James’ late layup lifts Lakers past Clippers, 103-101

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers showed some rust.

They knocked it off with time to spare.

Anthony Davis scored 34 points, James had the go-ahead basket with 12.8 seconds left and the Lakers moved closer to clinching the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs by topping the Los Angeles Clippers 103-101 on Thursday night in the second game of the NBA’s re-opening doubleheader.

James had 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to help the Lakers move 6 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers in the West with seven games remaining. Kyle Kuzma added 16 points.

Paul George had 30 points and Kawhi Leonard scored 28 for the Clippers, who had an 11-point lead midway through the third in a game with deep ebbs and flows. The Clippers got that lead after a 26-5 run; the Lakers immediately rebutted with a 36-14 run to reclaim control.

And it still came down to the final moments.

George’s 3-pointer with 1:50 left cut the Lakers’ lead to 99-98. James muscled his way to a layup on the next possession, and then George hit another 3 to tie the game at 101 with 29 seconds remaining.

Dodgers win third straight, cruise past D-backs 6-3

PHOENIX — A.J. Pollock hit a two-run homer, Corey Seager and Max Muncy added solo shots and the Los Angeles Dodgers rolled to their third straight win with a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night.

The Dodgers took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, largely thanks to a two-run homer by Pollock that landed deep in the left field seats. They probably would have had an even bigger lead if not for Kole Calhoun’s spectacular diving catch in right field that robbed Justin Turner of an extra-base hit.

Los Angeles stretched its lead to 4-0 after Seager’s homer to right field. Ketel Marte pulled the D-backs within a 4-1 margin in the third with his first homer of the season but the Dodgers responded with runs in the fifth and sixth inning to build a comfortable lead.

Ross Stripling (2-0) won his second game in two starts, pitching 5.1 innings while giving up three runs. Pedro Báez earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

Marmolejos’ first homer powers Mariners over Angels 8-5

ANAHEIM — José Marmolejos and Shed Long Jr. homered, Marco Gonzales pitched into the seventh inning and the Seattle Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-5 on Thursday night.

Marmolejos hit first big league homer, a three-run shot in the first inning. J.P. Crawford led off the game with a single, Kyle Seager drew a two-out walk and Marmolejos, a rookie first baseman, sent a fastball from Dylan Bundy (1-1) into the elevated stands in right field.

Marmolejos came into the game with only two hits in his first 18 at-bats.

Long Jr. had two hits. The Mariners led 3-2 when he opened a five-run ninth by hitting Hansel Robles’ fastball over the wall in right. Crawford and Kyle Lewis each had two-run singles in the frame.

Shohei Ohtani hit a three-run homer off Dan Altavilla in the Angels ninth. Ohtani’s 42nd home run in the majors tied him with Kosuke Fukudome for fifth-most by a Japanese-born player.

Gray, Parker help Sparks beat Sun 81-76

BRADENTON, Fla. — Chelsea Gray had 15 points and six assists, Candace Parker scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots, and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Connecticut Sun 81-76 on Thursday night. 

Nneka Ogwumike scored 14 points and Seimone Augustus 13 for the Sparks.

DeWanna Bonner had 34 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists, and Alyssa Thomas 10 points, 18 rebounds and six assists, for Connecticut (0-3). 

Brittney Sykes hit a jumper and then made two free throws to cap an 8-0 spurt that gave Los Angeles (2-1) the lead for good at 58-54 with two minutes left in the third quarter. 

LPGA returns with Kang posting 66 at Inverness for the lead

TOLEDO, Ohio — Danielle Kang went more than six months without competing and looked as though she had never been away, playing bogey-free at Inverness Club for a 6-under 66 and a one-shot lead in the LPGA Drive On Championship.

The LPGA Tour’s much-awaited return from the COVID-19 pandemic brought an immediate sense of its new world. Kang had no idea where she stood after a closing birde.

“There aren’t any leaderboards on the golf course,” Kang said. 

