Update on the latest sports
Bucks win in Antetokounmpo’s return
UNDATED (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) returned to the Milwaukee Bucks’ lineup after a six-game absence due to a left knee injury. His teammates made sure he didn’t need to perform any heavy lifting.
Antetokounmpo was among seven Bucks to score in double figures in a 120-109 win over the Hawks. The NBA’s two-time reigning MVP played 25 minutes and delivered 15 points on 7 of 12 shooting to go with five rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block.
Jrue Holiday led Milwaukee’s scoresheet with 23 points, while Brook Lopez provided 19 with 12 rebounds.
Bogdan Bogdanovic drained six 3-pointers and had a game-high 28 points, but the Hawks lost for only the fifth time in 22 games since Nate McMillan became head coach.
Checking out Thursday’s other completed NBA action:
— The Suns earned their 10th straight home win as Deandre Ayton had 26 points and 11 rebounds in a 122-114 downing of the Kings. Devin Booker furnished 23 points as Phoenix improved to 40-15 for the season, hitting 40 wins for the first time since 2014. De’Aaron Fox had a team-high 27 points for the Kings, losers of nine straight.
— The Celtics squandered most of a 27-point lead in the fourth quarter before Jaylen Brown scored four of his 40 points in the final minute to help them secure a 121-113 victory over the Lakers. Brown made 13 of his first 14 shots and hit three 3-pointers in Boston’s fifth win in a row. Talen Horton-Tucker led a 24-2 run by the Lakers that forced Brown and the Boston starters back into the game.
— Stephen Curry reached 30 points for a career-high ninth straight time as he finished with 33 in the Warriors’ 119-101 victory against the Cavaliers. Curry made an NBA-record 29 3-pointers over the previous three games and is averaging 38.2 points during his run. Andrew Wiggins scored 23 points and Juan Toscano-Anderson had 20 for Golden State.
Nets’ Aldridge retires at 35 due to irregular heartbeat
NEW YORK (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge has retired from the NBA after 15 seasons, saying he experienced an irregular heartbeat during his final game with the Brooklyn Nets.
The 35-year-old Aldridge called it one of the scariest things he had ever experienced but says he feels better now after getting it checked out.
The seven-time All-Star signed with the Nets on March 28 and became their starting center. He previously played for San Antonio and Portland.
NBA says injury rate this season down slightly from normal
UNDATED (AP) — The NBA says the rate of players needing to miss games because of injuries is down 6% from last season and within the normal range for what the league has seen over the last five seasons.
Several marquee players have dealt with injuries in recent weeks, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’), James Harden and most recently Jamal Murray.
NBA teams are playing 3.6 games per week, up 5% from last year. This year’s schedule compressed 72 games into 146 days, as opposed to the usual 82 games into 170 days.
Machado homers, Padres earn split with Pirates in 8-3 win
UNDATED (AP) — The San Diego Padres have left Pittsburgh after finishing 5-2 on their road trip.
The Padres cruised to an 8-3 win over the Pirates as Manny Machado hit his third home run of the season and drove in three runs. Eric Hosmer added two hits and two RBIs to help the Padres gain a split of their four-game set with the Bucs. Chris Paddock labored over five innings and Craig Stammen worked three frames to pick up just the sixth save of his 12-year big league career and first since 2019.
In other major league finals:
— The Braves ended a four-game losing streak by scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth to beat Miami, 7-6. Ozzie Albies (AL’-beez) walked with the bases loaded before Dansby Swanson swatted a walk-off single. Ronald Acuña (ah-KOON’-yah) Jr. hit a two-run homer for Atlanta’s only runs off Trevor Rogers, but Pablo Sandoval smacked a three-run shot for the Marlins.
— Andrew Young delivered a grand slam while the Diamondbacks exploded for seven runs in the second inning of an 11-6 rout of the Nationals. Carson Kelly and Eduardo Escobar hit back-to-back homers in the first inning off Patrick Corbin, who was rocked for nine earned runs over the first two frames before leaving. Corbin owns an 0-2 record and a 21.32 ERA while in the third season of a six-year, $140 million contract.
— Max Kepler’s bloop RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Minnesota a 4-3 victory over Boston, stopping the Twins’ five-game skid and breaking a nine-game winning string for the Red Sox. Michael Pineda allowed only two singles over seven scoreless innings for the Twins, who had a home run by slump-ridden slugger Miguel Sanó (sah-NOH’) in the sixth. Pineda left with a 3-0 lead but the Red Sox tied it on Alex Verdugo’s (vur-DOO’-gohz) three-run double in the eighth.
— Adolis Garcia’s first major league homer was a two-run shot in the 10th inning, giving the Rangers a 6-4 triumph over the Rays. Nick Solak and Charlie Culberson also homered for the Rangers, who have won three straight following a four-game losing streak. Solak had a solo homer in the second and an RBI single off Andrew Kittredge to drive in the final run charged to Rays starter Rich Hill in the fifth.
