The Rundown for March 31, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 30,393,001 and the nation’s death toll stands at 550,967, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… All 50 states now have announced when they plan to open up coronavirus vaccinations to everyone eligible under U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced yesterday that his state has joined a dozen others in expanding vaccinations to include anyone 16 and over. Several other states that they are opening up vaccine eligibility at least a month ahead of schedule.

SENATORS SEEK RECURRING RELIEF PAYMENTS… A group of Senate Democrats wants President Joe Biden to include recurring relief payments and extended jobless benefits in his economic recovery plan. In a letter sent yesterday, lawmakers led by Senate finance committee Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon noted that the $300 weekly unemployment supplement expired on September 6. They also said the $1,400 one-time direct payment in the last coronavirus relief bill isn’t enough for Americans hardest hit by the pandemic.

MORE BACKLASH OVER GEORGIA VOTING LAW… Georgia is facing mounting resistance to its restrictive new voting law. The law, known as S.B. 202, bans mobile voting, limits secure drop boxes and even prohibits volunteers from giving out water and snacks to Georgians who are waiting in long voting lines. The ACLU announced yesterday that it has united with several other civil rights groups in a lawsuit that claims the law is meant to “diminish Black political power in Georgia.” The lawsuit addresses the law’s violation of the First, Second, and Fifteenth Amendments, and the Voting Rights Act. Meanwhile, Atlanta-based corporations Delta Air Lines Inc and Coca-Cola Co continued to face boycott calls from activists seeking their support in opposing the law.

CONGRESSMAN GAETZ UNDER INVESTIGATION… The New York Times reported yesterday that the Justice Department is investigating whether Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws in a 2019 sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. The investigation is reported to be part of a larger probe into Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg, a Florida tax collector who was charged last year with 14 felony counts that included the sex trafficking of a minor between the ages of 14 and 17. The investigation into Gaetz was launched near the end of President Donald Trump’s term, when William Barr was still attorney general, according to The Times.

NEW YORK PASSES MARIJUANA-LEGALIZATION MEASURE… New York state lawmakers yesterday passed a marijuana legalization measure that eliminates penalties for possession of less than three ounces of cannabis and automatically expunges records for people with previous convictions for decriminalized activities. The measure commits 40 percent of tax revenue to communities disproportionately affected by the policing of marijuana sales and use including funding for schools and public education as well as drug treatment, prevention and education. It also creates equity programs to provide loans, grants and incubator programs for businesses. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the bill will bring “justice for long-marginalized communities.”

ENTERTAINMENT
ARIANA GRANDE JOINING ‘THE VOICE’
… Ariana Grande is replacing Nick Jonas as a coach on the competition show “The Voice.” The 27-year-old Grammy-winning pop singer joins a Season 21 cast that includes regular coaches Blake Shelton, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson. Grande has performed her hit “Into You” on the 2016 series finale of the show but did not take part as a coach.

‘GAME OF THRONES’ HEADED TO STAGE… Author George R.R. Martin announced yesterday that that a stage version of “Game of Thrones” is on its way to Broadway and London’s West End. The play borrows from the popular HBO series that derived from Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy series of novels. It is expected to debut in 2023 and will reportedly focus on the Great Tourney at Harrenhal, an event that took place more than a decade before the events of the “Game of Thrones” HBO series.

SPORTS
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL FOUR COMPLETE
… Overall top seed Gonzaga and surprising UCLA advanced to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Final Four with wins in last night’s regional finals. Gonzaga rolled past sixth-seeded USC 85-66 to capture the West Region. UCLA, which had to play its way into the tournament as an 11th seed in the East, fought off top-seeded Michigan 51-49. Gonzaga and UCLA meet Saturday in the national semifinals. Baylor takes on Houston in the other semifinal. The men’s championship game is scheduled for Monday in Indianapolis.

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL FOUR COMPLETE
A pair of top seeds are moving on to the women’s Final Four after winning their regional finals yesterday. South Carolina breezed past sixth-seeded Texas 62-34 to capture the Hemisfair Region and Stanford thrashed Louisville 78-63 in the Alamo Region. South Carolina and Stanford meet in the national semifinals on Friday. Connecticut and Arizona battle in the other semifinal. The women’s national championship game is scheduled for Sunday in San Antonio.

NBA SCOREBOARD
Charlotte 114 – WASHINGTON 104… The Hornets took control with a 16-2 second-quarter spurt and held off the Wizards. Terry Rozier scored a game-high 27 points. Gordon Hayward finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds.

DENVER 104 – Philadelphia 95… The Nuggets jumped out to a 44-22 lead after the first quarter and withstood a second half comeback to down the 76ers. Jamal Murray led all scorers with 30 points. Michael Porter Jr added 27 points.

Orlando 103 – L.A. CLIPPERS 96… The Magic rallied in the fourth quarter to hand the Clippers their first loss in seven games. Chuma Okeke’s 18 points led a balanced scoring attack.

PHOENIX 117 – Atlanta 110… The Suns held on at the end to down the Hawks. They got 21 points from Devin Booker and 20 from Dario Saric. Deandre Ayton grabbed 14 boards to go with his 13 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Portland is at Detroit…
Indiana hosts Miami…
Dallas is at Boston…
Brooklyn hosts Houston…
Utah is at Memphis…
Minnesota hosts New York…
Toronto is at Oklahoma City…
San Antonio hosts Sacramento…
Milwaukee is at the L.A. Lakers…
Phoenix hosts Chicago

NHL SCOREBOARD
BOSTON 5 – New Jersey 4 (SO)… The Bruins came from two goals down in the third period to upend the Devils. David Pastrnak scored the winning goal in the shootout. Matt Grzelcyk netted a tying goal with 4 minutes left in regulation. Brad Marchand had a goal and an assist. David Krejci set up three goals.

N.Y. RANGERS 5 – Washington 2… The Rangers skated past the Capitals after spotting them a two-goal lead. Artemi Panarin scored a goal and assisted on two others. Goalie Igor Shesterkin made 30 saves.

Columbus 3 – TAMPA BAY 1… Oliver Bjorkstrand and David Savard scored second-period goals to provide the Blue Jackets with all the offense they needed in their win over the Lightning. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 37 shots at goal.

FLORIDA 4 – Detroit 1… Carter Verhaeghe found the net twice to lead the Panthers past the Red Wings. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 stops.

MONTREAL 4 – Edmonton 0… Goalie Carey Price stopped all 16 shots in his first shutout of the season and the Canadiens put away the Oilers early with three first-period goals. Brendan Gallagher and Artturi Lehkonen each had a goal and an assist.

CHICAGO 2 – Carolina 1… Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat netted back-to-back goals early in the second period and the Blackhawks made them stand in edging the Hurricanes. Kevin Lankinen stopped 31 shots at goal.

NASHVILLE 3 – Dallas 2 (OT)… Eeli Tolvanen’s goal at 1:29 of overtime sent the Predators past the Stars. Calle Jarkrok scored the tying goal in the third period and had an assist.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Philadelphia is at Buffalo…
Winnipeg hosts Toronto…
Arizona is at Colorado…
Vegas hosts Los Angeles…
Calgary is at Vancouver…
San Jose hosts Minnesota

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is tomorrow)…
Cleveland, ARIZONA 3, Cleveland 2…
Pittsburgh 1, MINNESOTA 1 (tie)…
Tampa Bay 5, DETROIT 0…
Atlanta 5, BOSTON 3…
Milwaukee 6, TEXAS 3…
COLORADO 2, Chi. White Sox 1…
L.A. DODGERS 6, L.A. Angels 4

The Rundown for March 30, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 30,331,025 and the nation’s death toll stands at 550,003, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky says the rising number of cases and hospitalizations leaves her sensing “impending doom.” Walensky says her fears are based on more contagious variants, more people traveling, and governors reopening their states too quickly… A new CDC study has found that the coronavirus vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are “highly effective” at staving off both symptomatic and asymptomatic infections not just in clinical trials but under real-world conditions. One dose of either vaccine prevents 80 percent of infections after two weeks, according to the study. A second dose ups that number to 90 percent… The study suggests that vaccinated people are unlikely to get asymptomatic infections that can be transmitted to others, and that the vaccines are—so far—effective against the new variants seen emerging in recent months.

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION UNVEILS WIND-POWER PLAN.. The Biden administration yesterday unveiled its ambitious new plan to boost the development of offshore wind power in the U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, national climate adviser Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and other administration officials said the plan calls for deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power across the country by 2030. Estimates say reaching the goals will create more than $12 billion annually in capital investment along both U.S. coasts and create tens of thousands of jobs in the industry and in spin-off areas. The plan will prevent nearly 80 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, create close to 50,000 direct jobs in the offshore wind sector and 33,000 indirect jobs, according to administration officials.

DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL UNDERWAY… Attorneys for both sides yesterday laid out their cases yesterday to begin the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged in the death of George Floyd last spring. Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin pinned his knee against Floyd’s neck on the ground for more than nine minutes. The 45-year-old Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.

GHISLAINE MAXWELL FACING NEW CHARGES… Federal prosecutors in New York yesterday added two new sex trafficking charges against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually exploit and abuse multiple minor girls from 1994 to 1997. Maxwell was already facing six counts of participating in a sex trafficking network run by Epstein before prosecutors added new charges of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor. She has pleaded not guilty, with trial set for July.

