Binnington sparkles again, Blues top Sharks to tie series

By Joe Harris
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jordan Binnington made 29 saves to set a franchise record with his 10th playoff win this postseason and the St. Louis Blues edged the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Friday night to even the Western Conference final at two games apiece.
Tyler Bozak and Ivan Barbashev scored in the first period for the Blues, giving Binnington all the scoring he needed.
Tomas Hertl scored for the Sharks, and Martin Jones made 20 saves.
Game 5 is in San Jose on Sunday.
Barbashev gave the Blues a quick lead when his shot deflected off of Gustav Nyquist’s stick and into the net just 35 seconds in. Alexander Steen’s hip check of Brent Burns behind the Sharks’ net created a turnover that led to Barbashev’s first career playoff goal.
There have been seven goals scored in the opening minute of playoff games this year, with three of them coming against San Jose – the most since the Boston Bruins allowed four during their Stanley Cup run in 2011.
The Blues needed just 9 seconds to convert on a power play as Bozak’s shot found its way through several skates and past Jones to make it 2-0 with 2:07 left in the first.
San Jose tilted the ice in its favor in the second period, but Binnington stopped all 11 shots the Sharks sent his way. Burns had the Sharks’ best chance, hitting the crossbar with about three minutes left in the period.
Hertl banged home a rebound off of a slap shot by Burns on the Sharks’ second power play of the game at 6:48 of the third period to cut the Blues’ lead to 2-1. The goal snapped San Jose’s scoreless streak of 226 minutes, 48 seconds in Game 4s in a playoff series dating to last year’s postseason.
FACE IN THE CROWD
Soccer star Becky Sauerbrunn was at the game. The U.S. women’s national team played a friendly against New Zealand at Busch Stadium on Thursday night.
NOTES: The Blues and Sharks entered the game with 42 points each in the playoffs, the most in the NHL. … Blues D Vince Dunn, who was hit in the face by a puck in Game 3, was replaced in the lineup by Carl Gunnarsson.

Bucks trounce Raptors, take 2-0 series lead

By Tim Reynolds
AP Basketball Writer

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 17 rebounds, Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench to add 17 points and the Milwaukee Bucks never trailed on the way to beating the Toronto Raptors 125-103 on Friday night and taking a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
Antetokounmpo scored 11 points in the fourth for the Bucks, who wound up with six players in double figures — three of them reserves. Nikola Mirotic scored 15, Malcolm Brogdon had 14, George Hill 13 and Khris Middleton 12.
Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points for Toronto, which gave up the game’s first 9 points, never led and trailed by double digits for the final 39 minutes. Kyle Lowry scored 15 and Norman Powell had 14 for the Raptors.
Game 3 is Sunday in Toronto.
Milwaukee, which led the NBA with a 60-22 record during the regular season, became the 16th team to start a playoff run with at least 10 victories in its first 11 games. Only three teams — the 1989 Los Angeles Lakers, the 2001 Lakers and the 2017 Golden State Warriors — started a postseason 11-0.
The Bucks led by as many as 28, before Toronto did just enough chipping away to keep some semblance of hope.
Eventually, Antetokounmpo decided enough was enough.
With 5:51 left to play Antetokounmpo backed Leonard down on the block, spun back toward the center of the lane, scored while getting hit and starting a 3-point play.
He yelled to the crowd and punched the air.
The knockout blow was landed, and soon, the Bucks moved two wins away from their first NBA Finals berth in 45 years.
Milwaukee had a big rebounding edge for the second straight game — 60-46 in Game 1, 53-40 in Game 2 — and finished with only seven turnovers.
Milwaukee’s lead was 35-21 after the first, 64-39 at the half. It was the first time Toronto had been outscored by 10 or more points in each of a game’s first two quarters since May 25, 2016, against Cleveland and the 25-point halftime hole was, by far, the Raptors’ worst of the season. They trailed Houston 55-37 on March 5.

