Update on the latest sports
Beal, Westbrook lead Wiz past Pacers 142-115 for East 8 seed
WASHINGTON (AP) — Russell Westbrook nearly had a triple-double and Bradley Beal scored 25 points in just 29 minutes to help the Washington Wizards reach the NBA playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed by overwhelming the Indiana Pacers 142-115 in the play-in round.
Washington led by as many as 38 points and advanced to face Joel Embiid and the No. 1 seed Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. It all marks quite a turnaround for coach Scott Brooks’ Washington team, which was 17-32 in early April. Indiana’s run of five consecutive playoff appearances ended in coach Nate Bjorkgren’s debut season.
NBA NEWS-HAWKS-MCMILLAN FINE
McMillan fined $25,000 for saying NBA favors Knicks’ success
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan was fined $25,000 by the NBA after saying the league is rooting for the success of the New York Knicks and implying his team may struggle to get calls in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Hawks face the Knicks in a best-of-seven series that begins Sunday at Madison Square Garden. McMillan called the Knicks one of the league’s glamour franchises, even though this is New York’s first appearance in the playoffs since 2013.
In other NBA news:
— Atlanta Hawks forward Cam Reddish is expected to miss the opening round of the playoffs as he continues his extended recovery from an ailing right Achilles. The team says Reddish has expanded his rehabilitation to include unrestricted individual workouts and limited participation in team practice. His status will be reviewed again in 10-14 days. — Denver’s Nikola Jokic finished ninth in the MVP voting last season. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Golden State’s Stephen Curry didn’t get listed on a single ballot a year ago. A year later, one of them will walk away with the NBA’s highest individual prize. Jokic, Embiid and Curry were revealed Thursday night as the three top vote getters for this year’s NBA MVP award. Curry is a two-time winner, Jokic’s best previous finish was fourth in 2019 and Embiid’s best MVP showing was seventh in 2019.
Tanev scores late, Penguins beat Islanders 4-3 in Game 3
UNDATED (AP) — Brandon Tanev scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:36 left and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 5-4 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Jeff Carter scored twice, Kris Letang had a goal and two assists and Jason Zucker also scored for the Penguins. Tristan Jarry stopped 26 shots. Cal Clutterbuck scored twice, Scott Mayfield had a goal and two assists, and Anthony Beauvillier also scored for New York. Semyon Varlamov finished with 22 saves. Game 4 is Saturday at Nassau Coliseum. Tanev capped a wild third period as he swatted the puck out of the air past Varlamov for the winner.
In other playoff action:
— Ryan Lomberg scored on a breakaway 5:56 into overtime to cap a furious comeback and give the Florida Panthers a 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the first-round Central Division playoff matchup. The Panthers cut the Lightning’s lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. The Lightning took a 5-3 lead into the final period. But the reigning Stanley Cup champions couldn’t put the Panthers away, yielding a power-play goal to Patric Hornqvist and Gustav Forsling’s equalizer with 3:07 remaining. Game 4 is Saturday at Amalie Arena.
— Paul Byron broke a tie with a short-handed goal from his knees with 7:16 left and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Thursday night in Game 1 of the first-round series between Original Six rivals. The game was marred by an early collision that sent Toronto captain John Tavares off the ice on a stretcher to a hospital. Tavares crashed into Montreal’s Ben Chiarot 10:29 into the first period and was hit in the head by Corey Perry’s knee as he fell. Carey Price made 35 saves and Josh Anderson had a first-period goal for the Canadiens. William Nylander tied it for Toronto early in the second.
Avalanche’s Kadri suspended for hit vs Blues pending hearing
DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s Nazem Kadri (NAH’-zehm KAH’-dree) was suspended indefinitely Thursday pending a video hearing with NHL officials over his illegal check to the head of St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of the teams’ playoff series.
Kadri clipped Faulk in the head with his right elbow midway through the third period Wednesday night. Faulk left the game, and Kadri was thrown out with a match penalty. Kadri has three previous playoff suspensions on his record in addition to a four-game ban late in the regular season in 2015 for an illegal check to the head.
