BC-AP Sports Digest
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Adam Silver knows fans can get upset with officiating, and he plans to work on that. The NBA Commissioner appears on the AP’s “PodcastOne Sports Now” show, previewing Game 4 of the NBA Finals with AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. Also, with Cleveland down 3-0, Indians manager Terry Francona talks basketball. His team rallied from a 3-0 deficit against Boston in the 2004 ALCS.
CLEVELAND — One win and Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors will be crowned NBA champions again and deemed a dynasty. They’ll take their first crack at it in Game 4 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will try to avoid a sweep and delay the start of a tumultuous summer. By Tom Withers. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos. Game starts 9 p.m.
— BKN--NBA FINALS-THE LATEST — Real-time updates throughout day.
NEW YORK — Justify appears to have rebounded well after a relatively easy Kentucky Derby and a hard-fought Preakness. The most exhausting run is to come. He’ll go 1 1/2 miles in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday against nine rivals in his bid to become the 13th Triple Crown winner. By Racing Writer Beth Harris. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.
— RAC--BELMONT-JUSTIFY — Justify enjoys ‘smooth’ gallop in final Belmont drill. SENT: 140 words, photos.
— RAC--BELMONT-ROMANS — Dale Romans saddles Free Drop Billy in Belmont, a race in which the trainer has finished third four times. By Mike Farrell. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 4 p.m.
DULLES, Va. — The questions began not long after the Washington Capitals lifted the Stanley Cup. Will coach Barry Trotz be back? How many pending free agents can the team afford to re-sign. Trotz is the most pressing concern. But the general manager says Trotz will be back if he wants to be. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos, video by 7 p.m.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is “very seriously” considering a pardon for the late Muhammad Ali, an act the boxing great’s lawyer calls unnecessary because the Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 1971. Also, Trump says he may confer with NFL players and other athletes on more pardons. By Jill Colvin. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— TRUMP-SUMMIT-RODMAN — Dennis Rodman could enter game at Trump-Kim Singapore talks. By Michael Balsamo. SENT: 400 words, photos.
— TRUMP-NBA — Trump not inviting NBA champs to White House; Warriors, Cavs already said they wouldn’t go. SENT: 130 words, photos.
— TRUMP-STANLEY CUP — Trump expects to welcome hometown Capitals to White House. By Ken Thomas. SENT: 300 words, photos.
PARIS — Rafael Nadal reaches his 11th French Open final by overwhelming Juan Martin del Potro. The top-ranked Spaniard next plays Dominic Thiem, who advances to his first Grand Slam final by ending the surprising run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato. By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. SENT: 700 words, photos.
DAKAR, Senegal — From a young age, Sadio Mane showed a fierce determination. He emerged from a rural village in Senegal to international stardom in Europe. Now his country expects the Liverpool forward to deliver on soccer’s biggest stage. This is Senegal’s first World Cup since its debut 16 years ago. By Ken Maguire. SENT: 850 words, photos.
BKN--ON BASKETBALL-THE LEBRON FACTOR
LeBron James drives TV ratings during the NBA Finals, and fans are watching in huge numbers. But the NBA probably needs to think about getting the best teams in the finals when James isn’t there. The Cavaliers great clearly has been masking the East’s mediocrity. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. SENT: 850 words, photos.
— Sidebar on LeBron James if Warriors win Game 4.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Before the NBA Finals began, it took maybe just a minute before Stephen Curry was asked about how much he wants to add a finals MVP to his resume. It might come down to Curry and teammate Kevin Durant, with the Warriors one win from a sweep of the Cavaliers. By Janie McCauley. SENT: 900 words, photos.
STANLEY CUP FINAL
It took Alex Ovechkin 13 seasons to win the Stanley Cup, and he now has a Conn Smythe Trophy to match and destroy the narrative that the Russian superstar can’t get it done when it matters. What remains to be seen is how Ovechkin proceeds with three years left on his contract. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 4 p.m.
