Update on the latest sports
Wolves in in OT to end playoff drought…Sweet 16 as Sixers take No. 3 seed
UNDATED (AP) – The Minnesota Timberwolves were able to end the NBA’s longest-running playoff drought by outlasting the Denver Nuggets in a win-and-in matchup for a postseason berth.
Jimmy Butler scored 31 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 with 14 rebounds as the Wolves took a 112-106 overtime decision against the Nuggets. Minnesota blew an eight-point lead in the final 4 1/2 minutes of regulation and trailed by one in OT before closing on a 9-2 run.
Denver lost despite 35 points and 10 boards from Nikola Jokic (NEE’-koh-lah YOH’-kich).
The Timberwolves will enter their first playoff appearance in 14 years as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and will face the Houston Rockets.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers have clinched the third seed in the Eastern Conference while extending their team-record winning streak to 16 games. The 76ers outscored the Bucks 46-18 in the first quarter of a 130-95 dismantling of Milwaukee.
Markelle Fultz recorded his first career triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Justin Anderson dropped in 25 points and Dario Saric had 24 for the 76ers, who will open the playoffs against Miami.
Checking out other action on the final day of the NBA’s regular season:
– Damian Lillard poured in 36 points and had 10 assists as the Trail Blazers knocked off the Jazz, 102-93 to win the Northwest Division and the third seed in the West. CJ McCollum contributed 19 points for Portland, which will open the postseason against New Orleans. Donovan Mitchell had 17 points but missed 17 of his 23 shots as Utah had to settle for the fifth seed in the West.
– The Pelicans hammered the Spurs, 122-98 as Anthony Davis contributed 22 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks and three steals. New Orleans has the sixth seed in the West, while San Antonio goes in as the No. 7 seed against the defending-champion Warriors.
– Houston rested four of its starters and fell to the Kings, 96-83 to end the season with a league-best 65-17 record. Willie Cauley-Stein had 22 points and 11 rebounds in Sacramento’s first victory over the Rockets in eight meetings.
– Paul George scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook clinched a triple-double average for the second straight season while the Thunder were beating the Grizzlies, 137-123 to finish fifth in the West. Westbrook had a career-high 20 rebounds and 19 assists for Oklahoma City.
– LeBron James scored 10 points in just over 10 minutes before the Cavaliers absorbed a 110-98 loss to the Knicks. It marks the first time James has played all 82 games in his 15-year NBA career. Cleveland has the fourth seed in the East and will open against Indiana.
– Wayne Ellington scored a career-high 32 points and set Miami’s single-season record for 3-pointers in a 116-109 overtime win against the Raptors. Ellington’s eight treys gave him 227 for the season and helped the Heat wrap up the sixth seed in the East.
– Rodney Purvis scored 16 points and the Magic held the Wizards to 34 percent shooting in Orlando’s 101-92 win against Washington. The Wizards were 5-for-25 from the field in the fourth quarter, a shooting drought that helped them fall to the No. 8 seed in the East against Toronto.
– Aron Baynes scored a career-high 26 points and had 14 rebounds in the Celtics’ ninth straight win over the Nets, 110-97. Baynes provided six points during a 9-0 run that put Boston ahead 66-47. The second-seeded Celtics rested Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris before opening the playoffs against Milwaukee.
– Jason Hart set career highs with seven 3-pointers and 30 points as the Lakers dumped the Clippers, 115-100.
– Rookie Luke Kennard scored a career-high 23 points and Eric Moreland set career bests with 16 points and 17 rebounds as the Pistons pounded the Bulls, 119-87.
Knicks fire their coach
UNDATED (AP) – The New York Knicks will open their offseason with a coaching search. The team fired coach Jeff Hornacek early Thursday after two seasons.
The Knicks made the decision shortly after beating Cleveland on Wednesday night to finish a 29-53 season. They lost more than 50 games and missed the playoffs both seasons under Hornacek.
Associate head coach Kurt Rambis also was fired.
Hornacek went 60-104 and had a year left on his contract. He became the first coaching change after the NBA regular season completed, sending the Knicks in search of their 11th different head coach since Jeff Van Gundy resigned in the 2001-02 season.
In other NBA news:
– Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) says it’s unlikely he’ll be available for at least Game 1 of the playoffs this weekend. Embiid hasn’t played since suffering a broken bone around his left eye in a collision with teammate Markelle Fultz on March 28. Embiid wore a black mask in some light pregame shooting drills Wednesday. The mask covered the top part of his face and would be needed in the postseason.
– The Cavaliers have brought back Kendrick Perkins and will have him on their playoff roster. The 33-year-old Perkins was with the Cavs during their 2015 run to the Finals and attended their training camp last fall.