Inverness, where Paul Azinger beat Greg Norman in a playoff at the 1993 PGA Championship, is hosting the Solheim Cup next year and offered to stage the first event back for the LPGA Tour since the Women’s Australian Open on Feb. 16. The LPGA Tour remains in northeast Ohio next week before heading to Scotland.

Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England also played bogey-free for a 67. Celine Boutier of France and Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa also were at 5 under until both made bogey on the closing hole. They settled for a 68.

The foremost global tour in golf attracted 130 players from some 30 countries, though it was missing the leading stars from powerhouse South Korea. Jin Young Ko, the No. 1 player in the world, and Sung Hyun Park have stayed home and are playing on the Korean LPGA. Neither is expected to travel to Scotland for the Women’s British Open in three weeks.

Brendon Todd takes 2-stroke lead with 65 at WGC in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Brendon Todd shot a 5-under 65 Friday and grabbed a two-stroke lead through 36 holes of the FedEx St. Jude Invitational. 

Todd trailed defending champion Brooks Koepka after the first round by two strokes. He quickly erased that deficit and took the lead to himself with a bogey-free, five-birdie round for a 129 total at the World Golf Championships event at TPC Southwind. 

Rickie Fowler closed with birdies on his final two holes for a 67 and 131 total just behind Todd. 

Koepka had the lead to himself at 10 under before falling apart on his back nine with a double bogey and two bogeys. He finished with a 71, his first time over par at this course in seven rounds. He was four strokes back, tied with Byeong Hun An (65) and Chez Reavie (67). 

Jon Rahm shot a 74 and now is 4 over in his first event as No. 1 in the world.

Vagabond Blue Jays stuck on the road with no one to play

Toronto general manager Ross Atkins says life has been difficult for the vagabond Blue Jays at the beginning of a baseball season like no other. 

The Blue Jays haven’t had a real home game yet, and still don’t have a stadium fit to host them. They played twice as the home team at Nationals Park in Washington this week. They were supposed to do the same in Philadelphia this weekend until those games were postponed after a Phillies coach and clubhouse staffer tested positive for the Coronavirus.

“It’s not easy,” Atkins said on a video conference Friday. “If you put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s trying to be the best in the world at something, they have routines that are very important.”

Once upgrades are complete, the Blue Jays will play at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, usually the home park of Toronto’s Triple-A team. Workers are racing to install new lighting, improve the field, expand the clubhouses, and build outdoor batting cages, mounds, and workout areas on stadium concourses.

The Blue Jays’ first game in Buffalo is set for Aug. 11 against the Miami Marlins, who have been idled until Sunday because of an outbreak on the team.

MLB will play 7-inning games in doubleheaders

NEW YORK — Shortened season, shorter games.

Big league doubleheaders will now become a pair of seven-inning games, baseball’s latest radical rule change during a season reshaped by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Major League Baseball and the players’ union reached agreement Thursday on the new twinbills, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.

ESPN first reported the doubleheader deal.

Baseball is filled with examples going back more than 100 years of major league games being shortened on the fly because of weather, darkness or a team’s travel schedule. But this is believed to be the first mandate across the sport to play games shorter than nine innings.

And, just wondering: As a result of abbreviated games, might the official rules be tweaked to permit a starting pitcher who throws four innings in a doubleheader get credit for a win?

MLB had already added designated hitters to National League games this year and added an automatic runner at second base to start all half-innings in extras. The free runner will take his spot in doubleheader games that are tied after the seventh.

Antonio Brown suspended 8 games by NFL 

NEW YORK — The NFL suspended wide receiver Antonio Brown for the first eight regular-season games of the 2020 season.

Brown, who does not have a contract with any team, was suspended Friday under the league’s personal conduct policy.

Brown, who played one game last season for the Patriots before being released, can be signed by any team and would be eligible to participate in all of his club’s preseason activities. The suspension would take effect when teams make their final cuts on Sept. 5. 

