Update on the latest sports:
Back again: Warriors, Cavs to open NBA Finals at usual site
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The NBA Finals start up right where they finished last year.
And right where they’ve opened every year since 2015.
Golden State hosts Cleveland on Thursday night to begin the record fourth straight meeting between the teams. It’s the first time in NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL history that the same teams are meeting four straight times in the championship round.
The Warriors have had home-court advantage each time and won Game 1 in all three series. They went on to win last year’s title in five games.
Golden State will be without 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala as he continues to recover from a bone bruise in his left knee. The Cavaliers are waiting to see if Kevin Love will be cleared to play after missing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals with a concussion.
DeRozan, Embiid lined up for NBA Africa game in South Africa
UNDATED (AP) – The NBA says it will hold its Africa exhibition game in the South African capital of Pretoria on Aug. 4, with All Stars DeMar DeRozan and Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) among those lined up to play.
The NBA has held two Africa games previously, in 2015 and last year. They were both in Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city and commercial hub, and pitted a team of American and international NBA stars against a team of NBA players from Africa, or with African heritage.
This time, Team World and Team Africa will play at the 8,500-seat Sun Arena in Time Square as the NBA pushes out to a new city, just about 40 miles up the highway from Johannesburg.
The NBA has sought to capture a new market in Africa over recent years and Commissioner Adam Silver made the trip to Johannesburg for the inaugural Africa game in 2015. Then, Silver said the NBA was looking to hold a pre-season and ultimately a regular-season game in Africa.
Sharapova, Muguruza, Cilic among winners on Day 5
PARIS (AP) – Two-time champion Maria Sharapova has improved to 13-0 in second-round matches at the French Open by beating 50th-ranked Donna Vekic of Croatia 7-5, 6-4.
Sharapova won the title in 2012 and 2014, part of her career Grand Slam. She is seeded 28th this year.
The 31-year-old Russian is competing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015. She missed the clay-court Grand Slam tournament in 2016 while serving a doping suspension, then was denied a wild-card entry by the French tennis federation last year, when her ranking was too low to earn automatic entry.
Next for Sharapova is a matchup against sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open and a semifinalist in Paris a year ago. She reached the third round with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over 2015 French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova.
Other winners on Day 5 include Garbine Muguruza (GAHR’-been moo-gah-ROO’-thuh), Samantha Stosur, Marin Cilic (CHIHL’-ihch) and Richard Gasquet (ree-SHARD’ gas-KAY’) .
Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and three-time champion Serena Williams also have second-round matches Thursday.
Dodgers get Kershaw back
UNDATED (AP) – Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to return to the rotation Thursday at home against the Philadelphia Phillies. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner has been on the disabled list for nearly a month with left biceps tendinitis. He is 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA this season. Aaron Nola pitches for the Phillies.
Elsewhere in the majors:
– After wrapping up a series at Yankee Stadium last night, Jose Altuve (al-TOO’-vay) and the World Series champion Astros return home to face another 2017 playoff opponent in Boston. Including a four-game series at Cleveland last weekend, that makes three straight foes for Houston that participated in last year’s postseason. Lance McCullers Jr. starts the opener of a four-game set against Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz.
– The Nationals and Braves, in a tight race with the Phillies for the top spot in the NL East, begin a four-game series in Atlanta. Tanner Roark starts for Washington against Atlantas Sean Newcomb.
Attempt to remove goose from baseball stadium ends in chaos
DETROIT (AP) – A Canada goose settled into right-center field during a rain delay at the Detroit Tigers game, and an attempt to remove it ended in chaos.
The grounds crew at Comerica Park in Detroit set off two firecrackers and another member gave chase Wednesday night. The bird tried to escape, but crashed into an LED board on the third deck and fell two levels into the stands.
Video of the goose’s appearance was captured by Fox Sports Detroit.
After several moments, a veterinarian who was attending the game wrapped the stunned goose in a blanket and took it to the concourse, where it was released outside the stadium and dashed into nearby bushes.
After the rain delay, the Tigers went on to beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-1.