#SportsReport: Bucks Top Suns; Judge Nullifies Baffert's NY Suspension
The Milwaukee Bucks have tied the NBA Finals at two games apiece through a lot of help from Khris Middleton. The Bucks trailed by nine in the fourth quarter before Middleton carried them to a 109-103 win over the Phoenix Suns. He drained the go-ahead basket while scoring 10 straight Milwaukee points before finishing with 40. Phoenix led by two with 2 1/2 minutes left before Middleton made the next two baskets to give Milwaukee a 101-99 edge with 1:28 to play. Giannis Antetokounmpo followed a pair of 40-point performances with 26 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and one huge block on Deandre Ayton with just over a minute remaining. The only thing stopping Suns guard Devin Booker was foul trouble. He poured in 20 of his game-high 42 points in the third period but had to sit out 3 1/2 straight minutes after picking up his fifth foul early in the fourth. Chris Paul shot just 5-for-13 and finished with 10 points and five turnovers, including one big miscue in the final minute. Jae Crowder was the only other Suns player with more than 10 points, finishing with 15 and eight boards. Game 5 is Saturday in Phoenix, where the Suns took the first two games of the series.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans are negotiating with Suns assistant Willie Green about taking over as head coach. The 39-year-old Green would become a first-time head coach after serving as an NBA assistant coach the past five years. Green was a member of two NBA title-winning staffs with the Warriors in 2017 and 2018 before spending the last two years under Phoenix coach Monty Williams.
Elsewhere in basketball, Arike Ogunbowale scored 26 points and the WNBA All-Star team beat the U.S. Olympic team 93-85 in the league’s All-Star Game. It wasn’t a typical All-Star Game with the teams playing hard on both ends of the court for the entire game. Usually there isn’t much defense played until late in the fourth quarter. The WNBA team led 75-73 midway through the fourth quarter before Ogunbowale had a four-point play to extend the advantage to six. The Olympic squad rallied within 83-78 before Ogunbowale, who earned MVP honors for the game, hit another 3-pointer and posed to the crowd, which included many current and former WNBA players and team owners.
Trevor Bauer's administrative leave has been extended by nearly two weeks through July 27 by Major League Baseball and the players' association. The sport's investigators continue to check into allegations of sexual misconduct against the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. Bauer was placed on seven days' paid leave on July 2 under the joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy adopted by MLB and the players' union in 2015. This first extension had been through July 15. Police in Pasadena, California, and MLB are investigating the allegations made against Bauer by a Southern California woman. She says the pitcher choked her to the point where she lost consciousness and punched her during two sexual encounters earlier this year. The woman obtained a protection order against Bauer last month under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.
In other major league news:
The Blue Jays were expecting to learn from Canadian officials on Friday whether they could resume playing their home games in Toronto by the end of the month. But a government official familiar with the talks tells The Associated Press that the ballclub won't get that information this weekend. The U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel, causing the Jays to open their home schedule in Florida before heading to Buffalo.
The television rating for baseball's All-Star Game sank to a record low but viewers increased by 1%. The game got a 4.5 rating and 11 share, and was seen by 8,237,000 viewers ages 2 and up, Fox said Wednesday. The previous low rating was 5.0 for the 2019 midsummer classic.
Former major league pitcher Dick Tidrow has died at 74, according to the San Francisco Giants. Tidrow pitched parts of 13 major league seasons for the Indians, Yankees, Cubs, White Sox and Mets, going 100-94 with a 3.68 ERA over 620 appearances with 138 starts. He most recently served as the Giants' senior adviser to the President of Baseball Operations.
The Justice Department's inspector general says the FBI made numerous serious errors in investigating allegations against former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar and didn't treat the case with the "utmost seriousness." The long-awaited watchdog report raises serious questions about how the Justice Department and the FBI handled the case. The inspector general's investigation was spurred by allegations that the FBI failed to promptly address complaints made in 2015 against Nassar. USA Gymnastics had conducted its own internal investigation and then the organization's then-president, Stephen Penny, reported the allegations to the FBI's field office in Indianapolis. But it took months before the bureau opened a formal investigation. At least 40 girls and women said they were molested over a 14-month period while the FBI was aware of other sexual abuse allegations involving Nassar. Officials at USA Gymnastics also contacted FBI officials in Los Angeles in May 2016 after eight months of inactivity from agents in Indianapolis.
