#SportsReport: Raptors Beat Celtics At The Buzzer; Mets Top Yankees
A buzzer-beating basket allowed the Toronto Raptors to beat the Boston Celtics, 104-103 and pull within two games to one in the Eastern Conference semifinals. OG Anunoby grabbed a crosscourt inbounds pass from Kyle Lowry and drained a 3-pointer at the horn.
It came just a half-second after Daniel Theis dunked to give Boston a two-point lead. Lowry played virtually the whole way, finishing with 31 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Fred VanVleet scored 25 points, Pascal Siakam had 16 and Anunoby 12. Kemba Walker scored 29 points for Boston, which lost for the first time in seven playoff games.
The Clippers had a much easier time winning the opener of their Western Conference semifinal series. Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points and the Clippers shot 57% from the field in a 120-97 trouncing of the Nuggets. The Clippers took charge in the second quarter, outscoring the Nuggets 38-20 to take a 69-51 lead. Los Angeles held Denver to 25% shooting into the second quarter. Paul George scored 19 points and Marcus Morris added 18 for L.A. Denver guard Jamal Murray was held to just 12 points on 5-for-15 shooting. He averaged 31.6 points in the Nuggets' seven-game series against Utah.
In NBA news:
The Brooklyn Nets have hired Steve Nash as their coach, putting the Hall of Fame point guard in charge of the team that hopes to have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving together next season. Nash is a two-time MVP as the engineer of the high-scoring Phoenix Suns teams under Mike D'Antoni. He had been a player development consultant with Golden State, where he worked with Durant. The Nets finished the season under Jacque Vaughn, who will remain on staff as Nash's lead assistant.
Memphis guard Ja Morant is the runaway winner of the NBA Rookie of the Year Award for 2019-20. He's the first Grizzlies player to win the award since Pau Gasol in 2001-02. Morant averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists this season, picking up three Western Conference rookie of the month awards along the way. Miami's Kendrick Nunn was second and New Orleans' Zion Williamson was third.
The Hornets have fired play-by-play radio broadcaster John Focke after he used a racial slur on his Twitter account last month. The decision comes after the team investigated the matter in which Focke used the slur while Tweeting about the Jazz-Nuggets playoff game on Aug. 17. He has since deleted the tweet and apologized, saying it was a typo.
The New York Islanders owned overtime periods while winning four straight Stanley Cups in the 1980s. Those days are over. The Philadelphia Flyers have forced a seventh game in their second-round series after Ivan Provorov scored 15:03 into double-overtime to complete a 5-4 win over the Islanders. All three of Philadelphia's series wins have come in OT. Carter Hart turned back 49 shots and was perfect after Mathew Barzal scored with 30 seconds left in the second period. But the Flyers blew a 2-0 lead and had to come back from 3-2 and 4-3 deficits before Provorov ended it with his second OT goal of the series. Michael Raffl and Scott Laughton provided the tying tallies. Mathew Barzal and Derick Brassard each had a goal and an assist for New York. Game 7 is Saturday.
Like the Flyers, the Canucks have forced a seventh game after trailing 3-1 in their second-round series. Thatcher Demko stopped 48 shots for his second straight win as Vancouver stifled Vegas, 4-0. J.T. Miller and defenseman Quinn Hughes each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who carried a 1-0 lead into the final period. Jake Virtanen and Bo Horvat also scored for the Canucks, who were outshot 48-23. Game 7 is Friday.
In NHL news, the league has unveiled a series of anti-racism initiatives more than eight months after Akim Aliu brought the topic to the forefront in the predominantly white sport. The league and NHL Players' Association are planning mandatory inclusion and diversity training for all players at camp. They are partnering with the Hockey Diversity Alliance to launch a grassroots program for young players of color in the Toronto area They are also working together on several inclusion committees aimed at encouraging diversity among executives, pro and youth players and fans. The moves come amid mounting pressure from current and former minority players for the league to take concrete steps to address systemic racism.
The Mets erased deficits of 4-0 and 7-4 before beating the Yankees, 9-7 on Pete Alonso's two-run blast in the bottom of the 10th. J.D. Davis tied it with a solo shot in the ninth before Alonso came through with his first career walk-off homer. Amed Rosario had three hits and three RBIs as the Mets gained a split of the six-game season series. The Mets paid tribute to Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver with a series of salutes before the game. Each Met had a smudge of dirt on their right knee — that's a nod to how Seaver's uniform looked when he pitched, with his knee dropping low to the mound for more power. Seaver died Monday at age 75.
In other MLB action:
Teoscar Hernández was the hitting star in the Blue Jays' 6-2 win over the Red Sox, hitting a go-ahead, three-run homer in the 10th inning after breaking up Boston's no-hit bid with a leadoff single in the seventh. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. added a two-out solo homer to cap Toronto's four-run 10th.
Alec Bohm hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Phillies a 6-5 victory and a four-game sweep of the Nationals. Pinch-hitter Andrew McCutchen's RBI grounder off Daniel Hudson tied it at 5 in the eighth. Trea Turner hit an inside-the-park homer and Michael Taylor went deep for Washington, but the defending champs suffered their sixth consecutive loss. Dick Allen's No. 15 was retired by the Phillies in a ceremony prior to the game. It's a long overdue honor for one of the franchise's greatest players who fought against racism during a tumultuous period with the team in the 1960s. Former teammate Mike Schmidt called him "an amazing mentor" who was wrongly labeled a "bad teammate" and "troublemaker."
