Update on the latest sports

NBA-CELTICS-COACH

AP source: Celtics hire Nets assistant Udoka as new coach

BOSTON (AP) — A person familiar with the decision says that the Boston Celtics have hired Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka to be their new coach. Udoka spent seven years on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio, including the 2013-14 season, when the Spurs won the NBA title.

He joined the Philadelphia 76ers in 2019 and was with the Nets last year.

Udoka replaces Brad Stevens, who stepped away from the bench and into the front office when Danny Ainge (aynj) retired this month.

NBA PLAYOFFS-HAWKS/BUCKS

East finalists Bucks and Hawks seek to end long droughts

MILWAUKEE (AP) — There’s more than a berth in the NBA Finals for the winner of the improbable matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks-Atlanta Hawks. The winner of the Eastern Conference finals that start tonight will end decades of frustration.

Milwaukee won its lone NBA title in 1971 and last reached the Finals in 1974. The Hawks won their only championship in 1958 and lost in the Finals in 1957, 1960 and 1961 — and that’s when they were still playing in St. Louis.

The Bucks got to the conference finals by sweeping the Miami Heat and surviving a seven-game series with the second-seeded Brooklyn Nets. Atlanta beat the New York Knicks in five games and knocked off the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in seven.

Both the Bucks and Hawks ended their second-round series by earning their first Game 7 road victories ever.

NHL PLAYOFFS-LIGHTNING/ISLANDERS

Islanders look to bounce back from Game 5 blowout

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The New York Islanders don’t plan to spend too much time thinking about their blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning that’s put them on the verge of being ousted from the Stanley Cup semifinals.

The 8-0 loss on Monday night has the Islanders in a 3-2 series hole heading into Game 6 at home Wednesday night, facing elimination for the first time this postseason.

The Islanders have managed to bounce back several times this postseason as they’ve trailed after three games in each of their three series. Now, they return to Nassau Coliseum, where they were 21-4-3 during the regular season and are 5-3 so far in the playoffs.

NHL-NEWS

Blues defenseman Gunnarsson retires after 12 NHL seasons

UNDATED (AP) — St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson has announced his retirement after 12 NHL seasons.

Gunnarsson scored the overtime goal in Game 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final for St. Louis that tied the series on the way to the franchise’s first championship. It was the only playoff goal he scored in his career.

The 34-year-old Swede had his 12th season in North America cut short by a knee injury in February.

In other NHL news:

— Daniel and Henrik Sedin are returning to the Vancouver Canucks to work in the front office. Three years after their retirement, the Swedish twins joined the Canucks’ hockey operations department with the title of special adviser to the general manager, Jim Benning. They are not taking the job lightly. The Canucks missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six years in 2021. They finished last among the seven teams playing in Canada.

— The final report on the death of former St. Louis Blues defenseman Bob Plager (PLAY’-gur) has confirmed that he died of a “cardiac event” before crashing his SUV in March. t St. Louis Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham confirming his preliminary findings from shortly after Plager’s death. The 78-year-old was alone in his SUV when the crash happened on Interstate 64 near downtown St. Louis. Plager went from the New York Rangers to the Blues when the NHL expanded in 1967-68. The Ontario native played 11 seasons for St. Louis and later worked for the organization in various roles.

— Rene Robert (roh-BEHR’), a member of the Buffalo Sabres’ famed “French Connection Line,” has died at a Florida hospital less than a week after suffering a heart attack. He was 72. Robert was acquired by the Sabres in a trade in 1972, and went on to round out one of the most productive lines in NHL history. He played right wing, alongside Rick Martin and Hockey Hall of Fame center Gilbert Perreault (zhihl-BEHR’ peh-ROH’). The line earned its nickname because all three were from Quebec.

— Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders has won the Jim Gregory general manager of the year award for the second straight year. The NHL announced Tuesday night that Lamoriello finished ahead of fellow finalists Marc Bergevin (BERZH’-eh-vihn) of the Montreal Canadiens and Bill Zito of the Florida Panthers. Colorado’s Joe Sakic (SAK’-ihk) was fourth and Vegas’ Kelly McCrimmon fifth in voting by GMs, league executives and media members after the second round of the playoffs. New York has made the playoffs each year under Lamoriello and coach Barry Trotz, and won at least one series each time after totaling one series win in the previous 25 years.

MLB-SCHEDULE

Grandal, White Sox end 5-game skid, beat Pirates 4-3

UNDATED (AP) — Yasmani Grandal (yahs-MAH’-nee grahn-DAHL’) hit a two-run double and the Chicago White Sox stopped a five-game losing streak, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3, Leury García added a home run as the AL Central leaders ended their longest skid of the season.

