BC-AP Sports Digest
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Just when it seemed Kawhi Leonard couldn’t get better, along come the NBA playoffs. Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse tells PodcastOne Sports Now hosts Jim Litke and Tim Dahlberg “it’s been a privilege” watching Leonard raise his game.
TORONTO _ Kawhi Leonard bounced, bounced, bounced, bounced the Philadelphia 76ers out of the playoffs. Leonard hit a shot from the corner over Joel Embiid at the buzzer that bounced off the rim four times before falling to give the Toronto Raptors a 92-90 victory over the 76ers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series. By Ian Harrison. SENT: 700 words, photos.
DENVER _ Damian Lillard’s shots kept banging off the backboard, rattling off the rim, going everywhere but through the hoop. The Portland Trail Blazers are going to the Western Conference Finals anyway because CJ McCollum had his back. By Arnie Stapleton. SENT: 900 words, photos.
BOSTON _ With a five-goal, third-period lead and the Bruins still not done scoring, the crowd in the new Boston Garden began a throaty chant of “We want the Cup!” The next time they see their team, the NHL’s championship trophy might be on the line for real. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 740 words, photos.
TEN--FRENCH OPEN-YOUNG AMERICAN
Tommy Paul paid close attention as his friends and countrymen Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka all produced headline-worthy performances at the Australian Open. Now Paul aims to make his own Grand Slam breakthrough when he heads to his first French Open main draw in two weeks, thanks to winning the U.S. Tennis Association’s wild-card challenge. By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING 700 words, photos by 4 a.m.
Along her journey in the fight for clean sports, Beckie Scott has been cheated, harassed, bullied and brushed aside. The next step on that journey will conclude with a report from an investigation into her allegation that she was harassed by members of the World Anti-Doping Agency _ a probe Scott ultimately chose not to participate in. By National Writer Eddie Pells. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 4 a.m.
FBC--SCOUTING THE PORTAL
Instead of working the grapevine to figure out what players might be available via transfer, college football teams can now simply scout the portal. Coaches around the country are adding to the duties of their player personnel staff, tracking the players entering the NCAA database for possible fits on their roster. Georgia coach Kirby Smarts likened it to NFL teams keeping gathering information on free agents. The increased transparency has opened up the transfer process, but often players and coaches are still going back to the relationships formed in recruiting when it comes to transfers. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 750 words and photos by 4 a.m.
Within horse racing, the Stronach Group that owns Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream and tracks in Maryland is both a boon for business and a lightning rod for criticism. Whether it’s the deep-pocketed ownership group’s investment in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup, its handling of horse deaths at Santa Anita, the continued fight over Pimlico and the Preakness or internal lawsuits, the Stronach Group always seems to be at the center of the action. By Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 4 a.m.
BBM--TRIPLE-A POWER SURGE
Triple-A baseball is seeing a dramatic increase in home runs with the major league ball being used for the first time at the highest level of the minor leagues. Home runs among the 30 Triple-A teams were up 64% over a comparable period in 2018. The Triple-A per-game average of 1.28 is nearly even with the major league average and a 47% increase from the 2018 Triple-A full-season average of zero point eight seven. By Eric Olson. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
BKN--ON BASKETBALL-PATIENT BLAZERS
Doing the right thing isn’t easy in the NBA, where patience is an incredibly rare virtue. The Trail Blazers got swept in the first round of the 2017 playoffs. Got swept again in the first round last season. Lost 10 consecutive playoff games going into this year. Ordinarily, that’s a recipe for firings and trade demands and roster dismantling. Instead, the Blazers stayed the course. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 770 words, photos by 4 a.m.
When Rod Brind’Amour watched pregame shows during the regular season, he didn’t think much thought was put into analyzing his Carolina Hurricanes. “They’d look at the stat sheet and they’ll say: ‘Oh, Sebastian Aho is a good player. Watch for him,’” Brind’Amour said recently. Now that the Hurricanes are in the Eastern Conference final as part of a fresh final four in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin is among the breakout stars who are now in the limelight. By Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 4 a.m.
HKN--HURRICANES-PORT AND JERKS
RALEIGH, N.C. _ The Carolina Hurricanes have been rolling at home ever since their newly acquired grunter named Hamilton started hogging the corner. Not defenseman Dougie Hamilton _ Hamilton the pig. The 90-pound Juliana potbelly catches games from behind the boards in a personalized wagon and has shown plenty of chops during his three-week run as the unofficial good-luck charm. In the land of pulled pork barbecue, this pig pulls for the Hurricanes. By Joedy McCreary. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 4 a.m.
SAN JOSE, Calif. _ Logan Couture got San Jose started in the opener of the Western Conference final against St. Louis by finishing off a 2-on-1 rush. He sealed the win with an empty-net goal, and in between, he did everything else the Sharks needed on both ends of the ice. Just another typical standout performance from Couture, who always seems to be at his best at this time of year. By Josh Dubow. SENT: 860 words, photos.
TORONTO _For the second time in four seasons, the Toronto Raptors are headed to the Eastern Conference final. While the Raptors won’t have to deal with playoff nemesis LeBron James this time, they will face a tough task in controlling Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the NBA’s highest-scoring offense. By Ian Harrison. UPCOMING: 550 words, photos by 4 a.m.
