Update on the latest sports
Nets wrap up playoff berth
UNDATED (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets are the first Eastern Conference team to clinch an NBA playoff berth.
Kevin Durant scored seven of his 17 points in the fourth quarter of the Nets’ 116-103 win over the Raptors. Durant added 10 rebounds in 33 minutes for his eighth double-double of the season. He was playing his second straight game since returning from a thigh injury.
Jeff Green delivered a team-high 22 points as the Nets moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the 76ers for the conference lead.
Checking out Tuesday’s other NBA action:
— Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) had 29 points and 12 rebounds as the Bucks downed the Hornets, 114-104 to avoid a season sweep. Antetokounmpo was 11 of 19 from the field and also dished out eight assists. Brook Lopez added 22 points and Kris Middleton scored 17 to help Milwaukee bounce back from Sunday’s loss to the Hawks.
— The Thunder ended a 14-game losing streak as Lu Dort furnished 24 points and Darius Bazley (BAYZ’-lee) added 21 with 10 rebounds in a 119-115 triumph over the Celtics. Isaiah Roby and Ty Jerome each scored 15 for the Thunder, who won their first game since March 31 against Toronto. Jaylen Brown had 39 points for the Celtics, who have lost four out of five as they fight to maintain their position in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
— The Trail Blazers rolled to a 133-112 win over the Pacers as Anfernee Simons scored 27 points on nine 3-pointers, one shy of Damian Lillard’s franchise record. Lillard added 23 points and the Blazers shot a season-best 57.1% from beyond the arc to end their season-worst, five-game losing streak. The second of Lillard’s four 3s broke a 50-all tie and spurred 21-5 run that gave the Trail Blazers a 71-55 lead late in the first half.
Caps pass Pens
UNDATED (AP) — The Washington Capitals are back atop the NHL’s East Division, thanks to a little help from the Boston Bruins.
Vitek Vanecek (VEE’-tehk VAN’-ih-chehk) made 18 saves and Daniel Sprong scored for the third time in two games as the Caps beat the Islanders, 1-0 to sweep their three-game series. Sprong scored 89 seconds into the game while playing in place of Alex Ovechkin, who missed a second straight game with a lower-body injury.
Five of Sprong’s 10 goals this season have come against the Isles, who are five points off the East lead.
The Caps are one point ahead of Pittsburgh following the Penguins’ 3-1 loss to the Bruins. Tuukka (TOO’-kah) Rask turned aside 25 shots and David Krejci (KRAY’-chee) gave the Bruins the lead with his seventh goal of the season late in the second period. Brad Marchand and Taylor Hall scored in the third as Boston ended a two-game losing streak.
The B’s are six points behind Washington and one point in back of the Islanders for third place in the East.
The Isles are also getting heat from the Rangers, who are just five points behind their arch-rivals following the Blueshirts’ 3-1 win against the Sabres. Alexis Lafreniere (ah-LEX-ee lah-frehn-YEHR’) scored the go-ahead goal in the third period as the Rangers won for the ninth time in their last 11 home games.
Mika Zibanejad (MEE’-juh zih-BAN’-eh-jad) and Brendan Smith also scored and Igor Shesterkin (shehs-TUR’-kihn) made 36 saves.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Devils ended a 10-game winless string as Yegor Sharangovich scored the go-ahead goal with 7:24 left in a wild 6-4 victory over the Flyers. Nico Hischier (HEe’-shee-ur), Pavel Zacha (ZAH’-kah), Miles Wood and Connor Carrick also scored for the Devils, who saw the Flyers rally from third-period deficits twice to tie the game. Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves in New Jersey’s first win since April 8.
— Patrik Laine (LY’-nay) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (BYOOHRK’-strand) scored in a shootout as the Blue Jackets nipped the Red Wings, 1-0 to end a nine-game losing streak. Elvis Merzlikins (murz-LEE’-kihns) had 41 saves and made two great stops in the waning seconds of overtime.
NHL reaches 7-year deal with Turner Sports, ending NBC run
UNDATED (AP) — The National Hockey League is leaving NBA and coming to TNT.
