#SportsReport: Lakers Top Nuggets; Mets Beat Nationals
In one sense, the Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from a berth in the NBA Finals after taking a 3-1 series lead against the Denver Nuggets. In another sense, the Nuggets have the Lakers right where they want them. Anthony Davis scored 34 points and LeBron James had 26 in the Lakers' 114-108 victory over the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.
Davis made his first six shots before another Laker made a basket. James added nine rebounds and eight assists for Los Angeles, which had 12 offensive rebounds for a whopping 25-6 advantage in second-chance points. Jamal Murray had 32 points and eight assists, but Nikola Jokic battled foul trouble and finished with just 16 points and seven rebounds. The Nuggets are in a familiar position down 3-1 heading into Game 5 on Saturday. They were in identical situations in the first two rounds, only to storm back to beat the Jazz and Clippers.
Alyssa Thomas, knocked out of Game 2 two days ago by a dislocated shoulder, made a surprise start and led the Connecticut Sun to a 77-68 victory over the Las Vegas Aces on Thursday night for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five semifinal series. Thomas scored 23 points on 10-of-21 shooting and had 12 rebounds. Brionna Jones had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and DeWanna Bonner 12 points and 10 boards for the Sun. A’ja Wilson led the Aces with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Also, Jewell Loyd scored 20 points and the Seattle Storm beat the Minnesota Lynx 89-79 on Thursday night to take a 2-0 lead in their semifinal series. Loyd had 10 points in a 12-0 run to end the first half, including consecutive 3-pointers, for a 46-33 lead and the Storm led the rest of the way, fending off multiple Lynx charges. Damiris Dantas made five 3-pointers and led the Lynx with 23 points. Odyssey Sims added 18 points.
Robinson Chirinos slammed a two-run homer and drove in three as the Mets earned a 3-2 win over the Nationals to barely stay alive in the NL wild-card race. Lefthander David Peterson closed his rookie season with his longest outing, going seven innings and allowing four hits and one run for his team-high sixth win.
Elsewhere around the majors:
The Blue Jays beat the Yankees for the third time in four days as Hyun Jin Ryu scattered five hits over seven shutout innings of Toronto's 4-1 victory. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. smacked a solo homer and scored on Alejandro Kirk's two-run double to help Toronto wrap up its first playoff berth in four years. The Jays also climbed within two games of New York for second place in the AL East.
José Iglesias, Pat Valaika and Austin Hays homered for the Orioles in a 13-1 laugher over the Red Sox. Hays, Valaika, Rio Ruiz and Ramón Urías each had three of Baltimore's 18 hits as the Birds won for just the second time in eight games.
The Cleveland Indians have rebounded nicely since an eight-game losing streak seemed to knock them out of contention for the AL Central title. The Indians completed a four-game sweep of the White Sox by putting together a four-run seventh in a 5-4 victory against the former division leaders. José Ramírez delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh, giving him a .485 average with eight homers and 20 RBIs over his last 13 games. Chicago scored three times in the top of the seventh to take a 4-1 lead before suffering its fifth consecutive loss. The latest setback leaves the White Sox one game behind the division-leading Twins and one game ahead of Cleveland for the fourth seed in the AL.
Jose Altuve and George Springer each launched three-run homers and Alex Bregman delivered a two-run blast and three RBIs in Houston's 12-4 dismantling of the Rangers. Josh Reddick also hit a two-run shot and rookie Cristian Javier gave up three runs over 5 2/3 innings for his fifth win. The Astros won for just the ninth time in 29 road games and moved a step closer to wrapping up second place in the AL West.
The Cubs lost for the fifth time in six games as Chad Kuhl held them to two hits over seven innings of the Pirates' 7-0 shutout of the NL Central leaders. Geoff Hartlieb and Blake Cederlind completed the whitewash in which the Bucs' staff was backed by four homers. Colin Moran and Bryan Reynolds had home runs among their three hits as Pittsburgh kept the Cubs' magic number at two for winning the NL Central.
Rookie Dylan Carlson drove in three runs on a homer and a double as the Cardinals doubled up the Brewers, 4-2 to pull within 2 1/2 games of the NL Central lead. St. Louis starter Kwang Hyun Kim gave up a run over five innings to pick up the win. Milwaukee ace Corbin Burnes was reached for three runs on six hits over 3 2/3 innings, leaving the game with lower back discomfort.
Walker Buehler worked four scoreless innings and combined with five relievers on a 3-hitter as the Dodgers silenced the Athletics, 5-1. Corey Seager had two RBIs, including a solo homer in the third inning. Kike Hernandez contributed an RBI single that sparked the Dodgers' three-run fifth.
Raimel Tapia lifted a go-ahead, sacrifice fly in the 11th inning to push the Rockies past the Giants, 5-4. Brandon Belt hit a game-tying home run in the eighth for his 1,000th career hit before San Francisco fell behind the Reds for the first NL wild card.
Miami snapped a four-game losing streak as Jon Berti had three hits, including a two-run double in a 4-2 verdict over the Braves. Pablo López allowed only two hits in five scoreless innings to help the Marlins bolster their NL playoff hopes. Atlanta rookie Ian Anderson threw five scoreless innings before giving up three unearned runs in the sixth.
