BOSTON (AP)Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and the Boston Celtics took their turn pounding the Miami Heat early, jumping out to a 26-4 lead and cruising to a 102-82 victory that evened the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece.
Miami missed 15 of its first 16 shots in the second straight game that was all but over after 12 minutes. The Heat led 39-18 after the first quarter of Game 3 of this bizarre series in which no game has been close down the stretch.
Game 5 is Wednesday in Miami.
Payton Pritchard had 14 points for the Celtics. Derrick White added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Robert Williams finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Celtics led by 27 points in the second quarter and stretched their advantage to 32 in the third. Each game in this series has featured a lead of at least 20 points.
DENVER (AP) – Tim Connelly is leaving his job as president of basketball operations of the Denver Nuggets for a similar role with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The 45-year-old Connelly steadily built the Nuggets into a perennial playoff contender through draft picks that included two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and point guard Jamal Murray.
Connelly’s decision to switch teams inside the Western Conference’s Northwest Division was first reported by The Athletic and ESPN. The deal is reportedly for five years and worth more than $40 million. It also includes ownership equity.
In Minnesota, Connelly will oversee a team led by Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. The Timberwolves are coming off a 46-win season and their first playoff appearance since 2018. They took the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies to six games before being eliminated.
Connelly’s first opportunity to enhance the promising roster he’s inheriting will come in one month at the draft, when the Timberwolves have the 19th overall pick in the first round. They also have three second-round choices.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Andrei Vasilevskiy had 49 saves and the Tampa Bay Lightning completed a four-game sweep of the Florida Panthers with a 2-0 victory that sent the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions back to the Eastern Conference final for the sixth time in eight years.
Pat Maroon snapped a scoreless tie, batting Zach Bogosian’s shot down behind Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky before the puck trickled into the net a little over six minutes into the third period. Ondrej Palat added an empty-net goal with 22 seconds left.
Vasilevskiy won his sixth straight game, a streak that began with the Lightning facing a 3-2 series deficit in the opening round. It was his sixth shutout in his last seven series-clinching wins.
The Panthers became the first Presidents’ Trophy winners to be swept by a defending Stanley Cup champion in the playoffs since Edmonton breezed past Calgary on its way to another title in 1988.
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Nazem Kadri scored three goals, including two during a four-goal second period barrage, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the St. Louis Blues 6-3, taking a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference series.
Kadri’s outburst came after he received racist death threats on social media following a first-period collision with Blues goalie Jordan Binnington in Game 3 on Saturday night.
Kadri, who was booed heavily every time he touched the puck, skated towards the glass and appeared to salute the Blues fans after each of his first two goals, inciting even more jeers. It was his first career playoff hat trick.
Erik Johnson and Devon Toews also scored and Mikko Rantanen added an empty netter for the Avalanche, while Darcy Kuemper made 17 saves.
David Perron scored twice and Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Ville Husso, making his first start since Game 3 of the first round against Minnesota, made 31 saves.
NEW YORK (AP) – Ramon Urias hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning off Gerrit Cole and the Baltimore Orioles withstood Aaron Judge’s two home runs to beat the Yankees 6-4 and send New York to its season-high third straight loss.
Earlier, Major League Baseball suspended Yankees slugger Josh Donaldson for one game and fined him an undisclosed amount after he made multiple references to Jackie Robinson while talking to White Sox star Tim Anderson on Saturday. Shortly before the penalty was announced, the Yankees put Donaldson on the COVID-19 injured list.
Urias started Baltimore’s four-run third with a double down the left field line, then snapped a 4-all tie by lining an 0-1 fastball to the short porch in right field off Cole (4-1).
The Yankees, who began the day with the best record in the majors, are on their first three-game losing streak since dropping seven straight last September. Before the current skid, the Yankees had won 24 of 29.
Judge upped his major league-leading home run total to 17, five ahead of Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez and Angels star Mike Trout.
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Paul Goldschmidt hit a walkoff grand slam in the 10th inning, lifting the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
St. Louis native David Phelps (0-1) began the 10th and a wild pitch sent pinch-runner Lars Nootbar – who was on second as the automatic runner – to third. After striking out two, Phelps walked Tommy Edman. Ryan Borucki, the sixth Toronto pitcher, came in and walked pinch-hitter Edmundo Sosa.
Goldschmidt, who sat out Sunday, sent a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence for his seventh homer. It was his seventh career grand slam and his seventh winning homer and his seventh extra-inning home run. It extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
It was the first walkoff grand slam in St. Louis since April 27, 2017, when Matt Carpenter hit one against Toronto.
PARIS (AP) – A year ago, Naomi Osaka left the French Open of her own volition, never beaten on the court but determining that she needed to pull out before the second round to stand up for herself and protect her mind.
On Monday, Osaka departed Roland Garros against her will – via a 7-5, 6-4 loss in the first round to 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, who is seeded 27th and also won their contest at the Australian Open in January – after taking a painkiller to try to deal with a troublesome left Achilles tendon. She tried to stretch the tendon by tugging on her neon yellow shoes at changeovers or by squatting to flex her lower leg between points.
Barbora Krejcikova, seeded No. 2 but coming off an injured right elbow that kept her off the tour since February, lost 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 against Diane Parry, a 19-year-old from France who is ranked 97th and entered the day with a 1-5 career record in Grand Slam matches.
There weren’t any other such significant results on Day 2, when the women’s winners included No. 1 Iga Swiatek, the 2020 champion; and other past major champs Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka and Bianca Andrescu. In men’s matches, 13-time champion Rafael Nadal won in three sets and No. 13 seed Taylor Fritz won in five.
Novak Djokovic opened his title defense Monday night with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 victory in less than two hours over Yoshihito Nishioka. U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu also won in the night session, beating Czech qualifier Linda Noskova 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-1.