#SportsReport: Nets Pound Celtics; Mets Top Rockies
The Brooklyn Nets have grabbed a two-games-to-none lead in their NBA first-round series with Boston. Joe Harris tied a franchise playoff record with seven 3-pointers while scoring a postseason career-high 25 points as the Nets routed the Celtics, 130-108. Harris delivered 16 points in the first quarter while going 4 for 4 behind the arc. Kevin Durant scored 26 points and James Harden added 20 for the Nets, who lit up the Celtics for 40 points in the first quarter after scoring just 16 in the opening period of Game 1. Kyrie Irving had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Nets, who made 17 3-pointers. Marcus Smart scored 19 points. Game 3 is Friday in Boston.
The Lakers evened their series at a game apiece and stole homecourt advantage from the Phoenix Suns. LeBron James made a turnaround 18-foot jumper and Anthony Davis followed with a 3-pointer and two free throws late in fourth quarter as the Lakers held on for a hard-fought 109-102 win over the Suns. Davis' trey with 2:15 left put Los Angeles up 98-92 and ended a Phoenix rally. James furnished 23 points and nine assists. Davis made 18 of 21 free throws and added 10 rebounds and seven assists. Devin Booker led the Suns with 31 points and made all 17 of his free throws. Deandre Ayton had 22 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and shot 11 of 13 from the field. Game 3 is Thursday in Los Angeles.
The Clippers could be in line for another earlier-than-expected playoff exit after falling behind 2-0 against Dallas. Luka Doncic scored 39 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 28 as the Mavericks again outshot the NBA's best 3-point team in a 127-121 victory over Los Angeles. Hardaway hit a playoff career-high six 3-pointers and Doncic had five as Dallas was 18 of 34 from long-range. Kristaps Porzingis added 20 points and Maxi Kleber had 13 for Dallas. Kawhi Leonard scored 30 of his 41 points by halftime for the Clippers, who travel to Dallas for Game 3 on Thursday.
In NBA news:
Knicks forward Julius Randle has been named the league's most improved player. Randle averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists in 71 games. He received 98 first-place votes and earned 493 total points from a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Pistons forward Jerami Grant received the other two first-place votes and finished in second place with 140 points.
The NBA has fined Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis $50,000 for violating the rule prohibiting players from going into any bar, club, lounge, or similar establishment, regardless of the player's vaccination status. Porzingis violated the rule when he attended a club on May 23. The league says medical experts determined that Porzingis will not have to quarantine.
The Cavaliers have lost a coin flip with the Thunder for the No. 4 position in next month's draft lottery. However, both teams will have the same chance of winning the No. 1 pick, behind Houston, Detroit and Orlando. Cleveland and Oklahoma City each finished 22-50 in the regular season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have taken control of their Stanley Cup first-round series. Jack Campbell stopped 32 shots and the Maple Leafs grabbed a three-games-to-one lead by blanking the Canadiens, 4-0. Campbell has allowed just four goals in the series while recording a 1.02 goals-against average. Carey Price had his own shutout going until William Nylander beat him 1:27 into the second period. The Leafs took command on goals by Jason Spezza and Joe Thornton 2:28 apart in the second. Alex Galchenyuk had a goal and two assists for Toronto, which can clinch the series at home on Thursday. Price stopped 24 of 27 shots.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes needed to rally for a three-games-to-two lead over the Predators. Jordan Staal scored off a rebound at 1:44 of overtime to give Carolina a 3-2 win against Nashville. The Predators were minutes away from a regulation victory until Martin Necas scored his second goal of the night. Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 23 shots and blanked the Predators after Yakov Trenin notched his second goal of the night 53 seconds into the middle period. The series shifts to Nashville for Game 6 on Thursday.
In NHL news, Wayne Gretzky is leaving as vice chairman of the Edmonton Oilers, citing "the pandemic and other life changes." The 60-year-old hockey great says he will not be able to "dedicate the time nor effort needed to support this world-class organization." The NHL's all-time leading scorer and four-time Stanley Cup winner returned to the Oilers in a front-office role in 2016.