SOUTH DAKOTA WILDFIRE PROMPTS EVACUATIONS… Hundreds of residents near Rapid City, South Dakota, were evacuated yesterday ahead of a quickly spreading wildfire that forced the closure of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Wind gusts as strong as 60 mph fanned the flames over dry ground but no injuries were reported. Authorities say the blaze began Monday morning on private property and quickly spread into a residential subdivision.

ENTERTAINMENT
OBI-WAN KENOBI CAST
…Disney+ yesterday introduced the star-studded cast for the long-delayed Obi-Wan Kenobi series. Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen will head a cast that will also include Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie. Filming is scheduled to get underway next month.

AMANDA SEYFRIED TO STAR IN ‘THE DROPOUT’… Amanda Seyfried is set to replace Kate McKinnon in portraying former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes in the upcoming Hulu series “The Dropout. McKinnon announced last month that she was withdrawing from the role. The series centers on the rise and fall of Holmes, who was indicted by a federal jury in 2018 after falsely claiming to have devised blood tests that only required small amounts of blood.

SPORTS
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCOREBOARD (Elite 8)…
(2) Houston 67, (12) Oregon State 61

SOUTH REGION
(1) Baylor 81, (3) Arkansas 72

TODAY’S NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (Elite 8)…
WEST REGION
(1) Gonzaga vs. (6) USC, 7:15 p.m. ET

EAST REGION
(1) Michigan vs. (11) UCLA, 9:57 p.m. ET

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCOREBOARD (regional finals)…
RIVER WALK REGION
(1) Connecticut 69, (2) Baylor 67

MERCADO REGION
(3) Arizona 66, (4) Indiana 53

TODAY’S WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (regional finals)…
HEMISFAIR REGION
(1) South Carolina vs. (6) Texas…

ALAMO REGION
(1) Stanford vs. (2) Louisville

NBA SCOREBOARD
WASHINGTON 132 – Indiana 124… Russell Westbrook piled up 35 points, 14 rebounds and 21 assists in leading the Wizards past the Pacers. Rui Hashimura tossed in 26 points.

New Orleans 115 – BOSTON 109… The Pelicans withstood a late rally to down the Celtics. They got 28 points from Zion Williamson and 25 from Brandon Ingram.

BROOKLYN 112 – Minnesota 107… James Harden piled up 38 points, 11 boards and 13 assists as the Nets fought off the Timberwolves. Kyrie Irving added 27 points.

Miami 98 – NEW YORK 88… The Heat took control with a big third quarter and held off the Knicks to snap their six-game skid. Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 27 points. Bam Adebayo powered his way to 20 points and 17 rebounds.

DETROIT 118 – Toronto 104… Saddiq Bay, Saben Lee and Hamidou Diallo scored 19 points apiece to lead a balanced scoring attack and the Pistons cruised past the Raptors. Diallo also grabbed 10 boards.

Memphis 120 – HOUSTON 110… Jonas Valanciunas scored eight of his 30 points down the stretch and pulled down 15 rebounds as the Grizzlies came from behind to top the Rockets. Deanthony Melton delivered 23 points off the bench.

Dallas 127 – OKLAHOMA CITY 106… The Mavericks led from start to finish in their thrashing of the Thunder. Luka Doncic scored a game-high 25 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 20.

Sacramento 132 – SAN ANTONIO 115… The Kings made it five straight wins with their defeat of the Spurs. De’Aaron Fox scored 24 points. Richaun Holmes finished with 23 points and 12 boards.

UTAH 114 – Cleveland 75… The Jazz dismantled the Cavaliers to run their winning streak to six games. Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points before sitting out most of the second half.

GOLDEN STATE 116 – Chicago 102… Stephen Curry made six 3-pointers on his way to 32 points in leading the Warriors past the Bulls to end a four-game losing streak. Andrew Wiggins added 21 points.

L.A. CLIPPERS 129 – Milwaukee 105… The Clippers rolled past the Bucks after trailing by 12 after the first quarter. Marcus Morris scored 25 points and three other starters dumped in at least 20.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Charlotte is at Washington…
Denver hosts Philadelphia…
Orlando is at the L.A. Clippers…
Phoenix hosts Atlanta

NHL SCOREBOARD
Philadelphia 4 – BUFFALO 3 (OT)… The Flyers came from three goals down to outlast the Sabres and extend their winless streak to 18 games. Ivan Provorov found the net 42 seconds into overtime. Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux both had a goal and an assist during a three-goal third period. Couturier’s goal tied the game with 1:29 left in regulation.

PITTSBURGH 2 – N.Y. Islanders 1… Anthony Angello and Jared McCann netted first-period goals and the Penguins hung on to edge the Islanders. John Marino and Mike Matheson assisted on both goals.

Edmonton 3 – TORONTO 2 (OT)… Darnell Nurse lit the lamp 17 seconds into overtime to send the Oilers past the Maple Leafs. Mike Smith made 29 saves at goal.

COLORADO 5 – Anaheim 2… Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Jost scored second-period goals to give the Avalanche the lead for good in their defeat of the Ducks. Goalie Philipp Grubauer needed just 13 stops to notch his 100th career win.

Winnipeg 5 – CALGARY 1… Mark Scheifele scored two goals and assisted on another as the Jets skated past the Flames. Nikolaj Ehlers set up three goals.

VEGAS 4 – Los Angeles 1… The Golden Knights breezed past the Kings after spotting them an early goal. Tomas Nosek scored the go-ahead goal in the second period. Jonathan Marchessault had two assists.

SAN JOSE 4 – Minnesota 3 (SO)… Erik Karlsson scored twice in regulation and added the decisive goal in the eighth round of the shootout as the Sharks outlasted the Wild. Ryan Donato assisted on two goals.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
New Jersey is at Boston…
the N.Y. Rangers host Washington…
Columbus is at Tampa Bay…
Florida hosts Detroit…
Edmonton is at Montreal…
Chicago hosts Carolina…
Dallas is at Nashville

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is Thursday)…
Boston 4, ATLANTA 0…
WASHINGTON 2, Houston 2 (tie)…
Minnesota 5, PITTSBURGH 3…
Detroit 5, N.Y. YANKEES 2…
Tampa Bay 8, BALTIMORE 3…
Toronto 13, PHILADELPHIA 7…
CHI. CUBS 7, Arizona 1…
KANSAS CITY 5, Cleveland 4…
Seattle 5, CINCINNATI 5 (tie)…
San Francisco 7, OAKLAND 2…
Colorado 10, SAN DIEGO 2…
N.Y. Mets 3, ST. LOUIS 3 (tie)…
Milwaukee 4, TEXAS 0…
L.A. DODGERS 10, L.A. Angels 2

The Rundown for March 29, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 30,262,380 and the nation’s death toll stands at 549,395, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A report released yesterday by the White House COVID-19 team warns of a rise in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and instances of variants. The number of new people who tested positive was up 9 percent last week and there was a 2-percent increase in hospitalizations. The 8,337 cases of the British B.1.1.7 variant was up from 5,567 last week. The number of cases linked to the South African B.1.351 variant jumped from 180 to 266.

BIDEN PRESSES FOR GUN CONTROL BILL… President Joe Biden yesterday expressed confidence that the Senate would pass a “rational” gun control bill. “The only gun control legislation that’s ever passed is mine,” the president told reporters. “It’s going to happen again.” Biden was a Senator when Congress passed an assault weapons ban in 1994, but it expired in 2005. As president, Biden has unsuccessfully called on the Senate to pass two gun-control bills passed in the House and has considered taking executive action after two deadly mass shootings over the past two weeks left 18 people dead.

4 DEAD IN NASHVILLE FLOODING… Recovery efforts are underway in Nashville following a flash flood that killed at least four people and prompted the rescue of at least 130 others. The more than 7 inches of rain that fell on parts of the Nashville metro area was the city’s second-highest amount on record. Rain let up into yesterday morning but flood warnings remain in place for the Cumberland River at Nashville and other waterways in central and west Tennessee. Mayor John Cooper last night announced he had declared a state of emergency to help get local and federal resources to recover from the devastation.

ALASKA HELICOPTER CRASH KILLS 5… A helicopter crash at a glacier near Anchorage left five people and a survivor hospitalized in serious but stable condition. According to a statement issued yesterday by Alaska State Troopers, searchers had found the crash site and survivor late Saturday night after the chopper was reported overdue. The helicopter was ferrying skiers who had been on a backcountry tour, the statement said.

GAS PRICES UP A NICKEL… The average price for a gallon of regular-grade gas in the U.S. jumped a nickel over the past two weeks to $2.94, according to a nationwide survey of gas stations released yesterday. The Lundberg Survey noted that the price of gas is up 77 cents per gallon since November 20 and is at the highest point since May 2019. The most expensive gas was in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it cost $3.94 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had the cheapest gas at $2.54 a gallon.

ENTERTAINMENT
ALABAMA SHAKES DRUMMER ARRESTED
… The Limestone County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Alabama Shakes drummer Steve Johnson was arrested last on charges that include willful torture, willful abuse and cruelly beating or otherwise willfully maltreating a child under the age of 18. Arraignment was set for April 7. The 35-year-old Johnson is currently halfway serving two months probation for violating a protection order filed by his ex-wife. Johnson pleaded guilty through a misdemeanor charge. The Alabama Shakes’ 2012 debut album “Boys & Girls” produced the hit song “Hold On,” which earned three Grammy nominations. Their follow up album, 2015’s “Sound & Color,” won four Grammys. The band is on hiatus while lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard pursues a solo career.