As part of the discipline, Brown was directed to continue his program of counseling and treatment. He also was advised that any future violation of the personal conduct policy will “likely result in more significant discipline.”

Brown’s agent Ed Wasielewski wrote in a statement posted on Twitter that the wide receiver will not appeal the suspension.

George Washington discontinuing seven sports programs

George Washington is discontinuing seven sports programs, three that compete at the NCAA level and four non-NCAA sports, as part of the university’s attempt to address an expected $200 million budget shortfall because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

GW announced after this academic year it was cutting NCAA programs in men’s indoor track, men’s tennis and women’s water polo. The university also intends to eliminate men’s rowing, sailing, and men’s and women’s squash.

George Washington competes in the Atlantic 10 in most sports. The schools said if the sports can be self-sustaining they would be supported at the club level.

All virus tests come back negative ahead of Palermo Open

PALERMO, Sicily — More than 400 Coronavirus tests were carried out on tennis players and staff members ahead of the Palermo Ladies Open and all of them came back negative.

The WTA tournament, with qualifying beginning Saturday, marks the return of tour-level tennis following a five-month break for the Coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the first official event — for men or women — since early March.

John Force parks NHRA team for remainder of 2020 season

YORBA LINDA — Drag racing great John Force and his four-car NHRA team are remaining parked for the rest of the 2020 season.

John Force Racing announced Friday that it won’t compete in any of the final 12 events this year, citing sponsorship issues and making a financial decision to “live to fight another day.”

“We can’t fight now. We can’t race right now. But with what I have, with the help of my sponsors and my own personal money, I can maintain,” said Force, a 16-time series champion. “I have to protect my family, my employees, my teams and my sponsors. What I built was a team that could win. All I have to do is get to next year. It will look different.”

John Force Racing skipped the first two events, both in Indianapolis, since the NHRA’s return amid the pandemic. His absence was a blow to the series and sparked some speculation about his health.

Force stayed silent throughout the two weekends, but he offered insight Friday.

“Suddenly, the virus hit, and it changed the world,” Force said. “We had to reset John Force Racing. Everyone was having to adapt. We had to make cuts everywhere. We ran numbers over and over. In our contracts with sponsors, we have guarantees. ...They get social media, certain number of races, certain number of race days, activation at races and other commitments. No matter how I looked at it, I couldn’t deliver on those commitments.”

US Tennis Association says it’s still preparing for US Open

As Coronavirus cases spike in other parts of the country a month before the U.S. Open is supposed to start in New York, the U.S. Tennis Association said Friday it “continues its plans” to hold its marquee event and another tournament beforehand.

The U.S. Open -- usually the year’s last Grand Slam tournament, but the second of 2020 because of the pandemic -- is scheduled to run Aug. 31 to Sept. 13. 

The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center also will host the Western & Southern Open on Aug. 20-28; that tuneup was moved from Cincinnati as part of a doubleheader organized by the USTA. 

Players will be allowed on-site on Aug. 16.

Duke says 25 returning athletes test positive

Duke says that 25 athletes have tested positive for the Coronavirus over the past three weeks as they began returning to campus for voluntary practice, with nine in mandatory isolation.

The school announced the results Friday night following a total of 700 tests being administered to 309 athletes, coaches and staff. Sixteen athletes tested positive, but have gone through a required isolation period and have been cleared by physicians to return to regular activities.

The school said most of the positive tests came as athletes returned to campus, with all being cases with no or mild symptoms. Treatment of infected athletes included rest, over-the-counter medication and the monitoring of symptoms.

Armour, Andrade share lead as PGA Tour Champions returns

GRAND BLANC, Mich. — Tommy Armour III had been playing enough golf during the pandemic to know his game was in good shape. All he needed was a spot in the Ally Challenge to show it Friday.

Armour and Billy Andrade each opened with a 6-under 66 at Warwick Hills to share the lead by one shot over Bernhard Langer as the PGA Tour Champions returned for the first time since March.

