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#SportsReport: Bucks top Celtics; Grizzlies crush Warriors

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NBA PLAYOFFS:

The Milwaukee Bucks won an NBA thriller in comeback fashion, while the Memphis Grizzlies stayed alive with an old-fashioned blowout.

The Bucks have taken a three-games-to-two lead in the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals by erasing a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter of Game 5.

Bobby Portis made a putback off a missed free throw with 15 seconds left, putting the Bucks ahead in a 110-107 victory over the Celtics in Boston. Jrue Holiday knotted the score in the final minute and snuffed Marcus Smart’s attempt to tie it.

Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 40 points and had 11 rebounds for the Bucks, who had dropped three of four before grabbing control of the series. Holiday chipped in 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Jayson Tatum had 34 points and Jaylen Brown had 26 for the Celtics.

The Bucks can wrap up the series at home on Friday.

The Grizzlies have forced a Game 6 in San Francisco by crushing the Warriors, 134-95. Memphis already had a 27-point halftime lead before outscoring Golden State, 42-17 in the third quarter.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones each scored 21 points as the Grizzlies won with ease while playing without All-Star Ja Morant because of a knee injury.

Memphis scored 77 points in the first half, the most in franchise postseason history. The Grizzlies pushed their lead to 55 in the third quarter, threatening the three biggest postseason blowouts in NBA history. Their 52-point lead after three tied for the largest in a playoff game in the past 70 years.

Klay Thompson led Golden State with 19 points and Jonathan Kuminga added 17.

Game 6 is Friday.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for a second consecutive season, making four straight MVPs for foreign-born players.

The Serbian big man beat out two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks and 76ers center Joel Embiid in the first all-international list of finalists.

Jokic averaged 27.1 points on 58% shooting while providing 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game.

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks made clear Wednesday that guard Kyrie Irving will have to prove a commitment to being available to his team that wasn’t there this season.

After Irving missed almost all the Nets’ home games because of his refusal to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, Marks said talks about a potential contract extension this summer will need to include an evaluation of his dedication to play unless he’s injured.

Basketball great Bob Lanier has died at age 73. The NBA says he died Tuesday after a short illness.

Lanier was one of the NBA’s top players of the 1970s, muscling up beside the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Lanier played 14 seasons with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks, averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds.

He was the No. 1 draft pick in 1970 after leading St. Bonaventure to the Final Four. In 1992, Lanier made the Hall of Fame, where a bronzed pair of his giant sneakers is displayed.

MLB:

The New York Yankees are off to their best 30-game start in 19 years after winning for the 15th time in their last 19 contests.

Gleyber Torres delivered a go-ahead, three-run homer and a two-run single in leading the Yankees to a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays. Torres was the star just hours after Aaron Judge belted a three-run, walk-off home run.

The Yanks have won seven straight series to get to a major league-best 22-8.

Elsewhere in the majors:

Vidal Bruján collected his first hit of the season by delivering an RBI double leading off the 10th inning of the Rays’ 4-2 win over the Angels. Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo homer in the second and scored the tiebreaking run as Tampa Bay stopped a three-game skid. Pinch-hitter Taylor Ward hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth for the Angels, who lost for the fifth time in their last 18 games.

Houston and Minnesota had their game suspended when a severe thunderstorm rolled through and halted play in the top of the fourth inning. The Astros were leading, 5-1 on Jeremy Peña’s three RBIs and Jose Altuve’s home run. The two teams will pick up where they left off on Thursday afternoon and play the last six innings before starting another game.

The Athletics hammered the Tigers, 9-0 as Zach Logue pitched seven innings of five-hit ball in his second major league start. Sean Murphy and Kevin Smith each drove in two while Christian Bethancourt supplied three hits, two runs scored and an RBI for the A’s. Oakland is 3-1 in the five-game series after entering Detroit on a nine-game losing streak.

Local high school star Bobby Witt Jr. hit a two-run double and had his first three-RBI game to highlight the Royals' 8-2 rout of the Rangers in Texas. Whit Merrifield homered for the first time since last August, helping Kansas City halt a three-game skid. Emmanuel Rivera padded a three-run Royals lead in the ninth inning with a bases-loaded triple.

Alfonso Rivas hit a go-ahead, two-run single against his hometown team in the eighth inning to push the Cubs past the Padres, 7-5. The Padres had tied the game at 5 on home runs by Eric Hosmer and Luke Voit in the seventh. The Padres announced during the game that manager Bob Melvin had successful prostate surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.

Brandon Crawford was the catalyst in the Giants’ 10th straight win over the Rockies, 7-1. Crawford hit a two-run homer, drove in three runs and scored twice to back Alex Cobb, who limited Colorado to one run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings. San Francisco handed Rockies starter Chad Kuhl his first loss of the season, tagging him for five runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Christian Yelich hit for a record-tying third cycle — all of them against Cincinnati — but the Brewers’ rally fell short in the ninth inning in a 14-11 loss to the Reds. Tyler Stephenson drove in four runs with a pair of doubles and Colin Moran hit a three-run homer for Cincinnati. Hunter Renfroe hit two solo homers for the Brewers.

Paul Goldschmidt drove in three runs and the Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak by clobbering the Orioles, 10-1. Juan Yepez homered and Brendan Donovan added a two-run double to the Cards’ 11-hit attack. Winning pitcher Miles Mikolas allowed one run on four hits over seven innings.

