Update on the latest in sports:
Cavs, Celts go up 2-0
UNDATED (AP) – The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics are both two wins away from meeting in the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals for the second straight year.
LeBron James and Kevin Love combined for 74 points and 19 rebounds as the Cavs whipped the Raptors, 128-110 to take a two-games-to-none lead in the conference semifinals. James had 43 points and eight boards for the Cavaliers, who took two straight in Toronto after the Raptors posted a 34-7 home record during the regular season. Love finished with 31 points, grabbed 11 boards and helped the Cavs outscore the Raptors 37-24 in the third quarter to erase a two-point halftime deficit.
J.R. Smith scored six of his 15 points during an 18-5 spurt to start the second half. Toronto never recovered and now heads to Cleveland, where the Raptors were 0-5 in the previous two postseasons.
DeMar DeRozan finished with 24 points and Kyle Lowry added 21 for the Raptors, who are back in action on Saturday.
The Celtics also own a 2-0 series lead after rookie Jayson Tatum capped his 21-point performance by hitting a pair of free throws in the closing second to secure a 108-103 victory over the 76ers. Terry Rozier had 20 points, nine assists and seven boards for the Celts, who trailed by 22 in the first half and by five midway through the fourth quarter.
Boston also received a boost from Jaylen Brown, who returned to action after sitting out the series opener with a strained right hamstring. He came off the bench to furnish 13 points and four rebounds in 25 minutes.
Marcus Smart chipped in 19 points and five boards for the Celtics, who have never lost a series after taking the first two games.
J.J. Redick paced the 76ers with 23 points, Robert Covington had 22 and Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’ added 20 on 8 of 22 shooting. Ben Simmons was a non-factor on offense, scoring just one point and missing his four field-goal attempts.
Game 3 is Saturday in Philadelphia.
Fizdale to become Knicks’ next coach
UNDATED (AP) – David Fizdale will become the New York Knicks’ 11th head coach since Jeff Van Gundy stepped down during the 2001-02 season.
A person with knowledge of the details says the Knicks have agreed to hire Fizdale to replace Jeff Hornacek (HOHR’-nah-sehk), who was fired last month after two seasons.
Fizdale led the Grizzlies to the playoffs in his first season before being fired early this season following a clash with star center Marc Gasol (gah-SAHL’). He was 43-39 last season and was let go last December following a 7-12 start.
NHL-STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS-SCHEDULE
Pens nip Caps to even series…Preds, Jets tied at 2 apiece
UNDATED (AP) – The Pittsburgh Penguins were able to shut down Alex Ovechkin and square their Stanley Cup second-round series at two games apiece.
Jake Guentzel (GEHNT’-sul) scored twice and Evgeni Malkin provided the game-winner as the Pens downed the Capitals, 3-1 in Pittsburgh. Malkin snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal late in the second period, about 4 1/2 minutes after T.J. Oshie (OH’-shee) tied it for the Capitals.
Guentzel added an empty-netter with 58 seconds left, 13 seconds after the Caps were called for too many men on the ice. He leads all playoff scorers with 10 goals.
Matt Murray stopped 20 shots for the Pens, who travel back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday.
Washington played without winger Tom Wilson, who began serving a three-game suspension for his vicious hit on Zach Aston-Reese in Game 3. The hit left Aston Reese with a broken jaw and a concussion.
The Nashville Predators also knotted their series at two games apiece.
Pekka Rinne (PEH’-kuh REE’-nay) stopped 32 shots and P.K. Subban supplied the eventual game-winner as the Predators topped the Jets, 2-1 at Winnipeg. Rinne blanked the Jets until Patrik Laine (LY’-nay) scored a power-play goal with 51 seconds to play.
Subban’s power-play tally put Nashville ahead 2-0 with 5:24 left in the second period. Ryan Hartman provided the opening goal late in the first.
Game 5 is Saturday in Nashville.
Former Isles GM, Panthers president Bill Torrey dies
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – Hockey Hall of Fame general manager Bill Torrey has died at his home in South Florida at age 83.
Torrey was the original GM of the New York Islanders and built a dynasty that won four straight Stanley Cups and reached the final in five consecutive seasons from 1980-84.
