Update on the latest sports
Spieth takes a 2-stroke lead into the second round
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Jordan Spieth’s (speeths) quest for a second green jacket is off to a dazzling start. The 24-year-old Texan birdied five straight holes on the back side to finish with a 6-under 66, giving him a two-shot lead after the opening round of the Masters.
Spieth made eagle at the par-5 eighth hole, but things really got rolling at the 13th. That’s where he began the stretch of five straight birdies, which suddenly made him the man to beat.
Spieth would’ve had an even bigger lead if not for trouble at the 18th, where an errant tee shot into the trees left of the fairway led to a bogey. But even there, he showed off some magic, chipping up from the edge of the gallery for a tap-in putt.
Amazingly, he needed only 10 putts to get through the back nine.
This is Spieth’s fifth Masters. He won in 2015 and finished in a tie for second two other times. His worst showing was a year ago, when he tied for 11th. He’s played 17 career rounds at Augusta National – shooting in the 60s six times.
Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau are Spieth’s closest challengers. Both shot 68, which was a truly amazing performance by Finau considering he dislocated his left ankle just 24 hours earlier while celebrating a hole-in-one during the Par 3 Contest.
The group at 69 includes Rory McIlroy, who’s going for the career Grand Slam, and Henrik Stenson.
Tiger Woods shot a 73, leaving him seven shots off the lead.
Paul’s layup lifts Rockets
UNDATED (AP) – The Houston Rockets coughed up a 24-point lead on Thursday before completing a four-game season sweep of a fellow NBA division leader.
Chris Paul nailed an off-balance layup with 0.8 seconds left as the Rockets salvaged a 96-94 win over the Trail Blazers. Portland went on a 19-2 run to tie it in the closing seconds before Paul scored the last of his 27 points.
James Harden added 24 to help Houston extend a team record with its 64th victory.
Checking out Thursday’s other NBA action:
– LeBron James poured in 33 points and the Cavaliers erased a 104-87 deficit over the final 7 1/2 minutes of a 119-115 win over the Wizards. James scored 13 points in the final period and contributed 14 assists and nine rebounds to help Cleveland win in coach Tyronn Lue’s return to the bench. The Cavs won for the 10th time in 11 games and moved a half-game ahead of the 76ers for the No. 3 seed in the East, although Philadelphia has a game in hand.
– Bojan (BOY’-ahn) Bogdanovic had 28 points and the Pacers won for the sixth time in seven games by hammering the Warriors, 126-106. Victor Oladipo (oh-lah-DEE’-poh) scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half to help Indiana get within a 1 1/2 games of Philadelphia for the fourth seed in the East and home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
– Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points and Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’) added 15 with 10 rebounds as the Jazz whipped the Clippers, 117-95 for their fourth straight win. Utah is 27-5 over the last 10 1/2 weeks and can wrap up home-court advantage by winning its last three regular-season games.
– Denver and Minnesota are in a virtual tie for the final Western Conference playoff berth after Nikola Jokic delivered 16 points and 14 boards in the Nuggets’ 100-96 victory over the Timberwolves. Jamal Murray had 22 points to lead six Nuggets in double figures.
– Allen Crabbe scored 25 points and hit two 3-pointers in the closing minutes of the Nets’ 119-111 downing of the Bucks. Brooklyn shot 19-for-39 from beyond the arc and overcame Khris Middleton’s 31 points.
Celtics’ Irving needs knee surgery, out for playoffs
UNDATED (AP) – The Boston Celtics’ championship hopes have taken a severe hit.
Point guard Kyrie Irving will need surgery on his left knee and miss the rest of the regular season and playoffs. The team said Thursday his recovery time will be three to four months.
In the upcoming surgery, two screws will be removed. They were implanted after his patellar fracture during the 2015 NBA Finals. Irving recently developed an infection at the site of the screws, and now they must be taken out.
The team had said the knee was structurally sound and the kneecap healed, but the wire had been putting pressure on the knee.
In other NBA news:
– Dirk Nowitzki’s 20th season is over a few games early after the Mavericks star had surgery on his left ankle. The team said Thursday that Nowitzki underwent a procedure to clear out unhealthy tissue, called surgical debridement. It was performed at a Dallas medical clinic. The 39-year-old played his final game of the season at home against Portland on Tuesday. He has said he plans to return for a 21st season for the only NBA team he has ever played for.