JUSTIN BIEBER TOPS ALBUM CHART… Justin Bieber’s new release, “Justice,” sold 154,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 album chart. Another newcomer, Lana Del Rey’s “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” opened at No. 2 with 75,000 units sold. Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” sold 66,000 copies in dropping to third place after topping the chart for its first 10 weeks. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” slipped to No. 4 after selling 40,000 units. Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” fell two spots into fifth place with 36,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCOREBOARD (Sweet 16; winners meet tomorrow in the Elite 8)…
(1) Gonzaga 83, (5) Creighton 65…
(6) USC 82, (7) Oregon 68

EAST REGION
(1) Michigan 76, (4) Florida State 58…
(11) UCLA 88, (2) Alabama 78 (OT)

TODAY’S NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (Elite 8)
WEST REGION
(2) Houston vs. (12) Oregon State, 7:15 p.m. ET…

SOUTH REGION
(1) Baylor vs. (3) Arkansas, 9:57 p.m. ET

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCOREBOARD (third round; winners meet tomorrow in the quarterfinals)…
HEMISFAIR REGION
(1) South Carolina 76, (5) Georgia Tech 65…
(6) Texas 64, (2) Maryland 61

ALAMO REGION
(1) Stanford 89, (5) Missouri State 62…
(2) Louisville 60, (6) Oregon 42

TODAY’S WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (quarterfinals)…
(1) Connecticut vs. (2) Baylor, 7 p.m. ET…
(3) Arizona vs. (4) Indiana, 9 p.m. ET

NBA SCOREBOARD
Phoenix 101 – CHARLOTTE 97 (OT)… Devin Booker scored a game-high 35 points as the Suns outlasted the Hornets in a back-and-forth contest. Deandre Ayton had 14 points and as many rebounds.

Portland 122 – TORONTO 117… CJ McCollum scored seven of his team-high 23 points in the final two minutes to lead the Trail Blazers past the Raptors. Damian Lillard added 22 points and dished off 11 assists. Five other players scored in double figures for Portland.

DENVER 126 – Atlanta 102… The Nuggets shook off a slow start to roll past the Hawks. Jamychal Green delivered 20 points off the bench to lead a balanced scoring attack.

L.A. LAKERS 96 – Orlando 93… The short-handed Lakers held on down the stretch to top the Magic. Dennis Schroder pumped in 24 points. Kyle Kuzma finished with 21 points and 11 boards.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Indiana is at Washington…
Boston hosts New Orleans…
Minnesota is at Brooklyn…
New York hosts Miami…
Toronto is at Detroit…
Houston hosts Memphis…
Dallas is at Oklahoma City…
San Antonio hosts Sacramento…
Cleveland is at Utah…
Golden State hosts Chicago…
Milwaukee is at the L.A. Clippers

NHL SCOREBOARD
WASHINGTON 5 – N.Y. Rangers 4… The Capitals scored the game’s first four goals and held on to edge the Rangers. Tom Wilson netted two second-period goals. T.J. Oshie scored the decisive goal and had two assists.

DETROIT 4 – Columbus 1… The Red Wings scored three unanswered goals in the third period to put away the Blue Jackets. Michael Rasmussen sparked the surge with a tie-breaking goal.

Anaheim 3 – ST. LOUIS 2 (OT)… The Ducks rallied past the Blues after spotting them a two-goal second-period lead. Josh Manson scored the game-winning goal at 1:42 of overtime. Max Jones had two assists.

New Jersey 1 – BOSTON 0… Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood stopped all 40 shots in his first shutout of the season and the Devils clipped the Bruins. Kyle Palmieri netted the game’s lone goal late in the first period.

Florida 4 – DALLAS 1… Jonathan Huberdeau found the net twice in the first period and had an assist as the Panthers skated past the Stars. Chris Driedger made 33 saves at goal.

Nashville 3 – CHICAGO 2… The Predators recovered to top the Blackhawks after blowing a two-goal third-period lead. Roman Josi scored the game-winner with 6:33 remaining. Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and an assist.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Philadelphia is at Buffalo…
Pittsburgh hosts the N.Y. Islanders…
Edmonton is at Toronto…
Colorado hosts Anaheim…
Winnipeg is at Calgary…
Vegas hosts Los Angeles…
Minnesota is at San Jose

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is Thursday)…
TAMPA BAY 16, Atlanta 5…
BOSTON 8, Minnesota 3…
PHILADELPHIA 6, N.Y. Yankees 2…
MIAMI 10, N.Y. Mets 2…
Pittsburgh 2, BALTIMORE 1…
WASHINGTON 11, St. Louis 3…
TORONTO 4, Detroit 4 (tie)…
TEXAS 12, Chi. Cubs 8…
MILWAUKEE 7, Cincinnati 1…
CHI. WHITE SOX 7, Arizona 4…
Oakland 9, SAN FRANCISCO 3…
CLEVELAND 3, San Diego 3 (tie)…
Kansas City 6, COLORADO 3…
L.A. ANGELS 6, L.A. Dodgers 5

The Rundown for March 26, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached
30,079,282 and the nation’s death toll stands at 546,882, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A group of research papers released at a Brookings Institution conference this week concluded that the U.S. could have avoided nearly 400,000 deaths with a more effective health strategy. Fatalities could have stayed under 300,000, versus a death toll of 540,000 and rising, if by last May the country had adopted widespread mask, social distancing and testing protocols while awaiting a vaccine, estimated UCLA economics professor Andrew Atkeson. The research found that the federal government wasted both lives and money in its response to the pandemic. Federal spending could have been trimmed by hundreds of billions of dollars, researchers said.

BIDEN PRESS CONFERENCE… President Joe Biden announced yesterday during his first press conference as president that he’s now set a new goal of 200 million vaccine doses by the end of his first 100 days in office. His original goal of 100 million doses last week on Day 58. Biden also promoted his administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan and answered question on a range of topics, including the migrant surge at the southern border. The president said a migrant influx happens every year at the border and claimed that many of the current problems were prompted by the failures of the previous administration.

GEORGIA GOVERNOR SIGNS VOTING LEGISLATION… Georgia Governor Brian Kemp yesterday signed into law a sweeping overhaul of state elections. New legislation includes new restrictions on voting by mail and gives the legislature greater control over how elections are run. The Republican-sponsored law requires a photo ID in order to vote absentee by mail, after more than 1.3 million Georgia voters used that option during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also cuts the time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed. Democrats and voting rights groups say the law will disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color.

SEVERE WEATHER IN SOUTHEAST LEAVS 5 DEAD… A severe weather system descended on Alabama and Mississippi yesterday, with multiple tornadoes touching down with winds of more than 150 miles per hour. Five people died in Alabama and an unknown number of people were injured. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has declared a state of emergency in 46 counties. Storms also brought thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain.

DEATH TOLL FROM TEXAS STORM NEARLY DOUBLES… Updated numbers released yesterday nearly doubled the death toll attributed to last month’s severe winter storm in Texas. The Texas Department of State Health Services said that the number of deaths was actually 111 instead of the 57 reported initially. The number of dead is still expected to rise as an investigation continues. Authorities say the majority of the fatalities were from hypothermia, but lack of access to medical care, traffic accidents carbon monoxide poisoning and fires also contributed.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTRESS JESSICA WALTER DIES
… Award-winning actress Jessica Walter, whose career spanned six decades, died at her New York City home yesterday of undisclosed causes. She was 80. Walter won an Emmy starring in the 1970s cop series “Amy Prentiss.” She also earned Emmy nods for her work in the series “Trapper John M.D.” and “Streets of San Francisco.” More recently, her portrayal of Lucille Bluth in “Arrested Development” earned her an Emmy nomination and two SAG Award nods. Walter also voiced Malory Archer on FXX’s animated series “Archer.”

BO BURNHAM LANDS ‘LAKERS’ ROLE… Actor Bo Burnham has signed on to portray NBA legend Larry Bird in HBO’s upcoming series about the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s. The series will follow the professional and personal lives of players, coaches and executives from a team that won multiple NBA championships. The untitled series is based on the Jeff Pearlman book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.” The cast already includes John C. Reilly, Sally Field and Adrien Brody.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

Portland 125 – MIAMI 122… The Trail Blazers survived a wild finish to top the Heat. Damian Lillard made three free throws with 1 second remaining and finished with 22 points. CJ McCollum scored a game-high 35 points.

NEW YORK 106 – Washington 102… The Knicks came up big in the fourth quarter to rally past the Wizards. Alec Burks scored 15 of his 27 points in the final period. RJ Barrett added 24 points.

L.A. Clippers 98 – SAN ANTONIO 85… The short-handed Clippers pulled past the Spurs in the second half. Reggie Jackson led the way with 28 points. Paul George had 24 points and 13 rebounds.

Philadelphia 109 – L.A. LAKERS 101… Danny Green knocked down eight 3-pointers on his way to 28 points in leading the 76ers past the Lakers. Ben Simmons dished off 12 assists.