Koepka shatters 36-hole record and builds 7-shot lead at PGA

By Doug Ferguson
AP Golf Writer

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The power. The putting. The poise. Brooks Koepka has it all at this PGA Championship, along with the lowest 36-hole score in major championship history and the largest lead by anyone at the halfway point of a Grand Slam event in 85 years.
It was daunting to so many players who watched Koepka pull away to a seven-shot lead Friday at Bethpage Black.
And it looked all too familiar to Tiger Woods, who won’t be around to see the ending.
Koepka backed up his record-tying 63 with a round that put him in a league of his own. He opened with three birdies in a four-hole stretch and made three birdies over the closing four holes for a 5-under 65 that broke by two shots the lowest 36-hole score — 128 — in any major.
Woods was along for the ride — a short one, in this case, because he missed the cut. He marveled at Koepka hitting 7-iron into a par 5, and a 9-iron into the uphill, 477-yard 15th hole.
“Relative to the field, I was about that long early in my career,” Woods said. “When you’re able to hit the ball much further than other players, and get on the right golf courses where setups like this is penalizing if you are a little bit crooked, and if he does miss it, he misses on the correct side, and he’s far enough down there to where he was able to get the ball on the green. And he did all the little things right.”
That describes Woods at Bethpage Black the first time this working man’s public course hosted a major at the 2002 U.S. Open. Woods went wire-to-wire when he was winning majors at an alarming rate.
Koepka, who has won three of the last seven majors, appears to be headed down a similar path.
Jordan Spieth had a 66 in the morning in a bid to keep in range. Adam Scott had a 64 in the afternoon. They were seven shots behind, victims of the largest 36-hole lead in a major since Henry Cotton led by nine in the 1934 British Open.
“It has to come to an end eventually, that good front-running,” Scott said with a smile. “Let’s hope it’s not 12 years like Tiger’s front-running lasted.”
Woods didn’t hit a fairway until the ninth hole, and then he started the back nine with three straight bogeys, turning his mission into making the cut. He wound up with a 73 and missed by one shot, only the ninth time in 76 majors as a pro he failed to advance to the weekend.
But he saw quite a show for two days.
“He’s driving it 330 yards in the middle of the fairway. He’s got 9-irons when most of us are hitting 5-irons, 4-irons, and he’s putting well,” Woods said. “That adds up to a pretty substantial lead, and if he keeps doing what he’s doing, there’s no reason why he can’t build on this lead.”
Just imagine what Koepka could do if he really brings it.
“This probably sounds bad,” Koepka said, “but today was a battle. I didn’t strike it that good. The way I hung in there today and battled it, I think that was probably more impressive than yesterday, not having your ‘A’ game but still being able to shoot a great score.”
Spieth was hopeful of being in contention at a major for the first time since the British Open last summer, and he made key putts for par and a 40-foot birdie putt toward the end of his 66 to get within two shots before Koepka teed off in the afternoon. It was close enough — at the time, anyway — for Spieth to get queried about the missing piece of a career Grand Slam at the PGA Championship.
“If I’m able to put some good work in tomorrow, I will be in contention on Sunday. And at that point, it will be just more of trying to win a golf tournament,” he said.
His goal was to stay in range, and Spieth felt he did enough.
And then Koepka flipped a wedge into 3 feet for birdie on No. 1, hit another wedge to 8 feet for birdie on No. 2 and hit 7-iron to 18 feet on the par-5 fourth hole that set up a two-putt birdie.
He really poured it on at the end as Scott moved closer.
On two of the strongest holes in the finishing stretch, Koepka mashed a drive down the middle of the 15th fairway and hit 9-iron to 3 feet, one of only 10 birdies from 155 players in the field. He hit wedge into 5 feet on the 473-yard 16th hole for another birdie, and the record was in sight.
He finished with a wedge out of thick grass right of the 18th fairway, making a final birdie from just inside 12 feet. It was his 14th birdie of the week.
Scott, who pushed Koepka all the way to end at the PGA last year in St. Louis, ran in putts from 25 feet, 40 feet and 30 feet on the opening three holes — only to settle for par on the easiest hole at Bethpage Black at the par-5 fourth — and was 7 under with four holes to play, a chance to break the PGA record of 63 that Koepka had matched the day before.
That ended when Scott missed a 2-foot par putt on the 17th, and he had to get up-and-down from the fairway for par on the 18th.
And then he saw what Koepka was doing.
“I have to post two more good ones by the look of it at this stage,” Scott said.
Dustin Johnson had a 67 and was among five players at 4-under 136. Justin Rose had a 67 and was at 3-under 137, a good score on Bethpage except in this case he was nine shots behind.
Everyone needs help from Koepka, who didn’t seem the least bit interested in anything but another major title.
“I’d like to see that lead grow as large as it possibly can,” Koepka said. “I still have to go out there and do what I’m supposed to do, keep putting the ball in the right spot and make sure that you don’t make any double bogeys, and I should have a good chance of winning the championship.”