Chicago starter Dylan Cease bounced back from a rough outing to work 5 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run while striking out seven.

Liam Hendricks pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save of the season.

Elsewhere in the majors:

— Starlin Castro hit a go-ahead, two-run single off closer Hector Neris in the ninth inning and the Washington Nationals rallied three times to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 13-12. It was the first game in major league history that featured a grand slam and three-run homer for each team. Josh Bell answered Andrew McCutchen’s slam with one of his own as the Nationals overcame deficits of 5-0, 9-5 and 12-11. Kyle Schwarber hit Washington’s three-run homer and Travis Jankowski had one for Philadelphia. Bryce Harper also connected for the Phillies.

— Jonathan Schoop hit a solo homer and two-run double to help the Detroit Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2. The Tigers have won three straight for the second time in a 10-day span. Schoop has played a key part in the relative surge, hitting 10 home runs this month. The Cardinals have lost 16 of 22 games since they led the NL Central nearly a month ago. Matt Manning allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings for the win.

MLB-NEWS

Nats GM Rizzo calls Phillies manager Girardi a ‘con artist’

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo called Joe Girardi a “con artist” a day after Philadelphia’s manager asked umpires to check Max Scherzer for illegal substances during last night’s game. Scherzer threw his glove and hat to the grass, then stared down Girardi after getting checked for a third time by umpires for sticky stuff in Washington’s 3-2 win.

Major league umpires began a crackdown on Monday by regularly examining pitchers for tacky substances that can give them a better grip on the baseball. Managers also can request a check, although umps can deny it if they believe it’s not in good faith.

Girardi said he became suspicious because Scherzer was touching his hair more than usual on the mound. Scherzer said he did that because he couldn’t grip the ball and needed moisture on his fingers. He also said he got tired of tasting rosin.

In other MLB news:

— The New York Mets’ Pete Alonso will defend his Home Run Derby title at Coors Field on July 12. But there will be no rematch with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, who has decided not to take part. Alonso made his announcement on his Instagram page. He joins Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani (SHOH’-hay oh-TAH’-nee) of the Los Angeles Angels in the derby, held on the night before the All-Star Game. Alonso won the derby at Cleveland’s Progressive Field in 2019, the last time it was held, by defeating Guerrero Jr. 23-22 the final round.

— Indians pitcher Aaron Civale will miss more than one month with a sprained right finger, the latest blow to Cleveland’s injury-ravaged rotation. Civale, who is tied for the major league lead with 10 wins, injured his middle finger in a start against the Chicago Cubs on Monday. The Indians said Civale will be shut down from throwing for up to two weeks and the right-hander will miss between four to five weeks of game activity.

NCAA-EMMERT

NCAA crafting ‘interim’ NIL rules after court loss

UNDATED (AP) — NCAA President Mark Emmert says the association is working on interim rules to permit athletes to earn money from their fame by July. It would act as a bridge until there is a more permanent solution.

Emmert outlined his thinking in a memo sent to NCAA member schools and obtained by The Associated Press. He acknowledged the current uncertainty across college sports as it moves toward allowing athletes to be compensated for use of their name, image and likeness.

Six states — Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and New Mexico — have laws set to go into effect July 1 that would undercut existing NCAA rules and give athletes to opportunity to be paid by third parties for things such as sponsorship deals, online endorsements and personal appearances.

Several other state laws could also go into effect in July. Without NCAA action, athletes in some states could be making money without putting their college eligibility in jeopardy while their counterparts in other states could be in danger of breaking NCAA rules.

WIMBLEDON-SEEDINGS

Djokovic, Barty are Wimbledon top seeds, Federer, Serena 7th

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Defending champion Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) has been named the top seed at Wimbledon as he seeks his 20th Grand Slam title. Roger Federer and Serena Williams will begin the grass-court tournament next week seeded seventh.

Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty is seeded first on the women’s side. The Australian hasn’t played since retiring from her second-round match at the French Open due to the flareup of an upper-leg injury.

The draw is Friday and the tournament begins Monday.

OLYPICS-BASKETBALL

AP source: Grant accepts Olympic bid, pushes US roster to 12

UNDATED (AP) — USA Basketball now has a full 12-man roster for the Tokyo Games, after Chicago’s Zach LaVine and Detroit’s Jerami Grant accepted invitations Wednesday to join the team that will try to win the program’s fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal.

LaVine’s decision was confirmed by his agent.

Grant’s decision was confirmed by a person familiar with the situation, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because USA Basketball has yet to formally reveal the full roster.

Categories: National Sports