Update on the latest sports
Sixers collapse, fall to Hawks
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — On Tuesday, it was the Milwaukee Bucks blowing a 17-point lead to fall behind three-games-to-two against Brooklyn in the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals. One day later, it was the Philadelphia 76ers coughing up a 26-point advantage in a 109-106 loss to the Hawks.
Atlanta outscored the Sixers 40-19 in the fourth quarter to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semis. Trae Young poured in 39 points and John Collins had a double-double of 19 points and 11 boards. Young was fouled on a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws with 1:26 left to put the Hawks ahead.
Danillo Gallinari contributed 16 points and eight rebounds, while fellow backup Lou Williams provided 15 points.
Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) and Seth Curry combined for 73 points in the loss, with Embiid finishing with 37 and 13 rebounds. Curry added 36 points, but Tobias Harris was held to just four on 2 of 11 shooting.
The Hawks can wrap up the series on Friday in Atlanta.
Paul enters COVID-19 protocols
UNDATED (AP) — The Phoenix Suns could be missing a very key piece to their starting lineup when they begin their next playoff series.
The Suns say guard Chris Paul has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and his availability for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals is unclear. A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Paul has been vaccinated against COVID-19. That could mean that Paul could be cleared to return faster than those who tested positive before vaccines were available.
In other NBA news:
— Hornets versatile point guard LaMelo Ball is the NBA Rookie of the Year despite missing 21 games with a fractured wrist. Ball beat out finalists Anthony Edwards from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tyrese Haliburton from the Sacramento Kings to win the award. He led all rookies with averages of 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game and was third with 15.7 points and 5.9 rebounds.
— Head coach Scott Brooks won’t be returning to the Wizards, who made the playoffs three times in his five years at the helm. Washington won its play-in game and was promptly knocked out by the 76ers in five games. The Wizards were 183-207 under Brooks.
— Stan Van Gundy was given the one season to coach the Pelicans before the two sides mutually agreed to part. New Orleans just went 31-41 to finish 11th in the Western Conference, two games out of a play-in berth. The Pelicans had the eighth-worst defense in the league this season following a truncated training camp.
— Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson is leaving the team after 24 seasons. Nelson was instrumental in the club’s acquisitions of Dirk Nowitzki and Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chihch). The Mavericks said Wednesday the club and Nelson agreed to part ways, with owner Mark Cuban saying the 58-year-old son of former coach Don Nelson was “instrumental to our success and helped bring a championship to Dallas.”
Habs knot series with Knights
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens aren’t going to go away quietly in the Stanley Cup semifinals.
The Habs have evened the series at a game apiece as Carey Price stopped 29 saves in a 3-2 win over the Golden Knights in Las Vegas. Price improved to 9-4 in the playoffs, his most victories in a postseason. Eight of those wins have come in Montreal’s last nine games.
Paul Byron, Joel Armia (joh-EHL’ ahr-MEE’-ah) and Tyler Toffoli (tah-FOH’-lee) scored for Montreal, with Byron making it 3-0 with 2:45 left in the second period. The Habs have won 21 straight playoff games when scoring at least three goals.
Alex Pietrangelo peh-TRAN’-jeh-loh) scored twice for Vegas and Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves.
The Knights had won five in a row since dropping the first two games of their second-round series in Colorado.
Game 3 is Friday night in Montreal.
Sox win on Grandal’s hit
UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago White Sox have won a series matchup of AL division leaders, but it took extra innings to accomplish it.
The White Sox pulled out an 8-7 win over the Rays behind Yasmani Grandal’s (yahs-MAH’-nee grahn-DAHLZ’) game-ending single in the 10th. Jóse Abreu (ah-BRAY’-oo) hit his 12th homer of the season for the White Sox, who squandered a 7-2 lead before winning for the 10th time in their last 13 games.
Yandy Díaz and Mike Zunino (zuh-NEE’-noh) homered for the Rays.
Meanwhile, the Mets continue to win games and lose key players.
Jacob deGrom was pulled from a second straight start with an arm injury, this time leaving after three perfect innings with right shoulder tightness in New York’s 6-3 victory over the Cubs. DeGrom struck out eight of the nine batters he faced and lowered his ERA to 0.54, the lowest in major league history after 11 starts.
Dominic Smith hit a one-out solo homer in the third and added a run-scoring grounder in the fourth as the Mets earned their sixth win in seven games, putting the NL East leaders a season-high 10 games over .500.
Around the majors:
— The Red Sox earned their second-straight, 10-8 win over the Braves as Christian Arroyo slugged a pinch-hit grand slam in the seventh inning. Hunter Renfroe hit a two-run single and Xander Bogaerts (BOH’-gahrts) had three doubles as part of Boston’s 14-hit attack.
— Gary Sánchez belted a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the seventh inning, and Aroldis (ah-ROHL’-dihs) Chapman dodged a ninth-inning jam to wrap up the Yankees’ 3-2 win over the Blue Jays. Gerrit Cole is 8-3 after limiting Toronto to four hits over eight innings.
