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The best team in baseball keeps on chugging along as the New York Yankees hammered the Toronto Blue Jays 12-3 on Friday.

Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery was excellent on the mound, giving up two earned runs from three hits and one walk across six innings, striking out five in a quality start.

The Blue Jays, at home, would take the early lead with Gabriel Moreno's RBI single in the second inning – but the Yankees responded by rattling off 10 runs in a row.

Gleyber Torres and Kyle Higashioka drove in a run each in the fourth inning, before an explosion in the fifth,

Giancarlo Stanton got things started with a 350-foot, two-run home run, followed by a massive 411-foot solo blast from D.J. Lemahieu. Joey Gallo then brought in another run with his RBI double, and the eight-run inning was capped off by a 435-foot grand slam from Anthony Rizzo.

Gallo put an exclamation point on the result in the last frame as the fourth Yankee to hit a home run in the game.

MVP favourite Aaron Judge was surprisingly not part of the power surge, but he kept his numbers strong with two base hits from five at-bats.

Judge leads the majors in home runs with 25 – six more than any other player – while Rizzo is now tied for seventh (17 home runs) and Stanton is also in the top-20 (14).

The win moves the Yankees' league-leading record to 48-16, six games clear of the New York Mets in second-place (43-23).

Cubs snap streaks

The Chicago Cubs ended a 10-game losing streak with their 1-0 home win against the Atlanta Braves – also snapping the visitors' 14-game winning streak.

In a true pitching duel, Cubs starter Keegan Thompson struck out nine batters in six innings, allowing just two hits and two walks for no runs.

Charlie Morton was just as impressive on the mound for the Braves, striking out nine batters of his own in seven innings, giving up three hits and no walks for no runs.

When Morton was withdrawn, the Cubs capitalised, with pinch-hitter Jonathon Villar earning a walk to lead-off the eighth inning. He would make it to second with a sacrifice bunt, before stealing third base, setting up a sacrifice-fly from Christopher Morel for what would be the winning run.

Alonso moves to top of RBI list with grand slam

New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso now leads the majors in RBIs after driving in four runs with one swing in his side's 10-4 win against the Miami Marlins.

Fellow Mets star Francisco Lindor provided the early fireworks with a monstrous 440-foot, three-run blast in the first inning, helping the hosts build a 6-1 lead.

With bases loaded, Alonso sent his only hit of the night over the fence, giving him his 19th home run of the season and his league-leading 63rd RBI. Jose Ramirez (62 RBIs) and Paul Goldschmidt (56) are the only other players with more than 49 RBIs this season.

Joel Dahmen is a surprise co-leader with Rory McIlroy after 36 holes of the U.S. Open at The Country Club – and he was contemplating skipping the qualifier.

Dahmen, 34, is one of three players to shoot 68 or better in both rounds, finishing the first round one off the lead after a 67, before backing it up with a 68 on Friday. Hayden Buckley and Aaron Wise both posted a pair of 68s, and are one stroke off the lead in a tie for third.

In his second trip around the course, Dahmen had a strong front nine, birdieing the first hole as well as the fifth and eighth, with a bogey on the second. He started the back nine poorly, with a bogey on 10, but followed it with seven pars and a long birdie putt.

Speaking to the media after his round, he confirmed the story that he almost pulled out of the qualifier where he punched his ticket.

"There was a lot of discussion leading up to it, yeah, the prior week," he said. "I told my wife I wasn't going to do it.

"Then I was tired at Memorial and said I wasn't going to do it. I was never really going to do it until I… sort of played better at Memorial and the game was there.

"My coach, Rob Rashell, came out and things started to trend in the right direction. And then [my caddie] Geno [Bonnalie], I felt bad because he didn't switch his flight when he could have got home Sunday night, so at that point I had to stick it out."

Clearly, he is thrilled with his decision.

"I'm incredibly happy now for sure," he said. "I mean, sometimes you take for granted what you have out here a little bit. 

"I think this is my eighth or ninth major championship, and you think not long ago I would have done a lot of things to play in one, and to think that I have an opportunity just to skip one, kind of looking back, even this whole week, you don't appreciate really.

"I've played 130-odd events. I've been six years out here. It's easy to get in a lull and be like, you just go home for two weeks and hang out and everything is all hunky-dory, but when you get here, everything changes as soon as you get on property. 

"It's a USGA event. It's huge. People everywhere. So, yeah, that changes your mind pretty quickly."

After finding some form recently, Dahmen said he is starting to encounter fans who know who he is – something he does not believe will ever feel normal.

"It is unbelievable to me how many people know my name or yell for me out there," he said. "It's weird. 

"I'm getting recognized a little bit more off the golf course – my wife will look at me, like, what is happening? 

"It's not normal. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it, but it comes with good golf."

