Update on the latest sports
Cavs square series
UNDATED (AP) – LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to even their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at a game apiece.
James poured in 46 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Cavaliers upended the Pacers, 100-97. James scored the Cavs’ first 16 points and had 29 at halftime to help his team bounce back from an 18-point loss in the opener.
Cleveland’s Kevin Love added 15 points but had to leave the game late in the fourth quarter after injuring the same hand he broke earlier this season.
Victor Oladipo (oh-lah-DEE’-poh) had a team-high 22 points for Indiana, but he missed a wide-open 3-pointer that would have tied it with 27 seconds left.
The series shifts to Indiana for Game 3 on Friday.
The Jazz and Thunder are knotted at a game apiece after rookie Donovan Mitchell scored 13 of his 28 points in the final period to help Utah fend off Oklahoma City, 102-95. Derrick Favors had career playoff bests of 20 points and 16 boards for the Jazz, while Ricky Rubio had 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the first playoff win of his seven-year career.
Paul George scored 18 points on 6 of 21 shooting after torching Utah for 36 points in the opener. Russell Westbrook had 19 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds for the Thunder, who head to Salt Lake City for Game 3 on Saturday.
The Rockets hammered the Timberwolves, 102-82 as Chris Paul contributed 27 points to help Houston take a 2-0 lead in the series. Gerald Green came off the bench to add 22 for the Rockets, who trailed early before Green nailed four 3-pointers in Houston’s 37-point second quarter. The Rockets won easily despite just 12 points from NBA scoring leader James Harden.
Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns was held scoreless over the last three quarters and finished with five points after scoring just eight in the opener.
Wife of Spurs coach dies
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – The wife of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has died.
The Spurs confirmed Erin Popovich’s death at age 67. The team didn’t provide further details.
Gregg Popovich ran the Spurs’ practice Wednesday. He has won five NBA titles since taking over as head coach in 1996.
NHL-STANLEY CUP SCHEDULE
The Kid passes Super Mario as Pens blank Flyers
UNDATED (AP) – Sidney Crosby became the Pittsburgh Penguins’ all-time leader in playoff points while helping them take a three-games-to-one lead in their first-round series.
Crosby scored his fifth goal of the series and had an assist as the Pens whipped the Flyers, 5-0 in Philadelphia. The Pittsburgh captain now has 173 points in Stanley Cup play, passing Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux for the most in club history.
Matt Murray handled 26 shots in his second shutout of the series and sixth of his playoff career.
The Penguins can wrap up the series at home on Friday.
Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks have completed a four-game sweep of the Ducks to get to the second round. Tomas Hertl scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and fourth-line winger Marcus Sorensen tallied for the third straight game to push San Jose past Anaheim, 2-1.
Martin Jones was brilliant at times while make 30 saves. He blanked the Ducks until Andrew Cogliano scored, 76 seconds before Hertl put the Sharks back on top.
San Jose next faces the Golden Knights, who completed their own four-game sweep on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Wednesday’s Stanley Cup schedule:
– Nikita Kucherov (KOO’-cheh-rahv) scored twice and had an assist as the Lightning topped the Devils, 3-1 to take a three-games-to-one lead. The Devils led until J.T. Miller and Kucherov scored about 3 1/2 minutes apart in the first period. Miller also had two assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy (va-sih-LEHV’-skee) stopped 27 shots. Kyle Palmieri had the lone goal for the Devils, who will try to fend off elimination Saturday in Tampa.
– Nashville got a goal and an assist from Filip Forsberg while building a 3-0 lead in a 3-2 win at Colorado. Colton Sissons and Craig Smith also scored, and Mattias Ekholm had two assists as the Predators grabbed a 3-1 series lead. Pekka Rinne (PEH’-kuh REE’-nay) stopped 31 shots and was perfect until Gabriel Landeskog (LAN’-dehs-kahg) and Alexander Kerfoot beat him in the third period. The Predators can close out the series at home on Friday.
Hot Jays clobber sputtering Royals
UNDATED (AP) – The Toronto Blue Jays continue to rip through their major league schedule, while the Kansas City Royals appear far removed from the ballclub that won the World Series 2 1/2 years ago.
