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WAMC Sports Report 6/14/24: Panthers beat Oilers 4-3, move within win of Stanley Cup title

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (3), Zach Hyman (18), Leon Draisaitl (29) and Evan Bouchard (2) celebrate a goal scored by Nugent-Hopkins as Dallas Stars' Ty Dellandrea (10) skates past during the first period of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Friday, May 31, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/AP
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AP
Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (3), Zach Hyman (18), Leon Draisaitl (29) and Evan Bouchard (2) celebrate a goal scored by Nugent-Hopkins as Dallas Stars' Ty Dellandrea (10) skates past during the first period of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Friday, May 31, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NHL

Aleksander Barkov and Sergei Bobrovsky led the way as the Florida Panthers moved within a victory of their first Stanley Cup title, holding on to beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in Game 3 of the final. Game 4 is Saturday night at 8 in Edmonton. Barkov set up a goal and scored another while Bobrovsky made 32 saves to continue his run of dominance in the series. The Panthers pounced on turnovers and silenced a fired-up Edmonton crowd witnessing the first Cup final game with fans in the city in 18 years.

NBA

The Celtics have a chance win it all tonight taking a 3-0 series lead into Game 4 of the finals tonight at 8:30 in Dallas.

It’s over. That’s what the numbers say. There will be a record-setting 18th championship for the Boston Celtics to celebrate soon, maybe very soon. They have a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals, a lead that has never been wasted in any NBA series, ever. The stats are absolute. The Celtics, to their credit, are taking nothing for granted. On perhaps the next-to-last day of the NBA’s 78th season, the Celtics — who could finish off the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 on Friday night — were desperately trying to keep things as close to business as usual as could be expected.

It was during the NBA Finals in 2010. Kobe Bryant was asked a question about whether he thought he was the greatest Los Angeles Laker ever. The answer was immediate. “No,” Bryant said. He wasn’t being difficult or misleading and the question was fair, especially because Bryant surely would have been on the short list for such a title. But in Bryant’s mind, that distinction — greatest Laker ever — belonged to only one person. To him, the only answer was Jerry West.

MLB

Maikel Garcia hit a game-ending two run double off Yankees closer Clay Holmes, and the Kansas City Royals recovered after squandering a brilliant start by Alec Marsh to beat New York 4-3 and avoid a four-game sweep. Marsh took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against the major league-best Yankees, who had outscored the Royals 25-8 in the first three games of the series. He allowed Juan Soto’s leadoff single in that frame and then retired the next three batters to conclude his 96-pitch outing. The Yankees pushed ahead 3-2 in the eighth against the Royals' bullpen before Garcia game through against Holmes for the walk-off.

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the New York Mets a 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins. The one-out drive off Tanner Scott made a winner of Edwin Díaz in his return from the injured list. The star closer pitched a perfect inning with one strikeout. The Mets got their sixth walk-off win by rallying against Scott, who hadn’t allowed a run since April 16. Francisco Lindor drew a leadoff walk in the ninth and Martinez sent Scott’s 3-1 slider into the Marlins’ bullpen in right-center for the first game-ending homer of his 14-year career. The six-time All-Star has 321 home runs, including six in his first season with New York.

Tanner Houck allowed three runs in six strong innings and Tyler O’Neill hit a three-run homer to help the Boston Red Sox defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-3. Jarren Duran doubled in his first two at-bats and also drove in two runs as the Red Sox secured a series win against the NL-leading Phillies. Houck scattered eight hits, struck out five and walked none while lowering his ERA to 2.08. Kyle Schwarber drove in all three of Philadelphia’s runs. Phillies starter Aaron Nola delivered his worst outing since his first start of the season.

Justyn-Henry Malloy homered and drove in three RBIs and the Detroit Tigers ended the Washington Nationals’ five-game winning streak with a 7-2 victory. After striking out in the third inning, Malloy was hitting .143 in the first 10 days of his big-league career. However, he hit his second career homer in the sixth and added a two-run double in the seventh. The Tigers had lost five of six. Shelby Miller picked up the win, allowing one run in 1 1/3 relief innings.

