By STEPHEN WHYNO EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman raised the possibility of next season beginning after the tentatively planned Dec. 1 start date, even while the plan remains for each team to play 82 games and the league hold a full playoffs. Much like its plan to resume this season, the league…Bettman: Next NHL season could start in December or January — Boston Herald
With one comeback after another in the playoffs, the Denver Nuggets showed themselves to be a team that falls down but doesn’t stay down. The Los Angeles Lakers noticed. They watched the Nuggets repeatedly rally from big deficits against Utah and then the Los Angeles Clippers — and, obviously, are aware that the Jazz and…Lakers vow not to let up against resilient Nuggets — Boston Herald
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When Dwight Howard went to the Finals in 2009, it seemed to him like it might be the start of a run. His Orlando Magic team was one of the Eastern powers, and at 23, his potential seemed to just be blooming. That was 11 years ago. Howard hasn’t been…Dwight Howard sets energetic tone in Lakers’ Game 1 win — Daily News
By ANDREW DAMPF ROME (AP) — Less than two weeks after getting defaulted from the U.S. Open, Novak Djokovic lost his cool again midway through a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over German qualifier Dominik Koepfer in the Italian Open quarterfinals Saturday. When Djokovic was broken at love to even the second set at 3-3, he…‘That’s just me’: Djokovic loses cool again, breaks racket — Boston Herald
Five days later, his parting words still scrape on the eardrum. Did Paul George really say that the Clippers’ 2019-20 season wasn’t a matter of “championship or bust?” Technically, he is correct. There is no record of either George or Kawhi Leonard promising that the Clippers would be this year’s champions. Practically, it is one…Whicker: Lakers, unlike the Clippers, don’t ask you to wait until next year — Press Telegram
PHILADELPHIA — Bryce Harper hit a tying, two-run double and scored the go-ahead run on an error following Alec Bohm’s infield single, helping the Philadelphia Phillies rally to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 Friday night and earn their first doubleheader sweep in eight years. Zach Eflin struck out nine in a four-hitter and Harper […]Blue Jays swept in doubleheader by Phillies after Harper leads late rally – Sportsnet.ca — PressNewsAgency
HILADELPHIA — Bryce Harper hit a tying, two-run double and scored the go-ahead run on an error following Alec Bohm’s infield single, helping the Philadelphia Phillies rally to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 Friday night and earn their first doubleheader sweep in eight years.
Zach Eflin struck out nine in a four-hitter and Harper went deep in Philadelphia’s 7-0 win in the opener.
The Phillies came back twice in the nightcap.
Rafael Marchan hit his first career homer as a professional, a three-run drive in the fourth that tied it at 5. That came after Mickey Moniak, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft, lined a single to right for his first hit in the majors.
Marchan didn’t go deep in 846 plate appearances over four seasons in the minors, but the 21-year-old Venezuelan catcher connected in just his fifth time up in the big leagues.
Randal Grichuk’s sacrifice fly gave the Jays a 6-5 lead in the fifth and Connor Brogdon walked No. 9 batter Danny Jansen on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two outs, forcing in another run.
Rafael Deolis (2-2) struck out Andrew McCutchen looking with runners on second and third for the second out in the sixth. With a base open, the Blue Jays went after hot-hitting Harper and he delivered.
Harper hit a drive high off the wall in left-centre, slid into the second and got up pumping his fist. Bohm followed with a grounder to second baseman Joe Panik. He beat the throw to Deolis covering first and the ball got away for an error, allowing Harper to score.
Brogdon (1-0) tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings for his first career win. Hector Neris finished for his fifth save in eight chances. He retired Cavan Biggio on a liner to centre with two runners on to end it.
Jays starter Ross Stripling yielded three runs in 3 1/3 innings.
McCutchen hit a solo homer in the third.
Philadelphia’s David Hale made his first start since 2015, allowing two runs and four hits in 3 1/3 innings. JoJo Romero gave up three runs on three hits, recording just one out.
Teoscar Hernandez blasted his 15th homer out to left to cut it to 2-1 in the fourth. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Santiago Espinal had RBI singles, and Biggio’s two-run single extended the lead to 5-2.
In the opener, Eflin (3-2) threw 92 pitches for his third career shutout and fifth complete game, though this one was seven innings. All of his strikeouts were swinging, including three in the first on curveballs.
“We had a game plan going in of mixing a little more offspeed so that worked out obviously in the first inning and I kind of really just carried that momentum,” Eflin said. “Had good spin on it and I knew it was going to work so I just went with that and made them respect all the pitches I was throwing.”
Harper hit 878 feet of homers in a loss Thursday night against the Mets and connected for his third shot in two games to ignite a five-run fifth against Robbie Ray (2-5).
Toronto has lost five in a row but entered with a 4 1/2-game lead over Seattle for the final wild card in the AL.
The injury-depleted Phillies, missing Nos. 2, 4 and 6 hitters Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura, are 26-25. They began the day with a half-game lead over St. Louis for the last wild card in the NL.
Philadelphia hadn’t won a doubleheader since Sept. 9, 2012 against Colorado, going 0-12-9 before rallying for the sweep.
