#SportsReport: 76ers Advance, Knicks Out; Baffert Suspended By Churchill Downs
No Joel Embiid? No problem, as the Philadelphia 76ers advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs. Seth Curry scored a playoff career-high 30 points and the Sixers beat Washington 129-112 to end the series in five games, overcoming Embiid's absence because of a knee injury. Tobias Harris added 28 points and teamed with Curry and Ben Simmons to carry the offensive load with Embiid out. Simmons had 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to keep the top-seeded 76ers in the hunt for their first championship since 1983. Embiid is day to day with a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers says he expects his All-Star center to be back for the postseason.
The Hawks earned the right to face the Sixers in the next round by disposing of the Knicks in five games. Trae Young put the finishing touches on his impressive first playoff series with 36 points and nine assists, guiding the Hawks past the Knicks, 103-89. Young hit the winning shot with 0.9 seconds left in the opener and scored at least 20 points in each game. He made a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left Wednesday for a 15-point lead, then stood at midcourt and bowed to the crowd that jeered him all series. Clint Capela backed up his confident words from a day earlier with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Julius Randle had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks to finish his disappointing first postseason. The winner of the NBA's Most Improved Player award shot 8 for 21 from the field and finished 30% for the series. The Hawks-Sixers series begins Sunday in Philadelphia.
The Jazz also wrapped up a first-round series in five games by downing the Grizzlies, 126-110. Donovan Mitchell scored 26 of his 30 points in the first half. He also had 10 assists and six rebounds in 29 minutes, getting a little rest before facing the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers-Dallas Mavericks matchup. Mitchell capped Utah's big first half with two contested 26-foot jumpers to make it 75-51. Jordan Clarkson dropped 24 points and Rudy Gobert had 23 with 15 rebounds to help power the top-seeded Jazz to their fourth straight victory. Grizzlies star Ja Morant finished his record-setting first playoff series with 27 points and 11 assists. Dillon Brooks also had 27 points.
Dallas has regained the lead in its first-round series, going up 3-2 with a 105-100 victory over the Clippers. Luka Doncic provided 42 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. hit two free throws with eight seconds left to help the Mavericks close out the win. Hardaway Jr. added 20 points, the only other Mavs player in double figures. Doncic's points were two off his career playoff high. He also had a career high 14 assists and eight rebounds. Paul George led five Clippers starters in double figures with 23 points and 10 rebounds after playing the fourth quarter with four fouls. Kawhi Leonard and Reggie Jackson each added 20 points. It's the third NBA playoff series and first in 26 years in which the road team has won the first five games. The Mavs can close out their first series victory since capturing the 2011 NBA championship with a win in Game 6 at home Friday.
In basketball news:
Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge has retired and head coach Brad Stevens has moved into the front office. The moves came the morning after Boston's season-ending loss to the Nets in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series. Ainge took over as the team president in 2003 and was voted the league's top executive five years later, when Boston won its 17th championship.
Duke's Hall of Fame basketball coach is about to hang up his whistle. Mike Krzyzewski will step down at the end of next season. His successor will be former Duke player and associate head coach Jon Scheyer. Krzyzewski issued a statement Wednesday saying he and his family view the announcement as a celebration. The 74-year-old Krzyzewski has led Duke to five national championships, most recently in 2015. His 1,170 victories are the most in men's Division I basketball history. Scheyer coached the Blue Devils last season while Krzyzewski was in quarantine.
Unlike Game 1 of their Stanley Cup second-round series, the Colorado Avalanche had to sweat out a win over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Avs own a 2-0 series lead after Mikko Rantanen scored 2:07 into overtime to conclude a 3-2 win over the Knights. Philipp Grubauer had 39 saves in becoming the first Colorado/Quebec goaltender to pick up six straight postseason victories. He outdueled fellow Vezina Trophy finalist Marc-Andre Fleury, who turned back 22 shots. Rantanen took a cross-ice pass from Nathan MacKinnon and sent a liner over the glove of Fleury. The goal came with Reilly Smith in the penalty box for slashing Rantanen. Brandon Saad and Tyson Jost also scored to help the Avalanche begin a postseason with six straight wins for the first time since the 1980s. Alec Martinez and Smith had goals for the Golden Knights, who will host Game 3 on Friday.
