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WAMC Sports Report 6/8/23: Jokic and Murray both have triple-doubles, Nuggets beat Heat 109-94 for 2-1 lead



Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray became the first teammates in NBA Finals history to both record triple-doubles, and Denver’s two stars made sure the Nuggets reclaimed the lead in the series by beating the Miami Heat 109-94 in Game 3 last night. Murray had 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, getting the rebound he needed with 9 seconds remaining. Jokic finished with 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists. Game 4 is Friday in Miami. Jimmy Butler scored 28 points for Miami, and Bam Adebayo finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds for the Heat.


Major League Baseball has postponed games in New York and Philadelphia on Wednesday night because of poor air quality caused by smoke from Canadian wildfires. The New York Yankees’ game against the Chicago White Sox was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader starting at 4:05 p.m. today, and the Philadelphia Phillies’ game against the Detroit Tigers was reset for 6:05 p.m. today, originally an off day for both teams. A National Women’s Soccer League game in New Jersey and an indoor WNBA game set for Brooklyn were also called off Wednesday amid hazy conditions that have raised alarms from health authorities.

Michael Harris II hit a two-run, tiebreaking homer off Adam Ottavino in the eighth inning and the Atlanta Braves rallied to beat the New York Mets 7-5 for their fourth straight victory. The third-place Mets wasted a three-run lead for the second straight night. They have lost five straight for the first time since 2021 and at 30-32 dropped 7 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL East. New York slugger Pete Alonso was hit on the left wrist by a 96 mph fastball from Charlie Morton in the first inning.

Amed Rosario and Josh Naylor each had three hits and an RBI, Josh Bell drove in a run for the sixth consecutive game and the Cleveland Guardians beat the Boston Red Sox 5-2 last night. Rosario singled twice against Kutter Crawford (1-3), then had an RBI double off Justin Garza as the Guardians scored two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to erase a 2-1 deficit. Bell drove in a pair to give him eight RBIs during the streak that began May 28. Rookie Tanner Bibee (2-1) pitched five innings, allowing one earned, for his first victory at Progressive Field. Emmanuel Clase worked a hitless ninth for his MLB-best 20th save.

Mets slugger Pete Alonso left Wednesday night’s game against the Braves in the first inning after getting hit on his left wrist by a pitch from Atlanta’s Charlie Morton. New York announced that X-rays were negative, and he is listed as day-to-day with a contusion. Alonso, who leads the major leagues with 22 homers, dropped to the ground after being hit by the 96 mph fastball. He got up and walked about halfway to first base before manager Buck Showalter and a trainer came out to tend to him. After a short meeting, Alonso walked off the field. He was replaced by Tommy Pham as a pinch-runner. Pham played left field in the bottom of the first and Mark Canha took Alonso’s spot at first base.

Cincinnati Reds newcomer Elly De la Cruz hit his first major league homer, a 458-foot, two-run drive off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Noah Syndergaard and then tripled. With fellow rookie Matt McLain on second base, De la Cruz hit an 0-1 fastball that left the bat at 114.8 mph and landed into the last rows of the right-field stands at Great American Ball Park. De la Cruz tripled on a curveball in the third, a drive that went to the wall in right-center on four hops.

Major League Baseball was once so concerned about gambling it banned Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays just for working as casino greeters. Now MLB itself and almost all its teams have official casino sponsors. The NCAA railed for decades that paying players would destroy college sports, all while raking in billions off of their unpaid labor. Now schools boast of booster collectives that help recruit top talent to their teams. So when the PGA Tour overcame its indignation and agreed to merge with LIV Golf the flip-flop followed a long-established tradition in sports of flexible attitudes.


The Lynx’ game against the New York Liberty last night was also postponed due to concerns over the effect on air quality from smoke from Canadian wildfires.

Brittney Griner had a Texas homecoming in her first game in her home state since being released from a Russian prison. The Phoenix Mercury were on the road for only the second time this season, since Griner missed all of last season while detained before a prisoner swap in December. People were shouting words of encouragement to Griner when she was out to dinner with teammates. She also met in private before Wednesday's game with the women’s basketball team from Baylor. That campus about 100 miles away is where she was part of a 40-0 national championship in 2012.


Lionel Messi says he is coming to Inter Miami and joining Major League Soccer. After months of speculation, Messi announced his decision to join a Miami franchise that has been led by another global soccer icon in David Beckham since its inception but has yet to make any real splashes on the field. That will likely soon change. One of Inter Miami’s owners, Jorge Mas, tweeted out a photo of a darkly silhouetted Messi jersey shortly before the Argentinian great revealed his decision in interviews with Spanish news outlets Mundo Deportivo and Sport. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner makes his move after two years with Paris Saint-Germain. But he’s only the latest big-name international player to bring his talents to the U.S. It started with Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cryuff in the NASL, and since the MLS was launched other stars like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimović have raised the profile of the game in North America.


Rory McIlroy says the PGA Tour's collaboration with Saudi Arabia's wealth fund makes him feel like a sacrificial lamb. McIlroy has been the strongest anti-Saudi voice during the disruption brought on by LIV Golf. He was among those left in the dark on the agreement that merges the business end of the PGA Tour, European tour and the Public Investment Fund. McIlroy says Saudi Arabia was going to keep spending money in golf. He says the tour is better off having it as a minority investor instead of trying to keep up and going to court over lawsuits.


Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr. sat out of Wednesday's practice, two days after team officials said they were aware of an NFL investigation into gambling allegations about one of Indy's players. Neither the Colts nor the league have publicly identified Rodgers as the target. But Rodgers issued a statement on Twitter acknowledging he made an “error in judgment” just hours after media reports linked him to the investigation. Coach Shane Steichen would not say whether Rodgers would practice until there is a resolution.


Jordy Bahl threw a two-hitter and struck out 10, and Oklahoma defeated Florida State 5-0 on Wednesday night to inch closer to a third consecutive national title. The top-seeded Sooners took the lead in the Women’s College World Series best-of-three championship series and can clinch their seventh national title on Thursday. Bahl is 4-0 at the World Series and hasn’t allowed a run in 21 2/3 innings. She helped Oklahoma push its Division I record win streak to 52 games.

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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.