SACRAMENTO 141 – Golden State 119… De’Aaron Fox poured in a career-high 44 points as the Kings rolled past the Warriors. Richaun Holmes powered his way to 25 points and 11 boards. Tyrese Haliburton added 21 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Brooklyn is at Detroit…
Toronto hosts Phoenix…
Boston is at Milwaukee…
Charlotte hosts Miami…
Portland is at Orlando…
New Orleans hosts Denver…
Indiana is at Dallas
Utah hosts Memphis…
Atlanta is at Golden State…
the L.A. Lakers host Cleveland

NHL SCOREBOARD
N.Y. Islanders 4 – BOSTON 3 (OT)… The Islanders came from two goals down to upend the Bruins. Anthony Beauvillier netted the winning goal 21 seconds into overtime and had an assist. Goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped 32 shots.

N.Y. Rangers 8 – PHILADELPHIA 3… Mika Zibanejad scored three goals and assisted on three others in the Rangers’ dismantling of the Flyers. Adam Fox racked up five assists. Ryan Strome had a goal and three assists.

WASHINGTON 4 – New Jersey 3… Evgeny Kuznetsov found the net twice to lead the Capitals past the Devils. Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist. Daniel Sprong set up two goals.

Carolina 4 – COLUMBUS 3 (OT)… Sebastian Aho scored 1:26 into overtime to send the Hurricanes past the Blue Jackets. Alex Nedelijkovic stopped 33 shots at goal. Martin Necas had a goal and an assist.

Toronto 3 – OTTAWA 2 (OT)… Justin Holl’s goal at 4:42 of overtime lifted the Maple Leafs over the Senators. Ilya Mikheyev and Jason Spezza scored in regulation.

PITTSBURGH 4 – Buffalo 0… Goalie Casey DeSmith stopped all 36 shots in the shutout and the Penguins extended the Sabres winless streak to 16 straight games. Jared McCann scored a pair of power-play goals.

CHICAGO 3 – Florida 0… Goalie Kevin Lankinen made 41 stops in his second career shutout and the Blackhawks skated past the Panthers. Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist.

NASHVILLE 7 – Detroit 1… Rocco Grimaldi matched a franchise record with four goals in leading the Predators past the Red Wings. Erik Haula set up two goals.

MINNESOTA 2 – St. Louis 0… Goalie Cam Talbot made 37 saves n his second shutout of the season and the Wild topped the Blues for their 11th straight home win. Marcus Johnsson and Kirill Kaprizov netted second-period goals.

DALLAS 4 – Tampa Bay 3… The Stars fought their way past the Lightning after spotting them a two-goal lead. Roope Hintz scored a go-ahead goal with 1:21 remaining. Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson scored 1:04 apart during a three-goal second period.

COLORADO 5 – Vegas 1… Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog and J.T. Compher all had a goal and an assist during a four-goal second period that carried the Avalanche past the Golden Knights. Philipp Grubauer made 19 saves at goal.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
New Jersey is at Washington…
St. Louis hosts Anaheim…
Winnipeg is at Calgary…
Arizona hosts San Jose

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
L.A. Dodgers 5, CHI. CUBS 2…
SAN DIEGO 11, Texas 10…
SAN FRANCISCO 2, Milwaukee 2 (tie)…
ATLANTA 5, Tampa Bay 2…
KANSAS CITY 10, Arizona 1…
CHI. WHITE SOX 9, Cincinnati 4…
OAKLAND 8, Seattle 5…
COLORADO 6, L.A. Angels 5…
Minnesota 7, BOSTON 4…
PHILADELPHIA 13, N.Y. Yankees 12…
BALTIMORE 10, Pittsburgh 9…
HOUSTON 3, St. Louis 0…
MIAMI 7, Washington 3…
TORONTO 3, Detroit 3 (tie)

SATURDAY’S NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (Sweet 16)…
MIDWEST REGION
(8) Loyola Chicago vs. (12) Oregon State…
(2) Houston vs. (11) Syracuse

SOUTH REGION
(1) Baylor vs. (5) Villanova…
(3) Arkansas vs. (15) Oral Roberts

SUNDAY’S NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (Sweet 16)
WEST REGION

(1) Gonzaga vs. (5) Creighton…
(6) USC vs. (7) Oregon

EAST REGION
(1) Michigan vs. (4) Florida State…
(2) Alabama vs. (11) UCLA

SATURDAY’S NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (regional semifinals)…
RIVER WALK REGION
(1) Connecticut vs. (5) Iowa…
(2) Baylor vs. (6) Michigan

MERCADO REGION
(1) North Carolina State vs. (4) Indiana…
(2) Texas A&M vs. (3) Arizona

SUNDAY’S NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (regional semifinals)…
HEMISFAIR REGION
(1) South Carolina vs. (5) Georgia Tech…
(2) Maryland vs. (6) Texas

ALAMO REGION
(1) Stanford vs. (5) Missouri State…
(2) Louisville vs. (6) Oregon

The Rundown for March 25, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 30,009,773 and the nation’s death toll stands at 545.237, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Drugmaker AstraZeneca released updated phase 3 trial data for its Covid-19 vaccine yesterday after preliminary report data released Monday drew criticism. The company now says its vaccine is 76 percent effective in protecting against symptomatic cases of the virus, not 79 percent as claimed previously.

BIDEN TO HOLD FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE… President Joe Biden is scheduled to answer questions at his first press conference as president this afternoon. Biden has wanted his first press conference to celebrate passage of the COVID-19 relief package and will be pressed on a number of other pressing issues. The nationally televised event is scheduled to begin at 1:14 p.m. Eastern from the East Room of the White House.

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS IN CHARGE OF BORDER RESPONSE… President Joe Biden has put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of White House efforts to handle the influx of immigrants at the southern border. Biden says Harris will meet with the leaders of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to establish that “there is one single figure dedicated” to U.S. response. Also yesterday, the Pentagon approved a Department of Health and Human Services request to house migrant children at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas, and Joint Base San Antonio. Camp Pendleton in California and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado are being considered as well.

SENATE CONFIRMS DR. RACHEL LEVINE… Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed yesterday as assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services. Her confirmation came following a 52-to-48 vote in the Senate. Levine becomes the first openly trans federal official to receive Senate confirmation. She was previously Pennsylvania’s physician general and a professor at Penn State College of Medicine. President Joe Biden called her “a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

VIRGINIA ENDS DEATH PENALTY… Governor Ralph Northam yesterday signed legislation that makes Virginia the 23rd U.S. state to abolish the death penalty. His signature comes a month after both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly approved the legislation. Northam called signing the bill “the moral thing to do.”

ENTERTAINMENT
JAY LENO APOLOGIZES
… Comedian Jay Leno is apologizing for decades of racist jokes he’s made about Asian people. The former late-night talk-show host offers his apology amid rising violence targeting Asians, including last week’s shootings at Atlanta-area spas. Leno says he has met with the Media Action Network for Asian Americans and it has been very gracious in accepting his apology.

FORMER ‘TALLADEGA NIGHTS’ CHILD STAR DEAD… Former child star Houston Tumlin, whose only screen credit was a memorable one in the 2006 film “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” has taken his life at age 28. The Shelby County Coroner’s Office announced yesterday that Tumlin died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Pelham, Alabama, home Tuesday. In “Talladega Nights,” Tumlin played the trash-talking son of Will Ferrell’s lead character. More recently, he served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell and also worked repairing telephone lines.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

INDIANA 116 – Detroit 111… The Pacers held off the Pistons to win at home for the first time in seven games. Caris LeVert pumped in 28 points.

MILWAUKEE 121 – Boston 119… The Bucks led by as many as 25 points and then had to hold the Celtics scoreless over the final minute and a half to win their eighth in a row. Khris Middleton scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Bobby Portis delivered 21 points off the bench.

TORONTO 135 – Denver 111… The Raptors ended their nine-game losing streak by routing the Nuggets. Pascal Siakam led all scorers with 27 points. Og Anunoby added 23 points and Norman Powell tossed in 22.

ORLANDO 112 – Phoenix 111… Evan Fournier scored a driving layup with 6.4 seconds left and the Magic escaped with a win over the Suns. Fournier finished with 21 points. Nikola Vucevic had game-highs with 27 points and 14 boards.

Cleveland 103 – CHICAGO 94… The Cavaliers handled the Bulls despite the absence of leading scorer Collin Seton. Darius Garland scored 22 points to lead a balanced scoring attack. Larry Nance Jr. had 14 points and as many rebounds.

Charlotte 122 – HOUSTON 97… The Hornets took control with a big third quarter and put away the Rockets. They got 25 points from Terry Rozier and 21 from Devonte’ Graham.

Dallas 128 – MINNESOTA 108… The Mavericks pulled away in the second half to thrash the Timberwolves. Kristaps Porzingis scored 29 points to lead seven players in double figures. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 21 points off the bench.

Memphis 116 – OKLAHOMA CITY 107… Dillon Brooks pumped in 25 points as the Grizzlies downed the Thunder. Grayson Allen tossed in 20 points. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 16 points and 15 boards.

L.A. Clippers 134 – SAN ANTONIO 101… The Clippers jumped out to an early double-digit lead and never looked back in their blowout of the Spurs. Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points. Marcus Morris dropped in 20 points.

UTAH 118 – Brooklyn 88… The Jazz led 38-17 after the first quarter and rolled past the short-handed Nets. Donovan Mitchell scored 27 points in just 27 minutes.

SACRAMENTO 110 – Atlanta 108… Tyrese Haliburton knocked down two free throws to break a tie with 36 seconds left and the Kings hung on to top the Hawks. De’Aaron Fox scored a game-high 37 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Portland is at Miami…
New York hosts Washington…
the L.A. Clippers are at San Antonio…
the L.A. Lakers host Philadelphia…
Golden State is at Sacramento

NHL SCOREBOARD
OTTAWA 3 – Calgary 1… Josh Norris scored the first of three straight third-period goals that carried the Senators past the Flames. Goalie Filip Gustavsson made 28 saves.