The Braves pulled out a 5-3 win over the Red Sox as Orlando Arcia had three hits, including a game-winning, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. Albies ended an 0-for-10 slump by leading off the ninth with the single before scoring on the game-winning blast. Red Sox manager Alex Cora and catcher Kevin Plawecki were ejected by home plate umpire Adam Beck after Beck’s bases-loaded called third strike on Plawecki ended the sixth inning in a 3-3 tie.

Juan Soto slammed a two-run homer and Nelson Cruz added a three-run blast as the Nationals hammered Tylor Megill and the Mets, 8-3. Megill was tagged for eight runs in 1 1/3 innings, the shortest start of his career. Pete Alonso hit a two-run homer in the first to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

Rhys Hoskins homered for the third straight game by belting a grand slam in the Phillies’ 4-2 downing of the Mariners. Hoskins lined a fourth-inning pitch from Seattle starter Logan Gilbert, who entered the game 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA. Phillies starter Bailey Falter was one out away from earning his first victory of the season before being pulled with two outs in the fifth inning at his target of 65 pitches.

Jacob Stallings laced a tiebreaking, RBI single that ignited the Marlins’ eight-run ninth in an 11-3 thrashing of the Diamondbacks. Jazz Chisholm followed with a three-run blast that pushed Miami’s lead to 7-3. Avisaíl García capped the ninth with another three-run shot.

The Pirates wasted a three-run lead before Daniel Vogelbach hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of their 5-3 win over the Dodgers. Jack Suwinski hit his second home run in three days for Pittsburgh, which took a series from Los Angeles for the first time in five years. Josh VanMeter also homered in the sixth inning, but he committed an error in the seventh that led to a three-run double by Edwin Rios.

The Guardians-White Sox game was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns within the Cleveland clubhouse. It’s the first COVID-related postponement of the season.

The Braves beat third baseman Austin Riley and the Cardinals defeated outfielder Tyler O’Neill in the first salary arbitration decisions this year. Riley was awarded $3.95 million rather than his $4.25 million request. O’Neill, a two-time Gold Glove winner, was awarded $3.4 million instead of his $4.15 million request.

In other MLB news:

Braves catcher Manny Piña will have season-ending surgery after tests revealed ligament and cartilage damage in his left wrist. Braves manager Brian Snitker said William Contreras will continue to serve as the top backup to starter Travis d’Arnaud.

Blue Jays reliever Yimi García says he didn’t hit the Yankees’ Josh Donaldson intentionally Tuesday night. He says the baseballs being used in the major leagues this season are very slippery and difficult to grip. García was ejected for hitting Donaldson just above the left elbow pad with a 94 mph fastball.

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS:

The New York Rangers are still alive in the Stanley Cup playoffs, while the Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames are in control.

The Rangers have forced a Game 6 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by rallying for a 5-3 win over the Penguins.

Filip Chytil broke a 3-3 tie with a power-play goal 2:53 into the third period, pushing the series back to Pittsburgh on Friday.

The Blueshirts trailed 2-0 late in the second period until Adam Fox, Alexis Lafreniere and Jacob Trouba scored during a 2:42 span.

Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots for the Rangers, who allowed seven goals in losing each of the previous two games.

Jake Guentzel had two goals for the Pens.

Game 6 is Friday in Pittsburgh.

The Panthers earned a 5-3 victory over the Capitals to grab a 3-2 lead in their opening-round series.

Carter Verhaeghe collected points on five straight goals after Washington took a 3-0 lead on TJ Oshie’s second goal of the night. Verhaeghe’s first goal of the game opened the comeback, and his second put the Panthers ahead, 4-3 just over three minutes into the third period. He also set up goals by Patric Hornqvist, Sam Reinhart and Claude Giroux.

Hornqvist and Reinhart scored 2:14 apart in the second period, tying the game.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 shots and was perfect after the 3:38 mark of the middle period.

Game 6 is Friday in Washington.

The Flames went up 3-2 in their series by scoring three times in the third period of a 3-1 downing of the Stars.

Mikael Backlund tied the game 6:49 into the final period and set up Andrew Mangiapane's game-winner less than four minutes later. Trevor Lewis added an empty-netter for Calgary, which can wrap up the series in Dallas on Friday.

Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots and was perfect after Jason Robertson opened the scoring late in the second period.

Defenseman Darnell Nurse will serve a one-game suspension while the Edmonton Oilers play the Kings in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Nurse has been punished for head-butting Kings forward Phillip Danault late in the second period of the Oilers’ 5-4 overtime loss.

The suspension leaves the Oilers without their top defenseman heading into an elimination game Thursday in Los Angeles.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL:

Alabama coach Nick Saban denies that anybody from his program had contact with receiver Tyler Harrell before the former Louisville player entered the transfer portal, which would have violated NCAA rules.

Saban responded to a suggestion from Louisville coach Scott Satterfield that Alabama had tampered with Harrell, who has since transferred to the Crimson Tide.

Harrell entered the transfer portal on April 12 and committed to Alabama 10 days later.

KENTUCKY DERBY:

The jockey of Kentucky Derby upset winner Rich Strike is currently serving a four-day suspension that was handed down by Ohio racing stewards. His agent says it won’t prevent him from riding the horse in next week’s Preakness.

Stewards last week suspended Sonny Leon for careless riding in the third race on April 27 at Thistledown Racecourse, during which he “deliberately and aggressively” steered One Glamorous Gal toward the rail to block other horses in the stretch.

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