Rory McIlroy is content with his performance across the first two rounds at The Country Club, coming into Friday one stroke off the lead, and finishing the same way after a one-under 69.

McIlroy trails only Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen, who lead at five under, but he needed to close in style to shoot back up the leaderboard after a shaky start.

His week threatened to fall apart on the third hole, but he was able to save double-bogey with a 30-foot putt to take some sort of momentum. He birdied the fifth and eighth, but bogeyed the sixth and 10th, leaving him at one under overall with eight holes to play.

But his final eight holes were magnificent, with birdies on 12, 14 and 17 to salvage an under-par round and maintain his one stroke deficit from the leaders.

Speaking to the media after his round, McIlroy said being in the hunt after Friday is all you can ask for at a major.

"After 36 holes in a major championship, that's all you want to do is put yourself right in the mix going into the weekend," he said. 

"For a little part of the day there, it seemed like I was going to be a few more behind, but I dug deep and played the last eight holes really, really well.

"That was the goal. After I bogeyed 10, I just wanted to try to shoot under par. 

"I had some chances coming up. Just played a really clean eight holes, which was pleasing. Hit fairways, hit greens, gave myself chances. Got myself right back in the tournament."

Despite being a four-time major champion, it has been nearly eight years since McIlroy's last major crown, and he said he does not think he can rely on those memories for an advantage.

"I think I have to go out with the mindset this week that I'm going to try to win my first again," he said. "I'm playing as good a golf as I've played in a long time. 

"I have a lot of experience. Yes, I've won major championships and other big events, but… just because I've done that, it doesn't mean that I'll hit better golf shots or I'll hit better putts.

"I'm in a good place. I'm really happy with where my game is at, and I think that's the most important thing."

Collin Morikawa said he feels he is becoming a more complete golfer after ditching the traditional 'cut' action to his shots in favour of a 'draw' in a bid to rediscover some form, shooting Friday's round of the day.

Morikawa was the only player to shoot 66 in the second round, backing up his Thursday 69 to hold a share of the lead heading into the weekend, along with Joel Dahmen.

To get to five under, Morikawa produced a bogey-free, three-under back nine, collecting birdies on 12, 14 and 17. His only bogey on the day came at the par-four fourth hole.

When asked if he plans on making a full-time switch to his new swing style, he pushed back, saying he instead sees it like another tool in his belt.

"No – [but] that's a great question," he said. "I think what it proves is just that you can play this game with many shots.

"I remember the first time I played with Tiger, and he hit every shot that called for it. Pin is on the right; you hit a little cut. Pin is on the left; you hit a little draw.

"I think this is just going to hopefully make my iron play and make my game a little bit more well-rounded rather than just hitting a cut – but this week we're just going to work with what we have, and right now it's a little baby draw."

Morikawa was also thankful for not copping the brunt of the weather.

"Yesterday I said I thought I'd see a 66, even a 65 from those afternoon guys – the winds picked up," he said.

"Today I thought a couple under was going to be a really good score just based on what the wind forecast was going to be like, but we got lucky.

"I finally got a good side of the draw, and it kind of calmed down a little bit on a couple holes, especially when we made the turn on to the front side. 

"I didn't take advantage, but it was nice to see some decent weather kind of fall my way. A lot of the day kind of calmed down, was really nice, really sunny."

He went on to discuss how the course is playing in a tricky way, but that there are still opportunities.

"Fairways are bouncy, and you've got to keep it in the fairways out here," he said.

"You can play out of the first cut, but you get five, six, seven yards off the fairway, you're going to be trying to run up to greens, and sometimes you can't do that out here.

"But for the most part the greens are still – I'd say they're receptive. There was probably two or three greens out here that are getting a little bouncy, and you really have to make sure you hit your spots. 

"But for the most part if you're playing out of the fairway, you have a good shot at staying somewhat aggressive to some of these pins."

Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen are the 36-hole leaders of the U.S. Open after an entertaining second round at The Country Club on Friday, tied at five under.

Dahmen was one stroke off the lead after the first round, and he followed it up with a strong 68 in windy conditions. He is one of three players to shoot 68 or better in the opening two rounds. Morikawa came into the day at one under, and shot the round of the day as the only player to get around in 66. 

One stroke back from the lead is a five-man group headlined by stars Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, along with American duo Hayden Buckley and Aaron Wise. Buckley and Wise were the two players along Dahmen to shoot back-to-back 68s.

Beau Hossler joined that group at four under thanks to a chip-in birdie on his final hole.

World number one Scottie Scheffler is part of the group at three under, and he shared the early clubhouse lead following a three-under 67. He is joined by Nick Hardy, Matthew NeSmith, Patrick Rodgers and Brian Harman to round out the top-10.

