Jimmy Butler scored 35 points, including 20 after halftime, and the Miami Heat rallied in the second half to beat the Boston Celtics 123-116 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Miami trailed by nine at the half before outscoring Boston 66-50 over the final two quarters. It was Butler’s fifth game with 30 or more points this postseason. Bam Adebayo added 20 points and eight rebounds. Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin and Gabe Vincent and Max Strus all added 15 points apiece. The Heat went 16 of 31 from the 3-point line. Game 2 is Friday in Boston. Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 30 points. Jaylen Brown finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. Malcolm Brogdon added 19 points.
The Los Angeles Lakers have to feel good about avoiding a blowout at Denver in the opener of the Western Conference finals. The Nuggets also have some takeaways from the Lakers’ furious fourth-quarter rally after escaping with a 132-126 win. Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Wednesday that the close call kept the Nuggets from getting too full of themselves. He said the players were laser focused in film study after watching the Lakers dominate the second half of Game 1.
Elsewhere, the LA Lakers take on the Nuggets in Game 2 tonight at 8:30 in Denver.
In the NHL, the Hurricanes take on the Panthers at home tonight at 8 in Game 1 of their Conference Finals series.
Francisco Álvarez hit a tying three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning and Pete Alonso hit a game-ending three-run shot in the 10th, giving the New York Mets an improbable 8-7 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. New York trailed 2-0 before Mark Vientos, a rookie brought up from the minors for his season debut, tied the score with a two-run homer in the seventh off side-armer Ryan Thompson. Brandon Lowe put the Rays back ahead with a two-run homer off Adam Ottavino in a three-run eighth that built a 5-2 lead.
Danny Jansen hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 3-0. Long after Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt and Yankees ace Gerrit Cole exited a scoreless duel, Jansen’s fourth homer of the season came on the first pitch he saw from reliever Wandy Peralta. Whit Merrifield reached on shortstop Anthony Volpe’s error to begin the bottom of the 10th as automatic runner Cavan Biggio advanced from second to third. New York moved left fielder Oswaldo Cabrera into the infield, and Alejandro Kirk grounded out to shortstop before Jansen followed with his game-winning drive to left. Toronto closer Jordan Romano tossed two hitless innings for the win.
Pablo Reyes doubled twice for a career-high four RBIs to help the Boston Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 12-3 on Wednesday night. Justin Turner had a two-run homer, Rafael Devers and Kiké Hernández also each drove in two runs and right-hander Brayan Bello (3-1) won on his 24th birthday, allowing one run on three hits in five innings with five walks and seven strikeouts. Left-hander Marco Gonzalez (3-1) took the loss, lasting just 1 2/3 innings, He gave up eight runs on eight hits and two walks. The Red Sox took a 9-0 lead after two innings, sending eight batters to the plate in the first inning and 10 in the second.
Thairo Estrada hit a tiebreaking RBI single as part of a three-run eighth inning and the San Francisco Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 to complete a three-game sweep. Wilmer Flores and Casey Schmitt each had two-run singles, and Blake Sabol and Brandon Crawford also drove in runs as the Giants won their sixth straight game against the Phillies. Bryson Stott homered for Philadelphia, which lost its fourth in a row. John Brebbia (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the win as the San Francisco bullpen combined to allow one run in 5 2/3 innings for the second straight day.
Rich Hill gave up one hit in six innings, Austin Hedges drove in three runs and the Pittsburgh Pirates rolled to an 8-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. The 43-year-old Hill, the oldest active player in the majors, gave up an infield single to Matt Vierling and two walks while striking out seven. A trio of relievers completed the shutout as Pittsburgh won for just the third time in 15 games. Rodolfo Castro homered and knocked in two runs, while Bryan Reynolds contributed three hits and scored two runs.
