Update on the latest sports

May 26, 2017 - 12:48 am

NBA PLAYOFFS

Cavs blow out Celts to reach finals

BOSTON (AP) — If you loved the last two NBA Finals, you'll love this year's.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are back in the finals after clobbering the Celtics, 135-102 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. The outcome creates a third straight finals matchup between the Cavs and Golden State Warriors.

LeBron James scored 35 points and passed Michael Jordan as the NBA career points leader in the postseason. James did it with a three-pointer in the third quarter.

Kyrie Irving finished with 24 points, while Kevin Love added 15 and a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Cavs were up 43-27 after one quarter and pushed their lead into the 30s by the third quarter. They finished 19-for-41 from 3-point range, with James and Irving each hitting four.

Avery Bradley finished with a team-high 23 points for the Celtics.

The Cavaliers are 12-1 in the playoffs as they seek their second straight championship. The Warriors would like to regain the title they earned by defeating Cleveland in the 2015 Finals.

Game 1 is next Thursday in Oakland.

In other NBA news:

— The Hawks have hired Travis Schlenk as general manager and head of basketball operations, giving the former Golden State assistant GM control of personnel decisions. Schlenk succeeds Wes Wilcox, who resigned May 5 as part of the restructuring of the Hawks' front office.

— Warriors coach Steve Kerr is not yet ready to return to the bench as the franchise prepares for its third straight trip to the finals. General manager Bob Myers made the announcement Thursday, though he didn't rule out Kerr coming back at some point if he somehow is healthy enough to do so. The 51-year-old Kerr underwent a procedure May 5 to repair a spinal fluid leak stemming from complications after a pair of back surgeries in 2015,

NHL-STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

Penguins advance to finals

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins are still in line to become the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups since the 1997 and '98 Detroit Red Wings.

The Pens have advanced to the finals by outlasting Ottawa as Chris Kunitz (KOO'-nihts) scored 5:09 into double overtime to end a 3-2 win over the Senators in Pittsburgh. Kunitz also opened the scoring midway through second period, but the Penguins blew a pair of leads before earning the right to take on the Nashville Predators in the finals.

Nick Schultz delivered a power-play goal that broke a 1-1 tie at 11:44 of the third period. Ottawa responded with a goal from Ryan Dzingel (uh-ZIHN'-gul) with 5:19 left in regulation.

Senators netminder Craig Anderson was terrific while stopping 39 shots. Matt Murray finished with 27 saves on his 23rd birthday.

Game 1 of the finals is slated for Pittsburgh on Monday.

In other NHL news:

— Nashville captain Mike Fisher says he feels a lot better and his goal is to be available during the Stanley Cup finals. Fisher skated with his teammates Thursday for the first time since being injured May 18 late in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.

— Anaheim Ducks defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen need shoulder surgeries that will sideline them into next season. Lindholm will out for four to five months, and Vatanen will be sidelined "longer."

MLB-SCHEDULE

Rockies, Nats lose...Cubs catch Brewers

UNDATED (AP) — It was a tough afternoon for a pair of National League division leaders.

The Rockies' four-game winning streak is over after the Phillies rallied for a 2-1 win over Colorado. Tommy Joseph tied it with a seventh-inning homer and ended it with a walk-off single in the 11th, preventing the Rockies from completing a four-game sweep. Philadelphia stopped a five-game losing streak and won for just the fifth time in 25 games.

Colorado currently tops the NL West by 1 ½ games over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are opening a four-game series in Milwaukee tonight. The Brewers share the NL Central lead with the Chicago Cubs.

Washington suffered a home loss that prevented the Nationals from moving eight games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.

Nelson Cruz slammed a three-run homer off reliever Jacob Turner in the sixth inning and added an RBI single to help the Seattle Mariners beat the Washington Nationals, 4-2 and halt a five-game skid. Nats starter Gio Gonzalez left with a 2-0 lead in the sixth before Cruz hit his 12th home run of the season. Winning pitcher Ariel Miranda gave up two runs and three hits over five innings, including Anthony Rendon's fourth home run in three games.