Overnight leader Adam Hadwin is a further shot back at two under with Sam Burns and Matt Fitzpatrick, while South Africa's M.J. Daffue – who was three strokes clear atop the leaderboard early in his round at six under – posted five bogeys and no birdies down the back nine to head into the weekend at one under.

Also at one under are hopefuls Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris, still well within striking distance, while Hideki Matsuyama and Brooks Koepka headline the group at even par.

Star-studded duo Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson are at one over, and the pair of Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau are at two over, one stroke clear of the cut-line.

Finishing right on the cut-line at three over was recent winner Lee Kyoung-hoon and Colombia's Sebastian Munoz, who has a pair of top-three finishes this season.

Plenty of big names missed the cut, with the international contingent of Spain's Sergio Garcia, Ireland's Shane Lowry, Chile's Mito Pereira and Canada's Corey Conners all one shot out at four over. Tony Finau finished five over, Cameron Smith was six over, and the pair of Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland were both at seven over.

 

Shot of the day

Cameron Young had a moment he will never forget when he conjured up a hole-in-one at the par-three sixth.

There were huge cheers after the American's dream tee shot at the 165-yard hole dropped in. Young was unable to make the cut – missing out by one stroke – but not without achieving a rare feat.

Player of the day - Collin Morikawa

Morikawa produced the round of the day to ensure he is the man to catch heading into the weekend.

The two-time major winner was not at his brilliant best, but five birdies and just the one bogey at the par-five fourth putting him in the lead.

Chipping in

Morikawa: "No one has taken it deep so far and kind of run away, but you know what, right now my game feels really good. The last few days is a huge confidence booster for me heading into this weekend, and hopefully we can kind of make some separation somehow."

Scheffler: "I've been number one in the world for a while now, and it doesn't really feel like it, so I kind of like just under the radar. I can show up and do my thing and then go home and rest."

 

A little birdie told me...

- Young's ace was the 48th in US Open history.

- Nick Hardy and M.J. Daffue emerged from the Springfield, Ohio qualifying. They both held a share of the lead on Friday.

- Scheffler is bidding to become only the second player to win this major while world number one since the Official World Golf Rankings began in 1986. Tiger Woods (2000, 2002 and 2008) is the only man to achieved that.

- Matthew Fitzpatrick is looking to emulate Jack Nicklaus by winning the US Amateur and US Open on the same course.

After 33 seasons leading the Davidson College men’s basketball program, Bob McKillop is retiring from coaching.  

Davidson announced the news one day after the program’s most famous alumnus—Stephen Curry—led the Golden State Warriors to a fourth NBA championship in eight years.  

Curry was among those who voiced appreciation for McKillop’s accomplished career on social media.  

“Love you Coach!” Curry said on Twitter. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, my family, Davidson and every person you’ve impacted along the way.” 

McKillop, 71, is among the top 60 coaches all-time at the NCAA Division I level with 634 career wins.  

McKillop coached the Wildcats to 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight run with Curry in 2008, ending in a two-point loss to the eventual national champions, Kansas.  

Davidson was 27-7 last season, including a 15-3 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference, leading to an at-large NCAA Tournament berth.  

McKillop was named his conference’s coach of the year 11 times, twice in the A-10 and nine times in the Southern Conference.  

Last season, McKillop became the 10th coach in Division I history to coach at least 1,000 career games at one school.   

McKillop’s son, Matt, who played on Davidson’s 2006 NCAA Tournament team and has been serving as an assistant, will be the program’s next head coach.  

After 33 seasons leading the Davidson College men’s basketball program, Bob McKillop is retiring from coaching.  

Davidson announced the news one day after the program’s most famous alumnus—Stephen Curry—led the Golden State Warriors to a fourth NBA championship in eight years.  

Curry was among those who voiced appreciation for McKillop’s accomplished career on social media.  

“Love you Coach!” Curry said on Twitter. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, my family, Davidson and every person you’ve impacted along the way.” 

McKillop, 71, is among the top 60 coaches all-time at the NCAA Division I level with 634 career wins.  

McKillop coached the Wildcats to 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight run with Curry in 2008, ending in a two-point loss to the eventual national champions, Kansas.  

Davidson was 27-7 last season, including a 15-3 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference, leading to an at-large NCAA Tournament berth.  

McKillop was named his conference’s coach of the year 11 times, twice in the A-10 and nine times in the Southern Conference.  

Last season, McKillop became the 10th coach in Division I history to coach at least 1,000 career games at one school.   

McKillop’s son, Matt, who played on Davidson’s 2006 NCAA Tournament team and has been serving as an assistant, will be the program’s next head coach.  

Dustin Johnson is confident his decision to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series will not hamper his chances of winning more major titles.

Johnson made a promising start to the U.S. Open with a first round of 68 at The Country Club on Thursday, but followed that up with a three-over second round of 73.

The former world number one is playing in his homeland this week for the first time since he sensationally quit the PGA Tour to join the controversial Saudi-backed breakaway circuit.