Reynaldo Lopez tied his season hit with eight strikeouts over six shutout innings, Ozzie Albies had four hits and the Atlanta Braves held on for a 6-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Marcell Ozuna’s had a two-run, first-inning double off Baltimore left-hander Cole Irvin (6-3) as the Braves halted a five-game slide and the Orioles’ six-game winning streak. Atlanta added a run each in the fourth and sixth innings, then produced two more in the ninth en route to 12 hits, the most for the struggling group since June 1. Baltimore’s Kyle Stowers hit a three-run homer.

Taj Bradley tied a career high with 11 strikeouts over seven innings and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2. Bradley gave up two unearned runs and three hits. After starter Justin Steele pitched six scoreless innings for the Cubs, the Rays scored three times in the seventh off Mark Leiter Jr. Pinch-hitter Josh Lowe had an RBI single and pinch-hitter Ben Rortvedt drove in a run on a groundout before Yandy Díaz made it 3-2 with another RBI single. Tampa Bay took two of three in the series and is 8-14 over the last 22 games. Meanwhile, the Cubs have lost 14 of 20.

Christian Walker hit two homers, Joc Pederson added a late grand slam and the Arizona Diamondbacks coasted past the Los Angeles Angels 11-1. Arizona won two of three in the series and has won eight of its last 12 overall. Arizona righty Brandon Pfaadt gave up one run on six hits and three walks, striking out eight to improve to 3-5. It was a nice bounce back performance by the 25-year-old, who had given up 13 runs over his previous 18 1/3 innings. The Angels have dropped four of their past six games.

Michael Lorenzen pitched seven strong innings, rookie Wyatt Langford had two RBI singles and the Texas Rangers defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 to win a series at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1999. For the second consecutive night, Rangers reliever David Robertson struck out MVPs Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman in succession to preserve a 3-1 lead in the eighth. Texas took two of three from the NL West leaders after getting routed 15-2 in the opener, when the Dodgers slugged five homers — including four in one inning. But the Rangers’ pitching short-circuited LA’s offense this time.

Joe Ryan struck out five in seven strong innings and Carlos Correa had a two-run homer among his three hits as the Minnesota Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 6-2. Minnesota banged out 13 hits — 12 singles and Correa’s homer in the seventh inning. Byron Buxton had three hits and drove in two runs, and Royce Lewis and Austin Martin had two hits apiece as the Twins won for the fourth time in five games. Tyler Soderstrom homered for the third time in four games for the A’s, who lost their sixth straight game.

Garrett Crochet struck out a career-high 13 over seven dominant innings, Andrew Vaughn homered and drove in the tiebreaking run in the 10th, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2. Chicago avoided being swept in the four-game series, but needed extra innings after Seattle star Julio Rodríguez tied it at 2 in the bottom of the ninth with a solo homer off closer Michael Kopech. Crochet allowed two hits and has 42 strikeouts over his last four starts.

Paul Goldschmidt and Brendan Donovan homered, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3. Lance Lynn went 4 1/3 innings, snapping a string of four straight quality starts by Cardinals pitchers. Lynn allowed three runs on four hits, walked three and struck out five. Chris Roycroft (1-0) earned his first major league decision as five different Cardinals relievers combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings. Andrew Kittredge earned his first save. Mitch Keller (8-4) allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings. Keller struck out four and walked none as the Pirates lost for the third time in their last four games.

WNBA

Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 21 points and Jewell Loyd added 19 as the Seattle Storm beat the Dallas Wings 92-84. Seattle (9-4) has won eight of its last nine games, while Dallas (4-7) has lost six straight. Nneka Ogwumike added 17 points and Ezi Magbegor recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Seattle. Loyd scored 15 points in the first half and Diggins-Smith added 12 as Seattle led 48-40 at the break. Arike Ogunbowale led Dallas with 24 points to extend her WNBA record to 11 consecutive games with at least 20 points to start a season.

