Update on the latest sportsAP
Sixers pad lead by rallying past Pelicans
UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers are a little closer to clinching the top seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Sixers won their season-high seventh straight game and increased their lead to three games over Brooklyn and Milwaukee by downing the Pelicans, 109-107. Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) had 37 points and 13 rebounds amid chants of “MVP! MVP!”
Embiid made two free throws with 1:39 left to bring the Sixers within one, then grabbed a defensive rebound on the other end to set up Tobias Harris’ 3 with 1:10 remaining.
Tobias Harris scored 17 points as the 76ers improved to 46-21.
The Bucks caught up to the Nets as Brook Lopez had 24 points and Khris Middleton scored 21 of his 23 in the second half of a 141-133 downing of the Rockets. Jrue Holiday had 20 points as the Bucks had seven players reach double figures.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) had 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in Milwaukee’s fifth win in a row.
Meanwhile, the Jazz have kept their one-game lead in the West by outscoring the Nuggets, 127-120.
Bojan (BOY’-ahn) Bogdanovic set career highs with eight 3-pointers and 48 points, shooting 16 of 23 from the field. Bogdanovic also had eight rebounds in Utah’s fourth win in a row.
Jordan Clarkson added 21 points and eight assists as the Jazz dropped the Nuggets five games off the West lead and one game behind the third-place Clippers.
Michael Porter, Jr. scored 31 points for Denver, and Nikola Jokic (nih-KOH’-lah YOH’-kihch) added 24 points, 13 assists, and nine rebounds.
Checking out Friday’s other NBA action:
— Deandre Ayton furnished 26 points and the Suns stayed one game off the West lead by dominating the fourth quarter of a 128-105 drubbing the Knicks. Phoenix scored four points in the last second of the third quarter to take a 90-88 lead and outscored New York, 38-17 the rest of the way. Chris Paul added 17 points and 11 assists as the Suns trimmed the Knicks lead for fourth place in the East to a half-game over the Hawks.
— Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chihch) provided 24 points in 23 minutes and the Mavericks stayed in fifth place in the West with an easy 110-90 victory over the Cavaliers. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points for Dallas, which didn’t trail after going ahead 4-2 in the Cavaliers’ ninth consecutive loss. The Mavs built a 62-37 halftime lead by holding Cleveland to 31% shooting before the break.
— Damian Lillard had 38 points to lead Portland to a 106-101 victory over the Lakers. The Trail Blazers grabbed the tiebreaker over Los Angeles as the two teams try to avoid the play-in tournament. Anthony Davis had 36 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, losers in eight of their last 10 games.
— Tyler Herro (HEE’-roh) returned after a six-game absence and scored 27 points in the Heat’s 121-112 victory over the Timberwolves. Jimmy Butler had 25 and the Miami Heat moved back into the No. 6 spot in the East. Goran Dragic (DRAH’-gihch) added 23 points for Miami.
— Terry Rozier scored 28 points, LaMelo Ball added 27 points and the Hornets inched closer to securing a spot in the play-in tournament with a 122-112 win over the Magic. P.J. Washington had another strong shooting night and finished with 23 points and nine rebounds. Charlotte can clinch a spot in the play-in tournament with a win Sunday against New Orleans.
— Dejounte (deh-ZHAN’-tay) Murray scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter of the Spurs’ 113-104 decision over the Kings. DeMar DeRozan had 25 points to help San Antonio end a five-game skid and strengthen its hold on the final Western Conference playoff slot.
— Zach LaVine (lah-VEEN’) and Coby White each scored 25 points as the Bulls blasted the Celtics, 121-99. White hit seven 3-pointers and Chicago made 18 of 40 from beyond the arc. Nikola Vucevic added 18 points, 10 assists and 14 rebounds to help the Bulls withstand Kemba Walker’s 33 points for Boston.
Pelicans’ Williamson out indefinitely with fractured finger
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans’ playoff hopes have been dealt a major blow with the loss of forward Zion Williamson, who is averaging 27 points and 7.2 rebounds in 61 games this season.
Williamson is out indefinitely with a fractured left finger suffered in Tuesday’s game against Golden State.
Caps, Lightning lose
UNDATED (AP) — It was a tough night for the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning as they try to win a division title.
Rookie Wade Allison scored twice and Brian Elliott made 28 saves as the Flyers topped the Capitals, 4-2. Joel Farabee took advantage of a defensive-zone miscue by Washington to open the scoring 1:44 into the game. Sean Couturier (koo-TUR’-ee-ay) sealed it for Philadelphia with an empty-net goal with 30.1 seconds left.
The loss keeps the Caps two points behind the East Division-leading Penguins with two games remaining. Pittsburgh has one game remaining.
In Tampa, the Lightning were eliminated from the Central race, allowing the Carolina Hurricanes to become division champs.
Joe Pavelski had two goals and two assists as the Stars won for the first time in six games, 5-2 over the Bolts. Roope (ROO’-peh) Hintz added a goal and two assists for Dallas, which pulled within two points of Nashville for the final Central Division playoff berth.
