BC-AP Sports Preview Digest

Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Thursday. A full Sports Digest will be sent at about 3 p.m. All times EDT.

– The NBA playoffs begin this weekend, and the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs will face tough paths in trying to get back to the finals. (With capsules on all eight playoff series.)

– NHL playoffs resume with four games: Philadelphia at Rangers (7 p.m.); Chicago at St. Louis (8 p.m.); Minnesota at Colorado (9:30 p.m.); and Los Angeles at San Jose (10:30 p.m.)

– LONDON – With the crisis in Ukraine escalating by the day, the prospect of the 2022 Winter Olympics going to the former Soviet republic seems hard to imagine. Yet, the city of Lviv hasn’t given up on its bid.

– PRETORIA, South Africa – The prosecution in the Oscar Pistorius trial challenges the credibility of an expert witness for the defense, which is trying to show that the Olympic runner killed his girlfriend by mistake.

– ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Yankees and Rays open a four-game series, with CC Sabathia and David Price pitching in a matchup of Cy Young Award winners. Game starts 7:10 p.m.

– HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Masters runner-up Jordan Spieth, defending champion Graeme McDowell and Matt Kuchard highlight the start of the RBC Heritage.

– KAPOLEI, Hawaii – South Koreans Se Ri Pak, Hyo Joo Kim and So Yeon Ryu share lead entering second round of LPGA LOTTE Championship.

– EAST LANSING, Mich. – The 8-year-old Michigan State basketball fan who waged an inspirational battle with cancer is remembered in a memorial service at the campus arena. Service starts 6:30 p.m.

– MONACO – Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal eases into the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals. Also reaching the last eight are Stanislas Wawrinka, Roger Federer and David Ferrer.

– EL BIREH, West Bank – Dozens of Palestinian girls and women get a lesson in the basics of running from one of track and field’s greats – three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.