BC-AP Sports Digest
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TAMPA, Fla. — There was no letdown for the Washington Capitals. Just more winning hockey. Putting an emotional second-round victory over playoff nemesis and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh behind them, the Caps got a power-play goal and assist from Alex Ovechkin in his Eastern Conference finals debut and beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Friday night. By Fred Goodall. SENT: 750 words, photos.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Webb Simpson didn’t miss anything except the island green at the TPC Sawgrass. Simpson was on the verge of shattering the course record at The Players Championship until he hit into the water on the notorious par-3 17th. He settle for a 63 to tie the course record and take a 5-shot lead.
By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— GLF--PLAYERS-FOWLER. By Mark Long. SENT: 500 words, photos.
— GLF--PLAYERS-NOTEBOOK. By Mark Long. SENT: 800 words, photos.
BKN--LEBRON & THE CELTICS
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — LeBron James has a history with the Boston Celtics. He has won the last four series against the NBA’s most decorated franchise. If he makes it five, he’ll join the likes of Bill Russell and Sam Jones of players to make eight straight NBA Finals. By Tom Withers. SENT: 750 words, photos.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Paul Stastny has made plenty of tangible contributions for the Winnipeg Jets since they acquired him just before the NHL trade deadline. The latest example played out for all to see. The center scored twice at Nashville in Game 7 of the second round in a 5-1 win to lift Winnipeg into the Western Conference finals for the first time. Stastny is also making an impact with intangibles. He hopes to help the Jets get off to a good start in Game 1 against the Vegas Golden Knights. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 530 words, photos by 3 a.m. EDT.
ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks are hiring a young coach in Lloyd Pierce to lead a rebuilding team that is about to add even more youth. The Hawks announced Friday they are giving Pierce his first head coaching job in the NBA, choosing a man who has been an assistant with Philadelphia and Memphis to rebuild the franchise. SENT: 550 words, photos.
TORONTO — Masai Ujiri believes Dwane Casey deserves to be recognized as the best coach in the NBA, but the Toronto president doesn’t think Casey should be leading the Raptors. So the Raptors fired Casey, praising him on his way out the door. By Ian Harrison. SENT: 730 words, photos.
The regular season is meaningless. That’s the message the Toronto Raptors sent by firing Dwane Casey. Winning isn’t enough. It’s about meeting expectations, no matter how misguided they may be. Coaches have to win big and win rings to succeed in the NBA. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 750 words, photos.
WALTHAM, Mass. — When Brad Stevens became the Celtics coach five years ago, he was transfixed by the opportunity to lead a franchise so steeped in history. He has now endeared himself to a championship-driven city after helping Boston make in improbable run back to the conference finals. By Kyle Hightower. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— BKN--HORNETS-BORREGO. By Steve Reed. SENT: 550 words, photos.
— BKN--HAWKS-VIRTUAL ARENA TOUR. By Jonathan Landrum. SENT: 700 words, photos.
The Golden Knights’ season of firsts never seems to end. Next up for Vegas are the Western Conference finals opening Saturday in Winnipeg, where the Golden Knights will pit their speed against the defensively tough Jets. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— HKN--PREDATORS WRAPUP. By Teresa M. Walker. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— HKN--MAPLE LEAFS-DUBAS. SENT: 230 words, photos.
LOS ANGELES — Matt Harvey tossed four innings of one-hit ball in his Reds debut, Scooter Gennett homered and drove in three runs, and Cincinnati defeated the scuffling Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 on Friday night, extending their season-high winning streak to four games. Harvey struck out two and walked none in a 55-pitch outing that was cut short because of his lack of recent game competition. The right-hander’s fastball topped out in the mid-90s. By Beth Harris. SENT: 700 words, photos.
PITTSBURGH — For the first time in months, Andrew McCutchen woke up Friday morning in his own bed. He and his wife Maria took their infant son Steel to the doctor for some shots. For lunch, he stopped by his favorite pizza spot, and then he hopped in a car and drove to PNC Park, where he made his way through the players’ entrance and started the long walk toward the Pittsburgh Pirates’ clubhouse.
Only this time, instead of breezing past the visitors’ clubhouse as he did during his more than eight years serving as the fulcrum around which the franchise spun from irrelevance into contention, McCutchen turned left and joined the rest of the San Francisco Giants. By Will Graves. SENT: 800 words, photos.
BBN--PAUL NEWBERRY-BABY BRAVES
ATLANTA — John Schuerholz was there in 1991 when a bunch of talented young players carried Atlanta from worst to first. This feels much the same. With the three youngest players in the big leagues — and another 21-year-old as well — the Baby Braves are suddenly baseball’s most intriguing, exciting team. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. SENT: 1,150 words, photos.
— BBO--LEADING OFF. UPCOMING: 430 words, photos by 3 a.m.
— BBA--ASTROS-SPRINGER INJURED. SENT: 140 words, photos.
— BBA--ATHLETICS-FOWLER’S CHANCE. By Scott Orgera. SENT: 750 words, photos.
