NBA

DENVER (AP)Denver’s Nikola Jokic has won his second consecutive Most Valuable Player award after a season in which he finished with numbers never before seen in NBA history, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The NBA was preparing to make the announcement in the coming days, likely this week, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because the voting results have not been announced.

ESPN, citing sources, first reported that Jokic would be named MVP again.

The Nuggets’ 7-foot center was the first player in league history to eclipse 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season. And that sort of dominance by the player nicknamed ”Joker” helped convince voters that he should be the 13th player of the NBA’s exclusive MVP back-to-back club.

– By AP Sports Writer Pat Graham.

PHOENIX (AP) – Monty Williams won the NBA Coach of the Year award on Monday after leading the Phoenix Suns to a franchise-record 64 wins during the regular season.

The Suns were the NBA’s best team by far during the regular season, finishing with eight more wins than any other team. The 50-year-old Williams joins Cotton Fitzsimmons (1988-89) and Mike D’Antoni (2004-05) as coaches who have won the award with the Suns.

The runner-up to New York’s Tom Thibodeau last season, Williams was the runaway winner this time, receiving 81 of 100 first-place votes from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters, finishing with 458 points.

Memphis’ Taylor Jenkins was second with 17 first-place votes and 270 points. Miami’s Erik Spoelstra and Boston’s Ime Udoka also received a first-place vote.

SACRAMENTO (AP) – The Sacramento Kings officially announced the hiring of Mike Brown as their new head coach with hopes he can end the NBA’s longest playoff drought ever.

General manager Monte McNair said Monday that Brown was picked to replace interim coach Alvin Gentry. The Kings fired Gentry after a season during which they set an NBA record by missing the playoffs for a 16th straight year.

Brown currently is an assistant with Golden State and will remain with the Warriors for the rest of their playoff run. Brown previously had two stints as head coach in Cleveland, where he guided the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2007, and had one stint as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Warriors coach Steve Kerr tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday evening and was replaced by associate head coach Mike Brown on the bench for Golden State in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The 56-year-old Kerr had been regularly wearing a mask at team headquarters in recent days.

The Warriors said Kerr had just received his result approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes before tipoff at Chase Center. Brown on Sunday reached agreement to become coach of the Sacramento Kings but will stay with the Warriors through their postseason run.

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball intends to play regular-season games in London in 2023, 2024 and 2026.

The New York Yankees swept two games against the Boston Red Sox at London’s Olympic Stadium in June 2019. The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs were scheduled to play there on June 13-14, 2020, but those games were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cardinals and Cubs are the leading candidates to play in London next year.

NHL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Valeri Nichushkin scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:58 left, and the Colorado Avalanche became the first team to advance to the second round by finishing a sweep of the Nashville Predators 5-3 Monday night.

The Avalanche now are in the Western Conference semifinals for a fourth straight season and second consecutive after sweeping their first-round opponent. They now get to wait for either St. Louis or Minnesota.

Andre Burakovsky had a goal and two assists, Cale Makar added a goal and an assist, and Devon Toews added a goal for Colorado. Nathan MacKinnon sealed the victory with an empty-net goal on the man advantage with 55.9 seconds remaining. Pavel Francouz made 28 saves.

NEW YORK (AP) – Barry Trotz was fired as coach of the New York Islanders on Monday, with general manager Lou Lamoriello saying he felt the team needed a new voice.

Trotz lost his job after four seasons with the Islanders and the first without a playoff appearance. The 59-year-old who ranks among the most successful coaches in NHL history and won the Stanley Cup with Washington in 2018 guided the Islanders to the Eastern Conference final each of the previous two years before losing to eventual champion Tampa Bay.

Lamoriello declined to explain why he thought ”a new voice” was necessary.

TENNIS

ROME (AP) – Fresh off his victory at the Madrid Open, Carlos Alcaraz withdrew from the Italian Open on Monday because of a right ankle injury.

Later, Naomi Osaka withdrew from the women’s tournament with a left Achilles heel injury.

The 19-year-old Alcaraz beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic back-to-back in Madrid then defeated Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final for his tour-leading fourth title of the year. Alcaraz hurt his ankle during the quarterfinal win over Nadal.

Osaka injured herself in her first-round win over Anastasia Potapova at the Madrid Open 10 days ago and she said she ”hasn’t healed yet.”

SOCCER

ATLANTA (AP) – Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson will likely miss the World Cup for the United States after rupturing the Achilles tendon in his left leg during an MLS game.

The team announced that Robinson was to undergo surgery Monday after an MRI confirmed the worst-case scenario.

Robinson was injured on a noncontact play in the first half of Saturday’s 4-1 win over Chicago Fire. The 25-year-old central defender was carried off the field on a stretcher. He faces a lengthy recovery and rehab period that probably will cost him a roster spot at the World Cup.

COURTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – The head of the company that makes baseball caps for the country’s biggest sports leagues was arraigned on a felony charge Monday in Buffalo, New York, after allegedly driving his vehicle toward his girlfriend’s ex-husband during an argument over the weekend.

New Era Cap CEO Christopher Koch, 61, was released without bail after appearing in City Court on a felony reckless endangerment charge.

New Era, headquartered in Buffalo, supplies caps for Major League Baseball, and also makes the official sideline and on-court caps for the NFL and NBA.

OBITUARY

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Adreian Payne, a former Michigan State basketball standout and NBA player, has died in a shooting. He was 31.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to a shooting at 1:34 a.m. Monday when Payne was identified and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Lawrence Dority, 29, was present at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office. He was arrested on a first-degree murder warrant after homicide detectives interviewed him.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Ray Scott, a consummate promoter who helped launch professional bass angling and became a fishing buddy to presidents while popularizing the conservation practice of catching and releasing fish, has died, a longtime aide said Monday.

Scott died of natural causes late Sunday at a rehabilitation center near Montgomery, said Jim Kientz, who worked for Scott for more than two decades. He was 88.

A member of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, Scott founded the first professional bass fishing tournament in the late 1960s. Anglers could win money based on the weight of the fish they caught over several days on a lake or river, and they were penalized if a fish died.

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