Thursday is Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course. Meanwhile, a New York federal judge has nullified the suspension of horse trainer Bob Baffert in the state. Brooklyn Judge Carol Bagley Amon found that the New York Racing Association acted unconstitutionally by failing to let Baffert adequately respond to claims made against him after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a postrace drug test. In her written ruling Amon said a prompt post-suspension hearing where Baffert could refute the claims was required to meet constitutional muster. Baffert's attorney in the case says the ruling confirms that there was an improper rush to judgment, and that Baffert was treated unfairly.
Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will put their medals around their own necks to protect against spreading the coronavirus. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach says it's a "very significant change" to traditional medal ceremonies. Medals will be placed on a tray by a person wearing disinfected gloves and presented to the athletes, who will take them from the tray and place them around their necks. The tray will be presented to and athletes will take their medals from the tray. Medalists and ceremony officials will have to wear masks.
In other news related to the Olympics:
Tokyo has reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost six months, climbing to 1,149. IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga both pledged that the Tokyo Olympics opening in just over a week would be "safe and secure." That declaration came despite the games opening with Tokyo and neighboring prefectures under a national government-imposed state of emergency.
Two Russian swimmers set to compete at the Tokyo Olympics have been provisionally suspended for anti-doping violations by world governing body FINA. Alexandr Kudashev and Veronika Popova Andrusenko were suspended based on evidence supplied by the World Anti-Doping Agency, according to FINA.
Nelly and Jessica Korda teamed to shoot a 5-under 65 in alternate-shot play for a share of the first-round lead in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. Defending champions Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura joined "Team Jelly" and Pajaree Anannarukarn-Aditi Ashok and Jillian Hollis-Lauren Stephenson atop the leaderboard at Midland Country Club. The teams will play best ball Thursday, alternate shot Friday and close with best ball Saturday. Nelly Korda is making her first start since winning the Meijer LPGA Classic and the KPMG Women's PGA in consecutive weeks to take the No. 1 spot in the world ranking.
Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller announced his retirement on Wednesday in an Instagram post that he signed "Forever a Bruin." The 33-year-old has played in just 28 games since breaking his kneecap in 2019. Miller played in 352 games over eight seasons with the Bruins, scoring 13 goals with 58 assists. Also in Boston, the Bruins have signed defenseman Brandon Carlo to a six-year contract extension that will pay him an average of $4.1 million per year. The 24-year-old had three goals and one assist in 27 games last season, averaging 18:43 in ice time during his fifth year with Boston.
In other NHL news:
Sabres forward Jeff Skinner has agreed to waive his no-movement clause, freeing the team from having to protect him during the Seattle Kraken's expansion draft next week. The Sabres initiated the move, knowing it's unlikely Skinner will be selected by the Kraken given the under-performing winger has six years left on an eight-year, $72 million contract. What the move does is allow Buffalo to keep an additional forward or defenseman upon submitting its protected list of players on Saturday.
Penguins forward Teddy Blueger has signed a two-year contract with an average salary of $2.2 million. The fourth-line player tied a career high with 22 points on seven goals and 15 assists in 43 games for the Metropolitan Division champions this past season.
NFL defensive back Richard Sherman was arrested Wednesday and booked into the King County jail in Seattle. Authorities said Sherman crashed his SUV in a suburban Seattle construction zone, tried to break into his in-laws' home, and fought with officers who used a police dog to apprehend him. He was booked on suspicion of resisting arrest, malicious mischief and residential burglary. Sherman did not enter the home, strike or try to strike any family members or significant other, according to authorities. Sherman played seven seasons with Seahawks, three with the 49ers and is now a free agent. The NFL says it investigates any incident involving law enforcement.
In other NFL news, the Jaguars say coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke were both subpoenaed as part of a federal lawsuit filed in Iowa. Attorneys for Black former players are pursuing a discrimination case. The lawsuit accuses Hawkeyes staff of demeaning Black players with racial slurs and other actions. The Jaguars say Meyer and Baalke submitted a written response but have no information that would be relevant to the lawsuit.
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