Category Archives: Sports

Warriors lean on history with a chance to close out Celtics

Stephen Curry and the Warriors have been within a match of clinching a championship in three of Golden State’s previous five trips to the NBA Finals during his 13-year NBA career.

Back again and with a 3-2 series lead on the Celtics, Curry stated he’ll lean on that experience when he takes the court at Boston’s TD Garden on Thursday night.

“You just understand what the nerves are like,” Curry said. “At the end of the day, once you get out there, you just have to be in the moment. You got to be present as much as possible, not worry about the consequences of a win or a loss. The only opportunity you have is that 48 minutes.”

The Warriors’ core of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green is still around from the 2015 championship run. They’re on the verge of capturing their fourth title in eight seasons with new additions to the floor — like Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole — who have never been in this position.

Curry’s advice to them: Lie to yourself a little bit.

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“The more you can trick your mind into being in the moment and staying there, that’s the best advice I can give anybody in that situation,” he said. “Because it’s going to be the hardest game you probably ever played in your career because of what the stakes are.”

The stakes will be equally high for the Celtics, who let the turnover demons that have haunted them at times throughout the postseason prevent them from seizing a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Boston limited Curry to his lowest scoring output of the finals in Game 5, but couldn’t overcome 18 turnovers.

The Celtics dropped to 1-7 this postseason when committing 16 turnovers or more — and lost straight games for the first time since the end of March.

But they have an opportunity to force Game 7 — and the chance is coming at the Garden, where they are 6-5 in the playoffs.

The mood at the close of Wednesday’s practice session was loose, with players smiling and joking while getting up some shots. Celtics star Jayson Tatum said the optimism comes from the team’s extremely recent playoff history.

Boston’s path to the finals has included Game 7 victories over Milwaukee in the second round and Miami in the conference finals. The Celtics entered the finals as only the 12th team in league history to win back-to-back Game 7s in the preceding rounds.

“In those moments, we just responded. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I think just our will to want to win, just trying to figure it out,” Tatum said. “I think my thought process, as it was in that game, Game 7 against the Heat, it was just do whatever it takes to win.”

That, and reminding himself and teammates of the fact that there is still basketball left to play. “It’s the first to four. It’s not over with,” Tatum said. “So as long as it’s not over with, you got a chance.”

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Colorado Rockies’ Tyler Kinley likely out for season because of tear in right elbow

Colorado Rockies setup man Tyler Kinley will likely miss the remaining of the season due to a flexor tear in his right elbow.

Manager Bud Black stated Wednesday that an MRI revealed the tear and a sprain in Kinley’s pitching elbow. He’s scheduled to undergo a procedure soon, and Black did not rule out the need for Tommy John surgery.

“That answer will probably be clearer when he has the procedure, but I’m thinking this is probably going to cost him this season,” Black said.

Kinley, 31, was off to the best start of his career, sporting a 0.75 ERA over 25 appearances. He permitted just two earned runs and 21 hits in 24 innings, while striking out 27 and walking six.

He had earned the setup role ahead of closer Daniel Bard.

Right-hander Alex Colome, who has a 2.22 ERA in 25 games, is a candidate to take over that role.

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“It’s frustrating for Tyler first and foremost because he was thrown the ball so well and he was in such a good place fundamentally with his mechanics and mentally with his confidence,” Black said.

“His place on the team was trending upward, his career path. And a lot of that had to do with what he did this winter with some subtle changes to his delivery. So to have this happen, it’s such a bummer, man.”

Kinley, a 16th-round draft pick of Miami in 2013, is in his third season with Colorado after also pitching for the Marlins and Minnesota. He had nerve issues in the elbow a year ago, but Black said it’s unrelated to this injury.

Kinley last pitched on June 8 and was placed on the 15-day injured list Sunday.

“From talking to Tyler there wasn’t a one-pitch event or a one-game event [that caused the injury],” Black said.

“I’ve seen that over my career with pitchers where they throw one pitch and something tragic happens. But that was not the case.”

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Lewis Hamilton to race at Canada GP, says ‘wouldn’t miss it for the world’ despite pain

Lewis Hamilton has said he will be at the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend and “would not miss it for the world,” despite enduring severe back pain at Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion described Baku as “the toughest race” of his career after suffering more bouncing issues, with Mercedes fearing he might not be fit to race in Canada.

