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Sports Archives for 2020-08


(Orlando, FL)  --  The NBA playoffs will resume, but players want action.  The players met yesterday in Orlando and said they are putting together a list of actionable items they want the NBA to endorse so they can proceed.  ESPN reports that play will likely resume on Saturday.  The Lakers lead their series against the Blazers 3-1, while the Clippers are up on the Mavericks 3-2.



(Portland, OR)  --  Portland Trail Blazer Damian Lillard is out of the NBA bubble in Orlando after spraining his right knee in Game Four on Monday.  Lillard is in Portland for further examination.  He has averaged 30.5 points since the restart.  The Trail Blazers are down 3-1 to the Lakers in the West's first round.  It is unclear when they will play Game 5.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  The Dodgers didn't allow a run over two games in a doubleheader sweep of the Giants in San Francisco.  Clayton Kershaw fired six shutout inings to get the win in the top half as the Dodgers won 7-0.  A.J. Pollock launched a two-run homer in that game and Joc Pederson went deep in the nightcap as L.A. won 2-0.  The Giants fell to 15-and-18 and visit Arizona today.  The Dodgers improved to 24-and-9 and travel to face the Texas Rangers today.



(Undated)  --  A total of seven MLB games are being postponed in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.   The first teams to announce they would not take the field on Thursday were the Oakland A's and the Texas Rangers.  The A's are expected to visit the Houston Astros today.  The L.A. Angels are also in action at home against the Seattle Mariners.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Before the NBA voted to resume play, Michael Jordan reportedly acted as a liaison between the league and the Players Association.  Jordan spoke with NBAPA president Chris Paul and the Rockets' Russell Westbrook to address the social issues that prompted some players to advocate for the cancellation of the season.  As the owner of the Hornets, Jordan is the only black majority owner in the NBA.



(Undated)  --  A total of nine NFL teams canceled practice on Thursday to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.  The L.A. Chargers were among them and instead held a discussion among players and coaches about social issues.  Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn is one of three Black head coaches in the NFL.



(Undated)  --  The MLB Players Alliance, made up of over 100 current and former Black players, is pledging to donate the salaries from Thursday's and Friday's games to combat racial inequality.  The money will aid Black families and communities across the country.  "We are determined to use our platform to speak out, and encourage our teammates and fans to help make our voices even louder," the Alliance said in a statement yesterday.



Portland guard Damian Lillard is leaving the NBA's bubble at Walt
Disney World for further tests on his injured right knee.

Lillard will leave the bubble in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and
return to Portland on Thursday, the Trail Blazers said. He was
diagnosed Tuesday with a knee sprain, which occurred in Game 4 of
the team's first-round Western Conference series against the Los
Angeles Lakers.

The team did not make any mention if the uncertainty over the
remainder of the NBA season played a role in Lillard's decision.
All three NBA games scheduled for Wednesday - including Game 5
between the Lakers and Blazers, which Lillard would not have played
in and Portland would have had to win to extend its season - were
postponed as part of a player protest against racial injustice.

Players made the extraordinary decisions to protest the shooting by
police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday of Jacob Blake, a Black
man, apparently in the back while three of his children looked on.

Even if the playoffs resume and the Blazers were to extend their
series, Lillard would have to miss several days anyway simply for
leaving the bubble. He would have to quarantine for at least four
days upon his return.

Lillard was the unanimous winner of the MVP award during the
seeding games portion of the restarted season, the eight-game
stretch that got the Blazers into the play-in round against the
Memphis Grizzlies. He's averaged 30.5 points inside the Disney
bubble since the season restarted July 30.

Lillard willed the Blazers into the postseason with one dazzling
performance after another. Portland won their final three seeding
games by a total of seven points; Lillard had 51, 61 and 42 points,
respectively, in those games.

Lillard has been very durable during his eight NBA seasons, all of
them coming with the Blazers. They've played 703 regular-season and
playoff games since he was drafted; he's appeared in 670 of them,
or 95.3%, and started his career by playing in 286 consecutive
Portland contests, including playoff matchups.

---

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and
https://twitter.com/AP-Sports



(Bradenton, FL)  --  The Sparks and Lynx will have last night's game made up at a future date.  Their game at the WNBA bubble in Florida was postponed.  The league followed the NBA's lead in not taking the court as players protest police violence against African- Americans.



(Undated)  --  The LA Galaxy and LAFC both got an unexpected night off on Wednesday.  MLS postponed its entire evening schedule out of respect to Jacob Blake, who was recently shot by police in Wisconsin.  The Galaxy were to have hosted Seattle, with LAFC at Real Salt Lake.



LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) NBA players didn't come to Disney
solely for a restart. They wanted social reform.

The Milwaukee Bucks showed how far they're willing to go to get it
by opting not to play in their playoff game Wednesday. Two more
games were postponed later in the day, the second time this season
NBA basketball came to an immediate halt.

Other sports followed, just as they did in March when the season
was suspended four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This time, the players will decide how long the stoppage lasts.

''The biggest thing that we all understand is if we're not playing,
what are we doing? What are we doing to show and to help what's
going on outside this bubble?'' Boston Celtics forward Grant
Williams said, shortly before the Bucks were scheduled to tip off
their game against the Orlando Magic.

Instead, the Bucks players remained in the locker room, finally
emerging hours later to read a statement demanding action from
lawmakers and encouraging voting by citizens.

They changed the narrative across the entire sports landscape,
putting the focus squarely on social justice reform in protest of
the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha,
Wisconsin, while three of his children in his car looked on.

While players and teams from baseball, the WNBA, MLS and tennis sat
out their competitions Wednesday night, NBA players and coaches met
for nearly three hours in a Disney hotel to determine next steps,
including whether the season should continue. They did not come to
a consensus, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The
Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details weren't
revealed publicly.

The NBA's board of governors will meet Thursday morning and likely
address whether the playoff games scheduled for that day will be
played. The Western & Southern Open won't be, with the U.S. Tennis
Association, along with the ATP and WTA Tours, announcing play
would be paused after two-time Grand Slam women's champion Naomi
Osaka had already said she wouldn't play her semifinal match.

''I don't expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing,
but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I
consider that a step in the right direction,'' Osaka tweeted.
''Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of
the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.''

More lost NBA games would be another punishing financial blow in a
season in which the league was already headed to losses of hundreds
of million of dollars, potentially leading to ramifications that
would be felt in future years.

Before coming to Disney, many NBA players wrestled for weeks about
whether it was even right to play, fearing that a return to games
would take attention off the deaths of, among others, Breonna
Taylor and George Floyd in recent months.

They ultimately decided coming to the bubble and playing televised
games would give them the largest platform, though now at least
some are wondering if that's still true. Toronto coach Nick Nurse
said he's heard some players on his team say they were thinking
about going home.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers hopes they won't.

His players considered boycotting a playoff game in 2014 after
audio tapes featuring former owner Donald Sterling were revealed.
He said this time is different because it's the whole league,
rather than one team, weighing the decision.

''I think every team has to decide what they want to do and
honestly I hope everyone plays,'' Rivers said. ''I just think
showing the excellence in doing your job, there's nothing wrong
with that, but also fighting for what's right is important as
well.''

It certainly is for the Bucks, who play about 40 miles from
Kenosha. Sterling Brown, one of the players to read the statement,
has a federal lawsuit pending against the city of Milwaukee
alleging he was targeted because he was Black and that his civil
rights were violated in January 2018 when officers used a stun gun
on him after a parking violation.

And it is for the Raptors, whose team president, Masai Ujiri, had
an altercation with an Oracle Arena security guard after Game 6 of
last year's NBA Finals. A video of it released recently appears to
show an Alameda County sheriff's deputy initially shoved Ujiri, who
is Black, twice.

They are scheduled to open the second round Thursday against
Boston, but Nurse said his players were already having discussions
about not playing.

''Boycotting the game has come up for them and again, as a way to
try to demand a little more action and I think that's really what
they want,'' Nurse said.

''I think there's enough attention and there's not quite enough
action and I think that's what I can sense from the discussion.
Their disappointment of man, how can we get something to change?''

It probably starts with actions like the Bucks took. Rivers and
LeBron James had passionately described the emotions the NBA
community felt after seeing the video of Blake's shooting.

But it's going to take more than players sitting out NBA games.

