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WAMC Sports Report 5/26/23: Celtics thrive on 3s, beat Heat 110-97 in Game 5 to extend East finals

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NBA PLAYOFFS

Derrick White had 24 points, including six 3-pointers, helping lead the charge as the Boston Celtics dominated the Miami Heat 110-97 in Game 5 last night to extend the Eastern Conference finals. Marcus Smart had 23 points and five steals. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finished with 21 points apiece as the Celtics claimed their second straight win and trimmed Miami’s series lead to 3-2. The win keeps alive Boston’s hopes of becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series. Game 6 is Saturday in Miami. Duncan Robinson led the Heat with 18 points.

After blowing a second straight chance to eliminate the Celtics, the Miami Heat are headed home with still two more chances to clinch a spot in the NBA Finals. But they would be wise to do it in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night and avoid a decisive seventh game in Boston. Miami star Jimmy Butler says the Heat are “all smiles” even after the Celtics won 110-97 in Game 5 to cut the Heat’s lead in the best-of-seven series to 3-2. None of the other 150 teams in NBA history to fall behind 3-0 have come back to win a best-of-seven playoff series. But the Celtics won Game 4 in Miami by 17 points and then led by as many as 24 in a Game 5 victory.

NHL PLAYOFFS

Joe Pavelski scored on a power play at 3:18 of overtime and the Dallas Stars avoided a sweep in the Western Conference final with a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights last night. Jason Robertson scored twice for his first career multigoal playoff game for Dallas, which played without suspended captain Jamie Benn. Jake Oettinger had 37 saves, two nights after he was pulled 7:10 into Game 3 after allowing three goals on five shots. Benn was suspended two games by the NHL on Wednesday for his cross-check with his stick landing near the neck of Vegas captain Mark Stone in the first two minutes of Game 3 on Tuesday night. William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Vegas. Game 5 is Saturday night at 8 in Las Vegas.

MLB

Pete Alonso launched his major league-leading 19th home run and Carlos Carrasco earned his first win this season as the New York Mets routed the Chicago Cubs 10-1 to avoid a three-game sweep. Brett Baty knocked in New York’s first two runs and the Mets pounded out 15 hits on a chilly night at Wrigley Field to ruin Kyle Hendricks’ season debut for the Cubs in his return from a serious shoulder injury. Jeff McNeil had three hits and scored three times. New York got four straight hits with two outs in a three-run third inning and took a 4-1 lead on Starling Marte’s two-run single. Alonso added a two-run homer in the seventh and Brandon Nimmo laced a two-run triple in the eighth. Dansby Swanson homered for Chicago.

Kyle Gibson allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees 3-1 to take two of three games from New York. Anthony Santander had three hits, including an RBI single in the fifth off Clarke Schmidt. Austin Hays hit a two-run double in the eighth against Clay Holmes, a drive off the top of the right-field wall. Gibson entered 1-6 with a 6.75 ERA in 10 outings against the Yankees. Mike Baumann and Yennier Cano finished a three-hitter. New York has lost two in a row after a five-game winning streak.  

Austin Riley hit a pair of monstrous homers and pinch-hitter Travis d’Arnaud came through with a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth inning that carried the Atlanta Braves to an 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. D’Arnaud was sent up for slumping Michael Harris II with the bases loaded and lined a one-out single to left field off Gregory Soto. Both teams displayed plenty of power. Bryce Harper hit a mammoth homer for the Phillies, and Alec Bohm connected on a two-run shot. Marcell Ozuna went deep for the Braves, who homered three times off Aaron Nola. Nick Anderson picked up the win and Raisel Iglesias the save.

The Red Sox were off last night, they start a 3-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight at 9:40 in Arizona.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas potentially could come when the league’s owners meet next month. Manfred noted that “it's very difficult to have a timeline” regarding the move “until there's actually a deal to be considered.” The MLB owners meetings take place June 13-15 in New York. Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo said Wednesday that legislative leaders and the Athletics had reached a tentative agreement on a $1.5 billion stadium funding plan that would lure the franchise to Las Vegas.