MINNESOTA 3 – Anaheim 2… Jared Spurgeon netted a pair of first-period goals and Nico Sturm scored the decisive goal in the second as the Wild edged the Ducks. Cam Talbot stopped 28 shots at goal.

PITTSBURGH 5 – Buffalo 2… Sidney Crosby and Zach Aston-Reese both had a goal and an assist as the Penguins extended the Sabres’ winless streak to 15 games. Goalie Tristan Jarry made 26 stops.

Winnipeg 5 – VANCOUVER 1… Andrew Copp scored four goals in leading the Jets past the Canucks. Connor Helllebuyck stopped 28 shots at goal.

SAN JOSE 4 – Los Angeles 2… Evander Kane found the net twice as the Sharks doubled up on the Kings. Brent Burns assisted on both Kane goals. Goalie Martin Jones piled up 42 saves.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
the N.Y. Islanders are at Boston…
Philadelphia hosts the N.Y. Rangers…
New Jersey is at Washington…
Columbus hosts Carolina…
Toronto is at Ottawa…
Pittsburgh hosts Buffalo…
Florida is at Chicago…
Nashville hosts Detroit…
St. Louis is at Minnesota…
Dallas hosts Tampa Bay…
Vegas is at Colorado

NHL NEWS… The NHL has fired referee Tim Peel for a comment he made on the ice during Tuesday night’s Detroit-Nashville game. The 53-year-old Peel was caught on broadcast audio saying he wanted to give the Nashville Predators a penalty after he called Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson for tripping Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill, even though replays showed that Merrill embellished his fall to help draw the call. Peel was heard say saying “it wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a f—ing penalty against Nashville early.” The NHL says it has opened an investigation into the comment.

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCORES (2nd round)…
ALAMO REGION
(6) Oregon 57, (3) Gonzaga 50…
(5) Missouri State 64, (13) Wright State 39…
(2) Louisville 62, (7) Northwestern 53

HEMISFAIR REGION
(2) Maryland 100, (7) Alabama 64…
(6) Texas 71, (3) UCLA 62

MERCADO REGION
(4) Indiana 70, (12) Belmont 48…
(3) Arizona 52, (11) BYU 46…
(2) Texas A&M 84, (7) Iowa State 82 (OT)

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
PITTSBURGH, 6, Atlanta 3…
TAMPA BAY 7, Minnesota 6…
ST. LOUIS 3, N.Y. Mets 0…
DETROIT 4, Philadelphia 1…
TORONTO 5, N.Y. Yankees 0…
Oakland 14, CHI. WHITE SOX 4…
Colorado 9, MILWAUKEE 8…
L.A. ANGELS 4, Kansas City 2…
BOSTON 2, Baltimore 0…
Houston 11, WASHINGTON 8…
Texas 6, CINCINNATI 5…
ARIZONA 6, Cleveland 5…
Chi. Cubs 6, SEATTLE 2…
SAN FRANCISCO 7, San Diego 3

The Rundown for March 24, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 29,920,378 and the nation’s death toll stands at 543,793, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Texas, Indiana and Georgia have joined the growing list of states that plan to broaden vaccine eligibility to all adults ahead of a May 1 deadline set by President Joe Biden. Residents 16 years and older will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations starting Thursday for Georgia residents, Monday for Texans and on March 31 for Indianans. West Virginia, Alaska and Mississippi are currently the only states where all adults are eligible to receive shots. Utah will open eligibility to all adults today, with Tennessee following on April 5. New Yorkers 50 years and older became eligible yesterday.

SUSPECTED BOULDER GUNMAN CHARGED… Prosecutors in Colorado have charged 21-year-old Ahmad Alissa with 10 counts of first-degree murder following Monday’s attack that killed 10 people at a Boulder supermarket. Authorities say Alissa was hospitalized with a leg wound suffered in the attack but have released no information about a possible motive. During a brief exchange with reporters, President Joe Biden characterized one of the victims, Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, as the “definition of an American hero” and called on Congress to act on gun reforms.

BIDEN ANNOUNCES ACA ENROLLMENT EXTENDED… President Joe Biden announced yesterday that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is extending the Affordable Care Act special enrollment period until August 15. During a visit to the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State University, Biden said the extension was one of the benefits of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The Department of Health and Human Services later released a statement explaining that in addition to the extension, consumers will have access to additional savings through the HealthCare.gov marketplace, decreasing premiums by $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month on average beginning April 1.

DeJOY REVEALS 10-YEAR USPS PLAN… Postmaster General Louis DeJoy yesterday laid out a 10-year strategy to stabilize the U.S. Postal Service. His plan calls for slowing mail delivery standards and cutting hours at some post offices. It also includes a proposal to consolidate underused post offices, suggests a potential postage rate increase and details investments in new delivery vehicles. The USPS is facing an expected $160 billion in losses over the next decade.

TEXAS MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT ON NATIONAL GUARD… A 66-year-old man they was arrested in northwest Texas yesterday after allegedly forcing three National Guard vans carrying COVID-19 vaccines to stop on a highway and held up 11 soldiers at gunpoint. Larry Harris attempted to run the National Guard vans off the road multiple times before turning into oncoming traffic and forcing the vans to stop, according to Idalou police Chief Eric Williams. Harris reportedly pointed a loaded .45-caliber handgun at the guardsmen and demanded to search one of the vehicles. Williams said Harris told the soldiers he was a detective and he believed the people in the vans had kidnapped a woman and a child.

ENTERTAINMENT
GEORGE SEGAL DIES
… Actor George Segal, whose long career spanned dramatic roles on film to comedic roles on television, died in Santa Rosa, California, yesterday of complications from bypass surgery. He was 87. Segal received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his work opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the 1966 best picture nominee “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” He went on to appear in the lighthearted 1970s films “Where’s Poppa?,” “The Owl and the Pussycat” and “Fun With Dick and Jane.” On television, Segal starred for seven seasons (1997-2003) on the NBC sitcom “Just Shoot Me!” and more recently played Pops Solomon, a grandfather always on the lookout for the ladies, on ABC’s “The Goldbergs.”

PAISLEY PARK TO OPEN FREE TO THE PUBLIC… Prince’s Paisley Park is opening for free on April 21 to mark the fifth anniversary of the late musician’s death. Paisley Park, which served as Prince’s home and studio, is normally operated as a museum in Chanhassen, Minnesota, outside Minneapolis. Fans are encouraged to leave flowers and mementos in front of the Love Symbol statue that is located outside the entrance.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

Denver 110 – ORLANDO 99… The Nuggets built a 22-point halftime lead and coasted past the Magic. Nikola Jokic piled up 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. Jamal Murray added 21 points.

NEW YORK 131 – Washington 113… Julius Randle pumped in 37 points to lead the Knicks in their rout of the Wizards. RJ Barrett tossed in 21 points. Mitchell Robinson delivered 16 points and 12 boards off the bench.

NEW ORLEANS 128 – L.A. Lakers 111… Brandon Ingram lit it up for a season-high 36 points in leading the Pelicans past the short-handed Lakers. Zion Williamson added 27 points.

Phoenix 110 – MIAMI 100… The Suns cruised past the Heat for their seventh straight road win. Devin Booker scored 23 points to lead a balanced scoring attack. Deandre Ayton had 17 points and 16 rebounds.

Philadelphia 108 – GOLDEN STATE 98… The 76ers held the Warriors to 13 fourth-quarter points to come out ahead in a back-and-forth contest. Tobias Harris came up big down the stretch and finished with 25 points and 13 boards. Ben Simmons added 22 points.

Brooklyn 116 – PORTLAND 112… James Harden scored a game-high 25 points and dished off 17 assists as the Nets fought off the Trail Blazers. Jeff Green added 20 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Detroit is at Indiana…
Milwaukee hosts Boston…
Denver is at Toronto (in Tampa)…
Orlando hosts Phoenix…
Cleveland is at Chicago…
Houston hosts Charlotte…
Dallas is at Minnesota…
Oklahoma City hosts Memphis…
the L.A. Clippers are at San Antonio…
Utah hosts Brooklyn…
Atlanta is at Sacramento

NHL SCOREBOARD
New Jersey 4 – PHILADELPHIA 3… The Devils withstood a late rally to edge the Flyers. Yegor Sharangovich and Travis Zajac each had a goal and an assist.

CHICAGO 3 – Florida 2… The Blackhawks jumped out to a three-goal lead and held off the Panthers to end their four-game skid. Carl Soderberg’s power-play goal early in the second period proved to be the difference.

NASHVILLE 2 – Detroit 0… Goalie Jusse Saros stopped all 31 shots in his first shutout of the season and the Predators clipped the Red Wings. Mikael Granlund’s power-play goal in the first period provided all the offense Nashville needed.

Tampa Bay 2 – DALLAS 1… Steven Stamkos and Yanni Gourde netted second-period goals to give the Lightning the lead for good in their win over the Stars. Sergei Vasilevskiy made 16 stops at goal.

