AP Sports

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April 17, 2019
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AP Sports






Update on the latest in sports:





First-round playoffs continue with 3 Game 2s


UNDATED (AP) – The Celtics are looking to follow up the ugliest game of the playoffs with another win against the Pacers. And they don’t care how it aesthetically it looks as long as they win.


Boston limited Indiana to eight points in the third quarter of its 84-74 Game 1 win. It was the Celtics’ lowest point total of the season and the first time they won a game in 2018-19 in which they didn’t reach 100 points.


The Pacers host the Celtics tonight in Game 2 of their first-round series.


Change is on the minds of both teams. For the Celtics that could mean tweaks to the starting lineup as they continue to adjust to the absence of Marcus Smart, who is recovering from a torn left oblique.


Elsewhere in the NBA playoffs:


– Milwaukee hosts Detroit for Game 2. Detroit’s 35-point loss in Game 1 was more lopsided than the Pistons’ entire four-game series the last time they were in the playoffs. In 2016, they lost four straight games to Cleveland. Milwaukee had a 22-11 advantage in fast-break points in Game 1 and outrebounded the Pistons 54-46. If Detroit is going to keep this game closer, turning those two categories around may be the best path.


– After their 32-point win in Game 1, the Rockets talked about the need to maintain focus. Last year they won the opener of their second-round series against the Jazz only to lose Game 2 at home, and they are determined not to let it happen again. The Jazz used a defense focused on making the left-handed superstar James Harden go to his right in Game 1. The tactic kept him from using his step-back 3-pointer as effectively as he normally does. If they use the same tactic in Game 2 look for Harden to continue driving to the paint and dishing off to teammates such as Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker for corner 3s.




3 teams take 2-1 leads into Game 4


UNDATED (AP) – There were some doubts entering the NHL playoffs about goalies Philipp Grubauer of Colorado, Pekka Rinne (PEH’-kuh RIH’-neh) of Nashville and Frederik Andersen of Toronto. But they have responded and are a big reason why their teams hold 2-1 leads in the first round. All three look to come up clutch yet again in Game 4 on the ice tonight.


Boston forward Patrice Bergeron (pah-TREES’ BEHR’-zhehr-ahn) remains confident his line will crank up the production against the Maple Leafs. Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand have combined for three goals in three games against Toronto after a regular season in which they had 106. One of the reasons is the defensive work of Toronto’s offensive line of John Tavares, Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman.


Predators center Rocco Grimaldi is one of the shortest players in the NHL at 5-foot-6 but he’s coming up big in this series against Dallas, scoring in consecutive games. After going into the lineup for Game 2 – filling in when 6-foot-6 center Brian Boyle had an appendix issue – Grimaldi had his first career playoff goal Saturday. with a stick coincidentally named “Frankie” – on the three-year anniversary of the death of his grandfather Frank. He added another goal, with a different stick, in Game 3.


The Calgary Flames watched film as a group in lieu of practice Tuesday after Monday’s loss to Colorado. Among the topics discussed was getting back to playing the way they played in amassing a Western Conference-best 107 points. Johnny Gaudreau has been held in check, with just one assist in the series. He had 99 points in the regular season. Calgary is searching for a way to slow down MacKinnon, who has three goals, including an OT winner in Game 2.




Cardinals try to find a way to get Yelich out


UNDATED (AP) – Michael Wacha (WAH’-kuh) and the Cardinals will try to figure out a way to finally get Christian Yelich (YEH’-lihch) out. The reigning NL MVP has eight homers against St. Louis already this season, and is the first player to homer in six consecutive games versus the Cardinals. St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said “It’s almost like he’s psychic”.


Heading into the series finale, the Brewers have won nine of their last 10 against the Cardinals, including four in a row.


Wacha allowed three homers over 3 2/3 innings in his last start but is 5-0 in 12 career games against Milwaukee. Yelich has 14 homers in 22 games vs. St. Louis since joining the Brewers last season – 12 of them in 16 meetings at Miller Park.


Elsewhere in the majors:


– Blake Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, thinks he might miss just one start after breaking a toe on his right foot at home Sunday night. Tampa Bay’s ace left-hander got hurt when he stepped out of the shower and then attempted to move a large granite item. He said it was a “really dumb” move. Snell is 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA in four starts this season. He was placed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday and is eligible to return April 24.