LAS VEGAS — T.J. Oshie found his father on the ice amid the Capitals’ Stanley Cup jubilation and wrapped him in a fierce hug. Five years after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Tim Oshie’s memory is cloudy. But to look in his son’s eyes is to never forget that embrace. By Greg Beacham. SENT: 500 words, photos.
HKN--GOLDEN KNIGHTS WRAPUP
LAS VEGAS — The Vegas Golden Knights’ quick exit from the Stanley Cup Final will do little to diminish the expansion team’s stupendous inaugural season in which it united a city scarred by a mass shooting. These Golden Misfits now face a busy offseason as they attempt to keep their core intact. By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 9 p.m.
TEN--FRENCH OPEN-WOMEN’S FINAL
PARIS — Simona Halep is 0-3 in Grand Slam finals so far. Sloane Stephens is 6-0 in all tour-level finals so far. The women who meet Saturday for the French Open championship do have something in common, though: Both are as good as anyone in the game right now at going from defense to offense. By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— TEN--FRENCH OPEN-THE LATEST — Real-time updates throughout day.
— TEN--FRENCH OPEN GLANCE — UPCOMING: 300 words, photos by 4 p.m.
NEW YORK — The Yankees and Mets open a three-game Subway Series at Citi Field. Masahiro Tanaka (7-2) starts for the Yankees, who have won seven of eight. Jacob deGrom (4-0) goes for a weak-hitting Mets team that has lost six in a row. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 7:10 p.m.
BBA--WHITE SOX-RED SOX
BOSTON — Chris Sale pitches against his former team when the first-place Red Sox face the Chicago White Sox. Sale has won four straight decisions and ranks second in the AL with 110 strikeouts. Boston’s Andrew Benintendi has homered in four of his past five games. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 7:10 p.m.
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia — Russia plans to deploy thousands of Cossacks to guard the World Cup, but the paramilitary groups face criticism for their strident nationalism and attacks on protesters. At the Sochi Olympics, Cossacks whipped members of the punk protest group Pussy Riot. By Maxim Usachev and James Ellingworth. SENT: 600 words, photos.
— SOC--WCUP-MOMENTS-HAND OF GOD — Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal in 1986 in Mexico. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 450 words, photos.
AP Sports Extra: World Cup: A paginated preview of the World Cup is available in AP Newsroom by searching for “Sports Extra” under the Graphics tab. The tournament in Russia starts June 14. The pages look at the top storylines, including Germany’s bid to repeat as champion and key players to watch. For questions, contact Barry Bedlan at firstname.lastname@example.org
GLF--US OPEN-TIGER’S LAST MAJOR
Hank Haney first noticed something wrong when Tiger Woods got up from the dinner table and stopped suddenly, bent over with his eyes closed. That was the first sign Woods was in bad shape with the 2008 U.S. Open 13 days away. Woods went on to win Torrey Pines for his 14th major. It remains his last one. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 1,750 words, photos.
— GLF--US OPEN-TRIVIA QUIZ — By Doug Ferguson. SENT: 500 words, photos.
GLF--ST. JUDE CLASSIC
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Seamus Power of Ireland takes a one-stroke lead into the second round of the St. Jude Classic. Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson are close behind. By Teresa M. Walker. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 8:30 p.m.
— GLF--LPGA TOUR — I.K. Kim defends her title in ShopRite LPGA Classic outside Atlantic City, N.J. U.S. Women’s Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn is in field. UPCOMING: 400 words by 8 p.m.
— GLF--PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS — Brandt Jobe begins title defense at seniors event in Des Moines, Iowa. By Luke Meredith. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 7 p.m.
— GLF--CURTIS CUP — Curtis Cup, featuring women’s amateurs from U.S. and Britain/Ireland, opens in Scarsdale, N.Y. UPCOMING: 300 words by 9 p.m.
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey’s governor says his state will have sports betting “sooner rather than later,” but there is still no timetable to act on a bill to legalize it. Casinos and racetracks are eager for this to get going. By Wayne Parry. SENT: 550 words, photos.
— SPORTS BETTING-NJ-THE LATEST — Real-time updates throughout day.