– The Bucks are at full strength heading into the playoffs. All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOOM’-poh) and guard Matthew Dellavedova (deh-lah-veh-DOH’-vah) returned from right ankle injuries Wednesday, two days after Malcolm Brogdon returned from a 30-game absence caused by a quad injury.
NHL-STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
Penguins rip Flyers
UNDATED (AP) – The Pittsburgh Penguins have opened their Stanley Cup playoff schedule by blasting the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sidney Crosby scored the last three goals and Matt Murray stopped 24 shots and the Pens crushed the Flyers, 7-0 in Pittsburgh. It was the the third career playoff hat trick for the Penguins’ captain, and his first since 2013 against Ottawa.
Jake Guentzel (GEHNT’-sul) had a goal and two assists for the two-time defending champions.
Philadelphia netminder Brian Elliott was chased after Crosby’s first goal gave the Penguins a 5-0 lead midway through the second period.
Elsewhere in the Stanley Cup playoffs:
– The Vegas Golden Knights opened their first playoff series by beating the Kings, 1-0 as Marc-Andre Fleury turned back 30 shots for his 11th career postseason shutout. Neither team scored after Shea Theodore beat Jonathan Quick 3:23 after the opening faceoff. Quick made 27 saves for the Kings, who stay in Vegas for Game 3 on Friday.
– Defenseman Joe Morrow scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:13 remaining to complete Winnipeg’s third-period rally in a 3-2 decision over Minnesota. Matt Cullen and Zach Parise (pah-REE’-say) scored 2:12 apart early in the second period to give the Wild a 2-1 lead, but the Jets tied it on Patrik Laine’s goal less than five minutes into the third. Mark Schiefele (SHYF’-lee) also scored and Connor Hellebuyck (HEH’-leh-buhk) stopped 18 shots for the Jets, who host Game 2 on Friday.
Seattle NHL expansion group names Tod Leiweke team president
SEATTLE (AP) – The NHL expansion effort in Seattle took another step forward when Tod Leiweke (tahd lih-WIHK’-ee) was named president and CEO for the prospective club on Wednesday.
Leiweke served as president of the Seattle Seahawks from 2003-10 before taking over running the Tampa Bay Lightning. He left the Lightning in 2015 to become the COO of the NFL, a position he left earlier this year.
Eight straight wins for Mets
UNDATED (AP) – No major league team is hotter than the New York Mets, who are fresh off a 70-92 season.
The Mets picked up their eighth straight win and improved to 10-1 by scoring four times in the eighth inning of a 4-1 victory at Miami. Winning pitcher Zack Wheeler limited the Marlins to a run and two hits over seven innings of his first start this season before the Mets rallied to extend the best start in team history.
Pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez put New York ahead with a two-run single before scoring on Wilmer Flores’ ground-rule double. The Mets’ bats came alive after Marlins starter Jarlin (YAHR’-lihn) Garcia held them hitless over six innings. After opening the season in Miami’s bullpen, Garcia was lifted after throwing 77 pitches.
New York swept its six-game road trip after failing to win more than four straight on the road last season.
The Mets now own baseball’s top record after the Yankees put an end to the Red Sox’s nine-game winning streak. Boston had won nine in a row since a season-opening loss before Gary Sanchez went 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs in New York’s 10-7 victory at Fenway Park. Giancarlo Stanton had three hits and three RBIs in a game that featured the latest Yankees-Red Sox brawl.
Tyler Austin rushed the mound after being hit by a pitch from Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly in the seventh inning, triggering a fight that led to the ejections of both players and Yankees coach Phil Nevin. The beanball came four innings after Austin’s spikes clipped Brock Holt’s leg on a slide into second base.
The loss leaves Boston 9-2.
Elsewhere in the majors:
– There was a benches-clearing brawl in the Rockies’ 6-4 win over the Padres. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado charged the mound after a fastball from Luis Perdomo sailed behind him in the third inning. The Rockies immediately responded with a five-run third following the ejections of Arenado, Perdomo, Padres catcher A.J. Ellis, Colorado starter German Marquez and Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra.
– Khris Davis, Matt Chapman and Jed Lowrie each homered as part of the Athletics’ 21-hit attack in a 16-6 mauling of the Dodgers. Marcus Semien stretched his hitting streak to nine games by going 2-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored for Oakland.
– Paul Goldschmidt slammed a two-run homer and had three RBIs as the Diamondbacks whipped the Giants, 7-3 to improve to improve to 9-3. John Ryan Murphy also homered and Ketel Marte went 3-for-4 with an RBI to help Arizona spoil the major league debut of Andrew Suarez, who allowed four runs while striking out seven over 5 1/3 innings.
– Javier Baez homered twice for the second straight day, collected four RBIs and scored the go-ahead run as the Cubs crushed the Pirates, 13-5. Kris Bryant had three hits and two RBIs, while Ben Zobrist (ZOH’-brihst) drove in a pair in Chicago’s first home night game of the year.
