Update on the latest sports


76ers close gap on Nets

UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers are back within a half-game of the Brooklyn Nets for first place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

The 76ers rolled to a 126-104 thumping of the Hawks as Dwight Howard furnished a team-high 19 points and 11 rebounds. Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid (joh-EHL ehm-BEED’) and Tobias Harris each scored 18 points to help the Sixers routed Atlanta for the second straight game.

Hawks guard Trae Young scored 32 points in his return after a four-game absence due to an ankle injury.

The Nets ended a four-game winning streak as Damian Lillard had 32 points, nine assists and seven rebounds to lead the Trail Blazers to a 128-109 victory at Brooklyn. Lillard scored 22 points in the second half as the Blazers broke away late in the third quarter.

Jusuf Nurkic (NUR’-kihch) added 23 points and 11 rebounds to help the Blazers move to 3-0 on their six-game road trip.

The wildest game on the NBA schedule was played in Boston, where Jayson Tatum scored a career-high 60 points and the Celtics rallied from a 32-point deficit to beat the Spurs, 143-140. Jaylen Brown hit a 3-pointer with 16.7 seconds remaining in overtime and finished with 17 points as the Celtics moved a half-game ahead of idle Miami for sixth in the East.

Checking out Friday’s other NBA action:

— Devin Booker scored 31 points and the Suns pulled into a tie for the top spot in the Western Conference by beating the Jazz 121-100. Booker shot 13 of 19 from the field, hitting three step-back jumpers late in the third that brought roars from the crowd. Mikal (mih-KAYL’) Bridges finished with 18 points and Chris Paul added 12 with nine assists as Phoenix pulled even with Utah at 45-18.

— Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton each scored 22 points for the Bucks to lead a 108-98 dowining of the Bulls. Bobby Portis had 16 points and tied a season high with 14 rebounds for Milwaukee, which saw a 19-point lead shrink to two late in the first half before pushing it back to 17 by the end of the third quarter. The Bucks played without Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh), who rolled his right ankle in the opening minute of Thursday’s loss to Houston.

— Russell Westbrook posted his 31st triple-double of the season with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the Wizards’ 122-93 pounding of the Cavaliers. It was Westbrook’s 177th career triple-double, moving him within four of Oscar Robertson’s NBA record. Bradley Beal scored 19 points for Washington, which is 12-2 since falling a season-worst 15 games below .500 on April 5.

— Dillon Brooks scored 20 points as the Grizzlies stifled the Magic, 92-75 despite shooting just 34.3%. Jonas Valanciunas (YOH’-nuhs val-ehn-CHOO’-nuhs) added 14 points and 15 rebounds as Memphis won for the first time in three games. Orlando shot 31.4% and fell even with idle Detroit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

— LeBron James is back in the Lakers’ lineup tonight against the Kings following a 20-game absence with a high right ankle sprain. The Lakers went 8-12 during James’ absence, which also included 16 games missed by Anthony Davis. Coach Frank Vogel said that James had a workout earlier Friday and made the decision to return when he got to Staples Center.


Nuggets sign Austin Rivers for rest of the season

DENVER (AP) — The Nuggets have extended the deal for guard Austin Rivers through the rest of the season.

Rivers has averaged 6.2 points, two assists and 1.2 steals since signing a 10-day contract. He has helped fill the void left by Jamal Murray, who is out for the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee on April 12.


Habs beat Jets

UNDATED (AP) — The NHL’s West Division title race just got a little tighter after the first-place Vegas Golden Knights saw their team-record, 10-game winning streak come to an end.

Adin Hill stopped 25 shots and the Coyotes bolstered their postseason hopes with a 3-0 shutout of the Golden Knights. John Hayden and Michael Bunting scored against Robin Lehner (LEH’-nur), and Arizona shut down a Vegas team that had outscored teams 45-17 during its win streak. Hill finished off his second shutout this season and third of his career as the Coyotes pulled within three points of the Blues for fourth in the West.

The outcome leaves the Knights with a four-point division lead over Colorado.

Philipp Grubauer stopped 21 shots in his return from the league’s COVID-19 protocols, leaving the Avalanche to a 3-0 win against the Sharks. Grubauer showed no signs of rust in his first game since April 12, tying for the league lead with his sixth shutout of the season.