“Yesterday was tough and I had some trouble sleeping, but I’ve woken up feeling positive today,” Hamilton said in a social media post on Monday.

“My back is a little sore and bruised but nothing serious thankfully.”

“I’ve had acupuncture and physiotherapy and I’m on my way to my team to work with them on improving.

“We have to keep fighting. I’ll be there this weekend — I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Hamilton concluded fourth in Baku, after starting seventh in a race where both Ferrari drivers retired, and later told reporters it was “the most painful race” he had experienced.

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Team boss Toto Wolff recognized the situation raised concerns.

“He’s really bad,” the Austrian told reporters. “We’ve just got to find a solution… I think he is maybe the worst affected from all drivers.”

“I haven’t seen him and I haven’t spoken to him afterwards, but you can see this is not muscular anymore.

“I mean, this goes properly into the spine and it can have some consequences.”

Hamilton, who clutched his back as he clambered out of the car, likened the experience to enduring a four minute cryotherapy session and said he just focused on all the people counting on him to score points.

Teammate George Russell, who finished third, warned on Saturday that it was only a matter of time before the ‘porpoising’ problem caused a major accident.

“I don’t really know what the future holds but I don’t think we can sustain this for three years or however long these regulations are in force for,” he said.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner, whose drivers finished one-two with world champion Max Verstappen leading Sergio Perez, suggested rivals might be over-playing the problems to secure a favorable rule change on safety grounds.

“I’d tell them to bitch as much as they could and make as big an issue out of it as they possibly could,” he said when asked what he would tell his drivers if they suffered from similar bouncing.

“It’s part of the game. It’s like somebody going into a penalty box.

“You can see it’s uncomfortable but there are remedies to that. But it is to the detriment of the car performance. So the easiest thing to do is to then complain from a safety point of view,” he added.

Raising the car’s ride height would remove much of the bouncing but that would also negatively impact on performance.

Champions Mercedes have been struggling more than most with the bouncing as teams come to terms with sweeping new regulations.

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Lamar Jackson’s return to Baltimore Ravens practice ‘boosts everybody’s spirits’

Lamar Jackson made an impressive return to the Baltimore Ravens, receiving positive reviews after his first practice of the offseason.

Jackson looked comfortable and had good velocity on his throws, and teammates expressed excitement over seeing him on the field for the first time in six months.

“I think everybody knows that Lamar, he’s what drives our team,” Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said Tuesday. “The energy around him being here lifts everybody up.”

Jackson, who is scheduled to talk to reporters Thursday, skipped all three weeks of the voluntary workouts before reporting Monday. He hasn’t given a reason for his absence.

The last time Jackson was on the field with Baltimore was Dec. 29, when he tried to practice with a pronounced limp. He missed the final four games with a right ankle injury, as Baltimore failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

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On Tuesday, it seemed like old times with Jackson. He moved around well, threw his usual sidearm passes and connected frequently with Andrews, including on a 30-yard pass while on the run. Teammates noticed Jackson’s passes were tight spirals and had some extra zip on them.

“He’s physically in very good shape. I thought his arm looked really good,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “You can see he’s been throwing a lot. You can see he’s in great physical condition. It’s great to have him out there. He kind of boosted everybody’s spirits, too.”

Jackson appeared comfortable on the field despite not attending the nine previous practices.

There was only one instance where the team had to huddle again because there was confusion about a play.

But what upset Jackson the most was throwing two interceptions to safety Tony Jefferson.

“He’s a competitor,” Harbaugh said. “He’s mad about some passes here and there.”

Jackson is entering his fifth-year option, which will pay him $23.016 million this season. If the sides are unable to reach an extension by March 7, Baltimore is expected to place the franchise tag on him.

“He’s the ultimate pro,” Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell said. “He prepares and handles his business the way you’re supposed to. Just being a young guy, he’s so mature. He understands how to do things the right way.”

The Ravens also announced they reached an injury settlement with defensive tackle Derek Wolfe and will release him. This comes one day after Wolfe announced he had his second hip surgery of the year.