Johnson does not believe his defection from the PGA Tour, and the consequence of not playing as many tournaments against the best players in the world, will make him less of a force at majors.

Asked how sharp he thinks he will remain by playing on the LIV Tour, the American said: "Just as sharp as I would playing anywhere."

Johnson is in no doubt he made the right by call by signing up to LIV Golf.

"Yeah, obviously it was a tough decision, but I feel very confident in the decision I made," he said. "Yeah, I'm definitely happy and looking forward to obviously this weekend and the rest of the events this year."

The 37-year-old says he has not experienced any hostility from the crowds in Brookline, Massachusetts this week. 

He said: "No, fans have been great. Obviously, this is a good sports town, and a lot of people come out and support the event."

Johnson was in a share of 27th place on one over with the second round still ongoing when his compatriot Joel Dahmen moved into the lead on five under through eight holes.

Scottie Scheffler is happy to stay "under the radar" after giving himself a great chance to win the U.S. Open with an excellent second round.

Two months after winning his maiden major title at the Masters, Scheffler is in firmly in contention at the halfway mark at The Country Club.

The world number one carded a three-under 67 in Brookline, Massachusetts on Friday to move into the top 10 on the leaderboard.

Scheffler went out in 35, but responded from back-to-back bogeys with three birdies and the highlight of his round came when he chipped in for an eagle three at the 14th.

The American is in the hunt for a fifth PGA Tour title this season, but does not feel he is in the spotlight despite being the best player in the world.

He said: "I feel like I'm kind of an under-the-radar person. I don't really feel like there's much chatter going around with me. Rory [McIlroy] won last week, Tiger [Woods] was at the PGA.

"I've been number one in the world for a while now, and it doesn't really feel like it, so I kind of like just under the radar. I can show up and do my thing and then go home and rest."

Scheffler, who is three under for the tournament after starting with a 70, felt he was not far away from a "really special" second round - during which he held a share of the lead.

"I knew I was swinging at it well. I hit it really good yesterday, I hit it really good today," he added.

"Outside of a few putts going into the hole versus barely around it, today would have been a really special round, but it was still a really good one."

Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa and Swede David Lingmerth held a share of the lead on five under through 10 and 11 holes respectively. 

Coco Gauff reached the first grass-court semi-final of her career by beating Karolina Pliskova at the Berlin Open, teeing up a clash with top seed Ons Jabeur.

Having already recorded her best tour-level run on grass by reaching the final eight, Gauff recorded a superb 7-5 6-4 win over two-time grand slam finalist Pliskova.

Gauff – who reached her first grand slam final at Roland Garros last month, saved four set points in the opener before roaring to victory in one hour and 37 minutes, and was delighted to have overcome a tough opponent in the world number seven.

"I'm super happy with how I played today," Gauff said on court after the win. "Playing her on grass, with her serve, how flat she hits the ball, it was really tough to be honest. 

"A first semi-final on grass is pretty cool, and also I feel like the opponents I've played this week haven’t been easy, especially today, so I'm proud of myself about that."

Gauff will face Jabeur for a spot in the final after the Tunisian fought back from one set down in a 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-2 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who entered the contest having won 26 matches during an impressive year.

The other semi-final will see Maria Sakkari face Belinda Bencic, after the world number six cruised to a 6-0 6-3 win over Daria Kasatkina and Bencic beat Veronika Kudermetova 3-6 6-3 6-3.

In the Birmingham Classic, meanwhile, Simona Halep raced to a 6-4 6-1 win over Katie Boulter to reach the final four, but third seed Camila Giorgi fell to a 6-3 6-2 loss to Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia, who has now won eight consecutive games on grass.

While that pair will face off in one of Saturday's semi-finals, eighth seed Zhang Shuai will face Sorana Cirstea in the other. Zhang overcame Dayana Yastremska 7-5 6-4 and sixth seed Cirstea beat Donna Vekic 5-7 6-3 6-4.

Daniil Medvedev ended his wait for a first win over Roberto Bautista Agut at the Halle Open as his impressive start to the grass-court season continued.

The world number one, who reached the final at 's-Hertogenbosch last week only to suffer a shock defeat to Tim van Rijthoven, had not beaten Bautista Agut in three previous matches.

But his duck against the Spaniard is over following a 6-2 6-4 win, which set up a semi-final meeting with Oscar Otte after the German saw off Karen Khachanov in three sets.

"I remember all the matches we had… He was playing some [great] tennis and it was tough for me to win," Medvedev said of his previous meetings with Bautista Agut. 

"Today I had my plan, managed to keep it going. Definitely got more edge on the most important points, because he had more break points than me. It was not easy, and I'm happy to win."

