AP Sports SummaryBrief at 11:56 p.m. EDT
Jokic leads Denver Nuggets past LeBron’s Lakers 113-111, into their first NBA Finals
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Denver Nuggets are going to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. Nikola Jokic had 30 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists as the Nuggets swept the Western Conference finals with a 113-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4. Jamal Murray scored 25 points for the top-seeded Nuggets, who overcame LeBron James’ 31-point first half and a 15-point halftime deficit to earn their first conference title in 47 seasons in the NBA. James finished with 40 points after the highest-scoring postseason half of his matchless career.
Bobrovsky gets shutout, Panthers top Hurricanes 1-0 for 3-0 lead in East final
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 shots for his first career playoff shutout, Sam Reinhart scored a power-play goal midway through the second period and the Florida Panthers moved one win away from a most improbable trip to the Stanley Cup Final by blanking the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0. Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett had the assists on Reinhart’s goal for Florida, which now leads the Eastern Conference final 3-0. The Panthers haven’t played for the Stanley Cup since 1996, but can clinch a trip to the title round with a win in Game 4 on Wednesday.
NFL approves limited flexible scheduling for Thursday night games
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — NFL owners have approved a flexible scheduling policy for Thursday night games on Amazon Prime Video. The rule covers Weeks 13-17, and teams would have their games moved only with at least 28 days’ notice. The league could push a Thursday night matchup in that range to Sunday afternoon if there is a more desirable game. The mechanism is currently in place for Sunday night and Monday night games. The flexible scheduling for Thursday night games was approved on a trial basis for 2023 only. Owners also approved at their spring meetings a rule allowing teams to play an emergency quarterback from the inactive list if the first two are injured during a game.
Spanish acknowledge they have a racism problem after more abuse of Vinícius Júnior
MADRID (AP) — Spanish soccer is again embroiled in a racism debate and the support for Vinícius Júnior is growing rapidly after yet another case of abuse against the Brazil forward this weekend. Officials, players and other athletes continued to show their solidarity with Vinícius. He considered leaving the field after being insulted by fans during Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss at Valencia in the Spanish league. Vinícius said after the match the Spanish league “now belongs to racists” and that Spain “is seen as a racist country.” Real Madrid asked authorities to investigate the abusive behavior. France forward Kylian Mbappé says “we are with you and we support you.”
All eyes on rookie QBs and Aaron Rodgers as NFL teams kick off practices
Rookie quarterbacks will get much of the attention this week when most NFL teams hit the field for non-contact practices. Twenty teams kicked off their voluntary organized team activities on Monday and 10 more will do so on Tuesday. Only the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles and the AFC runner-up Cincinnati Bengals aren’t holding workouts this week. Teams are allowed, per the collective bargaining agreement, to hold 10 days of practices without pads and no live contact over a four-week span. They can run 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
Super Bowl goes back to Bay Area; 49ers to host in 2026 at Levi’s Stadium
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The Super Bowl will return to the Bay Area in 2026 at the home of the San Francisco 49ers. NFL owners approved the site at their spring meetings. This will be the third time for the big game in the Bay Area. Levi’s Stadium hosted Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara when Denver beat Carolina. The 49ers won Super Bowl 19 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto when they beat Miami after the 1984 season. The 2026 game will be Super Bowl 60. The next Super Bowl is scheduled for Feb. 11, 2024, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Wilson fractures vertebrae in crash with Legge in Indianapolis 500 practice session
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Stefan Wilson fractured a vertebrae during a heavy crash with Katherine Legge in practice for the Indianapolis 500 on Monday. The British driver will not be allowed back into the car for Sunday’s race. Wilson was immobilized on a stretcher and wearing a neck brace but gave a thumbs-up as he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital. Legge was able to climb from the cockpit of her crumpled machine on her own. It was the first wreck in the two-week build-up to the race. It was unclear who will step into Wilson’s car for Sunday, but JR Hildebrand has been at the speedway. He’s made 12 consecutive starts, nearly winning as a rookie in 2011 before finishing second, but could not put together a ride this year.
Celtics look to pull off the impossible, as Heat stand on brink of making NBA Finals
MIAMI (AP) — Blown out in Game 3, facing elimination in Game 4, tasked with engineering the sort of comeback that no team in their league has ever pulled off before. This may sound familiar to Boston fans. Yes, what the Red Sox did to the New York Yankees in 2004 was discussed around the Boston Celtics on Monday. A day after a debacle in Miami to fall into a 3-0 deficit in these Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics will try to extend the series and at least delay a Heat celebration in Game 4 on Tuesday night.
Carmelo Anthony retires from NBA, after 19-year career, NCAA title, 3 Olympic gold medals
Carmelo Anthony, the star forward who led Syracuse to an NCAA championship in his lone college season and went on to spend 19 years in the NBA, announced his retirement on Monday. Anthony, who was not in the NBA this season, retires as the No. 9 scorer in league history. Only LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal scored more than Anthony. He finishes his career with 28,289 points.
Koepka gets another major win at PGA, LIV gets a major champion
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Brooks Koepka now has five major championships with his two-shot win at the PGA Championship. That’s one major for LIV Golf. No one is keeping score that way, least of all Koepka. He says it should boost the Saudi-funded rival league. Certainly it should put to rest the notion that playing for guaranteed riches has taken off the edge to compete. That was never the case with Koepka. He only wanted to be healthy. He was every bit of that at Oak Hill. Koepka becomes the 20th play in golf history to win at least five majors.
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