The Rundown for March 15, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 29,438,222 and the nation’s death toll stands at 534,880, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The U.S. has administered 107,060,274 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and distributed 135,847,835 doses as of yesterday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said 69,784,210 people had received at least one dose, while 37,459,269 people were fully vaccinated. A total of 7,547,477 vaccine doses have been administered in long-term care facilities… President Joe Biden is expected to name Gene Sperling to lead the implementation of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan. Sperling was a top economic adviser to former Democratic presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

BORDER PRESENTS ‘HUMANITARIAN CHALLENGE’… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday characterized the influx of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border as a “humanitarian challenge” and said the Biden administration has inherited a broken immigration system. Pelosi’s remarks on ABC News’ “This Week” came a day after Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will begin sheltering and transferring children who arrive at the southern border. More than 3,700 children were in Customs and Border Patrol custody as of last week, with about 450 being apprehended every day.

STACEY ABRAMS CALLS VOTER-SUPRESSION BILLS ‘RACIST’… Former congresswoman and voting-rights advocate Stacey Abrams called Republicans’ efforts to place restrictions on voting with new proposed bills “racist.” During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Abrams called the restrictive efforts “a redux of Jim Crow, in a suit and tie.” Republican lawmakers in Abrams’ home state of Georgia have introduced a slew of bills that would place would impose new restrictions on absentee voting and end early voting on Sundays, a day when Black churchgoers often head to the ballot box as part of “Souls to the Polls” voting drives. Democrats say Republican suppression efforts in Georgia are a response to surprising Democratic wins last November, when Georgians sided with Joe Biden in the presidential race and elected senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in runoff elections.

PLAINS STATES POUNDED BY BLIZZARD… Plains states are digging out from what the National Weather Service called a “historic and crippling” blizzard over the weekend. southeast Wyoming, northern Colorado and western Nebraska were blanketed under as much as 30 inches of snow amid a storm that is forecast to continue through tomorrow. More than 2,000 flights were canceled over the weekend at Denver International Airport. Colorado Governor Jared Polis last night urged that people “Stay home and stay safe while conditions remain poor.”

2 DEAD IN CHICAGO SHOOTINGS… Gunfire at a party in Chicago’s South Side early yesterday morning left two people dead and 13 others wounded. Police say an unidentified suspect began shooting after a disturbance with other people. Victims ranged in age from 20 to 44. As of yesterday morning, at least one of the victims was in critical condition.

ENTERTAINMENT
GRAMMY AWARDS
… Billie Eilish, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift were the big winners at last night’s 63rd annual Grammy Awards. Eilish took home Record of the Year for her song “Everything I Wanted.” Beyoncé made history at the awards show after winning Best R&B Performance for “Black Parade” and Best Rap Song for appearing on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage.” Her 28 Grammy wins are the most by any artist. Swift won Album of the Year for “Folklore.” H.E.R.’s tribute to George Floyd, “I Can’t Breathe,” won Song of the Year. Trevor Noah hosted the event, which aired live from Los Angeles.

MORGAN WALLEN STAYS ATOP ALBUM CHART… Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” sold 78,000 copies to remain atop the Billboard 200 album chart for the ninth straight week. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” jumped into second place after selling 40,000 units. Pooh Shiesty’s “Shiesty Season” climbed to No. 3 on sales of 33,000 copies. The Weeknd’s “After Hours” rose to No. 4 with 32,000 units sold. Lil Durk’s “The Voice” capped the top five with sales of 31,000 copies.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

OKLAHOMA CITY 128 – Memphis 122… The Thunder used a big fourth quarter to rally past the Grizzlies. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a game-high 30 points. Aleksej Pokusevski added 23 points.

GOLDEN STATE 131 – Utah 119… The Warriors fought off the Jazz to snap a four-game skid. Stephen Curry led all scorers with 32 points. Andrew Wiggins tossed in 28 points. Draymond Green racked up 11 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.

PHILADELPHIA 134 – San Antonio 99… The Sixers throttled the Spurs in their first game without the injured Joel Embiid. They got 23 points from Tobias Harris and 21 from Seth Curry.

Miami 102 – ORLANDO 97… The Heat pulled past the Magic in the fourth quarter for their fourth straight win. Jimmy Butler led the way with 29 points. Tyler Herro delivered 23 points off the bench.

ATLANTA 100 – Cleveland 82… The Hawks put away the Cavaliers late to win their fifth in a row. John Collins scored 22 points and brought down 12 boards. Danilo Galinari added 20 points.

Boston 134 – HOUSTON 107… Jaylen Brown scored 24 points and Jayson Tatum tossed in 23 as the Celtics dealt the Rockets their 16th straight loss. Tristan Thompson grabbed 13 rebounds.