Hubert Hurkacz, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year, is also into the last four after edging Felix Auger-Aliassime in two tie-breaks and will face Nick Kyrgios, who beat Paulo Carreno Busta in straight sets.

Elsewhere, Matteo Berrettini was victorious at the Stuttgart Open and is on course to go back-to-back at the Queen's Club Championships after seeing off Tommy Paul 6-4 6-2 to progress to the semi-finals.

Botic van de Zandschlup is his next opponent, the Dutchman overcoming Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-4.

Meanwhile, Filip Krajinovic had to come from a set down to end Briton Ryan Peniston's run at the quarter-final stage, with his reward a meeting with former US Open champion Marin Cilic, a straight-sets victor over Emil Ruusuvori.

 

Stephen Curry is used to the feeling of winning. It is one that has defined his spectacular career. However, watching him to sink to the court in tears in the final seconds of the Golden State Warriors' Game 6 victory over the Boston Celtics, it was clear Curry was not used to being quite so overcome by triumph.

The Warriors' 103-90 win at TD Garden, sealed by Curry's 34-point blitz, secured their fourth NBA title in eight seasons and, as Golden State revelled in returning to the mountaintop, it was tough to disagree with co-owner Joe Lacob's assessment that this one was the most meaningful.

Curry's outpouring of emotion upon the final buzzer illustrated as such, the Warriors' hoisting of the Larry O'Brien Trophy capping a remarkable journey for a team many believed had reached the end of their time in the sun.

Two seasons ago, with Kevin Durant having departed for the Brooklyn Nets and Klay Thompson starting the first of two injury-enforced seasons on the sideline following the torn ACL he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals series with the Toronto Raptors, the Warriors had the worst record in the league at 15-50, a hand injury suffered in the fourth game of the campaign severely restricting Curry's involvement.

There was agony in 2020-21 as an MVP calibre season from Curry ended with defeat in the play-in tournament, Thompson again a spectator, this time with a torn Achilles that kept him out until January 2022.

Even with Thompson's return on the horizon, few anticipated the core of Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green to dazzle on the Finals stage in 2022, the Warriors' decision to hold on to the draft assets they accumulated rather than packaging them to acquire a fourth star met with scepticism in plenty of corners.

Those sceptics have now been silenced. While the faith in the blend of youth and experience and the unqualified success of the trade for former number one overall pick - and Golden State's second-best player in these Finals - Andrew Wiggins, played major roles in shutting up the critics, it was Curry who ultimately sealed the lips of Golden State's doubters.

Doubters have been a bewildering constant during Curry's career, even as he has blossomed into the greatest shooter in NBA history, one whose seemingly unlimited range has revolutionised the game of basketball.

Curry's resume has long since been sparkling and he has continued to embellish it. Prior to the Finals, he already had three NBA titles, two MVPs (the second of which made him the league's first unanimous winner) and the all-time record for three-pointers.

Still, there was never a shortage of observers who would respond to those list of achievements with "Yeah, but..."

"Yeah, but Kyrie Irving got hurt in 2015", "Yeah, but he won two rings after they signed Durant", "Yeah, but he doesn't have a Finals MVP".

Finally, the sceptics can no longer rely on their extremely pedantic excuses to deny Curry's position among the all-time greats, which is firmly secured after a Finals in which he was the dominant force.

Curry averaged 31.2 points per game, almost 10 full points more than his nearest challenger, Jayson Tatum (21.5), and his 31 three-pointers were comfortably the most by any player in the series. He averaged five assists per game - only Tatum (7) and Green (6.2) had more, while he was also third in average plus-minus (5.8). The two players ahead of him on the list, Kevon Looney (8) and Gary Payton II (7), averaged 21.7 and 18.6 minutes per game in the series respectively, Curry spent 37.5 minutes per game on the court.

The devastating offense provided by Curry, who supplements his devastating deep shooting by attacking the rim for lay-ups with the same remarkable consistency, was undoubtedly the decisive factor in the series. Indeed, Curry's production and the attention it forces defenses to commit to him had the Celtics bereft of ideas of how to stop the Warriors by Game 6, Golden State at one point in the first half going on a 21-0 scoring run that marked the longest in the last 50 years of Finals history.

Curry's 'gravity' cannot be overstated, the Warriors' supporting cast continuing to reap the benefits of the additional space the threat posed by their star point guard creates.

With Curry on the court in the Finals, the Warriors averaged 111.9 points per 100 possessions. That dipped to 90.1 points when he was off the floor. Their field goal percentage with Curry in the lineup was 47.1, compared to 34.9 with him on the bench.

Illustrating his effectiveness both beyond and inside the arc, the Warriors hit on 38.3 per cent of their three-point field goal attempts and averaged 42.2 points in the paint per 100 possessions with Curry in the team. Without him, they connected on 30.9 per cent of threes and put up 21.5 points in the paint per 100.