Ray gave up five runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings in his third start for the Blue Jays after being acquired from Arizona before the trade deadline.
The Phillies sent right-handers Juan Geraldo, Brandon Ramey and Israel Puello to the Milwaukee Brewers to complete the trade for right-hander David Phelps on Aug. 31.
Phillies: Segura didn’t play after he was drilled with a 98 mph fastball in the left elbow Thursday night. … Realmuto (hip) is expected to miss the weekend. … Hoskins (elbow) is uncertain to return this season. … OF Jay Bruce was reinstated from the injury list.
RHP Vince Velasquez (0-1, 6.46 ERA) starts for the Phillies on Saturday night while the Blue Jays haven’t announced a starter yet.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — If Denver coach Mike Malone and LeBron James are friends now, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, Malone said, it was probably his willingness to be hard on the budding Cleveland star that helped earn him respect. For five years as a Cavaliers assistant under Mike Brown, Malone was…Denver’s Mike Malone pushed LeBron James to be better in Cleveland — Daily News
By JOE REEDY ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list, hitting No. 661 on Friday night against Texas. Pujols connected for a solo homer with two outs in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin’s fastball on a 1-2 count…Pujols passes Mays for 5th on HR list with No. 661, adds 662 — Boston Herald
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, from left, Kostas Antetokounmpo, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, right, shout at members of the Denver Nuggets on the court during the first half an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard…Lakers start strong this time, blow out Nuggets in Game 1 — Press Telegram
After stunning the entire NBA community this season, many teams in the NBA are interested… The post Chris Paul Drawing League-Wide Interest for Potential Trade appeared first on LEAGUE ALERTS.Chris Paul Drawing League-Wide Interest for Potential Trade — LEAGUE ALERTS
After stunning the entire NBA community this season, many teams in the NBA are interested in future hall of fame guard, Chris Paul. Currently the Bucks, Jazz, 76ers, Mavericks, Pelicans, Suns, and Pelicans are all interested per Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson.
After falling in the playoffs in the second-round, the Bucks will look to strengthen their roster with an all-star veteran guard to accompany Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to form a “Big 3”. The Bucks would likely have to trade their young talent away in order to get Chris Paul since the Thunder are headed for a rebuild. Donte DiVincenzo and first-round draft picks would likely be included.Advertisements
The Jazz fell short in the first-round of the playoffs this year and would likely use Chris Paul to form a “Big 3” with Mitchell and Gobert. The Jazz do not have as many young assets to trade which makes a Paul trade to the Jazz less likely than other teams.
The 76ers have hit a wall with Simmons and Embiid and will likely try to trade for Paul in order to get past the wall. The 76ers have three players that could interest the Thunder a lot. Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, and Shake Milton could all interest the Thunder along with some future draft picks.
The Mavericks fell to the Clippers in round-one of the playoffs and will look to strengthen their roster with Paul. The Mavericks do not have many young assets to trade to the Thunder making a trade between the two teams unlikely, but if the Mavericks do put something together that interests the Thunder, the Mavericks are looking to trade for Paul this offseason.
The Pelicans have plenty of young talent and after failing to make the playoffs this season, they will look to bring in Chris Paul to take them to the next level. Aside from Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, it appears that the Pelicans could be willing to trade anyone else on their team. The Thunder will likely be interested in trading Paul for some of the rest of their young talent such as Lonzo Ball, along with some draft picks.
Sign In Kendrick Perkins wants the real Boston Celtics to stand up again. The former Celtics center-turned ESPN NBA analyst ripped the team Friday morning in the aftermath of its 106-101 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Perkins didn’t mince words in describing how he believes the Celtics…Kendrick Perkins Rips ‘Selfish’ Celtics After Loss To Heat In Game 2 — NESN.com
The former Celtics center-turned ESPN NBA analyst ripped the team Friday morning in the aftermath of its 106-101 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Perkins didn’t mince words in describing how he believes the Celtics have abandoned the unselfish style of play and defensive intensity, which helped them sweep the Philadelphia 76ers and edge the Toronto Raptors so far in the NBA playoffs.
“… the Celtics right now are showing up to the arena in a cute and sassy style of play,” Perkins said on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “Right, they’ve got their Versace robes on and Versace slippers and Gucci slippers with their Louis Vutton swimming trunks. And right now the Miami Heat are showing up in their no-necks and their steel-toed boots. And they’re ready for action and they’re grinding it out.
“The Celtics are playing so selfishly offensively, they’re playing ‘my turn’ basketball. Kemba (Walker) comes down (saying) ‘let me show you what I’ve got: a crossover to a step-back.’ Jayson Tatum (says) ‘oh you’ve got that? Let me show you what I’ve got in my bag: the side-step 3-point shot.’ Then all of a sudden you see Jaylen Brown (saying) ‘oh, let me show you, I can do something too. I’ve got a one-legged turnaround off the baseline. That is selfish play offensively by the Celtics.
“And defensively they have lost their identity. Last night I wanted to call Bam Adebayo ‘Bam O’Neal’ he had so many dunks he was just snatching screws out the rim. Where is the Celtics’ No. 1 (ranked) defense that they’ve been leading in these playoffs? It has disappeared. They have lost their defense identity.”
