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#SportsReport: NBA Fixes Rules, Last Place Team Won't Get Top Draft Pick

Kathy Willens


The NBA has eliminated the desire for teams to tank games in an effort to improve their chances for a No. 1 draft pick. The league has also made it tougher for coaches to rest their top players.

Each of the league's three worst teams will have a 14 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick, beginning with the 2019 draft. The team with the worst record previously had a 25 percent shot of winning the lottery and could fall to the No. 4 spot in the draft. Now, that team call tumble all the way to fifth.

The Board of Governors also voted to allow Commissioner Adam Silver to fine teams that violate the league's new guidelines about resting healthy players for nationally televised games.

LeBron James turned his left ankle during practice Wednesday night, his first workout with newly signed teammate Dwyane Wade.

A Cavaliers spokesman said X-rays of the ankle were negative, but the team hasn't revealed the severity of the injury. The three-time NBA champion didn't practice Thursday so he could undergo treatment. He's expected to be day to day.


Lightning caused a 45-minute delay between the first two quarters of the Packers-Bears game on Thursday, and there was just enough thunder in the arm of Aaron Rodgers.

The Green Bay quarterback threw for 179 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-14 rout of Chicago. Rodgers hit Davan Adams and Randall Cobb for short TDs in the first quarter before Jordy Nelson added a pair of second-half scoring receptions to help the Packers get to 3-1.

The Packers overpowered the Bears down the stretch to slog out a win as intermittent rain fell at Lambeau Field.

The Packers lost two more key players to injuries. Adams left the field on a stretcher after getting hit in the head during a tackle by Danny Trevathan in the third quarter. Running back Ty Montgomery was knocked out in the first quarter with a chest injury.

Bears quarterback Mike Glennon had a rough evening, throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles. Glennon also threw for 218 yards and a touchdown for the 1-3 Bears.


Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett has returned to practice after missing the first three regular-season games with a high right ankle sprain.

The first player taken in this year's NFL draft got hurt on Sept. 6 when a teammate inadvertently fell on his ankle during practice.

There's a strong chance Garrett will make his debut Sunday against the Bengals.

In other NFL news:

— Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson has donated his first NFL game check to three NRG stadium employees who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. Watson surprised three women who work in the team cafeteria at the stadium on Wednesday, donating about $27,000 of his base salary of $465,000. The women became emotional when he handed them an envelope with a red ribbon and one asked for a hug.

— The league says the message players and teams are trying to express is being lost in a political firestorm over protests during the national anthem. NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart says the issues have been "overtaken by political forces" following President Trump's criticism of the league, team owners and players for kneeling during the national anthem. More than 200 players either knelt or used other means as expressions of unity during Week 3 of the season.

— The helmet that performed best in NFL testing this year is being used by some 50 players spread across only half of the NFL teams. Its developer is "thrilled" with that number and expects the VICIS Zero1 to catch on the way Larry Fitzgerald snags passes.


The Boston Red Sox clinched a tie for the AL East title on Thursday, but they needed the Tampa Bay Rays' help to do it.

Major league batting leader Jose Altuve had three of Houston's 17 hits in a 12-2 crushing of the Red Sox. Marwin Gonzalez put the Astros ahead with a three-run double in the first inning.

Carlos Correa went 4-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs to back Brad Peacock, who is 13-2 after yielding two runs and four hits over five innings.

Losing pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez lasted just 1 2/3 innings and was tagged for five runs and six hits, including Alex Bregman's two-run shot.

But Boston's lead remained three games over the New York Yankees with three to play following the Rays' 9-6 win in the Bronx. Yanks pitcher Sonny Gray was sailing until Tampa Bay scored seven times in the fifth to erase a 4-1 deficit.

Wilson Ramos slammed a two-run homer and Peter Bourjos added a two-run triple to help the Rays overcome home runs by Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Greg Bird and pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks. Judge tops the AL with 51 home runs after he and Gardner went back-to-back in the first inning.

Elsewhere in the majors:

-The NY Mets were off last night they take on the Phillies tonight at 7:05, 3 game series

— The Brewers wasted a 3-1 lead before Brett Phillips lined an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth to lead Milwaukee to a 4-3 win against Cincinnati. The Brewers' bullpen worked four innings of one-hit ball, although Oliver Drake surrendered the game-tying hit in the sixth. The outcome leaves the Brewers two games behind the Rockies for the final NL wild card with three games remaining for each team.

