Update on the latest sports
NBA playoff games called off amid player protest
UNDATED (AP) – Making their strongest statement yet in the fight against racial injustice, players from six NBA teams decided not to play postseason games on Wednesday in a boycott that quickly reverberated across other professional leagues.
Players made the extraordinary decisions to protest the shooting by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday of Jacob Blake, a Black man, apparently in the back while three of his children looked on.
Kenosha is about 40 miles south of Milwaukee. That city’s NBA team, the Bucks, started the boycotts Wednesday by refusing to emerge from their locker room to play a playoff game against the Orlando Magic.
Other games that were not played: NBA playoff games between Oklahoma City and Houston, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland.
Other sports followed, just as they did in March when the season was suspended four months because of the coronavirus pandemic. This time, the players will decide how long the stoppage lasts.
Major League Baseball was also affected. Games between the Reds and Brewers in Milwaukee, the Mariners and Padres in San Diego and the Dodgers and Giants in San Francisco were called off hours before they were set to begin.
While players and teams from baseball, the WNBA, MLS and tennis sat out their competitions Wednesday night, NBA players and coaches met for nearly three hours in a Disney hotel to determine next steps, including whether the season should continue. They did not come to a consensus, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.
The NBA’s board of governors will meet Thursday morning and likely address whether the playoff games scheduled for Thursday day will be played. The Western & Southern Open won’t be, with the U.S. Tennis Association, along with the ATP and WTA Tours, announcing play would be paused after two-time Grand Slam women’s champion Naomi Osaka had already said she wouldn’t play her semifinal match.
Pacers fire McMillan following 2nd straight 1st-round sweep
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Indiana Pacers have fired coach Nate McMillan, two weeks after announcing he would keep the job for two more years. Team officials made the announcement less than 48 hours after the Pacers suffered their second straight sweep in the first round of the playoffs.
McMillan went 183-136 in four seasons with the Pacers, going to the playoffs each season.
Lillard leaving bubble
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – The Portland Trail Blazers say leading scorer Damian Lillard will leave the bubble in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and return to Portland on Thursday.
Lillard was diagnosed Tuesday with a knee sprain, which occurred in Game 4 of the team’s NBA first-round series against the Lakers.
The team did not make any mention if the uncertainty over the remainder of the NBA season played a role in Lillard’s decision.
NHL-STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
Lightning crush Bruins; Flyers top Isles in OT
UNDATED (AP) – The Tampa Bay Lightning put on an offensive showcase while taking a two-games-to-one lead in their Stanley Cup second-round series.
The Lightning power play came to life as they scored three times with the man advantage to blow out the Bruins, 7-1. Tampa Bay’s power play was in an 0-for-16 slump until Ondrej Palat (AHN’-dray pah-LAHT’), Mikhail Sergachev (SUR’-gah-chehv) and Alex Killorn (kih-LOHRN’) all scored with the extra attacker.
Nikita Kucherov (KOO’-cheh-rahv) scored once and assisted on the three power-play goals. Killorn came away with two goals and an assist, while Sergachev and Brayden Point each had a goal and two assists.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (va-sih-LEHV’-skee) stopped 23 shots for the Bolts.
Brad Marchand had the lone Bruins goal, his third in two games.
The Flyers have evened their Stanley Cup second-round series at a game apiece.
The Flyers blew an early 3-0 lead before Phil Myers scored 2:40 into overtime to give Philadelphia a 4-3 win over the Islanders. Third-period goals by Anthony Beauvillier (boh-VIH’-lee-ay) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (PA’-zhoh) allowed the Isles to force overtime before Myers ended the game.
Kevin Hayes provided the game’s first two goals after scoring just once in the Flyers’ first 10 playoff games. Sean Couturier (koo-TOOR’-ee-ay) scored 15:09 into the first period to make it 3-0 and chase Semyon Varlamov (SEHM’-yahn vahr-LAH’-mahv), who had just set an Islanders record for longest playoff shutout streak.
Carter Hart made 31 saves for the Flyers. Thomas Greiss (grys) stopped 20 shots and was perfect until Myers scored.
The wildest finish of the day was provided by the Avalanche, who blew a 3-1 lead in the third period and scored the last three goals in a 6-4 win over the Stars. The comeback puts Colorado within two games to one in the series.
