Tuesday, February 7

#SportsReport: Twins best Red Sox; Rockies defeat Phillies


NBA:

Joel Embiid had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 112-97 win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Tyrese Maxey had 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Tobias Harris had 20 points and 10 rebounds. James Harden scored 14. OG Anunoby led the Raptors with 26 points. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet each had 20. Game 3 in the Eastern Conference series is Wednesday in Toronto.

In other playoff action:

Stephen Curry came off the bench for a second straight game and showed he’s healthy at last, scoring 34 points to lead the Golden State Warriors past the Denver Nuggets 126-106 for a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series. Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 11 rebounds before being ejected with 7 minutes left following a second technical and was held back from a referee. The MVP candidate’s emotions ran high all night.

Jalen Brunson scored a career-high 41 points, Maxi Kleber had 25 with eight of Dallas’ playoff-record 22 made 3-points and the Mavericks won Game 2 against Utah 110-104 to even the first-round series. The Mavericks, without injured superstar Luca Doncic, overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half. Donovan Mitchell had 34 points for Utah, while Bojan Bogdanovic had 25 and Jordan Clarkson 21. Game 3 is Thursday night in Utah.

Boston’s Marcus Smart is the first guard in over a quarter-century to win the NBA defensive player of the year award.

The last guard to win this honor was Seattle’s Gary Payton in 1995-96. Smart helped the Celtics lead the NBA in defensive rating and scoring defense while holding opponents to a league-low field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage. The 28-year-old ranked seventh in the NBA in steals per game and tied for sixth in total steals with 119. Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges finished second and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert came in third.

In other NBA news:

Duke big man Mark Williams is entering the NBA draft. The 7-foot-1, 242-pound sophomore announced his decision in a social media video. Williams is ranked as the No. 18 draft prospect by ESPN. Williams averaged 11.2 points and 7.4 rebounds, and ranked 12th nationally with 2.82 blocks per game.

Vanderbilt guard Scotty Pippen Jr. is entering the NBA draft and signing with an agent. Pippen announced his decision Monday in a social media post. He thanked Nashville and Vanderbilt fans. Pippen went from second in the Southeastern Conference in scoring to first this season, averaging 20.4 points a game.

MLB:

Jorge Polanco and Kyle Garlick hit early two-run homers over the Green Monster to back Dylan Bundy, carrying the Minnesota Twins past the Red Sox 8-3 in Boston’s annual Patriots’ Day game.

The game started at 11:11 a.m. EDT, played in conjunction with the 126th Boston Marathon, which ended about one mile from Fenway Park. Polanco added a two-run single in a four-run eighth and Gio Urshela had three singles for the Twins, who won the final two games of the series for a four-game split. Christian Vázquez hit a solo homer and Xander Bogaerts had three hits with an RBI.

Elsewhere in the majors:

Frankie Montas allowed two hits over six innings, the Athletics threw out two runners at the plate and Oakland held on and beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 in its home opener. A crowd of 17,503 weathered chilly temperatures to view a matchup between the teams with the two lowest payrolls in the major leagues. Attendance was the A’s lowest for a home opener without COVID restrictions in at least 30 years. Montas struck out five and walked two for his second straight win. He retired 12 of his first 13 batters and did not allow a hit until the fifth.

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Freddie Freeman slugged his first home run in a Dodgers uniform and Los Angeles beat the Atlanta Braves 7-4 for its seventh consecutive victory. Freeman didn’t wait to tee off against his old team. He homered in the first inning off Huascar Ynoa. The sellout crowd of 52,052 saluted Freeman with chants of “Freddie! Freddie!” Before the game, an emotional Freeman spent time in the Braves clubhouse, reliving memories of delivering Atlanta’s first World Series title since 1995 last year. Guillermo Heredia and Ozzie Albies had solo shots for the Braves off Clayton Kershaw.

Manny Machado had a two-run homer among his three hits and Sean Manaea pitched six strong innings for the San Diego Padres, who won 4-1 to hand the Cincinnati Reds their seventh straight loss. The Padres extended their major league record with 12 straight errorless games to open a season. The Reds took a rare lead when Tommy Pham, who played with the Padres the last two seasons before leaving as a free agent, hit a solo homer with two outs in the first. It was his first of the season and doubled his hit total. Pham finished with three hits.

Yordan Alvarez homered twice with four RBIs in his return after missing five games because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols to lead the Houston Astros to an 8-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels in their home opener. The Astros lost Jose Altuve in the eighth inning with an apparent injury.

Christian Yelich belted a grand slam for his first homer of the season and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1. The 429-foot blast was Yelich’s fourth career grand slam.

Rookie Seiya Suzuki extended his hitting streak to nine games, tying Akinori Iwamura for the longest by a Japanese-born player at the start of a major league career, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on a cold night.

Chad Kuhl pitched six scoreless innings during his home debut with the Rockies before leaving with what appeared to be a cut near the middle finger of his pitching hand, and Charlie Blackmon hit a go-ahead home run to lead Colorado over the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1.

The New York Mets postponed their game against the San Francisco Giants scheduled for Monday night due to forecasted rain and rescheduled it as part of a doubleheader Tuesday. The Mets announced the postponement about three hours before first pitch Monday, with 1-2 inches of rain expected.

The game between the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Guardians scheduled for Monday night has been postponed by bad weather. The game was called about five hours before the scheduled 6:10 p.m. first pitch after rain and snow showers fell most of the day and temperatures dropped into the 30s. The teams will play a split doubleheader on July 12.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ game at the Washington Nationals has been postponed because of rain. The game was supposed to begin Monday night. It will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader today.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora says catcher Kevin Plawecki tested positive for COVID-19 along with two staff members. Cora said the 31-year-old Plawecki is vaccinated. He was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list and the team called up catcher Conner Wong from Triple-A Worcester.

