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#SportsReport: Raptors Win First NBA Championship

This is turning out to be quite a year for first-time champions.

The Toronto Raptors are celebrating the first NBA championship in their 24-season history after taking Game 6 of the finals, 114-110. It comes one day after the St. Louis Blues captured their first Stanley Cup and two months after Virginia claimed its first NCAA men’s basketball title.

But Golden State didn’t go down without a fight. The Raptors led 108-102 with just over two minutes remaining and were ahead just 111-110 when Danny Green threw the ball away with 9.6 seconds left. But Stephen Curry missed a 3-point attempt before the Warriors received a technical for taking an excessive timeout. Series MVP Kawhi Leonard nailed the technical with 0.9 seconds to play and added two free throws to ice the victory.

Pascal Siakamand Kyle Lowry scored 26 points apiece to lead Toronto. Fred VanVleet was 5 of 11 from 3-point range to finish with 22 points. Leonard’s late free throws also gave him 22 points.

Klay Thompson was high man for Golden State with 30 points before leaving the game for good in the third quarter with a knee injury. Andre Iguodala (ihg-ah-DAH’-lah) scored 22 points and Stephen Curry had 21 for the Warriors, who were trying to become the first team since the 2002 Lakers to win a third straight NBA title.

Three-time All-Star point guard Kemba Walker says he'd be willing to work with the Hornets and take less than the "supermax" $221 million contract he's eligible to receive to re-sign with Charlotte.

The Hornets can offer their all-time leading scorer a five-year contract worth up to $221 million. Other NBA teams can only offer a four-year deal worth $140 million.

Walker says the Hornets remain his "first priority," but he plans to meet with other interested teams before making a decision on his future.

NBA free agency begins June 30.

In the WNBA last night Indiana beat Dallas 76-72. Tonight Seattle takes on Washignton at 7, Connecticut is at Minnesota at 8, the LA Sparks face Phoenix at 10, and the NY Liberty play Las Vegas at 10:30 p.m.

The winds were low and the scorers were lower during the first round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Justin Rose closed with three straight birdies to take the lead at 6 under in the third major of the year. Rose was two off the pace until his birdie run moved him one shot ahead of Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele , Aaron Wise and Louis Oosthuizen. Rose also eagled the par-5 sixth hole to make up for his lone bogey.

For a course notorious for its strong winds, Pebble Beach was as gentle as could be on Thursday. Fowler carded six birdies and Schauffele made a 12-foot putt for eagle on the 18th hole to catch Fowler. Oosthuizen dropped one in from the bunker on his final hole a few minutes later to join them at 5-under 66 before Rose surged in front.

Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka (KEHP’-kuh) is tied for 16th following a 2-under 69. Tiger Woods is at minus-1, Jordan Spieth (speeth) and Phil Mickelson opened with 72s and Rory McIlroy is tied for eighth at 3 under after winning the Canadian Open last weekend.

The Atlanta Braves continue to separate themselves from the rest of the NL East.

The Braves put together a five-run fifth inning en route to their seventh consecutive victory, 6-5 over Pittsburgh. Josh Donaldson singled home the tiebreaking run in the fifth against Joe Musgrove, three days after Musgrove hit Donaldson with a pitch to spark a benches-clearing incident.

Julio Teheran allowed one earned run and three hits over six innings to help the Braves move 1 ½ games ahead of second-place Philadelphia in the division.

The Pirates have dropped seven straight.

In other baseball action:

_ Angels DH Shohei Ohtani has become the first Japanese player to hit for the cycle in the majors, doing it in a 5-3 victory over the Rays. Ohtani hit a three-run homer in the first inning, doubled in the third and tripled during the fifth before hitting a flare to right-center in the seventh. It’s the eighth cycle in team history and the first since Mike Trout against the Mariners six years ago.

_ The White Sox pulled out a 5-4 win over the Yankees on Leury Garcia’s tiebreaking, solo homer in the bottom of the seventh. Tim Anderson also connected and four relievers combined for 3 1/3 innings of three-hit ball in Chicago's fourth win in five games. García and Anderson combined for four hits and five RBIs while hitting at the top of the order.

_ Nelson Cruz provided a solo homer and a two-run single as the Minnesota Twins doubled up the Seattle Mariners, 10-5. C.J. Cron hit his 15th homer for the Twins, who lead the majors with 132. Max Kepler drove in a pair for the Twins, who lead the AL Central by 11 games over Cleveland.

_ Xander Bogaerts hit a solo shot in the seventh inning to complete the Red Sox’s rally from a five-run deficit in a 7-6 triumph over the Rangers. Boston scored its seven runs on home runs as Jackie Bradley Jr. belted a three-run blast before J.D. Martinez, Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers left the yard. Elvis Andrus  drove in three runs on three singles for Texas.

_ Nicky Lopez hit his first major league homer in the stadium where he played college ball to help the Royals take a 7-3 decision over the Tigers at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The Creighton product was 8 for 61 in his previous 15 games and sat out Wednesday's contest in Kansas City before going 2 for 4 in the first big league game ever played in Nebraska. Homer Bailey allowed two hits in six shutout innings for the Royals.

_ Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered to ignite a seven-run sixth inning as the Blue Jays smothered the Orioles, 12-3. Rookie Cavan Biggio went deep twice in his 15th big league contest. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Danny Jansen had three hits and two RBIs apiece for Toronto, which scored 20 runs in the last two games of the series after tallying eight in dropping their previous five contests.

_ Charlie Blackmon smacked a pair of solo homers and added a two-run triple to finish with four RBIs in the Rockies’ 9-6 verdict over the Padres. Trevor Story added a two-run blast as Colorado won for the 11th time in its last 12 home games. Jon Gray struck out 10 and picked up the win despite yielding four runs and nine hits over six frames.

_ Zack Greinke took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the Diamondbacks’ seventh win in eight games, a 5-0 shutout of the Nationals. Greinke had faced the minimum when Trea Turner led off the seventh with a grounder between first and second. Alex Avila and Jarrod Dyson homered for Arizona.

_ The Mets and Cardinals were tied 4-4 after 8 ½ innings before the game was suspended because of rain. Michael Conforto hit a two-run homer to help New York take a 4-2 lead into the ninth, but St. Louis tied it on RBI hits by Kolten Wong and Harrison Bader off closer Edwin Diaz with two out. Play will resume Friday evening before the Mets and Redbirds play their scheduled game.


Dodgers shelve Seager

The Los Angeles Dodgers are spending some time without Corey Seager.

The Dodgers have put the shortstop on the injured list with a strained left hamstring. Seager was injured during the ninth inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Angels.

The 25-year-old Seager is batting .278 with 21 doubles, eight homers and 38 RBIs for the NL West leaders this year.

In other baseball news:

_ The Yankees have placed Kendrys Morales on the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain. Morales is the 20th player to go on the IL this year for New York, matching its total for the entire 2018 season. The first baseman/designated hitter had three hits in the Yankees' 12-5 victory over the Mets on Tuesday but did not play in the second half of the doubleheader.

_ The Phillies have acquired utilityman Brad Miller from the Yankees for cash. Miller hit .250 with one homer and four RBIs in 36 at-bats for the Indians this season and was batting .294 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs for The Yanks’ Triple-A team at Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

_ Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is in the lineup tonight after leaving Wednesday’s game against the Cubs with a left forearm contusion. Arenado was batting in the bottom of the third when Chicago starter Cole Hamels hit him with a 90 mph fastball during Colorado's 10-1 loss at Wrigley Field.

The wife of former Red Sox star David Ortiz says he remains in guarded condition at a Boston hospital and "continues to heal and make progress." Six people have been detained in connection with Sunday’s shooting of Ortiz in the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, U.S. prosecutors say one suspect in the shooting is believed to be wanted in Pennsylvania for attempted homicide, while the father of another suspect said his son belongs to a notorious Dominican gang of drug-dealing hitmen.

U.S. prosecutors say the man suspected of shooting retired Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz is wanted on armed robbery and gun charges in New Jersey. The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office said Thursday in a news release that a bench warrant "without geographical limitations" has been issued for Rolfi Ferreira-Cruz. A grand jury has indicted the 25-year-old of Reading, Pennsylvania, in connection with two armed robberies. Dominican authorities have said they have a Rolfy Ferreyra in custody.


Parade, rally to honor Stanley Cup champion Blues Saturday

A parade 52 years in the making will finally happen Saturday in St. Louis, when the city celebrates the Blues' first-ever Stanley Cup championship.

The Blues defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Wednesday's Game 7 in Boston. The Blues joined the NHL as an expansion team in 1967 and had never before won a championship.

The Blues took to Twitter Thursday to announce celebration plans. A parade will start at noon at 18th and Market Street and head east. A rally will then take place beneath the Gateway Arch.

Fans attending the celebration may want to bring an umbrella. Rain is in the forecast.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson also says the state Capitol dome will be lit up with blue lights in celebration Thursday.


Coach Cal inks 10-year extension

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has signed a 10-year, $86 million contract extension through 2029.

The package includes an option in the sixth year to step down and become a special assistant to the athletic director or university representative.

The Hall of Fame coach is 305-71 at Kentucky and won the 2012 NCAA championship among four Final Four appearances.

The 60-year-old Calipari and the Wildcats previously announced an agreement to a long-term deal in April.


The NFL is investigating tampering charges against the Texans after the Patriots accused them of contacting New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio for the Houston general manager job.

ESPN.com reported that New England complained to the league after Texans executive vice president of team development Jack Easterby, a former Patriots chaplain, attended the team's championship ring ceremony at the home of owner Robert Kraft. The Texans fired GM Brian Gaine the next day, less than 18 months after he took over the job.

ESPN.com noted that Easterby and Caserio are represented by the same agent, Bob LaMonte. The website says the Texans have requested permission to interview Caserio for their GM job, but it has not been given.

In other NFL news:

_ The Chiefs have signed kicker Harrison Butker to a five-year contract extension. Butker is 62 of 69 on field goals and 93 of 97 on extra points in two seasons with Kansas City.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.  

David Guistina is the host of Capital Connection, Legislative Gazette, and Morning Edition and the producer of the Media Project on WAMC.