Wolfe was solid in 2019, when the Ravens went 14-2. But he was sidelined all of last season with hip and back injuries. “So that’ll be it with that,” Harbaugh said of Wolfe.

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Abreu hits pair of 2-run homers, White Sox beat Tigers 9-5

Jose Abreu hit a pair of two-run homers and Luis Robert singled home the go-ahead run in the fifth inning to help the Chicago White Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers 9-5 on Monday night.

Abreu sent a soaring shot over the left-center fence in the first to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead. He hit a line drive in the ninth over a row of hedges beyond the wall in center to give Chicago a four-run cushion.

“He put on a heck of an exhibition,” manager Tony La Russa said.

White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn made his season debut, coming back from surgery on his right knee, and gave up three runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings.

“It felt good to be back,” he said. “Early on, you’re trying to feel things out and they jumped on me.”

Lynn had a heated exchange with Chicago third base coach Joe McEwing in the dugout after the second inning.

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“(Lynn) was mad at himself,” La Russa insisted.

Bennett Sousa (3-0) was credited with the victory after throwing 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Rony Garcia (0-2) permitted four runs on five hits and two walks over four-plus innings.

Willi Castro hit a leadoff homer for the Tigers and scored twice. Miguel Cabrera had two hits, including an RBI single. Harold Castro added three hits and two RBI.

After Will Vest threw an inning of scoreless relief, Andrew Chafin entered for the Tigers and made a costly throwing error in the sixth.

Chafin fielded Reese McGuire’s sacrifice bunt and threw wide of third base, permitting two runs to score that gave Chicago a 6-3 lead.

“Terrible throw,” Chafin said.

The defending AL Central champion White Sox had lost four of five.

“There’s no turbulence in this clubhouse,” La Russa said. Detroit has dropped six of nine.

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Baltimore Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe undergoes second hip surgery this year

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe announced Monday that he underwent his second hip surgery of the year, which is the latest setback in his injury-filled career.

Wolfe, 32, missed all of past season with hip and back injuries. He had his first hip surgery in January and then had another one five months later.

“Feeling pretty good,” Wolfe said in an Instagram video that he recorded from his hospital bed. “We’re going to get a full recovery here and try to live a normal life.”

Wolfe’s $2 million salary this season is fully guaranteed, and his $3.8 salary cap figure ranks 13th on the Ravens. Baltimore re-signed Wolfe to a three-year, $12 million contract (including $5.4 million signing bonus) in March 2021, and he has yet to play a match since then.

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Wolfe injured his back and hip during joint practices with the Carolina Panthers in training camp. He was designated to return off injured reserve in November, but he reverted back to IR after briefly appearing in one practice.

Earlier this offseason, Wolfe told a hunting podcast that he didn’t know whether his hip injury would force him to retire. But Wolfe later tweeted in March that he fully intended on coming back this season.

Justin Madubuike stepped into the starting lineup in place of Wolfe last campaign, making 36 tackles and two sacks. Baltimore also signed Brent Urban, a former fourth-round pick, to provide more depth at defensive end.

A second-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2012, Wolfe has struggled to stay healthy. He has missed a total of 39 games over the last nine seasons.

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Verstappen wins as both Ferraris retire in Baku

Ferrari’s championship chances took a critical blow at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as both its cars retired from the race while Max Verstappen led a one-two victory for rivals Red Bull.

The two Ferraris suffered reliability issues in the first half of the race, with Charles Leclerc suffering an engine failure on lap 20 and Carlos Sainz pulling off the road with a hydraulic failure on lap nine.

The double retirement paved the way for Red Bull to take maximum points with a comfortable one-two victory, extending Verstappen’s lead in the championship to 21 over teammate Sergio Perez and 34 points over Leclerc.

Red Bull now leads Ferrari by 80 points in the constructors’ championship.

The retirements add to a dire run of form for Ferrari, with Leclerc retiring from the lead in Spain three weeks ago, missing out of victory in Monaco two weeks ago due to a botched strategy and retiring in Baku after securing pole position on Saturday. “I can’t find the words to describe it, it’s very, very disappointing,” Leclerc said after the engine failure.

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Prior to the retirement, Leclerc had dropped to third place after losing a position to Perez at the start before Ferrari took a gamble on an early pit stop under a Virtual Safety Car for Sainz’s retirement that moved Leclerc behind Verstappen.

