Kaia Kanepi surprised even herself by holding her nerve to eliminate second seed Aryna Sabalenka in a final-set tie-break and reach Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time.

The world number 115 edged a topsy-turvy battle 5-7 6-2 7-6 (10-7) on Margaret Court Arena to set up a meeting with Iga Swiatek in the final eight.

With Monday's impressive comeback win, Kanepi has now completed a clean sweep of reaching the quarter-finals of all four majors, making her the 15th active player to do so.

But after squandering four match points in the 10th game of the deciding set, Kanepi admits she struggled to keep her nerves in check when the match went the distance.

"I thought I was going to lose it after the match points I had on my serve," said the 36-year-old, who finished with 30 winners and 30 unforced errors.

"It was really difficult to come back. I don't know how I managed to do it.

"I was really tight. My hand was shaking when I started serving. I didn't make any first serves in, and that added to the pressure.
 
"It was quite crazy. I think I would be more happy if I won after two, three match points. It was really close that I lost the match. I feel a bit exhausted right now.

"The Australian Open was the only quarter-final grand slam I was missing. Given my age, I didn't actually believe I was going to do it. I'm really happy."

After sealing a 14th career victory over a top-10 opponent, with her second win in a row against Sabalenka, Kanepi is now relishing Wednesday's battle with Swiatek.

That will pit the youngest and oldest remaining players left in the draw against each other, with 20-year-old Swiatek having earlier defeated Sorana Cirstea in three sets.

"I haven't watched her, I never played her, and I don't know how her ball feels, so we'll see when I play her," Kanepi said of her next opponent. "What I expect is to play good."

Kanepi is one of six Australian Open quarter-final debutants remaining, with top seed Ash Barty and Madison Keys the only two to have previously reached this stage.

Cayman Islands’ Aaron Jarvis created history on Sunday when he became the first golfer from the Caribbean to win the Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) that concluded at the Teeth of the Dog Golf Course in the Dominican Republic.

UFC boss Dana White is hopeful Conor McGregor's latest comeback is on the horizon.

The Irish superstar fractured the fibula and tibia of his left leg in a first-round defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 last July.

McGregor, who claimed he started that fight in Las Vegas with multiple leg fractures, has been recovering after undergoing surgery.

White told TMZ he is optimistic the 33-year-old will be back in the Octagon before too long.

He stated: "I think so, yeah. He's doing all the right things with his leg. I'm hoping he can come back this summer."

McGregor has been beaten in three of his past four bouts, with Poirier consigning him to back-to-back losses.

He revealed a plan for his return back in November.

"I will be full mixed martial arts sparring by April. Easily! By then a return will be imminent. But I must be patient. I will beat this!" McGregor tweeted.

The Buffalo Bills face an offseason where they must continue to work to find a way to beat Patrick Mahomes after being left sick to their stomach by his incredible late heroics in the NFL Divisional Round.

Buffalo appeared destined to knock off the AFC's dominant power in Kansas City, striking what looked to be the decisive blow when Josh Allen found Gabriel Davis, who reeled in his fourth touchdown catch of the game to set a postseason record, to give the Bills a 36-33 lead with just 13 seconds left as an incredible weekend of playoff matchups saved its most remarkable for last.

Yet 13 seconds proved more than enough time for Mahomes to thwart the Bills again, driving the Chiefs down to the Buffalo 31-yard line to set Harrison Butker up for a 49-yard field goal to force overtime.

And Mahomes then ensured the Bills will be stewing over their inability to close the game out until the start of the 2022 campaign as the Chiefs won the overtime coin toss and sealed victory with an eight-play drive capped by his eight-yard touchdown throw to Travis Kelce, whose superb catch sealed a 42-36 triumph that will go down in NFL folklore.

While Bills fans will understandably want to extinguish the memory of a painful defeat, McDermott, having seen his team defeated by Mahomes and Co. in last year's AFC Championship Game, must now reflect on an astonishing late turnaround and determine how they can stop the quarterback who continues to haunt them.

McDermott said of Mahomes in his post-game media conference: "That's the reality of our situation, and we’ve got to continue to work to beat him.

"Give him the credit. He made a couple plays down the stretch. That’s what great players do. They make big plays in big moments in big games.