FORT WORTH, Texas — Tony Kanaan knows he wasn’t popular among his fellow IndyCar drivers at the end of last year’s race at Texas. He was blamed and penalized for a big wreck on the reconfigured track. And he was the runner-up after only nine of 22 cars were still running at the end. By Stephen Hawkins. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.
— CAR--F1-CANADIAN GP — Max Verstappen is fastest in first practice for Canadian Grand Prix. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 140 words, photos. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.
Of course, Tim Weah credits a parent for his fast rise in soccer. But that person is mother Clar, not father George — the 1995 FIFA Player of the Year and new president of Liberia. The 18-year-old midfielder is part of the U.S. team that plays World Cup-bound France on Saturday at Lyon. By Ronald Blum. SENT: 800 words, photos.
— SOC--PREMIER LEAGUE-WINTER BREAK — February winter break coming to English Premier League in 2020. SENT: 100 words, photos.
BKW--HALLL OF FAME HOLDSCLAW
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Chamique Holdsclaw remains the SEC’s scoring leader two decades after leading Tennessee to three straight national titles. Holdsclaw returns to Tennessee this weekend as part of the latest Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction class. By Steve Megargee. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 8 p.m.
LOS ANGELES — Nearly three years after Leo Santa Cruz beat Abner Mares by majority decision to win the WBA featherweight title, the two LA-area veterans go at again Saturday at Staples Center. Mares realizes the rematch is his chance to put his career on the same trajectory followed by Santa Cruz. By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 500 words by 9 p.m.
— MMA--UFC 225 — Title bout between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero highlights Saturday’s UFC card in Chicago. UPCOMING: 600 words by 6 p.m.
BBC--NCAA SUPER REGIONALS RDP
Top performance and highlights from the NCAA Tournament super regionals. Four of the best-of-three series start Friday, with the other four beginning Saturday. By Eric Olson. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos, by 9 p.m.
— NewsNows on four games: Stetson-North Carolina (11a.m.); Oregon State-Minnesota (5 p.m.); Washington-Cal State Fullerton (8 p.m.); Mississippi State-Vanderbilt (8 p.m.).
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — First-round draft picks and soon-to-be millionaires Casey Mize and Brady Singer square off for the third time in 15 months, a rubber match between two of the best arms in college baseball. This one comes in a super regional featuring hot-hitting Auburn and defending national champion Florida. By Mark Long. SENT: 800 words, photos.
— BBC--TENNESSEE TECH-STROHSCHEIN — Tennessee Tech’s Kevin Strohschein keeps hitting despite elbow injury. By Steve Magargee. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— BBC--ARKANSAS-PERFECT KNIGHT — Arkansas’ Blaine Knight is 11-0, having beaten most of SEC’s top pitchers. By Kurt Voigt. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.
— MINNESOTA SUSPENSIONS-LAWSUIT — Minnesota football players sue school over 2016 accusation of sex assault. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos by 4 p.m.
— BKN--BUCKS-STERLING BROWN-ARREST — Commission calls for audit of stun-gun arrest of Bucks player. SENT: 250 words, photos.
— LENNY DYKSTRA-THREAT CHARGE — Ex-baseball star Lenny Dykstra says Uber driver kidnapped him. SENT: 140 words, photos.
— BBO--BASEBALL CAPSULES
— BKL--WNBA CAPSULES
Friday’s Time Schedule (EDT)
NBA Finals (Game 4)
Golden State at Cleveland, 9 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.
Milwaukee at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.
San Francisco at Washington, 7:05 p.m.
Baltimore at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at Boston, 7:10 p.m.
Cleveland at Detroit, 7:10 p.m.
N.Y. Yankees at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.
Seattle at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.
San Diego at Miami, 7:10 p.m.
St. Louis at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.
Houston at Texas, 8:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m.
Arizona at Colorado, 8:40 p.m.
Kansas City at Oakland, 10:05 p.m.
Atlanta at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
Atlanta at Las Vegas, 3 p.m.
Dallas at Indiana, 7 p.m.
Chicago at Phoenix, 10 p.m.
Toronto FC at Philadelphia, 8 p.m.