#SportsReport: Nets Wrap Up Playoff Berth; Red Sox Top Mets
The Brooklyn Nets are the first Eastern Conference team to clinch an NBA playoff berth. Kevin Durant scored seven of his 17 points in the fourth quarter of the Nets' 116-103 win over the Raptors. Durant added 10 rebounds in 33 minutes for his eighth double-double of the season. He was playing his second straight game since returning from a thigh injury. Jeff Green delivered a team-high 22 points as the Nets moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the 76ers for the conference lead.Checking out Tuesday's other NBA action:
The Thunder ended a 14-game losing streak as Lu Dort furnished 24 points and Darius Bazley added 21 with 10 rebounds in a 119-115 triumph over the Celtics. Isaiah Roby and Ty Jerome each scored 15 for the Thunder, who won their first game since March 31 against Toronto. Jaylen Brown had 39 points for the Celtics, who have lost four out of five as they fight to maintain their position in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points and 12 rebounds as the Bucks downed the Hornets, 114-104 to avoid a season sweep. Antetokounmpo was 11 of 19 from the field and also dished out eight assists. Brook Lopez added 22 points and Kris Middleton scored 17 to help Milwaukee bounce back from Sunday's loss to the Hawks.
Luka Doncic scored 39 points and the Mavericks jumped on Golden State from the start to thump the Warriors, 133-103. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench as the Mavericks led by as many as 43 and got 60 points from their reserves. Warriors guard Stephen Curry scored 27 points with five more 3-pointers, extending his NBA record for 3-pointers in a month to 90 in April.
The Trail Blazers rolled to a 133-112 win over the Pacers as Anfernee Simons scored 27 points on nine 3-pointers, one shy of Damian Lillard's franchise record. Lillard added 23 points and the Blazers shot a season-best 57.1% from beyond the arc to end their season-worst, five-game losing streak. The second of Lillard's four 3s broke a 50-all tie and spurred 21-5 run that gave the Trail Blazers a 71-55 lead late in the first half.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 31 points in guiding the Timberwolves to their third straight win, 114-107 versus the Rockets. Anthony Edwards had 19 points and nine rebounds, and D'Angelo Russell added 15 points and seven assists for Minnesota.
The Boston Red Sox pace the American League East at 15-9 after Garrett Richards picked up his first win. Richards allowed a run and seven hits while striking out 10 over seven innings of the Red Sox's 2-1 victory over the Mets. Richards and the Boston bullpen blanked New York after Jeff McNeil's second-inning homer. Bobby Dalbec hit his first homer of the season for the Bosox, who went ahead on Rafael Devers' RBI single in the sixth.
In other major league action:
Corey Kluber has his best start in two years as he allowed one run and six hits with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings of the Yankees' 5-1 verdict over the Orioles. Kyle Higashioka, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton also homered for New York.
Vladimir Guerrero launched three home runs and had seven RBIs in the Blue Jays' 9-5 win over the Nationals. Washington led 3-0 in the third until Guerrero's grand slam off Max Scherzer, ending the pitcher's scoreless streak at 19 innings.
Carlos Martinez pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning for his first win as a starter since 2018, guiding the Cardinals past the Phillies, 5-2. Paul Goldschmidt and Tommy Edman hit two-run doubles and Nolan Arenado doubled twice as St. Louis won for the fourth time in five games.
Brett Phillips belted a two-run homer in the sixth inning to power the Rays past the Athletics, 4-3, Oakland's second loss in 16 games. Joey Wendle's two-out single in the seventh tacked on another run for the Rays and ended Tampa Bay's 0-for-26 stretch with runners in scoring position.
Franmil Reyes homered twice, including a 452-foot drive that broke a deadlock in the sixth inning of the Indians' 7-4 victory over the Twins. José Ramírez drove in two runs, including a first-inning homer that helped Cleveland to a win over its AL Central rival for the second straight night.
Tigers pitcher José Ureña threw seven innings for his first win in two years, a 5-2 decision over the White Sox. Miguel Cabrera and Niko Goodrum homered to help Detroit overcome five errors.