"The game came down to, pretty much, 13 seconds. I think they all feel the same way I do; we're all sick to [our] stomach and it hurts. We worked really hard to get here.

"I know the fans are disappointed. I wish I could take that off of them, take it off the team. But we can't."

Asked about the bizarre decision to send the kick-off after Davis' fourth touchdown out of the endzone for a touchback rather than taking time off the clock by kicking it in play, McDermott replied: "We talk about a lot of things. I'm just going to leave it at execution and it starts with me."

Allen, meanwhile, echoed McDermott's sentiments after once again being left to take in the agony of another loss to Mahomes, whose game-winning connection with Kelce marked the fifth and final lead change following the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter.

"It was tough to be in that moment," Allen said. "I have a lot of respect for Pat. He throws a winning touchdown, and he comes straight over and finds me.

"To be in that situation and to do that, that was pretty cool of him. Obviously, it just sucks the way it happened. We wanted to win that game and had our opportunities.

"I was taking it all in and holding on to that feeling and making sure that we don't feel like this again. Back-to-back years in the same spot, it's tough to take in, but it's part of the game; it's part of the learning process.

"We've got to use this and figure out how to be better and how to accomplish what we want to accomplish."

Rory McIlroy believes playing patient golf will be the trick to succeeding once more in a major.

The former world number one is a four-time major winner, but the last of those victories came in 2014 at the PGA Championship.

McIlroy has enjoyed plenty of success since then, winning such as the Tour Championship twice, the Wells Fargo Championship twice, the DP World Tour Championship and the Players Championship.

While a fifth major success has eluded him, the 32-year-old is confident his chance will come again if he remains in the right mindset.

"I haven't won a major in the last seven years but I've basically won everything else," he told BBC Sport.

"I've won the Players Championship, I've won FedEx Cups, I've won Race to Dubai, I've won World Golf Championships, I've won national opens. You know, I've done a lot in the past seven years.

"That hasn't included a major championship but I've played good enough golf in those seven years to win one and I'm staying as patient as I possibly can and, as I say, just giving myself chances.

"I don't think there's anything I should or could do differently. I think the one thing that's held me back, especially in the majors over the last few years, is just getting off to slow starts.

"Opening up at Augusta with a 72 or a 71 and not shooting that 67 or 68 that puts you right in the thick of the tournament from the very start.

"I can't go into the first round of a tournament or on a Wednesday night under pressure to try and shoot a good score. I just have to go out there and let it happen.

"Historically when I've got myself up there early in a tournament I've been able to stay there and capitalise on that start."

McIlroy also believes the depth of quality rivals he faces has made the challenge of winning another major even greater.

"I think I haven't given myself enough chances," said the world number eight.

"I think if I'd have had more chances and realistic chances, just putting yourself in those positions, the more comfortable you are going to feel up there. 

"If you keep knocking on the door, one of those doors is going to open for you.

"I had a chance at Carnoustie in 2018, played the final group with Patrick Reed in 2018 at Augusta, tied for the lead with nine holes to go at the US Open last year at Torrey Pines.

"I've had a few chances and just haven't capitalised. I think players are getting better and better.

"When I last won back in 2014 I'd never heard of [Open champion] Collin Morikawa, I'd never heard of [world number one] Jon Rahm.

"A lot of these guys coming through are playing unbelievably good golf. I don't just have to beat five guys."

Anthony Joshua has "a number of proposals" to consider amid reports he could step aside from a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in order for Tyson Fury to fight the Ukrainian.

Usyk outclassed Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September to claim his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.

The Brit activated a clause to step into the ring with Usyk for a second time, but The Daily Telegraph revealed he could step aside for a fee of £15million to pave the way for his compatriot Fury to do battle with the 35-year-old in a unification bout in the Middle East.

Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, revealed the 2012 Olympic champion has several options to mull over.

"I'm meeting with AJ and 258 management [on Tuesday] to go through plans for his next fight." he told Sky Sports.

"We have a number of proposals and options to discuss. The goal remains the same of course - to re-capture the world heavyweight crown."

Fury has not agreed a mandatory defence of his WBC strap with Dillian Whyte.

Usyk's promoter, Alexander Krassyuk, says it is up in the air over which Englishman will be his fighter's next opponent.

"We are in talks regarding the Fury fight since November," Krassyuk told Sky Sports.