Curtis Granderson belted a grand slam and Teoscar (tay-AHS’-kur) Hernandez went 4-for-6 with a two-run shot and four RBIs as the Blue Jays crushed the Kansas City Royals, 15-5 to complete a three-game sweep. Yangervis Solarte (yahn-HEHR’-vihs soh-LAHR’-tay) also homered and Kevin Pillar (pee-AHR’) added three hits and an RBI to help the Jays win for the 12th time in 15 games since an 0-2 start.
Whit Merrifield and Jorge Soler (soh-LEHR’) went deep for the Royals, who are an American League-worst 3-13 following their eighth consecutive loss.
The lone team hotter than the Jays is the Red Sox after Rafael Devers (DEH’-vurz) launched his first career grand slam in a 9-0 laugher against the Angels. Mitch Moreland added a two-run shot and four RBIs as Boston improved to 15-2 to extend the best start in the club’s 118-year history.
Rick Porcello is the year’s first four-game winner after scattering six hits in as many innings.
In other major league action:
– Ryan LaMarre poked an RBI single in the bottom of the 16th to lift Minnesota past Cleveland, 2-1 at San Juan. Edwin Encarnacion and Miguel Sano (sah-NOH’) traded solo homers before LaMarre came through following an error by second baseman Jason Kipnis.
– Gerrit Cole gave up an unearned run over seven innings and the Astros erupted for six runs in the seventh to beat the Mariners, 7-1. Marwin Gonzalez broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run single and George Springer added a two-run double in Houston’s highest-scoring inning of the year.
– Jake Faria earned his first win since last July 25 by holding the Rangers to one run over six innings of the Rays’ 4-2 victory against Texas. Cole Hamels gave up two hits through five scoreless innings before the Rays rallied to take a 3-1 in the sixth on Daniel Robertson’s RBI double, C.J Cron’s run-scoring single and Adeiny Hechavarria’s sacrifice fly.
– The Tigers pulled out a 6-5 win over the Orioles on Dixon Machado’s leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth. John Hicks tied it with a three-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, a half-inning after Manny Machado and Chris Davis delivered RBI singles in Baltimore’s three-run rally. Jeimer Candelario and Miguel Cabrera also went deep for Detroit.
– Matt Olson provided the walk-off, RBI single in the 14th inning to send the Athletics past the White Sox, 12-11. Olson went 4-for-6 with three RBIs, while Mark Canha and Jed Lowrie added homers in Oakland’s fourth straight win.
– The Mets avoided a three-game sweep as Yoenis Cespedes (yoh-EH’-nehs SEHS’-peh-dehs) unloaded a grand slam to cap a nine-run eighth that highlighted New York’s 11-5 win over the Nationals. Washington took a 4-2 lead into the eighth inning before Todd Frazier hit a two-run single and Juan Lagares delivered a tiebreaking, two-run double.
– Brandon Belt’s two-run homer in the 10th inning snapped a 2-2 deadlock and led the Giants past the Diamondbacks, 4-3. Evan Longoria also slammed a two-run shot as San Francisco dropped the NL West leaders to 12-5.
– The Dodgers ripped the Padres, 13-4 as Corey Seager went 4-for-5 with three RBIs. Max Muncy cracked a two-run homer to give Los Angeles a 9-2 lead by the third inning.
– Red-hot Ryan Flaherty belted a three-run homer and had four RBIs in the Braves’ 7-3 win over the Phillies. Flaherty was 2-for-4 to raise his average to .365, just as Atlanta was pondering other options at third base by signing Jose Bautista to a minor league contract.
– The Reds are a major league-worst 3-15 following a 2-0 loss at Milwaukee. Eric Thames slammed his team-high seven home run in the third inning to account for all of the scoring. Winning pitcher Zach Davies tossed three-hit ball over 6 1/3 innings and Christian Yelich (YEH’-lihch) returned from the disabled list and made a snazzy sliding catch on a fly ball that deflected off the glove of left fielder Hernan Perez.
– The Pirates avoided a three-game sweep and improved to 8-0 in day games by blowing out the Rockies, 10-2. Sean Rodriguez smacked a two-run homer, Josh Bell had three RBIs and David Freese (freez) added a two-run double as part of the Bucs’ 13-hit assault. Winning pitcher Chad Kuhl held the Rockies to one run and four hits over six innings, including Chris Ianetta’s (eye-uh-NEH’-tuhz) solo homer.
– The Cardinals and Cubs were postponed due to wintry weather at Wrigley Field, forcing the two teams to play on Thursday.