Mike Clevinger wasn't bad in his San Diego Padres debut, but he wasn't good enough to get a victory. Clevinger allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings of the Padres' 2-0 loss to the Angels. He didn't retire the Angels in order until the sixth and allowed the leadoff batter aboard in each of the first four innings. Andrew Heaney allowed only three hits over seven innings to help Los Angeles deal San Diego its second shutout loss of the season. Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton each had two hits and an RBI for the Angels, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Aledmys Díaz belted a three-run homer and Michael Brantley added three RBIs to support Zack Greinke in the Astros' 8-4 thumping of the Rangers. Greinke struck out a season-high nine in six innings, allowing three runs and six hits to get to 3-0. Brantley had three hits, capped by a two-out, two-run double in the eighth that pushed the lead to 8-4.
Luis Robert's 458-foot home run capped the White Sox second-five-run inning in an 11-6 dumping of the Royals. Robert was one of three White Sox to homer in the contest, joining Edwin Encarnacion and Tim Anderson. Dylan Cease picked up the win, yielding three runs on four hits in five-plus innings.
The Dodgers earned a 5-1 win over the Diamondbacks behind Clayton Kershaw, who allowed one hit while fanning eight over six shutout innings. Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez each had two hits and an RBI to help Los Angeles win for the 18th time in 21 games. AJ Pollock homered as a pinch-hitter for the NL West leaders.
Bryan Reynolds slammed a three-run homer in his return from paternity leave to lead the Pirates past the Cubs, 6-2. Reynolds also doubled leading off the second and celebrated by pretending to rock a baby to sleep. JT Brubaker picked up his first big league win by navigating in and out of trouble for five innings, allowing just one earned run despite seven hits.
In MLB news, Oakland Athletics right-hander Daniel Mengden has tested positive for the coronavirus and is quarantined at home in Houston. He received the result that forced Oakland and Major League Baseball to postpone four games this week. A's general manager David Forst said that Mengden is asymptomatic and was placed on the 10-day injured list. The A's don't know how Mengden contracted the coronavirus. MLB said the A's will resume their schedule on Friday.
Serena Williams' drive for her 24th major championship continues at the U.S. Open. The 38-year-old Williams has advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Margarita Gasparyan. Williams improved her career record to 20-0 in the second round at Flushing Meadows and will play Sloane Stephens in the next round. Stephens continued her path toward a second U.S. Open championship with a dominant 6-2, 6-2 win over Olga Govortsova.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray was beaten in his second-round match as he continues to work his way back from a pair of hip operations. Felix Auger-Aliassime dispatched Murray, 6-2. 6-3, 6-4.
It was a successful day for the No. 2 singles seeds.
Dominic Thiem earned a spot in the third round on his 27th birthday, posting a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over over Sumit Nagal. American Sofia Kenin has won her second-round match at the U.S. Open against unseeded Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3. Kenin had more winners than unforced errors and never faced a break point. Daniil Medvedev beat Australian Christopher O'Connell 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the third round. Victoria Azarenka won the battle of the Belarusians with a 6-1, 6-3 win over fifth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka.
There was a pair of top-10 upsets on the women's side. Romania's Sorana Cîrstea knocked off No. 9 Johanna Konta, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 to earn her spot in the third round. Tsvetana Pironkova has reached Round 3 in her first tournament following a three-year maternity break, beating No. 10-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza, 7-5, 6-3.
Cam Newton is officially the new starting quarterback of the New England Patriots. A person familiar with the situation said Thursday that Newton was announced as the starter during a team meeting. The move was expected after the 2015 league MVP outperformed second-year Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer during training camp. Newton signed with the Patriots in July after being released by Carolina. He succeeds Tom Brady following his departure to Tampa Bay in free agency.
In other NFL news:
The Seahawks are bringing back Josh Gordon on a one-year deal as the talented wide receiver awaits reinstatement from the NFL after his latest suspension. Gordon was banned indefinitely by the league last December, his eighth suspension either by the league or his team.
The Titans have made a switch at kicker, agreeing to terms with veteran Stephen Gostkowski and waiving Greg Joseph. Gostkowski is a four-time Pro Bowl kicker who has made 87% of his field goals with the fifth-best field goal percentage in NFL history.
The Browns have acquired safety Ronnie Harrison from the Jaguars for a fifth-round pick. Harrison has played in 28 games and made 103 tackles along with three interceptions.
All NFL and NFL Players Association facilities will close on Election Day, and the league and union will televise a one-hour program next week for players to highlight work being done to advance social justice. The league and the players' union said Thursday they want to "ensure that every member of the NFL family has an opportunity to exercise the precious right to vote" on Nov. 3.
Giants co-owner John Mara reiterated his support for a player's right to protest social issues. While he prefers the team to stand during the national anthem, he will support the rights of those who choose to kneel and make a statement.
The NCAA football oversight committee is recommending early enrolling freshman football players not be allowed to play games for teams conducting winter or spring seasons. West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons heads football oversight. He told the AP on Thursday night the committee worked on setting parameters for a 13-week winter/spring season that included an April 17 end to regular-season competition but no uniform start date. Lyons said the committee will send a report with its recommendation to the Division I Council for approval by next week.
The Tokyo Olympics are already the most expensive Summer Games on record with costs set to go higher. That's according to a wide-ranging study from Britain's University of Oxford. The lead author of the study tells The Associated Press that the Tokyo cost overrun already exceeds 200%. This is even before several billion more dollars are added on from the one-year delay from the COVID-19 pandemic.
NASCAR has decided it will not grant COVID-19 relief during the playoffs, meaning a positive coronavirus test will end a driver's championship bid. The playoffs begin Sunday at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina without a safety net for the 16 participants during the pandemic. It's up to each driver to protect themselves from COVID-19, understanding there is no cushion for missing a race.
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