– Peter Bourjos singled home two runs in the 12th inning as the Braves topped the Nationals, 5-3 to avoid a three-game sweep. Kurt Suzuki homered twice for Atlanta, which finished the game without starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy because of an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.
– Solo homers by Hernan Perez and Eric Thames helped the Brewers build an early 3-0 lead in a 3-2 win at St. Louis. Matt Albers stranded two runners to pick up the save after Tommy Pham homered off Josh Hader to get the Cardinals within a run.
– Odubel (oh-DOO’-bul) Herrera took away a two-run homer from Scooter Gennett (jeh-NEHT’) in the 10th inning before Scott Kingery supplied a walk-off, sacrifice fly in the 12th to give the Phillies a 4-3 win over Cincinnati. J.P. Crawford hit his first career homer and Cesar Hernandez also went deep for Philadelphia.
– Shohei Ohtani put the Angels ahead with an RBI single and Kole Calhoun went 3-for-5 with a two-run single as the Angels roughed up the Rangers, 7-2. Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus (AN’-droos) suffered a broken right elbow when he was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning.
– Minnesota blew an 8-1 lead before Max Kepler launched a solo homer with two out in the bottom of the ninth to give the Twins a 9-8 victory over the Astros. Kepler also belted a two-run shot in Minnesota’s eight-run fourth before his second home run sent the Twins to their second straight win over Houston.
– Carlos Carrasco tossed a three-hitter and Yonder Alonso supplied a two-run single while the Indians scored four times in the fourth inning of a 5-1 win against the Tigers. Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann suffered a bruised jaw when hit by a line drive off the bat of Jason Kipnis in the first inning.
– Jonathan Schoop (skohp) delivered an RBI double and a run-scoring single as the Orioles handed the Blue Jays just the third loss in their last 11 games, 5-3. Kevin Gausman struck out seven while yielding three runs and six hits over six innings to help Baltimore avoid a three-game sweep.
– The White Sox had been 0-5 at home until Matt Davidson smacked a two-run homer off Austin Pruitt in the eighth inning of a 2-1 win against the Rays. James Shields gained a no-decision after limiting his former team to a run and four hits over 6 1/3 innings.
– Kyle Seager hit a go-ahead homer with two out in the eighth inning of the Mariners’ 4-3 win at Kansas City. Seager also drove in a run with sacrifice fly to help Seattle finish 4-3 on its road trip.
LA getting ASG
UNDATED (AP) – The major league All-Star game will return to Los Angeles in 2020, 40 years after it was last held at Dodger Stadium.
Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement from a platform in center field today and said “it’s time for us to be back here.”
Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said one of the reasons it’s taken Los Angeles so long to win another All-Star bid was because of scheduling conflicts for other venues that will be used for the fan fest and related activities during the four-day event.
Besides 1980, the only other time the game has been held in Los Angeles was 1959 at the Coliseum.
In other baseball news:
– Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud (dahr-NOH’) is on the disabled list for the fifth straight year, this time with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Surgery is possible and treatment will be determined in a few days.
– Catcher Miguel Montero has been designated for assignment by the Nationals after going 0 for 11 in four games this season. The Nationals also reinstated catcher Matt Wieters (WEE’-turz) from the 10-day disabled list, put left fielder Adam Eaton on the DL and selected the contract of outfielder Moises Sierra.
– Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina served his one-game suspension Wednesday after dropping his appeal. Molina Molina was penalized for making contact with plate umpire Tim Timmons during an altercation with Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo on Sunday.
– The Padres have placed outfielder Manuel Margot on the 10-day disabled list with bruised ribs. Margot left in the ninth inning on Tuesday after getting hit by a fastball from Colorado reliever Scott Oberg.
Villanova guard Jalen Brunson declares for NBA draft
UNDATED (AP) – Associated Press men’s college basketball player of the year Jalen Brunson has declared for the NBA draft after winning two national titles in three seasons at Villanova.
Brunson averaged 18.9 points and 4.6 assists per game in 40 games for the Wildcats this season.
In other college basketball news:
– Guard Bryce Brown has joined a list of Auburn players considering entering the NBA draft. The first-team All-SEC performer announced his decision to go through the evaluation process Wednesday, but says he’s not planning to hire an agent.
– Shaheen Holloway has been named the basketball coach at St. Peter’s University. He replaces John Dunne, who left after 12 seasons to take the coaching job at Marist.
Elliott fined, crew chief suspended
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – NASCAR has suspended Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Alan Gustafson for two races.
The penalty comes after Chase Elliott’s car was found to have an illegal rear window during the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. Elliott was docked 20 points, and Gustafson was fined $50,000.
Hendrick Motorsports will not appeal the penalty.
Former Kasey Kahne (kayn) crew chief Kenny Francis will fill in for Elliott.