''It's going to take all our institutions to stand up for our
values,'' former President Barack Obama tweeted, commending the NBA
and WNBA players while posting a link to Rivers' comments from
earlier this week.

---

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this
report.



(Portland, OR)  --  The Portland Timbers are joining the Portland Trail Blazers in boycotting play to show opposition to racial injustice and police brutality.  The Timbers were supposed to play the San Jose Earthquakes last night.  That game has been postponed.  The Blazers' Game 5 against the Los Angeles Lakers was also postponed as all of the NBA players boycotted their games.  The boycotts are in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday.  Blake remains hospitalized after police shot him seven times in the back in front of three of his children.
 



(Orland, FL)  --  Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is sitting out tonight's game against the Lakers due to a knee injury.  Lillard suffered a right knee strain in the third quarter of Monday's loss to the Lakers.  C.J. McCollum will try to pick up more of the back court scoring.  Tonight is Game 5 of the West's first round in Orlando.
 



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Clippers are back in control of the series as they crushed the Mavericks 154-111 in Game Five from Orlando.  The Clips led by 19 after the first quarter and never looked back.  Paul George racked up 35 points and Kawhi Leonard added 32 as L.A. took a 3-2 series lead.  Game Six is tomorrow.



(Houston, TX)  --  The Angels and Astros split a doubleheader in Houston on Tuesday as Hurricane Laura approaches the region.  The Astros won the first game 6-3 thanks to solid pitching from rookie starter Christian Javier, who improved to 3-and-1 on the season.  Houston gave him a four-run lead after one inning.  The Angels took the second game with a 12-5 win as Brian Goodwin drove in three runs in that matchup and four on the day.  Felix Pena earned the win in the nightcap.  Wednesday's game has been postponed until September 5th due to the hurricane.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  Donovan Solano drilled the walk-off two-run homer in the 11th inning as the Giants stunned the Dodgers 10-8 in San Francisco.  Brandon Belt tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot and finished with two homers, a double and five RBI.  The Giants used 10 pitchers, with Sam Selman coming away with the win.  Max Muncy and Corey Seager homered for the Dodgers in defeat.  Dennis Santana gave up both runs in the 11th to take the loss for L.A.  The series continues today.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Lakers forward Anthony Davis is runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.  The NBA announced on Tuesday that the honor is going to Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is also the favorite to win league MVP.  LeBron James is also in the running for that award, along with Rockets guard and L.A. native James Harden.



(Arlington, TX)  --  Marcus Semien and Matt Olson provided two-run homers as the A's rolled past the Rangers 10-3 in Arlington.  Sean Manaea tossed five innings of one-run ball to pick up the win for Oakland, which moved into first in the American League at 21-and-10.  The A's slammed the door with a five-run seventh inning, highlighted by a bases-clearing double from Stephen Piscotty. 



(Santa Clara, CA)  --  Two recent first-round picks for the 49ers are dealing with injuries.  Both defensive end Nick Bosa and receiver Brandon Aiyuk are week-to-week.  Bosa strained a leg muscle, and Aiyuk is recovering from a hamstring injury.  Bosa was the second overall pick last year, and the Niners selected Aiyuk 25th overall this year. 



(Undated)  --  The Rams, Chargers and 49ers will open the 2020 NFL season without fans in attendance.  The Rams and Chargers put out a joint statement on Tuesday.  Both teams will debut at the newly built SoFi Stadium in Inglewood next month.  The 49ers' statement confirmed that the home opener against Arizona will be played with no fans.  None of the teams ruled out fans possibly attending later in the season, but the decision is in effect until further notice.



(Orange County, CA)  --  The son of basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is facing felony assault charges in the stabbing of a neighbor in California.  Adam Abdul-Jabbar allegedly used a large hunting knife and fractured the skull of a 60-year-old man in June.  Authorities said an argument began after the victim confronted the 28-year-old for not bringing in trash cans for a roommate.  Abdul-Jabbar's attorney claimed the "complaining witness" initiated the altercation and his client was the one who called police.  The suspect was released days later and is scheduled to be arraigned next month.



(Undated)  --  MLS action continues today as LAFC visits Real Salt Lake and the L.A. Galaxy play host to Seattle Sounders FC.  LAFC will be without Carlos Vela, who is dealing with a knee injury suffered in Satuday's 2-0 loss to the Galaxy.  There is no timetable for his return.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The series lead is on the line as the Clippers clash with the Mavericks in Game Five tonight in Orlando.  The Clips blew a 21-point lead in Game Four and lost in overtime.  The series is tied at two wins each.  Mavericks' forward Kristaps Porzingis will be a game-time decision. 



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Trail Blazers are coming off a loss to the Lakers.  The Blazers were outscored 80-to-51 in the first half and couldn't recover as they fell to the Lakers 135-115 in Game Four of the West's first round in Orlando.  Jusuf Nurkic led with 20 points and 13 rebounds.  Damian Lillard had just 11 points before leaving in the third quarter with a knee injury.  Portland is now down 3-1 in the series and will look to stay alive in Game Five tomorrow.



(Arlington, TX)  --  Stephen Piscotty homered for the A's in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers in Arlington.  Jesus Luzardo gave up all three runs over the first two frames and took the loss for Oakland.  The A's get a crack at the Rangers again tonight with Sean Manaea on the mound in Texas. 



(Houston, TX)  --  Framber Valdez struck out a career-high 11 batters as the Astros smashed the Angels 11-4 in Houston.  Pablo Sandoval got chased in the third inning and fell to 0-and-4 for L.A.  Justin Upton homered in the loss and Albert Pujols drove in a run to move into third on the all-time RBI list behind Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth.  .  The Halos are one of two American League teams under 10 wins, along with Boston.  They'll play a doubleheader today in Houston.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  The Dodgers look to stay hot tonight as they open a three-game series with the Giants in San Francisco.  L.A. has won its past four games and 11-of-12 overall.  The Giants are riding a six-game win streak of their own.  The Dodgers are first in the NL West at 22-and-8, while the Giants are fourth at 14-and-16.  Julio Urias takes the mound for LA, while San Francisco sends out Johnny Cueto. 



(Portland, OR)  --  The Portland Trail Blazers are gearing up for a game against the Lakers.  The Blazers will face the Lakers tonight in Game 4 of the West's first round in Orlando.  Portland fell behind 2-1 after Saturday's 116-108 loss.  Game Five is Wednesday.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Luka Doncic hit a step-back three-pointer as time expired in overtime to lift the Mavericks over the Clippers 135-133 inside the NBA bubble in Orlando.  Lou Williams had 36 off the bench for LA while Kawhi Leonard had 32 points and nine boards in the loss.  The Clippers blew a 21-point first-half lead and had to rally from down 12 in the second half to force overtime.  Game Five is Tuesday.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  Alex Dickerson drilled a three-run homer as the Giants beat the Diamondbacks 6-1 in San Francisco.  Mike Yastrzemski hit a solo shot, while Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval also plated runs for the Giants, who swept the three-game series and have won six straight overall.  They'll host the Dodgers tomorrow.



(Oakland, CA)  --  Mark Canha drove in the walk off run on a sac-fly as the A's edged the Angels 5-4 in 10 innings from Oakland.  The A's scored two runs in the sixth to tie the game.  Liam Hendriks earned the win.  Shohei Ohtani clubbed a three-run homer to give the Angels a one-run lead in the third.  Ty Buttrey took the loss.  The Halos visit Houston today, while A's are at the Rangers. 



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  The Dodgers hit seven home runs as they crushed the Rockies 11-3 and finished the sweep in Los Angeles.  Mookie Betts went yard twice for the Dodgers.  Corey Seager, Kike [[ KEE-kay ]] Hernandez, Cody Bellinger, Will Smith and Max Muncy also homered for the Dodgers.  Victor Gonzalez picked up the win in relief for the Dodgers, who have won 11 of 12.  They'll visit the Giants tomorrow.



LeBron James and sidekick Anthony Davis are two wins away from
their first playoff series triumph as Los Angeles teammates.

The duo looks to take another step on Monday night when the Lakers
take on the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4 of a Western
Conference first-round series near Orlando.

James and Davis each had standout performances in the club's
116-108 victory in Game 3 that gave the Lakers a 2-1 lead in the
best-of-seven series.

