Update on the latest sportsAP
Suns, 76ers advance to second round with Game 6 victories
UNDATED (AP) — Chris Paul went 14 for 14 in the best shooting night in NBA playoff history, Devin Booker returned from a hamstring injury to hit a late 3-pointer and the Phoenix Suns beat the New Orleans Pelicans 115-109 to finish off the first-round series in six games.
Paul had the most field goals without a miss in a playoff game, hit all four of his free throws and had eight assists as the top-seeded Suns overcame a 10-point halftime deficit.
Phoenix will face the Dallas-Utah winner in the second round.
In Toronto, Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds, James Harden added 22 points and 15 assists to lead the 76ers to a 132-98 victory over the Raptors, ending their first-round series.
Philadelphia will face Miami in the second round.
Travon Walker goes to Jags at No. 1; Hutchinson to Lions at 2
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Defense was the focus to start the NFL draft Thursday night, with the first five selections coming on that side of the ball, including edge rushers with Travon Walker of national champion Georgia to Jacksonville and Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan to Detroit at Nos. 1 and 2.
It’s the first time in 31 years that no player on offense went in the opening five picks. So, naturally, the next five choices were on offense.
And those kept coming: right through No. 12.
But no quarterbacks, until the Steelers selected Kenny Pickett from the University of Pittsburgh at No. 20.
Here’s a little more on the first dozen picks:
— The Jacksonville Jaguars took Georgia pass rusher Travon Walker with the top pick in the NFL draft. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Walker had 9½ sacks in three years with the Bulldogs, including six during last season’s national championship run.
— The Detroit Lions selected Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 pick, addressing a desperate need with a hometown star. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound edge rusher was a sack-master for the Wolverines whose consistency and relentlessness helped lead them to their first College Football Playoff.
— Derek Stingley Jr., yet another outstanding defensive back from LSU, goes third overall to the Houston Texans. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Stingley excels in man coverage.
— The Jets take Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner fourth overall. Gardner was a major reason the Bearcats broke through into the College Football Playoff last season.
— Another edge rusher went at No. 5. Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon will be bolstering the pass rush for the New York Giants.
— North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu, considered the premier blocker in this draft, has been selected sixth in the first round by quarterback-hungry Carolina. He is the first offensive player chosen.
— Evan Neal, a mammoth 6-foot-7, 335-pounder who has played both tackle positions at Alabama, is the second opening-round pick by the Giants.
— Atlanta used the No. 8 pick to select 6-foot-5 receiver Drake London of Southern California.
— Seattle sought to address issues on its offensive line by taking Mississippi tackle Charles Cross at ninth overall.
— Picks 10, 11 and 12 were all pass catchers, starting with Garrett Wilson to the New York Jets at No. 10. Wilson’s Ohio State teammate Chris Olave went next to the Saints after New Orleans swapped picks with Washington, which got New Orleans’ pick at No. 16. And the Lions moved up to 12, swapping picks with Minnesota to take Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams.
9 draft-day trades shake up 1st round
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Two more prominent wide receivers switched teams with Tennessee’s A.J. Brown and Baltimore’s Marquise Brown getting swapped during a dizzying stretch of the NFL draft.
The Ravens traded Marquise Brown and the 100th overall pick to Arizona for the 23rd pick in the draft.
Then the Titans dealt A.J. Brown to Philadelphia for the 18th and 101st picks.
In all, 17 of the 23 picks between Nos. 7 and 29 in the draft were made by teams that acquired them in trades. Eleven of those picks changed hands in the nine trades made during draft.
Pitchers’ duel in Texas goes to Astros way
UNDATED (AP) — An impressive pitchers’ duel in Texas saw the Astros emerge 3-2 victors over the Rangers.
Houston’s Kyle Tucker hit a tiebreaking pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning off Matt Bush to decide it. Bush was the first reliever for Texas after left-hander Martin Perez took a perfect game into the seventh inning before giving up his only run.
Two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander got the win, striking out eight while allowing just one run over seven innings.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Ronald Acuña Jr. went 1 for 5 with two stolen bases in his return to the Braves lineup, but it was Kyle Wright who claimed a starring role, pitching three-hit ball over a career-high seven innings to give Atlanta a 5-1 win over the Cubs. The struggling Braves took two of three from Chicago for their first series win of the season.
— Dakota Hudson pitched six shutout innings, Paul Goldschmidt drove in three runs and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-3. St. Louis star Nolan Arenado had two hits after deciding to appeal a two-game suspension from Major League Baseball for his role in a brawl with the Mets on Wednesday.
— Carlos Correa broke out of a slump with three hits and three RBIs and the Minnesota Twins completed a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers with a 7-1 victory. Minnesota has won seven straight and finished off a 6-0 homestand that also included a sweep of the White Sox.
— Kansas City scored three runs in 10th inning to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-2. Whit Merrifield scored the go-ahead run in the 10th when White Sox catcher Reese McGuire was charged with a passed ball with the bases loaded and two out.
— Brett Phillips bounced a tiebreaking single off pitcher Chris Flexen’s leg in the seventh inning and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Seattle Mariners 2-1. With Harold Ramirez on third base and two out in a 1-1 game, Phillips grounded a comebacker at Flexen that caromed off the pitcher’s right leg toward the left side of the infield, which was vacated by a shift. Ramirez scored easily.
