#SportsReport: Raptors Edge Celtics; Lightning Down Islanders
It took double-overtime for the Toronto Raptors to force a Game 7 in the NBA's Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics. Kyle Lowry contributed 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 53 minutes as the Raptors outlasted the Celtics, 125-122.
He got an acrobatic jumper to fall with 11.7 seconds left. Lowry bounced back after scoring just 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting in Toronto's Game 5 loss. Norman Powell finished with 23 points off the bench for the defending champs, Fred VanVleet had 21 and OG Anunoby chipped in 13 with 13 rebounds. Anunoby put Toronto ahead by nailing a 3-pointer with under a minute left. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart combined for 83 Boston points, but Kemba Walker managed just five. Brown was high man for Boston with 31 points and 16 rebounds, Tatum had 29 with 14 boards, and Smart had a triple-double of 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. However, Smart missed a 3-point try that would have forced a third OT. Game 7 is Friday.
The Los Angeles Clippers are one win away from their first trip to the Western Conference finals following a 96-85 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 4. Kawhi Leonard finished one assist shy of his first playoff triple-double, providing 30 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots. Leonard has scored 30 or more points six times during this postseason. Reserve Montrezl Harrell added 15 points to help the Clippers take a 3-1 series lead. They can close out the Nuggets on Friday night. Los Angeles coughed up an early 18-point lead and was tied at 48 early in the third before the Clippers responded with a 21-5 run. Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 11 boards for a Nuggets team that finds itself in an all-too-familiar situation. They were down in their first-round series against Utah before becoming the 12th team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit.
In NBA news, the league's board of governors and general managers will discuss a plan later this week to push the NBA draft back to Nov. 18. That's according to a memo sent to teams, a missive that says the date is based on "initial conversations with the Players Association. The draft has been moved back once from June 25 to October 16. The memo says the additional delay would also allow the league more time to conduct the pre-draft process, including a combine in some form.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have followed a blowout win with a nail-biter to take a two-games-to-none lead over the New York Islanders in the NHL's Eastern Conference final. Nikita Kucherov scored with 8.8 seconds left to lift the Bolts past the Isles, 2-1. The Lightning had two quality chances that were stopped by Semyon Varlamov seconds before Kucherov fired the puck into the net. Matt Martin put the Isles ahead just 1:24 into the game. Martin has five playoff goals after scoring just five the entire regular season. Victor Hedman tied it late in the first period for the Lightning, who were outshot 28-21. Andrei Vasilevskiy was superb at times and helped Tampa Bay kill off a five-minute major and a 5-on-3 situation. Game 3 is Friday.
In NHL news, Bruce Cassidy is the winner of the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year after leading the Bruins to the Presidents' Trophy. Cassidy edged out Philadelphia's Alain Vigneault for his first Jack Adams honor. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella finished third in the voting, which is done by broadcasters. Boston finished six points ahead of the next-closest team in the standings when the season came to a halt in March.
Serena Williams remains in line to tie Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. Her next opponent will be someone she beat in the 2012 and 2013 finals. Williams fired 20 aces but had to rally to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and get to the U.S. Open semifinals. Williams trailed by a set and a break in the all-mom quarterfinal match before winning five straight games to take control. The 38-year-old Williams will have about 24 hours to recover from a match that lasted over two hours. She next faces unseeded Victoria Azarenka, who breezed through her quarterfinal match. Azarenka continued her recent resurgence with a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Elise Mertens. Azarenka used a big serve to beat Mertens to earn a meeting with Williams, who is 18-4 against her in their careers. Ararenka won the Open-tuneup Western & Southern Open for her 21st career title. She made her first U.S. Open semifinal since 2013 and eighth grand slam semifinal overall. Naomi Osaka will face Jennifer Brady in Thursday's other semifinal.
In Wednesday's other quarterfinal action at Flushing Meadows, men's second seed Dominic Thiem advanced with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Alex de Minaur. Thiem is still on the hunt for his first major championship after two losses in the French Open final and this year at the Australian Open. And third seed Daniil Medvedev beat longtime pal Andrey Rublev 7-6, 6-3, 7-6 in an all-Russian matchup. The 2019 U.S. Open runner-up hasn't dropped a set in the tournament so far and never faced a break point against No. 10 seed Rublev. Medvedev also produced more than twice as many winners, 51-23.
Gleyber Torres drove in four runs and the Yankees snapped a five-game losing streak with a 7-2 win over the Blue Jays. Torres and DJ LeMahieu homered to back Deivi García, who gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings for his first victory in three major league starts.
Pete Alonso's 11th home run of the season broke a 6-6 deadlock in the eighth inning of the Mets' 7-6 comeback win over the Orioles. Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto and Andres Gimenez also went deep after Baltimore took a 5-1 lead.
Elsewhere around the majors:
The Milwaukee Brewers scored 19 runs for the first time in a decade on Wednesday, and it wasn't close to being the day's biggest offensive assault. Milwaukee's former major league team outscored the current one as the Braves obliterated their franchise scoring record in a 29-9 dismantling of the Marlins. Adam Duvall led Atlanta's 23-hit assault with three homers and nine RBIs, including a grand slam. By the time Ronald Acuña Jr. laced a three-run double in the sixth, the Braves had set a team record for runs and led 25-8. Acuña also hit a three-run blast, one of seven homers belted by Atlanta.