James had 38 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and Davis scored
23 of his 29 points in the second half. Davis also had 11 rebounds,
eight assists and three blocked shots.

The two stars play well together despite this being their first
season as teammates after Los Angeles acquired Davis from the New
Orleans Pelicans in the offseason.

"We know who we are as human beings," James told reporters after
Saturday's win. "We're not trying to be nobody else but our own
identity, our own self.

"And when you know yourself and when you're confident in what you
do both on and off the floor and you know what you represent, then
there's no ego. There's no ego. We want both of us to succeed, both
on and off the floor."

Portland will be relying on star guard Damian Lillard as it
attempts to avoid a 3-1 series deficit.

Lillard played with a dislocated left index finger in Game 3 and
still produced 34 points and seven assists. But he was just 2-of-9
shooting in the second half to finish 8 of 20 overall.

Lillard admitted the finger played a factor in his play.

"Obviously, I dislocated it, so it's going to have some effect on
ballhandling," Lillard told reporters. "The biggest thing I felt
was just going up to shoot, when I was gathering the ball, I was
uncomfortable. Sometimes I would subconsciously try to ease up on
it, so I would lose the ball a little bit.

"When I was making moves, in the middle of my dribble, I would ease
up on it because I would feel the pain, and I would lose the ball a
little bit. It kind of stopped me in my tracks. I did as much
treatment as I could, and I tried to just ignore it. But once you
decide to step out there, it is what it is."

Lillard said he wasn't concerned about Portland's situation
entering Game 4. Forward Carmelo Anthony also doesn't see being
behind in the series as a problem.

"I think we're good. It's only 2-1. We have a series," Anthony told
reporters. "We've got to make some adjustments. Game 4, we know the
implications on what that means. ... We're sitting in a good
situation. We're not concerned. We know what we have to do."

A big part of Game 3 was that the Lakers had a repeated motorcade
to the free-throw line. Los Angeles received 43 attempts (making
28) to Portland's 18-of-19 performance.

While Lillard said "the discrepancy in free throws is something
that's out of our control," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts stated
"we're putting ourselves in position to foul."

Part of that is the way James was driving through the lane and
putting pressure on Portland defenders. Davis also sensed that the
Trail Blazers were a weary group in Game 3.

"Just trying to wear them down," Davis said of the second-half
approach. "Obviously they've been playing a lot. Since they've been
here, they've been playing like Game 7s. So it's our job to kind of
keep putting the pressure on them and keep running as the bigs, and
that's what we're gonna do."

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Sunday that veteran point guard Rajon
Rondo (back) is doubtful. Rondo was cleared to play in Game 3 after
recovering from a broken right thumb but was scratched shortly
before tipoff due to back spasms. 



(Orlando, FL)  -  The Trail Blazers couldn't keep their Game One momentum and were routed by the Lakers 111-88 in Game Two of the West's first round in Orlando.  Damian Lillard was held to 18 points before dislocating his left index finger in the third quarter.  CJ McCollum added 13 points for Portland, which is now tied at one in the series.  Game Three is tomorrow night.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Clippers look to take control of the series as they meet the Mavericks in Game Three at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  The series is tied at one win each after the Clippers lost on Wednesday.  The status for guard Patrick Beverley is undetermined.



(Undated)  --  The Golden State Warriors will pick second in the 2020 NBA Draft.  The Warriors were awarded the second overall pick at the NBA Draft Lottery on Thursday.  Top prospects include guard LaMelo Ball, forward Anthony Edwards and center James Wiseman. 



(Oakland, CA)  --  The A's won their eighth straight home game as they tagged the Diamondbacks 5-1 in Oakland.  Matt Chapman homered twice for the A's, and Matt Olson went deep as well.  Sean Manaea got the win.  The A's open a three-game series with the Angels at home tonight. 



(San Francisco, CA)  --  Wilmer Flores homered in the first inning and drove in four runs as the Giants pounded the Angels 10-5 in San Francisco.  Brandon Crawford also went deep for the Giants, who had an eight-run lead after four innings. Kevin Gausman picked up the win.  Jose Suarez got chased in the second inning and took the loss for the Halos.  They have lost seven-of-eight.  The Angels visit the A's and the Giants host the Diamondbacks today.



(Seattle, WA)  --  Clayton Kershaw pitched a gem as the Dodgers dropped the Mariners 6-1 in Seattle.  Kershaw struck out 11 and gave up one run over seven frames of work to get the win.  The Dodgers jumped ahead with a four-run third inning.  Cody Bellinger homered and drove in two runs as L.A. improved to 19-and-8.  The Dodgers host the Rockies tonight.



(Orlando, FL)  -  The Trail Blazers will look to increase their series lead when they face the Lakers tonight in Game Two of the West's first round in Orlando.  Portland stunned Los Angeles on Tuesday with a 100-93 win to take Game 1.  Games 3 and 4 will be Saturday and Monday. 



(Portland, OR)  --  Portland Trail Blazer Zach Collins is out with an injury.  The team says Collins will miss Games 2, 3 and 4 due to a stress reaction injury in his left ankle.  He'll be reevaluated next week after he has an MRI.  Collins left the play-in game on Saturday and missed Tuesday's Game 1 win.



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  The Dodgers had their seven-game win streak snapped in a 6-4 loss to the Mariners in L.A.  Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger all hit solo home runs in the loss.  Dennis Santana struggled in relief of Julio Urias and took the loss.  Clayton Kershaw starts the series finale tonight.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Mavericks once again jumped out to an early lead but this time held on to top the Clippers 127-114 in Game Two from Orlando.  Kawhi Leonard racked up 35 points and 10 rebounds for L.A. in defeat.  Lou Williams scored 23 off the bench for the Clips.  Game Three tips off on Friday.



(Oakland, CA)  --  Mark Canha launched a two-run home run in the third inning as the A's tamed the Diamondbacks 4-1 in Oakland.  Robbie Grossman tagged a two-run double in the first and Jesus Luzardo worked into the seventh to get the win.  Sean Manaea gets the start in the finale tonight.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  Angels sluggler Albert Pujols is chasing history.  He is now tied for second on the MLB's career RBI-list with Alex Rodriguez after singling in a run in last night's loss.  He has two-thousand-and-86 RBI for his career.  Pujols is also one home run shy of tying Willie Mays for fifth all-time.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  Two big home runs keyed the Giants as they dropped the Angels 7-2 in San Francisco.  Wilmer Flores launched a three-run shot in the third and Austin Slater added a two-run dinger in the fourth.  Johnny Cueto was sharp and worked into the sixth to get the win.  The Giants have won two straight to get to 10-and-16.  Pablo Sandoval lasted four innings and fell to 0-and-3 for the Halos.  The 8-and-17 start is the worst through 25 games in team history.  The Angels will try to split the series tonight.



(Undated)  --  The NFL is considering a bubble-like environment for the postseason, similar to the NBA's model throughout its restart in Orlando.  Executive Vice President of football operations Troy Vincent says they want to limit risk as much as possible in the playoffs.



(Undated)  --  The NBA Virtual Draft Lottery will take place tonight.  One lucky team will learn they have the number one pick.  The Warriors, Cavaliers and Timberwolves all share a 14-percent chance at the top overall pick.



(Portland, OR)  --  The Portland Trail Blazers will face the number-one seeded Lakers in Orlando tonight in Game One of the Western Conference first round.  Games Two and Three will be Thursday and Saturday, respectively.  Portland earned the eight seed with Saturday's win over the Grizzlies in the play-in game.



(Santa Clara, CA)  --  The 49ers will not have receiver Jalen Hurd this season.  Multiple reports state the second-year wideout suffered a torn ACL and will miss the season.  San Francisco will place him on injured reserve and plans to work out receiver Jaron Brown this week.



(Costa Mesa, CA)  --  Chargers pass rusher Melvin Ingram is not practicing with the team as he's unhappy with his contract.  Ingram is scheduled to make 14-million-dollars this year.  Fellow defensive lineman Joey Bosa's new deal averages 27-million-dollars per season and Ingram reportedly wants a deal nearing that.  Ingram was second on the team with seven sacks last season.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Clippers put themselves into a hole but dug out of it to drop the Mavericks 118-110 in Game One of their playoff series in Orlando.  L.A. led 18-2 at one point, but Dallas fought back and led by as many as 14.  The Clippers took control in the fourth quarter thanks to 29 points and 12 rebounds from Kawhi Leonard.  Paul George scored 27 for the Clips.  Game Two is tomorrow night.