New York Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán has been suspended for 10 games by Major League Baseball and fined for violating the sport’s prohibition of foreign substances on the mound. The penalty was announced Wednesday, following Germán’s ejection in the fourth inning Tuesday night at Toronto for what the umpire crew chief said was “the stickiest hand” he’d ever felt. Germán did not appeal, and his penalty began with Wednesday night’s game in Toronto. Germán had retired his first nine batters Tuesday night. He denied Hoye’s assertion, saying he didn’t have anything on his hand other than rosin. Germán’s ejection was the fourth since Major League Baseball started its crackdown on prohibited grip aids two years ago, and the second this season.
Meanwhile, Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Jay Jackson says he believes he was tipping his pitches when New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge homered against him Monday night. That at-bat was quickly scrutinized when cameras caught Judge taking unusual glances toward the first-base line moments before Jackson delivered. Many questioned whether someone on the Yankees was signaling to the 2022 AL MVP an indication of which pitch Jackson was about to throw, based on either sign stealing or pitch tipping. Jackson told The Athletic on Wednesday that he believes a Yankees coach was able to see which grip he was using while holding the ball in his glove, and that coach relayed the info to Judge, helping him hit a 462-foot home run.
Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers aspire to be like Randy Johnson. Zac Gallen unintentionally got close in emulating the Hall of Famer. While warming up in the outfield before Arizona’s game at Oakland on Wednesday, Gallen threw a curveball that hit a bird in midflight, killing the animal. The throw was captured by cameras for Diamondbacks’ broadcaster Bally Sports Arizona. Johnson infamously killed a bird during a spring training game in 2001. While throwing a pitch against the San Francisco Giants, a bird crossed in front of home plate and was destroyed by the baseball.
A Florida judge has sided with superstar golfer Tiger Woods in a legal dispute with his ex-girlfriend. Judge Elizabeth Metzger rejected late Wednesday an attempt by Erica Herman to throw out her nondisclosure agreement with Woods. Metzger called Herman’s allegation that was a victim of sexual harassment “vague and threadbare.” She also said that Herman’s questioning if whether she actually signed the agreement is also something that should be decided by the arbitrator. Herman has been suing Woods and the trust that owns his Florida mansion, seeking $30 million from the latter. Herman and Woods were together for about five years before they split in October.
Albany Empire principal owner and former NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown says that he’ll suit up for the Albany Empire. Brown has faced scrutiny in recent weeks over his handling of the arena football team’s operations after several players and a coach left the team, claiming they hadn’t been paid in several weeks. Brown told WNYT/Newschannel 13 that he intends to play in the Empire’s home game on either May 27th or June 17th. Brown says that he’s hoping his playing will boost ticket sales for a team that has seen average attendance hover around 2500, or a quarter of where Brown says he wants it to be. Brown spent ten years with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Oak Hill is tough enough in any conditions. Throw in biting colder temperatures on the eve of the PGA Championship and it was a reminder that this major figures to be a strong test. The good news for the 156 players is the weather will get warmer. Oak Hill figures to stay tough. Jordan Spieth says it’s no different from a U.S. Open. The thick rough and penal bunkers are putting a premium on accuracy. The PGA Championship begins today at Oak Hill in Rochester with 99 of the top 100 players in the world. Masters champion Jon Rahm is among the favorites.
Rafael Nadal has not competed since January because of a hip injury. He is expected to announce Thursday whether that absence will include the French Open, a tournament he has won a record 14 times. Nadal’s manager, Benito Perez-Barbadillo, said Wednesday that Nadal would speak to the media at his tennis academy in Manacor, Spain, about his participation in Roland Garros. Nadal has never missed the French Open since winning the title there when he made his debut in 2005. Several sports outlets based in Spain said Wednesday that Nadal would not be competing at the the clay-court Grand Slam tournament in Paris, where main-draw play begins May 28. None of the reports cited a specific source.
Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon has denied that former Aces player Dearica Hamby was bullied on her team for being pregnant, saying any ill feelings between the two came from Hamby being traded. Hammon, one of the league’s marquee figures, said Wednesday in a video call with reporters that she did nothing to warrant discipline from the WNBA, which suspended her for two games without pay after a monthslong investigation into Hamby’s allegations. Hammon said she once asked Hamby about her pregnancy, but didn’t get into the specifics of what she said.
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