The Warriors' point differential in the Finals per 100 possessions with Curry on court was plus-7.6. In his absence, it was minus 6.2, a swing of 13.8 points in a series where Golden State's average margin of victory in their wins was... 13 points.

That plethora of evidence left Curry as the only, and indeed unanimous, selection for Finals MVP, moving him into exalted company.

Curry is the sixth player to have won four NBA titles, multiple league MVP awards and a Finals MVP. The other five are LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan. Among players to have won at least two titles, he is second for points averaged in championship-clinching games (32.5). Only Jordan (33.7) stands above him.

The territory Curry occupies is shared by undisputed basketball legends, and he knows his previous doubters now do not have the qualifiers with which to dispute his legacy.

"I hear all the narratives," Curry said. "You hear everything about what we [as a team] are and what we aren't, and what I am as a player and what I'm not. I have a hard time figuring out what they're going to say now, so this is pretty special."

The reasons used by those who sought to keep Curry out of the NBA's pantheon of all-time greats have always been dubious at best. Now, after a career-defining Finals performance, they are non-existent and, regardless of what else he achieves before he retires, his place is reserved for good.

Eddie Jones has selected uncapped full-back Tommy Freeman to play for England against the Barbarians, while Danny Care was named on the bench for the first time since 2018.

Care was due to play for the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday, having not been selected for England since being hooked at half-time against Japan four years ago.

The veteran Harlequins scrum-half has 84 England caps and has stood out in the Premiership this season, and now gets the chance to impress ahead of the three-Test tour of Australia in July.

England's most capped player and regular scrum-half Ben Youngs is unavailable due to his commitments with Leicester Tigers in the Premiership final against Saracens on Saturday.

Care's Harlequins team-mate Jack Walker also makes his first England appearance, with Freeman and Gloucester centre Mark Atkinson the other uncapped players to start.

Winger Joe Cokanasiga returns after an almost year-long absence, while Jonny May is on the other wing after a knee injury kept him out of the Six Nations.

Jonny Hill is another who missed the Six Nations but was recalled to the side, which will be captained by back-rower Tom Curry.

England's Six Nations captain Courtney Lawes was named among the replacements, alongside the uncapped trio of Will Goodrick-Clarke, Patrick Schickerling and Orlando Bailey.

"This is a young team, they have prepared really well and worked hard over the past few camps to come together as a group," Jones said. 

"It is a great opportunity to play in this England XV side and show what they can do.

“We are looking forward to playing against an unusually French Barbarians side – which you normally only get when you play the French Barbarians.

"We'll use it as an opportunity to develop combinations and assess players for the Australia tour.

"We will put our best foot forward and it should make for a great game of rugby for all of the supporters at Twickenham."

England team: Tommy Freeman, Joe Cokanasiga, Joe Marchant, Mark Atkinson, Jonny May, Marcus Smith Harry Randall; Bevan Rodd, Will Collier, Charlie Ewels, Jonny Hill, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Alex Dombrandt.

Replacements: Jack Singleton, Will Goodrick-Clarke, Patrick Schickerling, Courtney Lawes, Jack Willis, Danny Care, Orlando Bailey, Jack Nowell.

Rafael Nadal has confirmed he is planning to play at Wimbledon after proving his fitness during a week of training on grass in Mallorca.

The 22-time grand slam winner made his announcement in a news conference on Friday.

Nadal, 36, has won the Australian Open and French Open titles already this year and is halfway towards a possible sweep of the grand slams, a feat that was last achieved in men's singles by Australian Rod Laver in 1969.

Spaniard Nadal triumphed at Roland Garros despite needing pain-killing injections before every match, as he continues to battle a foot problem that has plagued him for much of his career.

Nadal said in Paris that he intended to undergo radiofrequency injections in a bid to ensure he could compete at the All England Club, and he has undergone two courses of such treatment.

Wimbledon starts on June 27, and it is a tournament that Nadal won in 2008 and 2010, although he has not played there since 2019, when he reached the semi-finals.

Speaking in Mallorca on Friday, Nadal said: "I have managed to reduce the pain. I am happy to have been a week without going lame.

"They have been somewhat different pains. We have to wait to see how it evolves in the next few weeks. My intention is to play Wimbledon.

"Two radiofrequency sessions have been done and the evolution has been satisfactory. I don't know what might happen in five days. For now, the treatment has allowed me to train and that has made me make the decision to fly to London."

Nadal has labelled the idea of a calendar grand slam sweep as "crazy", although Novak Djokovic came tantalisingly close last year, winning the Australian and French Opens and Wimbledon before losing to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.

He is optimistic the London courts could prove helpful to his prospects, if he can carry over his clay form to the grass.

"I don't think the grass hurts my foot more than other surfaces. From my point of view, the grass is softer than other surfaces," Nadal said.