— Aaron Judge hit a long three-run homer moments after Baltimore committed its fifth error of the game, as surging Yankees beat the Orioles 10-5. Judge’s fifth homer of the season came two batters after Baltimore shortstop Jorge Mateo committed his second error on DJ LeMahieu’s grounder. It was the Yanks’ sixth straight win.
— Zack Wheeler tossed one-hit ball over six shutout innings and Alec Bohm homered to help the Philadelphia Phillies complete a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a 7-1 victory. Wheeler won his first game of the season. He struck out seven and walked four.
— Ha-Seong Kim hit a tiebreaking, three-run double in the sixth inning and the San Diego Padres beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-5 to complete a season sweep in the series. Manny Machado had four hits, giving him seven in the last two games as San Diego improved to 6-0 against the Reds this season.
— Alek Manoah struck out seven and pitched three-hit ball over seven innings, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 1-0. The 24-year-old Manoah walked only one batter as the Blue Jays took three of four from their AL East rival. Manoah, in his second season, won his eighth in a row dating to last year.
— Andrew McCutchen’s go-ahead two-run single in the top of the ninth inning rallied the Milwaukee Brewers past the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 to complete a three-game sweep. McCutchen, a five-time All-Star in Pittsburgh, began the game with a leadoff home run. In the ninth, he delivered a single to right field off Pirates closer Chris Stratton.
— Trevor Rogers provided his longest outing of the season by allowing one run in six innings, and the Miami Marlins stretched their winning streak to five games with a 3-2 sweep-completing victory over the reeling Washington Nationals. Rogers gave up just two hits against a Nationals lineup that has produced merely 16 runs during a current eight-game losing skid.
— Taylor Ward drove in two runs, Brandon Marsh had three hits and an RBI, and the Los Angeles Angels completed a four-game sweep of the Cleveland Guardians with a 4-1 victory. Reid Detmers pitched five innings of two-hit ball to earn his second career major league victory.
Royals shortstop Mondesi has torn ACL
UNDATED (AP) — Kansas City Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi’s (ah-dehl-BEHR’-toh MAHN’-deh-seez) season is in jeopardy after tests today revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.
The 26-year-old Mondesi was injured on an attempted pickoff play Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox.
Panthers claim NHL’s best record, home ice
UNDATED (AP) — The Florida Panthers clinched their first President’s Trophy for the best record in the regular season and home ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Carter Verhaeghe (vur-HAY’-gee) scored twice and Spencer Knight stopped 27 shots for his second career shutout as the Panthers beat Ottawa 4-0.
In other NHL action:
— Matt Duchene scored the lone goal of the shootout and David Rittich stopped all three attempts as the Nashville Predators rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4. By gaining a point, however, the Avalanche set a new franchise mark and will be the top seed in the Western Conference playoff field.
— The Carolina Hurricanes closed out a record-setting regular season with a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. The Hurricanes added to their franchise records for wins (54) and points (116) in a season. Jesperi Kotkaniemi had a goal and two assists in the victory. Carolina takes a six-game winning streak into the postseason.
— Brock Nelson and Anders Lee scored first-period goals, Mathew Barzal had three assists and Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves as the New York Islanders routed the playoff-bound Washington Capitals 5-1. The Islanders swept a home-and-home series with the playoff-bound Capitals this week.
— Patrice Bergeron recorded his eighth career hat trick and his 400th NHL goal to lead the Bruins past Buffalo, 5-0. David Pastrnak ended Boston’s 0-for-39 power-play slump with his 40th goal of the season.
— Oliver Bjorkstrand (BYOHRK’-strand) led Columbus with a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay, keeping the Lightning from clinching the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division. Tampa Bay has a one-point lead over Boston with one game remaining for each team.
— Kirill Kaprizov (kah-REEL kah-PREE’-zahv) scored a power play goal 44 seconds into overtime to give the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. With the victory, the Wild take over sole possession of second place in the Central Division. Minnesota leads St. Louis by two points with each team having one game remaining on Friday.
— The Edmonton Oilers rallied to beat the San Jose Sharks 5-4 in overtime. Zach Hyman scored his career-high 27th goal of the season 1:37 into the extra period. Edmonton has won six of its last seven games.
Dustin Brown to retire after 18 seasons with Kings
EL SEGUNO, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown will retire after this season, his 18th with the club. The 37-year-old made the announcement Thursday ahead of the Kings’ regular-season finale.
Brown has played in a franchise record 1,295 regular-season games. He was a first-round draft pick in 2003. Brown spent eight seasons as the Kings’ captain, raising the Stanley Cup first after both of the team’s championships in 2012 and 2014.
Los Angeles will face Edmonton in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Bolton fifth Gonzaga starter to declare for NBA draft
UNDATED (AP) — Guard Rasir Bolton has become the fifth Gonzaga starter to declare for the NBA draft. He announced his decision on social media.
Bolton played one season at Penn State and two more at Iowa State before transferring to Gonzaga. He was eligible for a second season at Gonzaga due to a COVID-19 waiver granted to all players who competed in 2020-21.
Four other Gonzaga starters have submitted their names to the draft, including projected first-round pick Chet Holmgren, forward Drew Timme (TIH’-mee), wing Julian Strawther and point guard Andrew Nembhard.