Weekend Sports In Brief
CHICAGO (AP) — Players were taking charges, bodies were hitting the floor, calls and non-calls were being screamed about on both ends. The fourth quarter of the NBA All-Star Game was as intense as the final moments of a playoff game, the biggest stars in the league holding absolutely nothing back.
And in the end, Anthony Davis was a hometown hero by making a free throw.
Kobe Bryant — ever the competitor — would have simply loved the way this night went.
Davis made a game-ending free throw to give Team LeBron a 157-155 win over Team Giannis in the revamped NBA All-Star Game, the format overhauled to put in elements for charity and ensure that someone was going to hit a shot to end the game.
That someone was Davis, the Chicago native who missed the first free throw and made the second to end the NBA’s midseason showcase that went down as the closest All-Star Game since the Eastern Conference topped the Western Conference 141-139 in 2010.
Kawhi Leonard, the game’s MVP, scored 30 points for Team LeBron, while LeBron James — his team’s captain — and Chris Paul each scored 23, and Davis finished with 20. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who captained his team, led his squad with 25 points, Kemba Walker had 23 for Team Giannis, Joel Embiid scored 22 and Rudy Gobert added 21.
CHICAGO (AP) — It has become one of the NBA’s most revered traditions: On the morning of the NBA All-Star Game, the league pays tribute to retired players with what is called the Legends Brunch. It brings together about 3,000 guests, and every year a recent retiree with ties to the game’s host city is honored.
When the game was in Los Angeles two years ago, the NBA wanted to honor Kobe Bryant.
He declined. He couldn’t attend. His reason: his daughter Gianna Bryant had a game that morning.
This All-Star weekend was in Michael Jordan’s longtime home of Chicago, highlighted by a game where LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo served as captains — but it was, predictably and understandably, overshadowed by the mourning of Bryant.
Jennifer Hudson, wearing the Lakers’ deep purple, performed a pregame tribute to Bryant and sang “For All We Know.” Players on James’ team wore Gianna’s No. 2 on their jerseys and players on Antetokounmpo’s team wore Kobe’s No. 24 on theirs. And all players wore a patch with nine stars, one for each victim of the crash.
Everyone at the All-Star Game on Sunday got a 24-page tribute published by Sports Illustrated devoted to Bryant’s career. On the last page of text, just before the back cover, was a quote from Jordan: “I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me,” it began. Next to that quote was a photo, Bryant guarding Jordan in 1997, sticking his tongue out much in the same way that the Bulls’ guard often did.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Daytona 500 was postponed by rain for the first time since 2012, dampening NASCAR’s season opener that started with a ballyhooed visit from President Donald Trump.
The race was postponed after two lengthy delays totaling more than three hours. The race will now begin at 4 p.m. Monday.
It’s the second time in 62 years that “The Great American Race” will finish on a Monday.
The first delay of the day came moments after the presidential motorcade completed a ceremonial parade lap around the 2 1/2-mile track. Trump’s armored limousine nicknamed “The Beast” exited Daytona International Speedway, and the sky opened for a brief shower that forced drivers back to pit road.
The start already had been pushed back 13 minutes to accommodate Trump’s trip. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. eventually led the field to the green flag and was out front for the first 20 laps before heavier rain soaked a racing surface that takes hours to dry.
NASCAR called drivers back to their cars around 6:40 p.m. EST, hoping to get more laps in before more showers hit again. Some drivers showed, but the heaviest rain of the day forced a postponement.
NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — With baseball ablaze over the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal, commissioner Rob Manfred met with nearly half of the major leagues managers Sunday and told them to knock off any notion of get-even beanballs.
Cody Bellinger, Kris Bryant, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Correa were among the All-Stars recently trading threats, accusations and barbs as spring training opened. The revelation of Houston’s sign-stealing scam, the punishment imposed by Major League Baseball and poorly received apologies by the Astros further enhanced anger across the sport, with players, club management and fans all joining in.
Manfred had previously planned to attend a news conference at the Atlanta Braves’ new camp, along with managers and representatives of teams training in Florida to talk about the upcoming season. Instead of an uplifting look at the upcoming season, as this annual press session is, there was no doubt what was the No. 1 topic.
Manfred said he would personally talk to the managers of the teams that train in Arizona on Tuesday.
In further fallout from the Astros’ scheme, Manfred said the investigation into the Boston Red Sox could be completed within two weeks. He also said he planned to meet the players’ union to discuss new rules limiting in-game video access.
Manfred said MLB officials discussed the possibility of vacating the Astros’ 2017 World Series championship.
TORONTO (AP) — Tony Fernández, a stylish shortstop who made five All-Star teams during his 17 seasons in the major leagues and helped the Toronto Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series, died Sunday after complications from a kidney disease. He was 57.
Fernández was taken off a life support system in the afternoon with his family present at a hospital in Weston, Florida, said Imrad Hallim, the director and co-founder of the Tony Fernández Foundation. Fernández had been in a medically induced coma and had waited years for a new kidney.
Fernández won four straight Gold Gloves with the Blue Jays in the 1980s and holds club records for career hits and games played.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adam Scott has another victory at Riviera, and this time it counts.
Scott survived a calamitous Sunday with just enough clutch putts — for birdie, par, even a bogey — and closed with 1-under 70 for a two-shot victory in the Genesis Invitational.
The victory comes 15 years after Scott won a playoff at Riviera that didn’t count as official because rain shortened the tournament to 36 holes. He earned every bit of this victory, his 14th on the PGA Tour and 29th worldwide.
Nearly a dozen players had a chance to win. Five players had a share of the lead at some point.
Riviera was such a strong test that everyone made mistakes, including Scott. He went long off the fifth green, had a flop shot come back to his feet, putted the next up the hill and made double bogey. But he bounced back with a slick, scary 18-foot birdie putt on the par-3 sixth to regain a share of the lead, and he never trailed the rest of the way.
Rory McIlroy was tied for the lead when he went long on the fifth, took two flop shots to get on the green and then compounded the error with a three-putt triple bogey. McIlroy never recovered. His tee shot on the par-3 sixth went on the wrong side of the bunker in the middle of the green, leading to another bogey. He closed with a 73 and tied for fifth.