"And though AJ gave his consent [reportedly] we still have not reached the final point in negotiations. And unless we get it - AJ rematch remains the basic option for us."

Patrick Mahomes put Sunday's incredible win for the Kansas City Chiefs among his career highlights as he propelled his team to within one victory of a third straight Super Bowl appearance.

A thrilling contest between the Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills was settled in Kansas City's favour when Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a game-winning touchdown in overtime.

The Chiefs have now reached the AFC Championship for the fourth straight season, as they look to go on and replicate their Super Bowl success from two years ago.

Buffalo seemed to have the game tied up in regulation time when Josh Allen picked out Gabriel Davis for a record-breaking fourth touchdown with just 13 seconds left on the clock, making it 36-33 to the Bills.

Yet Mahomes got the Chiefs within field-goal range and Harrison Butker did the rest to send the roller coaster encounter into overtime.

Mahomes – who completed 33 of 44 attempts for 378 yards with three touchdowns as well as getting into the endzone himself for the Chief's first TD – then kept his composure to find Kelce in the corner four minutes and 15 seconds into overtime after Kansas City had won the coin flip.

"To be in this moment in this game against that team, to make a play to walk off a game at Arrowhead, I'll remember this game for the rest of my life.

"It was definitely special to win a game like this at Arrowhead. Obviously the Super Bowl was probably number one for me but this one is right up there.

“To be able to come back a couple of times, get points when we needed to get points, score touchdowns, get in field goal range, I'll remember it forever."

Asked what words of wisdom he offered to the Chief's talisman before overtime, head coach Andy Reid replied: "When it's grim, be the Grim Reaper and go get it.

"He did that. He made everyone around him better, which he's great at, and he just does it effortlessly. When it gets tough, he's going to be there battling."

"This is definitely another step for him into the Hall of Fame," Mahomes' team-mate Tyreek Hill added of the QB.

"He had the chance to prove once again he's at the top of when it comes to quarterbacks in this league.

"He definitely doesn't flinch, especially in moments like that."

Across 17 regular-season appearances in 2021, Mahomes threw for 37 touchdowns, tied for fourth in the NFL alongside Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers.

Only Matthew Stafford (4,886), Justin Herbert (5,014) and the league-leading Tom Brady (5,316) had a higher yardage than Mahomes' 4,839 in the regular season, with just Herbert and Brady completing more passes in total.

Mahomes has already accumulated eight touchdowns this postseason, doubling his tally from last year and is just two shy of his previous postseason best of 10, set in the Chief's triumphant 2019 campaign.

Kansas City will face Cincinnati in the AFC Championship game, with the Bengals having won 34-31 in the most recent meeting between the teams on January 2, a defeat that snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Chiefs.

Tobias Harris is in awe of team-mate Joel Embiid, who continues to scale new heights for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Embiid, a four-time NBA All-Star, is having an MVP-worthy season and finished with a double-double of 38 points and 12 rebounds in the 76ers' 115-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.

The 27-year-old has now surpassed 1,000 points for the season, becoming the 10th player to do so in the NBA this campaign.

Only LeBron James (29.0) and Kevin Durant (29.3) are averaging more points per game than Embiid (28.7) across the league.

After his efforts on Sunday, when he shot 16 for 32 from the field in 32 minutes, Embiid has now scored 25 points or more in 14 successive games, earning the high praise of Harris.

"What he's doing is special," Harris told reporters.

"We rely on him night in and night out. He's the anchor for our team. The anchor for our offensive flow out there.

"I thought tonight he just did a great job of picking the game apart. Really getting everyone involved out there in their spots and still being able to get the shots that he wanted."

Harris also contributed 18 points as the 76ers claimed a seventh straight win over the Spurs.

Jakob Poeltl was San Antonio's standout performer with 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Harris acknowledged the 76ers still gave up too many opportunities defensively.

"We still had too many defensive mistakes in the fourth quarter," Harris added.

"We've got to clean that up. We've got to be able to really make a stand and hold our ground there."

Daniil Medvedev's temper threatened to boil over during his match against Maxime Cressy, as the world number two reflected on a "crazy" final set.

Medvedev beat Cressy 6-2 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 on Monday to ensure his place in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The second seed is the fifth Russian man in the Open Era to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne on multiple occasions, joining Yevgeny Kafelnikov (five), Nikolay Davydenko (four), Aleksandar Metreveli and Marat Safin (both three).