(Anaheim, CA)  --  Tommy La Stella launched the walk-off two-run homer in the ninth inning as the Angels dropped the Giants 7-6 in Anaheim.  Mike Trout also went deep for the Halos and Albert Pujols tagged a two-run double.  Ty Buttrey got the win in relief as the Angels ended a four-game slide.  Brandon Belt clubbed a two-run homer for the Giants in defeat.  Trevor Gott blew the save and took the loss.  The series continues today in Anaheim.



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, and Kike Hernandez went deep as the Dodgers dumped the Mariners 11-9 in Los Angeles.  Caleb Ferguson earned the win for L.A. and Kenley Jansen locked down the save.  Seager's brother Kyle also homered for Seattle.  Tony Gonsolin takes the mound today against Seattle.



(Phoenix, AZ)  --  David Peralta hit a walk-off, RBI-single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Diamondbacks past the A's 4-3 in Phoenix.  Robbie Grossman homered for Oakland, which saw its four-game winning streak come to an end.  Joakim Soria took the loss.  Frankie Montas gets the start today in Phoenix for the A's.



(Portland, OR)  --  The Portland Trail Blazers is gearing up for Game 1 of the Western Conference first round.  The number-eight seed Trail Blazers and the number-one seeded Lakers will face off tomorrow night in Orlando.  Games 2 and 3 will be Thursday and Saturday, respectively.  Portland earned the eight seed with Saturday's win over the Grizzlies in the play-in game.



The Los Angeles Lakers' path to a 17th
championship looks awfully perilous from the outset, and not just
because the Western Conference's top seeds have struggled in the
bubble.

Damian Lillard by himself is enough to make any team worry about
its postseason prospects, yet the bubble MVP is just one challenge
looming before the Lakers.

The Lakers' dubious reward for perseverance in an extraordinarily
challenging and particularly tragic season is no prize at all: They
must begin their quest against the streaking Trail Blazers and
Lillard, who has lit up the Lakers and just about everybody else
for years.

''Definitely not your typical eighth seed,'' first-year Lakers
coach Frank Vogel said. ''They played at an elite level during this
stretch in the bubble, at least offensively.''

What's more, the Lakers have only a nominal home-court advantage
when the first-round series begins Tuesday. They'll play in the
near-silent bubble instead of a sold-out Staples Center cheering
this beloved franchise's first playoff appearance since 2013.

After going 3-5 in the bubble with unusually poor play by their
normally sturdy defense, not much looks certain for the Lakers -
except the leadership of LeBron James, who has already done just
about everything possible in the NBA postseason.

Even if their fans must watch from afar, the Lakers still ended
their streak of six straight non-playoff seasons - an unprecedented
embarrassment for the NBA's glamour franchise.

Everything changed when Anthony Davis agreed to join LA from New
Orleans last summer, and the Lakers spent the year quickly building
a cohesive team that could handle the rigors of a postseason run.

Lillard presented an entirely different set of challenges,
particularly in the confines of a seven-game series.

''He's balling right now,'' Davis said. ''He's hot. He's doing
whatever he can do to make his team win. He's carrying the load,
playing a ton of minutes. He's the head of the snake for their
team, and you've got to do your best to contain him, take away some
of his tendencies, but they also have other guys to make plays as
well. They're a tough opponent, but everybody knows that level he's
on and his mindset.''

Portland had to win the first play-in postseason NBA game since
1956 to reach this spot, beating Memphis 126-122 on Saturday. The
Blazers finished with the West's eighth-best record by surging past
the Grizzlies and going 7-2 after the league restarted in the
bubble to make the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.

Lillard has been a particular problem for the Lakers ever since
2012, when he put up 23 points and 11 assists in his NBA debut.
More recently, Lillard had 48 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds
at Staples Center on Feb. 1 while steamrolling the current Lakers
in their first game after Kobe Bryant's death.

Lillard realizes plenty of observers believe the Blazers have a
good shot to knock off the Lakers.

''But the Lakers, they're the No. 1 seed in the West for a
reason,'' Lillard said. ''They've got the best player in the world
on their team. But at the same time, we didn't fight as hard as we
fought in the bubble to just hang on with the eighth seed and go
out here and get beat up on. We feel like we have a chance in a
series against anybody in his league. We're going to approach it
with a healthy level of respect for them.''

CATCHING A BREAK

Blazers coach Terry Stotts said there was relief in taking care of
the Grizzlies in one game for that extra day of rest. Had Portland
lost, they'd have to face Memphis again on Sunday.

''It was on everybody's mind, particularly Dame and CJ
(McCollum),'' Stotts said. ''We knew that Memphis was going to be
desperate team. But I think we had the same desperation because of
how important having Sunday off was. Playing a back-to-back with
one day of rest and getting ready for the Lakers, (that) would've
been a tough task.''

CJ THE SHARK

McCollum has struggled in the bubble with a back injury that was
revealed to be a fracture on Saturday, but he was key for the
Blazers on Saturday, scoring 14 of his 29 points in the fourth
quarter.

He said it was his shark mentality.

''I always said that I was a shark,'' McCollum said. ''You've got
to be a killer no matter what the circumstances are. Always told
people `Don't worry about me, I'm gonna figure out how to eat,' and
that's what I've always done. I figured how to eat and I figured
out how to provide. That's the type of mentality you've got to
have, because if you don't kill, you will be killed out here. You
will be destroyed - figuratively, obviously - and you will be going
home to pack your bags.''

PLAYING THROUGH PAIN

Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic announced shortly before Saturday's
game that his beloved grandmother had passed away after a lengthy
battle with COVID-19.

''She made me play, I guess,'' Nurkic said. ''Personally, I thought
I wasn't going to play tonight. I didn't want to shoot any balls
during warmups. I already came and made the decision to stay here
to be with the team. I think she wanted me to play. I'm glad we won
and are in the playoffs. That's what we came for.''

---

AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson in Portland contributed to this
report.



(Undated)  --  In L.A. baseball action, the first-place Dodgers are at home against Seattle, while the Angels play host to the Giants.  The 16-and-7 Dodgers are two games ahead of Colorado for first in the NL West.  The 7-and-15 Angels are nine games out of first in the AL West.



(Anaheim, CA)  --  Keibert Ruiz homered on his first big-league swing as the Dodgers swept the Angels with an 8-3 win in Anaheim.  Max Muncy, Corey Seager and Matt Beaty also went deep for the Dodgers, who have won their past five games.  Scott Alexander earned the win with two innings of relief.  Anthony Rendon and Brian Goodwin slugged homers for the Angels.  Julio Teheran was tagged with the loss as the Halos dropped to 7-and-15.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The 2020 NBA playoffs tip off today at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  The second-seeded Clippers clash with the Mavericks in Game One of their first-round series.  The top-seeded Lakers take on eighth-seeded Portland in Game One tomorrow in Orlando.



(Undated)  --  In Bay Area baseball action, the first-place A's visit the Diamondbacks tonight while the Giants visit the Angels.  Oakland sits at 16-and-6 and is four-and-a-half games up on Houston in the AL West.  The 8-and-15 Giants are last in the NL West, eight games out of first place.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  The A's erupted for nine runs in the fifth inning as they routed the Giants 15-3 in San Francisco.  Stephen Piscotty homered and finished with five RBI as Oakland swept the Bay Bridge Series in three games.  Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder also went deep for the A's, and Mike Fiers tossed six innings of two-run ball to get the win.  Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford homered for the Giants in defeat.  Logan Webb took the loss and reliever Wandy Peralta allowed five runs without recording an out. 



(Anaheim, CA)  --  The Dodgers are in Anaheim tonight as they open the Freeway Series with the Angels.  The Dodgers are 13-and-7, while the Angels sit at 7-and-12.  The Halos will send out Patrick Sandoval to face Clayton Kershaw.



