Update on the latest sports


76ers slam Hawks, do Knicks a favor

UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers were able to inch a half-game closer to the NBA’s Eastern Conference lead while preventing the Hawks from improving their chances of getting home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Seth Curry scored 20 points and the 76ers built a huge lead in a 127-83 thrashing of the Hawks. Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) each added 17 points for the Sixers, who joined Brooklyn as the only teams in the East to wrap up a postseason berth.

The 76ers led by 20 after the first period and held the Hawks to a season low for points.

John Collins scored 21 points and Solomon Hill added 14 for Atlanta, which is one game behind the Knicks for fourth in the East.

The Knicks won for the 10th time in 11 games as Julius Randle scored 34 points in a 113-94 romp over the Bulls. RJ Barrett added 22 points as New York bounced back from its loss to Phoenix. Immanuel Quickley and Reggie Bullock each scored 13 points to help New York gain sole possession of fourth in the East.

Checking out Wednesday’s other NBA action:

— The Lakers lost for the fourth time in their past five games as Bradley Beal contributed 27 points and Russell Westbrook notched his 13th triple-double of the month in the Wizards’ 116-107 victory against Los Angeles. Westbrook finished with 18 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists in Washington’s ninth win in 10 games, putting the Wizards two games ahead of Chicago for the final Eastern Conference play-in berth. The Wizards were up 69-67 early in the second half when they used a 16-2 run to break things open.

— Jaylen Brown poured in 38 points and Jayson Tatum chipped in 35 for the Celtics in a 120-111 downing of the Hornets. Brown has reached 30 points in three of his last five games. Tristan Thompson chipped in with 12 points and 13 rebounds for Boston, which had lost four of its last five following a six-game winning streak.

— Cole Anthony made the tiebreaking layup with 45 seconds left, and the Magic squandered a 23-point lead before edging the Cavaliers, 109-104 to snap a six-game losing streak. Gary Harris had 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists in Orlando’s second victory in its last 14 games.


Love sorry for lackluster display

UNDATED (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has apologized for his actions during Monday’s loss to Toronto. The five-time All-star was upset with the officials for some non-calls and angrily tapped the ball back into play on an inbounds pass in the third quarter. The loose ball was grabbed by the Raptors and converted into a 3-pointer.

Video of the tantrum went viral on social media, and Love was blistered by fans and media for behavior called “childish” and “unacceptable.”

Love said Wednesday that his behavior was out of line and out of character, but that it had nothing to do with any frustration toward his teammates or coaches.

In other NBA news:

— Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been suspended one game without pay by the league for directing threatening language toward a game official. The incidents took place during and after Boston’s 119-115 loss to the Thunder on Tuesday. The punishment is being served during tonight’s game against Charlotte.

— The Spurs do not expect starting guard Derrick White back this season because of a sprained right ankle. Coach Gregg Popovich made the announcement two days after White was injured in the Spurs’ win in Washington. The fourth-year guard is averaging a career-best 15.4 points this season for San Antonio, which played 18 of its first 19 games this season without White because of a toe injury.

— The league has fined Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. $50,000 for violating the league’s health and safety rules. Porter visited a strip club in Miami last week with teammate Sterling Brown, who was assaulted outside the establishment. The league bars players from attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges and clubs.


Blues end Wild’s win streak

UNDATED (AP) — The St. Louis Blues have the upper hand on the Arizona Coyotes as the teams battle for the NHL’s final West Division playoff berth.

Robert Thomas tracked down a skipping puck and snapped it into the top of the net with 23 seconds left, capping a three-goal third-period rally by the Blues for a 4-3 victory over Minnesota.

The Wild were seeking their eighth straight win as they carried a 3-1 lead into the third period. But Mike Hoffman began the St. Louis rally with a power-play goal early in the third and Jordan Kyrou (KY’-roo) tied the game about four minutes later.

The Blues are three points ahead of the Coyotes with two games in hand. Arizona is taking on the Sharks in San Jose right now.

The Wild remain five points behind the West-leading Golden Knights, who are hosting the second-place Avalanche.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:

— Brady Tkachuk (kah-CHUHK’) had a Gordie Howe hat trick as he fought Zack MacEwen eight minutes into the game before registering a goal and an assist in the second period of the Senators’ 6-3 victory over the Canucks. Victor Mete (MEH’-tay), Chris Tierney, Thomas Chabot (shah-BAHT’) and Colin White also scored for last-place Ottawa, which was 16-26-4 before taking three of four from Vancouver. The Canucks began the game 10 points out of a playoff berth but had five games in hand on fourth-place Montreal for the final North Division postseason slot.


Malkin practicing again

UNDATED (AP) — Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin practiced on Wednesday, indicating he is near a return from a lower-body injury that’s kept him out since mid-March.

Malkin wore a white “no contact” jersey during Pittsburgh’s skate. However, coach Mike Sullivan said the Russian star was a full participant and will travel with the Penguins when they begin a four-game road trip on Thursday in Washington.

The Pens are 14-5-2 since Malkin’s last game on March 16.

Also around the NHL:

— The Canadiens say forward Jonathan Drouin (DROO’-an) is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team for personal reasons. Drouin has 23 points in 44 games this season, missing Montreal’s past three contests with a non-COVID related illness.


