It’s the only time Spieth has missed the cut in seven tries at this event and the first time since the 2015 Northern Trust Open and the Dell Technologies Match Play that he’s missed the cut in back-to-back weeks.
NEW YORK – (Wire Service Report by The Sports Change) – The NBA announced the finalists for six major individual awards on Friday, and one name was noticeably missing from the group of Most Valuable Player finalists. Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, a four-time league MVP who fell one vote shy of being a unanimous selection as a first team All-NBA selection this year, is not among the three MVP finalists.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who won the past two MVP awards, is not among the finalists either.
The MVP finalists are Houston Rockets guard James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.
Finalists for five other awards were also released, with the winners in all six categories announced on June 26 in the inaugural NBA Awards to be televised on TNT. A vote by members of the media determines the winners.
Here are the finalists in the other five categories:
Rookie of the Year: Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks; Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers; Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers.
Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets; Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors, Lou Williams, Houston Rockets
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz; Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs.
Most Improved Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Millwaukee Bucks; Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz; Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets.
Coach of the Year: Mike D’Antoni, Houston Rockets; Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs; Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
Complete media voting results for each annual NBA award will be posted on NBA.com/official the night of the NBA Awards.
In addition, fans will vote for winners in six other categories: dunk of the year, best style, block of the year, assist of the year, game-winner of the year and top performance of the year.
The awards will also include an all-rookie team, an all-defensive team, executive of the year, teammate of the year, sportsmanship award and the NBA Cares Community Assist Award
OAKLAND – Oakland starting pitcher Sonny Gray produced a blast from the past, and the Oakland A’s right-hander was rewarded with his first victory in nearly 10 months on Thursday night at the Oakland Coliseum.
Sonny Gray Against the Sox
Gray allowed three runs on four hits over six innings in an 8-3 victory against the Boston Red Sox. He struck out a season-high eight and walked two in his 100th career major league start.
The victory was the first for Gray (1-1) since July 26, 2016. He beat Boston for the first time in four career starts, giving him at least one win against every American League team except Oakland.
“I wasn’t aware of how long, but as a pitcher you want to win games,” Gray said of his victory drought. “Everything else will come as is, but when you go out there, you want to start a game that the team wins, and I think that’s the most important thing as a pitcher, is to win. It’s nice to get a win, for sure, and hopefully I can put together some good starts from here and get some more.”
Gray had two stints on the disabled list last year when he went 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA, and he started this season on the DL with a strained right shoulder. On Thursday, he pitched more like the ace who went 33-20 over his first three seasons with Oakland.
“It’s huge,” A’s catcher Stephen Vogt said. “He’s our anchor, our ace. To see him throw like that tonight, that’s him. When he’s going and doing what he does best, we feel good every time he takes the mound.”
The A’s gave Gray plenty of offensive support. Jed Lowrie hit a two-run homer and added Khris Davis a solo blast in the first inning. Chad Pinder belted a two-run shot in the fourth for the A’s, who were coming off a 1-5 road trip. Trevor Plouffe went 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs.
Mitch Moreland hit a solo home run in the fourth inning for Boston, which was coming off a 5-4, 13-inning victory Wednesday night at St. Louis. Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-4 and scored a run.
Red Sox right-hander Hector Velazquez (0-1) allowed six runs on nine hits, including three home runs, over five innings in his major league debut. Velazquez, a 28-year-old whose contract was purchased by Boston from the Mexican League on Feb. 18, was called up from Triple-A on Thursday. He was 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA in five starts for Pawtucket.
“I felt good,” Velazquez said. “Out of the gate I felt a little bit emotional with it being my first big league game, so my adrenaline was up there and getting under control was a little hard. So unfortunately I had a bad inning, but I felt good.”
The A’s went 1-5 against Boston last season and were outscored 67-20.
Oakland led 6-3 after four innings Thursday and added two runs in the sixth.
