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Associated Press



Soccer

MADRID (AP) — The Luis Enrique era at Barcelona will end this season.

The coach said he will leave the Spanish champions to get some rest after three years in charge.

He made the surprise announcement following the team’s 6-1 win over Sporting Gijon in the Spanish league.

“I need to rest,” Luis Enrique told the post-match news conference. “I won’t be the coach of Barcelona next season.

“It was a very difficult decision for me, very well-thought out,” the 46-year-old former Spain international said. “The reason clearly had to do with the way of life I need to have in this profession, constantly having to find solutions, constantly trying to improve my team. That means very little time to rest, very little time to disconnect. After this season it will be good for me to get some rest.”

Luis Enrique won eight titles with Barcelona and still has the chance to win three more before leaving — the Spanish league, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

Barcelona is in a tight race for the league title with Real Madrid and reached the Copa final against Alaves. But it must reverse a 4-0 first-leg loss to Paris Saint-Germain to stay alive in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Pro basketball

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Brook Lopez had 24 points and eight rebounds, and the Brooklyn Nets never trailed in snapping a 16-game losing streak by defeating the Sacramento Kings 109-100 on Wednesday night.

The Nets’ previous win was Jan. 20 at New Orleans. They had dropped 27 of 28 games since beating Charlotte on Dec. 26. The franchise record for consecutive losses is 18 by the 2009-10 team that went 12-70, another low mark in club history.

Jeremy Lin scored 17 points, Isaiah Whitehead had 14 and Caris LeVert finished with 13 for the NBA-worst Nets (10-49). Brooklyn made 11 3-pointers and shot 46 percent.

MIAMI (AP) — Philadelphia center Joel Embiid’s season is over because of left knee problems, including a torn meniscus that is worse than the 76ers first thought.

Embiid hadn’t played since Jan. 27, and the 76ers had said in recent days that his return was likely later this week. But an MRI performed Monday showed the meniscus problem was worse than the original diagnosis suggested, and after reviewing that information the 76ers decided to end his season.

Embiid missed his first two NBA seasons with right foot issues, then finally made his debut this season and appeared in 31 games with the 76ers. Embiid averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds this season, numbers that merited serious All-Star consideration.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant is down for the immediate future with a knee injury, and that’s a huge blow on both ends of the floor for the playoff-bound, championship-chasing Golden State Warriors.

Stephen Curry and Co. are going to have to carry on without KD perhaps for the remainder of the regular season — and maybe longer.

Durant will be out indefinitely after he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee and bruised a bone in his leg during Tuesday night’s loss at Washington, leaving the Warriors without their shot-blocking big man who also does it all on offense.

The NBA’s top team will push toward the playoffs without its leading scorer and rebounder. For the month of March, at least. The Warriors said Wednesday that their medical staff hasn’t ruled out a Durant return before the end of the regular season, though nobody is predicting at this stage.

Pro football

BOSTON (AP) — Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez misinterpreted a brief encounter at a Boston nightclub involving a spilled drink as a sign of disrespect and became furious, later gunning down the two men involved, a prosecutor said in opening statements in Hernandez’s double murder trial.

Prosecutor Patrick Haggan told the jury that shortly after the encounter in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012, Hernandez fatally shot Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. He opened fire on their car as they waited at a stoplight, killing both men and wounding a third, Haggan said.

The defense painted a different picture, saying the real killer was not Hernandez, but rather the government’s star witness.

Attorney Jose Baez, known for winning an acquittal for Florida mom Casey Anthony in 2011 in the death of her daughter, said prosecutors want to convict his client so badly that they made “a deal with the devil,” referring to Hernandez’s former friend, Alexander Bradley.

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL salary cap for the upcoming season will be $167 million per team, up more than $12 million over last year.

The league and the NFL Players Association compile the cap from specific revenues, and it has risen annually. It was $143.28 million two years ago.

This is the fourth consecutive year the cap has risen at least $10 million.

