Yahoo Sports AM: Back from the break

In today's edition: The NBA's second half, Myles Rice has Wazzu rolling, the 100 most valuable teams, "Behind the Lens," Fantasy Baseball draft kit, and more.

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🚨 Headlines

⚽️ Miami wins opener: Lionel Messi and Inter Miami began their romp through MLS with a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake — and an absurd highlight.

🏈 CFP changes coming: In a nine-hour meeting on Wednesday in Dallas, CFP leaders explored new playoff models that included granting multiple automatic qualifiers to the four power conferences in a 14-team format.

⛳️ Charlie Woods eyes PGA Tour: Golf's most famous 15-year-old will compete in a pre-qualifier event today as he tries to secure a spot in the PGA Tour's Cognizant Classic next week. His dad was 16 when he made his pro debut at the L.A. Open in 1992.

💔 Tragic death: Motocross star and former X Games medalist Jayden "Jayo" Archer died while practicing a backflip trick on Wednesday in Australia. He was 27.

⚽️ Stoppage time winner: FC Porto stunned Arsenal, 1-0, in the first leg of their Champions League knockout match thanks to this curling beauty from Galeno is the 94th minute.

🏀 NBA standings: Back from the break

(Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
(Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)

The NBA season resumes tonight, commencing a two-month race to the playoffs for the two dozen teams still realistically in contention, Jeff writes.

Where it stands: The No. 1 seed in the East is all but decided, while the top of the West is a crowded mess.

  • East: It's Boston… and everyone else. The Celtics have a six-game lead over the No. 2 Cavaliers and a 19-game lead over the No. 10 Hawks, all while having the third-easiest remaining strength of schedule.

  • West: The Timberwolves, Thunder, Clippers and Nuggets are separated by just three games atop the conference, and five other teams (Suns, Pelicans, Mavericks, Kings, Lakers) are within 10 games of first.


  • The East's struggling second tier: The Bucks have lost seven of 10 since Doc Rivers took over, the Knicks have lost four straight as they await the returns of Julius Randle (shoulder) and OG Anunoby (elbow), and the Joel Embiid-less 76ers have lost nine of 12.

  • GOATs are lurking: The Lakers and Warriors have had uneven seasons, but both teams are surging and look ticketed for the play-in round. Think the best in the West are looking forward to a potential first-round matchup against LeBron James or Stephen Curry?

  • Very much alive: The Jazz (26-30), Rockets (24-30), Nets (21-33) and Raptors (19-36) are on the outside looking in, but are all still within five games of a play-in spot.

  • The terrible trio: The Pistons (8-46), Wizards (9-45) and Spurs (11-44) are all on pace to have their worst seasons ever and the timing is terrible, as the 2024 draft class looks like one of the weakest in recent memory.

More NBA: Fantasy tips coming out of the All-Star break

🏒 50 goals in 54 games

(Maple Leafs)
(Maple Leafs)

Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews needed just 54 games to score 50 goals, the fewest since Mario Lemieux needed just 50 games to get there in 1995-96.

Historic pace: Matthews scored his 50th and 51st goals on Wednesday in Toronto's 6-3 win over the Coyotes. That puts him on pace for 76 goals, which would be tied for the fifth-most ever.

🏀 Myles Rice 1, Cancer 0

(Young Kwak/AP Photo)
(Young Kwak/AP Photo)

Less than a year removed from his final chemo treatment, redshirt freshman Myles Rice is powering Washington State to its best season in 16 years, Jeff writes.

Meet Myles: The former three-star recruit out of Georgia leads the Cougars in points (15.9), assists (3.7) and steals (1.7), making the most of his first season on the court and third year in college.

  • After redshirting his first year, Rice appeared set to join the rotation last season before his world flipped upside down: He had Hodgkin's lymphoma.

  • The cancer diagnosis caused him to miss another season while undergoing twice-a-month chemotherapy from October until March 2023.

  • Last June, Rice got the call that his cancer was in remission. Now he's the team's unquestioned star, earning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors a record-tying seven times.

Ending the droughts: Rice and the Cougars (20-6) vaulted into this week's AP poll at No. 21, ending a 302-week unranked streak dating back to 2008. That was also the last year they made the NCAA Tournament, the second-longest drought among power conference schools.

Tune in tonight: Wazzu visits No. 4 Arizona (11pm ET, FS1) with a chance to take over first place in the Pac-12.

💵 Franchise valuations: Can you find your favorite team?