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Mookie Betts nailed three of the Dodgers' six home runs as they routed the Padres 11-2 in Los Angeles.  Betts tied the MLB-record for career three-homer games with six.  Corey Seager, A.J. Pollock and Austin Barnes also went deep for L.A., which earned the series split in four games with San Diego.  Julio Urias worked into the seventh to get the win as the Dodgers improved to 13-and-7.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Damian Lillard helped send the Trail Blazers to the NBA's first play-in series with 42 points and a crucial steal as they clipped the Nets 134-133 in Orlando.  Portland clinched the number-eight seed with the win and will now play the ninth-seeded Grizzlies tomorrow.  If Memphis wins, the deciding game will be Sunday.  If the Blazers win, they get the final spot in the West and will face the Lakers in the first round.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Buddy Hield netted 28 points off the bench to lead the Kings past the Lakers 136-122 in Orlando.  Bogdan Bogdanovic donated 27 for Sacramento, which ends the season at 31-and-41.  LeBron James put up 17 points in just 15 minutes of action for the Lakers, who finish atop the West at 52-and-19.  Dion Waiters donated 19 in the setback.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  The Bay Bridge Series gets going tonight as the Giants host the cross-town A's.  Oakland sits first in the AL West at 13-and-6, while the Giants are last in the NL West at 8-and-12.  Frankie Montas gets the ball for the A's, while the Giants will send out Johnny Cueto.



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly still has plenty of hard feelings for the Astros.  Kelly appeared on 'The Big Swing Podcast' and said that the players got away with the sign stealing scandal because of "snitching" on the coaches and front office.  Kelly referred to the Astros as "cheaters" and reiterated he was upset over nothing happening to the players.  The reliever was initially suspended eight games by the MLB after an incident with the Astros recently, before it was reduced to five games.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Paul George scored a team-high 27 points as the Clippers topped the Nuggets 124-111 at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  Kawhi Leonard added 26 points as L.A. clinched the second seed in the West.  They'll face the Mavericks in the first round  Lou Williams added 23 off the bench.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Lakers close out the regular season today as they face the Kings at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  The Lakers are locked into the top seed in the Western Conference, while the Kings have been eliminated.  The playoffs open next week.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Portland Trail Blazers will face off against the Nets tonight in the regular season finale in Orlando.  Portland sits at 34-and-39 and moved into the number-eight seed in the West with Tuesday's win and the Grizzlies' loss.  The Blazers lead the Grizzlies, Suns and Spurs by half a game. 



(Houston, TX)  --  The Astros pulled away with a four-run sixth inning as they folded the Giants 5-1 in Houston.  Reliever Calab Baragar got blasted in the sixth and took the loss for San Francisco, which lost the rubber match.  Alex Dickerson singled in the Giants' lone run in the first.  They're now 8-and-12 and are off today.  They'll host the A's tomorrow.



(Anaheim, CA)  --  The A's clubbed three home runs as they doubled up the Angels 8-4 in Anaheim.  Matt Olson, Robbie Grossman and Stephen Piscotty all left the yard for Oakland, which prevented a three-game sweep.  Ramon Laureano made three highlight-reel catches and also singled in two runs in the eighth.  Chris Bassitt got the win as the A's improved to 13-and-6.  Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon homered for the Halos.  Griffin Canning fell to 0-and-3 with the loss.  L.A. is 7-and-12 on the season.  Both teams are off today.



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Six Dodger pitchers combined on a six-hit shutout as they blanked the Padres 6-0 in Los Angeles.  Justin Turner tagged a three-run homer in the eighth inning to pad the lead.  Blake Treinen came away with the win as the Dodgers ended a two-game skid.  The series resumes today.



(Portland, OR)  --  The Portland Timbers are going to the CONCACAF Champions League.  Portland beat Orlando City SC 2-1 in the MLS is Back final to win the month-plus-long World Cup style event.  Larrys Mabiala scored in the 27th minute and Dario Zuparic deflected a shot into the net in the 66th minute to put the Tims ahead for good.  Mauricio Pereyra scored the loan goal for the Lions.  For winning the event, the Timbers receive an automatic qualification into the CONCACAF Champions League. 



(Portland, OR)  --  The Portland Trail Blazers are celebrating a narrow win over the Mavericks.  Damian Lillard dropped 61 points, including nine three-pointers, as the Trail Blazers clipped the Mavericks 134-131 in Orlando.  Lillard tied it up at 130 with 1:29 left before assisting on Hassan Whiteside's dunk to put the Blazers ahead.  Portland jumped into the number-eight seed with their win, and the Grizzlies' loss and clinched a spot in the play-in, which starts Saturday.  The Blazers face the Nets tomorrow.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  The Pac-12 is postponing all sports through the end of the year due to coronavirus concerns.  In a statement, the conference said its GEO Group made a unanimous decision after consultation with athletic directors and medical experts.  When safety conditions improve, the league will consider a return to competition after January 1st.  Impacted student-athletes will have their scholarships guaranteed.  In addition, the Pac-12 encourages the NCAA to grant an extra year of eligibility to students who opt out. 



(Orlando, FL)  --  The NBA is handing out awards for great bubble performances.  The league announced it will have an All-Seeding Games Team and Player of the Seeding Games Award, which will be handed out before the playoffs begin on Saturday.  The regular season ends on Friday.  Suns guard Devin Booker,  Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Pacers forward T.J. Warren are some of the standouts so far in Orlando.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Clippers clash with the Denver Nuggets tonight at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  With a win, the Clippers will clinch the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs.  L.A. is second at 47-and-23, while Denver enters at 46-and-25.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Lakers close out their regular season on Thursday when they face the Sacramento Kings in Orlando.  The Lakers have already locked up the top-seed in the Western Conference playoffs.  Portland, Phoenix, Memphis and San Antonio are all battling for the eighth seed.



(Anaheim, CA)  --  Dylan Bundy tossed a gem as the Angels blanked the A's 6-0 in Anaheim.  Bundy struck out 10 and scattered four hits over seven shutout innings to get the win.  Jason Castro laced a three-run homer to highlight a five-run fourth inning for the Halos, who also got solo shots from Anthony Rendon and Brian Goodwin.  David Fletcher went deep in the eighth.  Mike Fiers got chased in the fourth and took the loss for Oakland.   The A's will try to prevent the sweep today in Anaheim.



(Houston, TX)  --  Brandon Crawford singled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning as the Giants outlasted the Astros 7-6 in Houston.  The Giants trailed by four runs entering the seventh, but Hunter Pence hit a three-run homer to bring them within one and Darin Ruf tied it on an RBI-single in the ninth.  Trevor Gott got the win in relief and Wilmer Flores went deep in the first. The rubber match is in Houston tonight.



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Manny Machado unleashed a grand slam in the third inning as the Padres dropped the Dodgers 6-2 in Los Angeles.  Machado's blast broke a one-all tie.  Ross Stripling didn't make it out of the fifth and fell to 3-and-1 for the Dodgers.  They have dropped three-of-four and face the Friars again today in the third of a four-game set.



(Oakland, CA)  --  A's outfielder Ramon Laureano is being suspended six games by Major League Baseball for his role in a benches-clearing brawl against the Astros on Sunday.  Houston hitting coach Alex Cintron has been suspended 20 games for comments he made towards Laureano that incited him.  Both men were also fined.  Laureano is appealing his suspension.



Damian Lillard has no shortage of motivation.

 

There's the painful kind, the kind that comes from dealing with the death three months ago of a cousin who was very close to him. There's the made-up variety, stemming from the belief he shared Tuesday night that people who cover the league don't respect his work. There's the silly stuff, like a back-and-forth on social media with other NBA players.

And then there's probably the biggest sort - his want to get the Portland Trail Blazers back to the playoffs.

 

He topped a 51-point performance on Sunday by offering a 61-point performance on Tuesday, doing all that with the Blazers' postseason fate still not secure and knowing that any loss would put a sizable dent in those playoff hopes. He's the 12th player in NBA history to have consecutive 50-point games, and just the second - joining only Wilt Chamberlain - to have three 60-point games in a season.

 

''Couldn't have been a better time for that type of game,'' Lillard said Tuesday, after he helped the Blazers beat Dallas and move pass Memphis into the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. ''So, like I said, it's a pleasure and honor to be company with Wilt. And hopefully, you know, it can continue.''

 

This is where the Blazers are: Win Thursday's seeding-game finale against nothing-to-play-for Brooklyn, and they're in the West play-in series that starts on Saturday as the No. 8 seed. Lose Thursday, and nothing is guaranteed.