Medvedev had it far from easy against the world number 70, who reached the final of the Melbourne Summer Set earlier this month, losing to Rafael Nadal, and the match lasted three hours and 30 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.

Indeed, Medvedev was extremely tense in the fourth and what proved to be final set, as he squandered eight chances to break before finally doing so to nudge himself into a 6-5 lead. 

His temper frayed at 2-2, however, with Medvedev shouting: "It's simply unbelievable how lucky he is. I've never seen anything like this in my life."

Medvedev eventually served out the win, taking the first match point on offer, but the US Open champion knew he had been in a battle.

"He really did [serve and volley] well," Medvedev said. "First set I had control, but the second set I didn't manage to break him but won the tie-break and just wanted to continue this way.

"When I lost the third [set] and when I had eight break points in the fourth set, I was like, come on. Some of them I could have won, but he played well, but on the last one I played well.

"It was not easy. If I didn't win the fourth [set] I'd have probably been in a difficult mental shape because I had so many breakpoints. Hell of a match. The fourth set was crazy."

Overall it was a deserved win for Medvedev, who made only 11 unforced errors in contrast to Cressy's 49, and even if he only took three out of 12 break points, the 25-year-old offered up just one to his opponent, which the French-born American failed to capitalise on.

Another annoyance for Medvedev was that he was again scheduled to play on Margaret Court Arena, rather than the crown jewel at Melbourne Park, Rod Laver Arena.

"I really don't know what I should do to play on centre court here," he told reporters.

Next up for Medvedev is a quarter-final tie against ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Medvedev has defeated the 21-year-old Canadian in all three of their previous meetings on the ATP Tour, including in his successful run to US Open glory last year, and in the ATP Cup earlier this month.

LeBron James does not plan on halting his scoring run after he finished with 25 points or more for a 17th straight game.

James had a double-double but it was not enough for the fast-finishing Los Angeles Lakers to overcome his former side the Miami Heat on Sunday.

Miami turned up the heat on Lakers coach Frank Vogel, with Los Angeles having now lost five of their last seven games after the 113-107 reverse.

There was at least one bright note for the Lakers, who charged home with 37-24 points down the stretch to reduce the deficit.

James finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. The veteran is averaging 29.0 points per game this season for the Lakers, who sit eighth in the Western Conference with a 23-24 record. That ranks him second in the NBA, behind Kevin Durant (29.3).

A knee injury for Anthony Davis earlier in the season meant James has had to deliver, and he has certainly held up his end of the bargain. Indeed, across the last 17 games, only Joel Embiid (33.9) has averaged more than the 37-year-old's 32.5 points.

"I don't need to score 30 a night, but I'm in one of the best zones offensively I've been in, in my career," James told reporters. 

"And I don't plan on stopping. That's just how I feel. I feel fantastic. Shooting the ball extremely well. I didn't shoot the three-ball well tonight, but all eight of them felt great.

"I'm shooting efficiently from the free-throw line, shooting efficiently from the field. I was very efficient at the rim. So I don't go into the game saying you got to score 30 or you guys don't have a chance to win the game. I just play the game. The scoring has been happening organically."

Russell Westbrook provided able support on Sunday with 24 points and nine rebounds, but Vogel is looking forward to welcoming Davis back from injury, having said before the game that it will help share the workload.

For his part, however, James has his eye on another milestone. The big one, in fact – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time points record of 38,387.

"As I've continued to climb the ranks, it's natural, human to look at it and see where you are and see if it's even possible. See if you're capable," added James, who is 2,006 points behind the record.

"Obviously health plays the most important part and then just continuing to give your everything to the game. I've never cheated the game. I've never wanted to feel like I was content.

"I wanted to continue to get better and like you said, I will be within 2,000 points, when did you say? Soon? Well, listen, we'll see what happens. I've never chased a record in my life."

James Harden hit out at what he perceives to be a lack of consistency from the officials following the Brooklyn Nets' 136-125 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The nine-time NBA All-Star endured a frustrating time at Target Center as he got to the line only four times and scored 13 points.

Only once this season, against the Phoenix Suns in November (12), has Harden – who shot four-of-13 – ended a game with fewer points.