“The middle innings, we’re still very much in the game,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “The two runs in the sixth, that was kind of a big separation where they were able to create a little more distance.
“On a late night coming in here, you have probably a couple of pushes from an offensive standpoint where you need some leadership from the mound, but that wasn’t the case tonight.”
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning off Gray. Mookie Betts lined a leadoff single, moved to third on Pedroia’s infield single and scored on Hanley Ramirez’s single to left with one out. Gray walked Moreland, loading the bases, and Chris Young hit a sacrifice fly.
The A’s answered with three runs in the bottom of the first. Lowrie launched Velazquez’s 3-2 curveball over the center field fence for a two-run homer with one out, his fifth home run of the season. Davis followed with a blast to right-center for his 12th home run. He crushed a 0-2 changeup, giving Oakland back-to-back homers for the first time this season.
“I really wasn’t really ready to pitch there in the first, and they made me pay for it, but to be able to get out of that inning with two runs, and the offense putting up a three-spot right after that, that was really the kick I needed to try to put up some zeros from there,” Gray said.
Boston pulled even in the fourth when Moreland led off with a home run to left-center off Gray, his third blast of the year. The home run was Moreland’s 17th all-time against Oakland and 12th at the Coliseum.
The A’s scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to build a 6-3 lead. Ryon Healy lined a leadoff single and scored on a double by Plouffe, who extended his hitting streak to nine games. Pinder followed with a two-run shot into the left-field seats, hitting Velazquez’s first pitch.
“I left some pitches up in the zone and unfortunately they hit them out of the park,” Velazquez said.
NOTES: The Red Sox designated INF/OF Chase d’Arnaud for assignment, opening a spot on the 25-man roster for RHP Hector Velazquez. … A’s 1B Yonder Alonso (sore left knee) was out of the lineup Thursday and will likely miss at least two games. He was injured Wednesday during an at-bat at Seattle. An MRI revealed no structural damage. … Red Sox OF Andrew Benintendi, who is in an 0-for-26 slump, did not play Thursday but is expected to start on Friday night against the A’s.
NASHVILLE – Contrary to what some might have thought, the Anaheim Ducks’ locker room after the third period Thursday night wasn’t a morgue.Sure, Anaheim blew a 2-0 lead in the final 6 1/2 minutes of regulation, enabling the Nashville Predators to force overtime. But the Ducks also didn’t figure things were lost just because they failed to close it out after 60 minutes.
“We look at a check list every single game, and adversity is one of the (categories),” Ducks right winger Corey Perry said. “Going into OT, we had to put that (third) period behind us. We just put some pucks in deep in the zone, and we caught a break.”
Perry, specifically, caught the big break. His wrister from the right circle struck Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban and snuck past goalie Pekka Rinne at 10:25 of overtime, giving Anaheim a 3-2 win and allowing the Ducks to tie the best-of-seven Western Conference finals at 2-2.
The goal was originally credited to Nate Thompson, although replays showed that Thompson never touched the puck. Anaheim asked the NHL after the game to change the goal to Perry, and it did so nearly an hour later.
Regardless, the Ducks lifted home-ice advantage from the Predators, whose 10-game home winning streak over the last two postseasons was snapped. Game 5 of the series is Saturday in Anaheim.
It was Perry’s fourth goal of the playoffs, his third game-winner. The goal silenced the audience of 17,423, the largest home crowd in Nashville franchise history, that about 30 minutes of real time earlier reached a decibel level equivalent to that of a jet plane when Filip Forsberg poked home his rebound at 19:25 to cap a frantic rally and send the game to overtime.
“It’s funny how things work out when you stick with it,” Ducks center Andrew Cogliano said. “It was our best game of the series. I thought we deserved to win.”
Anaheim was certainly the best team most of the night, putting its stamp on the game with a dominant first period. The Ducks outshot the Predators 14-2 through 20 minutes, controlling possession for long stretches and winning most of the physical battles.
