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 Jazz bounced back from back-to-back losses by nailing 24 3-pointers in the highest scoring output in team history, a 154-105 dismantling of the Kings. Bojan (BOY’-ahn) Bogdanovic scored 24 points, Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points and Georges Niang scored 19 with five 3s for Utah. The Jazz outscored Sacramento 46-17 in the second quarter and stayed atop the Western Conference by one game over Phoenix.
— The Suns have wrapped up their first playoff berth in 11 years by defeating the Clippers, 109-101. Chris Paul scored 28 points, Devin Booker added 21 as Phoenix downed Los Angeles for the first time in three tries this season. The 35-year-old Paul shot 10 of 15 from the field and dished out 10 assists to help the Suns improve to 44-18, two games better than the Clippers for second place in the West.
— Nikola Jokic (nih-KOH’-lah YOH’-kihch) scored 32 points and blocked Zion Williamson’s shot from behind with 2.2 seconds remaining as the Nuggets held off the Pelicans, 114-112. Michael Porter Jr. added 28 points and Facundo (fah-KOON’-doh) Campazzo made three critical 3-pointers down the stretch on his way to a career-high 19 points. Denver improved to 7-1 since losing guard Jamal Murray to a torn ACL.
— 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.
— Jimmy Butler scored 29 points, Bam Adebayo (ad-eh-BY’-oh) scored 21 and the Heat went on a 17-0 run in the second half before hanging on late to beat the Spurs, 116-111. Erik Spoelstra (SPOHL’-struh) became the 27th coach in NBA history with 600 wins, and the sixth to do so with one franchise. Miami remains seventh in the East, tied with No. 6 Boston and one game behind No. 5 Atlanta.
— CJ McCollum had 26 points and six assists for the Trail Blazers in a 130-109 thumping of the Grizzlies. Norman Powell added 24 points and Portland solidified its hold on the seventh seed in the West, two games ahead of Memphis and San Antonio. Ja (jah) Morant had 10 points and eight assists but was 3 of 11 from the field as the Grizzlies lost their second straight.
— 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 was served during last night’s win over 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 now have a three-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes and three games in hand 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 Coyotes absorbed a 4-2 loss to the Sharks as Evander Kane reached the 20-goal mark for the sixth straight season. Kane’s goal started a three-goal barrage for San Jose in the first period with Rudolfs Balcers (BAHL’-surs) and Kevin Labanc (lah-BANK’) following up. Josef Korenar made 28 saves to win his second straight start.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Golden Knights widened their lead in the West Division as Max Pacioretty (pash-uh-REH’-tee) scored twice in a 5-2 win over the second-place Avalanche. Vegas has won a franchise-best 10 in a row to move six points ahead of Colorado, with the Avs having a game in hand. The Knights have outscored teams 45-17 during their win streak.
— The Maple Leafs are the first Canadian team to claim a playoff berth following their 4-1 win over Montreal. Matthews got his NHL-best 35th goal of the season, which also got scores from William Nylander (NEE’-lan-dur), Jake Muzzin (MUH-zihn) and Adam Brooks. Morgan Rielly and Jason Spezza each had two assists, and Jack Campbell had 32 saves for the North Division leaders.
— Connor McDavid had three assists and the Oilers scored a pair of power-play goals in a 3-1 win versus the Jets. Tyson Barrie and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and an assist as Edmonton dealt Winnipeg its season-high fifth straight loss. Oilers netminder Mikko Koskinen (MEE’-koh KAHS’-kih-nehn) posted 29 saves to collect his 11th win of the season.
— 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 are 10 points out of a playoff berth but have five games in hand on fourth-place Montreal for the final North Division postseason slot.
— Cam Fowler provided the game-winner with 1:01 remaining and the Ducks ended a five-game losing streak by defeating the Kings. 3-2. Sam Carrick and Sam Steel also scored and John Gibson made 28 saves for the Ducks.
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:
— Manny Machado hit a bases-loaded triple while the Padres scored six times in the fifth inning of a 12-3 drubbing of the Diamondbacks. Fernando Tatis (tah-TEES’) Jr. and Kim Ha-Seong each had two hits and two RBIs as San Diego overcame starter Ryan Weathers’ early injury.
— Mike Tauchman had three hits and an RBI in his first game with the Giants, a 7-3 victory against the Rockies. Alex Wood struck out nine over six innings and held Colorado hitless over the first 5 2/3s.
— Huascar Ynoa (hoo-AHS’-kahr ee-NOH’-ah) pitched 5 1/3 strong innings and belted his first career homer as the Braves battered the Cubs, 10-0. Freddie Freeman went 4 for 5 with a homer, Marcell Ozuna (oh-ZOO’-nah) went deep in a four-run first and Austin Riley left the yard as Atlanta dealt the Cubs their fifth straight loss.
— Andrew McCutchen returned to the lineup and singled home the go-ahead run in the Phillies’ 5-3 win at St. Louis. Phils outfielder Bryce Harper had to leave the game after being hit on the left cheek by a 97 mph fastball.
— 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.
— Jorge Soler (HOHR’-hay soh-LEHR’) had two doubles among his three hits and drove in three runs to lead the stunning Royals to a 9-6 win over the Pirates. Soler’s doubles sparked three-run rallies in the first and sixth innings to help Kansas City improve to a major league-best 15-8.
— 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.
— Anthony Rendon (rehn-DOHN’) and Jose Iglesias hit two-run singles in the first to jumpstart the Angels’ 4-3 win at Texas. Rookie Chris Rodriguez pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings for the win after Alex Cobb was reached for three runs in two-plus frames.
— Pinch-hitter Jason Castro drew a bases-loaded walk to put the Astros in front during a four-run eighth that pushed them to a 7-5 win over the Mariners. An error by first baseman Evan White allowed Kyle Tucker to come home on a fielder’s choice, sparking the late rally.
— The Tigers and White Sox were rained out in Chicago and will make it up as part of a straight doubleheader Thursday.
Broncos beckon 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.