AP Sports

April 14, 2023
AP Scorecard
April 14, 2023
AP Sports

Update on the latest sports 4/12/2023

AP-Summary Brief-Sports

NBA playoff overview: Warriors seek 5th title in 9 years

For the Golden State Warriors, it’s a drive for five, as in five championships in nine years. It’s a similar thought for LeBron James, as the NBA’s all-time points leader is set to resume his quest for a fifth ring. And for a bunch of other teams, just one ring would satisfy. The NBA playoffs start Saturday, with Milwaukee as the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference and holder of home-court advantage throughout the postseason, and Denver as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the first time.

Lottery could alter offseason plans for NHL’s worst teams

CHICAGO (AP) — A single ping-pong ball could have a ripple effect beyond the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets or another lucky NHL team that’s looking to turn a dismal season into a blue-chip player. High-scoring forward Connor Bedard is the top prize as the consensus No. 1 overall prospect. University of Michigan star Adam Fantilli would be quite a return for whichever team gets the No. 2 pick. Matvei Michkov and Leo Carlsson also are expected to go in the top five. The lottery takes place on May 8.

Black church, NHL’s Penguins reach historic land-use accord

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team has reached an agreement with a historic Black church to provide it development rights to a 1.5-acre parcel near the church’s former property. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church’s old sanctuary was demolished along with much of the surrounding Black neighborhood in the 1950s in a now-lamented urban-renewal project. The Penguins hold development rights in the area near the arena where they currently play. Bethel says public authorities compensated it in the 1950s for a fraction of its property’s value. The Penguins only came in existence a decade after that happened. But the agreement is being called “restorative justice.”

MLB players find less time for small talk with pitch clock

DENVER (AP) — The pitch clock hasn’t just made baseball quicker. It’s quieter now, too. Players are finding that there’s no time for small talk amid Major League Baseball’s new pace-of-play initiative. The pitch clock’s 15 seconds — 20 when someone’s on base — goes by fast at the plate. The penalty for idle chatter could be stiff, with a called strike on the hitter. Social hour just has to wait. Same way on the bases. There’s no real chance to talk shop on the field with former teammates, good friends or even the umpires working the game.

Kings set to end playoff drought by taking on Warriors

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings have spent nearly four decades as California neighbors having never played a game with high significance. The two franchises separated by less than 100 miles never even made the NBA playoffs in the same season since the Kings arrived in California in 1985, much less met in the playoffs. Now with the Kings having ended the longest playoff drought in NBA history, the teams will meet in a first-round series beginning Saturday night in success-starved Sacramento that has the potential to fuel a rivalry.

Mavericks fined $750,000 by NBA for sitting players

The NBA has fined the Dallas Mavericks $750,000, saying the team engaged in “conduct detrimental to the league” by sitting out most of its key players against the Chicago Bulls on April 7 despite still having a chance to reach the postseason. The league’s investigation took less than a week. The NBA says Dallas violated the league’s policy on resting players and had a desire to lose the game “in order to improve the chances of keeping its first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.”

Penguins fire GM Hextall, exec Burke after missing playoffs

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins have fired general manager Ron Hextall, director of hockey operations Brian Burke and assistant general manager Chris Pryor after the club failed to reach the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. The decision came after a disappointing season in which Pittsburgh went 40-31-11. The Penguins finished ninth in the Eastern Conference to end the longest active postseason streak in major North American professional sports. Fenway Sports Group owner John Henry and company chairman Tom Werner said in a joint statement that “the team will benefit from new hockey operations leadership.”

Magic Johnson delivers another assist in Commanders purchase

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Magic Johnson has racked up another victory and dished out another big assist in his post-basketball career as a prolific sports team owner. The Los Angeles Lakers great is part of the ownership group that reached an agreement in principle Thursday to purchase the NFL’s Washington Commanders. Johnson is the famous face out in front of the Commanders group, which gets most of its financial backing from billionaire Josh Harris. It’s a familiar role for Johnson, who also owns minority stakes in baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.

Wild plan to ride ‘Gus Bus’ and Fleury in true goalie tandem

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild brought back Marc-Andre Fleury and traded Cam Talbot for Filip Gustavsson last summer to make the Fleury their primary goalie. Gustavsson was the 24-year-old project who was supposed to spend the season learning from the 19-season veteran Fleury. Now the Wild are entering the playoffs with a true tandem in the net because Gustavsson has been so good. He’s third in goals against average and second in save percentage among NHL goalies this season who played in more than 25 games. Gustavsson got 37 starts for the most by the secondary goalie of all 16 playoff teams.

Ukraine bars national sports teams from events with Russians

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Ukrainian government has barred its national sports teams from competing at international events which also include athletes from Russia and Belarus. The decree published by the Ministry of Youth and Sports follows opposition from Ukraine to efforts by the International Olympic Committee to reintegrate Russian and Belarusian competitors into events as neutrals without national symbols. It could potentially herald a broad boycott of competitions including upcoming Olympic qualifiers. It was not immediately clear how it might affect the men’s and women’s tennis tours or qualifying for next year’s European Championship in men’s soccer.