But Harden feels as though he has been on the end of some tough treatment from referees.

"I don't know. I don't even want to talk about it," he told reporters. "But it's definitely – when I get to the basket, it's the same calls the guys are getting. 

"Obviously, you can't call all of them. But there's ones where there's clearly stiff-arms and trips and things like that. On the other end, there's no consistency. So it's frustrating."

Asked what explanation he has had regarding certain calls going against him, Harden said: "Nothing. Honestly, nothing. 

"Like [officials say], 'I didn't see it,' or 'I didn't think it was a foul.' But it's clear. It's extremely clear. I don't want to talk about it. I just got to keep going. It's not going to stop me. 

"I'll keep on going to the basket, keep being aggressive and keep making plays for my team."

The Timberwolves were awarded 31 free throw attempts compared to 15 for the Nets, who had 29 personal fouls called against them compared to 17 for their opponents.

Nets Head coach Steve Nash echoed Harden's complaints as he also took aim at the officials.

"I think there's nights where it's fair, and even including the points of emphasis this year," Nash said. "Then there's other nights where it feels like he gets targeted a little bit. 

"It just automatically gets lumped into that point of emphasis where he is creating the foul, which is not always the case at all."

NBA officials have clamped down on offensive players who attempt to create contact and draw fouls from opponents, which Nash claims Harden has become the biggest victim of.

"I think it's been well-documented that he's a poster child," Nash said. "I think the start of the year was rough – they were really trying to correct the point of emphasis. 

"I think they overcorrected. Now we [have] come back to the middle, but tonight was one of those nights where I felt like some of the calls that should go his way didn't."

The Nets allowed 30 points in every quarter for the second time in 10 days, when losing 130-109 to Oklahoma City, as they fell behind the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.

Harden's treatment was the big talking point from the Timberwolves loss, but Kyrie Irving backed his team-mate to adapt.

"I think teams have made adjustments, the referees have made adjustments, and now we have to make adjustments," said Irving, who led the Nets with 30 points.

"He goes to the paint aggressively and we want him to continue doing that. He's going to be James. We know who James is – we know he's going to be himself.

"But the whistle can go either way night to night. And depending on the [officiating] crew we have, I think that also has an effect on it.

"We just want to start off the game with a consistent whistle. And when he's going in there and he's creating some contact, we feel like he deserves that respect."

An emotional Alize Cornet said "it is never too late to try again" after reaching her maiden grand slam quarter-final with victory over Simona Halep at the Australian Open.

Cornet, who celebrated her 32nd birthday on Saturday, battled to a 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory in stifling conditions on Rod Laver Arena to set up a last-eight showdown with Danielle Collins, who beat Elise Mertens in three sets.

The Frenchwoman has now defeated two in-form former number ones in Halep and Garbine Muguruza, having also recovered from a set and 1-4 down to overcome Tamara Zidansek.

She is through to her first quarter-final in what is her 63rd grand slam appearance and is the first Frenchwoman to reach this stage at Melbourne Park since Marion Bartoli in 2009.

Cornet is playing in her 60th straight major, and should she compete in the main draws at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows, will set a new record for consecutive appearances in grand slams.

"It feels amazing," Cornet said in her on-court interview with Jelena Dokic. "It was a battle with Simona today. In this heat after 30 minutes we were both dying on the court.

"We kept going for two and a half hours with all our heart. Congrats to Simona because I know she struggled a lot and I admire this player so much. 

"She's such a fighter and an example to me. To beat her today to go to my first quarter-final is a dream come true. I don't know what to say. It's just magic. It's never too late to try again.

"This is why I keep playing tennis, for this moment where I can share all these emotions on the court with you."

Cornet had reached the last 16 at majors on five occasions prior to her victory over Halep in a run dating back 13 years when narrowly missing out on the Australian Open quarter-finals.

She was pegged back from a set and break up against Halep, losing 16 straight points at one point, and was clearly struggling with the heat as the match dragged into a decider.

But Cornet, who recently suggested this might be her final season playing professional tennis, showed incredible resolve to break Halep in the seventh game and hold her own serve to break her quarter-final hoodoo.

Halep congratulated Cornet, posting to her official Instagram account: "You have been stronger today! All the respect for you, Alize. Enjoy. I'll keep working to get better for another three-hour match when we meet again."