Mets whip Strasburg, Nats
WASHINGTON (AP) – Michael Conforto did not look good in his first two at-bats after coming off the disabled list on Thursday. The third at-bat couldn’t have gone any better.
Conforto launched a tiebreaking, two-run homer off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning as the New York Mets picked up their third straight win, 8-2 at Washington. The outfielder struck out on three pitches leading off the game and hit into a double play in his second at-bat before spoiling the Nationals’ home opener.
Yoenis Cespedes (yoh-EH’-nehs SEHS’-peh-dehs) also homered off Strasburg and Jay Bruce added a grand slam off Brandon Kintzler to cap the scoring for the 5-1 Mets.
Winning pitcher Jacob deGrom capped his outing by working out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning.
The two-time defending NL East champs have dropped three straight since a 4-0 start.
In Thursday’s other major league games:
– The Red Sox won their home opener in comeback fashion by scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth before Hanley Ramirez delivered a walk-off single in the 12th to complete a 3-2 win over the Rays. Ramirez also delivered an RBI single in the ninth before Xander Bogaerts (ZAN’-dur BOH’-gahrts) lined an RBI double to extend the game.
– The Orioles’ five-game losing streak is over after Adam Jones smacked a go-ahead, two-run homer in a five-run seventh that pushed Baltimore past the Yankees, 5-2. Birds starter Andrew Cashner worked six innings and allowed just one hit until Aaron Judge cracked his first homer of the season, a sixth-inning blast.
– The Diamondbacks are 6-1 after Robbie Ray survived five walks by allowing just a run and two hits with nine strikeouts in a 3-1 win at St. Louis. Chris Owings had three hits and reached base four times as Arizona spoiled the Cardinals’ home opener.
– The Rockies put together a three-run ninth to earn a 3-1 win at San Diego, leaving the Padres a National League-worst 1-6. Ryan McMahon snapped a scoreless tie by working out a bases-loaded walk before DJ LeMahieu poked a two-run single.
– Jon Lester scattered three hits over six innings to pitch the Cubs to an 8-0 shutout of the Brewers. Jason Heyward belted a two-run homer and Javier Baez laced a two-run single as Chicago handed Milwaukee its third loss in four games since a 3-0 start.
– The Phillies were 5-0 winners over the Marlins as Nick Pivetta combined with three relievers on a four-hit shutout. Pivetta allowed the four hits while striking out nine over 5 2/3 innings. Maikel (MY’-kehl) Franco went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and a two-run single as the Phils ended a three-game skid.
– Martin Perez pitched into the sixth inning of his first start of the season to help the Rangers beat the Athletics 6-3. Adrian Beltre (BEHL’-tray) singled and doubled to become the all-time hits leader among Latin-born players. Shin-Soo Choo homered for the second consecutive day and Nomar Mazara added two hits to help the Rangers split the four-game series.
– Mitch Garver’s first big league homer was a go-ahead, solo shot in the seventh inning as the Twins used the long ball to beat the Mariners, 4-2. Miguel Sano (sah-NOH’) tied the game with a two-run blast and Eddie Rosario capped the scoring with a solo shot in the eighth.
– Niko Goodrum came in for an injured Miguel Cabrera and provided a two-run homer in the ninth before the Tigers completed a 9-7, 10-inning win over the White Sox. Goodrum had two hits after replacing Cabrera, who injured his left hip while rounding first on a second-inning single.
– Gregory Polanco hit a two-run shot while the Pirates were scoring four times in the fifth inning of a 5-2 victory over the Reds. Polanco had three RBIs and Steven Brault pitched one-run ball over five innings of Pittsburgh’s fifth win in six games.
Nationals give GM Mike Rizzo 2-year contract extension
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Nationals have agreed to a two-year contract extension with general manager Mike Rizzo through 2020.
His status was a big question mark heading into this season, along with 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper’s chance to become a free agent after 2018.
The Nationals have won four of the past six NL East titles, but have yet to win a playoff series.
Preds take Presidents’ Trophy
UNDATED (AP) – The Nashville Predators have wrapped up the Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Craig Smith scored twice and the Predators clinched the Central Division and the No. 1 seed by nipping the Capitals, 4-3 in Washington. The game was tied 3-3 until Ryan Johansen tallied with 5:27 remaining.