MINNESOTA 114 – Portland 112… The Timberwolves held on at the end to top the Trail Blazers. Anthony Edwards made six 3-pointers on his way to 34 points.

CHICAGO 118 – Toronto 95… Nine players scored in double figures as the Bulls rolled past the Raptors. Rookie Patrick Williams scored 23 points to lead the balanced scoring attack.

NEW ORLEANS 135 – L.A. Clippers 115… The hot-shooting Pelicans blew the game open in the third quarter and coasted past the Clippers. Zion Williamson made 13 of 16 field goal attempts and finished with a game-high 27 points. Brandon Ingram added 23 points and Lonzo Ball added 20.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Sacramento is at Charlotte…
Washington hosts Milwaukee…
New York is at Brooklyn…
Detroit hosts San Antonio…
the L.A. Clippers are at Dallas…
Denver hosts Indiana…
Memphis is at Phoenix…
Golden State hosts the L.A. Lakers

NHL SCOREBOARD
MINNESOTA 4 – Arizona 1… The Wild put away the Coyotes with a three-goal third period. Kevin Fiala assisted on Nick Bonino’s tie-breaking goal and scored off a power play.

Carolina 2 – DETROIT 1… Nino Niederreiter’s third-period goal proved to be the difference as the Hurricanes held off the Red Wings for their eighth straight win. Dougie Hamilton opened the scoring in the second period.

Dallas 2 – COLUMBUS 1 (SO)… Aleksander Radulov scored in the shootout to send the Stars past the Blue Jackets. Joe Pavelski netted his 14th goal in the first period.

N.Y. Islanders 3 – NEW JERSEY 2 (SO)… Oliver Wahlstrom netted the decisive goal in the tie-breaker as the Islanders outlasted the Devils. Kiefer Bellows and Brock Nelson scored first-period goals. Nelson’s came with two seconds on the clock.

COLORADO 4 – Los Angeles 1… Andre Burakovsky and Nazem Kadri each had a goal and an assist to lead the Avalanche past the Kings. Goalie Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves.

OTTAWA 4 – Toronto 3… The Senators withstood a late rally to edge the Maple Leafs. Drake Batherson scored back-to-back goals 53 seconds apart in the second period. Joey Daccord stopped 33 shots at goal.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Nashville is at Tampa Bay…
N.Y. Rangers host Philadelphia…
Chicago is at Florida…
Pittsburgh hosts Boston…
Vancouver is at Ottawa…
Buffalo hosts Washington…
Montreal is at Winnipeg…
Calgary hosts Edmonton…
San Jose is at Vegas…
Los Angeles hosts St. Louis

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD
No. 3 Illinois 91, Ohio State 88 (OT) (Big Ten Tournament final)…
No. 6 Alabama 80, LSU 79 (SEC Tournament final)…
No. 7 Houston 91, Cincinnati 54 (AAC Championship final)

GONZAGA TOP SEED IN MENS COLLEGE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT… Gonzaga was awarded the top overall seed in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball following their undefeated 24-0 regular season. The Zags await the winner of Thursday’s play-in game between Norfolk State an Appalachian State in the West Region first-round contest on Saturday. Baylor, Illinois and Michigan were given No. 1 seeds in other regionals. Baylor opens against Hartford in the South. Illinois drew Drexel as a first-round opponent in the Midwest. Michigan awaits the winner of Thursday’s play-in game between Mt. St. Mary’s-Texas Southern in the East.

NFL NEWS… New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees announced yesterday that he is retiring after 20 seasons in the NFL. The 42-year-old Brees leaves the game as the NFL’s all-time leader in career passing yards (80,358) and ranks second all time in touchdown passes (571) and completion percentage (67.7%). He racked up more than 5,000 yards passing in five seasons, something no other NFL quarterback has done more than once. Brees was named MVP of Super Bowl XLIV in 2010 after leading the Saints past the Indianapolis Colts for the franchise’s only NFL championship.

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
DETROIT 5, Baltimore 1…
ATLANTA 8, Tampa Bay 7…
MINNESOTA 5, Boston 5 (tie)…
HOUSTON 5, Washington 0…
Philadelphia 6, PITTSBURGH 5…
N.Y. Yankees 5, TORONTO 1…
N.Y. METS 7, St. Louis 5…
CHI. CUBS 1, L.A. Angels 1 (tie)…
TEXAS 3, Colorado 1…
San Diego 10, CINCINNATI 4…
Chi. White Sox 1, OAKLAND 0…
SEATTLE 5, Milwaukee 4…
San Francisco 6, ARIZONA 3…
Kansas City 8, L.A. DODGERS 4