The strategy may have paid off as Leclerc lost less time in his pit stop than the Red Bulls were due to under normal racing conditions, but when smoke emerged from the rear of his car on lap 20 it failed to plan out.

When Leclerc made his early pit stop, Verstappen found free air and quickly cruised up to the rear of Perez’s car in the lead.

On lap 15 he lined Perez up and overtook him into Turn 1, but only after Perez had been told “no fighting” by his Red Bull engineer over team radio.

Verstappen clearly had a pace advantage over his teammate, and in the space of a lap extended his lead over Perez to three seconds.

Perez was the first of the two Red Bulls to pit on lap 17, but any chance of making use of his fresh tires to gain an advantage over his teammate was lost when his car failed to come off the jacks after the tire change.

Verstappen pitted two laps later and re-emerged in the lead before extending his advantage over Perez to 20 seconds by the end of the race.

With the two Ferraris out of the picture, George Russell secured his third podium finish of the year for Mercedes ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, who found himself in a strategic battle with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly for fourth place.

Hamilton made an extra stop over Gasly and his fresh tires towards the end of the race saw him take the position with an overtaking move on lap 45.

Gasly held on to fifth place to finish ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in sixth, the Alpine of Fernando Alonso in seventh and the two McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris in eighth and ninth. Esteban Ocon took the final point on offer in tenth.

The next round of the season will take place in Montreal next weekend.

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Hunter Renfrow agrees to 2-year, $32M extension with Las Vegas Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow have agreed to a multiyear extension, the team revealed Friday.

The extension is for two years and $32 million with $21 million guaranteed, a source confirmed to ESPN.

“We are thrilled to have reached an agreement with Hunter Renfrow and look forward to seeing him in Silver and Black for years to come,” Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said in a statement Friday.

“Hunter is one of the true leaders on this team and he exemplifies the values of the organization in how he comes to work every day. He is a tremendous teammate on and off the field and the entire Raider Nation is excited to see what the future holds for Hunter.”

Renfrow was in line for a new deal after catching 103 passes in 2021, the second-highest single-season total by a receiver in franchise history behind the 104 receptions that Hall of Famer Tim Brown had in 1997. Renfrow also caught nine touchdown passes last season.

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Over his career, Renfrow has caught 208 passes for 2,299 yards with 15 touchdowns.

He was selected to his first Pro Bowl after last campaign.

“It was cool getting to play with a lot of players that I grew up watching, and I got to see on film over these last three or four years,” Renfrow said in OTAs. “That’s a huge honor to be voted on for something like that. I’m not a very big individual guy, so I think it was cool and it was a huge honor, but that’s not my goal for this year. My goal is to have the best season we can.”

Renfrow, a fifth-round find out of Clemson by the Raiders in 2019, was set to play out the final year of his rookie contract, earning $2.54 million in base salary.

The extension is the third this offseason handed out by the Raiders to their homegrown talent, following deals to quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Maxx Crosby.

Renfrow figures to continue to work out of the slot as Davante Adams, whom the Raiders acquired in a blockbuster trade on March 18 after eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, takes over as the No. 1 receiver in the offense.

“He’s an interesting dude because I’ve been around a lot of people that are like Hunter, but they’re never…a fourth-year [player] with the type of football acumen that he has, and his awareness and understanding [of] why he does certain things,” Adams said of Renfrow on Thursday.

“Because there’s people out there with a lot of talent, but they can’t sit there and break it down and tell you why they’re doing what they did with their footwork or the next rep, why they tweaked it a little bit because of the look that they had. So, his awareness and his football smarts, he’s definitely ahead of his time.

“Sometimes I’ll be sitting there just talking to him like in the middle of an offensive meeting and we’ll be talking about releases, and he’ll tell me what he thought and I’m like, This is fun. This is fun being able to be with somebody who’s a lot like me mentally, the way that I approach the game, the way I attack it…I’ve been learning from him; he’s learning from me.”

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Max Verstappen has unfinished business at Baku’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen has unfinished business to take care of at this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix while also looking to reassert himself as Red Bull’s lead driver.