The Canadiens have opened their Stanley Cup second-round series with a 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The Habs have won their last four games and were back in action two days after ousting top seed Toronto in the opening round. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Eric Staal scored 1:40 apart to give the Montreal Canadiens a 2-0 lead just 5:10 into the contest. Brendan Gallagher and Nick Suzuki also tallied to support Carey Price, who turned back 27 shots. The victory was tempered by a scary late-game hit on Canadiens center Jake Evans. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher with 57 seconds left after being crushed by Jets center Mark Scheifele on an empty-net goal. Kyle Connor, Derek Forbort and Adam Lowry scored for the Jets, who will host Game 2 on Friday.
In hockey news, the Buffalo Sabres were the NHL's big winners on Wednesday after serving as the league's biggest losers this season. The Sabres have won the draft lottery and will have the No. 1 pick this summer. Buffalo had the best shot of getting the top pick after finishing a league-worst 15-34-7. Two draws were held. The first determined the club selecting first overall and the second determined the team receiving the No. 2 choice. Seattle will choose second, followed by Anaheim, New Jersey and Columbus. Detroit, San Jose, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Ottawa round out the top 10.
Bob Baffert won't be strolling through the stalls at Churchill Downs for a while. Track officials have suspended the Hall of Fame trainer for two years after an additional drug test of Medina Spirit confirmed the presence of the steroid betamethasone in the Kentucky Derby winner's system. The next step could be the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission disqualifying Medina Spirit, expunging Baffert's record seventh Kentucky Derby victory. Baffert won't be able to enter any horses in the Derby or other races at the storied track through the spring of 2023. Churchill Downs reserves the right to extend Baffert's suspension if he has any other violations in other states. Baffert has had five in the past 13 months. New York banned Baffert indefinitely and prevented him from entering any horses in the Belmont Stakes.
Gio Urshela homered early and Clint Frazier followed his walk-off homer on Tuesday by collecting two RBIs in the Yankees' 4-3 victory against the Rays. Jordan Montgomery gave up just one earned run over 6 1/3 innings as New York beat Tampa Bay for the second straight night since dropping six of seven overall.
Elsewhere in baseball:
Francisco Lindor had three hits and scored the winning run on Pete Alonso's single in the ninth inning in the Mets' 7-6 victory over the Diamondbacks. James McCann smacked a three-run homer and had four RBIs as the Mets took the rubber match of the three-game set to win for the sixth time in seven games.
Framber Valdez pitched seven strong innings and Kyle Tucker had two hits as the Astros handed Boston's Nick Pivetta his first loss of the season, 2-1. Valdez yielded five hits and one run while striking out 10 in his second start since missing the first two months with a broken left index finger.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. scored the winning run on Joe Panik's sacrifice fly, capping a three-run ninth that gave the Blue Jays a 6-5 victory over the Marlins. Bo Bichette tied it with a two-run triple in the ninth, and Randal Grichuk hit two solo homers to help Toronto improve to 2-0 this season in its temporary Buffalo home.
Yan Gomes cracked a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning and Jon Lester gave the Nationals' thin rotation a boost in a 5-3 win over the Braves. Jon Lester was reached for only one run on five hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings while pitching on three days' rest.
The Chicago Cubs hit the road having won nine of their last 10 games. Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo led the Cubs' offense in a 6-1 win over the Padres. Baez launched his 14th homer of the season and third in three games, a two-run shot in the seventh inning. Rizzo was 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, including a two-run two-bagger that snapped a one-all tie in the fifth. Adbert Alzolay allowed one run on three hits and struck out seven in five innings for the win. The Cubs homered eight times in sweeping the Padres in a three-game set at Wrigley Field for the first time since May 2012. San Diego lost its fourth straight.