The Astros posted a 2-0 win over the Mariners as Cristian Javier combined with two relievers on a two-hitter. Houston has won five of six to reach 12-11, a spurt that followed nine losses in 10 games.
Joey Gallo ended the longest home run drought of his career at 20 games with his hardest hit of the season, an early tiebreaking two-run shot in the Rangers' 6-1 victory over the Angels. Nick Solak homered twice to take the team lead with seven as Texas stopped its second four-game losing streak of the season.
The Royals' five-game winning streak is over after pinch-hitter Wilmer Difo delivered the go-ahead single in the seventh inning of Pittsburgh's 2-1 victory over Kansas City. Duane Underwood Jr., Sam Howard and Richard Rodríguez combined for three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief as Pittsburgh won for the 11th time in 16 games since a 1-6 start.
The Braves were 5-0 winners over the Cubs as Ian Anderson allowed one hit in seven innings. Ronald Acuña Jr. crushed his eighth home run of the season an estimated 481 feet.
Adrian Houser pitched effectively into the sixth inning and hit his first career home run in leading the Brewers over the Marlins, 5-4. Tyrone Taylor drove in three runs and followed Houser's homer with his own round-tripper.
Joey Votto laced a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning of the Reds' second straight comeback win over the Dodgers, 6-5. Jesse Winkler homered and drove in two runs as Cincinnati handed the defending World Series champs the sixth loss in their last eight games.
Merrill Kelly threw six innings of four-hit ball and Carson Kelly smacked a two-run homer in the Diamondbacks' 5-1 win over the Padres. The Diamondbacks have won seven of their past eight games to move a game over .500 for the first time this season.
Ryan McMahon and C.J. Cron hit back-to-back home runs in the 10th inning to send the Rockies over the Giants, 7-5. Garrett Hampson also went deep and Charlie Blackmon added two RBIs to help Colorado avoid becoming the fourth team in modern major league history to lose its first eight road games.
In MLB news:
Major League Baseball says 70% of players, on-field staff and support personnel have been fully or partially vaccinated for the novel coronavirus. In an email to The Associated Press, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said his figure referred to all individuals defined as Tier 1 in MLB's protocols. Those persons include players, on-field personnel such as managers, coaches and athletic trainers, plus essential personnel who need to be in close proximity, such as translators and media and travel staff.
The Yankees acquired left-handed reliever Wandy Peralta from the Giants on Tuesday for outfielder Mike Tauchman. Peralta is 2-1 with two saves and a 5.40 ERA in 10 relief appearances with the Giants this season. Tauchman is 3 for 14 in 11 games and has a .250 average with 26 doubles, 13 home runs, 63 RBIs and 16 stolen bases over five major league seasons.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has landed on the 10-day injured list with a strained tendon in his right foot. Molina was hurt in a game Friday night against Cincinnati. He sat out Saturday and Sunday, then returned on Monday to catch all nine innings of a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia. The nine-time Gold Glove winner is off to one of the best starts of his career, hitting .323 with five home runs and 14 RBIs.
Veteran lefty reliever Jerry Blevins has announced his retirement after 13 big league seasons spent mostly with the Athletics and Mets. The 37-year-old last pitched in the majors for Atlanta in 2019. He had been working at the Mets' alternate training site in Brooklyn after failing to land a bullpen spot out of spring training. He finishes his career 30-13 with a 3.54 ERA and seven saves in 609 games.
The Washington Capitals are back atop the NHL's East Division, thanks to a little help from the Boston Bruins. Vitek Vanecek made 18 saves and Daniel Sprong scored for the third time in two games as the Caps beat the Islanders, 1-0 to sweep their three-game series. Sprong scored 89 seconds into the game while playing in place of Alex Ovechkin, who missed a second straight game with a lower-body injury. Five of Sprong's 10 goals this season have come against the Isles, who are five points off the East lead.