Slugger Jose Bautista, Braves agree to minor league deal
UNDATED (AP) – “Joey Bats” could be coming to Atlanta after the Braves signed Jose Bautista to a minor league contract following an impressive workout. The six-time All-Star will report to extended spring training and would receive a one-year, $1 million deal if added to the 40-man major league roster. The 37-year-old Bautista earned $18 million while hitting .203 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs in 157 games for Toronto last season.
Other MLB News:
– Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan (TY’-wahn) Walker is headed for season-ending surgery to repair a partially-torn elbow ligament. The 25-year-old Walker pitched just two innings in his last start Saturday at Los Angeles before departing due to discomfort in his right arm. He went 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA in 28 starts last season.
– The Yankees have signed first baseman/outfielder Adam Lind to a minor league deal and assigned him to Tampa for extended spring training, one month after releasing him. The 34-year-old Lind batted .303 with 14 homers and 59 RBIs in 116 games with Washington last season.
– Braves right-hander Anibal Sanchez has been placed on the disabled list after straining his right hamstring while running in the outfield before Atlanta’s game against the Phillies. After receiving attention from Braves trainers for several minutes, Sanchez was driven off the field on a cart.
Titans to pick up Mariota’s 5th-year option
UNDATED (AP) – The Tennessee Titans have announced they will exercise their fifth-year option on quarterback Marcus Mariota (mar-ee-OH’-tah). The move keeps Mariota under contract through the 2019 season.
Mariota has made 42 regular-season starts over the last three years and has completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 9,476 yards with 58 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. He threw 13 touchdown passes with a career-high 15 interceptions last season but also led the Titans to their first playoff victory since January 2004.
In other NFL news:
– Record-setting return specialist Devin Hester and running back Matt Forte will sign one-day contracts with the Chicago Bears and retire as members of the organization where they starred. Both players spent their first eight seasons in Chicago.
– A federal judge has denied a law firm’s request to be added as an administrator of the NFL’s estimated $1 billion concussion settlement. The Locks Law Firm had hoped to join the process that compensates former players for head injuries they sustained during their careers. The firm had claimed that the process was going too slowly.
Kentucky’s Gabriel to enter NBA draft, not hiring an agent
UNDATED (AP) – Kentucky forward Wenyen Gabriel will enter the NBA draft pool but not hire an agent, remaining eligible to return for his third season with the Wildcats.
The 6-foot-9 sophomore averaged nearly 10 points over the final eight games to rank sixth on the team at 6.8 points with 5.4 rebounds per contest.
Gabriel is Kentucky’s fifth player to enter the June 21 draft, following freshman teammates Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamidou Diallo. Knox, Gilgeous-Alexander and Diallo are hiring agents and will not return to school.
In other college basketball news:
– Texas Tech standout freshman Zhaire Smith is turning pro and is signing with an agent before the NBA draft. Smith averaged 11.3 points and 5.0 rebounds a game for the Red Raiders, who made it to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in school history.
– South Carolina forward and former Louisville recruit Brian Bowen is entering the NBA draft. Bowen says he won’t hire an agent so he could return next season. Bowen transferred to South Carolina amid a federal investigation and has never been cleared by the NCAA to play.
– North Carolina says guard Cameron Johnson has had an arthroscopic procedure on his hip. Johnson started 20 of 26 games for the Tar Heels and averaged 12.4 points and 4.7 rebounds while making 47 3-pointers.
– Richmond has dismissed sophomore guard De’Monte Buckingham from its basketball program for a violation of athletics department policy. The school provided no other details on the 6-foot-4 guard, who was the Atlantic 10 rookie of the year two seasons ago.
FORMER PLAYERS IN PRACTICE
NCAA bans teams using former football players from practice
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The NCAA Division I Council has banned college football teams from using former players in practice and tabled a proposal to let players participate in four games in a redshirt season.
Other rule changes announced by the Division I Council include a new recruiting calendar for all sports not including football and basketball. The council also lifted a ban on alcohol sales at NCAA championships.
Michigan State VP knocks Nassar victim, then apologizes
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – A Michigan State University official is apologizing after emails show her criticizing a Larry Nassar victim who had accused the school’s president of trying to pressure the woman into a lawsuit settlement.
Carol Viventi told Michigan State’s governing board that Kaylee Lorincz made inaccurate claims at a meeting of trustees. Viventi called Lorincz’ account with President John Engler “false news.” But in a statement, Viventi apologized for adding to the “pain” of Nassar’s assault victims.