Aliyah Boston matched a career high with 27 points, Kelsey Mitchell added 24 and the Indiana Fever closed on a 10-2 run for a 91-84 win over the Atlanta Dream despite getting just seven points from Caitlin Clark. Indiana (4-10) scored 59 in the first half but had just 14 points in the first 14 minutes of the second half as Atlanta rallied to retake the lead, 80-79. But Indiana scored the next four points and pulled away. Rhyne Howard had 26 to lead Atlanta (5-6). Clark finished 3 for 11 shooting.

Dearica Hamby finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, Aari McDonald scored 16 off the bench and the Los Angeles Sparks beat two-time defending-champion Las Vegas 96-92 after the Aces scored the first 14 points of the game. Hamby sank 6 of 10 shots with a 3-pointer and 5 of 6 free throws for the Sparks, who won back-to-back games for the first time this season. A’ja Wilson had 31 points to lead the Aces, who have lost three of their last four games. Wilson has now scored at least 20 points in 14 straight games, breaking a league record set by Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury.

GOLF

Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay are tied for the lead after one round of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. McIlroy had tremendous control on a course that demands precision. He was bogey-free for a 65 in the afternoon. Cantlay had six birdies in his round of 65 in the morning. McIlroy hasn't had a bogey-free start to a major since last winning one 10 years ago at the British Open. They led by one shot over Ludvig Aberg. Bryson DeChambeau powered his way to a 67 and was tied for third with Matthieu Pavon on France.

Meanwhile, Scottie Scheffler began his pursuit of the U.S. Open title on Thursday with a 1-over 71, leaving the world's top-ranked player in contention but with some ground to make up. He bogeyed the par-4 third at Pinehurst No. 2 and played the rest of the round over par, a rarity for him. Scheffler had played 21 holes all season when he was over par for a tournament. His playing partner, Rory McIlroy, shot a bogey-free 65 that put him in a tie with Patrick Cantlay atop the leaderboard, The third player in their powerhouse trio, PGA champ Xander Schauffele, finished at even-par.

Elsewhere, Tiger Woods survived an inconsistent round in his first appearance at the U.S. Open since 2020 on Thursday, shooting a four-over 74 at Pinehurst No. 2. He drove the ball well and made some nice par saves, but he struggled with wayward iron shots at a course where precision is paramount. The big trouble came during a seven-hole stretch in which Woods made five bogeys. Still, he posted a round that puts him in the mix to play the weekend. That's an improvement over his last time out at the PGA Championship. Woods missed the cut after shooting a second-round 77 at Valhalla.

NFL

A person familiar with the negotiations says Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to a five-year, $275 million contract extension that makes him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in NFL history. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither side had announced the contract publicly. The person says Lawrence’s deal averages $55 million and ties him with Cincinnati's Joe Burrow for the most ever. Lawrence's extension includes $142 million fully guaranteed and a $37.5 million signing bonus. Lawrence is now the sixth QB making more than $50 million a year.

The Atlanta Falcons were stripped of a fifth-round pick in next year’s draft on Thursday for violating the NFL’s anti-tampering rules prior to signing quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Falcons and Cousins agreed on a four-year, $180 million contract with $100 million guaranteed shortly after the league’s 52-hour legal tampering window opened. It’s normal for teams and players to reach agreements quickly and there were other players who agreed to deals even before Cousins. But Cousins’ comments at his introductory news conference raised questions that led to the NFL’s investigation.

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs showed off their glitzy new Super Bowl rings that sparkled with diamonds, rubies and “Tom & Jerry.” The championship-winning team gathered inside the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to receive the flashy jewelry that celebrates the Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers in February. The ring features 529 diamonds and 38 rubies and totals 14.8 carats. The top of the ring opens up to reveal an inscription of “Tom & Jerry,” the nickname given to the winning play when Mahomes threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman.

BOXING

An injury caused Conor McGregor to pull out of the upcoming pay-per-view event June 29 in Las Vegas that he was scheduled to headline. Organization President Dana White announced the change Thursday night on X. White saying light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira will face top-ranked challenger Jiri Prochazka in UFC 303. McGregor was scheduled to fight Michael Chandler. The first indication that bout was in trouble when his news conference June 3 in Dublin was abruptly canceled. No immediate explanation was provided.

© 2024 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.