"The only thing I can say is the week I have been practising here after my treatment has been positive, I have experienced some improvements, different feelings, in my foot and I take that as a positive thing.

"My goal or my intention is to travel to London next Monday, play two matches there before the tournament starts and follow my normal schedule to prepare the best possible way for Wimbledon.

"Today that's all I can say. What can happen in a couple of days, if the situation changes or becomes more negative, then that will be the moment to explain another thing. Today I am positive.

"I am excited to travel to Wimbledon to try to play Wimbledon after three years."

Stephen Curry did not need to be named MVP in the NBA Finals to cement his reputation as an "all-time great", according to Draymond Green.

However, Curry went out and made sure he could add the honour to his glittering array of accolades anyway, and Golden State Warriors team-mate Green said it had been "a long time in the making".

Curry had 13 points in the fourth quarter in Thursday's 103-90 championship-sealing win over the Boston Celtics, to finish with 34 points (12-of-21 shooting, six-of-11 from three), seven rebounds and seven assists.

Across the six-game series, the 34-year-old Curry averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists, earning the MVP award that had previously eluded him.

"When you look at a guy like Steph Curry, to have the season and the career that he's had, it is amazing," Green said.

"To stamp that with a Finals MVP – I know he said it doesn't matter, and it doesn't matter... still Steph Curry, still an all-time great. But to add that to your resume as a competitor, you want that.

"For him, well deserved. It's been a long time in the making. But he left no doubt, left no doubt, and he carried us, and we're here as champions."

The Warriors clinched their fourth NBA championship in the past eight years, sealing a 4-2 series success with their Game Six win in Boston.

 

Asked how many more championships Golden State might add, Green said: "I'm not sure. I don't like to put a number on things and say we can get five, or we can get six.

"We're going to get them until the wheels fall off. And that's our goal, to compete at this level every year."

Green, who had 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, commended the Warriors defense for keeping the Celtics at bay.

"We have always spoke about our defense, and it's been a constant for us," Green said.

"But when you have such a sexy offense, and guys shooting the ball like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, it's always going to be sexier, and people are always going to appreciate that more. We beat this team because of our defense. Did they score a hundred points tonight?

"That's four out of six games they didn't score a hundred points? We beat them because of our defense, and that's always been a constant.

"You don't win a championship without a great defense. We know that. We understand that. We pride ourselves on defense and ultimately understanding that our defense will allow our offense to flourish."

Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka declared "the future is bright and we're just getting started" after the NBA Finals series defeat to the Golden State Warriors.

The Celtics led the Warriors 2-1 in the series before relinquishing fourth-quarter leads in both Game 4 and Game 5, and ultimately came unstuck in the penultimate match.

Stephen Curry registered 34 points (12-of-21 shooting, six-of-11 from three), seven rebounds and seven assists as Golden State recorded a 103-90 win in Game 6 to secure an unassailable 4-2 series lead.

That meant the Warriors lifted their fourth NBA Championship in just eight years, and seventh overall, as Boston's 14-year wait for an NBA Finals series win continued.

Udoka guided the Celtics to their first Eastern Conference title in 12 years, though, and he believes Boston have reason to be optimistic in the future.

"We learned a tremendous amount about each other as a staff and them learning what we wanted and vice versa. That's the message to the guys tonight," he said.

"This is just the start. A foundation has been set. We can kind of hit the ground running next year. Let's get healthy and all be on the same page.

"Now it's a matter of taking that next step. What I did say to the group was there are levels. You can see the difference in Golden State, a team that's been there, been together for a long time.

"The core group, it's been 10 years now. We've seen what we can achieve. It hurts we fell short of that.

"But what I did say is the future is bright and we're just getting started, so let's all come back better from this experience."

Udoka has experienced the pain of losing in NBA Finals before after he was an assistant San Antonio Spurs when they succumbed to defeat against the Miami Heat in 2013.

The Nigerian admitted the loss will hurt for a while, but called on Boston to use it is as a learning experience.

"It's going to hurt. It will hurt for a while. Probably that stuff never goes away. I've lost one before," he added. "That was part of the message. Let it propel us forward, the experience.

"Growth and progress that we made this season. Obviously, getting to your ultimate goal and falling a few games short is going to hurt. There are a lot of guys in there, very emotional right now.

"The message was we thanked them for the effort and the growth and everything they allowed us to do coaching-wise this year.

"The biggest message was learn from this, grow from it, take this experience and see there is another level to get to.

"Just don't come back the same as players, coaching staff. Let this fuel you throughout the offseason into next year.

"Let's not be satisfied. It's not guaranteed you're going to be here. The East is getting tougher every year. They'll come back better. We will as a staff as well."

Jayson Tatum was left with a "terrible feeling" after the NBA Finals series defeat as he called on the Boston Celtics to "take it up another level".