Rickard Rakell gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead, catching Nashville in a bad line change and getting plenty of space down the left wing. His blistering slapper beat Rinne blocker side for Rakell’s seventh playoff goal.
Nashville pushed back in the second period, but Nick Ritchie made it 2-0 at 10:22, wiring a wrister from the right faceoff circle for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
As the third period progressed, the Predators chased the game desperately. They drew four minor penalties from Anaheim, failing to capitalize on 6:11 of power-play time. But they still conjured a comeback that appeared to change momentum for good.
Subban blasted a slapper from the right point off the right post, off goalie John Gibson’s arm and into the net at 13:33 to make it 2-1. Then, with a sixth skater on the ice, Forsberg scored his seventh goal of the playoffs and his third in as many games.
“Just the ebbs and flows of the postseason,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We wanted to establish a strong start, and we did. You have to credit the players for what happened in overtime. They’re the ones putting it on the line. We had to reset ourselves.”
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said the winning goal was a lucky bounce but conceded the first period was an issue that colored his team’s performance.
“That wasn’t the period we wanted to play,” he said. “The guys know what we’re capable of. … We have a standard of play which we measure ourselves (by), and we weren’t close to it.”
Gibson finished with 32 saves, while Rinne turned back 34 of 37 shots.
NOTES: Anaheim D Kevin Bieksa drew into the lineup for Game 4 after sitting out the previous nine games due to a lower-body injury. … Nashville RW PA Parenteau replaced LW Harry Zolnierczyk on the fourth line, playing for just the third time in the postseason. … The Ducks scratched C Sam Carrick, D Korbinian Holzer, D Clayton Stoner, RW Patrick Eaves (lower body) and C Logan Shaw (lower body). … The Predators’ scratches in addition to Zolnierczyk were D Anthony Bitetto, RW Craig Smith (undisclosed), D Brad Hunt, C Frederick Gaudreau and C Vernon Fiddler.
IRVING – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) — A group of the best golfers in the world tried to tame the blustery conditions as well as the challenging course at the TPC Las Colinas in the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson on Thursday in Irving, Texas. Two were up to the task, as James Hahn and Ricky Barnes fired dual 6-under 64s early in the day before the really strong winds kicked in and garnered a two-stroke lead in this northwest suburb of Dallas.
Scores in the afternoon averaged more than two strokes higher (70.88 to 72.96) than in the morning as the winds whipped and swirled around the course.
Hahn, who won twice on the PGA Tour (most recently at the Wells Fargo Championship in 2016), recorded six birdies without a bogey on his round. He found the fairway on 12 of his 14 opportunities and hit all but one green in regulation while playing for pars and avoiding looking at either his scorecard or the leaderboard.
“It’s playing tough out there,” Hahn said. “You know, once you start counting up your strokes in the middle of the round it’s kind of when things go haywire. I did a good job of staying in the present, just making sure that I put myself in a position where I at least made par and judged the wind. I had a great conversation with my caddy on almost every hole trying to leave ourselves the best opportunity for a birdie.”
Barnes, the 2002 U.S. Amateur champion, had an inconsistent scorecard that featured eight birdies — including four in five holes on the front nine — and two bogeys.
“I almost birdied half of them and I had two looks coming in so yeah, I’m very happy,” Barnes said. “I played solid, kept the hole in front of me even though I didn’t hit many fairways. My distance control was very good today. I think that’s what leads to birdies out here. If you get in the right sections of these greens you can get good looks.”
Matt Kuchar, Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela, Jason Kokrak and Cameron Tringale are two strokes back after carding 66s. Tringale was the only member of the group playing in the afternoon wave.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, Bud Cauley, Brooks Koepka, John Huh, Sean O’Hair, Ryan Armour and Peter Malnati settled in another shot in arrears after shooting 67s.
Johnson two-putted from 90 feet on the 18th hole to stay a part of the group.
