AP Sports

May 16, 2023
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May 16, 2023
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May 16, 2023

76ers fire coach Doc Rivers after 3 seasons and 3 second-round exits from playoffs

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers fired coach Doc Rivers following a third straight exit in the second round of the playoffs. Rivers led the 76ers to their second straight 50-win season behind NBA MVP Joel Embiid but again failed to lead them to the Eastern Conference Finals or beyond. The 76ers held a 3-2 semifinal series lead against Boston before dropping Game 6 at home and were crushed in Game 7 on the road. Rivers fell to 6-10 in Game 7s. He won the 2008 NBA title as coach of the Boston Celtics.

As NBA coaching changes mount, some lament the lack of job security

MIAMI (AP) — Miami’s Erik Spoelstra and Denver’s Michael Malone are two of the four NBA coaches to have spent at least eight years with their current team. They know how rare that is. Spoelstra and Malone both spoke out Monday following the recent dismissals of three coaches who aren’t far removed from great success. That’s 2019 NBA champion Nick Nurse, 2021 champion Mike Budenholzer and 2021 Western Conference champion and 2022 coach of the year Monty Williams. Nurse was fired by Toronto, Budenholzer by Milwaukee and Williams by Phoenix. And then on Tuesday, Philadelphia dismissed Doc Rivers.

Denver Nuggets focused on vanquishing LeBron James and Lakers, not ghosts of the past

DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets aren’t concerned about their horrendous history against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA playoffs as they begin their Western Conference finals against L.A. on Tuesday night. The Nuggets have lost all seven times they’ve faced the Lakers in the playoffs, including inside the NBA bubble in 2020. But coach Michael Malone said his team is focused on continuing its stellar play regardless of whether it’s against their nemesis or not. Neither team has a home game in the playoffs but it’s the Nuggets who own the homecourt advantage as the West’s top-seeded team.

Far from Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby winner Mage’s team settles into Preakness routine

BALTIMORE (AP) — Mage’s team at the Preakness has settled into a stable routine at the Preakness after the horse’s Kentucky Derby victory capped off a tumultuous stretch at Churchill Downs. The race itself went off without incident but came on the heels of seven horse deaths in a span of 10 days. An eighth horse died racing at the Louisville track Sunday. Mage was driven 11 hours to Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore over the weekend. The colt’s preparations may as well be happening a world away with co-owner Ramiro Restrepo and trainer Gustavo Delgado overseeing calm low-key jogging each morning.

Wembanyama about to learn his NBA destination, with the draft lottery on Tuesday

Actor Michael Douglas is a huge basketball fan. And he’s become a big fan of Victor Wembanyama. Douglas and every other basketball follower in the world is about to find out where Wembanyama’s NBA journey will begin. The NBA draft lottery is Tuesday night in Chicago. The team that wins the lottery gets the right to choose No. 1 overall in next month’s draft. And they’ll use that pick on Wembanyama, the 7-foot-3 French phenom.

CTE cases in soccer players raise fresh questions about safety of heading the ball

Four more former professional soccer players have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The Concussion Legacy Foundation says the North American Soccer League veterans were found to have the degenerative brain disease that has been linked to concussions in athletes, combat veterans and others who have sustained repeated head trauma. English star Jimmy Fryatt was one of them. He was considered one of the best at heading the ball. Researchers say the practice is dangerous and should be phased out, especially for children. The new diagnoses come as soccer officials gather in Chicago for a Head Injury Summit. Some of the ex-players’ families say hearing from those who suffered from the disease is a key to preventing and treating it.

Djokovic takes issue with Norrie’s behavior at Italian Open: ‘Not fair play’

ROME (AP) — Novak Djokovic was in command from the start and never really let up in a 6-3, 6-4 win over 13th-seeded Cameron Norrie to reach the Italian Open quarterfinals for the 17th straight year. Djokovic is aiming for his seventh title on the red clay of the Foro Italico and he had his entire game clicking after struggling at times in the previous rounds. Djokovic will next face seventh-seeded Holger Rune in a rematch of the Paris Masters final that the 20-year-old Dane won in November. Rune beat Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Two-time defending women’s champion Iga Swiatek beat Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4 and will next face Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

WNBA suspends Hammon 2 games for player’s allegation she was bullied for being pregnant

NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA has suspended Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon for two games for violating league and team respect in the workplace policies. The violation announced Tuesday was related to comments made by Hammon to Dearica Hamby in connection with the player’s recent pregnancy. Hamby’s allegations were that she was bullied and manipulated for being pregnant. The league also rescinded the Aces’ first-round pick in the 2025 draft for violating league rules regarding impermissible player benefits. The investigation took over three months to complete. The defending champion Aces open up the season on Saturday at Seattle before playing at Los Angeles against Hamby and the Sparks on May 25.

Column: Shaun Micheel’s name is on the PGA Championship trophy and he’s proud of it

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Shaun Micheel is back at Oak Hill 20 years after he won the PGA Championship there. His 7-iron to a few inches on the final hole remains one of the great closing shots by a major champion. Micheel remembers kissing the belly of his pregnant wife when he walked off the green. His son now is 19 and with him at Oak Hill. Micheel never won again on the PGA Tour. He knows his place in the game. He’s proud of his major title. But he still regrets how he let the win affect the rest of his career. He says he played to keep his job.

Perfect 7: Stars’ DeBoer 7-0 as coach in Game 7s with former team Vegas next

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Stars coach Pete DeBoer is 7-0 in Game 7s in his career after a 2-1 win over Seattle in the Western Conference semifinals. DeBoer is the third coach to win a Game 7 with four different teams. Next up is one of the 54-year-old’s former teams as Dallas plays Vegas in the West final. Goalie Jake Oettinger says his coach’s calm demeanor helps explain the Game 7 record. There’s only one coach in the history of the four major pro sports with more Game 7 victories without a loss. Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Red Auerbach was 8-0 with the NBA’s Boston Celtics.