The outcome sets up an all-Florida first-round matchup between the Lightning and Panthers.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Vegas still leads the West by four points over Colorado after Jonathan Marchessault scored at 4:43 of overtime to give the Golden Knights a 4-3 win over the Blues. Reilly Smith, Alec Martinez, and Nic Roy scored in regulation for the Knights, who have won six games after falling behind by two goals this season. Robin Lehner stopped 22 shots to improve to 16-3-2 since joining the Golden Knights last season.
— The Avalanche kept pace with Vegas as Mikko Rantanen (MEe’-koh RAN’-tah-nehn) scored his 30th goal of the season in a 3-2 verdict over the Kings. Cale Makar (mah-KAHR’) had a goal and an assist to help the Avs eliminate Los Angeles from playoff contention and give the Blues fourth place in the West. Tyson Jost also scored, Philipp Grubauer made 15 saves in the victory.
— Kirill Kaprizov (kah-REEL’ kah-PREE’-zahf) scored 27 seconds into overtime to send the Wild to a 4-3 win against the Ducks. Victor Rask, Nico Sturm and Joel Eriksson Ek also scored for Minnesota, which has won three of its past four games and has points in five straight. Kaapo Kahkonen (KA’-poh KAH’-koh-nehn) made 22 saves in the win.
— Thomas Greiss (grys) made 22 saves and the Red Wings scored three goals in the second period of a 5-2 win over the Blue Jackets. Jakub Vrana (vuh-RAH’-nah) had a goal and an assist, and Joe Veleno and Danny DeKeyser also scored in the second period for Detroit.
Canucks’ Zack MacEwen suspended game for kneeing
NEW YORK (AP) — Vancouver Canucks forward Zack MacEwen was suspended for one game without pay by the NHL for kneeing Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse. The incident came midway through the second period Thursday night in the Canucks’ 6-3 victory in Edmonton. The suspension will cost MacEwen $7,112.
Miley tosses majors’ latest no-hitter
UNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball is on pace to shatter the all-time record for no-hitters in a season.
Wade Miley threw the fourth no-hitter of the season while leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 shutout of the Indians. The left-hander shook off an 83-minute rain delay to start the game and followed Baltimore’s John Means, who no-hit Seattle on Wednesday.
Miley walked one and struck out eight on 114 pitches.
The Indians joined a dubious list by becoming the 16th team to be no-hit twice in the same season, less than a month after White Sox hurler Carlos Rodon (roh-DAHN’) did it to them.
Oakland’s Sean Manaea (mah-NY’-ah) came within six outs of firing the fifth no-hitter of the year.
The lefty’s bid ended with a leadoff double by high school teammate Mike Brosseau in the eighth inning.
Seth Brown hit a game-ending homer as the Athletics topped the Rays, 2-1.
Also in the majors:
— Nolan Arenado went 2-for-4 in his first game against his former team to help the Cardinals beat the Rockies, 5-0. Jack Flaherty smacked his first career homer and became the majors’ first six-game winner, limiting Colorado to three hits over seven innings.
Jack Flaherty hit his first career home run and became the major leagues’ first six-game winner, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over Colorado 5-0 on Friday night in Nolan Arenado’s first game against the Rockies.
— The Cubs have run their winning streak to four games as Zach Davies allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings of a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh. Joc Pederson had three hits and an RBI for the Cubs, who took three straight from the Dodgers.
— Isan Diaz hit his first career grand slam to power the Marlins to their fourth consecutive win, 6-1 over the Brewers. Miguel Rojas had two hits and scored three times as Miami handed Milwaukee its sixth loss in a row.
— Odúbel (oh-DOO’-bul) Herrera slammed a three-run homer while the Phillies scored six times in the first inning of a 12-2 laugher over the Braves. J.T. Realmuto (ree-ul-MOO’-tohz) three hits included a two-run homer in Philadelphia’s fifth win in a row.
— Pete Alonso scored on pinch-hitter Patrick Mazeika’s fielder’s choice in the 10th inning to complete the Mets comeback from a 4-1 deficit in a 5-4 triumph over the Diamondbacks. Francisco Lindor (lihn-DOHR’) hit a tying, two-run homer in the seventh inning after an apparently heated exchange with teammate Jeff McNeil in the dugout tunnel following a misplayed popup.
— The Angels-five-game losing streak is over after David Fletcher drove in three runs on three hits in a 9-2 thumping of the Dodgers. Justin Upton and Taylor Ward homered in the Angels’ four-run second inning, and Shohei Ohtani (SHOH’-hay oh-TAH’-nee) delivered two RBI doubles as the Halos dealt the Dodgers their fourth consecutive loss.
— The Nationals took advantage of three Yankees errors to score six times in the eighth inning of an 11-4 rout in the Bronx. Trea Turner singled home the go-ahead run and Josh Harrison slammed a three-run homer that put the Nats in control.
— Bobby Dalbec snapped an 0-for-27 skid with a single and a three-run homer to carry the Red Sox to a 6-2 win at Baltimore. Eduardo Rodriguez improved to 5-0, allowing one run and seven hits over five innings to help Boston move to a major league-best 20-13.