At Preakness, they’re playing ‘musical chairs’ with jockeys

By DAVID GINSBURG AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) — The jockey shuffle heading into the Preakness has a “musical chairs” feel to it.
Of the 13 jockeys in Saturday’s race, nine who rode in the Kentucky Derby are aboard a different horse in the Preakness. Most notably, Hall of Famer Mike Smith is now riding favored Improbable with familiar trainer Bob Baffert, bumping Irad Ortiz to Bourbon War.
“It seems to be a little bit more than maybe most of the time, but this isn’t uncommon,” Smith said. “Especially during this Triple Crown stuff, there’s a lot of musical chairs. A lot of people picked up horses at the last minute and won the Derby, won the Preakness and won the Belmont, for that matter.”
An unusual chain of events has contributed to all the movement this year.
The top four horses that crossed the finish line in Kentucky won’t run in the Preakness. Improbable is the morning line favorite partially because he has finished first or second in five of six races, the lone exception when he came in fifth at the Derby and was bumped up to fourth after Maximum Security was disqualified.
Smith chose to ride Omaha Beach in the Derby, but after the race favorite was scratched, Baffert opted to stick with Ortiz. That didn’t work well for anyone — Improbable never really got a sniff of the lead under Ortiz and Smith finished 10th with Cutting Humor.
The team of Baffert and Smith produced a Triple Crown last year with Justify and four years ago with American Pharoah, and now trainer and jockey are together again trying to recreate the magic.
“It’s nothing against Irad. He rode him great in the Derby,” said Elliot Walden, co-owner of Improbable. “It came down to a simple thing: Bob Baffert’s had good luck with Mike Smith. Bob’s kind of a karma guy.”
That’s only one of many switches for this race. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez replaces Chris Landeros aboard Bodexpress; Joel Rosario goes from Game Winner to Everfast; Jon Court from Long Range Toddy to Market King and Jose Ortiz from Tacitus to Anothertwistafate.
Also, Ricardo Santana moves from Plus Que Parfait to Laughing Fox, and Javier Castellano from Vekoma to Warrior’s Charge, which caused Florent Geroux to get in the saddle aboard Owendale.
Smith has been through similar situations before, and would love to pull off another win on Saturday.
“Sometimes the first time you ride is the best time. I have a knack with that sometimes,” he said.
It’s a little easier decision when Baffert, a Hall of Fame trainer, reaches out with the opportunity to ride a strong, fast horse.
“You’ve got Mike Smith at this point in his career picking up all the best horses all around,” said trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who’s entering Market King. “Mike picked up Omaha Beach, who probably would have been the favorite in the Derby, then he jumps back to Baffert because the favorite is here. He’s having a fairytale ride.”
There are times when trainer and jockey match up through pure luck. Velazquez needed a mount and the Bodexpress camp was looking for a jockey, so now they’re teamed on a 20-1 horse in the Preakness.
“It was actually Johnny and (his agent) asking, ‘Who’s riding your horse?'” assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr. said. “When you have somebody like that asking, it gives you a nice feeling that you have a shot.”
Only two jockeys get to pick up where they left off in the Derby — Tyler Gaffalione on War of Will and Julian Pimentel on Win Win Win.
Not that there’s anything wrong with staying put.
Explaining why he stuck with Gaffalione, trainer Mark Casse said, “Well, he knows him extremely well. He knows what he likes, what he doesn’t like.”
Gaffalione, who will be making his sixth trip aboard War of Will, said of the horse: “I’ve always been a big fan of his, even before I rode him.”
Seeking his seventh Preakness win, Lukas will have Court aboard Market King for the fourth time in five races.
“There were other options, maybe a bit more of a name rider that I could have picked up — without naming names,” Lukas said. “Trainers go with people they’re comfortable with. With Mike Smith, he just gets one of those, don’t fall off and you’re going to win.”
Maybe Irad Ortiz could have won on Improbable. But it’s hard to resist a reprise of Baffert and Smith.
“I’d use Irad in the next race if we could,” Walden said. “It’s just that Bob wanted Mike Smith because they’ve had so much history and so much success together.”
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This story has been corrected to show the name of the horse is Market King, not Market Express.
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AP Sports Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.
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Brooks Koepka sets the target at Bethpage Black