Gabriel Landeskog (LAN’-dehs-kahg) and Cale Makar (mah-KAHR’) scored power-play goals 2 minutes apart in the first period.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:

— Nick Suzuki’s second goal of the game broke a tie late in the third period of the Canadiens’ 5-3 victory over the Jets. Suzuki also had an assist to give him four goals and two assists in his last four games. Tyler Toffoli (tah-FOH’-lee) had a goal and an assist for Montreal, which is six points ahead of Calgary for the final playoff slot in the North Division.

— The Kings pulled out a 2-1 win over the Ducks on Anze Kopitar’s (AHN’-zhay KOH’-pih-tahrz) goal with 55.1 seconds remaining. Lias Andersson also had a goal and Jonathan Quick made 33 saves for the Kings, who trail St. Louis by eight points for the final playoff spot in the West Division with eight games remaining.


Carpenter blast leads Cards again

UNDATED (AP) — Matt Carpenter came through in a pinch once again.

Carpenter belted his second pinch-hit, three-run home run in as many days to lead the Cardinals’ 7-3 win over the Pirates. Carpenter connected off Duane Underwood Jr. in the sixth inning to put the Cardinals ahead 6-1.

Tyler O’Neill had three hits, including a leadoff home run in the fourth inning.

In other major league action:

— The Brewers beat the Dodgers for the second straight night as Jackie Bradley Jr. smacked a two-run shot to help Milwaukee earn a 3-1 win. Freddy Peralta worked six innings and allowed just one hit, A.J. Pollock’s leadoff homer in the fifth.

— Joey Votto (VAH’-toh) smacked his 300th career home run and doubled twice as the Reds outscored the Cubs, 8-6. Nick Senzel lined a two-run homer and Eugenio (ay-oo-HAY’-nee-oh) Suárez added a solo shot as Cincinnati won for the third time in four games after losing seven in a row.

— Chase Anderson pitched into the sixth inning and was at the plate when he swung and missed at a passed ball that allowed two runs to score in the Phillies’ 2-1 downing of the Mets. The two teams cleared the benches twice in the eighth inning after Phillies reliever José Alvarado jawed at Dominic Smith following a strikeout.

— The Nationals pulled out a 2-1 win over the Marlins on Kyle Schwarber’s two-run homer leading off the bottom of the 10th. Washington starter Jon Lester worked five shutout innings in his season debut after coming off the injured list.

— Teoscar (tay-AHS’-kur) Hernández slamed a three-run homer after missing three weeks following a positive test for the coronavirus, helping the Blue Jays bury the Braves, 13-5. Robbie Ray took a one-hitter into the seventh inning and left with two out in the inning, charged with two runs and five hits.

— J.D. Martinez leads the majors with nine home runs and smacking two more in the Red Sox’s 6-1 victory at Texas. Nathan Eovaldi (eh-VAHL’-dee) allowed one run on four singles over six innings with five strikeouts and two walks.

— Alex Kirilloff hit the first two home runs of his major league career, including a three-run drive in the third inning to break open the Twins’ 9-1 assault on the Royals. Michael Pineda (pih-NAY’-dah) allowed one run and three hits in five innings against the AL Central leaders.

— Shane Bieber struck out 11 and allowed three runs over six innings of the Indians’ 5-3 verdict over the White Sox. Bieber has fanned at least eight in 18 straight games, breaking a tie for the mark set by Hall of Famer Randy Johnson in 1999-2000.

— Aaron Judge belted a grand slam and a solo homer in the Yankees’ 10-0 dismantling of the Tigers. Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks and Rougned Odor (ROOG’-nehd oh-DOHR’) also homered and Gerrit Cole struck out 12 while holding Detroit to four hits over six innings.

— John Means struck out nine and the Orioles won in Oakland for the first time since 2017, beating Mike Fiers (FY’-urz) and the Athletics, 3-2. Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays hit back-to-back home runs to help the Orioles end their seven-game losing streak at the home of the A’s.

— The Astros rolled to a 9-2 win over the Rays as Lance McCullers Jr. struck out nine in seven shutout innings. Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa had four hits each, and Alex Bregman hit a two-run homer in Houston’s seventh win in nine games since a 1-9 skid.


Hall of Famer Alomar fired by MLB over sexual misconduct

UNDATED (AP) — Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar has been fired as a consultant by Major League Baseball and placed on the league’s ineligible list after an investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said a baseball industry employee reported an incident earlier this year involving Alomar from 2014. The league hired an external legal firm to investigate the matter.

MLB said it would not provide further details on the investigation to protect the individual who came forward.

Alomar said on Twitter that he was “disappointed, surprised, and upset” by MLB’s decision.

