Friday’s Sports In Brief
BOSTON (AP) — An NBA playoff-record, 41-point halftime lead. A franchise record for total points. A 13th consecutive playoff win, tying another league record.
And LeBron James says the Cleveland Cavaliers can still do better.
Cleveland steamrolled the Boston Celtics 130-86 to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
Minutes after the NBA announced the three finalists for the MVP award — and James wasn’t among them — the Cavaliers star scored 30 points before resting in the fourth quarter. Kevin Love had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which led by 14 points after one quarter, by 72-31 at the half and by 46 after three. The 130 points was the most ever scored by the Cavaliers in a playoff game.
NEW YORK (AP) — LeBron James will have to settle for trying to win another NBA title. He isn’t even a finalist for the MVP award.
Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard are the three players in the running for the league’s top individual honor.
The NBA announced the three finalists for that and its five other individual awards Friday. The winners will be announced June 26 in New York during the NBA’s first awards show. In previous years, the individual awards were announced separately throughout the postseason.
The nominees in the other categories:
Rookie of the Year: Dario Saric, Joel Embiid, Malcom Brogdan.
Coach of the Year: Gregg Popovich, Mike D’Antoni, Erik Spoelstra.
Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala
Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert.
Most Improved Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to terms on a one-year contract with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as a veteran backup to Jameis Winston.
Fitzpatrick spent the last two seasons with the New York Jets, who allowed the quarterback’s contract to expire in February, making him a free agent. The Buccaneers also announced that they waived quarterback Sean Renfree to make room for Fitzpatrick.
Financial terms were not immediately available. ESPN and NFL Network reported that the one-year deal is worth $3 million.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have signed fourth-round pick Dorian Johnson, agreeing to a four-year deal with the former Pittsburgh guard.
The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Johnson was projected to go much higher than the 115th pick, but fell because of concerns about a liver condition. Johnson had said his liver enzymes are about five times higher than normal and that he keeps it under control with medication.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears have signed second-round draft pick Adam Shaheen.
The 6-foot-6 tight end from Ashland University led all Division II players at his position in receptions (57) and yards (867) last season. He was tops among all college football tight ends with 16 touchdown catches in 11 games.
The Bears drafted him with the 45th overall pick.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers have hired former Rams executive Ran Carthon as the team’s new director of pro personnel.
General manager John Lynch announced the addition of Carthon, who joins vice president of player personnel Adam Peters and senior personnel executive Martin Mayhew as hires in Lynch’s first offseason in charge of the team.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Matt Murray was back — and so was Sidney Crosby.
Crosby had a goal and an assist, Murray made 22 saves in his first start of the playoffs and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 to even the Eastern Conference finals at 2-2.
Sullivan turned to Murray, who started for the first time in more than six weeks, after Marc-Andre Fleury was chased in the first period Wednesday night in the Penguins’ 5-1 loss in Game 3.
Brian Dumoulin and Olli Maatta added goals to help Pittsburgh take a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. Clarke MacArthur and Tom Pyatt scored for Ottawa.
DETROIT (AP) — Mike Napoli and Joey Gallo hit homers, giving the Texas Rangers enough offense to help them hold on for a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers for their 10th straight victory.
Even though the Rangers have baseball’s longest winning streak of the season, they haven’t made up much ground behind the AL West-leading Houston Astros.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Mark Canha hit a leadoff homer in the 10th, one inning after Jackie Bradley Jr. robbed a potential game-winning homer by Oakland and the Athletics beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2.
The A’s overcame the sensational catch by Bradley and a record-tying eighth straight double-digit strikeout game from Chris Sale to win their second in a row in the series against Boston.
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Larson was about to discard his race suit and begin relaxing after it appeared Kurt Busch had bettered his time in qualifying for the NASCAR All-Star race.
Then came word of Busch’s penalty — thrusting Larson back into the spotlight.
Larson will start on the pole Saturday night in the NASCAR All-Star race after Busch was assessed a 10-second penalty when race officials discovered he had two loose lug nuts on his No. 41 Ford following a mandatory pit stop as part of the unique three-lap qualifying event.
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Busch raced to his second straight NASCAR Truck Series victory, leading 90 of 134 laps in a dominating run at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch has 48 career Truck victories — three short of Ron Hornaday Jr.’s series record — and 173 wins overall in NASCAR’s top three series, also winning 38 Cup races and 87 Xfinity events.
IRVING, Texas (AP) — Jason Kokrak shot a bogey-free 8-under 62 for a record five-stroke lead after two rounds at the AT&T Byron Nelson, where local favorite Jordan Spieth missed the cut for the first time at the tournament where he made his debut as a 16-year-old high school junior.
Kokrak, the 128th-ranked player in the world, matched the Nelson’s 36-hole record at 12 under after his career-best scoring round, and no one has ever had a bigger lead there after two rounds.
Billy Horschel was second at 7 under after three consecutive birdies to finish a 65. Dustin Johnson, the world’s No. 1 player, had his second consecutive 67 and was among six players tied for third.
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — Lexi Thompson shot her second straight 6-under 65 to take a three-stroke over playing partner Gerina Piller into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship.
Thompson is playing her third tournament since losing the major ANA Inspiration in a playoff after being penalized four strokes for a rules violation that a TV viewer spotted.
The long-hitting Florida player had six birdies in a bogey-free round on Kingsmill’s River Course. She waited out a rain delay in the middle of the round.
Piller shot a 67, closing birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey. Winless on the LPGA Tour, she chipped in for her birdie on 17.