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — For once, everyone is talking about Brooks Koepka before he has the trophy from another major championship.
Koepka was impossible to ignore in the opening round of the PGA Championship, partly because he was playing with Tiger Woods, mainly because of his 7-under 63 that broke the course record at Bethpage Black. He became the first player to shoot 63 twice in the same major.
But it’s a long way to the finish line.
Danny Lee was one shot behind and played Friday morning ahead of a forecast that includes more rain. And of the eight previous players to shot 63 in the first round of a major, only two went on to win — Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 U.S. Open and Raymond Floyd in the 1982 PGA Championship.
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Yelich hits 17th, 18th homers as Brewers rout Phillies

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Christian Yelich hit his major league-leading 17th and 18th homers to help Zach Davies and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 11-3 Thursday.
Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas also went deep as the Brewers won their third in a row.
Davies (5-0) allowed three runs — one earned — and four hits in six innings.
Yelich homered in the first for a 1-0 lead off Zach Eflin (5-4) and added a solo drive off Edgar Garcia in the eighth to make it 8-3.
ATHLETICS 17, TIGERS 3
DETROIT (AP) — Jurickson Profar hit his first career grand slam, and Oakland won its 13th straight over Detroit and its eighth in a row at Comerica Park
Josh Phegley had four hits, including one of Oakland’s five home runs. Matt Olson and Marcus Semien also homered for Oakland.
Detroit has been outscored 41-9 while losing the first four games of a 10-game homestand.
Ohio native Chris Bassitt (2-1) pitched eight shutout innings in front of a large group of friends and family.
Spencer Turnbull (2-3) allowed six runs, only one of which was earned, five hits and two walks in four innings.
NATIONALS 7, METS 6
WASHINGTON (AP) — Gerardo Parra hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the fifth and Sean Doolittle stopped New York’s ninth-inning rally by striking out Keon Broxton with the bases loaded for his seventh save. Washington won two of three against the Mets for its first series win since April 16-18 against San Francisco.
Michael Conforto hit a tying, three-run homer in the third but left with a concussion in the fifth after colliding with second baseman Robinson Canó’s shoulder while chasing a popup. Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil left in the third because of abdominal tightness.
Dan Jennings (1-2) won in relief of Aníbal Sánchez, who left after 1 1/3 innings because of a strained left hamstring that will send him to the injured list. Mets starter Zack Wheeler (3-3) allowed six runs and a career-high 11 hits in six innings,
RANGERS 16, ROYALS 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Rougned Odor homered twice, Willie Calhoun went deep for the second straight day.
Joey Gallo went deep among his four hits, and Hunter Pence also homered.
Royals manager Ned Yost used utility man Chris Owings on the mound the last two innings.
Lance Lynn (5-3) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. Homer Bailey (4-4) gave up six runs — five earned — eight hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.
REDS 4, CUBS 2
CINCINNATI (AP) — Eugenio Suarez singled home the go-ahead run during a fifth-inning downpour and added another RBI single as the Reds pulled away from Chicago.
The Cubs came into the series on the best surge in the majors, having won or split 10 straight series. The NL Central leaders let a late lead get away Wednesday night for a 6-5, 10-inning loss. This one slipped away as the rain intensified in the bottom of the fifth.
Jose Quintana (4-3) gave up Jose Peraza’s solo homer with one out, his first since April 26. After a pair of singles, Quintana threw back-to-back wild pitches that let in a run with two outs. Suarez’s single made it 3-2. He added another RBI single in the seventh.
Luis Castillo (5-1) gave up two runs on two hits and a walk, all in the first inning.
Chicago’s Kris Bryant walked in his first plate appearance, extending his career-best streak to 25 games reaching base safely.
BRAVES 10, CARDINALS 2
ATLANTA (AP) — Austin Riley went 3 for 4 and drove in a run, Julio Teheran pitched five-plus scoreless innings and Atlanta won for the fifth time in six games.