Alomar also lost his position as a special assistant with the Toronto Blue Jays. The club said in a statement it is severing ties with Alomar immediately, including removing him from their Level of Excellence and taking down his banner from Rogers Centre.

Baseball Hall of Fame board chairman Jane Forbes Clark said the Hall was “shocked and saddened” by Alomar’s actions, but said his plaque will remain on display. Alomar was inducted in 2011.

In other MLB news:

— The Cardinals are hopeful of getting Adam Wainwright back from the COVID-19 injured list on Monday, allowing him to start that night against the Mets. The veteran right-hander was placed on the IL Thursday. Wainwright has been vaccinated, but he came in close contact with a family member who has tested positive for the virus.

— Padres right-hander Chris Paddack has been placed on the injured list with what manager Jayce Tingler described only as “a medical condition.” Tingler declined to say whether Paddack’s illness is COVID-related.

—The Minnesota Twins have reinstated outfielders Max Kepler and Kyle Garlick from the COVID-19 injured list. They also recalled catcher Ben Rortvedt from Triple-A St. Paul before beginning a three-game series against Kansas City.

— Major League Baseball says nine teams have had 85% of players, coaches and others with Tier 1 access receive their final dose of the coronavirus vaccine, allowing those clubs to ease some health and safety protocols. Four of those teams have already begun relaxing some protocols after 85% or more of Tier 1 individuals reached full vaccination. Another five teams have surpassed the 85% threshold for vaccine injections within the past two weeks and can ease standards once that waiting period passes.


Panthers pick up Darnold’s option

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) —The Carolina Panthers have upped their commitment to Sam Darnold, picking up the fifth-year option on the quarterback’s rookie contract.

Darnold will now make $18.9 million for the 2022 season. His contract would have expired after the 2021 season and he would have become an unrestricted free agent if the Panthers had not picked up the option.

The Panthers showed their faith in Darnold by passing on a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. They acquired him in a trade with the New York Jets this offseason.

In other NFL moves:

— The Ravens have exercised the fifth-year option for quarterback Lamar Jackson. The NFL’s 2019 MVP threw for 2,757 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year. He also became the first quarterback in league history to have two 1,000-yard rushing seasons, but he has struggled in the playoffs.

— The Broncos have exercised the fifth-year option on linebacker Bradley Chubb. He earned a Pro Bowl berth last season after bouncing back from a torn ACL with 7½ sacks and more than 60 quarterback knockdowns and hits.

— The Falcons have added depth at quarterback by signing free agent A.J. McCarron to a one-year deal. McCarron was a backup in Houston the last two seasons and gives the Falcons an experienced backup behind starter Matt Ryan.

— Former Jets tight end Pete Lammons drowned Thursday morning at age 77. Major League Fishing announced in a statement that Lammons was participating in an event in Texas on Thursday morning when he slipped from his boat and fell into the water. He was drafted in 1966 and played six seasons in New York, helping deliver the franchise its first and still only Super Bowl title after the 1968 season.


Kansas hires Buffalo’s Lance Leipold as football coach

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has hired Buffalo’s Lance Leipold as its next football coach. The Jayhawks are turning over one of college football’s worst programs to a longtime Division III coach with Midwestern roots.

Leipold signed a six-year contract and takes over for Les Miles, who left the program after two losing seasons amid allegations of sexual harassment dating to his time at LSU.

Leipold won six Division III national titles in eight seasons before going to the Bulls, where he was 37-33 the past six years.


Co-leaders through 36

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Sam Burns and Keegan Bradley share the lead at the midway point of the PGA’s Valspar Championship in Florida.

Burns surged up the leaderboard with an 8-under 63 to catch up with Bradley who carded a 66. Bradley ended his 65 by holing out for eagle from 100 yards in the ninth fairway, over a deep bunker to the elevated green. The shot left him guessing until he saw the fans jump out of their seats. They are four strokes ahead of Lucas Glover, Max Homa and Charley Hoffman.

Phil Mickelson bogeyed two of his final three holes to miss the cut by one shot.


Atlanta Motor Speedway dropping capacity limits

UNDATED (AP) — Atlanta Motor Speedway is following the league of other major sports facilities in the area by opening its grandstands to full capacity for the July NASCAR weekend.

The 1.54-mile trioval in suburban Hampton, Georgia, is planning to fill as many seats as possible for its next major event.

Baseball’s Atlanta Braves and Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United both announced this week that they plan to resume 100% capacity for games in May.