Player benefits also are included under the 10-year labor agreement reached to end the 2011 lockout. That comes to $37 million per team, bringing the players’ total compensation package to over $200 million per club for the first time.

BOSTON (AP) — Former New England Patriots cornerback Will Allen and his business partner were sentenced to prison for running a Ponzi scheme that took in more than $35 million.

A federal judge in Boston sentenced Allen, of Davie, Florida, and Susan Daub, of Coral Springs, Florida, each to six years in prison and three years of supervised release. They also were ordered to pay restitution totaling $17 million.

Allen and Daub collected millions from investors between 2012 and 2015, saying it would be used for high-interest loans to professional athletes. Their Massachusetts business made some loans but they also diverted money to themselves and other ventures.

Both pleaded guilty in November to charges including wire fraud and money laundering.

Allen most recently played for the Patriots before retiring in 2013.

Hockey

The NHL said there were 18 trades completed involving 33 players on the day of the league’s deadline to deal, the lowest totals since April 3, 2013, when 17 deals were made involving 30 players.

Quantity didn’t equate to quality on Wednesday, with 17 of the players dealt having been placed on waivers at one point this season.

And of the 18 deals completed, only 12 involved NHL players, with the others limited to minor leaguers.

Among the trades: The Boston Bruins acquired winger Drew Stafford from the Winnipeg Jets for a 2018 conditional sixth-round pick; Nashville added forward P.A. Parenteau from the New Jersey Devils for the price of a sixth-round pick; Pittsburgh bolstered its injury-ravaged defense at the trade deadline, acquiring Mark Streit and Frankie Corrado in separate deals; Detroit acquired a third-round pick and seldom-used defenseman Dylan McIlrath from Florida for forward Thomas Vanek; and Los Angeles added veteran rental goaltender Ben Bishop and veteran rental forward Jarome Iginla.

Baseball

MIAMI (AP) — Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu told a Miami federal jury that he ate a chunk of a fake passport while flying to the U.S. to cover up his illegal travel as part of a Cuban ballplayer smuggling operation.

Abreu testified he ordered a beer on an Air France flight from Haiti to Miami and slowly consumed the page containing a false name and his photo. Abreu said he traveled illegally because he was worried he would miss an October 2013 deadline and lose the $68 million contract he later signed with Chicago.

“If I had not been there on that particular day, the deadline, then the contract would not be executed and would no longer be valid,” Abreu told jurors. “We had to be in Chicago to sign the contract.”

The testimony came in the trial of Florida-based sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and baseball trainer Julio Estrada, who are accused of alien smuggling and conspiracy. They allegedly operated a ring that took Cuban players from the communist-governed island to third countries where they could sign lucrative Major League Baseball contracts once they established residency.

College football

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ top law enforcement agency has opened a preliminary investigation into Baylor University and how it handled reports of sexual and physical assault over several years.

The Texas Rangers confirmed they are working with the McLennan County prosecutor’s office to “determine if further action is warranted.”

A group of state lawmakers had called Tuesday for the Rangers to investigate Baylor, which faces several federal lawsuits from women who say the school ignored or mishandled their reports of assault for years.

Baylor officials say an internal investigation found at least 17 women who reported being sexually assaulted by 19 football players in recent years, although one lawsuit puts the number at more than 50 women.

The statement from the Texas Rangers didn’t say if the agency was looking at specific cases or current or former school employees and students.

Tennis

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Novak Djokovic rallied to beat Argentinian Juan Martin Del Potro in three sets 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the Mexican Open quarterfinals.

Djokovic, playing in his first tournament since his shocking loss in the second round of the Australian Open, struggled to beat Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open winner, who ousted the Serbian 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2) in the first round of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It was the first match between them since.

The Serbian star will play against Australian Nick Kyrgios, who qualified with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over American Donald Young.

Spaniard Rafael Nadal routed Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-1, 6-1 earlier to move on to the next round. Nadal won the tournament in 2005 and 2013 and has a 12-match winning streak in the event. The 30-year old Spanish star will face Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, a 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 winner over Australia’s Jordan Thompson.

Associated Press

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