Riley, who homered in his second major league at-bat Wednesday, doubled off the top of the wall in the second inning and singled in a run in the third. He scored twice.
Teheran (3-4) allowed two hits — a bloop single by Yadier Molina to begin the fifth and a single by Paul Goldschmidt to begin the sixth — and drove in two runs with a sacrifice bunt in the second and a single in the third. Teheran, who has a 0.53 ERA over his last three starts, walked four and struck out four.
St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright (3-4) gave up five runs, five hits and five walks with two strikeouts in four innings. Marcel Ozuna and Matt Carpenter hit solo homers for the Cardinals.
INDIANS 14, ORIOLES 7
CLEVELAND (AP) — Jason Kipnis homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs as Cleveland hammered Baltimore in the opener of a four-game series.
Kipnis hit a solo shot in the first inning, a three-run homer in the fourth off reliever Gabriel Ynoa (0-1) and was credited with two RBIs on an unusual fielder’s choice in the seventh.
Cleveland trailed 5-1 before rallying, falling behind and then taking the lead for good on Carlos Santana’s RBI single in the sixth. The Indians broke it open with five runs in the seventh.
Trey Mancini hit a three-run homer and Rio Ruiz had a two-run drive for the Orioles, who have lost seven of eight.
A.J. Cole (1-1) replaced starter Trevor Bauer in the sixth and picked up his first win for the Indians, whose bats have finally awakened in the past two games.
WHITE SOX 4, BLUE JAYS 2
CHICAGO (AP) — Yolmer Sanchez scored the tiebreaking run on Ryan Cordell’s suicide squeeze in the eighth inning, and Chicago topped Toronto for its fourth win in five games.
With runners at the corners and the infield in, Cordell bunted to the first base side. Blue Jays reliever Derek Law (0-1) threw to catcher Danny Jansen, but Sanchez slid under the tag to give Cordell his second RBI of the game.
Charlie Tilson then scored from third on Leury Garcia’s sacrifice fly. Tilson was originally ruled out on Billy McKinney’s throw, but the call was overturned following a replay review.
Kelvin Herrera (1-2) pitched around two walks in a scoreless eighth. Alex Colomé earned his ninth save in nine chances, completing a two-hitter.
Freddy Galvis hit a solo homer, but the Blue Jays lost for the fourth time in five games.
TWINS 11, MARINERS 6
SEATTLE (AP) — Viral video star C.J. Cron and Byron Buxton fueled a seven-run fourth inning with homers, and Michael Pineda pitched Minnesota past Seattle.
The Twins hit four home runs, extending their streak to 11 straight games with a long ball, and made Seattle pay for a pair of sloppy errors to win their third in a row and eighth in 11 games.
Leading 2-1 after solo homers from Jason Castro and Max Kepler in the third against starter Erik Swanson (1-5), Minnesota sent 13 batters to the plate in the fourth.
Cron, who went 4 for 5 a day after an embarrassing error turned into a popular lowlight online, made it 4-1 with a mammoth two-run homer deep into the second deck in left field. Buxton hit a three-run drive for an 8-1 margin, ending Swanson’s night.
Pineda (3-3) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings. The former Mariners right-hander struck out six with no walks.
All of Seattle’s runs came on homers by Mallex Smith, Ryon Healy, J.P. Crawford and Daniel Vogelbach.
PADRES 4, PIRATES 3
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Ian Kinsler hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning for the Padres, who set the major league record by going 8,020 games without a no-hitter since their inception.
Franmil Reyes also homered, connecting off Trevor Williams an inning before the Pirates starter left with discomfort in his right side.
Adam Frazier singled off Eric Lauer with two outs in the third to extend the Padres’ streak of futility. They remain the only major league team without a no-hitter. The previous longest streak of 8,019 games without a no-hitter from a franchise’s inception was by the New York Mets, who got their first no-hitter, by Johan Santana, on June 1, 2012.
Kinsler’s three-run shot off Richard Rodriguez (0-3) with two outs in the sixth gave the Padres a 4-2 lead. Gregory Polanco homered for the Pirates to make it a one-run game in the seventh.
Adam Warren (3-1) pitched two-thirds of an inning for the win, and Kirby Yates got three outs for his major league-leading 17th save.
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Warriors rally from 15 down at halftime, hold off Blazers

