On this day in sport: Jordan returns, history for Harden and McLain indicted

By Sports Desk March 19, 2020

Live sport is proving difficult to come by amid the coronavirus pandemic, so we looked back through sporting history to identify major events or news to occur on this day.

March 19 certainly wasn't short of options, though we managed to nail it down to five occasions that were particularly notable.

They include the indictment of one former baseball player and another returning to the basketball court where he made his name.

Below, take yourself on a trip down memory lane… Or just get a little sporting education.

 

1978 – Nicklaus wins his third Players Championship

Jack Nicklaus enjoyed many a famous victory during his sparkling golfing career, but his win at the 1978 Players Championship was a peculiar one. In demanding weather conditions, with wind wreaking havoc, Nicklaus won his third Players title, beating Lou Graham by a single shot. No one finished the tournament below par, with Nicklaus' one-over 289 incredibly enough to secure him the title.

1984 – Former MLB pitcher McLain indicted

Regarded as a great during his time as a professional pitcher in baseball, Denny McLain's life away from the sport was rather more chaotic. Having gone off the rails after his career ran its course, McLain was charged with racketeering and narcotics violations on March 19, 1984, before being sentenced to 23 years in prison. He served two-and-a-half years, before an appeals court threw out the verdict and set McLain free. He went back to prison in 1996 on charges of embezzlement, money laundering, mail fraud and conspiracy.

1991 – Phoenix stripped of 1993 Super Bowl

The 1993 Super Bowl was due to be held in Phoenix, Arizona. However, the state's lack of recognition for Martin Luther King Jr. Day saw them stripped of the event. President Ronald Reagan had declared Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday eight years earlier and, at the time, Arizona adhered to the legislature. It wasn't until 1987 when Republican governor Evan Mecham took office that the MLK celebration was cancelled. The holiday returned to Arizona in 1993 following a vote the year before.

1995 – Michael Jordan returns

After 17 months away from basketball, during which time he had a spell in baseball, Michael Jordan was back on this day in 1995. Twenty-four hours after Jordan had announced "I'm back", he was playing once again for his beloved Chicago Bulls, scoring 19 points in an overtime 103-96 defeat to the Indiana Pacers.

2019 – Harden makes NBA history

Just last year, Houston Rockets guard James Harden made history when he became the first NBA player to score at least 30 points against every opponent in the league. He accomplished the feat with a haul of 31 in a win over the Atlanta Hawks. Just the game before, Harden had seen his 32-game streak of scoring 30 points or more end – that remains the second-longest such run in NBA history.

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  • Nash eyeing championship but warns Nets must improve Nash eyeing championship but warns Nets must improve

    Steve Nash is eyeing a championship with the Brooklyn Nets after the arrival of James Harden, but the head coach warned his team they needed to improve.

    Harden, an eight-time All-Star, was traded to the Nets from the Houston Rockets on Thursday, joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.

    The Nets (7-6) are set to contend for a first NBA championship and Nash said there was a huge opportunity ahead.

    "We want to win a championship, for sure. That's why we made the deal, that's what we're setting out to do," he told a news conference.

    "Having said that, we're so far from that right now so our expectations are to grow every day, to get better, to figure out who we are and what we are and how we fit together and where we can improve. It's a process.

    "You have to earn the right to play for a championship through the regular season and playoffs so those steps are still in front of us before we can say we're a championship team.

    "We're not a team that's running it back that's been to the Finals or Conference Finals even, we're a brand new entity that has to figure it out but that is the end goal and if we take the necessary steps and continue to improve and work towards that and commit to that process, why not? We have a great opportunity here with the players we have."

    With Durant and Harden, the Nets now have two players who have won seven of the past 11 NBA scoring titles. No Brooklyn qualifier has ever finished higher than fifth.

    Irving, Harden and Durant all rank in the top 10 in the NBA in scoring average (minimum 500 games) since the former's rookie season in 2011-12.

    Harden could make his Nets debut against the Orlando Magic on Saturday.

