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The Warriors have been nearly perfect this season, but Ja Morant’s scorching Grizzlies might push them tonight. Memphis might want to take some inspiration from Monday’s CFP title game…

Georgia Slays Saban

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia’s first national championship since 1980 wasn’t entirely unexpected. But in context, the win was groundbreaking for one reason — Nick Saban (almost) never loses.

Georgia’s 33-18 win over Alabama on Monday was emblematic of a dominant season. The defense (nation-leading 10.2 PPG) redeemed itself after its SEC Championship embarrassment and held an offense led by Bryce Young to a single touchdown.

And despite calls for highly touted JT Daniels, QB Stetson Bennett completed 65.4% of his passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.

But it was Kirby Smart — an assistant under Saban for years — who joined the likes of just one other coach.

  • Prior to this season, Saban was 23-0 against his former assistants. After Monday night, he’s now 25-2 (Jimbo Fisher).
  • Georgia’s 15-point win was the second-largest margin of victory over a Saban-coached Alabama team since 2007.
  • Last night was just Saban’s sixth loss in 21 bowl appearances with Bama, and third loss in 10 career title games.

It wasn’t just Smart: Bennett became the first former walk-on QB to defeat a Saban-coached team since 1997 — when Saban was the head coach at Michigan State.

Smart will be rewarded with a $700,000 bonus for winning the title. The 46-year-old’s seven-year, $49 million contract runs through the 2024 season.

It’s entirely possible next year’s championship game will be a rematch — Georgia and Alabama have opened as the top two favorites to win it all at many sportsbooks.

The Sixers Are Streaking

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Fractured relations between Ben Simmons and the 76ers have dominated local headlines this year. But the focus should turn to the standings, where Philly is creeping to the top — thanks to Joel Embiid.

On Monday, Embiid contributed 31 points to the Sixers’ seventh straight win, moving them within four games of the 1-seed Bulls in the East. They’ve won five of the seven by 10+ points and an average margin of 14.7 points.

In the absence of Simmons — who hasn’t played a single game this year — it’s no surprise that Embiid is carrying the Sixers.

  • Embiid is only the third Sixer to score 30+ points in seven straight games — Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson hold the record (8).
  • He’s averaging 31.2 PPG and 10.1 RPG on 50/40/80 splits during the win streak.
  • The big man has extended his game out to the perimeter, knocking down 1.3 three-pointers on 38.9% shooting — both career highs.

Surprisingly, the four-time All-Star is the third-highest-paid player on the Sixers ($31.6M) after Tobias Harris ($39.9M) — and Simmons ($33M).

Despite a second-round exit, the Sixers were the top seed in the East last season. As the Feb. 10 trade deadline looms, they’re more likely to seek reinforcements by trading their immovable object — who looks more dispensable than ever.

Restless Ronaldo

UEFA Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo’s move from Juventus back to Manchester United sent shockwaves through the soccer world in August.

Now, less than a year into the two-year, $72.2 million deal the Portuguese star signed with the Red Devils, the dream reunion at Old Trafford has hit a rough patch.

Multiple reports indicate Ronaldo is unhappy with United — particularly interim coach Ralf Rangnick’s style of play — and could soon be on the move again. Ronaldo has reportedly held crisis talks with agent Jorge Mendes.

As proven with Real Madrid and Juventus, Ronaldo can’t help but be the center of gravity wherever he plays — and this year has been no different.

  • Ronaldo has scored 14 of United’s 29 goals across all competitions this season.
  • But Man United are in seventh place in the Premier League.
  • The 36-year-old is a five-time Ballon d’Or award winner and has won 30 major trophies, including five Champions League titles.

If CR7 does make another move — he has been linked to Barcelona in the past — the transfer fee could eclipse the $17.7 million that brought him back to United after 12 years.

One thing that could ease the tension would be a Champions League title. Ronaldo clearly lives for club soccer’s most prestigious competition, and United begin the knockout stage against Atletico Madrid on Feb. 23 after topping their group.

Making Headlines

Nathan Ray Seebeck & Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL: The Bears have requested permission to interview Bucs OC Byron Leftwich and DC Todd Bowles, per ESPN. They’re also reportedly interested in Bills coordinators Brian Daboll and Leslie Frazier, as well as former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. Chicago fired Matt Nagy on Monday.

MLB: The MLB and MLB Players Association will hold a bargaining session on Thursday. This would be the first meeting between the two sides since the lockout started on Dec. 2.

NHL: Oilers GM Ken Holland has reached out to free agent LW Evander Kane’s agent. Also: The Red Wings hired Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom as vice president of hockey operations.

Golf: Tom Watson will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as honorary starters at The Masters, which begins April 7.

Today's Action

*All times are EST unless otherwise noted.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

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