Update on the latest in sports:
Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (AP) -The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks play host to the second-seeded Raptors in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The two teams had the best records in the NBA this season – Milwaukee went 60-22, Toronto went 58-24 – and one of them will have home-court advantage for the NBA Finals starting May 30. Milwaukee hasn’t been to the NBA Finals in 45 years, while Toronto has never been to the title round.
There’s a big-name superstar on either side: Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) and Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard. The Bucks have a coach who wasn’t there last year; the Raptors have a coach who wasn’t in charge last year. Similarities abound between Milwaukee and Toronto. Over the next couple of weeks, one team will separate itself and reach the NBA Finals.
The NBA’s playoff pool of bonus money this season is a record $21,676,510, and Milwaukee and Toronto are both assured a significant chunk of that. The Bucks have already claimed over 2.5 million in pool money; the Raptors are up to almost 1.8 million. The winner of this series is assured just over 2.5 million more just for making the NBA Finals – and would get another almost 1.3 million for winning the title.
San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m.
ST. LOUIS (AP) – The St. Louis Blues carry some momentum into Game 3 of their NHL Western Conference finals against the San Jose Sharks. The Blues evened the series at 1-1 with a 4-2 victory. The Blues got better play from their defense, including two goals and five points overall. After giving up numerous odd-man rushes in the opening loss to the Sharks, the Blues defense seems to have found its game, especially after the pairing switch midway through the second period in Game 2 on Monday night.
The Blues are tied with San Jose with 38 points from defensemen in the playoffs, the most in the NHL. But, they’ll need to improve a tepid power play if they want to reach their first Stanley Cup Final since 1970. The Blues have scored just once on a power play in their last 26 attempts and haven’t found the back of the net with the man advantage in five games.
Seeking playoff return, Sabres hire Ralph Krueger as coach
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Ralph Krueger (KROO’-gur) has officially been named the new coach of the Buffalo Sabres as the franchise seeks to return to the playoffs after an eight-year absence. General manager Jason Botterill says in a statement that Krueger has adapted to “a variety of high-pressure environments while leading some of the world’s elite players.” The 59-year-old Krueger previously coached the Edmonton Oilers during the NHL’s lockout-shortened season in 2012-13. He has also coached the Swiss national team.
Krueger also coached Switzerland’s national team to Olympic appearances in 2002, 2006 and 2010. He’s spent the past five years as chairman of soccer’s Southampton FC of the English Premier League.
NHL-BRUINS FANS ASSAULT
4 arrested in connection with assault after playoff game
QUINCY, Mass. (AP) – Transit police in Massachusetts say four people have been arrested in connection with an assault hours after the Boston Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes in a playoff game. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police posted surveillance images of five suspects online, many wearing Bruins clothing, and announced Wednesday that based on tips from the public, four had turned themselves in. The attack occurred at the North Quincy Station at about midnight Friday.
They are charged with aggravated assault and battery resulting in serious injuries.
Police say the victim suffered facial fractures in the attack.
Vlad Jr. back in action against Giants
UNDATED (AP) – Rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. looks to build off his first huge game in the majors when the Blue Jays continue their series at San Francisco. The highly touted 20-year-old hit the first two home runs of his major league career, becoming the youngest player in Toronto history to touch ’em all. Guerrero’s drives were estimated at 438 feet and 451 feet.
Teammate Edwin Jackson will make history when he pitches for his 14th major league team in his Toronto debut. A 35-year-old right-hander, Jackson was acquired by the Blue Jays from Oakland on Saturday for $30,000. He made three minor league starts for the Athletics, two at Triple-A and one at Class A. RHP Shaun Anderson makes his major league debut for San Francisco.
Elsewhere in the majors:
– Veteran slugger Kendrys Morales is on the move again, this time being traded to the injury-depleted Yankees with cash by Oakland for a player to be named or cash. The A’s got the 35-year-old first baseman/designated hitter from Toronto on March 27. The switch-hitter batted .204 with one homer and seven RBIs before being designated for assignment Monday. After two straight rainouts at Yankee Stadium, New York hosts Baltimore in a doubleheader tonight.
– Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper will see how his left knee is feeling, a day after banging into a wall making a sliding catch on a foul ball at Citizens Bank Park. Harper came up limping after the play in the sixth, but remained in the game. Harper said “It’s a little sore,” and said he didn’t know if he could play against the Brewers Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
– Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin makes the ninth start of his $140 million contract with Washington, and his third outing against the National League East rival Mets. He’ll be going up against Mets right-hander Wilmer Font, who is making his second start of the season. The Mets acquired Font from the Tampa Bay Rays on May 6.
Everfast becomes 13th horse to enter Preakness
BALTIMORE (AP) – A 13th horse has been added to the Preakness field three days before the race.
Everfast, trained by Dale Romans, was a last-minute entry to the second jewel of the Triple Crown on Wednesday, hours before post positions were drawn. A Maryland Jockey Club spokesman confirmed the addition of Everfast to a field that does not include the Kentucky Derby winner for the first time at the Preakness since 1996.
If all 13 horses reach the starting gate, it’ll be the biggest Preakness field since 2009.
Jockey Joel Rosario will ride Everfast, who last ran in the Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard on May 4. He finished fifth in that race.
Everfast, who is owned by Calumet Farms, is Romans’ sixth entry in the Preakness. The trainer’s only victory came in 2011 with Shackleford.
Rain delays Federer and Nadal matches at Italian Open
ROME (AP) – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s opening matches at the Italian Open have been delayed by rain.
Federer is slated to meet Joao Sousa while eight-time Rome champion Nadal is scheduled to play Jeremy Chardy.
Also, top-ranked Naomi Osaka was to play Dominika Cibulkova.
Consistent rain at the Foro Italico is threatening to wipe out the entire day session.
In the night session, top-ranked Novak Djokovic is to face Denis Shapovalov.
NCAA to consider allowing athletes to profit from names
UNDATED (AP) – The NCAA is looking at how its rules can be modified to allow college athletes to be compensated for their names, images and likenesses.
NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors announced Tuesday that Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith will head a new working group on the topic.
The NCAA said a final report from the working group is due to the Board of Governors in October.
NCAA rules forbid athletes in most circumstances from receiving benefits or compensation for their names, images and likenesses from a school or outside source.
SATURDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Auburn vs. Oregon kicks off ABC’s Saturday Night Football
Auburn against Oregon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Aug. 31 will be the first ABC Saturday Night Football game this season.
ESPN announced Wednesday the first three games of the 14th season of Saturday Night Football. LSU at Texas on Sept. 7 will be the Saturday Night Football game in week two. Defending national champion Clemson at Syracuse on Sept. 14 will fill that slot week three.
The start time for Saturday Night Football has been moved up 30 minutes this season to 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.
The network also announced ABC will televise four conference championship games, starting with the Pac-12’s on Friday, Dec. 6. The following day ABC will air title games for the American Athletic Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12.