Elsewhere in the majors:

— The Chicago Cubs rode homers by Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist (ZOH'-brihst) to their third straight win, 5-1 over San Francisco. Heyward has a five-game hitting streak since missing 12 straight with a sprained finger. Zobrist added two singles as the Cubs finished a 7-2 homestand to pass the Brewers for first place in the NL Central.

— Milwaukee absorbed its fourth straight loss as Robbie Ray gave up just two hits over seven innings of Arizona's ninth win in 10 games, 4-0 at Miller Park. Gregor Blanco was 3-for-4 and drove Zach Davies' second pitch of the night for a home run. Chris Owings also went deep to back Ray, who owns a 0.57 ERA on the road this season.

— Houston's fourth homer of the day was a game-winner as Jake Marisnick spammed an Alex Wilson pitch in the eighth inning to push the Astros past Detroit, 7-6. Carlos Correa, Marwin Gonzalez and Juan Centeno all homered off Justin Verlander in Houston's five-run fourth. The outcome moves the AL West leaders eight games ahead of the Angels and Rangers.

— The Red Sox were 6-2 winners over Texas as Drew Pomeranz tied a career high with 11 strikeouts while working six innings. Xander Bogaerts (ZAN'-dur BOH'-gahrts) and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win. Elvis Andrus (AN'-droos) homered for the Rangers, who have dropped four of five since a 10-game winning streak.

— Ivan Nova pitched into the ninth inning and Adam Frazier smacked a three-run homer while the Pirates pounded Bartolo Colon in a 9-4 victory over the Braves. Nova threw 100 pitches in 8 1/3 innings, giving up three hits in the ninth and missing out on becoming the first pitcher in the big leagues with three complete games this season. Pittsburgh earned a four-game split with its second consecutive win.

— Tampa Bay also gained a four-game split as Matt Andriese scattered six hits over eight innings of a 4-0 shutout of the Angels. Colby Rasmus provided the scoring with a two-run single and a two-run double. Tommy Hunter got three outs to complete a six-hitter.

— Dinelson Lamet (lah-MEHT') overpowered the Mets in his major league debut while allowing one run over five innings of San Diego's 4-3 victory in the rubber match of the three-game series. He outpitched replacement starter Rafael Montero, who fell behind 2-0 in the first inning after learning 3 1/2 hours earlier that he would pitch instead of Jacob deGrom (deh-GRAHM') because of the threat of rain. Brad Hand allowed a run but got the save by escaping a jam in the ninth for the second straight night.

— The Yankees and Royals were rained out in New York. The game will be made up on Sept. 25.

— The Indians-Reds game in Cleveland was postponed because of rain and rescheduled for July 24.

MLB-RED SOX-PRICE

Price slated for Monday start

BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox pitcher David Price is set to make his season debut Monday against the White Sox in Chicago.

The 31-year-old lefty has been recovering from a strained pitching elbow. He allowed six earned runs and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings during a pair of rehab starts at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Price is in the second season of a seven-year, $217 million contract.

NFL-NEWS

Bills sign linebacker Hodges, release cornerback Gaines

UNDATED (AP) — The Buffalo Bills have signed linebacker Gerald Hodges, who started 12 games for San Francisco last season. Hodges is going into his fifth season after being drafted in 2013 by the Minnesota Vikings. He played two-plus seasons with Minnesota before joining the 49ers. He had 83 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble last year. Team officials also said Thursday that cornerback Charles Gaines had been released. Gaines didn't play last season but started four games for Cleveland in 2015.

In other NFL news:

— The New York Giants have signed defensive end Devin Taylor and safety Duke Ihenacho. New York terminated the contract of safety Raheem Moore and waived linebacker Ishaq Williams to make room on their roster.

— The Bears have inked former Giants receiver Victor Cruz to a one-year contract after losing free agent Alshon Jeffery to Philadelphia. Cruz has 303 catches for 4,549 yards and 25 touchdowns in his NFL career, but he's been (plagued by knee injury and a calf problem.

