesper Bratt’s wraparound at 2:50 of overtime sent the Devils past the Penguins. Sami Vatanen netted a tying goal early in the second period. Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 35 shots.

TAMPA BAY 5 – Florida 3… Tyler Johnson’s power-play goal midway through the third period gave the Lightning the lead for good in a hard-fought win over the Panthers. Brayden Point added an empty-netter. Yanni Gourde had a goal and an assist.

LOS ANGELES 3 – Vegas 1… Sean Walker and Dustin Brown scored 51 seconds apart in the second period and the Kings held on to edge the Golden Knights. Anze Kopitar assisted on both goals. Calvin Petersen made 41 saves at goal.

Nashville 4 – DALLAS 3… The Predators topped the Stars after letting a pair of two-goal leads slip away. Calle Jarnkrok scored in the fifth round of the shootout. Eeli Tolvanen had a goal and two assists.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Buffalo is at the N.Y. Rangers….
Columbus hosts Carolina…
Edmonton is at Montreal…
Ottawa hosts Calgary…
the N.Y. Islanders are at Philadelphia…
Minnesota hosts Anaheim…
Winnipeg is at Vancouver…
Arizona hosts Colorado…
St. Louis is at Vegas…
San Jose hosts Los Angeles

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCOREBOARD (2nd round)…
MIDWEST REGION
(8) Loyola Chicago 71, (1) ILLINOIS 58… The eighth-seeded Ramblers became the first team in this year’s tournament to take down a top seed. They advance to play 12th-seeded Oregon State in the Sweet 16 round beginning Saturday. In other scores…
(12) Oregon State 70, (4) Oklahoma State 80…
(11) Syracuse 75, (3) West Virginia 72… Next for the Orange is second-seeded Houston…
(2) Houston 63, (10) Rutgers 60

SOUTH REGION
(1) Baylor 76, (9) Wisconsin 63… The Bears will put their top seed against fifth-ranked Villanova…
(5) Villanova 84, (13) North Texas 61…
(3) Arkansas 68, (6) Texas Tech 66… The Razorbacks move on to battle 15th-seeded Oral Roberts, the tournament’s Cinderella so far…
(15) Oral Roberts 81, (7) Florida 78

TODAY’S NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (2nd round)…
WEST REGION
(2) Iowa vs. (7) Oregon, 12:10 p.m. (CBS)…
(1) Gonzaga vs. (8) Oklahoma, 2:40 p.m. (CBS)…
(5) Creighton vs. (13) Ohio, 6:10 p.m. (TNT)…
(3) Kansas vs. (6) USC, 9:45 p.m. (CBS)…

EAST REGION
(11 UCLA vs. (14) Abilene Christian, 5:15 p.m. (TBS)…
(1) Michigan vs. (8) LSU, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)…
(4) Florida State vs. (5) Colorado, 7:45 p.m. (TBS)…
(2) Alabama vs. (10) Maryland, 8:45 p.m. (TNT)

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
CHI. CUBS 11, Cincinnati 6…
KANSAS CITY 6, Colorado 1…
San Francisco 10, L.A. DODGERS 4…
CLEVELAND 7, Texas 2…
SAN DIEGO 4, L.A. Angels 1…
ARIZONA 4, Chi. White Sox 4 (tie)…
Seattle 3, MILWAUKEE 1…
Atlanta 11, TAMPA BAY 1…
Detroit 5, PHILADELPHIA 3…
MIAMI 4, Houston 2…
Minnesota 12, BALTIMORE 7…
N.Y. Mets 6, WASHINGTON 2…
Pittsburgh 9, BOSTON 4…
N.Y. Yankees 8, TORONTO 3

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