ARIZONA 5 – Colorado 4 (SO)… The Coyotes erased a two-goal third-period deficit and outlasted the Avalanche. Christian Dvorak scored the winning goal in the shootout. Phil Kessel netted a tying goal in the third period and had an assist.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Calgary is at Ottawa…
Minnesota hosts Anaheim…
Edmonton is at Montreal…
Pittsburgh hosts Buffalo…
Winnipeg is at Vancouver…
San Jose hosts Los Angeles

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
TEXAS 6, L.A. Angels 4…
Chi. White Sox 3, CHI. CUBS 1…
OAKLAND 4, Colorado 1…
San Francisco 7, CLEVELAND 0…
SAN DIEGO 5, Cincinnati 4…
MILWAUKEE 9, L.A. Dodgers 6…
Boston 7, ATLANTA 6…
PITTSBURGH 1, Minnesota 0…
N.Y. Yankees 5, DETROIT 5 (tie)…
BALTIMORE 4, Tampa Bay 3…
ST. LOUIS 5, Washington 5 (tie)…
N.Y. METS 5, Miami 3…
Toronto 9, PHILADELPHIA 3…
Seattle 3, ARIZONA 0

The Rundown for March 23, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 29,867,689 and the nation’s death toll stands at 542,888, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases is up by at least 5 percent in 27 states. There is good news on the vaccination front, where the number of shots being given per day has reached about 2.5 million… Trial results have shown that the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is 79 percent effective in preventing symptomatic illness and 100 percent effective against severe disease and hospitalization. The safety and efficacy analysis was based on 32,449 participants in a phase 3 trial. Several countries have temporarily suspended use of the shot in response to reports of blood clots in some vaccinated people but AstraZeneca says an independent data safety monitoring board identified no safety concerns.

10 DEAD IN BOULDER SHOOTING… 10 people were fatally shot in Boulder, Colorado, yesterday afternoon after a gunman opened fire in a grocery store. The suspected shooter was later taken into custody and treated for injuries at a local hospital. Authorities did not immediately identify the suspect and say they don’t know the motive. The dead included 51-year-old Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, an 11-year-old veteran.

SENATE CONFIRMS LABOR SECRETARY… The Senate confirmed the last of President Joe Biden’s nominees yesterday by approving Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor. The 68-to-29 vote makes Walsh the first former union leader to run the Labor Department in more than 40 years. The Senate last week confirmed Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary, Katherine Tai as U.S. Trade Representative, Isabel Guzman as the leader of the Small Business Administration and Deb Haaland as interior secretary.

FED CHIEF SAYS ECONONY IS ‘MUCH IMPROVED’… Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the economy is “much improved” since the first coronavirus relief legislation was enacted a year ago but the recovery is still “far from complete.” In prepared congressional testimony, Powell warned that the country is still facing major economic challenges. Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen are scheduled to testify today before the House Financial Services Committee in an oversight hearing.

NORTH KOREAN NATIONAL EXTRADITED TO U.S… The Justice Department announced yesterday that a businessman arrested in Malaysia in 2019 has become the first North Korean national to be extradited to the U.S. 55-year-old Mun Chol Myong will stand trial for money laundering. He made his first appearance in a Washington, D.C., federal court yesterday and faced charges of conspiring with others to launder more than $1.5 million through the U.S. financial system between April 2013 and November 2018 in an effort to evade sanctions. The court documents also accuse him of being a member of North Korea’s primary intelligence organization, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.

ENTERTAINMENT
FOREST WHITAKER LANDS NEXT ROLE
… Forest Whitaker has joined the cast of the upcoming Netflix crime drama film “Havoc.” He’ll play alongside Tom Hardy in the story about a bruised detective who fights his way through a criminal underworld in order to save a politician’s estranged son. Whitaker currently stars as real life gangster Bumpy Johnson in Epix’s “Godfather of Harlem.”

KENNY CHESNEY STADIUM-TOUR UPDATE… Kenny Chesney is calling off his Chillaxification Tour. The stadium tour was originally scheduled for last year but was postponed a year due to the pandemic. Instead of touring in 2021, Chesney plans to perform in stadiums next year under a new name and with different opening acts. The tour kicks off in Tampa and ends 17 shows later in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

Sacramento 119 – CLEVELAND 105… The Kings handled the Cavaliers to cap a 10-day road trip. De’Aaron Fox pumped in 30 points. Tyrese Haliburton added a career-high 28 points.

Oklahoma City 112 – MINNESOTA 103… The Thunder shot 56.8 percent from beyond the arc in downing the Timberwolves. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way with 31 points. Moses Brown grabbed 17 rebounds.

Charlotte 100 – SAN ANTONIO 97… The Hornets held on at the end to top the Spurs. They got 27 points from Gordon Mayward and 24 from Terry Rozier. P.J. Washington pulled down 13 boards to go with his 10 points.

Utah 120 – CHICAGO 95… Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points to lead the Jazz in their romp over the Bulls. Rudy Gobert added 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks.

HOUSTON 117 – Toronto 99… The Rockets pulled away in the fourth quarter to get past the Raptors and end their 20-game losing streak. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Jaesean Tate’s 22 points. Sterling Brown added 20 points. John Wall racked up 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

MEMPHIS 132 – Boston 126 (OT)… Jae Morant scored 29 points and Dillon Brooks added 24 as the Grizzlies outlasted the Celtics. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 16 points and 19 boards.

MILWAUKEE 140 – Indiana 113… A Bucks team playing without the injured Giannis Antetokounmpo bombed the Pacers 48-26 in the first period and never looked back in the blowout win. Jrue Holiday scored a game-high 28 points and dished off 14 assists. Khris Middleton added 25 points and Pat Connaughton tossed in 20.

L.A. CLIPPERS 119 – Atlanta 110… The Clippers came from 22 points down in the second half to hand the Hawks their first loss in nine games. Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points. Terance Mann added 21 points and fellow reserve Luke Kennard had 20.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Denver is at Orlando…
New York hosts Washington…
the L.A. Lakers are at New Orleans…
Miami hosts Phoenix…
Philadelphia is at Golden State…
Portland hosts Brooklyn

NBA NEWS… Elgin Baylor, an 11-time All-Star during his 14 seasons at forward with the Lakers from 1958 to 1971, died of natural causes in Los Angeles yesterday. He was 86. After being named Rookie of the Year and All-Star Game MVP in 1958-59, Baylor went on to average 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in his career. He became an NBA executive following his playing days and was a longtime general manager of the L.A. Clippers.

NHL SCOREBOARD
N.Y. RANGERS 5 – Buffalo 3… Chris Kreider’s second goal of the game broke a third-period tie and the Rangers went on to hand the Sabres their 14th straight loss. Adam Fox had a goal and two assists. Artemi Panarin set up three goals.

Carolina 3 – COLUMBUS 0… Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic stopped all 19 shots as the Hurricanes blanked the Blue Jackets. Jesper Fest had a goal and an assist.

OTTAWA 2 – Calgary 1… Chris Tierney scored with 2:35 remaining to lift the Senators over the Flames. Ryan Dzingel opened the scoring with first-period goal. Mike Reilly assisted on both scores. Filip Gustavsson made 35 saves at goal in his first NHL start.

N.Y. Islanders 2 – PHILADELPHIA 1 (OT)… Anthony Beauvillier wrapped around the winning goal 3:41 into overtime as the Islanders outlasted the Flyers. Oliver Wahlstrom netted a tying goal early in the third period. Goalie Ilya Sorokin stopped 36 shots.

MINNESOTA 2 – Anaheim 1… The Wild got goals from Ryan Suter and Nick Bjugstad in edging the Ducks. Goalie Cam Talbot made 24 stops.

Winnipeg 4 – VANCOUVER 0… Goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 22 saves in his first shutout of the season and the Jets skated past the Canucks. Adam Lowry found the net twice for Winnipeg.

Colorado 5 – ARIZONA 1… The Avalanche breezed past the Coyotes for their seventh straight win. Mikko Rantanen scored his 18th goal of the season.

VEGAS 5 – St. Louis 1… Mark Stone scored two goals and assisted on another to lead the Golden Knights past the Blues. Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and an assist.

SAN JOSE 2 – Los Angeles 1… Ryan Donato netted a tie-breaking goal early in the third period and the Sharks made it stand it topping the Kings. Martin Jones saved 41 shots at goal.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Calgary is at Ottawa…
Minnesota hosts Anaheim…
Edmonton is at Montreal…
Pittsburgh hosts Buffalo…
Winnipeg is at Vancouver…
San Jose hosts Los Angeles

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCOREBOARD (2nd round)…
WEST REGION
(1) Gonzaga 87, (8) Oklahoma 71
… The Zags play Creighton in the Sweet 16 on Sunday…
(5) Creighton 72, (13) Ohio 58
(7) Oregon 95, (2) Iowa 80… The Ducks take on USC in the Sweet 16 on Sunday…
(6) USC 85, (3) Kansas 51

EAST REGION
(11) UCLA 67, (14) Abilene Christian 47… The Bruins advance to battle Alabama in the Sweet 16 on Sunday…
(2) Alabama 96, (10) Maryland 77
(1) Michigan 86, (8) LSU 78… Next up for the Wolverines is Florida State in the Sweet 16 on Sunday…
(4) Florida State 71, (5) Colorado 53

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
OAKLAND 4, Arizona 4…
Milwaukee 6, CLEVELAND 3…
KANSAS CITY 9, San Diego 9…
CHI. WHITE SOX 7, San Francisco 2…
L.A. ANGELS 15, Chi. White Sox 7…
COLORADO 5, Texas 4…
MINNESOTA 4, Atlanta 2…
PITTSBURGH 6, Baltimore 5…
Boston 10, TAMPA BAY 4…
HOUSTON 5, N.Y. Mets 4…
MIAMI 7, St. Louis 2…
Philadelphia 4, N.Y. YANKEES 9…
TORONTO 4, Detroit 3…
SEATTLE 7, L.A. Dodgers 3

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

The Rundown for March 19, 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… An update released yesterday by Johns Hopkins University revealed the number of COVID-19 cases jumped more than 10 percent in 14 states this week compared with last. Seven of the states are posting a rise of more than 20 percent, the report concluded. Infections are spreading fastest in Michigan, with alarming increases also in Delaware, Montana, Alabama and West Virginia.