In her post-match media duties, Halep said: "I have only nice words about her, because I like her on court, how she's fighting.

"She deserves what is happening to her now. She works hard all the time, and I wish her good luck. I really want her to make this dream coming true."

There was to be another emotional moment for Cornet at the end of her victory speech as she praised 2009 Australian Open quarter-finalist Dokic for her work off the court since retiring eight years ago.

"I want to thank my box, but also I want to tell you something... how you moved on in your life, I think we can all congratulate you. You were an amazing player and now an amazing commentator," Cornet said as the pair embraced on court.

Dokic, who last week called out social media trolls for body-shaming her, responded: "You just made me cry. I can’t believe I'm crying. Thank you. Alize Cornet."

Patrick Mahomes put Sunday's incredible win for the Kansas City Chiefs among his career highlights as he propelled his team to within one victory of a third straight Super Bowl appearance.

A thrilling contest between the Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills was settled in Kansas City's favour when Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a game-winning touchdown in overtime.

The Chiefs have now reached the AFC Championship for the fourth straight season, as they look to go on and replicate their Super Bowl success from two years ago.

Buffalo seemed to have the game tied up in regulation time when Josh Allen picked out Gabriel Davis for a record-breaking fourth touchdown with just 13 seconds left on the clock, making it 36-33 to the Bills.

Yet Mahomes got the Chiefs within field-goal range and Harrison Butker did the rest to send the roller coaster encounter into overtime.

Mahomes – who completed 33 of 44 attempts for 378 yards with three touchdowns as well as getting into the endzone himself for the Chief's first TD – then kept his composure to find Kelce in the corner four minutes and 15 seconds into overtime after Kansas City had won the coin flip.

"To be in this moment in this game against that team, to make a play to walk off a game at Arrowhead, I'll remember this game for the rest of my life.

"It was definitely special to win a game like this at Arrowhead. Obviously the Super Bowl was probably number one for me but this one is right up there.

“To be able to come back a couple of times, get points when we needed to get points, score touchdowns, get in field goal range, I'll remember it forever."

Asked what words of wisdom he offered to the Chief's talisman before overtime, head coach Andy Reid replied: "When it's grim, be the Grim Reaper and go get it.

"He did that. He made everyone around him better, which he's great at, and he just does it effortlessly. When it gets tough, he's going to be there battling."

"This is definitely another step for him into the Hall of Fame," Mahomes' team-mate Tyreek Hill added of the QB.

"He had the chance to prove once again he's at the top of when it comes to quarterbacks in this league.

"He definitely doesn't flinch, especially in moments like that."

Across 17 regular-season appearances in 2021, Mahomes threw for 37 touchdowns, tied for fourth in the NFL alongside Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers.

Only Matthew Stafford (4,886), Justin Herbert (5,014) and the league-leading Tom Brady (5,316) had a higher yardage than Mahomes' 4,839 in the regular season, with just Herbert and Brady completing more passes in total.

Mahomes has already accumulated eight touchdowns this postseason, doubling his tally from last year and is just two shy of his previous postseason best of 10, set in the Chief's triumphant 2019 campaign.

Kansas City will face Cincinnati in the AFC Championship game, with the Bengals having won 34-31 in the most recent meeting between the teams on January 2, a defeat that snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Chiefs.

Matthew Stafford revelled in "stealing somebody's soul" after he helped the Los Angeles Rams end the Tamp Bay Buccaneers' playoff hopes.

The Rams prevailed 30-27 over last season's Super Bowl champions on Sunday to reach the NFC Championship game, which will be a matchup between two underdogs after the San Francisco 49ers' win over the Green Bay Packers.

Yet it could very well have gone badly wrong for Los Angeles, who had led 27-3 until a Tom Brady-inspired comeback from the Bucs in the final quarter.

Brady connected with Mike Evans for a 55-yard touchdown pass, with the possibility of a turnaround that would rank as the joint-fourth largest in postseason history coming into view.

Evans' score made the game 27-20 and another Rams mistake allowed the Bucs to level the scores through Leonard Fournette.

Yet Stafford had other ideas, with the 33-year-old – who joined from the Detroit Lions ahead of this season – combining with wide receiver Cooper Kupp to set up a Matt Gray field goal.