— The Arizona Cardinals have signed safety Budda Baker, the team's second-round draft pick out of Washington. The Cardinals now have all draftees under contract except their first-round pick, linebacker Haason Reddick.

— Four NFL teams will carry an additional overseas player on their practice squads during the 2017 season: Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. Three players are from Britain and one from Germany. The announcement by the NFL on Thursday is part of a new International Player Pathway program.

PGA-COLONIAL

3-way tie at Colonial

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — There's a three-way tie for the lead through 18 holes of the PGA's Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kelly Kraft, Derek Fathauer and PGA Tour rookie J.T. Poston opened with 5-under 65s for a one-shot edge over three others. Kraft and Graeme McDowell had the only bogey-free rounds on a day when only 33 of the 121 players finished under par.

Jon Rahm shares fourth place with McDowell and Scott Brown.

Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson birdied their last three holes for 67s.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Langer leads as he goes for 9th major

STERLING, Va. (AP) — Bernhard Langer (LAHN'-gur) is the first-round leader of the Senior PGA Championship as he seeks his record ninth major on the tour.

Langer shot a 7-under 65 that leaves him two strokes and of Tom Lehman (LAY'-mihn), Lee Janzen, Scott McCarron and James Kingston. The 59-year-old German could break Jack Nicklaus' record of eight senior majors.

LPGA-VOLVIK CHAMPIONSHIP

Lewis, Hsu share lead

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Stacy Lewis shot a 7-under 65 to share the first-round lead with Wei-Ling Hsu in the LPGA Volvik Championship.

Lewis is a former world No. 1 who is winless in 72 events since June 2014.

Hsu eagled two of her first five holes and was 6 under through six. She and Lewis ended up a stroke ahead of Nelly Korda.

NASCAR-COCA-COLA 600

Harvick has Charlotte pole

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Harvick has claimed the pole for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.

Harvick turned a lap of 193.424 mph on the 1 1/2-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway oval. It's only the second time a Ford has won the pole in the last 16 Cup races at Charlotte.

Kyle Busch will start on the front row after winning the All-Star race at Charlotte last weekend.

Cup Series point leader Kyle Larson will begin NASCAR's longest race at the rear of the field. Larson's car failed to get through prequalifying inspection in time for him to make a qualifying lap.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL-LOUISVILLE-ESCORTS

No indictment for escort, staffer in Louisville sex scandal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A grand jury has declined to indict an escort and a former Louisville men's basketball staffer in a sex scandal that engulfed the program.

The Jefferson County grand jury decided Thursday there wasn't enough evidence for charges of prostitution and unlawful transactions with a minor against Katina Powell and Andre McGee.

The announcement by the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office comes as the school awaits discipline in early June by the NCAA after an investigation.

Louisville has imposed its own penalties, including a postseason ban in 2015-16 and reductions in scholarships and recruiting visits by coaches.

NORTH CAROLINA-ACADEMIC PROBE

UNC responds to 3rd set of NCAA charges in academic case

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina is responding to the third set of charges it received from the NCAA in the long-running academic fraud case.

The 102-page document released Thursday marked the latest step in the seven-year investigation. UNC faces five top-level charges, including lack of institutional control, in the multiyear probe centered on irregular courses in an academic department.

North Carolina is challenging the NCAA's jurisdiction to pursue charges for issues the school says "are academic in nature" and "lie beyond the reach of the bylaws belatedly invoked" by the NCAA.

CHAD CURTIS-SEX CHARGES

School settles lawsuit tied to misconduct by ex-MLB player

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A school district in western Michigan has settled a lawsuit with four young women who say they were inappropriately touched by a former Major League Baseball player who worked at Lakewood High School.

A federal judge signed an order Thursday dismissing the Lakewood district from the case. Chad Curtis remains in the lawsuit.

The women say they were inappropriately touched by Curtis when they were students at Lakewood High in Barry County. Curtis was convicted of criminal sexual conduct in 2013. He could be released from prison in three years.

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