Armour wasn’t in the field until he arrived at the course Monday and learned Brandt Jobe had withdrawn.

“I played a lot of golf in this period where we haven’t been playing, and I was looking forward to playing well,” Armour said. “There’s two more rounds left. But I had a good feeling coming back when I was first hoping to get in the tournament. I mean, a lot of 50-year-olds and plus, and out of 81 p layers, somebody’s going to break down a little bit.”

Andrade played bogey-free for his 66 at the course that for years hosted the Buick Open on the PGA Tour. Andrade never had a lot of success at Warwick Hills after a runner-up finish in 1989.

Garcia Rodriguez, Horsfield share halfway lead at Hero Open

BIRMINGHAM, England — Overnight leader Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez of Spain held off a spirited challenge from England’s Sam Horsfield to retain a share of the lead at the Hero Open on Friday at the halfway mark of the European Tour’s latest stop in England.

After setting a course record 10-under 62 in the opening round at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club, Garcia Rodriguez cooled somewhat in the second with a 3-under 69 that included birdies on the last two holes.

Officials declare Allegiant Stadium in Vegas almost complete

LAS VEGAS — Officials declared “substantial completion” of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas after nearly 1,000 days were spent building the $2 billion home for the NFL’s relocated Raiders. 

Friday has been the target date for completion since ground was broken in November 2017 for the 65,000-seat domed stadium just off the Las Vegas Strip.

“We still have to finish the job,” Raiders team owner Mark Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal . He referred to a “punch list” of items still to be done. 

Finishing touches in coming weeks wouldn’t have prevented the stadium from hosting events, but officials acknowledge the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting scheduling.

The first planned stadium event, a sold-out Garth Brooks concert, was rescheduled from Aug. 22 to Feb. 27 in a bid to prevent spread of the virus.

The first Raiders regular season game after moving from Oakland, California, is a scheduled Monday night matchup Sept. 21 against the New Orleans Saints.

Nats put new reliever Will Harris on IL with groin strain

WASHINGTON — New Nationals reliever Will Harris was put on the 10-day injured list Friday with a strained right groin.

The move is retroactive to Wednesday, the day after Harris last pitched, giving up two unearned runs in the eighth inning of Washington’s 5-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Harris is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA and one blown save in his first season with the Nationals. The 35-year-old right-hander signed a $24 million, three-year contract after losing the World Series to the Nationals while with his previous team, the Houston Astros.

Shortened Connecticut high school sports season unveiled

The governing body of high school sports in Connecticut publicly released its plans for restarting interscholastic sports this fall, proposing a shortened season that officials said will be “fluid” based on changing COVID-19 health metrics.

The plan from CAS-CIAC, the Connecticut Association of Schools and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, was crafted in consultation with state education officials, the Connecticut State Medical Society, various athletic and coaching organizations, school principals and others. 

“Everyone involved in the development of the plan recognizes that it must remain fluid, and that it will be in a perpetual state of evaluation as COVID data and health metrics become available,” according to a statement posted on CAS-CIAC’s website. 

The start of the fall sports season will be Sept. 24, the first contest date. Before that, first practices will be held in cohorts of 15 student-athletes, beginning on Aug. 27 for cross country, field hockey, soccer, swimming and volleyball and on Aug. 17 for football. Full practices won’t begin before Sept. 11. 

Arkansas governor OKs no-contact prep football practice

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson authorized high school football teams to begin no-contact practice with helmets next week as confirmed Coronavirus cases topped 42,000 in the state.

Hutchinson also instructed the Arkansas Activities Association to submit a plan to the state Department of Health to allow football, volleyball and cheerleading to proceed this fall. 

The Republican governor said he heard from students and families across the state in favor of contact sports this fall, and that he wanted to discourage students from traveling out of state to compete in sports.