In other NHL items:
— Reilly Smith capped a three-goal second-period surge by the Vegas Golden Knights with the go-ahead score in a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. The Golden Knights took a 2-1 lead on the Wild in this first round playoff series. Mark Stone had two goals, Patrick Brown and William Karlsson also scored and Nick Holden had two assists for the Golden Knights. Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek had the goals for the Wild. Game 4 is in Minnesota on Saturday night.
— Toronto captain John Tavares was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a collision early in Game 1 of the Maple Leafs’ first-round playoff matchup with the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Tavares crashed into Montreal’s Ben Chiarot (CHEER’-ot) 10:29 into the first period and was hit in the head by Corey Perry’s knee as he fell. Trainers and doctors from both teams rushed to the ice and attended to the 30-year-old forward before he was taken away, encouraging him to stay on the ice as he struggled to get up. Tavares gave a thumbs-up as he left on a stretcher and was later taken to a hospital.
Rays push winning streak to 7, beat O’s 10-1 for sweep
UNDATED (AP) — Joey Wendle homered twice, Rich Hill combined with his bullpen on a two-hitter and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 10-1 to extend their winning streak to seven games.
Tampa Bay outscored the Orioles 32-14 and out-hit them 43-22 during its first three-game sweep at Camden Yards since May 17-19, 2013.
The Rays at 26-19 are seven games over .500 for the first time this year. They hit 17 homers during the streak, Baltimore has lost 10 of 12 and at 17-26 is a season-high nine games under .500. The Orioles fell to a majors-worst 6-18 at home.
In other Thursday action:
— Will Smith hit a tiebreaking, solo home run in the seventh inning, Albert Pujols slugged a two-run shot, his first for the Dodgers, and Los Angeles defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2. The Dodgers completed a four-game sweep, outscoring Arizona 19-6. They went 8-1 on the homestand and have won four in a row and eight of nine. The D-backs dropped their 10th consecutive on the road and fifth in a row overall. There were 27 strikeouts in the game including 14 by Arizona and 13 by the Dodgers.
— Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer, his first for the Los Angeles Dodgers, in the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He sent an 0-1 pitch from Merrill Kelly to right field, with Josh Reddick jumping to the top of the wall in an attempt to make the catch. Will Smith, who singled leading off, scored and Pujols was greeted by high-fives from his teammates in the dugout as the Dodgers led 2-0. It was Pujols’ 668th career home run, most among active players and fifth all-time.
— Kevin Newman hit a tiebreaking single in the 10th inning, Adam Frazier had four hits and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Atlanta Braves 6-4. Atlanta, winner of the last three NL East titles, has lost seven of 10 and dropped to fourth place at 20-24.
— J.D. Martinez hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in a three-run ninth inning, and Boston Red Sox rallied to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7. Alex Verdugo had an RBI grounder before Martinez connected on his 250th homer.
— Miguel Sanó hit a grand slam and José Berríos pitched five solid innings, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels and a split of a makeup doubleheader. The Angels took the opening game 7-1 with a homer and a three-run double from Phil Gosselin. Taylor Ward added a two-run homer to back Alex Cobb’s five strong innings of four-hit ball. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli watched the second game from a suite while serving a one-game suspension.
— Sandy Alcantara tossed two-hit ball over six innings and Garrett Cooper homered to lead the Miami Marlins to a 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night. Phillies starter Vince Velasquez was a late scratch because of a numb right index finger, forcing them to use a bullpen game. The first three pitchers all gave up runs and the Phillies have lost four of five games. Miguel Rojas hit a solo shot for the Marlins.
— Martín Maldonado homered and drove in three runs, helping the Houston Astros beat the Oakland 8-4 to move ahead of the Athletics for the AL West lead. Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel also had run-scoring hits for the Astros in the rubber match of a three-game series. Houston is 21-9 against division opponents, including 7-3 against Oakland, and at 26-18 has sole possession of the division lead for the first time since before play on April 9.
— Steven Duggar hit his first career grand slam in a nine-run third inning, Brandon Crawford drove in six runs and the San Francisco Giants routed the Cincinnati Reds 19-4 to sweep a four-game series. Darin Ruf had four hits, including a two-run homer in third. Crawford hit a three-run homer in the fifth, becoming the Giants first primary shortstop with 11 homers in a season’s first 37 games. San Francisco outscored Cincinnati 33-9 in the series and extended its winning streak to five. The NL West-leading Giants have the best record in the major leagues at 28-16.
