• Okafor, others to get their answers in NBA draft

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jahlil Okafor’s wait is almost over.
    The NBA draft is Thursday night, and the Duke big man will be one of the top picks. He said Wednesday he wished he already knew his destination.
    “I’d be able to sleep better at night if I did. I have no idea,” he said. “It’s been a long process, a lot of fun, but I’m ready for it to be over with so I’ll know where I’m going to be playing.”
    He’s had it much easier than many fellow draft candidates. He worked out for just Minnesota and the Los Angeles Lakers, who own the top two selections.
    But Okafor and fellow center Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky were on TV so much that there wasn’t much left for them to show teams, anyway. Even while finishing up his pro season in Spain, Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis was able to evaluate them.
    “They are good players,” he said, “very athletic, very big, so they’re very talented.”
    Philadelphia picks third for the second straight year, followed by New York and Orlando. Sacramento, Denver, Detroit, Charlotte and Miami round out the top 10.
    Here are some things to watch at Barclays Center in Brooklyn:

  • Manziel says 'Johnny Football' overtook him

    BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Johnny Football became more than Johnny Manziel could handle.
    "It just overtook who I was as a person," the Browns quarterback said Wednesday.
    Speaking to the media for the first time since spending 10 weeks in a rehab facility, the polarizing Manziel said he's hoping to move past a regrettable chapter in his life. While he didn't divulge the reasons for his stay in a Pennsylvania substance-abuse facility, Manziel acknowledged he got caught up trying to live up to a persona he helped create.
    "I think at times Johnny Football probably took over me a little bit and I bought into that," Manziel said following the team's second mandatory mini-camp practice. "I didn't do my best to hush things down, push down the hype. At times I welcomed it with immaturity and just accepted that a little bit — and that's my fault."
    One of the changes the former Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M intends to make is scrapping his trademark money sign, when he rubs his fingers together after a big play.
    "The money sign will not be back," he said. "I will not be making it out there."

  • Deep and versatile, Warriors show how to build a champion

    CLEVELAND (AP) — Andre Iguodala was more than just a key player on a team that beat LeBron James and Cleveland.
    Turns out he used to beat up on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
    "We beat the first unit more times than they beat us, and I think it was by a landslide," Iguodala said.
    So good, so deep that the MVP of the NBA Finals never started a game all season, the Warriors built the kind of squad that can compete for many NBA titles.
    And when they were in trouble trying to win this one, down 2-1 in the series, they inserted Iguodala into the lineup. He responded with the same defensive effort he had been providing against James along with unsuspected offense, including 25 points Tuesday in the Game 6 clincher.
    "He was great the entire series. But he saved this season for us," Warriors forward Draymond Green said. "I always say Andre's a pro's pro. He's a professional guy, and it showed, and that's why he's the MVP of this series, and that's why we're champions."
    One of the reasons, anyway.

  • Chicago Blackhawks win 3rd Stanley Cup title in 6 years

    CHICAGO (AP) — Corey Crawford threw his gloves off and ditched his helmet as the Chicago Blackhawks poured onto the ice and swarmed the goaltender at one end of the frenzied United Center.
    And just like that, the celebration was on. The marquee at Wrigley Field had a congratulatory message for the Stanley Cup champions, and there were fireworks and honking horns all over Chicago.
    Call it a Windy City party 77 years in the making.
    Duncan Keith scored in the second period and led a dominant defense that shut down Tampa Bay's high-scoring attack, and the Blackhawks beat the Lightning 2-0 in Game 6 on Monday for their third NHL title in the past six seasons.
    Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, helping the Blackhawks clinch the Cup on home ice for the first time since 1938. Crawford, who was pulled from Chicago's first-round series against Nashville, had 25 saves in his fifth career playoff shutout.
    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called the Blackhawks a dynasty, and the delirious crowd of 22,424 agreed wholeheartedly.
    "We won it for each other, for the city," captain Jonathan Toews said. "In so many ways, winning a championship like this in our home city, I think it really transcends the sport. Everyone wants to be a part of it. It's amazing."

  • U.S. wins World Cup opener

    For her second goal of the night against Australia, U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe channeled Lionel Messi.
    Rapinoe dribbled the ball before her long, low shot breezed past diving a Matildas goalkeeper.
    “I was doing my best Messi impression,” Rapinoe laughed, before adding: “A much slower version.”
    Rapinoe’s two goals gave the United States a 3-1 victory over Australia on Monday night in the Americans’ opener at the Women’s World Cup.
    Christen Press also scored for the second-ranked U.S., which is seeking its third World Cup title and first since 1999.
    The field has expanded from 16 teams to 24 this year, and the Americans’ next match in difficult Group D will be Friday against fifth-ranked Sweden and former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage.
    They finish group play on June 16 against Nigeria, which played to a physical 3-3 tie with Sweden Monday.
    Alex Morgan, sidelined by a bone bruise in her left knee, entered in the 79th minute in her first game action since April.

  • Leinart, Urlacher among 1st-timers on College Hall of Fame ballot

    Southern California Heisman Trophy Winner Matt Leinart and former New Mexico star Brian Urlacher are among the players making their first appearance on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

    The National Football Foundation released on Tuesday the players and coaches being considered for selection to the Hall of Fame this year. The new Hall of Fame class will be announced Jan. 8 in Arizona, where the College Football Playoff championship game will be held.