PSG beats Lyon on penalty kicks to win League Cup final

SAINT-DENIS, France — French champion Paris Saint-Germain edged out Lyon on penalty kicks to win a tightly contested last edition of the League Cup on Friday and complete a domestic treble, denying Lyon its first trophy since the French Cup in 2012.

The match finished 0-0 and Lyon was a save away from winning it, leading 5-4 in the shootout. 

But Neymar held his nerve well, slotting the ball into the bottom corner to draw PSG level and Lyon winger Bertrand Traoré’s subsequent penalty was saved by Keylor Navas.

Winger Pablo Sarabia confidently placed the next penalty past goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to give PSG the win to follow up on last Friday’s 1-0 win against Saint-Étienne in the French Cup.

Lyon won the League Cup in 2001, losing four other finals in the competition. 

Atlanta United star Josef Martinez officially done for year

ATLANTA — Atlanta United star Josef Martinez is done for the year.

The MLS team placed Martinez on the season-ending injury list because with of a torn knee ligament sustained in Atlanta’s first league game on Feb. 29.

There were hopes that Martinez might be able to return late in the season, especially with the MLS schedule pushed back because of the Coronavirus pandemic 

But the move announced Friday means Martinez can’t play in any league games or other competitions , such as the CONCACAF Champions League, for the remainder of the MLS season. 

Stroll quickest at 2nd British GP practice; Vettel struggles

SILVERSTONE, England — Lance Stroll led the second practice for the British Grand Prix on Friday while struggling Ferrari had another bad day, with Sebastian Vettel spending most of it stuck in the team garage.

Stroll finished fourth at the Hungarian GP two weeks ago for Racing Point, which uses Mercedes engines and has been showing good pace this season. Red Bull driver Alexander Albon had the second-fastest time — .09 behind Stroll — but later crashed. Valtteri Bottas was third for Mercedes, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

F1 driver Perez tests positive

Formula One driver Sergio Perez says he might have contracted the Coronavirus during a trip to Mexico between races in Hungary and Britain.

The Racing Point driver tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and will miss Sunday’s race at Silverstone and another the following week at the same track while in isolation.

Perez says he was visiting his mother in Mexico after she was hospitalized following a “big accident.”

Chapman rejoins Yankees after virus bout; Kahnle to IL

NEW YORK — All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman has been cleared to return to Yankee Stadium following a bout with the Coronavirus and was expected to play catch Friday before New York hosted the Boston Red Sox.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone confirmed Chapman’s return and said he wasn’t sure when the hard-throwing left-hander would be ready for game action. 

“The good thing was he was never really sick, so he was able to maintain probably a level of physical conditioning that other people may not have been able to,” Boone said.

Chapman had been isolating in his Manhattan apartment since his positive test July 11. He was waiting to register consecutive negative tests. His symptoms were mild.

Cubs sign former Indians closer Allen to minor league deal

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs signed former Cleveland Indians closer Cody Allen to a minor league deal on Friday.

Allen was assigned to the team’s training site in South Bend, Indiana.

The Cubs’ bullpen struggled in the first week of the season. Closer Craig Kimbrel walked four batters and allowed two runs in his season debut Monday night. Right-hander Dillon Maples was optioned Thursday after he struggled in his first two appearances.

The 31-year-old Allen agreed to a minor league deal with Texas in February, but he was released by the Rangers last week.

Allen is 24-31 with a 3.14 ERA and 153 saves in 481 major league appearances over eight big league seasons. He struggled last year, going 0-2 with a 6.26 ERA and four saves with the Los Angeles Angels.

Bills right guard Feliciano out with torn pectoral muscle

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills starting right guard Jon Feliciano is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle.

The team did not reveal when or how Feliciano was hurt in making the announcement on its website Friday. 

Feliciano is a fifth-year NFL player entering his second season in Buffalo. He started 16 games last year and was part of an offensive line that returned all five starters entering training camp.