Jacob deGrom struck out nine in a successful return from the injured list and Tomás Nido hit a tiebreaking homer to push the Mets to their first win in four games, 3-1 over the Rockies. DeGrom gave up only Ryan McMahon's solo homer and two other hits in five innings, his first action since being sidelined with tightness on his right side.
Elsewhere in baseball:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his major league-leading 16th home run and Steven Matz carried a shutout into the seventh inning of the Blue Jays' 6-2 win over the Yankees. New York starter Corey Kluber is slated for an MRI after leaving the game due to shoulder tightness after three innings.
Pablo Sandoval had three hits in his first game at Fenway Park since his disastrous tenure with the Red Sox, leading the Braves to a 3-1 victory. Charlie Morton gave up one unearned run on three hits, striking out nine and walking two in seven innings for his first victory in a month.
Eugenio Suarez homered off Nationals ace Max Scherzer in his first career start as a leadoff hitter, helping the Reds earn a 2-1 victory. Kyle Farmer also homered off Scherzer and Tyler Mahle allowed three hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
Vince Velasquez pitched three-hit ball for six innings to lead the Phillies past the Marlins, 2-0. Rhys Hoskins belted a two-run homer off Sandy Alcantara, who allowed just one other hit over eight innings.
The Kansas City Royals have put an end to the Tampa Bay Rays' 11-game winning streak. Brad Keller held the Rays to a run and four hits over seven innings to pitch the Royals to a 2-1 victory. Salvador Perez put the Royals up 2-1 on a sixth-inning single off Rich Hill, who struck out a career-high 13 over eight frames. Tampa Bay's winning string was the second-longest in club history, one shy of the record set in 2004 by the then-Devil Rays managed by Lou Piniella.
Lucas Giolito beat Jack Flaherty in a major league matchup of former high school teammates, leading the White Sox to an 8-3 victory over the sloppy St. Cardinals. José Abreu homered and drove in four runs for Chicago, which earned its second straight win since it was swept by the Yankees over the weekend.
Aaron Civale took a shutout into the ninth inning and the Indians banged out two homers in defeating the Tigers, 4-1. Cesar Hernandez and Jordan Luplow homered to back Civale, who scattered six hits over eight-plus innings to improve to 6-0 with a 2.19 ERA lifetime against Detroit.
The Orioles' losing streak stands at eight games after Rob Refsnyder homered and doubled twice in the Twins' third win in a row, 7-4. Jorge Polanco also homered, while Mitch Garver and Alex Kiriloff each doubled twice in the win.
Clayton Kershaw allowed a run and four hits in 7 2/3 innings for his seventh win, guiding the Dodgers to a 9-2 thumping of the Astros. Justin Turner hit a two-run homer and Chris Taylor drove in two runs as Los Angeles got its eighth straight victory.
The Padres came away with a 7-1 win at Milwaukee as Joe Musgrove and three relievers combined on a two-hitter. Five of San Diego's six stolen bases came against Corbin Burnes, who issued three walks, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.
Evan Longoria was 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and four RBIs in the Giants' 8-0 assault on the Diamondbacks. Brandon Crawford provided a three-run double in the first inning to give a cushion to Kevin Gausman, who gave up five hits while fanning nine in five innings.
J.P. Crawford had three hits and Mariners center fielder Kyle Lewis made a magnificent catch to save two possible runs in a 4-3 verdict over the Athletics. Lewis robbed Ramón Laureano of a likely extra-base hit with two on in the fifth, ranging deep into left-center field for a running grab just in front of the wall.
Shohei Ohtani's 15th home run of the year was a three-run blast while the Angels plated six in the fourth inning to beat the Rangers, 11-5. Justin Upton and Jared Walsh also went deep for Los Angeles.
Joc Pederson hit a solo shot and a two-run blast in the Cubs' 4-3 comeback win over the Pirates. Anthony Rizzo hit a tiebreaking single to back Jake Arrieta, who fell behind, 3-0 before beating Pittsburgh for the third time this season.