— The Athletics have a six-game winning streak after Ramón Laureano hit a home run and made a homer-robbing catch in his return from the injured list, highlighting an 8-4 win over the Angels. Matt Olson singled twice in a six-run sixth and finished 3-for-4 with an RBI.
— Jose Altuve (al-TOO’-vay) homered twice and made major league history by hitting a leadoff homer one game after belting a walk-off grand slam, carrying the Astros to an 8-4 win over the Rangers. Astros rookie Chas McCormick recorded his first two-homer game on a night when Houston went deep a season-high six times.
— José Ramírez homered and drove in three runs as the Indians sent the Orioles to their team record-extending 18th consecutive road loss, 8-7. César Hernández had a two-run triple and Adam Civale (sih-VAH’-lee) became the first 10-game winner of the season despite allowing five runs in as many innings.
— Willi Castro homered during a three-run seventh that send the Tigers to a 6-5 victory and a three-game sweep of Kansas City. The Royals have lost six in a row and 11 of 12.
— Yadier Molina (YAH’-dee-ehr moh-LEE’-nah) delivered his eighth career walk-off hit with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to complete the Cardinals’ 1-0 and three-game sweep of the Marlins. St. Louis starter Johan Oviedo worked a career-high seven scoreless innings and Miami’s Sandy Alcantara (al-KAN’-tah-rah) pitched a team season-high 8 1/3 innings.
— The Reds won for the 11th time in 13 games as Tyler Mahle (MAH’-lee) tied his career high with 12 strikeouts in a 2-1 decision over the Brewers. Tucker Barnhart doubled home the tiebreaking run to send Cincinnati to its sixth straight win and a three-game sweep.
— The Nationals picked up a 3-1 win over the Pirates behind Paolo Espino, who allowed three hits over five shutout innings for his first major league win at age 34. Josh Bell hit a two-run homer against his former team as Washington completed a three-game sweep that extends Pittsburgh’s losing streak to 10 games.
— Pinch-hitter Charlie Blackmon singled home the winning run in the ninth to give the Rockies an 8-7 win over the sputtering Padres. San Diego wasted Fernando Tatis (tah-TEES’) Jr.‘s NL-leading 21st home run and lost for the 13th time in 17 games.
Rays’ Hill says union ‘dropped the ball’ on grip enhancers
CHICAGO (AP) — Veteran Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Rich Hill says the players’ union “dropped the ball” when it came to this week’s announcement from Major League Baseball about grip-enhancing substances.
MLB says pitchers will be ejected and suspended for 10 games starting Monday for using illegal substances to doctor baseballs. The 41-year old Hill said he feels like the sides should have come together and settled this together.
Elsewhere around the majors:
— Astros third baseman Alex Bregman left Wednesday’s game against the Rangers with a strained left quadriceps. Bregman was injured in the first inning while running to first base when he grounded into a double play.
— The Phillies will be without second baseman Jean Segura for at least three weeks due to a Grade 1 left groin strain. The team also says slugger Bryce Harper is day to day with lower back tightness. Both were injured on Tuesday.
NFL loosening many COVID restrictions for vaccinated players
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL and NFL Players Association have updated COVID-19 protocols to loosen restrictions for fully vaccinated players and to encourage others to get the vaccine.
Unvaccinated players must continue to get daily testing, wear masks and practice physical distancing. They won’t be allowed to eat meals with teammates, can’t participate in media or marketing activities while traveling, aren’t permitted to use the sauna or steam room and may not leave the team hotel or interact with people outside the team while traveling.
Spezza stays with Leafs
TORONTO (AP) — Jason Spezza (SPEHT’-suh) has re-signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, agreeing to the NHL-minimum $750,000 for next season.
The 38-year-old Spezza had 10 goals and 30 points in 54 regular-season games for his hometown team and added three goals and five in seven playoff contests.
Venus, Murray get Wimbledon wild cards; prize money reduced
UNDATED (AP) — Former Wimbledon champions Venus Williams and Andy Murray will receive wild cards to compete in the grass-court Grand Slam tournament when it starts in less than two weeks.
The All England Club also announced Wednesday that the men’s and women’s singles winners will each get $2.4 million, a nearly 28% decrease from 2019, although the overall reduction in prize money is 5.2%.
Organizers highlighted plans to have a full crowd of 15,000 at Centre Court for the men’s and women’s finals next month, a year after the tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In other tennis news:
— Roger Federer has failed to reach the Halle Open quarterfinals for the first time. Félix Auger-Aliassime rallied from a set down to stun the former champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round.
Kentucky judge divides Medina Spirit urine sample for tests
UNDATED (AP) — A Kentucky judge has granted representatives of trainer Bob Baffert and the owners of Kentucky Derby winner Medina (meh-DEE’-nah) Spirit most of a split sample of the horse’s urine to be further tested for the steroid betamethasone and other substances.
The Hall of Fame trainer and Zedan Racing Stables last week sued the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for remnants of Medina Spirit’s urine to prove that traces of the steroid betamethasone in his system came from a topical ointment rather than an injection.