Thursday’s Sports In Brief

NBA

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The Golden State Warriors somehow withstood LeBron James’ latest brilliance on the NBA Finals stage.

A costly blunder by J.R. Smith and a disputed foul call involving James himself sure helped.

Stephen Curry scored 29 points and the Warriors capitalized on Smith’s mistake that sent the game into overtime, overcoming a 51-point performance by James to beat Cleveland 124-114 in Game 1.

The game nearly over, James jawed with both Curry and Klay Thompson, then Tristan Thompson and Draymond Green tangled moments later and made contact. After replay review, Tristan Thompson received a Flagrant 2 foul and ejection with 2.6 seconds left.

James was in utter disbelief as regulation ended stunningly: George Hill made the first of two free throws with 4.7 seconds left after being fouled by Klay Thompson, but when Smith secured the rebound of the second, he dribbled back toward halfcourt instead of shooting, apparently thinking the Cavs had a lead.

Smith insisted he knew the score. Green figured Smith was simply looking for James.

The Warriors then took over in overtime.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Adam Silver has encouraged the Philadelphia 76ers to both quickly and thoroughly resolve the investigation into whether team president Bryan Colangelo used Twitter inappropriately, a story that the NBA commissioner acknowledged was not one he wants to be thinking about during the league’s title series.

Silver, speaking before Game 1 of the Cleveland-Golden State matchup at the NBA Finals news conference, said he has talked with 76ers officials after the story about five Twitter accounts and how they were used was broken by The Ringer earlier this week.

The 76ers retained an independent law firm to determine whether Colangelo used the Twitter accounts. The situation could overshadow Philadelphia’s efforts this summer to land any of the top players who will be free agents – a list that includes LeBron James, who’s appearing in the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive year.

BASEBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Dodgers have learned how to win for long stretches without Clayton Kershaw and might need to do so again.

Jorge Alfaro drove in two runs, Aaron Nola pitched seven innings of two-hit ball and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Dodgers 2-1, spoiling Kershaw’s first start in almost a month.

Kershaw, who returned after spending 30 days on the disabled list for left biceps tendinitis, admitted after the game another DL trip might be necessary – this time for a third back injury in three seasons. He is expected to undergo an MRI and will not travel with the team for this weekend’s series at Colorado.

Kershaw missed more than two months with a back issue in 2016, and a separate back problem last year cost him five weeks. He called that 2016 injury ”very, very severe” and said this one feels more like what he dealt with last season.

The Dodgers have gone 75-46 in the past three years without Kershaw, good for a .620 winning percentage. This year, the Dodgers were 14-12 without their ace.

GOLF

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) – Hideki Matsuyama and Tiger Woods hit their stride at the end of their rounds at the Memorial, and it paid off in different ways.

Matsuyama was in the middle of the pack at Muirfield Village when he ran off four straight birdies and then holed out with a wedge from 130 yards on the 17th hole for an eagle that sent him to a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with 19-year-old Joaquin Niemann of Chile and Abraham Ancer of Mexico.

Woods three-putted from 25 feet to fall to 3 over with five holes to play. He answered with three straight birdies – two of them on par 5s on the front nine – and got up-and-down from 62 yards on the ninth hole for a 72.

Niemann, who won the Latin America Amateur Championship in January, appears to be on the fast track to the PGA Tour. He turned pro after the Masters and already has a pair of top 10s in his four events. Another one this week might be enough to earn special temporary membership on the PGA Tour, meaning he would have unlimited exemptions to try to earn his card.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – The sun shone brightly at rain-soaked Shoal Creek. So did Ariya Jutanugarn, Sarah Jane Smith and Jeongeun6 Lee.

Jutanugarn, Smith and Lee each shot a 5-under 67 to share the first-round lead at the U.S. Women’s Open, where the course held up better than some feared after heavy rains in recent days.

Thailand’s Jutanugarn spent hours in front before Smith and Lee caught her in the evening.

Jutanugarn is coming off a Kingsmill Championship win and kept up the momentum, including an eagle on No. 6. She said she started focusing more on each shot instead of worrying about the big picture.

Jutanugarn and the Smith each had an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys. Lee, meanwhile, had five birdies on a course that has been drenched in recent weeks, forcing the cancellation of Tuesday’s practice round and limiting course time on the eve of the tournament.

Danielle Kang, 2014 winner Michelle Wie, Korean Ji-Hyun Kim and Swedish amateur Linn Grant were 3 under.

NFL

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – The daughter of Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen announced her desire to take over the leadership role of the team and was informed she hasn’t met the criteria.

The Bowlen Trust issued a statement that said Beth Bowlen Wallace ”is not capable or qualified at this time.”

The team was placed in a trust when Pat Bowlen stepped down in 2014 because of Alzheimer’s. The trust is overseen by three people, including team president and CEO Joe Ellis, who has final say on day-to-day operations until one of Bowlen’s seven children can succeed him as controlling owner.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Eric Wood can finally announce he’s retiring after the Buffalo Bills released the veteran center in a move considered a formality after he was diagnosed with a career-ending neck injury in January.

Wood was released by the Bills, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team was not planning to announce the move.

The decision by the Bills ends a lengthy waiting period for the team and Wood.

By waiting, the Bills limited the effect the player’s remaining bonus money will have on their salary cap. The more than $10 million in bonus money owed to Wood will now only count against the team’s salary cap this year rather than be spread over the two years left on the contract.

COLLEGE SPORTS

NEW YORK (AP) – The NCAA is about two weeks away from finally making some substantial reforms to transfer rules. The changes will not be quite as extensive as some had hoped and the work is not complete, but considering previous failed attempts, getting anything accomplished on transfers can be counted as a success.

The NCAA’s transfer working group, led by South Dakota State athletic director Justin Sell, will reconvene in Indianapolis on June 11 and plans to present a proposal to the Division I Council that will end the practice of schools and coaches blocking an athlete from transferring or dictating where an athlete can go.

Currently, an athlete must ask a coach for permission to contact other schools when choosing to transfer. A school interested in recruiting a transferring player also must ask the athlete’s current school for permission to recruit the athlete. Without permission from the athlete’s original school, the athlete cannot get financial aid from another school.

The new model would free athletes to be contacted when they notify their current coaches. The athletes’ names would go into a database created and managed by the NCAA, alerting schools of who can be recruited. The changes will come with stricter tampering rules to help appease coaches who worry illegal recruiting could rise.