Buffalo has depth along its line, with one option having Cody Ford make the switch to guard after spending his rookie season last year starting at right tackle.

Britain reverses decision, no fans allowed

Britain has reversed course and now says spectators will not be able to attend sporting events in England because the Coronavirus infection rate is rising.

Fans were due to attend horse racing, cricket and snooker in the coming days as part of pilot events but Prime Minister Boris Johnson says fans will no longer gather at sporting events until at least Aug. 15.

They were initially approved to test procedures ahead of a planned wider re-opening of stadiums in October.

The Oval cricket stadium in London has been used as a test for fans returning in the last week.

AP Source: ESPN tabs Levy, Griese and Riddick for MNF booth

Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick will be the new announce team for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” according to a person familiar with the decision.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because the network has not announced its decision. ESPN biographer Jim Miller was the first to report on the new booth.

The trio has familiarity working together. They called the late game in last season’s Week 1 doubleheader between Denver and Oakland.

The MNF booth has had frequent changes since Mike Tirico departed for NBC in 2016. Tirico was the play-by-play voice for 10 seasons (2006-15) and teamed with Jon Gruden for the last seven. Sean McDonough took over for Tirico for 2016 and ‘17 and worked with Gruden.

Belichick mum on plans for QB position as camp nears

BOSTON — Like all NFL teams, the Patriots face a variety of unknowns heading into a 2020 season in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.

So it’s no surprise Bill Belichick is being coy about his expectations for the quarterback position as his team prepares for the start of training camp. 

Assuming he’s healthy coming off foot surgery in December, free agent pickup and 2015 MVP Cam Newton would seem the front-runner to win the job over second-year Jarrett Stidham and veteran backup Brian Hoyer as they vie to succeed Tom Brady following his departure to Tampa Bay. 

Belichick said the evaluation process hasn’t started with no work on the field yet as 80 players began arriving at the team facility this week. 

“That spot’s the same as all the others on the team,” Belichick said Friday during a conference call with reporters. “We’ve got a long way to go. I can’t control how players perform. That’s up to them. We’ll give everybody an opportunity and we’ll see what happens.”

Lions safety Jayron Kearse suspended 3 games 

NEW YORK — Jayron Kearse of the Detroit Lions has been suspended by the NFL for the first three games of the 2020 regular season for violating league policy on substance abuse.

Kearse is eligible to participate in all preseason practices. He will be allowed to return to the Lions’ active roster on Monday, Sept. 28, following the team’s Week 3 game at Arizona.

Formerly with division rival Minnesota, Kearse signed a one-year, $2 million deal with Detroit as a free agent. He spent four seasons with the Vikings after being selected in the seventh round of the 2016 draft, and was mostly a backup who played regularly on special teams.

Mitchell to return for senior season at San Diego State

SAN DIEGO — Forward Matt Mitchell will return to San Diego State for his senior season after exploring his chances in the NBA Draft.

Mitchell didn’t hire an agent, so he retained his college eligibility.

He was named first-team All-Mountain West last season, when SDSU went 30-2, won the MWC regular-season title and would have been a No. 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

He is ranked 27th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,085 points.

Soccer returning in Africa with troubles and bio-bubbles

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — More than 50 players and staff members at soccer clubs in Zambia’s top flight have tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak that the national association says was caused by teams failing to properly implement measures to stop its spread, leading to the season being cut short just two weeks after it had restarted.

The development, announced Friday by the Football Association of Zambia, puts the restart of other African leagues under scrutiny. The Coronavirus pandemic is in its early stages but growing across much of the continent, and often disorganized and now cash-strapped soccer authorities are being trusted to keep the virus in check among hundreds of players and officials itching to get back to action.

Some nations, including Nigeria and Ghana, have decided to cancel their seasons because of the virus and others are undecided. But many across Africa are due to try and finish their leagues. Zambia was the first in southern Africa to resume play. In North Africa, Morocco is playing again and Egypt is set to.

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