The league and Turner Sports announced a seven-year agreement that begins next season. It includes three Stanley Cup Finals, up to 72 regular-season games, half of the first- and second-round playoff games on TNT and TBS as well as a conference final series.
The deal means NBC’s run of covering the league ends after after this season’s playoffs. NBC has broadcast games since 2005 and is in the final season of a 10-year contract.
Bosox, Richards beat Mets
UNDATED (AP) — The Boston Red Sox pace the American League East at 15-9 after Garrett Richards picked up his first win.
Richards allowed a run and seven hits while striking out 10 over seven innings of the Red Sox’s 2-1 victory over the Mets. Richards and the Boston bullpen blanked New York after Jeff McNeil’s second-inning homer.
Bobby Dalbec hit his first homer of the season for the Bosox, who went ahead on Rafael Devers’ (DEH’-vurz) RBI single in the sixth.
In other major league action:
— Vladimir Guerrero launched three home runs and had seven RBIs in the Blue Jays’ 9-5 win over the Nationals. Washington led 3-0 in the third until Guerrero’s grand slam off Max Scherzer, ending the pitcher’s scoreless streak at 19 innings.
— Brett Phillips belted a two-run homer in the sixth inning to power the Rays past the Athletics, 4-3, Oakland’s second loss in 16 games. Joey Wendle’s two-out single in the seventh tacked on another run for the Rays and ended Tampa Bay’s 0-for-26 stretch with runners in scoring position.
— Corey Kluber has his best start in two years as he allowed one run and six hits with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings of the Yankees’ 5-1 verdict over the Orioles. Kyle Higashioka (hih-gah-shee-OH’-kah), Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton also homered for New York.
— Franmil (FRAHN’-meel) Reyes homered twice, including a 452-foot drive that broke a deadlock in the sixth inning of the Indians’ 7-4 victory over the Twins. José Ramírez drove in two runs, including a first-inning homer that helped Cleveland to a win over its AL Central rival for the second straight night.
— The Royals’ five-game winning streak is over after pinch-hitter Wilmer Difo (DEE’-foh) delivered the go-ahead single in the seventh inning of Pittsburgh’s 2-1 victory over Kansas City. Duane Underwood Jr., Sam Howard and Richard Rodríguez combined for three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief as Pittsburgh won for the 11th time in 16 games since a 1-6 start.
— The Braves were 5-0 winners over the Cubs as Ian Anderson allowed one hit in seven innings. Ronald Acuña (ah-KOON’-yah) Jr. crushed his eighth home run of the season an estimated 481 feet.
MLB: Most in Tier 1 vaccinated
UNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball says 70% of players, on-field staff and support personnel have been fully or partially vaccinated for the novel coronavirus. In an email to The Associated Press, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said his figure referred to all individuals defined as Tier 1 in MLB’s protocols. Those persons include players, on-field personnel such as managers, coaches and athletic trainers, plus essential personnel who need to be in close proximity, such as translators and media and travel staff.
In other virus-related sports matters:
— The NHL is preparing contingency plans if virus restrictions in Canada prevent travel between provinces or back and forth to the U.S. during the playoffs. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman calls the situation “wildly unpredictable” and says the league will make whatever adjustments necessary to get the playoffs completed.” The earliest a Canadian team would need to play a counterpart in the U.S. under this season’s postseason format would be in June, though there has been speculation about the first two rounds of the North Division playoffs happening in a quarantined bubble.
— The Milwaukee Bucks are offering COVID-19 vaccinations to fans attending their game Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets. The Bucks say any eligible fans attending the game can receive a first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from a mobile vaccination site at the arena.
— Boston’s pro sports teams could be playing in front of full-capacity crowds by August, according to new Massachusetts COVID-19 reopening guidelines. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s office announced Tuesday that capacity at large venues, such as indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks, can increase from their current level of 12% to 25% beginning May 10.
