- Associated Press - Thursday, June 8, 2017

PRO BASKETBALL

CLEVELAND (AP) - Kevin Durant drained a big 3-pointer with 45.3 seconds left and scored 31 points as the Golden State Warriors moved within one win of postseason perfection and payback by rallying to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-113 on Wednesday night to take a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors trailed by six with three minutes left before Durant, who signed with Golden State last summer to win a championship, brought them back, scoring 14 in the fourth.

With their 15th straight win, the Warriors have the longest postseason streak for any team in the four major professional sports. And with a win in Game 4 on Friday night, Golden State can exorcise those haunting demons from last year when the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals to the Cavaliers. Not team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit.

Klay Thompson added 30 points and Stephen Curry 26 for this California Dream Team now one win from its second title in three years.

LeBron James shook off a knee-buckling blow to the chin and every Golden State shot while scoring 39 and Kyrie Irving added 38 for the Cavs, who took a 113-107 lead with 3:09 left on J.R. Smith’s 3-pointer.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops abruptly announced his retirement, a stunning offseason move by the 56-year-old future Hall of Famer who led the Sooners to 10 conference championships and a national title in 18 seasons.

Stoops was the longest-tenured active coach in major college football, taking the job at Oklahoma a day before Kirk Ferentz started at Iowa. Stoops was 190-48 (.798) at Oklahoma - his only college head-coaching job - giving him more victories than Sooners coaching greats Barry Switzer (157) and Bud Wilkinson (145).

“I understand there has been some speculation about my health,” Stoops said in a statement issued two hours before a campus news conference. “My health was not the deciding factor in this decision and I’ve had no incidents that would prevent me from coaching. I feel the timing is perfect to hand over the reins.”

Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, 33, is being promoted to head coach, making him the youngest head coach in FBS. Just last month, Oklahoma gave Riley a three-year contract extension worth $1.3 million per year, making him one of the highest-paid coordinators in the country.

HORSE RACING

NEW YORK (AP) - Irish War Cry is returning to the Triple Crown trail as the 7-2 favorite for the Belmont Stakes.

The colt claimed that status after expected favorite Classic Empire was forced out earlier in the day because of an abscess in his right front hoof.

Irish War Cry finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness. No one was more surprised at the turn of events than Graham Motion, who trains Irish War Cry. He left his base in Fair Hill, Maryland, early in the day and by the time he arrived in New York, his colt was the favorite in the 12-horse field for Saturday’s race.

Irish War Cry drew the No. 7 post under jockey Rajiv Maragh.

NEW YORK (AP) - Celebrity chef Bobby Flay hopes he’s cooked up another winner in the Belmont Stakes.

Flay purchased 25 percent interest in J Boys Echo before the draw that assigned post positions for Saturday’s $1.5 million race. The other 75 percent belongs to Albaugh Family Stable.

Last year, Flay bought an interest in Creator just before the colt won the Belmont by a nose.

J Boys Echo finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby under jockey Luis Saez. The chestnut colt found trouble leaving the starting gate and got bounced around in the pack of 20 horses. He skipped the Preakness.

BASEBALL

SEATTLE (AP) - Jean Segura and the Mariners agreed to a $70 million, five-year contract covering 2018-22, a deal that brings stability to a shortstop position in flux for more than a decade in Seattle.

Segura is making $6.2 million this year and would have been eligible for free agency following the 2018 season. The contract calls for a $3 million signing bonus, a $9 million salary next season and $14.25 million in each of the following four years. Seattle has a $17 million option for 2023 with a $1 million buyout. Segura gets a full-no trade provision.

NEW YORK (AP) - Boston Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy apologized for his on-air remarks a night earlier that pitchers such as Yankees star Masahiro Tanaka shouldn’t be allowed to have translators on the mound.

During the NESN broadcast of the Boston-New York game at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, Remy said pitchers such as the Japanese-born Tanaka should “learn baseball language.” ”Last night, during the course of the Red Sox-Yankees game I made some comments that offended a number of people in our audience,” Remy said at the start of Wednesday’s telecast . “I’d like to apologize to my colleagues at NESN, to the Boston Red Sox but most importantly to the fans who were offended by my comments. I sincerely hope you accept my apologies.”

His comments Tuesday quickly drew sharp criticism on social media, with some saying there isn’t one universal language for baseball. Remy apologized on Twitter earlier in the day, and the Red Sox and NESN released statements distancing themselves from Remy’s remarks.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Tampa Bay Rays catcher Derek Norris denies a claim by his ex-fiance that he was physically and emotionally abusive to her during their relationship and that he will cooperate with Major League Baseball’s investigation of the matter.

Kristen Eck told the Tampa Bay Times that she left Norris last June, about eight months after a 2015 incident in which Eck said the player put her in a “choke-hold” and grabbed her hair and arms after she confronted Norris about talking to another woman.

Norris said in a statement released before Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox that he wants to be “absolutely clear that abuse of any form, is completely unacceptable.”

BALTIMORE (AP) - Right-hander Edwin Jackson will resume his lengthy major league career with Baltimore, which will be his 12th different big league team.

The Orioles selected Jackson’s contract from Triple-A Norfolk. The 33-year-old launched his career in 2003 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jackson is 93-114 with a 4.65 ERA in 361 games, including 275 starts. He pitched last year for San Diego, going 5-6 with a 5.89 ERA.

PRO FOOTBALL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Nashville police are investigating a misdemeanor assault complaint made by a man who says former Buffalo Bills and New York Jets coach Rex Ryan grabbed him by the neck.

Police spokesman Don Aaron said that Matthew Havel, a 30-year-old from Pueblo, Colorado, made the complaint Sunday night.

Havel told police that he saw the Ryan brothers - Rex and former NFL defensive coordinator Rob Ryan - at the Margaritaville restaurant in downtown Nashville near Bridgestone Arena. Aaron said Havel indicated he went up to the Ryans’ table and was there for over an hour before Rex Ryan “reached across and grabbed at his neck.” Havel told police the incident was unprovoked. Aaron said no arrests have been made and no charges are presently outstanding.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - The Baltimore Ravens have released tight end Dennis Pitta with an injury waiver after he hurt his right hip for a third time in practice last week.

The injury occurred during an offseason practice session Friday. Each time Pitta hurt the hip previously, the injury was serious enough to be considered career-threatening. That appears to be the case again following his release.

The 31-year-old Pitta began his career with Baltimore in 2010 and caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl when the Ravens won the 2012 NFL title. Pitta first injured his hip in 2013 and hurt it again in 2014. He played in four games in 2013, three in 2014 and sat out the entire 2015 season. Last year, however, he returned to catch 86 passes, most by a tight end in franchise history.

AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - NASCAR has issued four-race suspensions for the crew chief, tire changer and tire carrier for Kyle Busch because a tire rolled off Busch’s car during last weekend’s race at Dover International Speedway. Crew chief Adam Stevens, tire changer Jacob Seminara and tire carrier Kenneth Barber aren’t eligible to return until July 3.

NASCAR issued the same penalty to Chase Briscoe’s crew chief for a tire rolling off in the Truck Series race at Dover. Mike Hillman Jr., tire changer Wesley McPherson and tire carrier Eric Pinkiert are all suspended four races.

Busch’s pit crew didn’t attach the left rear wheel before Busch left his pit stall early in Sunday’s race. The wheel rolled off the car.

The left front wheel on Briscoe’s truck wasn’t properly attached before he exited pit road, and his wheel soon rolled off.

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