The Celtics struggled against Stephen Curry in Game 6, the Golden State Warriors winning 103-90 after he posted 34 points, hitting six-of-11 threes, while adding seven rebounds and seven assists.

That helped the Warriors to an unassailable 4-2 series lead and fourth NBA Championship in just eight years, while Curry claimed his first NBA Finals MVP award.

Golden State were 2-1 down in the series at one point, but a three-game winning run meant Boston's 14-year wait to win the NBA Championships continued.

Tatum expressed his frustrations after the match as he admitted the Celtics fell short of expectations.

"It's hard. It's hard getting to this point. It's even harder getting over it, the hump, and win it. It's been a long journey, a long process," the Boston star said.

"Being with this group, the things we've overcome throughout the season, getting to this point. Just knowing how bad we wanted it, coming up short. It's a terrible feeling.

"That's what I took from it: it's tough. You got to take it up another level to do what we want to do.

"We all could have done things better. I feel like I could have done a lot of things better. But, like we said, we competed, we tried all season, all playoffs."

Marcus Smart was speaking alongside Tatum and vowed that the Celtics will bounce back stronger after the experience of the Golden State defeat.

"For us, it's just hard-nosed, it's who we are," Smart added. "We're a family. We take and accept every challenge head on no matter the outcome, no matter the advantages we have or disadvantages.

"We're going to take it full-heartedly. The guys came out here and competed. We could have [given] up, but we didn't. I think that shows the foundation that we have here.

"We see what we're capable of. We got a taste of it. We want the whole thing. I know for a fact that we're going to be back a different team. We're going to put in the work. But this one's going to hurt."

Steve Kerr admitted he was still in awe of Stephen Curry after his starring role in the Golden State Warriors' NBA Finals success.

The Warriors beat the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 to seal an unassailable 4-2 series lead and claim a fourth title in eight years.

Kerr, who also won five championships as a player, has been at the helm for all of those successes, but he has not lost the ability to be impressed by the feats of his star players.

And nobody has played a greater role in this season's triumph than league and Finals MVP Curry.

"He does [still inspire awe], because what he does at his size is so different from the traditional greats in this league," Kerr said of the 34-year-old.

"I've said it so many times, Steph reminds me so much of Tim Duncan. Totally different players. But from a humanity standpoint, talent standpoint, humility, confidence, this wonderful combination that just makes everybody want to win for him.

"And I'm obviously thrilled for everyone in that room, and a lot of people had a big hand in this, but I think the thing with Steph is, you know, without him, none of this happens.

"That's not taking anything away from Joe [Lacob] and Peter's [Gruber] ownership, because they have built an incredible organisation.

"Bob Myers, hell of a GM. Our players, we have had so many great players, but Steph ultimately is why this run has happened. Much like Timmy in San Antonio.

"So I'm happy for everybody, but I'm thrilled for Steph. To me this is his crowning achievement in what's already been an incredible career."

Curry averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Finals to earn the first Finals MVP of his career.

He put up a team-high 34 points in Game 6 on 12-of-21 shooting, hitting six-of-11 threes while adding seven rebounds and seven assists.

Curry also became the first player to ever win a unanimous league MVP and a unanimous Finals MVP.

Asked what distinguished this title from the rest, Kerr added: "They are all unique, they are all special. I think this one may have been the most unlikely just from the standpoint of where we've been the last couple years.

"A lot of unknowns, the injury to Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green] at the end of the year, Steph at the end of the year. A lot of young guys, a new core, or a new group around our core, I should say.

"But it's really special to see guys like Wiggs [Andrew Wiggins] and Loon [Kevon Looney] and Gary Payton, just how far they have come, the impact they made, Jordan Poole, the same thing.

"I know I'm going to forget people but it takes a full team effort to do this, and we just had a great group who do get it done."

For the second straight year, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was fined by the NFL for having practices that were deemed too physical, with the team being stripped of an organized team activity for 2023. 

After he was fined $50,000 last season, McCarthy was hit with a $100,000 charge this year for violating OTA rules that restrict too much contact during the offseason sessions. Dallas will also lose an OTA practice in 2023 as a result. OTAs with live contact are barred by the collective bargaining agreement. 

Last season, Dallas’ practice was flagged for "live contact violations" after the NFL obtained footage showing ramped-up contact from Cowboys players during 11-on-11 drills.  

They were one of three teams to be fined in 2021 and have an OTA rescinded for practice violations. San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was fined $50,000 and the organization was fined $100,000, while the Jacksonville Jaguars were fined $200,000 and former coach Urban Meyer was docked $100,000. 

Earlier this month, the Chicago Bears had to cancel an offseason workout because they violated NFL rules by having live contact during a session in May. New coach Matt Eberflus said the contact that occurred was because of overzealous players and not the team's practice structure. He said neither he nor the organization was fined. 

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