  • Lakers cruise as Bucks, Celtics extend winning streaks Lakers cruise as Bucks, Celtics extend winning streaks

    The Los Angeles Lakers cruised to a victory in the NBA, while the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics also extended their winning streaks.

    LeBron James had a double-double of 21 points and 11 assists as the Lakers recorded a comfortable 112-95 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.

    Kyle Kuzma contributed 11 points and 13 rebounds off the bench, while Anthony Davis struggled from the field, shooting five-of-16 for his 17 points.

    Pelicans star Zion Williamson finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, but the Lakers extended their winning streak to five.

    Giannis Antetokounmpo's 31 points and nine rebounds helped the Bucks overcome the Dallas Mavericks 112-109.

    Luka Doncic fell just short of a triple-double, contributing 28 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds in the Mavericks' loss.

    The Bucks (9-4) have won four straight to sit behind the Celtics (8-3) in the Eastern Conference.

    Brown leads returning Celtics, Drummond stars

    Jaylen Brown had 21 points and eight assists in the Celtics' 124-97 win over the Orlando Magic. It was Boston's first game in a week.

    A huge double-double of 33 points and 23 rebounds from Andre Drummond saw the Cleveland Cavaliers edge the New York Knicks 106-103.

    The Los Angeles Clippers thrashed the Sacramento Kings 138-100 thanks to 27 points, six assists and four rebounds from Kawhi Leonard.

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander posted 33 points and 10 assists in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 127-125 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

    Bulls' narrow losses continue

    The Bulls are on a four-game losing streak, with those defeats coming by four, two, three and two points. It is the first time in team history they have lost four in a row with each loss by four points or fewer, as per Stats Perform. The last team with a streak that long was the Washington Wizards in 2009 (six straight).

     

    Drummond dynamite

    Drummond produced a huge performance for the Cavs. He was 10-of-18 from the field and 16 of his 23 rebounds were on the defensive end.

    Friday's results

    Boston Celtics 124-97 Orlando Magic
    Cleveland Cavaliers 106-103 New York Knicks
    Milwaukee Bucks 112-109 Dallas Mavericks
    Oklahoma City Thunder 127-125 Chicago Bulls
    Utah Jazz 116-92 Atlanta Hawks
    Los Angeles Lakers 112-95 New Orleans Pelicans
    Los Angeles Clippers 138-100 Sacramento Kings

     

    Magic at Nets

    James Harden is set to make his debut for the Brooklyn Nets (7-6) against the Orlando Magic (6-6) on Saturday. Harden's trade from the Houston Rockets to the Nets was confirmed on Thursday.

  • Taylor pushes ahead at halfway mark of Sony Open in Hawaii Taylor pushes ahead at halfway mark of Sony Open in Hawaii

    Nick Taylor climbed into a two-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the Sony Open in Hawaii after carding an eight-under 62 on Friday.

    The Canadian kick-started his second round with an eagle at the 18th hole – his ninth – before getting to 12 under at Waialae Country Club.

    Taylor was one under through eight holes in his round before chipping in for the eagle, and he picked up another five shots on the back nine.

    A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Taylor is two shots clear of Stewart Cink (63), Webb Simpson (65), Russell Henley (64), Vaughn Taylor (66) and Chris Kirk (65).

    Henley is a former champion of the event, lifting the trophy in 2013, while Kirk was runner-up a year later.

    On what is a congested leaderboard, another eight players are just a shot further back.

    Joaquin Niemann (69) and Peter Malnati (69), who shared the overnight lead with Jason Kokrak (71), are among them, alongside Charley Hoffman (65), Collin Morikawa (65), Marc Leishman (65), Hideki Matsuyama (65), Billy Horschel (66) and Brendan Steele (66).

    Steele was runner-up last year and is again well-placed to contend after posting rounds of 65 and 66.

    Horschel, meanwhile, is the only player in the field bogey-free through 36 holes. It is the third time in his PGA Tour career he has been bogey-free through two rounds.

    Defending champion Cameron Smith carded a four-under 66 to sit at seven under – in a tie for 19th in a group that includes Kokrak.

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