Update on the latest sports
Heat top 76ers to keep No. 5 seed
UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers were unable to clinch the top seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Miami Heat held onto the fifth seed as Jimmy Butler scored 21 points, Bam Adebayo (ad-eh-BY’-oh) had a double-double in a 106-94 victory over the Sixers. Adebayo delivered 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, who led 38-22 in the first quarter.
Miami’s Udonis Haslem (yoo-DAH’-nihs HAZ’-lehm) got his first minutes of the season in the first half, scoring four points and getting ejected with two technical fouls in just under three minutes.
Tobias Harris scored 21 points, but MVP candidate Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) managed only six on 3-for-9 shooting after battling the flu earlier this week.
The outcome puts the 76ers one game ahead of the Nets with two games remaining for each team.
Checking out Thursday’s other NBA action:
— Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) had a dominant performance in the Bucks’ 142-133 win at Indiana. The two-time reigning MVP poured in 40 points grabbed 15 rebounds and had six assists. Jrue Holiday finished with 20 points and 14 assists as Milwaukee pulled within a game of the idle Nets for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
— Devin Booker made two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining to give the Suns a 118-117 victory over the Trail Blazers. Booker’s winning foul shots were set up when Portland’s Robert Covington was fouled and missed both free throws with 4.4 seconds left. Chris Paul had a team-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting as Phoenix climbed within a game of Utah for the top seed in the West with two games remaining.
— The Clippers earned a 113-90 win over the Hornets as Paul George had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Reggie Jackson drained five 3-pointers in scoring 19 points off the bench, helping the Clippers deal the Hornets their fourth loss in five games. Kawhi (kah-WY’) Leonard had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who began the day one game ahead of Denver for the third seed in the West.
— Nikola Jokic (nih-KOH’-lah YOH’-kihch) scored 16 of his 31 points in the first quarter as the Nuggets took control before holding off the Timberwolves, 114-103. JaVale McGee had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Vlatko Cancar scored a career-high 14 points off the bench for Denver. The Nuggets rested Michael Porter Jr. after clinching home-court advantage in their previous game.
— Bogdan (BAHG’-dahn) Bogdanovic furnished 27 points and Trae Young added 18 as the Hawks cruised to their third straight win, 116-93 versus the Magic. Clint Capela added 14 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta, which led by 30 midway through the third quarter. The Hawks own the NBA’s longest active home winning streak at 10 games and have won 18 of their last 20 at State Farm Arena.
— Alec Burks provided a season-high 30 points in his return from a three-game absence, powering the Knicks to a 102-98 decision over the Spurs. Julius Randle had 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Knicks, who are a half-game behind Atlanta as they battle the Hawks and Miami for the No. 4 seed in the East. RJ Barrett scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half to help New York secure the victory.
— Dillon Brooks contributed 30 points and the Grizzlies crafted a late rally to knock off the Kings, 116-110. Jonas Valanciunas (YOH’-nuhs val-an-CHOO’-nuhs) had 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Kyle Anderson scored 14 for Memphis.
— Zach LaVine (lah-VEEN’) dropped in 24 points and Lauri Markkanen added 20 as the Bulls beat the Raptors, 114-102. Chicago led by 24 in the third quarter and avoided elimination from the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Nets keeping James
UNDATED (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets are keeping Mike James for the rest of the season, signing him for the rest of the season following the expiration of his second 10-day deal.
James has appeared in 11 games and started Brooklyn’s victory over San Antonio on Wednesday. He has averaged 7.1 points, 3.7 assists and 17.5 minutes per game.
Also around the NBA:
— The Bucks have signed guard Elijah Bryant, who has spent the last two seasons playing with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. The 26-year-old Bryant averaged 10.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 47% for Maccabi Tel Aviv this season.
— The Warriors have signed forward Juan Toscano-Anderson to a multiyear deal and gave forward Jordan Bell a two-way contract for the remainder of this season. Toscano-Anderson originally signed a two-way contact with the Warriors in December. He is averaging 5.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 55 games this season.
— Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has reached agreement on his $1.5 billion sale of the club to e-commerce mogul Marc Lore and former baseball star Alex Rodriguez. That’s according to a person with knowledge of the negotiation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Lore and Rodriguez are 50-50 partners.
— The NBA has created the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award to recognize players who are making strides in the fight for social justice. Each team will nominate a player before five finalists are selected for the award, which honors the Hall of Fame center and activist. The winner will receive $100,000 for the charity of his choice, and the other finalists will get $25,000 apiece for charity.
Avs finish with NHL’s top record
UNDATED (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche are this year’s West Division champs in the NHL and winners of the Presidents’ Trophy.
The Avs passed Vegas on the final day of the season by erupting for five goals in the second period of a 5-1 win over the Kings. Tyson Jost scored twice for the Avs, who also received second-period goals from Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Joonas Donskoi (YOH’-nuhs DAHN’-skoy) and Andre Burakovsky (bur-ah-KAHV’-skee).
Colorado and Vegas both finished with 82 points, but the Avs earned the division crown and the Presidents’ Trophy due to more regulation wins. This was the first time the Avalanche have captured the Presidents’ Trophy since 2000-01, when they went on to hoist the Stanley Cup.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— David Perron (peh-RAHN’), Brayden Schenn, and Jordan Kyrou (KY’-roo) each scored twice and the Blues erupted for seven straight goals to erase a first-period deficit and beat the Wild 7-3.
— Elias (eh’-LEE’-uhs) Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk (kah-CHUHK’) each had a goal and an assist for the Flames in a 4-1 win over the visiting Canucks.
White Sox stay hot
UNDATED (AP) — Good pitching, great defense and a pair of homers have run the Chicago White Sox’s winning streak to six games.
Lance Lynn struck out nine while allowing two hits over five innings of the White Sox’s 4-2 win over the Twins. Lynn gave up an unearned run in the fourth inning and was bailed out by Billy Hamilton’s leaping catch at the wall with the bases loaded to prevent further damage.
Four relievers completed the combined five-hitter, but Hamilton came through again with a running catch that saved two runs.
Tim Anderson went deep on Minnesota starter Michael Pineda’s first pitch, two innings before Jake Lamb homered. The round-trippers helped the White Sox improve to a major league-best 22-13.
Also around the majors:
— Xander Bogaerts (BOH’-gahrts) and Bobby Dalbec each hit a two-run home run to help the Red Sox pound the Athletics, 8-1 and avoid a three-game sweep. Boston jumped on A’s left-hander Sean Manaea, pounding out 10 hits and seven runs in the first three innings on the way to snapping a three-game skid.
— Rich Hill joined Cy Young and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers to strike out nine against the Yankees at age 41 or older, one of the Rays’ highlights in a 9-0 dismantling of New York. Austin Meadows smacked a two-run homer and Randy Arozarena (ah-ROH’-zah-RAY’-nuh) added a three-run blast as Tampa Bay avoided a three-game sweep.
— Myles Straw scored on a wild pitch in the 11th inning to give the Astros a 4-3 win over the Rangers. José Altuve (al-TOO’-vay) gave Houston a 3-2 lead in the second on a three-run double down the left-field line.
— Zach Plesac (PLEE’-sak) came within six outs of ending Cleveland’s 40-year no-hitter drought before the Indians settled for a 4-2 win at Seattle. Plesac got all the offense he needed on home runs from Frammil Reyes and José Ramírez.
— Jack Flaherty is the majors’ first seven-game winner of the season after scattering four hits over six innings of the Cardinals’ 2-0 shutout of the Brewers. Milwaukee hurler Corbin Burnes struck out nine among his first 14 outs, giving him 58 strikeouts and no walks this year before he walked Tommy Edman with two outs in the fifth.
— Anthony DeSclafani allowed one hit over five scoreless innings of the Giants’ 3-1 verdict over the Pirates. Steven Duggar’s first home run in nearly two years broke a scoreless tie with one out in the fifth.