 

Portland is eighth at 34-39. Memphis and Phoenix are tied for ninth at 33-39. San Antonio is 11th at 32-38, but only a half-game out of eighth. How those teams fare on Thursday - they all play their seeding-game finales that day - will determine who goes to the play-in series.

 

And Lillard, even with those stakes, is putting on the best show in the bubble.

 

''If we lose this game, we might not make it to the playoffs,'' Portland coach Terry Stotts said Tuesday night. ''So, the magnitude of this game, even though it's in an empty gym and in a bubble ... this was the season was on the line.''

 

The three-point win Tuesday had some help from above, Lillard said. He took a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter from somewhere between 35 and 40 feet away, felt it was good when it left his hand, then saw it hit the back of the rim and bounce straight up - way, way, way up - in the air.

 

Lillard's cousin and chef, Brandon Johnson, died suddenly and unexpectedly in May. Chef B, they called him. Lillard knelt over his body and prayed moments after Johnson died. Blazers teammate CJ McCollum, who was also close with Johnson, came over soon afterward. Lillard and McCollum sat and cried together. And in the bubble, Chef B is in their mind. ''I just tried to continue what I feel like he would want me to do,'' Lillard said.

 

Back to that 3-pointer. A shot from that far away, moving with that much energy, typically doesn't hit the rim and bounce straight up. They tend to bounce outward. Not this one. It went up, up, up and fell for three points.

 

A reminder: The Blazers beat the Mavericks by three points.

 

''Rest in peace, Chef B,'' Lillard said. ''I think that was him dropping that in.''

 

Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony said he knew that 3-pointer, as he watched the ball go up and then in, was special.

''I probably said about 20 please, like please-please-please-please-please like repeatedly,'' Anthony said. ''It wasn't meant for us to lose when that shot went in. It just wasn't meant for us to lose.''

 

When the night was done, when the last of the 61 points had hit the books, Lillard said he shouted ''put some respect on my name'' to the media area, because as he put it ''those were the people who usually have something to say or put out whatever they put out.'' In the bubble, there's pretty much only been marveling, for good reason.

 

Lillard got into a bit of a social-media beef a few days ago, after the Los Angeles Clippers' Patrick Beverley and Paul George reveled in how he missed two late free throws in what became a Portland loss. That fired him up, too - in the two games since, he's 33 for 34 from the line, those shots all critical given how close the games were.

 

The NBA said Tuesday that there will be an All-Seeding Games team and MVP selected by reporters and broadcasters who are covering the restart. Lillard is pretty much a lock to be a strong candidate. Those awards will be handed out Saturday before Game 1 of the West play-in series. He didn't come here to be on that award list. He came here for the playoffs, and thanks to him, the Blazers are now in the driver's seat for a chance to play the Los Angeles Lakers in Round 1.

 

And that will deliver even more motivation.



Damian Lillard tied his career high with 61 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Dallas Mavericks 134-131 on Tuesday night to move into eighth place in the Western Conference. The Blazers will clinch a spot in the play-in series for the last playoff spot out West with a win Thursday against Brooklyn. Lillard made nine 3-pointers in his sixth 50-point game of the season. He's the 12th player in NBA history to score 50 points in back-to-back games after dropping 51 on the 76ers on Sunday. Carmelo Anthony added 26 points on 10-of 17 shooting for Portland. Kristaps Porzingis scored 36 points and Luka Doncic had 25 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Mavericks, who will finish No. 7 in the West. 



A crumbling college football season took a massive hit Tuesday when
the Big Ten and Pac-12, two historic and powerful conferences,
succumbed to the pandemic and canceled their fall football seasons.

Five months almost to the day after the first spikes in coronavirus
cases in the U.S. led to the cancellation of the NCAA basketball
tournaments, the still raging pandemic is tearing down another
American sports institution: fall Saturdays filled with college
football.

 

''This was an extremely difficult and painful decision that we know
will have important impacts on our student-athletes, coaches,
administrators and our fans,'' Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott
said. ''We know nothing will ease that.''

 

Despite pleas from players, coaches and President Donald Trump in
recent days to play on, 40% of major college football teams have
now decided to punt on a fall season, a decision that will cost
schools tens of millions of dollars and upends traditions dating
back a century.

 

Both conferences cited the risk of trying to keep players from
contracting and spreading the coronavirus when the programs are not
operating in a bubble like the NBA and NHL are doing. They also
cited the broader state of the pandemic in the United States, which
has had more than 5 million cases of COVID-19.

 

''Every life is critical,'' first-year Big Ten Commissioner Kevin
Warren told the AP. ''We wanted to make sure we continually, not
only in our words but in our actions, do put the health and safety
and wellness of our student-athletes first.''

 

Two smaller conferences, the Mid-American and Mountain West, had
already announced the uncertain move to spring football. The
decisions by the deep-pocketed Big Ten and Pac-12, with hundred
million-dollar television contracts and historic programs, shook
the foundation of college sports.
 



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Portland Trail Blazers are gearing up for a game against the Mavericks this afternoon in Orlando.  Portland has won three of its last four games, including Sunday's win over the 76ers, to get to 33-and-39.  The Blazers' final seeding game will be against the Nets on Thursday.  They're currently a half-game behind Memphis for the number-eight seed.



(Undated)  --  The Pac-12 is expected to vote on whether to hold fall sports or not today.  ESPN reports that Pac-12 leadership is expected to meet and discuss the issue and a decision is expected.  The Mountain West and Big Ten Conferences have both reportedly cancelled all fall sports for 2020.  The Big Ten has not ruled out playing in the spring.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Kyle Kuzma nailed the go-ahead three-pointer with point-four seconds left as the Lakers edged the Nuggets 124-121 at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  Kuzma's 25 points aided the Lakers in a thrilling game, while Anthony Davis scored 27 and LeBron James added 29 plus 12 assists.  L.A. has clinched first place and ended a three-game slide.  The regular season finale is Thursday against the Kings.



(Anaheim, CA)  --  Mike Trout homered twice as the Angels rallied past the A's 10-9 in Anaheim.  The Halos trailed 9-4 entering the bottom of the fourth before Trout launched a two-run shot.  His solo homer in the eighth put the Halos up for good.  Trout has homered six times in seven games since returning from the paternity list.  Shohei Ohtani [[ sho-HAY oh-TAW-nee ]] and Anthony Rendon [[ ren-DOAN ]] also went deep as the Angels ended a three-game slide.  Matt Chapman drove in six runs on two homers and a triple for Oakland.  Yusmeiro Petit took the loss as the A's saw their nine-game win streak come to an end.  The series continues in Anaheim tonight.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Clippers continue battle for playoff positioning tomorrow as they face the Denver Nuggets.  The Clippers are second in the West at 47-and-23 and can clinch the two-seed by beating Denver, which sits one-and-a-half games back.  In other team news, forward Montrezl Harrell has re-joined the team after being gone since last month due to the death of his grandmother.



(Houston, TX)  --  The Giants were shut out until the eighth inning of a 6-4 loss to the Astros in Houston.  Austin Slater homered in the eighth and Donovan Solano stayed hot with a two-run double in the ninth.  Logan Webb didn't make it out of the fourth and took the loss as the Giants fell to 7-and-11.  Tyler Anderson gets the start tonight in Houston.



(Undated)  --  The A's Ramon Laureano says a vile remark from Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron is what led him to charge the Houston dugout Sunday in Oakland.  He tells ESPN that Cintron made a comment in Spanish about his mother.  Laureano was hit by a pitch three times in the series.



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  The Dodgers' offense didn't manage much in a 2-1 loss to the Padres in Los Angeles.  Cody Bellinger's RBI-single in the first inning was it for L.A.  Dustin May took the tough loss with six innings of two-run ball.  Ross Stripling takes the mound for the 11-and-6 Dodgers tonight.  San Diego will sent out Garrett Richards.



(Costa Mesa, CA)  --  The L.A. Chargers are one of six NFL teams who have not had a player test positive for COVID-19.  NBC Sports reports the Chargers join the Patriots, Seahawks, Cardinals, Panthers and Texans as teams who have yet to have a positive test through last Saturday.  Earlier reports stated Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung was considering retirement due to COVID-19 concerns.