– Cincinnati right-hander Sonny Gray, who grew up rooting for the Reds, looks to avoid the bad luck that’s plagued his first three starts for them when he takes the mound at Dodger Stadium. The Reds were shut out in his first two outings, and in his most recent start, he took a line drive off his left calf and lasted only four innings. Walker Buehler starts for Los Angeles in the finale of a three-game series that marked Yasiel Puig’s return to LA.


– He’s not quite in Chris Davis territory yet, but White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka is really struggling. Palka, who led the White Sox with 27 homers as a rookie last season, is hitless in 32 at-bats this year. He is 0 for 34 dating to 2018, the longest current skid for a major league position player.


– Greg Bird is back on the injured list for the banged-up Yankees, and that means more opportunities at first base for breakout slugger Luke Voit. New York goes for a two-game sweep of the rival Red Sox after James Paxton’s dominant outing in an 8-0 rout Tuesday night. J.A. Happ faces Boston righty Nathan Eovaldi.


– Matt Harvey is looking for his first win with the Angels. The former Mets ace, who spent most of last season with Cincinnati, makes his fourth start for Los Angeles in the finale of a three-game series at Texas. He gave up six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings against Milwaukee during his last start, also at home.




4 London games, 1 in Mexico City on NFL schedule


NEW YORK (AP) – The NFC champion Los Angeles Rams will host Cincinnati in London for one of five international games on the 2019 schedule.


The Rams and Bengals will face off at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 27.


Earlier in October, the league will play two games at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium in London. The Raiders will host the Bears on Oct. 6, and the Buccaneers will be the home team against the Panthers on Oct. 13.


Wembley will be the site of the fourth London match, with Houston facing host Jacksonville on Nov. 3.


The league returns to Mexico, after last season’s Chiefs-Rams game was moved to Los Angeles because of poor field conditions at Azteca Stadium. On Monday night Nov. 18, the Chiefs will play LA’s other team, the Chargers.


The NFL announces its full schedule Wednesday night.




Court nixes bid to send suit over Rams’ move to arbitration


(Information in the following story is from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com)


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri court has turned down an effort by Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL to send a lawsuit over the team’s relocation from St. Louis to Los Angeles into arbitration.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a three-judge panel of the Missouri Appeals Court’s Eastern District ruled Tuesday that the Rams can’t force the lawsuit to be ironed out behind closed doors.


The Rams cited language in a 1995 lease agreement when the franchise moved to St. Louis from LA. Kroenke moved the team back to LA in 2016.


The court said rules governing arbitration weren’t in place until eight years after the 1995 contract.


The suit by St. Louis city and county and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority alleges breach of contract and fraud, among other things.




LeBron James to be executive producer of boxing series


NEW YORK (AP) – LeBron James is getting into the boxing business. James is an executive producer of “40 Days,” a documentary series about the buildup to big fights that will debut with a focus on the middleweight unification bout between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs.


The series is a partnership between Uninterrupted, the platform founded by James and partner Maverick Carter, and DAZN, which will stream the May 4 fight in Las Vegas.


Carter says Wednesday that Uninterrupted has partnered with DAZN, which signed Alvarez to a contract worth at least $365 million, in hopes of reaching a “new audience of global boxing fans that want to see another side to these athletes that has yet to be shown.”


The title of the series is derived from the roughly five days of training for eight weeks to prepare for a fight. The second episode is set for April 30.




Joshua’s US debut in doubt because of opponent’s failed test


LONDON (AP) – LONDON (AP) – Anthony Joshua’s debut fight in the United States could be in doubt after his promoter said the world heavyweight champion’s opponent has failed a doping test.


Eddie Hearn says in a Twitter post that Joshua’s camp has been informed by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association that there was an adverse finding in a sample collected from American boxer Jarrell Miller on March 20.


Hearn says “we are working with all relevant parties and will update with more details soon.”


Salita Promotions, which represents Miller, said Wednesday it was obtaining more information about VADA’s finding and “will have more to say soon on this developing situation.”


Joshua, who holds the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts, is scheduled to fight Miller on June 1 at Madison Square Garden.


During the promotional tour for the fight, Miller said both fighters had agreed to between 10 and 12 weeks of drug testing in the buildup to the bout.