He eventually became the first president of the Florida Panthers and watched the franchise reach the Cup final in its third season.
Torrey also was a vice president of the Oakland Seals under owner Charles. O. Finley.
Yanks get third straight win over Astros…Jays get wild win at Cleveland
UNDATED (AP) – The New York Yankees beat the Astros in Houston for the third straight day by rallying for three runs in the ninth after blowing a 3-0 lead.
The Astros were up 5-3 until Gleyber Torres hit a two-run single and Aaron Hicks scored the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice. Torres had three RBIs in the Yankees’ 12th victory in 13 games.
Aroldis Chapman put the potential winning run on base in the ninth before fanning AL MVP Jose Altuve (al-TOO’-vay) on three straight 101-mph fastballs to end it.
New York took three of four in a rematch of last year’s ALCS.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays opened their doubleheader at Cleveland with a wild 13-11, 11-inning victory over the Indians.
Toronto blew leads of 5-0 and 9-7 before Yangervis Solarte (yahn-HEHR’-vihs soh-LAHR’-tay) belted a grand slam in the top of the 11th. Solarte was 5-for-6 with six RBIs, while Josh Donaldson supplied a two-run homer and an RBI double in his first game since missing about three weeks with a shoulder injury.
Francisco Lindor (lihn-DOHR’) homered twice and drove in four runs for Cleveland.
The Indians returned the favor in Game 2 as Jose Ramirez hit a two-run homer and Erik Gonzalez collected four RBIs in a 13-4 pounding of Toronto. Adam Plutko worked 7 1/3 to win his first major league start and help Terry Francona become the 24th manager with 1,500 victories.
In other MLB games:
– Albert Pujols needs one more hit for 3,000 after poking a two-run double in the Angels’ 12-3 dismantling of the Orioles. Pujols failed to get a hit in his last three plate appearances, preventing him from reaching the milestone before the Angels begin a five-game road trip. Andrelton Simmons and Luis Valbuena drove in three runs apiece as Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep that follows four straight losses.
– Boston’s Mookie Betts slammed his major league-leading 12th home run, but Nomar Mazara went deep for the third straight game and drove in five as the Rangers thumped the Red Sox, 11-5. Mazara laced a two-run double and later added a three-run blast right after loser David Price was pulled from the game. Price was tahhed for nine runs – seven earned – in his third consecutive loss.
– Nelson Cruz banged out a two-run homer and Robinson Cano (kuh-NOH’) delivered a pair of RBI singles while the Mariners were building a 4-0 lead in a 4-1 victory over the Athletics. Seattle’s runs came against Sean Manaea, who saw his ERA rise to 1.63.
– Lucas Duda (DOO’-duh) had three hits and four RBIs while the Royals pounded three home runs in a 10-6 victory over the Tigers. Salvador Perez, Jorge Soler (HOHR’-hay soh-LEHR’) and Alex Gordon each went deep in Kansas City’s fourth win in six games since a five-game skid.
– The White Sox pulled out a 6-5 win over Minnesota on Trayce Thompson’s walk-off homer off Addison Reed with two out in the bottom of the ninth. Sanchez and Palka drove in two runs apiece for Chicago, which trailed 5-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
– Arizona reliever Jorge De La Rosa threw a pair of run-scoring wild pitches during an eighth-inning rally that sent the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Diamondbacks 5-2. The Dodgers scored four times in the eighth and ended the Diamondbacks’ string of nine straight series wins by earning a split of the four-game set.
– Julio Teheran took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, 20-year-old Ronald Acuna Jr. hit his second big league home run as the Braves torched the Mets, 11-0 to complete a three-game sweep. Atlanta outscored the Mets 21-2 in the series and took a 1 1/2-game lead over New York atop the NL East.
– The Nationals managed just four hits but used sixth-inning homers by Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman to beat the Pirates, 3-1 and complete a four-game sweep. Jeremy Hellickson and four relievers combined on a five-hitter in Washington’s season-high fifth straight win.
Ichiro is transitioning to front office
UNDATED (AP) – Ichiro Suzuki has been released by the Mariners and is shifting into a front office role with the team, although he is not completely shutting the door on playing again.
