Friday’s Sports in Brief
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Alex Ovechkin had a power-play goal and an assist in his Eastern Conference finals debut, leading the Washington Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Braden Holtby stopped 19 shots and Michal Kempny, Jay Beagle and Lars Eller also scored for the Caps, who are alive beyond the second round of the playoffs for the first time in Ovechkin’s brilliant 13-year career.
Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat scored for Tampa Bay, which trailed 4-0 heading into the third period.
Game 2 is Sunday night at Amalie Arena, where Tampa Bay also lost Game 1 in the second round against Boston.
TORONTO (AP) – The Toronto Raptors fired Dwane Casey after the team was swept in the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second straight season.
Toronto President Masai Ujiri said the move was a ”very difficult but necessary step.”
The 61-year-old Casey led the Raptors to a franchise-record 59 wins and a top seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time. He posted a 320-238 record in seven seasons and is the franchise’s winningest coach.
The Raptors won four Atlantic Division titles and advanced to the postseason five consecutive seasons. But Toronto could not get past the puzzle of the Cavaliers and LeBron James in the playoffs.
ATLANTA (AP) – The Atlanta Hawks are giving Lloyd Pierce his first head coaching job in the NBA, choosing a man who has been an assistant with Philadelphia and Memphis to rebuild the franchise.
The Hawks announced they had agreed to terms on a deal with Pierce.
”It was critically important to find a dynamic teacher who could connect with and develop our young core while instilling the culture and high standards we feel are necessary in a successful program,” Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said in a statement. ”Lloyd Pierce checks every box, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him leading the Atlanta Hawks into the future.”
The Hawks have scheduled a Monday news conference to introduce Pierce.
Pierce, 42, spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach in Philadelphia where the 76ers just reached the Eastern Conference semifinals after finishing third in the conference with a 52-30 record. Pierce also spent two years as assistant coach with Memphis Grizzlies, including 2013 when they reached the 2013 Western Conference finals.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Matt Harvey tossed four innings of one-hit ball in his Reds debut, Scooter Gennett homered and drove in three runs, and Cincinnati defeated the scuffling Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2, extending their season-high winning streak to four games.
Harvey struck out two and walked none in a 55-pitch outing that was cut short because of his lack of recent game competition. The right-hander’s fastball topped out in the mid-90s.
The lone hit Harvey gave up was a fluke. Right fielder Scott Schebler lost a high popup by Cody Bellinger in the lights against a sky dark with clouds, allowing Bellinger to slide into third for a triple in the second.
Harvey is seeking to revive his career after going 9-19 over the last three seasons with the New York Mets. The team cut him last weekend and the last-place Reds acquired him on Tuesday for catcher Devin Mesoraco and cash on Tuesday after Harvey declined a demotion to the minors. He was 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in eight games, including four starts, for the Mets this season.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – The NFL has determined the Buffalo Bills acted properly in the aftermath of team president Russ Brandon’s resignation amid allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a female employee.
The league released a statement saying it will take no further action against the Bills. The league determined the team ”addressed the matter in a timely, thorough and appropriate manner.” The statement comes a week after the NFL wouldn’t rule out launching an investigation in announcing it planned to contact the Bills to discuss the reasons behind Brandon’s abrupt departure.
Brandon resigned May 1 after spending 20 years working up the Bills’ executive ranks. He also spent the past three years serving as president of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, who also are owned by Terry and Kim Pegula.
MADRID (AP) – Top-ranked Rafael Nadal lost to Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-3 in the Madrid Open quarterfinals, breaking the defending champion’s run of 21 straight wins on clay courts.
Nadal hadn’t lost a single set on clay since falling to Thiem a year ago in the Italian Open quarterfinals.
Since that loss, Nadal had been impeccable on his preferred surface. He won the French Open and the hard-court U.S. Open to take his Grand Slam haul to 16, and he came to the Spanish capital fresh off winning his 11th titles at both Monte Carlo and Barcelona.