The pressure is on Red Bull to respond to a disappointing first race as the 2021 Formula One season continues at Imola.

The Austrian outfit, led by Max Verstappen, were expected to lay down a marker for defending champions Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes in week one.

But Hamilton claimed a stunning triumph in Bahrain, described by the victor as "one of the hardest races I've had for a while".

The against-the-odds success might suggest a tricky year ahead for Red Bull, who had set the pace in pre-season testing.

They will be aiming to prove that was merely an early blip when Verstappen takes on Hamilton again at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this week.

A response would set the season up nicely, but Hamilton will be similarly determined to continue his pursuit of a record-breaking eighth title.
 

LAST TIME OUT

Bahrain looked to be set for a season-opening Verstappen victory. The Dutchman was fastest in pre-season, then in practice and again in qualifying.

After starting from pole, his pace was obvious again in a titanic tussle with Hamilton.

But what the Briton lacked in speed - still adjusting to his W12 car, which team-mate Valtteri Bottas claimed was "undriveable" - he more than made up for in experience.

And the strategy of Mercedes had Hamilton in front, although it still took a Verstappen error to giftwrap a Silver Arrows success.

Verstappen overtook Hamilton with four laps remaining but went beyond track limits and crucially had to give first place back to his rival.

Bottas completed the podium in third, also collecting a point for the fastest lap, while Charles Leclerc was the best-placed Ferrari finisher down in sixth.

Aston Martin new man Sebastian Vettel was a frustrating 15th, one place ahead of debutant Mick Schumacher, while the returning Fernando Alonso failed to finish.
 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AT IMOLA

Until the Mercedes drivers can properly get to grips with their cars - not relying on errors and chaos for wins - the Hamilton versus Verstappen theme is likely to continue.

The Silver Arrows have at least had time to work on their flaws, three weeks on from Sakhir, while Red Bull have been left to stew on their mishap.

Particular attention will be paid to practice and qualifying and any change in the significant pace gap between the teams last time out.

As long as Red Bull retain the faster car, Verstappen should be in a title race - even if he cannot afford further mistakes.

A two-way fight for the championship is an improvement on recent years in which Hamilton has been comfortably clear of the grid, and there is also intrigue elsewhere.

Ferrari's continued struggles combined with improvement in the McLaren ranks mean there is competition between the two again.

Both outfits will be bidding for third place in the standings this year, with McLaren boasting the edge heading in to race two, while a busy off-season means the pecking order further back is far from concrete.
 

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Back on pole? - After Verstappen qualified fastest in Bahrain, Mercedes are facing up to the possibility of failing to secure a pole position over the first two races of a season for the first time in the Hybrid Era (since 2014).

Setting the standard - This is one of only four tracks at which Hamilton has never achieved pole, but victory would make this the first time he has ever started a season with back-to-back wins. Only twice before this year had the F1 great triumphed in the season opener, going on to claim the title in both 2008 and 2015.

Man in form - Verstappen is certainly the driver to beat in qualifying after consecutive pole positions at the end of last season and start of this. He only had two poles in his prior 118 races in F1.

Streaking McLaren - Daniel Ricciardo has earned points in his past 12 races, while McLaren team-mate Lando Norris - fourth last time out - could set a new career best with a seventh straight points finish.

In his father's footsteps - Mick Schumacher will this year become used to turning out at events where his father has previously dominated. Michael Schumacher has seven Imola wins, more than any other driver, while Ferrari and Williams are tied on eight team triumphs.
 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 

Drivers 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - 25
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 18 
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - 16 
4. Lando Norris (McLaren) - 12 
5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) - 10 

Constructors 

1. Mercedes - 41 
2. Red Bull - 28 
3. McLaren - 18 
4. Ferrari - 12
5. Alpha Tauri - 2

The top two teams in the Eastern Conference do battle in Philadelphia on Wednesday as the 76ers host the Brooklyn Nets.

Philadelphia and Brooklyn are tied atop the conference going into a mouth-watering clash.

Yet the Nets will again be without their full complement of stars at Wells Fargo Center, with James Harden struggling due to a hamstring issue and Kyrie Irving having missed Tuesday's game in Minnesota for personal reasons.

But they do have Kevin Durant at their disposal for a contest in which the Nets must try to contain an MVP candidate.


TOP PERFORMERS

Joel Embiid - Philadelphia 76ers

Embiid is expected to miss out on the NBA's top individual honour, with Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets the firm favourite, but he has continued to present a strong case.