"In my mind, I live for those kinds of moments," said Stafford, who has now made 43 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. That is the most of any player since the QB first featured in the NFL in 2009.

"I would have loved to have been taking a knee up three scores, but it's a whole lot more fun when you've got to make a play like that to win the game and just steal somebody's soul.

"That's what it feels like sometimes where they're sitting there going, 'Man, we just had this great comeback.' And you get to reach in there and take it from them. That's a whole lot of fun."

Stafford threw for 366 yards against Tampa Bay, a high mark for the season, besting his previous high of 365 set against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 5 and bringing up the third-highest yardage in a single postseason game in Rams history.

He also threw for two touchdowns, rushed another and registered a pass completion rate of 73.7 per cent, finding his target with 28 of 38 attempts.

One of those touchdown passes was a 70-yard combination with Kupp, who led the way in the regular season for receiving yards (1,947), receiving touchdowns (16) and receptions (145).

However, Kupp was not happy with how the Rams' offense performed in the midst of Tampa Bay’s fightback.

"As an offense, we first and foremost did a terrible job of executing for this team in the second half," Kupp said.

"We can't do the things that we did. Put our defense, our team in a really bad spot."

Yet head coach Sean McVay was happy to reflect on a thrilling win, saying: "That's why you play four quarters and try to finish that game out.

"That was something else. That was something else.

"Those guys did a great job. I thought Matthew Stafford was unbelievable throughout the whole day. Just his poise, his command, his decision-making."

LeBron James had a double-double but it was not enough for the fast-finishing Los Angeles Lakers to overcome his former side the Miami Heat who won 113-107 on Sunday.

The Heat led by 23 points but the Lakers charged home with 37-24 points down the stretch.

James finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for the Lakers, while Russell Westbrook had 24 points and nine rebounds.

Jimmy Butler starred for the Heat, breaking James' franchise record for triple-doubles with his 22 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

The Heat are top of the Eastern Conference with a 30-17 record, while the Lakers drop below .500 with a 23-24 record.

 

Embiid continues scoring streak

Joel Embiid continued his hot streak with a double-double as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the San Antonio Spurs 115-109. Embiid had 38 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, extending his 14-game run of 25 points or more.

Luka Doncic had a double-double with 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Dallas Mavericks won 104-91 over the Memphis Grizzlies, for whom Ja Morant had 35 points and 13 rebounds, while the Golden State Warriors won 94-92 over the Utah Jazz, despite only 11 fourth-quarter points.

Jayson Tatum scored 51 points, including 48 in the first three quarters, as the Boston Celtics won 116- 87 over the Washington Wizards, while DeMar DeRozan had 41 points as the short-handed Chicago Bulls' slide continued with a 114-95 loss to the lowly Orlando Magic.

 

Harden subdued as Nets cut down

James Harden shot four-of-13 for the game as the Brooklyn Nets were downed 136-125 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Harden only managed 13 points, while Kyrie Irving had 30 points with six rebounds and five assists.

Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a game-winning touchdown in overtime as the Kansas City Chiefs reached the AFC Championship game for the fourth straight season beating the Buffalo Bills 42-36 on Sunday.

The Bills thought they had wrapped up the victory when quarterback Josh Allen found Gabriel Davis for his record-breaking fourth touchdown to lead 36-33 with 17 seconds left.

But the Chiefs rallied their way down the field led by Mahomes, getting within field-goal range with Harrison Butker sending it to over-time.

Mahomes was heroic, throwing for 177 yards after the two-minute warning, with three lead changes inside the final two minutes, before Butker's tying field goal.

The composed Chiefs QB, who completed 33 of 44 attempts for 378 yards with three touchdowns as well as 69 rushing yards including a TD, found Kelce in the corner to settle the game 4:15 into overtime after they had won the crucial overtime coin flip.

Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle and Tyreek Hill also scored TDs, the latter restoring the Chiefs' lead in the final two minutes after Allen had combined with Davis.

Allen completed 27 of 37 passes for 329 yards and four touchdowns, while wide receiver Davis had eight catches for 201 yards and four TDs. Running back Devin Singletary scored the Bills' other TD.

The Chiefs will host the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead on Sunday.