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Cora didn’t want to elaborate whom the staff members were, but said it wasn’t any coaches.

Also happening in the Majors:

Infielder Jed Lowrie and relievers A.J. Puk and Lou Trivino were among six players added to the COVID-19 injured list by the Oakand Athletics before their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles. Reliever Kirby Snead, infielder Chad Pinder and catcher Austin Allen also were put on the COVID-19 IL and joined outfielder Scott Piscotty, placed on the list on Friday.

Mike Trout was out of the lineup for the Los Angeles Angels Monday, a day after the star center fielder was hit on the left hand by a pitch. An MRI Monday was negative for a fracture.

Jake Arrieta, a key pitcher on the Chicago Cubs’ 2016 World Series championship team, has decided to retire. Arrieta, who is 36, went 5-14 with a 7.39 ERA in 24 starts for the Cubs and San Diego Padres last season. He finishes his career with a 115-93 record and 3.98 ERA in 285 games, including 279 starts, over 12 years in the majors.

NFL:

The Cleveland Browns have spoken to an NFL investigator looking into claims by former coach Hue Jackson, who said the team intentionally lost games in 2016 and 2017.

Jackson, now coaching at Grambling State, indicated in a series of posts on social media that the Browns paid him bonuses incentivizing him to lose. Jackson later softened those claims. The Browns went 1-15 in 2016 and 0-16 in 2017 under Jackson. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the league engaged former SEC chair Mary Jo White to look into Jackson’s allegations. The team said it welcomed the chance to address Jackson’s claims.

In other NLF headlines:

A person familiar with the negotiations tells AP that Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward has agreed to a five-year, $100.5 million contract extension with the Cleveland Browns. Ward’s deal includes $71.25 million guaranteed. With a yearly average of $20.1 million, Ward will be the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback.

Ward has developed into one of the league’s best coverage cornerbacks during his four seasons as a pro. The Browns selected the former Ohio State star with the No. 4 overall pick in 2018.

Elsewhere in the NFL:

The NFL’s Washington Commanders denied several allegations of financial impropriety in a letter written to the Federal Trade Commission. The 105-page letter, including testimony, emails and other documents, comes as a response to the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee asking the FTC to look into the team’s business practices.

Baltimore Ravens executive Bob Eller is retiring after 38 years in the NFL. Eller is the team’s senior vice president of operations. He will retire June 1. He’s spent 35 years with the Ravens and Cleveland Browns.

NHL:

Johnny Gaudreau, Dillon Dube and Blake Coleman scored in the first period, and the Calgary Flames beat the lowly Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Monday night. Jacob Markstrom made 21 saves as playoff-bound Calgary won for the seventh time in eight games. Chicago lost for the 10th time in 11 games.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:

Elias Pettersson had two goals and an assist and the Vancouver Canucks extended their winning streak to six games with a 6-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Brock Boeser and Jason Dickinson each had a goal and two assists for the Canucks. Vasily Podkolzin and Conor Garland also scored. Oliver Ekman-Larsson had two assists. Roope Hintz had two goals for Dallas, including a short-handed score in the second period. Thatcher Demko stopped 28 of 30 shots for Vancouver, which swept the three-game season series against Dallas. Stars goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 15 of 19 shots before being pulled midway through the second period. Scott Wedgewood had 10 saves in relief.

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Nathan Bastian had a goal and an assist, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2. The Golden Knights blew their chance to gain ground on the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division, and their playoff hopes lessened severely with just five games left to play. In a rare win for the Devils — their 13th in their last 40 games. Andreas Johnsson and Jesper Boqvist also scored, while Andrew Hammond made 42 saves. Keegan Kolesar and Chandler Stephenson scored for Vegas and Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots.

Matty Beniers scored in his second straight game to become the third NHL rookie this season to record a point in his first three contests and the Seattle Kraken beat the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Daniel Sprong, Victor Rask, and Jordan McCann also scored for Seattle. McCann’s empty-netter with 1:11 left sealed Seattle’s second straight victory. Brady Tkachuk and Nick Holden scored for Ottawa. The goals came two minutes apart early in the second period. Seattle’s Chris Driedger made 12 saves. Anton Forsberg had 25 saves for the Senators.

Marcus Johansson scored the go-ahead goal with 9:14 remaining, Ilya Samsonov stopped 24 shots and the playoff-bound Washington Capitals snapped the Colorado Avalanche’s nine-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory. Alex Ovechkin and Garnet Hathaway also added goals for a Washington team that clinched a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference the night before.

The Seattle Kraken are adding some additional star power to their ownership group.

Grammy winner Macklemore and former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch are now part of the minority investor group. The two are taking small stakes in the franchise but they say they have big ideas about community engagement and outreach to go along with their financial commitment. Macklemore is a Seattle native and has been part of the ownership group for the MLS Seattle Sounders since 2019. Lynch spent parts of seven NFL seasons playing for the Seattle Seahawks.

In other NHL news:

Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin has undergone core muscle surgery, ending his second season as the team’s captain earlier than hoped. The Red Wings say his recovery is expected to last eight to 10 weeks. The 25-year-old Larkin leads the Red Wings with 31 goals and 69 points in 71 games.

New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal was fined $2,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct during Sunday night’s loss at Toronto. Barzal was sitting on the bench in the third period with about four minutes left when he tugged at the jersey of Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner. He held on to Marner for a couple of seconds to obstruct him from following the play.

The NHL has suspended Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta two games for an illegal check to the head of Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie. The incident occurred in the third period of Washington’s 8-4 win in Montreal.

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