Roman Josi (YOH’-see) also scored and Juuse Saros (YOO’-see SAH’-rohs) turned back 29 shots to help the Predators earn their team-record 52nd victory.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
– The Devils are playoff-bound for the first time in six years after Patrick Maroon set up second-period goals by Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood in a 2-1 verdict over the Maple Leafs. Keith Kincaid turned back 31 shots for New Jersey, which still holds the first wild-card berth in the East following four straight wins and a 7-0-1 mark in its last eight games.
– The Flyers beat the Hurricanes, 4-3 on Jakub Voracek’s goal with 5:45 remaining. Philadelphia netminder Brian Elliott stopped 19 of 22 shots and looked rusty at times in his first action since missing 25 straight games following core muscle surgery on Feb. 13.
– Jared McCann’s goal with 5:37 remaining gave the Panthers a 3-2 win over the Bruins and prevented the Flyers from clinching a playoff berth. Boston erased a 2-0 deficit on goals by Ryan Donato and Danton Heinen, but McCann’s tally left the Bruins in a first-place tie with Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division with two games remaining for each team.
– Pittsburgh trailed four times before posting a 5-4 win at Columbus on Phil Kessel’s goal 66 seconds into overtime. Kessel scored twice and set up Conor Sheary’s tying goal with 7:44 left in regulation. The Blue Jackets clinched a postseason berth and are in a virtual tie with New Jersey for third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Pens.
– Dustin Brown scored four times, including the skate-off tally 23 seconds into overtime to lead the Kings past the Wild, 5-4. Tobias Rieder (REE’-dur) also scored and Jonathan Quick turned back 23 shots as the Kings won for the fourth time in five games to move one point ahead of fourth-place Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
– Connor McDavid leads the league with 106 points after collecting three assists in the Oilers’ 4-3 win against the Golden Knights. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Matt Benning, Mike Cammalleri and Ty Rattie scored as Edmonton stopped a five-game skid.
– Winnipeg won for the 10th time in 11 games as Connor Hellebuyck (HEH’-leh-buhk) stopped 31 shots in a 2-1 decision over the Flames. Hellebuyck’s 43rd win of the season ties the NHL record for U.S.-born goaltenders set by Tom Barrasso (bah-RA’-soh) in 1992-93.
– San Jose has a two point lead for second place in the Pacific Division after Logan Couture’s (koo-TURZ’) go-ahead goal fueled a 4-2 victory against the Avalanche. Justin Braun, Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi also scored in San Jose’s first win in five games.
– Thomas Hickey and Anthony Beauvillier (boh-VIH’-lee-ay) scored 2:32 apart in the second period of the Islanders’ 11th victory in their last 12 meetings with the Rangers, 2-1. Jaroslav Halak (YAH’-roh-slahv hah-LAHK’) stopped 34 shots as the Isles completed a four-game season sweep.
– Nicolas Deslauriers scored twice and Artturi Lehkonen provided the eventual game-winner in the third period as the Canadiens upended the Red Wings, 4-3.
– Daniel Sedin’s (seh-DEENZ’) second goal of the night came 2:33 into overtime and sent the Canucks to their fifth win in six games, 4-3 against the Coyotes.
Philadelphia cheers NCAA champs Villanova with parade
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Thousands of fans lined the streets of downtown Philadelphia on Thursday to celebrate another sports championship with a parade.
Two months after the Eagles won the Super Bowl, the city turned out to cheer Villanova University’s Wildcats. The winners of the men’s basketball tournament rode double-decker buses along Market Street, the heart of the business district, ending at City Hall for a rally.
The Wildcats’ romp through the NCAA Tournament ended Monday with a 79-62 victory over Michigan. It’s their second national title in three seasons.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS:
Ohio State’s Meyer gets 2-year extension, $1.2 million raise
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio State trustees are expected to approve a two-year contract extension for football coach Urban Meyer on Friday.
The extension though the 2022 season will give Meyer a $1.2 million annual raise. A committee of the board of trustees rubber-stamped the deal Thursday.
The $7.6 million total cash compensation package makes the 53-year-old Meyer the highest paid coach in the Big Ten and third-highest nationally.
Meyer is 73-8 in his six years as head coach.
COLLEGE ATHLETICS-OHIO STATE:
Buckeyes looking into sexual misconduct allegations
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio State University is investigating sexual misconduct allegations against a former wrestling team trainer who died in 2005.
The university said today that a person recently came forward to accuse Dr. Richard Strauss of sexual misconduct with multiple victims while he was with the team from the 1970s through the 1990s. The university says the allegations involve student-athletes and other instances of sexual misconduct.