Perkins’ dismay coincides with reports of a raucous argument in the Celtics’ locker room. Although the Celtics admit to reacting emotionally to the loss, they also downplay the significance of the heated discussion.
Whether the Celtics will improve on their performances in Games 1 and 2 remains to be seen, but Perkins offers some useful tips on doing so and delivers them as only he can.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports ImagesMore NBA: Gordon Hayward Injury: Celtics Forward ‘Progressing’ Toward Game 3 Return
The Tampa Bay Lightning knew before the Eastern Conference final even began that the New York Islanders wouldn’t go down without a fight. And for a long, frightening stretch there Thursday night, there was real concern the stingy, stubborn Islanders wouldn’t be going down at all. But with Game 7 flashing before their eyes, the […]Lightning secure Stanley Cup final berth with gritty OT win — Edmonton Sun
Lightning secure Stanley Cup final berth with gritty OT win
Author of the article:Robert Tychkowski
Publishing date:Sep 18, 2020 • Last Updated 1 hour ago • 4 minute read
The Tampa Bay Lightning knew before the Eastern Conference final even began that the New York Islanders wouldn’t go down without a fight.
And for a long, frightening stretch there Thursday night, there was real concern the stingy, stubborn Islanders wouldn’t be going down at all.
But with Game 7 flashing before their eyes, the Lightning finally landed a shot that guarantees New York won’t be getting up off the canvas.
Anthony Cirelli scored 13:18 into overtime, banking the puck home off the post to close out the Islanders 2-1 in Game 6 and set up a Stanley Cup Final showdown with the Dallas Stars.
“It’s just a blur, but to be playing for the Stanley Cup final is every kid’s goal growing up,” said Cirelli. “The emotions are so high. We’ve worked all year to get to the Stanley Cup Final and we’re here now. We’re ready to go.”
Tampa improved to 5-0 in games following a loss, showing an ability to fight through adversity at every turn.
“It’s how we respond, the character we have in that locker-room,” said winger Patrick Maroon, who’s looking for two in a row after winning a Cup with St. Louis last season.
“We have that mentality of the next man up. I’m super proud of these guys. It just goes to show how much character we have. We have that no-quit mentality in our locker-room.”
It was a battle for most of Game 6. Despite a 17-6 advantage in shots, the teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes on goals from New York’s Devon Toews at 4:15 and a quick reply from Tampa’s Victor Hedman at 6:28.
By the end of regulation, Tampa had doubled the Islanders’ shot total, 42-21, but still had nothing to show for it but frustration thanks to goaltender Semyon Varlamov and the Isles’ bend-but-don’t-break style.
“When you reach the conference final, there are no easy games,” said Hedman. “A great defensive effort on their part. They have a lot of skill up front and a great goaltender. It was a hard-fought battle.”
Cirelli ended it from the doorstep to put Tampa in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2015, when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. It begins Saturday.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” said Hedman. “It’s such a hard league to go far in. We really came together here as a group and we’re super excited to get back to the finals. I can’t wait to get it going.”
It’s sweet redemption for the Lightning, who were Stanley Cup favourites last season only to be swept in the first round by Columbus.
“The belief in our group is so strong, and that’s not something that just happens overnight,” said defenceman Ryan McDonagh. “We knew it was going to be tough, but our group believes in one another. Now that we’re here, we’re really determined and focused to finish the job.”
Some teams consider it bad luck to hoist a conference championship trophy, preferring to wait until they get a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup, but the Lightning were all over the Prince of Wales trophy, including injured captain Steve Stamkos.
“We talked about it quickly after,” said Alex Killorn. “In 2015, we didn’t touch it. We’re not too superstitious, but we thought, ‘Screw it, let’s grab it.’ We’re going to celebrate this and hopefully celebrate another after.”
ON THE RISE
The Islanders finished in seventh place in the east and gained momentum as the playoffs went on, beating Washington in the first round and taking down Philadelphia in the second.
Coming two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final is tough to take, but with Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello driving the bus, their future looks very good.
“There are very few teams that put a group together and win a championship right away without a little failure on the way,” said Trotz. “When the Islanders won four straight (Stanley Cups), there was a lot of hardship on the front end. Same with Edmonton and Detroit. My former club (Washington) had a lot of heartbreak before we broke through. There are a lot of lessons on the way. Learning these lessons are invaluable.”
The Lightning lost Games 3 and 5, the two games that leading scorer Brayden Points didn’t dress for, so they were glad to have him back in the lineup for Game 6.
Point’s status has been a daily concern in the Tampa locker-room, but head coach Jon Cooper said they never put the situation ahead of the player.
“In the end, it’s the player we care about the most. If we’re going to put the player in harm’s way, we will not play him. If we do, then it’s justified because we’ve gone through all the steps. We’re always looking after the player first.”
Hedman’s first-period goal is his ninth of the playoffs, the third most by any defenceman in a single playoff year. Hedman moved past Denis Potvin and into a tie with Bobby Orr and Brad Park, two goals behind Brian Leetch and three behind Paul Coffey.
On Twitter: @Rob_Tychkowski