BC-AP Sports Preview Digest
Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Monday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EDT:
– Three first-round NBA games: Milwaukee (tied 2-2) at Toronto, 7 p.m.; Washington (up 2-1) at Atlanta, 8 p.m.; Golden State (up 3-0) at Portland, 10:30 p.m.
– After an MVP-caliber regular season, Kawhi Leonard has been even better in the playoffs. But his San Antonio Spurs are in a ferocious fight with Memphis in the first round – again.
– NEW YORK – The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are cutting payroll and luxury tax bills, according to calculations by the commissioner’s office obtained by the AP.
– DENVER – Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals try to extend their seven-game winning streak, facing the Colorado Rockies in a game between division leaders. Game starts 8:40 p.m.
– BALTIMORE – Tampa Bay ace Chris Archer starts against the Baltimore Orioles, who have the best record in the AL. The Rays are 1-6 on the road. Game starts 7:05 p.m.
– BRISTOL, Tenn. – NASCAR takes a second crack at the Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway after a rain postponement. Points leader Kyle Larson is on the pole. Race starts 1 p.m.
– The second round of the NHL playoffs features two divisional rivalries: Penguins-Capitals, Blues-Predators. Two Canadian teams are left and new blood joins the Stanley Cup champions.
– Trading defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk at the deadline didn’t slow the St. Louis Blues, who cruised into the second round. Shattenkirk, meanwhile, struggled in the first round with Washington.
– BRISTOL, Conn. Aaron Hernandez’s fiancee is asking a Massachusetts judge to release copies of the three notes the former NFL star left in his cell last week before he killed himself.
– More college coaches are using top players on special teams in an attempt to pile up points in this era of never-safe leads. NFL teams love it. They get a better glimpse of what prospects can do.
– FRISCO, Texas – Now that Dak Prescott has replaced Tony Romo at quarterback, the Dallas Cowboys are about to build on the remarkable rookie season of their fourth-round draft choice.
– RALEIGH, N.C. – Gonzaga, Oregon and national champion North Carolina took key losses ahead of Sunday’s early entry deadline for the NBA draft. Not so Michigan State and Arizona.
– STUTTGART, Germany – Maria Sharapova returns to the WTA circuit Wednesday following a 15-month doping suspension. She is playing as a wild card at the Porsche Grand Prix.
– BUCHAREST, Romania – Ilie Nastase is unrepentant following his suspension for a tirade during a Fed Cup playoff. The 70-year-old Romania captain also defends his remarks about Serena Williams.
– MADRID – Lionel Messi’s latest outstanding performance against Real Madrid has put Barcelona in position to contend for the Spanish league title.