The Dutchman was heading for triumph at the Baku street track last year when a tire exploded and pitched him into the barrier on the high speed run along the city’s Caspian Sea waterfront.

Mexican teammate Sergio Perez took the gain instead and returns triumphant and as a potential title contender after his victory two weeks ago in Monaco.

Verstappen will be determined to stop him becoming the first driver to win twice in Baku.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Baku, we have some unfinished business there after last year,” said the 24-year-old who has a nine point lead over Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc with Perez a further six behind.

“Last year was unlucky, simple as that,” he said.

“It was a very painful one, but that happens. That’s racing… it’s different cars, different tyres (this time) and we go again.”

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Perez, who was also on the podium in Baku twice while racing for Force India, is in the form of his life and with a new two-year contract with Red Bull freshly signed.

The 6km long Baku street track, a mix of flat-out blasts and tight corners lined by unforgiving barriers, is famed for unpredictable races and has produced five different winners in five years on the calendar.

Leclerc is familiar with the track’s pitfalls, having crashed while on course for pole position in 2019.

The Monegasque and Ferrari, chasing a first title since 2008, will want the weekend to go perfectly after potential wins slipped through their fingers in Monaco and Spain.

Seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton will also be keen to make amends after failing to capitalize on Verstappen’s retirement last year when he went from second to 15th in Baku, having accidentally triggered a ‘brake magic’ function on his steering wheel.

His Mercedes team are the most successful in Baku, with three victories. A fourth looks a distant prospect unless the track throws up another surprise.

“Baku often produces some fun and crazy track action, and the layout generates good racing opportunities,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

“So, let’s see if it lives up to its reputation this weekend.”

The possibility of podium appearance by a midfield team is always there. Apart from Perez’s Force India exploits, Sebastian Vettel was second last year for Aston Martin with Pierre Gasly third for AlphaTauri.

Lance Stroll’s first top-three result came in Baku with Williams in 2017.

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Mike McCarthy not sure if TE Dalton Schultz will attend Dallas Cowboys’ minicamp

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is not sure whether franchise-tagged tight end Dalton Schultz will participate in next week’s mandatory minicamp.

McCarthy stated Schultz informed him last week he would not be at this week’s final voluntary organized team activities with hopes of jumpstarting negotiations toward a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline.

“You have business situations that happen all the time in this league, so had a long talk with him on Friday about it,” McCarthy said. “We’ll see what next week brings.”

If Schultz does not practice, he would be subject to fines totaling more than $95,000. Per the collective bargaining agreement, a player is subject to maximum daily fines of $15,980, $31,961 and $47,936 for each day of a missed mandatory practice.

Schultz signed the $10.9 million tender not long after the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on him in March. He said earlier this offseason he would let his agent, Steve Caric, handle the negotiations with the club. According to multiple sources, the two sides have yet to have meaningful discussions toward a contract.

The Cleveland Browns recently signed David Njoku to a four-year $57 million contract that included $28 million in guarantees after putting the franchise tag on him. Njoku caught 36 passes for 475 yards and four touchdowns last year, compared to 78 receptions for 808 yards and eight touchdowns for Schultz.

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In his past two seasons, Schultz has 141 receptions for 1,423 yards and 12 touchdowns, developing into a security blanket for Dak Prescott.

“I mean Dalton’s been here every single day since the season’s been completed. I don’t think there’s been a week where I haven’t seen Dalton, so yeah I’m not worried about his commitment or what he’s done,” McCarthy stated.

“He’s in great shape. If he was standing here he would tell you this is the strongest he’s ever been. So he’s put a tremendous amount of work into the offseason. I think it’s clearly why I separate it. It’s business. It’s business that he’s tending to and it’s understood. But to think that he hasn’t done the work would not be accurate.”

McCarthy said he does not balance business and football when it comes to players.

“I think they’re two different entities,” McCarthy said. “Business is business and I’m in the business of winning football games. So we all have contracts. We all have these type of situations that they come about. Timing obviously plays into these decisions and transactions. Now, as head coach, it takes you a few to get used to it, but I think you have to learn to separate things in this world. It’s too competitive. There’s too much work to be done. Dalton deserves this position that he’s in. So hopefully we can get it worked out.”

Without a multiyear agreement in place by July 15, Schultz would have to play the season under the tag.

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