— Sepp Straka and Tyrrell Hatton are the third and fourth players to have to withdraw from the Valspar Championship because of a positive test for the coronavirus. Hatton is the No. 8 player in the world ranking, making him the highest-ranked player to test positive on the PGA Tour since world No. 1 Dustin Johnson in Las Vegas last October. Will Gordon and Brice Garnett also tested positive this week and withdrew.
Molina on IL
UNDATED (AP) — Cardinals catcher Yadier (YAH’-dee-ehr) Molina has landed on the 10-day injured list with a strained tendon in his right foot.
Molina was hurt in a game Friday night against Cincinnati. He sat out Saturday and Sunday, then returned on Monday to catch all nine innings of a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia.
The nine-time Gold Glove winner is off to one of the best starts of his career, hitting .323 with five home runs and 14 RBIs.
In other major league news:
— The Yankees acquired left-handed reliever Wandy Peralta (WAHN’-dee peh-RAHL’-tah) from the Giants on Tuesday for outfielder Mike Tauchman. Peralta is 2-1 with two saves and a 5.40 ERA in 10 relief appearances with the Giants this season. Tauchman is 3 for 14 in 11 games and has a .250 average with 26 doubles, 13 home runs, 63 RBIs and 16 stolen bases over five major league seasons.
— Veteran lefty reliever Jerry Blevins has announced his retirement after 13 big league seasons spent mostly with the Athletics and Mets. The 37-year-old last pitched in the majors for Atlanta in 2019. He had been working at the Mets’ alternate training site in Brooklyn after failing to land a bullpen spot out of spring training. He finishes his career 30-13 with a 3.54 ERA and seven saves in 609 games.
Dolphins trade Flowers to Washington
UNDATED (AP) — The Miami Dolphins have agreed to trade guard Ereck Flowers to Washington in a deal that also includes a swap of late-round draft picks.
Flowers’ agent says the Dolphins will pay the veteran guard $6 million as a signing bonus for a restructured contract this year, and Washington will pay him a $3 million base salary. Flowers signed a $30 million, three-year deal with the Dolphins a year ago and started 14 games in his only season with them.
In other NFL moves:
— The Bills signed offensive lineman Ike Boettger to a one-year contract a little over a month after retaining the rights to the third-year player. Boettger was a restricted free agent who had seven starts at left guard last season
— Former NFL linebacker and Florida State star Geno Hayes has died at age 33. His death was confirmed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He suffered from liver disease and had been in hospice care at his parents’ home in Valdosta, Georgia. Hayes spent four seasons with the Bucs, who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2008 draft.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-WEST VIRGINIA-CULVER
WVU’s Derek Culver signs with agent, will enter NBA draft
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia forward Derek Culver has decided to skip his senior season to enter the NBA draft. Culver announced Monday night that he has signed with an agent.
Culver was named to the all-Big 12 first team as a junior. He was second on the Mountaineers with a scoring average of 14.3 and led the Big 12 with 9.4 rebounds per game. He had 11 double-doubles this past season.
Wimbledon Middle Sunday play in ’22; fans, money TBD in ’21
LONDON (AP) — The All England Club says there will be play on Wimbledon’s middle Sunday starting in 2022. That is a significant break in tradition for the grass-court Grand Slam tournament. There only has been play on the middle Sunday in the past when rain created a backlog of matches.
Wimbledon returns in 2021 after it was called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
KENTUCKY DERBY DRAW
Favorite gets post 14 in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Essential Quality is the 2-1 morning line favorite and will start from the No. 14 post for the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Rock Your World is the 5-1 second choice from the No. 15 slot, with Known Agenda third at 6-1 despite drawing the rail in the 20-horse field.
The obvious focus is on Essential Quality, the reigning 2-year-old champion who enters the Run for the Roses having won all five races and with Luis Saez aboard.
Emmert gets contract extension
UNDATED (AP) — The NCAA Board of Governors voted Tuesday to extend the contract of President Mark Emmert by two years through 2025.
Emmert’s contract was set to expire in 2023, but the board voted unanimously to extend his deal.
The announcement comes less than a month after the NCAA and Emmert drew sharp criticism for inequities between the women’s and men’s Division I basketball tournaments.