The Mariners announced that Suzuki was becoming a special assistant to the chairman effective immediately. The team said Suzuki will have an active presence with the team and assist with outfield play, base running and hitting.
The 10-time All-Star has a .311 average and 3,089 hits, not including the 1,278 hits he amassed in nine seasons in Japan.
In other MLB news:
– Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu will be sidelined until after the All-Star break with a severe left groin strain suffered in the second inning of last night’s win at Arizona. Ryu was 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA, his best start to a season since 2014.
– Mets ace right-hander Jacob deGrom is on track to take his next turn in the rotation Monday at Cincinnati. A scan and examination determined no major injury occurred when he hyperextended his pitching elbow while at the plate during Wednesday’s game against the Braves. He is 3-0 has thrown 18 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 1.87
– A person familiar with the planning says Major League Baseball intends to announce next week that the Yankees and Red Sox will play two games at London’s Olympic Stadium in June next year.
– Yawkey Way has become Jersey Street along Boston’s Fenway Park once again. City officials formally dropped the name of a former Red Sox owner over allegations that he was a racist who resisted signing black players. The street had been known as Yawkey Way since 1977, honoring former owner Tom Yawkey. Under his ownership, the Red Sox were the last team in Major League Baseball to field a black player.
Cowboys’ Witten retiring, heading to ESPN
UNDATED (AP) – Tight end Jason Witten has formally announced his retirement after 15 years with the Dallas Cowboys, choosing the TV booth just as friend and longtime teammate Tony Romo did a year ago.
Witten says the “time has come to pass the torch.”
Just days from turning 36, Witten walks away as the leader in games, catches and yards receiving for a franchise with five Super Bowl wins, but none since the 1995 season. He and Tony Gonzalez are the only tight ends in NFL history with at least 1,000 catches and 10,000 yards.
In other NFL News:
– Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has become the league’s highest-paid player by agreeing to a five-year contract extension that could be worth as much as $150 million. A person familiar with the deal confirmed that Ryan is assured of receiving at least $100 million, topping the three-year, $84 million package signed by Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. He has only missed two starts over the first decade of his career, passing for 41,796 yards with 260 touchdowns while begin voted to the Pro Bowl four times.
– The Jets have waived quarterback Bryce Petty, parting ways with their 2015 fourth-round draft pick. Petty started seven of his 10 games with the Jets and threw for 1,353 yards, four touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
– Defensive tackle Akeem Spence has been acquired by the Dolphins from the Lions for an undisclosed 2019 draft pick. Spence has 41 starts in a five-year NFL career. He was with Tampa Bay in 2013-16, and started 11 games for the Lions last year.
PGA-WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP
Peterson leads, Woods 6 back
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Tiger Woods finds himself six strokes back through one round of the PGA’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.
John Peterson tops the leaderboard following a 6-under 65 that included eagles on back-to-back holes. He’s two strokes ahead of five players, including Quail Hollow member Johnson Wagner to PGA Tour rookie Keith Mitchell.
Two-time winner Rory McIlroy was in the group at 68.
Serena Williams withdraws from Madrid Open
MADRID (AP) – Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week’s Madrid Open, saying she wasn’t ready to compete.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion, returned to the tour in Indian Wells this year after a 14-month absence because of the birth of her daughter.
She won in Madrid in 2012 and 2013.
Penn State extends coach Pat Chambers through ’22
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) – Penn State has extended basketball coach Pat Chambers’ contract through the 2021-22 season.
Chambers led the Nittany Lions to 26 wins, the second-highest total in program history. Penn State also won 11 road and neutral-court games and beat nationally ranked Ohio State three times before capturing the NIT title.
Chambers has been with Penn State for seven seasons without an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Georgia coach Smart gets new 7-year deal
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) – After leading Georgia to the national championship game, football coach Kirby Smart has been rewarded with a seven-year contract worth $49 million.
Georgia’s athletic association approved the contract extension and new compensation package Thursday.
Smart initially signed a six-year deal that paid him about $3.75 million per season when he took over as the Bulldogs coach before the 2016 season.