By JANIE McCAULEY AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — These Golden State Warriors have long been able to score in fabulous, jaw-dropping flurries. Down by eight to the Portland Trail Blazers at home with 4½ minutes to go, they needed every last burst, perfect pass, driving layup and dunk.
“Our experience really paid off for us tonight having a bunch of guys who just won’t quit,” said Draymond Green, who was right smack in the middle of it all.
Stephen Curry scored 37 points, and the Warriors rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit before holding off Portland on the final possession for a 114-111 win Thursday night and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr insisted his team stole this game with a sensational final few minutes and another, familiar third-quarter outburst.
Counterpart Terry Stotts of the Trail Blazers considered it a “lost opportunity” on the road.
CJ McCollum missed a driving jumper with 32 seconds left and Green scored on the other end for the Warriors, giving Portland one final chance with 12.3 seconds to go. Andre Iguodala then blocked a 3-point attempt by Damian Lillard on the left wing.
“They stole it, but they earned it down the stretch,” McCollum said.
Seth Curry, Steph’s little brother, scored 16 points and put Portland ahead on a 3-pointer with 1:03 left before Kevon Looney’s dunk on the other end put Golden State back on top at 112-111. Seth tried to “distract” his brother at the free throw line late, or so the story went from Steph, who called Seth a “pest” on defense.
“This was like the coolest experience I think I’ve ever had playing against him. You talk about the stage, he was amazing tonight,” Stephen Curry said. “For my parents, I know we’ve talked about it the whole series, these last two games it’s probably nerve-wracking as heck for them. It worked out perfectly tonight. He played well and we won.”
Stephen Curry shot 11 for 22 and made all 11 of his free throws — three with 2:01 left — to post his third straight 30-point performance while Splash Brother Klay Thompson needed a half to heat up, scoring 13 of his 24 points in the Warriors’ 39-point third period. It was reminiscent of those old third-quarter runs that have defined this group.
McCollum scored 22 points for Portland and Lillard overcame a slow start to add 23 points and 10 assists as the Blazers looked far more in sync than in a 116-94 defeat two days earlier.
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Saturday night at Portland.
“We did play a much better game at both ends of the floor tonight. We’ve got to take that into Game 3,” Stotts said. “It is a lost opportunity, no question. We had a chance to get one here on the road.”
Green made a pretty bounce pass through the paint to a cutting Iguodala for a dunk with 3:06 left to make it 108-105, then Green assisted on a layup by Looney the next possession.
“Draymond’s been special all playoffs,” Thompson said. “… When he goes, we go. He was tremendous tonight.”
Green had 16 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five blocked shots playing with foul trouble. His seven straight playoff games with at least 10 rebounds are a career high.
“We’ve been here before,” Green said. “When you’re on a run like we’re currently in, you’ve seen everything. Down eight points with what, four minutes to go, or whatever it was, just got to keep going, because we know we can erase eight points.”
The Warriors missed Kevin Durant for a third straight game because of a strained right calf and he isn’t likely to return at all this round.
Curry scored Golden State’s first eight points of the third to get his team back within 69-58 then Thompson hit two straight 3s.
The Blazers had built a 65-50 halftime lead, capitalizing on 10 Warriors turnovers for 18 points.
Then two of the top backcourts in the Western Conference went at it in an entertaining final two quarters. The game was tied at 89 to start the fourth.
The Warriors already got past James Harden and Chris Paul in the last round — now it’s McCollum and Lillard standing in the way of a fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals.
Portland showed it made adjustments from Game 1 and brought it on both ends from the opening tip after the Blazers had regularly left Curry wide open on the perimeter off the pick-and-roll and he scored 36 points while matching his postseason high with nine 3-pointers.
“We’ve got to bring that same energy at home,” McCollum said, “understand that this is the first time in 19 years we’ve been in the conference final.”
LILLARD AT HOME
Lillard isn’t ready to ponder this might have been his final game at Oracle Arena, just a short walk from where he grew up in Oakland. The Warriors are moving to new Chase Center in San Francisco next season.
The Blazers want to return to the Bay Area for a Game 5 next week.
“I doubt this will be the last time. We plan on being back here,” Lillard said.
DURANT UPDATE
Durant will miss at least Games 3 and 4, scheduled to be re-examined by doctors in another week. That means he wouldn’t be expected to return until the NBA Finals if Golden State advances.
Durant was re-evaluated Thursday and is not yet ready for on-court work — a necessary step before the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP can return to game action.
TIP-INS
Trail Blazers: Seth Curry stole the ball from big brother Steph in the second quarter. They are the first brothers to ever face each other in a conference final. … The Blazers are 1-10 all-time against Golden State in the playoffs.
Warriors: The Warriors are 31-4 in the postseason when Curry scores 30 or more points. … Golden State shot 3 of 13 from deep in the first half and 9 for 29 overall on 3s. … The Warriors are 15-4 in Game 2 of postseason series dating to the 2015 title run.
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Carli Lloyd helps US to 5-0 win over New Zealand