Tom Brady declined to discuss his playing future amid retirement talk after almost pulling off a miracle comeback as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers crashed out of the NFL playoffs.

The Bucs trailed 27-3 but fought back to level the game in the final quarter before eventually losing 30-27 to the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday's Divisional playoff.

Brady threw a spectacular pass for Mike Evans for a 55-yard touchdown to make it 27-20 in the fourth quarter.

Tampa Bay's exit comes amid growing speculation about the 44-year-old quarterback's future, with one year remaining on his Bucs contract.

"I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. Just take it day-by-day and see where we’re at,” Brady told reporters after the game.

Brady added: "The truth of it is I'm only thinking about this game. I'm not thinking about anything past five minutes from now."

Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians offered no insight into the situation either, stating "that's up to Tom" when pressed on the issue.

Brady completed 30 of 54 attempts for 329 yards and one touchdown in Sunday's defeat. The seven-time Super Bowl champion had a 67.5 percent completion rate for a career-high 5,316 yards with 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season.

The Bucs had entered the playoffs as the NFC's second seed but fell short after going all the way last season as fifth seeds.

"Always tough losing at the end of the year," Brady said.

"Obviously we showed a lot of fight but at the end of the day when you lose a game, you lose a game."

Hudson Swafford carded an eight-under 64 to charge to his third career PGA triumph winning the American Express by two shots from Tom Hoge at La Quinta on Sunday.

The 34-year-old American enjoyed a remarkable final day after bogeying the first hole, with nine birdies and an eagle on the 16th to finish victorious at 23-under.

Entering the 16th hole, Swafford was level with Francesco Molinari and Brian Harman at 20-under but a clutch second shot set up eagle, before a birdie on the 17th and making par on the 18th to close out the win.

Swafford's previous two PGA titles came in 2020 and 2017, the latter being at the same event. He had five birdies and an eagle on his back nine along with two bogeys, edging out Hoge who carded a four-under 68 on the final day to finish 21-under.

Harman, Lanto Griffin and overnight joint leader Lee Hodges were equal at 20-under, with the latter struggling with a two-under-par 70 on Sunday.

Fellow day three joint leader Paul Barjon slipped down the leaderboard with a one-over-par 73 to finish 17-under.

Reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Patrick Cantlay was unable to make a final day move, carding a four-under 68 to end up 18-under, behind Will Zalatoris, Denny McCarthy and Molinari (all 19-under).

Tom Brady fell agonisingly short of another remarkable playoff recovery as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 30-27 at the last to the Los Angeles Rams in what could yet be the great quarterback's final game.

Discussion around 44-year-old Brady's future increased as this Divisional Round game approached at Raymond James Stadium.

If this was the end for the seven-time Super Bowl champion, who has not committed to playing next year, it befitted the rest of his outstanding career.

Brady will be a spectator next week when the Rams face NFC West rivals the San Francisco 49ers – helmed by his former backup Jimmy Garoppolo – in the NFC Championship Game, but he could hardly have done more to prolong the Buccaneers' title defence.

The Rams led 27-3 halfway through the third quarter, but errors crept into their play and Brady sniffed an opportunity.

Attempting a repeat of his Super Bowl LI fightback from 28-3 down, Brady led the Bucs to 24 unanswered points to tie the game with just seconds remaining.

The veteran had endured a frustrating first half that included his first career penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct as he fumed at officials when a hit from Von Miller left him with a bloodied lip.

That incident had long been forgotten by the time Brady connected with Mike Evans for a 55-yard touchdown pass, with the possibility of a turnaround that would rank as the joint-fourth largest in postseason history coming into view.

Evans' score made the game 27-20 and another Rams mistake allowed the Bucs to level the scores.

A sloppy second half seemed to have peaked when a Miller strip sack of Brady was immediately followed by LA's snap missing Matthew Stafford, who was looking the other way. Instead, the Rams outdid themselves as Cam Akers' second fumble gave Brady the ball back late on.

Brady handed off to Leonard Fournette and overtime loomed, yet Stafford and triple crown wide receiver Cooper Kupp – having earlier combined for a 70-yard score on third and 20 – had the final say.

A 44-yard completion gave Matt Gay a winning field goal with time up. After a third road win and a third winning field goal in this Divisional Round, now the Rams must beat a 49ers team they have twice lost to this year.

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