The 100 most valuable sports teams in the world are collectively worth $405 billion, per Sportico's valuations ($). And eight of the top 10 are based in either New York or California.

By league: All 32 NFL teams and all 30 NBA teams made the top 100. The rest of the list features 17 MLB teams, 11 soccer teams, seven NHL teams and three Formula 1 teams.

📸 Behind the lens

(Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
(Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Each week, we go "Behind the Lens" with Getty Images to get the backstory on the best photographs in sports.

This week's photo: Morgane Herculano of Team Switzerland resurfaces after a dive during the Women's 20m High Diving Final at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships.

  • Location: Doha, Qatar

  • Date: February 14

Behind the lens: Here's photographer Adam Pretty…

This photo was taken using a handheld mirrorless camera in underwater housing. I was swimming/free diving in the pool and watching the divers come off the boards. When they launched, I would dive underwater and frame up my shot.

The divers hit the water at over 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph), so they often went all the way to the bottom of the pool. Morgane fortunately resurfaced outside of her bubbles and towards me, making a really nice and elegant shape.

Being in the water gives you three full dimensions to work with, as you can position yourself in ways you can't on land. The water can complicate things as it is very unpredictable, but I love the challenge. You never truly know what you have until you have it, no matter how many times you've been in similar situations.

📆 Feb. 22, 1980: The "Miracle on Ice"

(Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
(Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

44 years ago today, the U.S. men's ice hockey team beat the Soviet Union, 4-3, in the semifinals of the Lake Placid Olympics in one of the biggest upsets* in sports history. Two days later, they beat Finland to clinch gold, Jeff writes.

David vs. Goliath: The Americans were a group of untested college kids, while the Soviets were a juggernaut. They had won the previous four Olympics and beaten the U.S. 12 straight times by a combined score of 117-26. And that didn't even include their pre-Olympics exhibition from two weeks earlier, which the Soviets won 10-3.

More on this day:

  • 🏈 1893: Auburn beat Alabama, 32-22, in the inaugural Iron Bowl. 131 years later, it's the Crimson Tide who hold a 50-37-1 edge in the all-time series.

  • 🏒 1981: Brothers and teammates Anton and Peter Šťastný both set the NHL rookie record with eight points each in the Quebec Nordiques' (now Avalanche) 11-7 win over the Capitals.

*Spoiler alert: The USA-Soviet Union game aired on a three-hour tape delay, so the result had to be kept secret from viewers. But one ABC anchor in Washington, D.C., didn't get the memo and accidentally spoiled the ending when the game was tied 3-3 in the third period.

📺 Watchlist: West showdowns

(Sam Hodde/Getty Images)
(Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Four red-hot Western Conference teams welcome us back from the break in tonight's doubleheader on TNT, Jeff writes.

  • Suns at Mavericks (7:30pm ET, TNT): Phoenix (32-22) won 14 of 18 games entering the All-Star break, while Dallas (32-23) is riding a six-game winning streak.

  • Lakers at Warriors (10pm, TNT): L.A. (30-26) and Golden State (27-26) have both won six of their last seven games. (Of note: LeBron James (ankle) is out.)

More to watch:

  • ⚾️ MLB: Dodgers at Padres (3:10pm, ESPN) … First game of spring training!

  • 🏀 NCAAW: No. 4 Iowa at No. 14 Indiana (8pm, Peacock); No. 18 Utah at No. 12 UCLA (9:30pm, ESPN)

  • 🏀 NCAAM: Rutgers at No. 3 Purdue (7pm, FS1); No. 21 Washington State at No. 4 Arizona (11pm, FS1)

  • 🏒 NHL: Capitals* at Lightning (7pm, ESPN)

  • ⛳️ PGA: Mexico Open (9:15am, ESPN+; 4pm, Golf)

*The chase is back on: After scoring just eight goals in Washington's first 43 games, Alex Ovechkin has scored eight in their last eight games. 57 more and he'll pass Wayne Gretzky.

🏈 NFL trivia

(Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images)
(Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images)

Drama is swirling in Chicago, where Justin Fields wants to know if he's getting traded or staying with the team that drafted him 11th overall in 2021.

  • Question: Which three QBs were picked ahead of Fields that year?

  • Hint: The top three picks.

Answer at the bottom.

⚾️ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

(Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)
(Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)

Opening Day is fast approaching, which means it's time to start prepping for your Yahoo Fantasy Baseball draft. We've got you covered with a championship cheat sheet.

Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league

Trivia answer: Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars), Zach Wilson (Jets), Trey Lance (49ers)

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