— Josh Fuentes slammed a two-run homer for the second straight game and had four RBIs as part of the Rockies’ 13-8 assault on the Reds. Chi Chi Gonzalez scattered four hits over seven shutout innings before Cincinnati exploded for eight runs off Colorado’s bullpen in the eighth inning.
— The Nationals avoided a three-game sweep as Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber hit two-run homers in the first inning of their 5-1 victory over the Phillies. Patrick Corbin allowed one run in seven innings, giving up five hits while striking out a season-high nine to help Washington end a four-game skid and win for just the second time in nine contests.
— Trevor Rogers allowed one run and four hits with seven strikeouts over six innings as the Marlins beat the Diamondbacks, 5-1 to gain a split of the four-game series. Jesús Aguilar (AG-ee-ahr) had three more hits to finish 9-for-17 in the series.
— Bo Bichette had two hits and three RBIs, including a go-ahead, two-run double in the ninth inning of the Blue Jays’ 8-4 comeback win over the Braves. Atlanta was swept in its six-game season series with Toronto and finished Thursday’s game without Ronald Acuña Jr. because of a left ankle injury.
— Spencer Turnbull allowed a run and six hits over 6 1/3 innings as the Tigers dealt the Royals their 11th consecutive loss, 4-3. Detroit scored its runs in the second on RBI singles by Willi Castro, Jacoby Jones and Robbie Grossman and a sacrifice fly by Akil Baddoo.
Realmuto, Torres on COVID-19 IL
UNDATED (AP) — The Phillies have placed catcher J.T. Realmuto (ree-al-MOO’-toh) on the COVID-19-related injured list and recalled catcher Rafael Marchan from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. A player goes on the COVID-19 IL by testing positive himself or for contract-tracing purposes after possibly being exposed to someone who tested positive. Realmuto is hitting .314 with four homers and 16 RBIs.
Also, Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated and having previously contracted the coronavirus during the offseason.
Torres is among eight so-called breakthrough positives among the Yankees, people who tested positive despite being fully vaccinated.
In other major league news:
— Albert Pujols has been formally released by the Angels after clearing waivers, one week after the 41-year-old star slugger was designated for assignment. Pujols became a free agent and can sign with any team willing to pay a prorated share of the $570,500 major league minimum. The Angels would be on the hook for the remainder of his $30 million salary in the final season of a $240 million, 10-year contract.
Bortles inks deal with Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers have signed Blake Bortles as they attempt to add quarterback depth while MVP Aaron Rodgers’ future with the team remains uncertain.
The third overall pick in the 2014 draft will be reunited with Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. The 29-year-old Bortles started 73 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2014-18.
Rodgers has reportedly expressed his desire not to return to Green Bay. He had been one of two quarterbacks on the roster along with 2020 first-round draft pick Jordan Love.
TPC Craig Ranch can’t tame field
McKINNEY, Texas (AP) — The TPC Craig Ranch course was easy pickings for players in the opening round of the Byron Nelson Classic.
Jordan Spieth (speeth) sank a 55-foot putt for eagle on 18 en route to a 9-under 63 and a share of the first-round lead with J.J. Spaun.
Spieth, Spaun and plenty of others had little trouble with the suburban Dallas course. Of the 156 players in the field, 132 were under par and 94 shot in the 60s on the third venue in the past four Nelsons.
Aaron Wise said the course played as easy as it can get. Wise is one shot off the lead, along with Rafa Cabrera Bello, Doc Redman and Joseph Bramlett.
Red Storm gives Anderson extension
UNDATED (AP) — St. John’s basketball coach Mike Anderson has been rewarded with a six-year contract extension after guiding the Red Storm to a 16-11 season.
St. John’s went 10-9 in the Big East after being picked ninth in the preseason coaches poll. It marked the first time the Red Storm finished with a league record of .500 or better since 2014-15.
Also in college basketball:
— Texas forward Greg Brown has announced that he is turning pro and won’t return to the Longhorns for his sophomore season under new coach Chris Beard. Brown was a top-10 recruit when he signed with Texas and former coach Shaka Smart. Brown started 24 games last season and averaged 9.3 points and 6.2 rebounds, but his minutes diminished late in the season.