“I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and ended up in really bad spots due to the wind conditions blowing really hard and it’s gusty, which made it tough,” Johnson said. “It was tough to judge the distance, tough putting, tough all around.”
Local favorite and world No. 6 Jordan Spieth, fourth-ranked Jason Day of Australia and Scott Piercy headed a list of 12 players at 68. Eight of those golfers played in the morning wave.
“Hopefully the wind can be a little bit calmer tomorrow morning for us and we can get out and get a good one in and try and just work our way up the leaderboard,” Day said.
Defending champion and recent Masters champion Sergio Garcia struggled with his putting and stumbled to a 73 on Thursday. It was his second-highest opening round in 13 appearances at this event. He shot 75 in 2006.
Garcia did not address the media after the round, opting to head straight to the practice putting green to get in some work.
A handful of notable golfers likely played their way out of the tournament after dreadful opening rounds, including Shell Houston Open winner Freddie Jacobson of Sweden, Bryce Molder, Ryan Moore and 2011 Byron Nelson champion Keegan Bradley (all at 74), Hunter Mahan, Tony Finau, Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and 2009 Nelson champion Rory Sabbatini of South Africa (all at 75), Russell Henley, J.B. Holmes and Australia’s Stuart Appleby (at 76), and 2015
Nelson titlist Steven Bowditch, who managed to shoot 80.
NOTES: The 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson is being played in the 35th and final year in Irving, Texas, at the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas. In 2018, the tournament will move to Trinity Forest Golf Club (a links-style course designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore), located just 10 minutes south of downtown Dallas. … Sixteen of the past 22 winners of this tournament recorded all four rounds in the 60s. The exceptions: Keegan Bradley (2011), Jason Day of Australia (2010), Adam Scott of Australia (2008), Brett Wetterich (2006), Sergio Garcia of Spain (2004) and Jesper Parnevik of Sweden (2000). … The current course record of 60 at the TPC Las Colinas was set by Keegan Bradley in 2013. Other 60s in tournament history have been posted by Arron Oberholser (Cottonwood Valley in 2006) and Sam Snead (1957 at Glen Lake Country Club)
NEW YORK – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – New York City, the great “Big Apple” will need to do a name-change to become the “City of Light” this June when “Roland-Garros in the City” arrives in time for the famed French Open finals, June 9 – 11. Created by the French Tennis Federation (Federation Française de Tennis ), organizers of the world’s premier clay court event, Roland-Garros (known as The French Open), in partnership with the Swiss watch brand, Longines, and Lacoste, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to experience the feel of Paris at the Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City.
“Roland-Garros in the City” will capture the excitement and magic of the French Open with the live transmission of the matches of the men and women semi-finals and finals on a big screen in the Plaza, free for all to watch. A real, full size red clay court in the tradition of Roland-Garros will be the focal point, providing free classes and recreation for the general public.
Event hours are Friday, June 9th 11am – 7pm (semi-finals); Saturday, June 10th: 9am – 6pm (Women’s Finals); Sunday, June 11th: 9am – 5pm (Men’s Finals). Roland-Garros matches will be shown on the giant screen at the Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza daily from 9am-6pm, starting on Monday, June 5th.
In the lead-up to “Roland-Garros in the City,” two French food trucks will travel around the city from June 3 – 8, offering delicious, free ice cream, information about the event and an opportunity to watch the matches. The waterfront space will feature an historic gallery depicting images and the stories behind the classic Roland-Garros posters – created by some of the world’s most famous artists including Joan Miro and New York-based artist Viz Muniz, 2017 Roland Garros poster artist – and an interactive replica of the famous Bridge of Locks along the Seine will encourage lovers to lock their love in metal throughout the event.
Other activities include Longines’ “Smash Corner” at which you can test the speed of your serve, Lacoste Boutique, photo activation and a Kid Zone, a special place for youngsters to play with other children in their age group.