(Portland, OR)  --  The Trail Blazers are celebrating a narrow win over the 76ers.  Damian Lillard dropped 51 points, 18 in the fourth quarter, as the Trail Blazers got by the 76ers 124-121 in Orlando.  Carmelo Anthony added 20 points and seven rebounds for Portland, which improves to 33-and-39. The Blazers take on the Mavericks tomorrow.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Nets built up a 21-point first quarter lead as they knocked off the Clippers 129-120 at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  Kawhi Leonard racked up 39 points for the Clippers, who tied the game twice in the third quarter but never regained the lead.  Lou Williams scored 18 off the bench.  The Clips are a game ahead of Denver for the two-seed in the West and face them on Wednesday in Orlando. 



(Undated)  --  Lakers star LeBron James is one of three finalists for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award.  L.A. native and Rockets star James Harden is in the running, along with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.  Lakers forward Anthony Davis is a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, and Clippers guard Lou Williams is up for Sixth Man of the Year.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Lakers look to snap a three-game losing streak as they face the Denver Nuggets tonight at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  The Lakers have already locked up the top seed in the Western Conference.  Following this matchup, they'll close the regular season on Thursday against Sacramento.



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  A.J. Pollock and Mookie Betts each provided late three-run homers as the Dodgers rallied past the Giants 6-2 in Los Angeles.  Pollock's homer put L.A. ahead in the seventh, while Betts added his own dinger in the eighth for insurance.  Jake McGee got the win for the Dodgers, who have won four-of-five and sit at 11-and-5.  Reliever Tyler Rogers took his third loss of the season for San Francisco.  Mike Yastrzemski [[ yaz-STREM-skee ]] singled in two in the fifth for the Giants, who have lost six-of-eight to drop to 7-and-10.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  Collin Morikawa fired a six-under 64 in the final round to win the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.  The 23-year-old California native is the first player to win the PGA in his first appearance since 2011.  He finished 13-under, two strokes ahead of third-round leader Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey.  Brooks Koepka, who won the past two PGA Championships, faded from contention with a final-round 74.  Tiger Woods tied for 37th at one-under par, 12 strokes behind Morikawa.



(Oakland, CA)  --  The benches cleared in the seventh inning and multiple players were ejected as the A's topped the Astros 7-2 in Oakland.  Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch for the third time in the series and charged Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron in the dugout.  Robbie Grossman, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman all homered for Oakland, which won its ninth straight.  Rookie Jesus Luzardo earned his first big league win.  The A's are in L.A. to face the Angels tonight.



(Arlington, TX)  --  The Rangers used a four-run fourth to take a 5-0 lead and they held off the Angels 7-3 in Arlington.  Nick Solak had two hits and scored three runs for Texas, which had a home run reversed and called a four-base error on Angels outfielder Jo Adell.  Andrew Heaney got chased in the fourth for the Halos to take the loss.  Tommy La Stella homered in defeat as LA fell to 5-and-11.  They'll return home to host the A's tonight.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Rockets took advantage of LeBron James' absence as they ripped the Lakers 113-97 at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  James Harden ran up 39 points and 12 assists for Houston, which took control late in the first quarter and never looked back.  Russell Westbrook sat out due to a thigh contusion, while LeBron was dealing with a sore groin for the Lakers and also didn't play.  Anthony Davis tallied 17 points and 12 rebounds while Kyle Kuzma scored a team-high 21 points.  L.A. has already sewn up the top seed in Western Conference playoffs and will meet the Pacers tomorrow.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Damian Lillard tied his franchise record with 11 three-pointers, scoring 45 points overall, as the Trail Blazers topped the Nuggets 125-115 in Orlando.  Gary Trent Junior put up 27 off the bench and Jusuf Nurkic added 22 for Portland, which improves to 32-and-38.  The Blazers face the Clippers tomorrow afternoon. 



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  The Dodgers open a seven-game homestand tonight after getting Thursday off.  The Giants are in town tonight to open a three-game series, and the Padres will visit for a four-game set after that.  The 9-and-4 Dodgers are a half-game behind Colorado for the division lead.  The Dodgers are hopeful Mookie Betts can return tonight from a swollen finger.  His last game was on Sunday.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Kawhi Leonard led the charge with 29 points as the Clippers took down the Mavericks 126-111 at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  Ivica Zubac contributed 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, while Paul George scored 24.  They sit second in the West at 46-and-22 and face Portland tomorrow.



(Denver, CO)  --  Daniel Murphy hit a go-head home run in the seventh inning as the Rockies took down the Giants 6-4 in Denver.  Mauricio Dubon hit a three-run homer for San Francisco.  Tyler Anderson threw five scoreless innings, while Rico Garcia took the loss for San Francisco, which has lost four of five.  The Giants are in L.A. to face the Dodgers tonight.



(Seattle, WA)  --  Dylan Bundy threw a complete game, 10-strikeout performance while giving up just one run as the Angels cruised past the Mariners 6-1 in Seattle.  Shohei Ohtani homered for the Angels.  Max Stassi also went yard for Los Angeles, which has won two of three.  The Halos head to Texas to visit the Rangers tonight.



(Undated)  --  The deadline for NFL players to opt out due to COVID-19 is now passed.  More than 60 players chose to opt out, including three 49ers, four Raiders, one Ram and no Chargers.  Training camp is underway for all 32 teams.



(Oakland, CA)  --  The Oakland A's are apologizing after bench coach Ryan Christenson appeared to make a Nazi salute on Thursday.  Closer Liam Hendricks corrected Christenson as the pair tried to do a new celebration with their arms in lieu of high-fiving.  Christenson also apologized and said it was unintentional.



(Oakland, CA)  --  The A's ran up four runs in the fourth inning as they swept the Rangers 6-4 in Oakland.  Khris Davis clubbed a two-run single in the fourth and Matt Olson hit a solo homer in the second.  Mike Fiers last six innings to get the win.  The A's have won their past six games and will host the Astros tonight.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  Jason Day and Brendan Todd are atop of the leaderboard at the PGA Championship in San Francisco.  Both shot a five-under 65 in Thursday's first round at TPC Harding Park to lead by one stroke.  Nine players are tied for third at four-under, including Brooks Koepka. Tiger Woods shot a two-under 68 and sits three strokes off the lead.



(Los Angeles, CA)  --  The family of a dead SoFi Stadium worker is suing the developer over unsafe work conditions.  Juan Becerra fell over 100 feet to his death on June 5th while working at the new stadium site.  A second worker also died at the site last month due to a health-related issue.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Thunder used a balanced attack to shock the Lakers 105-86 at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  All five OKC starters scored in double figures, led by 21 points from former Clipper Chris Paul.  The Lakers missed 32-of-37 three-point attempts in the loss.  LeBron James tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds.  The Lakers are back in action tonight as they face the Houston Rockets.  L.A. has already clinched the top seed in the West.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Portland Trail Blazers are gearing up for a game against the Nuggets tonight in Orlando.  Portland has won two of its first three games since the restart and sits at 31-and-38, good for ninth in the West. 



(Undated)  --  Kevin Durant may not be playing for the Nets in the Orlando bubble, but he's still making his NBA Finals pick.  He's a big believer in the LA Clippers to win it all.  Durant said on the "Play For Keeps" podcast that he has the Clippers beating the Bucks in the NBA Finals.  He cited the Clippers' depth and the fact they have Paul George and Kawhi Leonard on the wings.



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Clippers are still battling for playoff positioning as they face the Dallas Mavericks today at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  The Clips are second in the West at 45-and-22, with Denver just a half-game behind.  The Mavericks are seventh at 41-and-29. 



(Orlando, FL)  --  Lakers star LeBron James says the NBA community will not miss President Trump.  James was responding to Trump's comments from earlier Wednesday when he said he'd be turning off NBA games due to players kneeling.  James says no one is sad Trump won't be viewing games.



(Denver, CO)  --  Brandon Belt clubbed a three-run homer in the fourth inning as the Giants edged by the Rockies 4-3 in Denver.  Belt also scored on a Wilmer Flores single in the sixth.  Logan Webb earned the win for the 6-and-7 Giants.  The series finale is today in Denver.