— Carlos Carrasco struck out 14 over 8 1/3 innings as the Indians picked up their 100th win of the year, 5-2 over the Twins. Carrasco scattered six hits and improved to 18-6, tying teammate Corey Kluber and Kansas City's Jason Vargas for the American League lead in wins. Jason Kipnis and Roberto Perez hit two-run homers and Jay Bruce added a solo shot for the AL Central champs.

— The Nationals blew a 4-2 lead before getting a 5-4 win over the Pirates on Alejandro De Aza's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. Sean Doolittle was 21-for-21 in save opportunities until Jose Bell slammed a two-run homer to tie it.

— Taylor Davis doubled home the lead run in the 11th inning to send the Cubs past the Cardinals, 2-1. Cubs rookie Ian Happ smacked his 23rd homer of the season and starter Kyle Hendricks held St. Louis to four hits while fanning nine over five innings. The loss eliminated the Redbirds from the wild-card race.

— Giancarlo Stanton banged out his 58th and 59th home runs while collecting three RBIs in the Marlins' 7-1 verdict over the Braves. Dillon Peters notched his first big league win by limiting Atlanta to two hits over 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

— The White Sox scored three times in the eighth to take a 5-4 win against the Angels. Rob Brantly tied it with a two-run homer and Rymer Liriano poked an RBI single to win it for Chicago.

— Sean Manaea gave up three hits and no earned runs in 6 2/3 innings as the Athletics dealt the Rangers their seventh straight loss, 4-1. Ryon Healy delivered a tiebreaking, two-run single in the sixth to send Oakland to its fifth consecutive road win.

— Detroit's Nicholas Castellanos supplied a three-run double and Daniel Norris threw two-hit ball over five scoreless frames to lead a 4-1 win at Kansas City. Detroit snapped a season-high nine-game losing streak, it's longest since 2005.


A's skipper extended...Rangers break ground for new stadium

Also in the majors:

— The Athletics have announced a one-year contract extension for Bob Melvin that would keep the manager in their dugout through the 2019 season. Melvin has been a Manager of the Year in both leagues and ranks third in Oakland history with 535 wins, trailing only Tony La Russa and Art Howe. The 55-year-old Melvin earned his 1,00th career managerial win in late July.

— The Rangers have held a groundbreaking ceremony for their $1.1 billion retractable-roof stadium that is scheduled to open in time for the 2020 season. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred joined Rangers ownership and city officials for the ceremony Thursday across the street from the current stadium where the team has played since 1994.


Oklahoma State has fired Lamont Evans for cause after the top assistant to new coach Mike Boynton was ensnared in the federal investigation of basketball recruiting at seven universities.

Evans is accused of accepting $2,000 a month in bribes to funnel athletes to certain agents, including "one and done" players that are talented enough to jump to the NBA after one season.

Evans had been suspended by the university and surrendered to federal marshals early Wednesday.


The Puerto Rico Tip-Off is now slated for Nov. 16-19 at the campus of Coastal Carolina.

The eight-team tournament was relocated in the wake of Hurricane Maria. It will feature South Carolina and Iowa State but will not include the host school.


San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward says he has decided not to protest by kneeling during the national anthem.

The Canadian-born Ward had said he was considering a protest to raise awareness to the issues of racial inequality and excessive force by police against minorities in the United States. But he said Thursday that he doesn't want the focus to be on the anthem and wants to work on bringing minorities and law enforcement together.


Athletes from the Boston area's five professional sports teams are launching a new campaign to fight racism and discrimination.

The Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, and Revolution are joining a project they're calling "Take the Lead" that was unveiled Thursday at Fenway Park.

It includes a public service announcement featuring a montage of athletes telling fans to "stand for our teams but don't stand for racism."


The Americans have won the opening session of the Presidents Cup for the sixth straight time, winning three matches and rallying to a halve in the final one.

The International team managed to get a half-point when Phil Mickelson missed an 8-foot par putt on the par-3 18th at Liberty National.

Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas rolled to a 6-5 rout, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed were 5-and-4 winners, and Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar earned a 1-up victory.

The lone bright spot for the International team was Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, who were 5-and-4 winners against Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.

The Americans have a 9-1-1 lead in these matches, their lone loss in 1998.

The start of the tournament gave golf a new "Big Three" — former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton posing with players and wives on each team in an opening ceremony unlike any other.

It was the first time three U.S. presidents have attended the matches at the same time since this event began in 1994, named after the highest office in the land.


— Sam Saunders has become the seventh player in Web.com Tour history to fire a 59 or better as he tries to regain his PGA Tour card.

The grandson of Arnold Palmer closed with six straight birdies in a 12-under 59 in the Tour Championship today. Saunders entered the week 24th in the race for 25 PGA Tour cards with $27,900 in the first three events.

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