Kershaw shines, Dodgers end losing streak

UNDATED (AP) — Clayton Kershaw played the role of stopper to perfection this afternoon as the Los Angeles Dodgers ended their first three-game losing streak of the season.

Kershaw racked up eight strikeouts while limiting the Reds to four hits over seven innings of the Dodgers’ 8-0 shutout. The lefty prevented L.A. from dropping four straight for the first time since 2018.

The Dodgers led just 2-0 before scoring six times in the eighth. Matt Beaty and Mookie Betts delivered two-run singles in the eighth.

Justin Turner homered and Chris Taylor added an RBI triple as Los Angeles won for just the third time in 10 games since a sizzling 13-2 start.

In other major league action:

— The Marlins knocked off the Brewers, 6-2 as Jesús Aguilar homered for the fifth time in his last six games. Aguilar’s tiebreaking, three-run shot off Eric Yardley with two out in the fourth inning put Miami ahead for good as the Marlins won the three-game series.

— Christian Vázquez hit an early RBI double off Jacob deGrom to send the Red Sox to a 1-0 win over the Mets. Nick Pivetta and three relievers combined on a two-hitter as the surprising AL East leaders swept a two-game interleague series at Citi Field and improved to 16-9.

— Domingo Germán (hehr-MAHN’) won his second straight start, working seven innings and combining with Michael King on a four-hitter in the Yankees’ 7-0 shutout of the Orioles. Mike Ford’s second-inning homer put the Yanks on top, Gio Urshela (ur-SHEH’-lah) added a three-run blast and Clint Frazier belted his first home run in 69 at-bats this season.

— Mike Zunino (zoo-NEE’-noh) smacked a go-ahead homer and Tyler Glasnow struck out 10 in seven innings of the Rays’ 2-0 blanking Oakland. Glasnow gave up five hits and two walks, dealing the Athletics their third loss in four games following a 13-game winning streak.

— Erick Fedde (FEH’-dee) went six strong innings and Josh Harrison hit a three-run homer as the Nats earned an 8-2 win over Toronto in George Springer’s Blue Jays debut. Fedde allowed one run and two hits while helping Washington keep Springer hitless in four at-bats.

— Byron Buxton homered on Logan Allen’s second pitch and went 5 for 5 with a pair of doubles as the Twins ripped the Indians, 10-2. Mitch Garver supplied two of Minnesota’s six home runs after Buxton, Josh Donaldson and Jorge Polanco hit first-inning blasts.


Harper takes fastball on cheek

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Phillies star Bryce Harper had to leave Wednesday’s game at St. Louis after getting hit in the face by a 97 mph fastball.

Harper was drilled in the left cheek by left-handed reliever Génesis Cabrera’s first pitch in the sixth inning. The All-Star slugger picked himself up and walked off the field, blood dripping from a cut on the side of his nose.


Broncos add Bridgewater

UNDATED (AP) — Drew Lock suddenly has competition at quarterback after the Denver Broncos acquired Teddy Bridgewater from the Carolina Panthers for a sixth-round pick in this week’s NFL draft.

Bridgewater became available when the Panthers traded for former Jets QB Sam Darnold three weeks ago. Bridgewater went 4-11 as the Panthers’ starter last year and struggled to win close games down the stretch.

Lock tied for the league lead with 15 interceptions in 13 starts and his passer rating ranked 32nd in the NFL last season. The third-year pro was 4-9 overall with 16 touchdown throws and is 8-10 in two years as Denver’s starter.

In other NFL news:

— A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that receiver Antonio Brown has agreed to return to the Buccaneers on a one-year contract that could be worth up to $6.5 million, including incentives. Bringing back Brown ensures Tom Brady will pursue an eighth Super Bowl ring with the entire “band” of offensive playmakers assembled around the 43-year-old quarterback last season.

— The Giants have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract for running back Saquon (SAY’-kwahn) Barkley. The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year is recovering from a torn right ACL suffered in Week 2 of last season. The No. 2 overall draft pick in 2018 ran for 1,307 yards that season and caught 91 passes for 721 yards.

— The Colts have exercised the fifth-year option on perennial All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson’s rookie contract. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 draft has started all 48 games at left guard for the Colts. Nelson is the first offensive lineman since the 1970 merger to earn All-Pro honors each of his first three seasons.

— The Lions have exercised the fifth-year contract option on Pro Bowl offensive lineman Frank Ragnow. He is entering his fourth NFL season after being drafted in the first round out of Arkansas. Ragnow has started all 45 games in which he has appeared and received his first Pro Bowl berth last season.


Atlanta teams get green light to go to full capacity

UNDATED (AP) — Atlanta’s two biggest outdoor pro sports stadiums will both allow 100% capacity at events beginning next month.

The Braves said they will return to normal capacity at Truist Park beginning May 7, when they face the Phillies to begin their third homestand of the season.

The team allowed 33% capacity for their first homestand and ramped up to 50% for their current homestand.

Officials said Mercedes-Benz Stadium will return to 100% capacity beginning May 15 when Atlanta United hosts an MLS match against CF Montreal.