By STEVE OVERBEY Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Carli Lloyd left no doubt.
She hates her role as a super sub for the U.S. women’s national team.
“If I liked coming off the bench there would be something wrong,” Lloyd said. “That’s not my mindset.”
Lloyd may not like it, but she does it quite well.
The 36-year-old Lloyd scored twice and Alyssa Naeher got the shutout, helping the United States beat New Zealand 5-0 in a World Cup series send-off match on Thursday.
Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis also scored during Team USA’s second date in a three-match series leading up to the World Cup, which begins June 7 in France. The U.S. faces Mexico on May 26 in Harrison, New Jersey, in its final tuneup.
Lloyd, the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, took her instant offense role to a new level, scoring on her first touch just 44 seconds after entering in the 60th minute. She converted a pass from Heath to push the lead to 3-0.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis prefers to use some younger, fresher legs in the starting lineup. But she said Lloyd is still the heart and soul of the team.
“Whether she’s a starter or coming in off the bench, she changes the game,” Ellis said. “She’s prepared and ready for everything. She’s proven that she’s ready for (big) moments.”
U.S. forward Alex Morgan still marvels at Lloyd’s exploits.
“She’s been kind of the core of this team for so many years,” Morgan said. “You know that she’s a gamer. I’m really excited for another World Cup because I know she’s going to be bringing it.”
Lloyd pushed the lead to 4-0 in the 83rd minute with her 48th international goal since 2015.
Heath and Lavelle scored six minutes apart late in the first half.
Heath tipped in a cross from Megan Rapinoe in the 35th minute for a 1-0 lead. It was the 29th international goal for Heath, who scored twice in the SheBelieves Cup this year.
Lavelle converted a left-footed deflection off a pass from Lindsey Horan.
Heath’s goal came just three minutes after Naeher punched out a free kick from Anna Green just outside the box.
Naeher posted her 24th career shutout.
“I think the biggest thing was staying engaged with the back line,” Naeher said. “Even if I’m not visibly touching the ball, that communication keeps me in it.”
The Americans, who outshot New Zealand 25-1, scored three times in a 24-minute span in the second half and showed much more flair on offense.
“When they do the right things, it’s pretty fantastic,” Ellis said.
The United States has qualified for all eight World Cup tournaments and owns three championships after winning the 2015 event in Canada.
The Americans beat South Africa 3-0 in a tuneup on Sunday.
New Zealand will be making its fourth World Cup appearance and is still searching for its first victory.
“Our goal is to get that first win,” New Zealand coach Tom Sermanni said. “From there anything can happen.”
Team USA is in a group with Thailand, Chile and Sweden and will open June 11 against Thailand.