In Detroit, Corbin Burnes tossed one-hit ball for seven innings before the Brewers completed a 19-0 laugher over the Tigers. He struck out 11 in his third start without an earned run allowed. It was the most runs for the Brewers since they scored 20 at Pittsburgh in 2010. Jedd Gyorko homered twice, and Jacob Nottingham, Ryan Braun and Tyrone Taylor also went deep for the Brewers. Milwaukee also hit eight doubles to set a franchise record with 13 extra-base hits.
Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock each hit RBI singles in the 10th inning and the Dodgers overcame a subpar performance by ace Clayton Kershaw in a 6-4 triumph over the Diamondbacks. Mookie Betts and Kiké Hernández each hit a solo homer for the NL West leaders.
Zach Davies won his career-best, fifth-consecutive start by allowing three runs over six innings of the Padres' fourth straight victory, 5-3 over the Rockies. Mitch Moreland hit his first homer as a Padre to help San Diego complete a three-game sweep.
Mike Yastrzemski smacked a three-run homer and the Giants coasted to their fifth consecutive win by crushing the Mariners, 10-1. Players took afternoon batting practice with the lights turned on amid raging wildfires in Northern California. Some ash flakes rained down on the ballpark, and the smell of smoke was noticeable but not overpowering.
The Reds picked up a 3-0 shutout win over the Cubs as Trevor Bauer tossed three-hit ball while fanning 10 over 7 2/3 innings. Mike Moustakas crushed a three-run homer in the first inning off Yu Darvish, who ended a seven-start inning streak.
Ramon Laureano's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth completed the Athletics' 3-2 comeback over the Astros. Tommy LaStella tied it with a two-run double in the seventh after Yuli Gurriel and George Springer homered for Houston.
Danny Duffy won in Cleveland for the first time in nearly six years by pitching four-hit ball into the sixth inning of the Royals' 3-0 shutout of the Indians. Adalberto Mondesi broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the sixth as Kansas City won its second straight since a seven-game skid.
The Pirates were clobbered on Roberto Clemente Day as James McCann homered twice and collected four RBIs in the White Sox's 8-1 romp in Pittsburgh. Dane Dunning scattered three hits over six scoreless innings for his first big league win.
The Rangers have just their third winning streak of the season after Isiah Kiner-Falefa matched a career high with four hits and Nick Solak had two RBIs in a 7-3 decision over the Angels. Texas had lost six in row and 18 of 21 before winning the series opener Tuesday.
In MLB news, the Washington Nationals have placed Howie Kendrick on the 10-day injured list because of a strained left hamstring. Kendrick is batting .275 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 25 games this season. Last year, he was the MVP of the NL Championship Series and hit the go-ahead homer in Game 7 of the World Series.
Jalen Ramsey is becoming the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history after agreeing to a five-year, $105 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Rams. The extension includes $71.2 million, the most guaranteed money ever given to a defensive back. Ramsey will average $21 million per season, another record for a cornerback or safety. Los Angeles acquired Ramsey in a trade with Jacksonville midway through last season.
Five-time Pro Bowler Aqib Talib announced his retirement from the NFL on his new podcast Wednesday. Talib said he was excited about reuniting with Bill Belichick and the Patriots, But after he began looking at flights and apartments, Talib took a look at the Patriots' schedule and asked himself if he really wanted to cover the likes of George Kittle, Travis Kelce, Darren Waller and Noah Fant, among others.
49ers linebacker Fred Warner took part in Wednesday practice after being taken off the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday. Receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk didn't take part in the open portion of practice due to injuries. Their status remains in doubt this week heading into Saturday's season opener against the Cardinals.
The Vikings have placed defensive end Danielle Hunter on injured reserve, taking one of their most vital players out of action for the season opener against Green Bay and at least two more games after that. Hunter has not practiced with the team since training camp activities were first opened to reporters on Aug. 14. Coach Mike Zimmer has only described the unspecified injury as a "tweak."
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has announced his retirement, nearly three years after a spinal injury put his career on indefinite hold. The two-time Pro Bowl selection required spine stabilization surgery after getting hurt against the Bengals in December 2017.
Brooks Koepka has pulled out of next week's U.S. Open because of lingering pain in his left knee. The two-time champion had played eight times in a 10-week span, including six in a row. He was trying to catch up from missing so much time from a knee injury suffered last October. It reached a point where he withdrew before the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs, ending his season in the hopes that time off would help. Koepka won the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018, and he was runner-up last year at Pebble Beach.
A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by 50 former pro wrestlers who claimed World Wrestling Entertainment failed to protect them from repeated head injuries that led to long-term brain damage. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City upheld a lower court ruling in 2018 that said the lawsuit's claims were frivolous or filed too late. Among the plaintiffs were Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and Harry Masayoshi Fujiwara, known as Mr. Fuji. Their lawyer says they were posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
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