Salvador Perez belted a three-run home run and Maikel Franco hit a go-ahead blast in the sixth inning as the Royals outscored the Tigers, 8-7. Adalberto Mondesi had four hits and two RBIs for Kansas City.
In MLB news:
The Mets have placed Michael Conforto on the injured list with a hamstring injury, ending the outfielder's regular season. Conforto was hitting a career-high .322 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs this year, ranking sixth in the National League with a .412 on-base percentage and eighth with 40 runs scored.
Longtime baseball executive Sandy Alderson will return to the Mets as team president if Steve Cohen's purchase of the club is approved by MLB owners. The 72-year-old Alderson is currently a senior adviser for the Athletics. He was the Mets' general manager from 2010-18 and stepped down after being diagnosed with cancer.
Royals outfielder Alex Gordon has announced he will retire after the season, after spending his entire 14-year career with Kansas City. While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon turned himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He helped the Royals to two World Series trips and a championship in 2015.
There's great news for West Coast football fans. The Pac-12 has decided to play football this fall, reversing an August decision to postpone until spring because of concerns over COVID-19. The conference's CEO group of university presidents voted unanimously to resume football and basketball, lifting a Jan. 1 moratorium on athletic competition for Pac-12 schools. The football season will begin in early November and culminate with a championship game to be held on Dec. 18. The men's and women's basketball seasons can start Nov. 25, in line with the NCAA's recently announced opening date. The Pac-12 is the latest Power-5 conference to reverse course after announcing the football season would be postponed. The Big Ten will open its season next month after initially deciding to delay or if necessary, cancel the season. The ACC and Big 12 began their seasons this month and the SEC starts up on Saturday.
Well-traveled Ryan Fitzpatrick has become the first NFL quarterback to beat the same opponent with six different teams. Fitzpatrick also led the Miami Dolphins to their first victory of the year, accounting for three touchdowns in a 31-13 downing of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He completed his first 12 passes for the first time as Miami scored touchdowns on its first three drives, something the Dolphins hadn't accomplished since 2011. Fitzpatrick passed for 160 yards and two scores while completing 18 of 20 attempts, the last one to himself. He also beat the Jaguars while with the 2008 Bengals, 2012 Bills, 2013 Titans, 2014 Texans and 2015 Jets.
In NFL news:
The new turf at MetLife Stadium is good to go for Sunday's game between the Giants and 49ers. The NFL says an inspection of the field Wednesday found that the Field Turf surface meets all applicable standards and protocols for its field surfaces. It was conducted after the 49ers lodged complaints that the "sticky" surface caused at least four players to sustain knee injuries in a 31-13 win over the Jets last Sunday.
Niners All-Pro tight end George Kittle practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day on Thursday, a sign that he could be ready to return after missing one game with a knee injury. Kittle got hurt when he was hit late in the first half of the opener by Arizona safety Budda Baker while trying to reach for a high pass from Jimmy Garoppolo.
Jets coach Adam Gase says it's doubtful wide receiver Jamison Crowder will play Sunday at Indianapolis. The Jets are expected to be without wide receiver Breshad Perriman for the next two games because of an ankle injury.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft won't face trial on charges he paid for massage parlor sex. Florida prosecutors are dropping a misdemeanor charge against Kraft after a court blocked their use of video that allegedly shows him paying for sex at the Orchids of Asia spa in early 2019.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid says top cornerback Charvarius Ward will return to practice in some capacity and could play Monday night against the Ravens. Ward missed last week's win over the Chargers with a fractured hand.
The Sabres have signed forward Curtis Lazar to a two-year, $1.6 million contract. The restricted free agent split last season between the NHL and the American Hockey League, scoring five goals and 10 points in 38 games with Buffalo.
Also, the Pittsburgh Penguins have dealt away a key piece to their most recent Stanley Cup teams. The Florida Panthers have acquired Patric Hornqvist from the Pens for Mike Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour. The 33-year-old Hornqvist scored 132 goals in 407 games for the Penguins. He added 22 more in the playoffs, including 14 during Pittsburgh's run to consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017.
Rafael Nadal will begin his bid for a record-extending 13th French Open title against Egor Gerasimov in the first round of the tournament, which starts Sunday. The 34-year-old Nadal is aiming to equal the absent Roger Federer's men's record of 20 Grand Slam titles. Serena Williams starts her attempt for a record-equaling 24th major against Kristie Ahn in all-American matchup. Williams turns 39 on Saturday. She fell short in her bid to equal Margaret Court's record at the U.S. Open. WIlliams has won the French Open three times. Thursday's draw at Roland Garros also pits top-ranked Novak Djokovic against No. 80 Mikael Ymer of Sweden in their first career meeting.
NASCAR has fined Hendrick Motorsports $100,000 for exceeding the amount of wind tunnel testing allowed in a year. The organization has also been docked 10 hours of wind tunnel time for next year. The testing is defined as billable hours reported by the wind tunnel. Hendrick Motorsports self-reported the violation after discovering it had exceeded 70 hours by "less than an hour."
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