— Kyle Garlick, Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler homered to lift the Twins to a 7-3 win over the Tigers. Matt Shoemaker tossed shutout ball in blanking Detroit during his five innings.
— The Royals absorbed their sixth straight loss as Carlos Rodón (roh-DAHN’) struck out eight in six innings of the White Sox’s 3-0 victory. Relievers Codi Heuer, Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks worked the final three innings to complete the shutout.
— Yuli Gurriel (YOO’-lee gur-ee-EHL’) homered and tied a career high with four hits while driving in four runs to lead the Astros’ 10-4 pounding of the Blue Jays. Carlos Correa added a two-run homer and José Urquidy (ur-KEE’-dee) pitched seven strong innings to help Houston win its second straight since a three-game slide.
— Mitch Haniger supplied a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh inning and the Mariners bounced back from being no-hit in their last game with a 5-4 victory over the Rangers. Dylan Moore and J.P. Crawford both hit tying two-run homers for Seattle.
Indians catcher has finger surgery, out months
UNDATED (AP) — The Indians could be without Gold Glove catcher Roberto Pérez for months.
Pérez has undergone surgery to fix a fractured ring finger. He suffered the injury last month and played nearly three weeks with it before the discomfort became too much. Pérez hurt his finger when he got crossed up by reliever James Karinchak and caught a pitch with his bare hand.
Elsewhere in the league:
— The Phillies had Jean Segura and Bryce Harper in the lineup for Friday’s game against the Braves in Atlanta. Segura started at second base in his return from a right quad strain that landed him on the injured list. Harper missed four consecutive games with a sore left wrist.
— Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was put on the 10-day injured list with a strained right hip. The injury interrupts a stellar start for the 27-year-old Buxton, who is hitting .370 with nine home runs and five stolen bases.
— Reds first baseman Joey Votto (VY’-toh) has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken left thumb that could sideline him for a month. Votto was struck on the thumb with a pitch by Chicago’s Dallas Keuchel (KY’-kul) on Wednesday. The 37-year-old is batting .226 with five homers and 17 RBIs.
— The Angels have acquired catcher Drew Butera from Texas for cash considerations, allowing Los Angeles to designate backstop Jack Kruger for assignment. The 37-year-old Butera will back up Kurt Suzuki while catchers Max Stassi and Anthony Bemboom are sidelined by injuries.
— Utilityman Hernán Pérez is back in the Brewers organization after accepting a minor league contract. Pérez was designated for assignment by the Nationals on Tuesday after going 1 for 19 in 10 games. He was productive in his first stop with the Brewers, batting .258 with 45 homers, 175 RBIs and 67 steals in his 572 games.
— A fifth major league team has been able to relax coronavirus protocols after 85% of its players and other on-field personnel completed vaccination. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association made the announcement without identifying any teams. They said seven additional teams had reached the 85% level of having received final doses and would be able to relax protocols within two weeks once they are fully vaccinated.
AP source: No cutting players because they are unvaccinated
UNDATED (AP) — A person with direct knowledge of the NFL’s directive tells The Associated Press a team can’t release a player simply because he is not vaccinated for COVID-19.
Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane suggested hypothetically this week that he’d do so if it would provide more freedom within the team facilities for meetings and offseason programs.
The NFL currently is formulating further plans and protocols for the offseason programs and training camp.
In other NFL news:
— The Jets have cut six players including wide receiver Josh Doctson in a flurry of moves before the team’s first rookie minicamp practice under new coach Robert Saleh. Cornerback Kyron Brown, tight end Connor Davis, offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi, kicker Chase McLaughlin and wide receiver Jaleel Scott were also released Friday.
— The Lions have signed center Frank Ragnow to a four-year, $54 million extension that keeps him under contract through the 2026 season for a total of $70 million. The deal makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player at the position.
PGA-WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP
Woodland, Wallace, Rodgers share lead
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — There’s a three-way tie for the lead through two rounds of the PGA’s Wells Fargo Championship.
Former U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland fought through morning gusts while shooting a 2-under 69 that leaves him tied with Matt Wallace and Patrick Rodgers. Wallace fired a 66 for a 6 under total.
Kramer Hickok is one shot back and one ahead of five others, including Rory McIlroy.
Phil Mickelson followed a 64 with a 75 that puts him 3 under.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS-TRADITION
Four-way tie at Tradition
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Defending champion Steve Stricker birdied the final hole for a 3-under 69 to move into a four-way tie for the lead halfway through the Regions Tradition. Stricker joined Jerry Kelly, Monday qualifier Alex Cejka (CHAY’-kah) and first-round leader Darren Clarke atop the leaderboard at 7 under in the first of the PGA Tour Champions’ five majors. Cejka has shot 68 and 69 after making the field as the first alternate when Jay Haas withdrew.
University of Hartford sports drops from Division I to III
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The University of Hartford is dropping its sports teams from Division I to Division III.
The decision comes after the Hartford men’s basketball team this season won its first America East championship this season and played in the NCAA Tournament for the first time, losing to eventual national champion Baylor in the first round.
Hartford President Gregory Woodward says the school wants to “transition to this new model for intercollegiate athletics.”