BBO--THIS WEEK IN BASEBALL
Edwin Jackson is closing in on quite a milestone. The nomadic right-hander was recently acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays, and if he appears in a game for them, he would pitch for a record 14th major league team. By Baseball Writer Noah Trister. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 4 a.m.
CHICAGO _Pitching in the rain for most of a cold Sunday night, Jon Lester gave the Chicago Cubs everything he had. It was more than enough. By Jay Cohen. SENT: 770 words, photos.
BOSTON _ J.D. Martinez made hitting look easy even in the lousy weather conditions by belting his first two home runs of the season at soggy Fenway Park. Martinez sent a pair of shots over the Green Monster, rookie Michael Chavis drove in five runs and the surging Boston Red Sox beat the stumbling Seattle Mariners 11-2 to complete a three-game sweep. SENT: 810 words, photos.
_ BBA--MARINERS-HERNANDEZ-INJURED LIST _ RHP Felix Hernandez goes on IL day after collecting 2,500th strikeout. SENT: 150 words, photo.
MADRID _ Novak Djokovic celebrated a lot more than a record-tying 33rd Masters 1000 title at the Madrid Open. Djokovic left the Spanish capital feeling pretty good about his game, too, carrying a lot of confidence into the rest of the clay-court season. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 670 words, photos.
MADRID _ Rafael Nadal is enduring an unusual slump on clay but says he is not too concerned with the streak of disappointing results on his favorite surface. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 600 words, photos.
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. _ Major championship golf returned to Bethpage State Park and found the Black course just how it left it 10 years ago: wet. More than one-half inch of rain fell Sunday as some players began to arrive for the PGA Championship, which was moved up three months on the calendar to May for the first time in 70 years. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 600 words.
DALLAS _ Sung Kang made a 23-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole to finally take the lead for good at the Byron Nelson and held on for his first PGA Tour victory on a 27-hole Sunday at Trinity Forest. By Stephen Hawkins. SENT: 800 words, photos.
_ GLF--PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS _ Storms force postponement of Regions Tradition final round until Monday. SENT: 150 words, photos.
_ GLF--BRITISH MASTERS _ Marcus Kinhult of Sweden wins 1st European Tour title at British Masters. SENT: 250 words.
AP Sports Extra: PGA Championship: A paginated preview of the PGA Championship, which starts Thursday, is available in AP Newsroom by searching for “Sports Extra” or “SE” under the Graphics tab. The page focuses on Tiger Woods, who is playing for the first time since his comeback victory at the Masters. The bulk of the content is new but versions of the Facts & Figures and Player Capsules sections have been sent on the wire. For questions, contact Barry Bedlan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Stronach Group isn’t well known outside of horse racing. That distinction goes to the likes of modern Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify, trainer Bob Baffert and legends of the past including Secretariat and Seattle Slew. But few _ if any _ have had a bigger impact on the sport in recent years than the Stronach Group. By Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 880 words, photos by 4 a.m.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. _ Alex Bowman quite literally had his first NASCAR Cup Series victory in his sights, ticking off the laps in his No. 88 Chevrolet at the front of the pack at Kansas Speedway. Too bad Brad Keselowski was in his rearview mirror. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 820 words, photos.
MONTMELO, Spain _ Lewis Hamilton beats teammate Valtteri Bottas to win the Spanish Grand Prix for a third consecutive year, securing a fifth one-two finish for Mercedes to start the Formula One season. By Joseph Wilson. SENT: 730 words, photos.
SANTA CLARA, California _ Samantha Mewis scored goals in both halves and the U.S. women’s national team began its World Cup send-off series with a 3-0 victory over South Africa. By Josh Dubow. SENT: 830 words, photos.
BRIGHTON, England _ Earning 97 points is almost always enough to win the Premier League. Not for Liverpool, which had the misfortune of running up against a Manchester City team setting a new standard of excellence. By Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris. SENT: 830 words, photos.
_ SOC--CONCACAF U17-PANAMA-US _ U.S. beat Panama 3-0 and qualified for the Under-17 World Cup. SENT: 150 words.
_ BRITAIN-MEXICAN WRESTLER _ Lucha Libre wrestler Silver King dies at London performance. SENT: 250 words.
_ FBN--DOLPHINS-WALTON _ Following 3 arrests, Mark Walton gets another chance with Dolphins. SENT: 140 words, photo.
_ CYC--GIRO D’ITALIA _ Pascal Ackermann of Germany sprints to 1st Giro d’Italia stage win, Primoz Roglic of Slovenia in overall lead. SENT: 320 words, photos.
_ HKO--WORLDS _ U.S. routs France, Russia shuts out Austria at hockey worlds in Slovakia. SENT: 340 words, photos.
_ ATH--WORLD RELAYS _ U.S. wins 3 finals to finish first at track’s world relays in Japan. SENT: 180 words, photos.
_ BKN--NBA PLAYOFF CAPSULES
_ BBO--BASEBALL CAPSULES
_ SOC--MLS CAPSULES
Monday Time Schedule (EDT)
St. Louis at San Jose, 9 p.m.
Baltimore at N.Y. Yankees, 6:35 p.m.
Milwaukee at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.
Houston at Detroit, 7:10 p.m.
L.A. Angels at Minnesota, 7:40 p.m.
Cleveland at Chicago White Sox, 8:10 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Arizona, 9:40 p.m.
Oakland at Seattle, 10:10 p.m.