Thursday’s Sports In Brief
SAO PAULO (AP) Neymar gave Brazil a winning start to its home World Cup, scoring twice to lead the host nation to an unconvincing 3-1 victory over Croatia in the opening game.
In his 50th match with Brazil, the 22-year-old forward scored a goal in each half to help the hosts survive an early scare and escape disaster in front of a packed Itaquerao Stadium after Croatia had taken an early lead. Marcelo found his own net while trying to clear a low cross by Ivica Olic in the 11th minute, but Neymar then showed why the nation’s high hopes are all pinned on him.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s team of lawyers has hired four private investigation firms to dig up dirt on the NBA’s former and current commissioners and its 29 other owners, said a person familiar with Sterling’s legal strategy.
Investigators were given a six-figure budget over the next 30 days to examine the league’s finances, allegations of previous discriminatory conduct and compensation to past Commissioner David Stern and current Commissioner Adam Silver, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday night on condition of anonymity. The person wasn’t authorized to talk publicly.
The person said the investigators also are looking into whether other owners made any off-color jokes, or racist or sexist remarks.
CLEVELAND (AP) – The Cavaliers’ exhaustive head coaching search is expanding – again.
The team will interview former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt, a person familiar with the team’s plans told The Associated Press. Earlier in the day, Blatt announced in Israel that he’s leaving the European champion to pursue an unspecified job in the NBA. He’ll meet with the Cavs next week, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team is not discussing any aspect of its search – now a month old.
The 55-year-old Blatt has known Cavs general manager David Griffin for years. At his news conference, Blatt, who led Maccabi to its first European title this year, said he’s weighing offers from unnamed teams and has ”a few good options.” He’s expected to make a decision soon.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) – The Atlanta Falcons announced they will be featured on HBO Sports’ documentary series Hard Knocks this summer.
The five-part weekly series debuts Aug. 5 and concludes Sept. 2. The annual show gives fans an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at the daily lives and routines of players and coaches as they prepare for the upcoming NFL season.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew is being sued in Florida, accused of punching a bouncer at a St. Augustine restaurant.
The suit was electronically filed May 30 in St. Johns County.
Bouncer Kasim Howard is suing Jones-Drew, saying the former Jacksonville Jaguars star punched him May 26, 2013, at the Conch House Restaurant. Howard accuses Jones-Drew of intentionally causing injury and severe emotional distress.
MIAMI (AP) – San Francisco 49ers star quarterback Colin Kaepernick and two other NFL players will not face charges in an incident involving a woman at a downtown hotel, prosecutors announced.
A memo released by the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office said there was insufficient evidence that any crime was committed in the hotel room on April 1. Tests indicated the woman was not sexually assaulted and other evidence backed up the players’ contention that nothing happened.
In fact, the memo by Assistant State Attorney Laura Adams described the woman as incoherent when police and fire-rescue officers responded to 911 calls to the room at the Viceroy Hotel. She had to be sedated in order to be taken to the hospital, where she was temporarily involuntarily committed for her own safety, the memo says.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Pittsburgh Steelers signed center Maurkice Pouncey to a five-year extension that will keep the three-time Pro Bowler as the anchor of the offensive line for the rest of the decade.
The new deal averages $8.8 million per season, making Pouncey the highest-paid center in the NFL.
The 24-year-old Pouncey was entering the final year of the rookie contract he signed after the Steelers took him with the 18th overall selection in the 2010 draft. He’s the only center in league history to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons.
TORONTO (AP) – The Canadian Football League’s players’ association voted to accept a new five-year collective bargaining agreement, the union said.
The CFL’s board of governors is scheduled to vote on the agreement Friday. The deal includes a $5 million salary cap in the first year. Last year, the CFL’s salary cap was $4.4 million.
HALLE, Germany (AP) – Rafael Nadal was knocked out in the second round of the grass-court Gerry Weber Open, losing 6-4, 6-1 to German wild card Dustin Brown.
Brown, the world No. 85, broke Nadal’s serve at the fifth attempt to win the first set, and he pulled off two audacious lobs in succession to break the Spaniard again early in the second. Nothing Nadal tried seem to work in his first match since winning his ninth French Open title. He had a first-round bye at Halle, where he was the top seed.