Goals by Denis Gurianov (gur-ee-AH’-nahv), Blake Comeau (KOH’-moh) and Jamie Benn gave Dallas a 4-3 lead with 9:13 remaining. But the Avs regained the lead when Mikko Rantanen (MEE’-koh RAN’-tah-nehn) and Nazem Kadri (NA’-zehm KA’-dree) tallied 1:52 apart late in the third.
Kadri, Rantanen and Nikita Zadorov (zah-DOHR’-ahv) each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.
NHL strips Coyotes of 2 picks for violating combine policy
UNDATED (AP) – The NHL has stripped the Arizona Coyotes of their 2020 second-round pick and 2021 first-round pick for violating the scouting combine policy by conducting physical tests of draft-eligible players.
Commissioner Gary Bettman determined the organization broke the rules by physically testing prospects outside of the combine. Bettman decided to use his powers to take away draft picks rather than impose a fine of $250,000 or more “given the specific circumstances of this case.”
The league opted not to discipline any individual members of the organization involved in the situation because Bettman believes it was gross negligence rather than intentional wrongdoing.
In other NHL news:
– Canadiens coach Claude Julien says he is feeling “100%” after a heart procedure. Julien had a stent installed in a coronary artery Aug. 13 at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto after complaining of chest pains. The procedure came a day after Montreal opened its first-round playoff series with Philadelphia.
– Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko will undergo surgery on his left shoulder once again and won’t be evaluated for another five months. It will be Tarasenko’s third operation on that shoulder in the past two and a half years.
Anderson outduels Cole in big league debut
UNDATED (AP) – Ian Anderson had quite a major league debut on Wednesday, helping the Atlanta Braves put an end to Gerrit Cole’s lengthy winning streak.
Anderson allowed just one hit over six innings of the Braves’ 5-1 win over the New York Yankees in Game 1 of a twinbill. Anderson had a no-hitter going until Luke Voit homered with one out in the sixth. The third overall pick in the 2016 draft struck out six and walked two.
Cole had won 20 straight regular-season decisions dating to May 2019, one off the American League record set by Roger Clemens. Ronald Acuna (ah-KOON’-yah) Jr. celebrated his return to the lineup by leading off with a 473-foot drive against Cole.
Dansby Swanson and Marcell Ozuna (oh-ZOO’-nuh) also homered off Cole, who had won his first four starts as a Yankee.
The Braves completed a sweep of the doubleheader as Freddie Freeman unloaded a two-run homer off Chad Green in the sixth inning of a 2-1 victory. Max Fried (freed) allowed four hits and one run in six strong innings to move to 5-0.
Yanks starter Masahiro Tanaka was dominant, allowing only three hits in five scoreless innings as he left the second game with a 1-0 lead.
In other major league action:
– Michael Perez hit a tiebreaking, solo homer in the eighth inning to give the Rays a 5-4 decision over the Orioles. Brandon Lowe (low) belted a two-run shot to help Tampa Bay win despite just five hits. The AL East leaders have won nine of 11.
– The Athletics beat Texas, 3-1 as Mike Fiers (FY’-urz) allowed only an unearned run and three hits over six innings. Fiers is 6-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his last nine starts against the Rangers, with his team winning each of those games. The A’s didn’t have a hit until Stephen Piscotty’s one-out RBI single tied the game in the sixth.
– The Indians put together a three-run eighth to knock off the Twins, 6-3. Tyler Naquin (NAY’-kwihn) doubled home the tiebreaking run and scored on a single by Cesar Hernandez. Pitcher Mike Clevinger was good in his return to the Cleveland roster, limiting the AL Central leaders to two runs and eight hits while fanning six over six innings.
– Jose Abreu (ah-BRAY’-oo) homered for the seventh time in five games to support Dallas Keuchel (KY’-kul) in the White Sox’s 10th win in 11 games, 10-3 over Pittsburgh. Keuchel allowed two runs on four hits and struck out seven over six innings for his third straight victory. Eloy (ee-LOY’) Jimenez slugged a three-run homer, Danny Mendick lined a two-run drive and Edwin Encarnacion (ehn-kahr-nah-see-OHN’) added a solo shot for Chicago.