Karlsson, Sharks beat Blues 5-4 in OT after controversial no-call

By Joe Harris
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Erik Karlsson scored 5:23 into overtime after the officials missed a hand pass by Timo Meier, and the San Jose Sharks rallied to beat the St. Louis Blues 5-4 on Wednesday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference final.
Meier used his right hand to knock a loose puck toward the front of the net. Gustav Nyquist then passed it over to Karlsson, who beat Jordan Binnington for his second goal of the game.
Binnington and the Blues complained immediately about Meier’s pass. The officials huddled while Karlsson and the Sharks celebrated, but the play wasn’t reviewable and the goal stood.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night in St. Louis.
The Blues led 4-3 before Logan Couture tied it with 61 seconds left in regulation. Joe Thornton scored twice for San Jose, and Martin Jones made 28 saves.

Bucks finish with a flourish, rally to top Raptors

By Tim Reynolds
AP Basketball Writer

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brook Lopez scored 13 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 24 and the Milwaukee Bucks rallied in the final minutes to beat the Toronto Raptors 108-100 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night.
Lopez had a dunk with 2:20 left to put the Bucks ahead for good, added a 3-pointer on the next Milwaukee possession to push the lead to four and the team that finished the regular season with the NBA’s best record — after trailing for the overwhelming majority of the game — did just enough in the final minutes to grab the series lead.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 15 and Nikola Mirotic had 13 for Milwaukee, which closed the game on a 10-0 run.
Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points and Kyle Lowry added 30 for the Raptors, who led by as many as 13 early and took an 83-76 lead into the final quarter.
Lopez added 11 rebounds for the Bucks, who had three players post double-doubles. Antetokounmpo had 14 rebounds and Khris Middleton finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee, which is now 9-1 in this postseason.
The Bucks trailed for 37 of the game’s 48 minutes.
Didn’t matter. They stayed just close enough until they could finish with a serious kick. The Raptors missed their last eight shots and were outscored 32-17 in the fourth quarter.
Pascal Siakam scored 15 for Toronto, including a 3-pointer over Antetokounmpo to end the third quarter and give the Raptors a 7-point lead with 12 minutes left.
It unraveled quickly from there.
“Total team effort,” Lopez said.
With the chants of Milwaukee’s motto — “Fear the deer! Fear the deer!” — bouncing throughout the building, the Bucks predictably came out flying.
The flurry was brief.
The Bucks missed seven consecutive shots, the Raptors made four 3-pointers in a span of three minutes, and that all helped become a 16-0 run by Toronto that turned an early 8-3 deficit into a 19-8 edge. The lead got as big as 13 later in the quarter on a fadeaway jumper by Leonard, and the Raptors held the lead the rest of the half.
Milwaukee had a chance to take its first lead since the opening minutes when Antetokounmpo went to the line for a pair of free throws with 8:17 left in the third and the Bucks down by only 1. He missed both and the Raptors peeled off the next 9 points to rebuild what then was a 10-point lead again.
But Toronto shot 5 for 22 in the fourth, the Bucks finally reclaimed the lead, and the Raptors’ chance to steal home-court went awry.
TIP-INS
Bucks: Oscar Robertson, part of Milwaukee’s lone NBA title team, was recognized in the first quarter and held the 1971 championship trophy — a large silver bowl atop a wooden base, not the golden Larry O’Brien Trophy of now — for the fans to see. … Antetokounmpo started super-fast with two baskets, a steal, a rebound and a blocked shot, all in the first 85 seconds. … Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament was courtside.
UP NEXT
Game 2 is Friday in Milwaukee.