— Domingo Germán followed Corey Kluber’s no-hitter with seven more scoreless innings, Gio Urshela and Aaron Judge delivered RBI singles as pinch-hitters in the seventh inning and the New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 2-0. New York won its sixth straight series and at 25-19 moved a season-high six games over .500. Yankees pitchers have thrown seven shutouts in the team’s first 44 games for the first time since 1967. Texas had at least one hit in each of the first five innings, starting with Nick Solak’s single, a day after Kluber pitched the major leagues’ sixth no-hitter.
— Phil Gosselin homered and hit a three-run double in the first two innings, and Alex Cobb pitched five strong innings in the Los Angeles Angels’ 7-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the first game of a makeup doubleheader. Taylor Ward hit a two-run homer for the Angels in the opener of a doubleheader necessitated by a COVID-19 outbreak among the Twins while they were in Anaheim last month, forcing the postponement of two weekend games. Gosselin’s four RBIs matched the best total of his nine-year big league career.
Hoyer disappointed with Cubs’ COVID-19 vaccination rate
UNDATED (AP) — Chicago Cubs executive Jed Hoyer is disappointed with the team’s COVID-19 vaccination rate, and he isn’t sure if it will ever reach Major League Baseball’s threshold for relaxing some of its coronavirus protocols.
Despite the team’s vaccination advocacy and education program, the Cubs remain shy of 85% for their Tier 1 players and staff. Hoyer says “there’s a real competitive advantage” to the relaxation of MLB’s COVID-19 rules.
In other news around MLB:
— The Seattle Mariners have claimed catcher Jacob Nottingham off waivers from Milwaukee for a second time this season as part of a series of roster moves. Nottingham was claimed by the Mariners in late April but was subsequently traded back to Milwaukee when the Brewers were in need of catching help.
— The Chicago Cubs have placed outfielder Jason Heyward on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. Heyward left Wednesday night’s 4-3 loss to Washington in the fourth inning. He is batting .183 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 39 games. The Cubs also recalled outfielder Nick Martini from Triple-A Iowa before their 5-2 victory over the Nationals.
Reunited: Tebow signs with Jags, rejoins Meyer as tight end
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer are together again. But this time in the NFL and with Tebow playing a new position.
The former Florida star and 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback has signed a one-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars and will attempt to revive his pro career as a tight end. The move also reunites two of college football’s most polarizing figures over the past 15 years.
The 33-year-old Tebow is returning to the NFL after five years in the New York Mets’ organization and he’ll be playing for Meyer for the first time since his senior year in 2009.
The Jacksonville Jaguars also signed rookie tight end Luke Farrell, getting their third of nine draft picks under contract. Fourth-round pass rusher Jordan Smith and sixth-round receiver Jalen Camp signed earlier this week.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
Washington is releasing longtime starting right tackle Morgan Moses and reserve Geron Christian, a person with direct knowledge of the moves tells The Associated Press. Moses started for Washington at right tackle every game for the past six seasons. Signing former Chicago Bears offensive tackle Charles Leno and drafting Samuel Cosmi in the second round led to Washington’s surprising decision to cut ties with Moses. The team saves $7.5 million against the salary cap. The 30-year-old fan favorite from Richmond, Virginia, is a free agent effective immediately.
Corey Conners alone in lead at PGA Championship
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Corey Conners made it look stress-free amid the wind and havoc of Kiawah Island.
He made only one bogey on his way to a 67 and a two-shot lead in the PGA Championship. The wind was stiff enough off the Atlantic that only seven players shot in the 60s. That’s the fewest for the opening round of a PGA Championship since 2002.
Brooks Koepka was among those two shots behind. Keegan Bradley, Viktor Hovland, Aaron Wide and Sam Horsfield also fired 69s
The Ocean Course is playing shorter because of the wind but that didn’t make it easy. There was plenty of stress for Dustin Johnson. He made two double bogeys and shot 76. Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy each shot 75.