— José Ramírez connected for a go-ahead, two-run homer off Lance Lynn in the sixth inning of the Indians’ 4-2 win over the White Sox in Chicago. Lynn was nursing a 1-0 lead when Ramírez launched a full-count pitch with two outs deep to right for his third home run. Anthony Civale (sih-VAH’-lee) allowed only a first-inning run and five hits through six frames in his third straight strong start.
— Jakob Junis ran his consecutive scoreless streak to 14 innings as the Royals staked him to a seven-run lead before the Kansas City bullpen held on for a 7-5 win against the Blue Jays. Junis was charged with two runs on five hits and a walk while pitching into the sixth, but both runs scored with reliever Jake Newberry on the mound. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finished a triple shy of the cycle for the Blue Jays, including a solo blast that went an estimated 456 feet.
— Mitch Haniger became the first Mariner to homer out of the leadoff spot in both ends of a doubleheader, hitting a tiebreaking drive in the second game that led Seattle over the Orioles, 2-1 for a sweep. J.P. Crawford hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the sixth inning that lifted The M’s to a 4-2 win in the opener. The Orioles managed just seven hits in the twinbill and have lost eight of 10 following an opening three-game sweep at Boston.
— The finale of the four-game series between the Mets and Phillies was postponed because of rain. It was New York’s third washout in five days.
UNDATED (AP) — Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto (KWAY’-toh) has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained lat muscle.
The team says Cueto has a Grade 1 strain beneath his pitching shoulder. Cueto exited in the sixth inning of his start Wednesday against Cincinnati.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Cubs pitcher Ryan Tepera was suspended for three games by MLB, which concluded he intentionally threw at Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff this week. Tepera appealed the penalty and will not serve any discipline until after his hearing. Cubs manager David Ross was suspended for one game and fined because of Tepera’s actions.
— A diversity study finds Major League Baseball with slightly lower scores for racial and gender hiring but earning bonuses for social-justice initiatives and hiring milestones. Thursday’s report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport issued an overall grade of C-plus for MLB. That included a B-plus for racial hiring and a C for gender hiring for the 2021 season.
Caps, Isles fall…Pens win
UNDATED (AP) — The Washington Capitals were unable to increase their lead in the NHL’s East Division. The Capitals are two points ahead of the Islanders and three ahead of the Penguins.
Anders Bjork (byorhk) scored his first goal with his new team and added an assist as the Sabres surprised the Capitals, 5-2. Sam Reinhart scored his 15th goal and Victor Olofsson added his 12th for Buffalo, which has won five of its last nine following an 18-game winless streak.
Nicklas Backstrom picked up his 31st assist of the season and became the second player to reach the 1,000-game mark for the Capitals, joining teammate Alex Ovechkin.
The Islanders were 4-1 losers in Boston as Taylor Hall scored his first goal as a Bruin. Tuukka (TOO’-kah) Rask stopped 22 shots to earn his first victory since February as the goaltender played for just the second time since March 7 due to a back injury.
Brad Marchand scored twice for the Bruins, who were 0-3-2 in their previous five games with the Isles this season.
The Isles are one point ahead of third-place Pittsburgh following the Penguins’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Flyers. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier did the scoring in the shootout before Carter Hart stopped Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang (leh-TANG’) to seal the win.
Jakub Voracek (VOHR’-ah-chehk) scored his eighth in regulation for the Flyers, who snapped a two-game skid and won for just the ninth time in their last 25 games.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Hurricanes scored three times in an eight-minute span to beat the Predators, 4-1. Warren Foegele (FOH’-gul) opened the scoring late in the first period before Andrei Svechnikov and Vincent Trochek tallied in the first 5 ½ minutes of the second. Petr Mrazek (mah-RA’-zehk) made 19 saves for Carolina, improving to 3-0-1 since returning from a thumb injury that sidelined him for more than two months.
— The Canes and Lightning continue to share the Central Division lead after Victor Hedman scored 54 seconds into overtime to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 victory against the Panthers. Andrei Vasilevskiy (va-sih-LEHV’-skee) finished with 36 saves for his league-leading 26th victory of the season and added an assist. Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist for the Bolts.
— The Stars played to a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jackets as Denis Gurianov (gur-ee-AH’-nahv) had his first two-goal game of the season. Miro Heiskanen and Joe Pavelski also scored for the Stars, who took the lead when Jason Dickinson assisted on goals by Gurianov and Heiskanen just more than a minute apart late in the second period. Columbus scored on its first shot, but Jake Oettinger (AH’-tihn-jur) stopped the final 17 shots he faced.
— Igor Shesterkin (shehs-TUR’-kihn) got his second straight shutout by making 16 saves in the Rangers’ 4-0 win over the Devils. Artemi Panarin (ahr-TEH’-mee pah-NAR’-ihn) had two goals and an assist for the Blueshirts, also also got goals from Jacob Trouba (TROO’-bah) and Ryan Lindgren ni their sixth win in nine games. Colin Blackwell had a career-high three assists and Ryan Strome (strohm) added two.
— Jakub Vrana (vah-RAH’-nah) scored in his Detroit debut and Troy Stecher added two goals in a 4-1 victory over the Blackhawks. Thomas Greiss (grys) had 24 saves for the Red Wings, who have a three-game winning streak for the first time this season. Chicago remains four points behind Nashville for the fourth spot in the Central Division.