– The Blue Jays blew out the Red Sox, 9-1 as Rowdy Tellez (teh-LEHZ’) drove in four runs with two homers and a double. Vladimir Guererro Jr. hit a pair of doubles, including a three-run bouncer down the left field line which keyed a four-run seventh. Five Toronto pitchers combined to allow three hits, strike out seven and walk three.
– The Mets’ bullpen coughed up a 4-1 lead in the eighth before Wilson Ramos slapped an RBI single with two out in the bottom half to give New York a 5-4 victory against the Marlins. Jacob deGrom settled for another no-decision despite strikeout out 14 and holding Miami to a run and two hits over seven innings. Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo (NIH’-moh) homered for the Mets.
– Aaron Nola bounced back from the shortest outing of his career and the Phillies took advantage of the Nationals’ sloppy outfield defense to rally for a 3-2 victory. Bryce Harper delivered the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh to help Philadelphia win its third in a row. Nola gave up two runs on five hits while striking out eight over seven innings.
– Austin Romine’s RBI double sparked a five-run sixth before the Tigers completed a 7-5 win over the Cubs. Romine drove in a pair of runs while he and Jonathan Schoop (skohp), Miguel Cabrera and Cameron Maybin each collected three of Detroit’s 18 hits. Cubs starter Jon Lester allowed one run over five innings before the bullpen faltered.
– Kolten Wong drew a bases-loaded walk to cap a four-run ninth as the Cardinals stunned the Royals, 6-5. Tyler O’Neill tied the game with a two-out, two-run single. St. Louis outfielder Dexter Fowler and pitcher Jack Flaherty opted to sit out the contest in solidarity with players around the league in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake.
– Charlie Blackmon launched a grand slam that gave the Rockies an 8-1 lead in the eighth inning of an 8-7 win over the Diamondbacks. Arizona scored four times in the ninth and had the bases loaded with two out until Jeff Hoffman struck out Nick Ahmed (ah-MEHD’) to send the Diamondbacks to their eighth straight loss. Sam Hillard hit a solo homer and Nolan Arenado (ar-eh-NAH’-doh) had two RBIs for Colorado.
Bengals player arrested while searching for missing father
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mackensie Alexander was jailed Wednesday on a charge of misdemeanor battery. Deputies say he beat up a man shortly after returning to Florida to help search for his missing father.
Alexander and another man were arrested by Collier County sheriff’s deputies Tuesday night. Bail for the men was set at $2,000 each and they have been released. A lawyer for Alexander says the player’s only concern is the well-being of his father.
Alexander had left Bengals training camp earlier Tuesday to assist the search for his 65-year-old father, Jean Alexandre, a Haitian immigrant who uses a French spelling of the family’s surname. The man he allegedly assaulted had been picking berries with his father.
In other NFL news:
– Bears running back David Montgomery limped off the field at practice Wednesday after injuring his groin when making a cut on a running play. Montgomery went down in a non-contact drill. Coach Matt Nagy (NAYG’-ee) said it was uncertain how severe the injury is.
– The Giants secondary has taken a big hit with second-round draft pick Xavier McKinney scheduled for surgery after breaking his left foot. The club also said linebacker David Mayo will need knee surgery. The team didn’t say when the injuries happened but the players were at practice Tuesday.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
Mickelson gets wire-to-wire win in PGA Tour Champions debut
RIDGEDALE, Mo. (AP) – Phil Mickelson closed with a 5-under 66 to reach 22 under, leaving him three shots clear of Tim Petrovic and giving him a wire-to-wire win in his debut on the PGA Tour Champions.
Mickelson became the 20th player to win on the 50-and-over tour in his first start. He also earned some much-needed confidence after a missed cut at The Northern Trust knocked him from the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Mickelson is trying to fine-tune his game for the U.S. Open.
Nishikori withdraws from US Open
NEW YORK (AP) – Former U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori (kay nih-shih-KOHR’-ee) said he tested negative for COVID-19 after having two positive tests but still decided to withdraw from the Grand Slam tournament that begins next week. Nishikori wrote Wednesday on his mobile app that he is ready to “slowly” return to practice but added he isn’t not prepared to compete in best-of-five-set matches.