Cody Bellinger had a grand slam and six RBIs while the Dodgers were setting a Los Angeles team regular-season record with 11 runs in the first inning of a 14-3 laugher against the Cardinals. Mookie Betts, Zach McKinstry and pitcher Walker Buehler each finished with two RBIs for L.A., which also scored 11 runs in the first inning of Game 3 against the Braves in last year's NLCS.
The A's were 6-0 winners against the Mariners as Sean Manaea pitched a four-hitter with eight strikeouts for his second shutout this season. Mark Canha opened the scoring with a two-run double and Mitch Moreland launched a two-run homer while the A's scored five in the third innings.
The Rangers' road losing streak has reached 14 games after Joshua Fuentes homered to back a strong outing from Antonio Senzatela in the Rockies' 6-3 decision over Texas. Fuentes also doubled, singled and scored three runs to rally the Rockies to their third consecutive win.
Ryan Mountcastle slammed a three-run homer that gave the Orioles a 6-1 lead in the seventh inning of a 6-3 decision over the Twins. DJ Stewart also went deep and Tyler Wells worked three innings of one-hit relief as the Birds won their second straight since a 14-game losing streak.
The Indians postponed their game against the White Sox because of rain. The teams will play a split doubleheader on Sept. 23.
The Phillies and Reds were rained out in Cincinnati. The game will be made up on June 28, a scheduled off day for both teams.
In MLB news, the Washington Nationals placed right-hander Stephen Strasburg on the 10-day injured list with a neck strain, the second time he's been sidelined this season. Strasburg flew to Washington to be examined on Wednesday after he complained of tightness in his shoulder and neck in Tuesday night's 11-6 win over the Braves. The 32-year-old was pulled after only 1 1/3 innings.
Serena Williams was able to win her second-round match at the French Open after being forced to three sets against 174th-ranked Mihaela Buzarnescu. Williams advanced with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 victory, surviving a stretch in which her serve was broken three times in 10 games. By the end of the first set, Williams had won 20 of 23 points she served. She regrouped in the third set and stayed in line for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. Next for the No. 7-seeded Williams is an all-American matchup against Danielle Collins, who overwhelmed Anhelina Kalinina 6-0, 6-2.
Joining Williams in the third round are third seed Aryna Sabalenka, 15th seed Victoria Azarenka and American Madison Keys, all in straight sets. No. 10 Belinda Bencic was the highest women's seed to fall, losing 6-2, 6-2 to Daria Kasatkina.
Men's No. 2 Daniil Medvedev has reached the third round in Paris for the first time by coming back from a poor start to eliminate American Tommy Paul in four sets. Medvedev had been 0-4 at Roland Garros heading into this tournament. Winners on the men's side include fifth seed Stafanos Tsitsipas and No. 6 Alexander Zverev, along with Americans John Isler, Reilly Opelka, Marcos Giron and Steve Johnson. No. 11 Roberto Bautista Agut dropped a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 decision to Henri Laaksonen.
French Open organizers say that both members of a men's doubles team have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been dropped from the tournament. The tournament did not identify the players, who were placed in quarantine.
In other tennis news, an app that bills itself as helping with "sleep, relaxation and meditation" says it is showing support for Naomi Osaka by offering to pay fines for tennis players who don't fulfill 2021 Grand Slam media obligations for mental health reasons. Calm also tweeted Wednesday that it would donate $15,000 to a group in France that it says works "in the mental health space." That's the amount Osaka was fined for skipping her postmatch news conference at the French Open. The second-ranked Osaka said she didn't want to speak to the press at Roland Garros. She later withdraw from the tournament, citing "huge waves of anxiety" before meeting with the media and said she has "suffered long bouts of depression."
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