SENATE CONFIRMATIONS… The Senate narrowly confirmed Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary yesterday. The 50-to-49 vote paved the way for California’s attorney general to lead the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Later yesterday, the Senate confirmed William Burns as CIA director and Brian McKeon was as deputy secretary of state for management and resources. Burns is a former ambassador to Russia and Jordan who served at the State Department for more than 30 years under both Democratic and Republican presidents. McKeon has been a longtime Biden aide and adviser who also served as foreign policy adviser for President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign.

BIDEN TO PICK BILL NELSON AS NASA ADMINISTRATOR… Former Florida Democratic senator Bill Nelson is President Joe Biden’s pick for NASA administrator. Biden is expected to make the announcement as early as today. The 78-year—old Nelson flew to space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986 during his time in Congress advocated for space programs. He has faced criticism, however for his support of NASA’s troubled Space Launch System. The system’s heavy-lift rocket is years behind schedule, over budget and has yet to launch.

HOUSE PASSES IMMIGRATION BILLS… The House yesterday passed immigration bills that would protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and offer them a pathway to gain legal status. The House voted 228-197 to approve the Dream and Promise Act, which would help more than 3 million so-called “Dreamers” and other qualifying immigrants remain in the U.S. and offer them a chance for citizenship. Lawmakers also passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would help another 1 million immigrant agriculture workers and their families stay legally in the U.S. The vote was 247 to 174.

ATTORNEYS GENERAL SUE OVER PIPELINE… A coalition of attorneys general from 21 states is suing President Joe Biden and members of his administration for rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit. Their suit seeks to undo Biden’s attempt to effectively cancel the 1,200 mile-long pipeline, claiming the president exceeded his authority with his January 20 executive order revoking permits. Attorneys general say Biden and senior members of his administration flouted rules Congress established to limit actions the president can take regarding Keystone. Former president Trump approved permits for the pipeline in 2019 after the Obama administration had denied them.

ENTERTAINMENT
ARMIE HAMMER FACES RAPE ACCUSATION
… A new and determined accuser has emerged with sexual-misconduct accusations against actor Armie Hammer. A woman who lives in Europe and wants to be known by her first name, Effie, said during a virtual press conference yesterday that Hammer violently raped her and abused her physically and emotionally during their on-and-off four year relationship from 2016 to 2020. Effie claimed she has provided police with evidence that Hammer raped her on April 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. LAPD, meanwhile, confirms that Hammer is the target of a sexual-assault investigation. The actor, whose film credits include “The Social Network,” “Call Me By Your Name” and “Sorry to Bother You,” has come under scrutiny in recent months following the leak of disturbing graphic text messages that he allegedly wrote. Backlash to the allegations prompted him to step away from several high-profile projects, including the upcoming romantic comedy “Shotgun Wedding.” He had been cast as co-star alongside Jennifer Lopez but was replaced by Josh Duhamel.

HBO MAX PLANS BRITTANY MURPHY DOC… A two-part documentary about the late actress Brittany Murphy is in the works at HBO Max. The documentary centers on Murphy’s life prior to her passing in 2009 at age 32. Murphy was best known for her work in the 1995 film “Clueless” and her credits included “8 Mile,” “Just Married” and the Fox animated comedy series “King of the Hill.” Her death was ruled an accident and determined to be the result of a combination of pneumonia and the effects of several over-the-counter drugs she had taken. A year later, the death of her husband fueled speculation about her passing.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

WASHINGTON 131 – Utah 122… The Wizards built an 18-point halftime lead and held off the Jazz. Bradley Beal poured in a game-high 43 points. Russell Westbrook racked up 35 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists. Donovan Mitchell’s 42 points weren’t enough for Utah.

ATLANTA 116 – Oklahoma City 93… The Hawks cruised past the Thunder for their seventh straight win. Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 23 points apiece.

NEW YORK 94 – Orlando 93… The Knicks held on at the end to edge the Magic. Alec Burks had 21 points and 10 boards. Julius Randle had a solid all-around game with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 17 assists.

Minnesota 123 – PHOENIX 119… The Timberwolves used a big fourth quarter to rally past the Suns. They got a career-high 42 points from Anthony Edwards and 41 from Karl-Anthony Towns.

PORTLAND 101 – New Orleans 93… Damian Lillard scored 21 of his game-high 36 points in the first quarter to help the Trail Blazers take an early lead on their way past the Pelicans. Enes Kanter finished with 16 points and 13 boards.

L.A. LAKERS 116 – Charlotte 105… The Lakers came up big in the fourth quarter to put away the Hornets for their fourth straight win. LeBron James led all scorers with 37 points. Dennis Schroder tossed in 20 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Sacramento is at Boston…
Cleveland hosts San Antonio…
Indiana is at Miami…
Orlando hosts Brooklyn…
Utah is at Toronto…
Houston hosts Detroit…
Golden State is at Memphis…
Denver hosts Chicago…
Minnesota is at Phoenix…
Portland hosts Dallas

NHL SCOREBOARD
NEW JERSEY 3 – Pittsburgh 2… The Devils scored the game’s first three goals and held on to top the Penguins. Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist. Goalie Scott Wedgewood made 40 saves.

Boston 4 – BUFFALO 1… David Krejci set up three goals to surpass 700 points in his career and the Bruins dealt the Sabres their 13th straight loss. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist.

Philadelphia 4 – N.Y. ISLANDERS 3… Oscar Lindblom’s second goal of the game broke a tie with 2:22 remaining and the Flyers made it stand in downing the Islanders. Claude Giroux scored a goal and assisted on another.

Columbus 3 – CAROLINA 2 (OT)… Seth Jones netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 50.4 seconds left in overtime, to send the Blue Jackets past the Hurricanes. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 25 shots at goal.

TAMPA BAY 4 – Chicago 2… Ross Colton scored a go-ahead goal in the third period and Victor Hedman added an empty-netter to push the Lightning past the Blackhawks. Hedman also picked up an assist.

Nashville 2 – FLORIDA 1… The Predators got a pair of goals from Calle Jarnkrok in tripping the Panthers. Goalie Juuse Saros made 40 stops.

DETROIT 3 – Dallas 2… Robby Fabbri scored a goal in each period and the Red Wings withstood a late rally to edge the Stars. Detroit lost goaltender Jonathan Bernier to an injury late in the second period after he stopped all 22 shots he faced.

EDMONTON 2 – Winnipeg 1… Connor McDavid found the net twice in the second period to carry the Oilers past the Jets. Tyson Barrie assisted on both goals. Mikko Koskinen made 25 stops at goal.

COLORADO 5 – Minnesota 1… The Avalanche got four goals from their top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen in snapping Wild’s five-game winning streak. Rantanen scored twice and had two assists.

ANAHEIM 3 – Arizona 2 (OT)… The Ducks outlasted the Coyotes after spotting them a two-goal lead. Adam Henrique netted a power-play goal 43 seconds into overtime. Jamie Drysdale had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
the N.Y. Rangers are at Washington…
Montreal hosts Vancouver…
Calgary is at Toronto…
San Jose hosts St. Louis…
Vegas is at Los Angeles

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP UNDERWAY
The NCAA men’s basketball championship tipped off yesterday with First Four play-in games to fill out the 64-team bracket and finalize tomorrow’s first-round matchups…

Texas Southern 60, Mount St. Mary’s 52… The Tigers claimed a 16 seed in the East Regional and advances to play top-seeded Michigan.

Drake 53, Wichita State 52… The Bulldogs secured an 11 seed in the West Regional and moves on to face sixth-seeded USC.

Norfolk State 54, Appalachian State 53… The Spartans nailed down a 16 seed in the West and now must go up against Gonzaga, the tournament’s overall top seed.

UCLA 86, Michigan State 80 (OT)… The Bruins play on as an 11 seed in the East and will battle sixth-seeded BYU.