HOUSTON — Rookie safety Justin Reid of the Houston Texans used to frequent his older brother’s house to watch NFL game film and study game preparations. The visits while he was at Stanford gave him a behind-the-scenes look at the NFL life of his older brother, Eric Reid, who was thriving with the San Francisco 49ers. Reid says he hopes his experience of living vicariously through his brother over the past few years will help him adjust to the NFL. By Kristie Rieken. UPCOMING: 525 words, photos by 3 a.m.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Josh Rosen jogged onto the field as an Arizona Cardinal for the first time on Friday and took a moment to reflect. “When I stepped in the huddle,” the young quarterback said, “I kind of looked at the guys and I’m like, ‘This is pretty cool.’” Rosen was the center of attention, as usual, on the first day of Cardinals rookie minicamp, starting out slowly but finishing with a crisp performance capped by a long TD pass to fellow rookie and camp roommate Christian Kirk. By Bob Baum. SENT: 625 words, photos.
FBN--BILLS-ALLEN MEETS KELLY
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The only time Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen ever felt rattled on his first day of practice was shortly after the session ended Friday. That’s when coach Sean McDermott escorted the first-round pick to the sideline and introduced him to Jim Kelly in what became a meeting of the team’s hopeful future and legendary past. “I’m still shaking from meeting him,” Allen said. By John Wawrow. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— FBN--BILLS-BRANDON. By John Wawrow. SENT: 260 words.
— FBN--GIANTS-BARKLEY. By Matt Sugam. SENT: 730 words, photos.
— FBN--STEELERS-THE NEW NUMBER 2. By Will Graves. SENT: 600 words, photos.
— FBN--BENGALS-DODGEBALL. By Joe Kay. SENT: 600 words, photos.
— FBN--COWBOYS-VANDER ESCH. By Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— FBN--REDSKINS-HBCU — By Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words, photos.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It was about a year ago that Matt Kenseth thought he would be spending the year driving a school bus. He is back to driving something with a little more horsepower. Kenseth returned to NASCAR’s top series on Friday when he climbed into the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, practicing and qualifying for Saturday night’s race at Kansas Speedway. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 650 words, photos.
INDIANAPOLIS — A smoother road course, better drafting and unusually warm weather could change the look of Saturday’s IndyCar Grand Prix. Drivers think the combination will lead to more passing. There have been nearly twice as many passes through the first four races as last season. By Michael Marot. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— CAR--INDYCAR GP-QUALIFYING. By Michael Marot. SENT: 650 words, photos.
CAR--F1-SPANISH GP-KUBICA’S RETURN
BARCELONA, Spain — Robert Kubica finished 19th out of 20 drivers, and was smiling. This was his first practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, his first official Formula One session since he almost lost his right hand in a crash in 2011. He’s convinced he has what it takes to make a full return to the series. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 600 words, photos.
MADRID — Rafael Nadal has found a worthy rival on clay. Dominic Thiem beat the top-ranked Nadal 7-5, 6-3 in the Madrid Open quarterfinals on Friday, breaking the defending champion’s run of 21 straight wins on clay courts. SENT: 680 words, photos.
SOC--FIFA’S BUSY MONTH
GENEVA — FIFA has a hectic month of soccer politics before the World Cup begins in Russia. President Gianni Infantino is driving his agenda of new and bigger competitions that could set him up for re-election next year. There is also an eve-of-tournament vote in Moscow on the 2026 World Cup host. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— SOC--BRAZIL-NEYMAR. SENT: 250 words, photos.
NEW YORK — Vasyl Lomachenko believes he has even more skills than he’s shown. On Saturday night, he moves up in weight to fight Jorge Linares for the WBA lightweight championship. Lomachenko is trying to win a title in his third weight class in just his 12th pro bout. By Brian Mahoney. SENT: 700 words, photos.
HERNING, Denmark — Captain Patrick Kane scored two goals and added three assists as the United States demolished South Korea 13-1 at the ice hockey world championship on Friday for a fifth straight victory. By Karel Janicek. SENT: 350 words, photos.
— LAC--NCAA TOURNAMENT. By John Kekis. SENT: 850 words, photos.
— LACROSSE SEASON CANCELED-RACISM. SENT: 250 words.
— BKL--LYNX-REPEAT GOAL. By Dave Campbell. SENT: 600 words, photos.
— CYC--GIRO D’ITALIA. SENT: 400 words, photos.
— GLF--SICILIAN OPEN. SENT: 170 words.
Saturday’s Time Schedule (EDT)
Vegas at Winnipeg, 7 p.m.
Oakland at N.Y. Yankees, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Baltimore, 2, 3:05 p.m.
Washington at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.
Boston at Toronto, 4:07 p.m.
Kansas City at Cleveland, 4:10 p.m.
Seattle at Detroit, 2, 4:10 p.m.
N.Y. Mets at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.
San Francisco at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.
Texas at Houston, 7:10 p.m.
Atlanta at Miami, 7:10 p.m.
Milwaukee at Colorado, 8:10 p.m.
St. Louis at San Diego, 8:40 p.m.
Minnesota at L.A. Angels, 9:07 p.m.
Cincinnati at L.A. Dodgers, 9:10 p.m.
San Jose at Minnesota United, 2 p.m.
Philadelphia at Montreal, 3 p.m.
LA Galaxy at FC Dallas, 3:30 p.m.
Chicago at Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
Toronto FC at New England, 7:30 p.m.
D.C. United at Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m.
New York at Colorado, 9 p.m.
F1, Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying, Barcelona, 11 a.m.
IndyCar, Grand Prix of Indianapolis, 3:40 p.m.
NASCAR Monster Energy, KC Masterpiece 400, Kansas City, Kan., 8 p.m.