In MLB news:
Phillies slugger Bryce Harper has gone on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Sunday with a bruised left forearm. Harper is hitless in his past 16 at-bats, which has dropped his OPS to .884. He sat out games Sunday and Monday. The Phillies also reinstated outfielder Roman Quinn from the injured list.
Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard was pulled from his minor league rehabilitation outing on Tuesday because of soreness in his pitching elbow. Syndergaard is coming back from Tommy John surgery on March 26 last year. He threw four shutout innings with five strikeouts last Wednesday for Class A St. Lucie but lasted only one inning in his second start with the team. Also, Mets third baseman J.D. Davis is headed back to New York for more treatment, cutting short his rehab assignment. Davis has been out since May 1 with a sprained left hand.
Indians righty Zach Plesac has landed on the 10-day injured list, the result of breaking the thumb on his pitching hand while yanking off his undershirt after a rough outing. The injury occurred after he was reached for five runs in the fourth inning of a loss to the Twins on Sunday. There was no initial word on how long Plesac would be sidelined.
Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson will be sidelined for at least several weeks with a partial shoulder dislocation that could require surgery. Anderson is batting .250 with three homers and 11 RBIs. Isan Díaz has been activated from the injured list and is expected to share third base with Jon Berti.
The Rangers have placed right-hander Kyle Gibson on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Saturday because of a right groin strain that their top starter had been dealing with for several games. Gibson is 3-0 with a 2.24 ERA in 10 starts this season. Texas right-handed reliever Hunter Wood was also put on the injured list with right elbow discomfort.
Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi has been reinstated from the 10-day injured list after missing the first 45 games this season with a right oblique sprain. Mondesi was hurt in the Royals' final spring training game on March 29.
The Cardinals have placed outfielder Harrison Bader on the 10-day injured list with a hairline rib fracture. Bader got hurt when he made a diving attempt on Nick Madrigal's bloop double in the third inning of Monday night's 5-1 loss at the White Sox.
Joe West is behind the plate for his 5,376th regular-season game, snapping a tie with Hall of Famer Bill Klem. He began his big league career at age 23, doing a handful of games in the last month of the 1976 season. He broke the record in the Cardinals-White Sox game in Chicago.
Green Bay Packers players say the status of quarterback Aaron Rodgers won't distract them in their offseason preparations. The NFL Most Valuable Player hasn't been present for organized team activities this week following an ESPN report last month that he doesn't want to return to Green Bay. Rodgers was noncommittal about his future in an ESPN interview Monday night. All-Pro selection Davante Adams and most of the Packers' other receivers weren't at Tuesday's OTA session, either.
Also happening in the NFL:
Bills players are split on whether to get vaccinated at the same time coach Sean McDermott is raising concerns that his team could fall behind in having COVID-19 protocol restrictions loosened for the start of training camp. McDermott notes the issue can be divisive and says he is attempting to educate rather than convince his players to get fully vaccinated. At issue is the six-week period for those who receive a two-dose vaccine in order to be deemed fully vaccinated. The time frame will soon be pushing into the Bills opening training camp in late July.
The Steelers have decided not to boycott offseason activities after all. A majority of the 90-man roster showed up for the start of organized team activities. The players hinted last month they may skip the voluntary OTAs due to concerns over health protocols and protections.
The Falcons began their offseason training program without longtime star receiver Julio Jones, who apparently has no intention of returning to a rebuilding team that is still struggling to get under the salary cap. Rookie coach Arthur Smith was tight-lipped about the Falcons' options. But he insisted that he doesn't begrudge Jones for speaking his mind.
Injured quarterback Joe Burrow says he'll be ready for the Bengals' season opener on Sept. 12. He had surgery on his left knee in December, and he said it's back to 80 to 85%. Wearing a knee brace, he threw on the practice field on the first day of organized team activities in which every eligible Bengals player took part.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is going to open all its exhibits on Friday. The reopening includes several exhibits and areas that had remained offline since the COVID-19 pandemic closed the Hall for nearly three months last year. Visitors and employees who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus may stop wearing masks or maintaining social distance inside the museum. Those not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear masks.
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