TODAY’S NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
MIDWEST REGION (Indianapolis)
(1) Illinois vs. (16) Drexel…
(8) Loyola Chicago vs. (9) Georgia Tech…
(5) Tennessee vs. (12) Oregon State…
(4) Oklahoma State vs. (13) Liberty…
(7) Clemson vs. (10) Rutgers…
(6) San Diego State vs. (11) Syracuse…
(3) West Virginia vs. (14) Morehead State

MIDWEST REGION (West Lafayette, IN)
(2) Houston vs. (15) Cleveland State

SOUTH REGION (Indianapolis)
(7) Florida vs. (10) Virginia Tech…
(3) Arkansas vs. (14) Colgate…
(1) Baylor vs. (16) Hartford…
(4) Purdue vs. (13) North Texas…
(5) Villanova vs. (12) Winthrop

SOUTH REGION (Bloomington, IN)
(6) Texas Tech vs. (11) Utah State

SOUTH REGION (West Lafayette, IN)
(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Oral Roberts…
(8) North Carolina vs. (9) Wisconsin

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
Washington 3, N.Y. METS 1…
Chi. Cubs 4, CLEVELAND 3…
CHICAGO 9, Kansas City 7…
L.A. Dodgers 7, ARIZONA 7 (tie)…
L.A. ANGELS 3, Milwaukee 2…
Oakland 4, SAN DIEGO 2…
ST. LOUIS 7, Miami 5…
TEXAS 12, Cincinnati 9…
SEATTLE 6, San Francisco 3

The Rundown for March 18, 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… Age appears to play a role in COVID-19 reinfection, according to new findings published yesterday by the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet. Researchers in Denmark participating in what’s considered the first large-scale study of coronavirus reinfections found that people under the age of 65 were found to have about 80 percent protection from the virus after an initial infection. Those over 65 were left with only about 47 percent protection, the study concluded.

BIDEN RECOGNIZES ST. PATRICK’S DAY WITH IRISH PM… President Joe Biden recognized St. Patrick’s Day yesterday during a virtual meeting with Ireland Prime Minister Michael Martin. The two leaders also discussed plans to discuss how their nations can work together to fight COVID-19, cooperate on vaccines and improve diplomatic relations. U.S. and Irish involvement on the UN Security Council, their relationship with the European Union, trade and continued support of the “Good Friday agreement” with Northern Ireland were among other topics on the agenda.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT PASSES… The House voted largely along party lines yesterday in passing legislation that reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act, which lapsed in 2019. Only 29 Republicans joined Democrats in the 244-to-172 vote. The legislation provides grants to state and local governments for programs addressing domestic abuse, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. It also closes the so-called boyfriend loophole to prevent dating partners convicted of domestic violence or abuse from buying or owning guns. Current law only applies the gun purchase restriction to spouses or formerly married partners convicted of abuse or under a restraining order.

REPORT WARNS OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM… In an unclassified report released yesterday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, officials warn that domestic extremists “will almost certainly” attempt to launch further attacks this year. The report claims extremists feel emboldened by the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Justice Department has accused several members of the so-called Oath Keepers group of conspiracy, spending months planning their part in the attack and coordinating to meet up with others.

IRS PUSHES BACK FILING DEADLINE… Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Chuck Rettig announced yesterday that the IRS is pushing back the official federal income tax filing deadline from April 15 to May 17. He said the move was made to accommodate those who’ve been going through a tough time during the pandemic. Rettig also urged taxpayers to check their individual state’s deadlines for instructions and potential delays of state income taxes.

TAI CONFIRMED AS TRADE REP… The Senate voted 98-0 yesterday to confirm Katherine Tai as the U.S. Trade Representative. The 46-year-old former Congressional staff attorney will advise President Joe Biden on existing trade tariffs and enforcing a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, among other issues. Tai served as the chief trade counsel for the House of Representatives during negotiations on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in 2019. She also served in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative under President Barack Obama.

ENTERTAINMENT
DISNEY TO REOPEN CALIFORNIA PROPERTIES
… Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California, are planning to reopen at the end of April. Both properties will initially will open with limited capacities to California residents only. Walt Disney World in Florida reopened last July and increased capacity in November, but Disneyland has maintained tighter restrictions.

ANGELINA JOLIE ACCUSES BRAD PITT OF ABUSE… Actress Angelina Jolie alleges that Brad Pitt was abusive during their relationship in new documents filed as part of their ongoing divorce proceedings. Last week’s filing doesn’t detail the allegations but Jolie has boasted that she is willing to provide “proof and authority in support” of the claims. The filing says both Jolie and “minor children” are willing to testify.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

DETROIT 116 – Toronto 112… Saddiq Bey scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Pistons topped the Raptors to end a four-game skid. Jerami Grant added 23 points. Norman Powell’s 43 points weren’t enough for Toronto.

Brooklyn 124 – INDIANA 115… The Nets shook off a rough start to rally past the Pacers. James Harden racked up 40 points, 10 boards and 15 assists. Six other players scored in double figures for Brooklyn.

Milwaukee 109 – PHILADELPHIA 105 (OT)… Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 10 of his 32 points in overtime and brought down 15 rebounds to lead the Bucks past the 76ers in a matchup of two Eastern Conference frontrunners. Donte DiVicenzo tossed in 20 points.

Sacramento 121 – WASHINGTON 119… De’Aaron Fox knocked down a jumper with less than a second remaining to send the Kings past the Wizards. His 28 points led six players in double figures.

CLEVELAND 117 – Boston 110… The Cavaliers came up big down the stretch in holding off the Celtics. They got 29 points from Collin Sexton and 25 from Darius Garland. Larry Nance Jr. finished with 18 points and 10 boards.

San Antonio 106 – CHICAGO 99… After trailing by as many as 23 points in the first half, the Spurs bombed the Bulls 39-19 in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory. They scored 17 straight points at one point during the rally. Jakob Poeltl led a balanced scoring attack with 20 points and collected 16 rebounds.

Golden State 108 – HOUSTON 94… The Warriors used a dominant second quarter to build a 24-point halftime lead and coasted past the Rockets. Jordan Poole came off the bench to score 23 points. Draymond Green had 16 points, 12 boards and 10 assists. The loss was Houston’s 18th in a row, setting a franchise record.

MEMPHIS 89 – Miami 85… Ja Morant dribbled the length of the court to lay in a tie-breaking basket with 1.2 seconds left and Kyle Anderson added a steal and two free throws as the Grizzlies fought off the Heat. Morant, Anderson and scored 13 points apiece. Jonas Valanciunas gathered 12 rebounds.

DENVER 129 – Charlotte 104… Michael Porter Jr. had game-highs with 28 points and 13 boards in leading the Nuggets past the Hornets. Will Barton added 23 points. Nikola Jokic finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

DALLAS 105 – L.A. Clippers 89… Luka Doncic poured in 42 points as the Mavericks pulled away from the Clippers. Kristaps Porzingis had 13 boards to go with his 11 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Utah is at Washington…
Atlanta hosts Oklahoma City…
Orlando is at New York…
Phoenix hosts Minnesota…
New Orleans is at Portland…
the L.A. Lakers host Charlotte

NHL SCOREBOARD
Vancouver 3 – OTTAWA 2 (SO)… The Canucks recovered to outlast the Senators after letting an early two goal lead slip away. Adam Gaudette scored the winning goal in the shootout. Bo Horvat had a goal and an assist.

N.Y. RANGERS 9 – Philadelphia 0… Mika Zibanejad scored three goals and assisted on three others during a seven-goal second period as the Rangers crushed the Flyers. Pavel Buchnevich had two goals and two assists. Goalie Alexandar Georgiev stopped all 26 shots.

WINNIPEG 4 – Montreal 3 (OT)… The Jets outlasted the Canadiens after blowing a pair of two-goal leads. Nikolaj Ehlers found the net 55 seconds into overtime. Kyle Connor scored twice in regulation.

Edmonton 7 – CALGARY 3… Connor McDavid’s power-play goal sparked a four-goal third period that carried the Oilers over the Flames. McDavid also assisted on two goals. Tyson Barrie had four assists and Leon Draisaitl added three.

VEGAS 5 – San Jose 4… The Golden Knights scored four straight in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit and held off the Sharks. Ryan Reaves’ first goal of the season gave Vegas the lead for good. Shea Theodore had a goal and two assists.

LOS ANGELES 4 – St. Louis 1… The Kings scored three unanswered goals in the first period and never looked back in skating past the Blues. Trevor Moore had a goal and an assist. Jaret Anderson-Dolan set up two goals.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Pittsburgh is at New Jersey…
Buffalo hosts Boston…
Philadelphia is at at the N.Y. Islanders…
Carolina hosts Columbus…
Chicago is at Tampa By…
Florida hosts Nashville…
Dallas is at Detroit…
Edmonton hosts Winnipeg…
Minnesota is at Colorado…
Anaheim hosts Arizona

NCAA TOURNAMENT OPENS TODAY… The NCAA men’s basketball championship gets underway today with four play-in games to fill out the brackets and finalize Saturday’s first-round matchups. Today’s play opens with Texas Southern playing Mount St. Mary’s for a 16 seed in the East Regional, with the winner to play top-seeded Michigan. Drake and Wichita State battle for an 11 seed in the West Regional, with the winner advancing to take on sixth-seeded USC. Norfolk State takes on Appalachian State for a 16 seed in the West, with the winner to face top-seeded Gonzaga. UCLA and Michigan State close out the day with a contest to determine the 11 seed in the East. The winner moves on to play sixth-seeded BYU.

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
OAKLAND 10, Kansas City 5…
L.A. Dodgers 4, CHI. WHITE SOX 3…
San Francisco 11, COLORADO 8…
BALTIMORE 5, Atlanta 2…
St. Louis 4, HOUSTON 4 (tie)…
PHILADELPHIA 2, Detroit 0…
BOSTON 9, Minnesota 1…
MIAMI 3, N.Y. Mets 2…
Tampa Bay 10, PITTSBURGH 9…
N.Y. Yankees 1, TORONTO 0…
TEXAS 3, Arizona 0…
CINCINNATI 12, Cleveland 7…
CHI. CUBS 8, San Diego 2…
L.A. Angels 7, SEATTLE 4