Thursday’s Sports in Brief
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Russell Westbrook and James Harden are together again, and Chris Paul is leaving Houston to make that reunion happen.
A person with knowledge of the situation says the Oklahoma City Thunder have traded Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Paul in a swap of top point guards. The Thunder also are getting first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, plus the right to swap first-rounders in two other seasons, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade has not been announced.
Paul is a nine-time All-Star, Westbrook an eight-time selection. Paul has 9,181 career assists, the most among active players. Westbrook has 138 triple-doubles, tied with Magic Johnson for second-most in NBA history behind only Oscar Robertson’s 181.
Both members of Houston’s new glitzy backcourt are recent MVPs: Westbrook won it in 2017, Harden won it in 2018. And the trade means that the NBA’s two highest scorers over the last five seasons — Harden with 11,958 points, Westbrook with 10,025 — are now teammates again.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Lance Lynn matched his season high with 11 strikeouts in seven stellar innings for his major league-best 12th victory and the Texas Rangers beat the AL West-leading Houston Astros 5-0 in the only game when Major League Baseball resumed after the All-Star break.
Lynn (12-4) won his fifth consecutive start, and is 8-1 over his last 11 starts. He scattered six hits (five singles and a double) and walked two while throwing 75 of 110 pitches for strikes.
Astros lefty Framber Valdez didn’t make it out of the first inning, when Texas jumped ahead with four runs.
Houston (57-34) still has a seven-game division lead over Oakland, with the Rangers (49-42) eight games back in third place.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Houston Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick was suspended for two games by Major League Baseball for his violent home plate collision with Los Angeles Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy before the All-Star break.
Marisnick said he still felt terrible about the play and had a rough couple of days during the break to digest the situation. He also said he had spoken with Lucroy, who sustained a concussion and a broken nose.
Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, said he thoroughly reviewed the play from all angles. While acknowledging he didn’t believe Marisnick intended to injure Lucroy, Torre said the actions in last Sunday’s game warranted discipline because they violated MLB rules designed to protect catchers from that type of situation.
Marisnick, who also was fined, appealed the suspension and was available to play in the series opener against Texas though he wasn’t in the starting lineup.
NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball’s All-Star Game had a record low television rating.
The American League’s 4-3 victory over the National League on Tuesday night in Cleveland had a 5.0 rating and 11 share on Fox, according to Nielsen Media Research. The game was seen by an average of 5.93 million households and 8.14 million viewers.
That is down from the previous record low rating of 5.2 and 8.69 million viewers for the AL’s 8-6, 10-inning victory last year.
SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — Tyler Ankrum took the lead when Brett Moffitt ran out of fuel with less than two laps to go and cruised to his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory at Kentucky Speedway.
The 18-year-old Ankrum finished 7.373 seconds ahead of Stewart Friesen on the 1.5-mile tri-oval to earn a spot in the eight-man series playoffs. Ankrum led a race-high 40 of the 150 laps in the No. 17 Toyota and gave DGR Crosley its first team victory.
Moffitt, the defending series champion and a two-time winner this year, ended up seventh — the last truck on the lead lap.
SILVIS, Ill. (AP) — Roberto Diaz shot a 9-under 62 to take the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic.
Playing in the final group of the day off the first tee, the 32-year-old Mexican player birdied four of the first five holes, eagled the par-5 10th and birdied three of the last five in the bogey-free round at TPC Deere Run. He took the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th.
Americans Adam Long and Russell Henley were two strokes back. Martin Laird was another stroke back at 65 with Ryan Palmer, Andrew Landry, Vaughn Taylor, Zack Sucher and Ryan Blaum.
SYLVANIA, Ohio (AP) — Alena Sharp of Canada and Youngin Chun of South Korea shared the Marathon Classic lead at 7-under 64, a stroke ahead of Stacy Lewis and three others at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
The 38-year-old Sharp, winless on the LPGA Tour, had eight birdies and a bogey.
The 19-year-old Chun, also seeking her first LPGA Tour victory, had a bogey-free round.
Lewis won the last of her 12 LPGA Tour titles in 2017. She was born in nearby Toledo and has an endorsement deal with Marathon Oil. The Texan had seven birdies and a bogey.
Azahara Munoz, Caroline Masson and Jenny Haglund matched Lewis at 65. Lexi Thompson was at 66 with U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6, Carlota Ciganda and Clariss Guce.
NEW YORK (AP) — Walt Michaels, the former New York Jets coach who retired following the 1982 season after leading the team to the AFC title game, has died. He was 89.
The Jets said Michaels died Wednesday. The team did not immediately provide a cause or location. The New York Times said Michaels died at a nursing home in Plains, Pennsylvania.
The former Cleveland Browns linebacker was the defensive coordinator of the Jets’ Super Bowl-winning team in the 1968 season. He was head coach from 1977-82, going 39-47-1 and making the playoffs in the 1981-82 seasons. The Jets reached the AFC title game after the 1982 season before losing to the Miami Dolphins in a rain-soaked Orange Bowl.
He later coached the New Jersey Generals of the USFL for two years in 1984-85.
GENEVA (AP) — FIFA is doubling its minimum ban for racist incidents to 10 games, and will start inviting players to make victim statements at disciplinary hearings.
Stricter handling of discrimination allegations is a key theme of the redrafted FIFA disciplinary code which takes effect next week.
The minimum ban for players or officials rises from five to 10 games, and victims can soon be heard in person by FIFA judging panels.
In recent seasons, FIFA and European soccer body UEFA have closed cases of alleged racist abuse for lack of evidence beyond testimony of the players involved.
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