Update on the latest sports

NBA-SCHEDULE

McGruder’s late 3 helps Clippers edge Trail Blazers 122-120

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Rodney McGruder hit a 3-pointer with 26.5 seconds left, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 122-120, even with Kawhi Leonard resting on the bench.

Portland had a chance to ensure a play-in for the Western Conference’s final playoff berth and eliminate Sacramento with a win.

The Trail Blazers led much of the game but the NBA’s top-scoring team inside the bubble was outscored 12-5 in the final 96 seconds as Paul George also sat the final five minutes. George finished with 21 points. Landry Shamet scored 19 and Reggie Jackson added 17.

CJ McCollum led Portland with 29 points while hitting 6 of 13 3-pointers.

NBA-NEWS

Simmons needs knee surgery

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Philadelphia All-Star Ben Simmons will have surgery on his left knee. It’s a big blow for the 76ers and their hopes of making a deep run in this season’s playoffs.

The 76ers announced Saturday that Simmons will be leaving the NBA’s season-restart bubble at Walt Disney World. There was no immediate timeframe for his return, and it’s likely that no firm timetable on his recovery will be set until after the surgery.

Simmons left Philadelphia’s game against Washington on Wednesday midway through the third quarter because of injury, officially diagnosed as a subluxation of the left patella. A subluxation is a partial and temporary dislocation; the patella is the kneecap. Tests performed since revealed a loose body inside the knee, which led to the decision for surgery.

In other NBA news:

— This season’s three NBA MVP finalists have won the award before. The finalists announced Saturday are reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) of the Milwaukee Bucks, four-time MVP LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and 2017-18 winner James Harden of the Houston Rockets. James would join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan and Bill Russell as the NBA’s only five-time MVPs. Abdul-Jabbar won the honor six times. Antetokounmpo is bidding to become the 12th back-to-back winner of the award, and Harden is vying for his second MVP in three seasons. The NBA has not set dates for the winners to be announced.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE SPORTS

Mid-American Conference cancels fall football due to virus

UNDATED (AP) — The Mid-American Conference has become the first league competing at college football’s highest level to cancel its fall season because of COVID-19 concerns.

With the MAC’s 12 schools facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly coronavirus protocols, the conference’s university presidents made the decision to cancel all fall sports — including soccer and volleyball — and explore making them up in the spring season.

MAC schools rely heavily on revenue from playing road games against power conference teams. Most of those games were canceled when the Power Five went to exclusively or mostly conference games.

MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said he is “heartbroken we are in this place.” He stressed this was first a decision about the health and well-being of the athletes, and the conference’s medical experts were not comfortable that sports could be run safely.

A meeting of its presidents earlier in the week was expected to produce an agreement on how to go about a fall season, but instead some schools pushed to not play. The final decision was made Saturday morning.

In other college sports news:

— The Big Ten is tapping the brakes on football practice by telling its schools that until further notice full contact practices cannot begin. The conference announced all teams will remain in the first two days of what is known as the “acclimatization period” as teams work in just helmets. The Big Ten said all other fall sports will continue to work with team physicians and athletic trainers to adjust practices to the appropriate level of activity. The conference said in a statement it will continue to rely on its medical experts and evaluate the situation daily.

— Pittsburgh junior defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman has opted out of the 2020 season to focus on next year’s NFL draft. Twyman was a second-team All-American in 2019 when he registered 10 1/2 sacks. He said in a statement posted on Twitter that he will return home to Washington, D.C. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound Twyman said his decision is not about COVID-19, but rather about taking care of his family’s needs.

NFL-JAGUARS MOVES

Jaguars release 5, including Middleton, to cut roster to 80

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars parted ways with five players Saturday, including third-year safety Doug Middleton, to reduce their roster to 80.

Th team also waived running back Tavien Feaster, place-kicker Brandon Wright and offensive linemen Tyler Gauthier and Steven Nielsen. Feaster, Wright and Nielsen are rookies. The Jags also placed veteran defensive tackle Rodney Gunter on the non-football illness list. Gunter signed a three-year, $18 million contract in free agency and is expected to step into a starting role for a revamped defense that includes six new starters.

By having 80 players on its roster now, Jacksonville is eligible to have its entire team at the facility and on the practice field during training camp.

NASCAR-MICHIGAN

NASCAR docks 20 points from Newman, Buescher for violations

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — NASCAR has docked Ryan Newman and Chris Buescher 20 points each and confiscated their spoilers prior to Saturday’s race at Michigan International Speedway.

NASCAR said the two violated a rule stating that except as specified, spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer. Each car was also being sent to the rear for the start of the race. Other penalties include a loss of 20 owner points and a $25,000 fine.

Jimmie Johnson and Joey Gase were also starting at the back because of inspection failures.

Newman and Buescher are both without a victory this year, and both were outside the top 20 in points even before these penalties.

F1-70TH ANNIVERSARY GP

Bottas on pole for Silverstone GP ahead of teammate Hamilton

SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Valtteri Bottas edged out Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton to claim the pole position Saturday for Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Hamilton appeared on course to take his 92nd career pole but he had a poor first sector on his final run and Bottas clocked 1 minute, 25.154 seconds, 0.063 seconds ahead of the six-time world champion. It gave Bottas his first pole since the opening race of the pandemic-delayed season in Austria, which he went on to win.

F1 is back at Hamilton’s home circuit of Silverstone this weekend for a race also closed to spectators due to the coronavirus restrictions.

MLS-SEASON RESUMES

MLS to resume regular season following Florida tournament

UNDATED (AP) — Major League Soccer said Saturday it will resume its season once the MLS is Back tournament in Florida wraps up.

The league’s 26 teams will each play 18 games, with the first between FC Dallas and Nashville set for Aug. 12. Dallas and Nashville are playing three additional games after withdrawing from the league’s tournament because of positive COVID-19 cases.

A majority of games will be played without fans because of local regulations. Teams will be subject to a rigorous testing protocol and will use charter flights to travel.

MLS suspended the season on March 12 because of the pandemic after teams had played two games each.

The league has been playing the monthlong MLS is Back tournament without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World. The championship match is set for Tuesday between the Portland Timbers and Orlando City.

The group stage matches at the World Cup-style tournament counted toward the regular season.

Categories: National Sports