(Seattle, WA)  --  Mike Trout homered twice, but the Angels fell to the Mariners 7-6 in Seattle.  Max Stassi and David Fletcher also went deep for the Halos.  Julio Teheran took the loss in his first start of the season.  Dylan Bundy starts the rubber match in Seattle today.



(San Diego, CA)  --  Joc Pederson homered twice as the Dodgers held off the Padres 7-6 in San Diego.  Pederson laced a two-run homer in the second before adding a three-run blast in the sixth.  Ross Stripling got the win the and Kenley Jansen earned the save.  The Dodgers are off today before hosting the Giants tomorrow.



(Oakland, CA)  --  Matt Olson hit two of the A's four home runs as they hammered the Rangers 6-4 in Oakland.  Austin Allen hit the go-ahead two-run shot in the seventh as the A's won their fifth straight game.  T.J. McFarland earned the win in relief.  They'll go for the sweep today with Mike Fiers on the mound.



(Santa Clara, CA)  --  The 49ers are adding defensive lineman Dion Jordan to the fold.  NFL Network reports the two sides have agreed to a deal.  The former third overall pick recorded two sacks for the Raiders last season. 



(Thousand Oaks, CA)  --  Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald does not plan to wear a face shield on his helmet this season to protect against COVID-19.  Donald told ESPN that the shield could restrict his breathing during the game.  The Pro Bowler also stated that due to the nature of the game, he's almost helpless against catching the virus if the opponent has it.



(Undated)  --  It's decision day for NFL players around the league.  They must decide by this afternoon whether to play this season or opt out.  The deadline is 4 p.m. Eastern.  Many players around the league have already decided to opt out over concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, whether their own health is compromised or their family is at risk.



(Bradenton, FL)  --  Candace Parker racked up a double-double as the Sparks spanked the Fever 86-75 at the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Florida. Parker tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds for L.A., and Chelsea Gray added 16 points.  The Sparks improved to 3-and-2 and face the Aces.



(San Francisco, CA)  --  The first major of the golf schedule gets underway today as the first round of the PGA Championship takes place at TPC Harding Park.  Brooks Koepka [[ KEP-kuh ]] is the two-time defending champion.  Tiger Woods is making his second appearance on the Tour since play resumed.  Woods will be paired with Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy.



(Las Vegas, NV)  --  The Raiders are moving on from running back Jeremy Hill after just two days.  Las Vegas waived Hill shortly after activating Devontae Booker off the reserve/COVID-19 list.  Hill had not played in the NFL since 2018.



(All times Eastern)

The Denver Nuggets look to maintain their recent regular-season
domination of Portland when they oppose the Trail Blazers on
Thursday night at the Visa Athletic Center near Orlando.

The Nuggets are 3-0 against Portland this season and have won nine
of the past 10 meetings. They rolled to a 127-99 home win over the
Trail Blazers in the most recent matchup on Feb. 4.

The latest tilt is exceedingly more important to Portland as it
attempts to close in on the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies in the
Western Conference. The Trail Blazers are one game behind the
Grizzlies and reside in ninth place as they attempt to gain a
play-in berth.

"You only can worry about yourself because it's going to be a race,
and teams are going to win games," Portland coach Terry Stotts said
after his club's 110-102 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.
"It's so tight that you can't worry about them because you have to
worry about yourself."

The Nuggets are in third place in the West and 2-1 since the
restart after notching a 132-126 win over the San Antonio Spurs on
Wednesday.

Emerging forward Michael Porter Jr. had his second straight
prolific game with 30 points and a career-best 15 rebounds. He
scored a career-best 37 points two nights earlier during an
overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and is clicking well
with Denver star center Nikola Jokic.

"If you know me, the Nuggets drafted me as a scorer," Porter told
reporters afterward. "They knew that was one of my big strengths.
Playing with a superstar who would rather pass the ball than shoot
the ball obviously is going to work out for both of us."

Porter has made 23 of 35 field-goal attempts during the stretch,
including 9 of 15 from 3-point range, while often being set up by
the unselfish Jokic.

Jokic had 25 points and 11 assists against the Spurs. He is finding
that the 22-year-old Porter is a good person to locate on the floor.

"You know he's going to make the shot," Jokic told reporters. "He's
going to be there. He's going to rebound. He's a big target for me.
"Just to know you have a really good player, a talented player,
they cannot help with him. It's helping me in that kind of way."

Porter took a team-high 19 shots (making 11) against San Antonio as
Denver played without the starting backcourt of Jamal Murray
(hamstring) and Gary Harris (hip) and small forward Will Barton
(knee) for the third straight game.

The Trail Blazers, who also are 2-1 since the restart, aim to
deliver a second straight strong effort.

Portland cleaned up on the boards against Houston with a 64-39
rebounding edge and played solid team basketball for most of the
contest.

And when the Rockets tied the score at 100, Portland didn't wilt at
the thought of giving up a 13-point lead. Instead, backup guard
Gary Trent Jr. drained the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:53 left,
and forward Carmelo Anthony added another trey with 54.6 seconds to
play as the Trail Blazers closed it out.

Anthony (15 points, 11 rebounds) was the club's fifth-leading
scorer during the balanced effort.

Star guard Damian Lillard, who scored 21 points, expressed
annoyance that people are still stunned Anthony has fit in so well
with Portland.

"I think it's more disappointing that people are surprised by it,"
Lillard told reporters. "He's a Hall of Famer. ... He's a great
teammate, and that's what we expect from him."

Shooting guard CJ McCollum (20 points), center Jusuf Nurkic (18
points, 19 rebounds) and Trent (16) also had solid outings.

Lillard averaged 22 points and 9.3 assists in the three losses to
Denver earlier this season. Jokic averaged 23 points, 12.3 rebounds
and 5.7 assists for the Nuggets.

--Field Level Media



(Orlando, FL)  --  The Lakers are back in action today as they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  The Lakers have already locked up the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs.  They have five regular season games remaining.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Jusuf Nurkic put up 18 points and 19 rebounds as the Trail Blazers topped the Rockets 110-102 in Orlando.  Damian Lillard added 21 points, nine boards and eight assists for Portland, which now sits at 31-and-38.  The Blazers will face the Nuggets tomorrow night.



(San Diego, CA)  --  A.J. Pollock homered and doubled for the Dodgers as they dropped the Padres 5-3 in San Diego.  Dustin May struck out eight over six innings of work to earn the win and Kenley Jansen notched his third save.  Ross Stripling takes the mound in the rubber match tonight.



(Orlando, FL)  --  Devin Booker nailed a game-winning jumper at the buzzer as the Suns slipped past the Clippers 117-115 at the NBA bubble in Orlando.  Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points to pace the Clippers, who dropped to 1-and-2 in Orlando and 45-and-22 overall.  Paul George had 23 in the setback.  The Clippers are 45-and-22 and face the Mavericks tomorrow. 



(Oakland, CA)  --  Stephen Piscotty launched a walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning as the A's dropped the Rangers 5-1 in Oakland.  Jesus Luzardo tossed five shutout innings for the A's and Liam Hendriks locked down the win.  Matt Chapman tied the game in the seventh with a solo homer as Oakland improved to 6-and-4. 



(Seattle, WA)  --  Mike Trout homered in his first at-bat as a father as the Angels edged the Mariners 5-3 in Seattle.  Trout was playing in his first game since his wife gave birth to a baby boy last week.  Highly-touted prospect Jo Adell made his MLB debut and went 1-for-4.  Andrew Heaney earned the win while Albert Pujols and David Fletcher launched home runs.  The series continues tonight in Seattle. 



(Santa Clara, CA)  --  49ers receiver Travis Benjamin is opting out of the 2020 NFL season due to coronavirus concerns.  Benjamin is the first San Francisco player to choose to opt out.  He signed with the team in March after spending the past four seasons with the Chargers.



(Denver, CO)  --  The Giants are on a three-game slide following a 5-2 loss to the Rockies in Denver.  Steven Duggar provided the offense for San Francisco with a two-run homer.  Kevin Gausman took the loss as the Giants look to prevent the sweep in Denver tonight.  They're 5-and-7 on the season.



(Undated)  --  The NFL and the Players Association officially have a new collective bargaining agreement in place for the 2020 season.  Most terms were agreed to last week, but a final revision was made regarding player safety.  The deal ensures players who choose to opt out due to COVID-19 will still be compensated, and outlines safety protocols.


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