— Nikolaj Ehlers (EE’-lurz) and Kyle Connor scored twice for the Jets in a 5-1 downing of the Maple Leafs. Winnipeg trailed, 1-0 until Ehlers, Connor and Mark Scheffele (SHY’-flee) scored in a 3:09 span of the first period. Scheffele also had two assists and Connor collected three points in the Jets’ fifth win in six games, which puts them three points behind the North Division-leading Leafs.
Falcons ink 2 FAs
UNDATED (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have signed safety Duron Harmon and four-time All-Pro return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson to one-year contracts.
Harmon started all 16 games for Detroit in 2020 and set a career high with 73 tackles. Patterson earned first-team All-Pro honors as a kick returner in 2013, 2016 and 2019-20 with Minnesota and Chicago.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
— The Steelers have re-signed the veteran inside linebacker Vince Williams to a one-year deal. The signing comes a month after the Steelers released Williams in a cost-cutting measure.
— The Raiders have cut defensive linemen Maurice Hurst and Arden Key before their fourth seasons with the team.
— The Cardinals have re-signed linebackers Dennis Gardeck and Kylie Fitts to one-year contracts.
— The Browns are the latest NFL team to say they’ll skip mandated in-person workouts.
— The NFL has announced deals with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel to become official sports betting partners. The three will get the use of NFL trademarks and official league data, and will integrate their own betting content into media properties including NFL.com and the league’s official app.
Canucks season still on hold
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Vancouver Canucks’ return to competition has been delayed by the NHL.
The league has announced the team won’t resume its schedule on Friday against visiting Edmonton as expected. The Canucks haven’t played a game since March 24 due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Vancouver forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” to play Friday night because the pandemic-hit team has not had enough time to recover and get back in shape.
The NHL said the decision was made with input from the NHL Players’ Association and medical staff from teams.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-USC-NCAA VIOLATIONS
NCAA punishes USC hoops program
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The NCAA has hit the Southern California men’s basketball program with two years’ probation because of a former assistant who violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he accepted a bribe to steer players to a business management company. The Division I Committee on Infractions announced the penalties, which include a $5,000 fine and a 1% loss of the school’s basketball budget.
Tony Bland, the former associate head coach under coach Andy Enfield, was fired in January 2018. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and received two years’ probation.
Cincinnati hires UNC Greensboro basketball coach Wes Miller
CINCINNATI (AP) — The University of Cincinnati has hired UNC Greensboro coach Wes Miller to be the new head basketball coach. Miller replaces John Brannen, who was fired after six players decided to transfer following last season.
Miller won 185 games in 10 seasons at UNC Greensboro.
Thomas leaving after 1 season
UNDATED (AP) — LSU freshman Cameron Thomas says he is declaring for the NBA draft and intends to sign with an agent.
The 6-foot-4 guard led all Division 1 freshmen in scoring last season at 23 points a game while helping LSU advance to the finals of the SEC Tournament and the second round of the NCAA tourney.
In other player news:
— Michigan has confirmed that senior Isaiah Livers is not returning for an extra year of eligibility. The Wolverines lose Livers, guard Mike Smith, guard Chaundee Brown and forward Austin Davis from this year’s team that won the Big Ten title and reached the Elite Eight. The Wolverines also await NBA draft decisions from sophomore guard Franz Wagner and freshman center Hunter Dickinson.
NCAA relaxes transfer rule
UNDATED (AP) — An NCAA rule change will allow football players to transfer once as undergraduates without sitting out a season.
The change goes into effect for the 2021 season. It was not unexpected, but now that it is official a bevy of players are assured of being on the field this fall.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-OBIT-LEROY KEYES
Leroy Keyes, gold standard of Purdue football, dies at 74
WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (AP) — Purdue football star Leroy Keyes has died at 74.
Keyes was a two-time All-American and one of the greatest players in school history. He finished his career as the school record-holder for touchdowns, points and all-purpose yards. He was named the Boilermakers’ greatest player in 1987, as the program celebrated its 100th year of football.
Smith’s career-best 62 puts him atop Heritage leaderboard
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Cameron Smith birdied the difficult 17th and 18th holes at Harbour Town to shoot a 9-under 62 and take a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink through one round at the RBC Heritage.
Cink finished his 63 around lunchtime and no one appeared likely to beat that score in overcast, breezier afternoon conditions. Yet Smith played his best down the challenging stretch for his career-low score on the PGA Tour.
TOKYO OLYMPICS-VIRUS WORRIES
Officials say Olympic cancellation or barring fans are still options
TOKYO (AP) — Two officials in Japan’s ruling party have suggested separately that the Tokyo Olympics could be in for some radical changes. Liberal Democratic Party secretary general Toshihiro Nikai says cancellation is still an option with coronavirus cases rising. And the minister in charge of the vaccine rollout in Japan says that even if the games go on it may be without any fans.
The speculation comes a day after Tokyo reached the 100-days-to-go mark.