WNBA

Jackie Young scored 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting and defending WNBA champion Las Vegas took control in the third quarter en route to a 94-85 win over the Los Angeles Sparks. Down 10 at halftime, Las Vegas stormed back by making 12 of 16 shots to outscore the Sparks 31-17 and take a 67-63 lead into the fourth quarter. Aja Wilson scored six-straight points before Young had consecutive layups to put the Aces up 61-59 at the 2:34 mark. Wilson finished with 19 points and 13 rebound. Chiney Ogwumike led the Sparks with 19 points.

Diana Taurasi had 23 points and 10 assists and the Phoenix Mercury hit 11 3-pointers in the first half on the way to a 90-81 win over the Minnesota Lynx. Phoenix went 5 of 6 from 3-point range — with triples from five different players — to open a 27-18 lead after one quarter. The Mercury made 11 of 17 3s in the first half, taking a 57-40 lead. The Mercury finished 13 of 28 behind the arc and the Lynx were 3 of 18. Brittney Griner added 19 points for Phoenix. Aerial Powers paced the Lynx (0-3) with 20 points off the bench.

NFL

The New England Patriots have been docked two days of organized team activities for violating NFL rules about offseason practices. The penalties were first reported by ESPN. NBCSports.com reported that the violation was for holding a mandatory meeting that was required to be optional. The Patriots had been scheduled to hold an OTA on Thursday, but the team told reporters Wednesday it was canceled. Another day was canceled next week. The team declined to comment.

Detroit Lions receiver Jameson Williams, suspended for the first six games of the season, said he was unaware of the NFL gambling policy that he violated. Williams told reporters Thursday that the suspension hit him out of the blue. The league suspended former Lions players Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore along with Washington’s Shaka Toney for the entire 2023 season in April for betting on NFL games last year, adding they may petition for reinstatement. Williams and teammate Stanley Berryhill were benched for six games for betting on non-NFL games at a league facility.

NCAA

Longtime RPI and UAlbany Athletic Director Lee McElroy has announced that he will retire on June 30. McElroy has been at his current post leading the Engineers since 2015 following 14 years leading UAlbany’s Great Danes. During his career, McElroy earned 32 NCAA postseason berths with 63 America East titles, and was honored with LifePath’s Third Age Achievement Award in 2022. The award is bestowed on Capital Region residents who make significant community contributions after turning 60. He is currently serving on the National Association of College Athletic Directors Board of Directors.

Politics and sports go together like baseball and apple pie. Title-winning teams have visited the White House for decades. But what started as a nonpartisan rite of passage has become increasingly tangled up in politics. It's a shift that some peg to Bill Clinton’s presidency. One pro golfer declined a White House invitation and described Clinton in unflattering terms. On Friday, President Joe Biden will welcome the NCAA champion LSU women's basketball team along with UConn's men's team. Some took umbrage when first lady Jill Biden suggested also inviting the Iowa team that lost in the finals to LSU. After significant pushback, that idea faded away.

GOLF

So much for the Block party at Colonial. California club pro Michael Block had a dream week at the PGA Championship when he made a hole-in-one and tied for 15th. He came back to reality in the Charles Schwab Challenge. Block had three double bogeys on the last four holes and shot 81. He in last place in the 120-man field. Harry Hall of England shot a 62 and leads Harris English by three shots. Scottie Scheffler and defending champion Sam Burns opened with 67s. Jordan Spieth shot a 72. Block says he had a day when everything went wrong.

SOCCER

Manchester United has secured a return to the Champions League with a 4-1 win over Chelsea. Goals from Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford ensured a victory that means a Premier League top-four finish is now certain for Erik ten Hag’s team. United moved up to third and two points above Newcastle going into the final game of the season. United needed a point from its final two games to secure qualification to the Champions League and went ahead in the sixth minute when Casemiro headed in Christian Eriksen’s free kick. United’s win assures Liverpool will finish fifth with a Europa League spot.

NASCAR

McLaren Racing missed the Indianapolis 500 in 2019 with Fernando Alonso in a humiliating defeat that could have stopped the team from making a full-time move to IndyCar. But McLaren did enter the series in 2020 and has slowly built itself into a top contender. Arrow McLaren will start all four of its cars in the top 12 in Sunday's 107th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The team believes the chemistry it has built inside the organization has helped turn it into one of IndyCar's elite.

© 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.