    Leinart won the Heisman and led the Trojans to the national championship in 2004. Heisman winners Eric Crouch (2001) and Rashaan Salaam (1994) are also among the 76 players FBS up for election.

    Urlacher was the Mountain West player of the year in 1999 before having a standout career with the Chicago Bears.

    Other notable first-timers on the ballot include: Kansas State's Michael Bishop, Florida State stars Derrick Brooks and Terrell Buckley, Penn State's Kerry Collins, Purdue's Rod Woodson, Texas A&M's Day Nguyen, Michigan State's Morten Andersen and Washington State's Mike Utley.

    Utley was a star offensive tackle at Washington State before being drafted by the Detroit Lions. He was left paralyzed by a spine injury he suffered in a game against the Rams in 1991.

  • Timberwolves win NBA lottery

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves won the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night, the first time since 2004 the team with the worst record won the No. 1 pick.
    After years of bad luck in the lottery, things finally worked out for the Wolves, who can perhaps choose between big men Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor of national champion Duke to put next to Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins.
    “We’re in this for big stakes,” said Flip Saunders, the Wolves’ president and coach. “The big thing about this is getting good talent that can blend together. This is another big step.”
    The Los Angeles Lakers moved from the fourth spot to second, keeping a pick they would have sent to Philadelphia if it fell outside the top five. The 76ers are third followed by the New York Knicks, who had the second-best odds of winning but instead fell to fourth 30 years after winning the first draft lottery and drafting Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.
    Not since Orlando won the right to pick Dwight Howard in 2004 had the NBA’s ultimate game of chance came out in favor of the team with the best odds. The Timberwolves had a 25 percent chance of landing the top pick after finishing 16-66.

  • NFL moves back extra points

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The NFL is moving back extra-point kicks and allowing defenses to score on conversion turnovers.
    The owners on Tuesday approved the competition committee’s proposal to snap the ball from the 15-yard line on PATs to make them more challenging. In recent seasons, kickers made more than 99 percent of the kicks with the ball snapped from the 2.
    “There was strong sentiment coming out of our meetings in March that something had to be done with our extra point,” said Texans general manager Rick Smith, a member of the competition committee that proposed this specific rule change. “From a kicking perspective the try was over 99 percent (successful), so we tried to add skill to the play.
    “It was also a ceremonial play.”
    The accepted proposal places the 2-point conversion at the 2, and allows the defense to return a turnover to the other end zone for the two points, similar to the college rule. The defense can also score two points by returning a botched kick.
    The change was approved only for 2015, then will be reviewed. But Smith predicts it will become permanent.
    “This isn’t an experiment,” Smith added. “This is a rule change. We expect this to be a part of the game.”
    The vote was 30-2. Washington and Oakland voted no.

  • NFL finds Patriots probably cheated

    Tom Brady: Unbelievable.
    The 243-page report on “Deflategate” came out Wednesday and stopped barely short of calling the Patriots star quarterback a cheater. It did, however, call some of his claims “implausible” and left little doubt that he had a role in having footballs deflated before New England’s AFC title game against Indianapolis in January and probably in previous games.
    In his report, attorney Ted Wells said the quarterback “was at least generally aware” of all the plans to prepare the balls to his liking, below the league-mandated minimum of 12.5 pounds per square inch.
    Wells said it was “more probable than not” that two Patriots employees — officials’ locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski — executed the plan.
    For his trouble, McNally asked for expensive shoes and signed footballs, jerseys and cash. He brokered the deals over a series of salty text messages with Jastremski that portray Brady as a hard-to-please taskmaster. “F--- Tom,” one read.
    For the biggest home game of the season, McNally came through, taking the footballs from the officials’ locker room into a bathroom before delivering them to the field, the report said.

  • Santa Fe’s Rotich wins Boston Marathon

    BOSTON (AP) — Lelisa Desisa ran through the rain to earn a second Boston Marathon victory and his first chance to enjoy it.
    The 25-year-old Ethiopian broke the tape again on Boylston Street on Monday as the world’s most prestigious marathon tried to return to its routine two years after Desisa’s first Boston win was overshadowed by the twin explosions at the finish line.
    “Lelisa did not get to have the kind of victory celebration that a champion of the Boston Marathon should have,” Boston Athletic Association spokesman Jack Fleming said, interrupting the post-race news conference to place the champions’ trophy at Desisa’s side. “Lelisa, we want you to get your due today.”
    Desisa won the 2013 race just hours before two bombs killed three people and wounded 260 others, turning what should be the pinnacle of any distance runner’s career into an afterthought. On Monday, he finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 17 seconds to claim a golden olive wreath and $150,000.
    Kenya’s Caroline Rotich, who lives and trains in Santa Fe, won the women’s race, beating Mare Dibaba in a shoulder-to-shoulder sprint down Boylston to win by 4 seconds on a cold and rainy day that thinned the crowds but didn’t lessen their enthusiasm for the city’s signature sporting event.