The Caps are one point ahead of Pittsburgh following the Penguins' 3-1 loss to the Bruins. Tuukka Rask turned aside 25 shots and David Krejci gave the Bruins the lead with his seventh goal of the season late in the second period. Brad Marchand and Taylor Hall scored in the third as Boston ended a two-game losing streak. The B's are six points behind Washington and one point in back of the Islanders for third place in the East.
The Isles are also getting heat from the Rangers, who are just five points behind their arch-rivals following the Blueshirts' 3-1 win against the Sabres. Alexis Lafreniere scored the go-ahead goal in the third period as the Rangers won for the ninth time in their last 11 home games. Mika Zibanejad and Brendan Smith also scored and Igor Shesterkin made 36 saves.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
The Devils ended a 10-game winless string as Yegor Sharangovich scored the go-ahead goal with 7:24 left in a wild 6-4 victory over the Flyers. Nico Hischier, Pavel Zacha, Miles Wood and Connor Carrick also scored for the Devils, who saw the Flyers rally from third-period deficits twice to tie the game. Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves in New Jersey's first win since April 8.
Jordan Staal was in the right spot twice to score power-play goals and send the Hurricanes past the Stars, 5-1. Sebastian Aho had a goal and two assists for Carolina, while Andrei Svechnikov had a career-high three assists. Jason Robertson had his 15th goal for Dallas to extend his point streak to nine games, breaking a tie with Jamie Langenbrunner for the longest by a rookie in club history.
The Panthers clinched a playoff berth as Jonathan Huberdeau provided two goals and three assists in a 7-4 downing of the Predators. Aleksander Barkov scored twice and had an assist for the Panthers, who are two points behind the Central Division-leading Hurricanes. Anthony Duclair, Owen Tippett and Frank Vatrano also scored, while Sam Bennett had three assists in the win.
The Lightning also earned a 7-4 victory as Alex Killorn furnished a power-play goal and an empty-netter. Brayden Point stuffed in his team-leading 21st goal and added two assists to help Tampa Bay clinch a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive year. The Bolts finished 7-0-1 against the Blackhawks and stayed three points off the Central lead.
Patrik Laine and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored in a shootout as the Blue Jackets nipped the Red Wings, 1-0 to end a nine-game losing streak. Elvis Merzlikins had 41 saves and made two great stops in the waning seconds of overtime.
In hockey news, the NHL is leaving NBC and coming to TNT. The league and Turner Sports announced a seven-year agreement that begins next season. It includes three Stanley Cup Finals, up to 72 regular-season games, half of the first- and second-round playoff games on TNT and TBS as well as a conference final series. The deal means NBC's run of covering the league ends after after this season's playoffs. NBC has broadcast games since 2005 and is in the final season of a 10-year contract.
Essential Quality is the 2-1 morning line favorite and will start from the No. 14 post for the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Rock Your World is the 5-1 second choice from the No. 15 slot, with Known Agenda third at 6-1 despite drawing the rail in the 20-horse field. The obvious focus is on Essential Quality, the reigning 2-year-old champion who enters the Run for the Roses having won all five races and with Luis Saez aboard.
The All England Club says there will be play on Wimbledon's middle Sunday starting in 2022. That is a significant break in tradition for the grass-court Grand Slam tournament. There only has been play on the middle Sunday in the past when rain created a backlog of matches. Wimbledon returns in 2021 after it was called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bills signed offensive lineman Ike Boettger to a one-year contract a little over a month after retaining the rights to the third-year player. Boettger was a restricted free agent who had seven starts at left guard last season.
In other NFL news:
The Miami Dolphins have agreed to trade guard Ereck Flowers to Washington in a deal that also includes a swap of late-round draft picks. Flowers' agent says the Dolphins will pay the veteran guard $6 million as a signing bonus for a restructured contract this year, and Washington will pay him a $3 million base salary. Flowers signed a $30 million, three-year deal with the Dolphins a year ago and started 14 games in his only season with them.
Former NFL linebacker and Florida State star Geno Hayes has died at age 33. His death was confirmed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He suffered from liver disease and had been in hospice care at his parents' home in Valdosta, Georgia. Hayes spent four seasons with the Bucs, who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2008 draft.
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