He is averaging a career-high 29.6 points per game and has been key to each of the 76ers' past four wins, scoring 24, 35, 27 and 36 points in those contests.

Kevin Durant - Brooklyn Nets

Durant has had his fair share of injury issues this season, but the Nets' sole healthy superstar carried them in a rearranged meeting with the Timberwolves on Tuesday.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP shot 11 of 15, including four of six from three-point range, to rack up 31 points. He will need similar production if the Nets are to see off the Sixers on this unanticipated back to back.

KEY BATTLE - A DUEL BEHIND THE ARC

Durant's performance was indicative of how the Nets have thrived this season. Their three-point field goal percentage of 39.0 is the third-best in the NBA.

In the Sixers, however, they are coming up against a team that has done an impressive job of stopping teams getting hot from deep. Only six teams have allowed fewer three-point makes per game than Philadelphia (11.8).

HEAD TO HEAD

The Sixers came out on top in February's meeting with the Nets, prevailing 124-108 and they have dominated this matchup in recent times.

Philadelphia have won three of the previous four meetings between the two and have not lost a home game to the Nets since December 2018.

Dustin Poirier will face Conor McGregor at UFC 264 in Las Vegas this year.

The much-anticipated trilogy fight will take place at the T-Mobile Arena on July 10, UFC president Dana White confirmed on Wednesday.

"I am so happy to finally be able to say: Vegas is back," he said in a video posted on social media.

"This summer, Las Vegas is back open for business and on July 10, UFC 264 will be at the T-Mobile Arena at 100 per cent capacity.

"This card will be headlined by the third fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor."

The update comes after McGregor claimed the bout was off on Monday during an expletive-laden exchange on Twitter.

Poirier claimed victory in their previous showdown at UFC 257 in January in Abu Dhabi with a second-round knockout, after which McGregor conceded the result was "a tough one to swallow".

McGregor, who described his opponent's performance three months ago as "phenomenal", stopped the 32-year-old American in 106 seconds in their first encounter in September 2014.

The former two-weight world champion, who is also 32, has not won a UFC bout since January last year.

Paul George has a had a "breakthrough" after putting his toe injury into perspective and rediscovering his best form.

The star guard helped the Los Angeles Clippers extend their winning streak to six matches with a 126-115 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

That result came in the absence of Kawhi Leonard, with George stepping up to contribute 36 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.

It is the fourth game running in which George has hit 30 points, underlining how well he is now coping with a persistent toe problem.

According to George, it has been a shift in his mindset that has allowed the 30-year-old to produce such outstanding performances.

"The injury allowed me to kind of make an excuse for myself," he said.

"But then I put it in perspective – if I'm going to play, then don't let it limit me.

"I feel like I've had a breakthrough because of that mindset.

"It hasn't been flaring up, so that's been working and hopefully, at some point, it just goes away and it's an afterthought, nothing I'm worried about going forward."

Team-mate Marcus Morris Sr lauded George's display and his willingness to take centre stage for his side.

"He's definitely in a groove," the forward said. "He's playing with a chip on his shoulder.

"He is making an emphasis of really taking over and being the best version of himself."

The Brooklyn Nets warmed up for Wednesday's showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers with a comfortable 30-point victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Tuesday's postponed game.

Kevin Durant top scored for the Nets with 31 points along with four rebounds, with guard Joe Harris adding 23 points in the 127-97 win.

Brooklyn improved to a 37-17 record, equal with the 76ers, in the absence of James Harden (hamstring) and Kyrie Irving (personal reasons).

The Utah Jazz regained some form after losing three of their past five games, triumphing 106-96 over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert put on a show with 13 points, 14 rebounds and a staggering seven blocks, while Croatian forward Bojan Bogdanovic top scored with 23.

 

No Kawhi but Clippers keep on winning

The Los Angeles Clippers extended their winning streak to six games despite missing Kawhi Leonard in a 126-115 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Leonard was out with a sore right foot but Paul George was up to the task, with 36 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. That's the fourth straight game he's reached 30 points.

The Clippers have now won 12 of their past 14 matches and move to a 38-18 record, equating to third in the West.

The Los Angeles Lakers managed a 101-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets to move to 34-21 in the West.

With LeBron James and Anthony Davis still out injured, the Lakers relied on Kyle Kuzma with 24 points including four threes while center Andre Drummond had 12 rebounds.

The Phoenix Suns remain firm in second in the West with a 106-86 win over the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics edged the Portland Trail Blazers in a final quarter thriller 116-115 as the jostle for play-offs seedings continues.

 

Thunder crashing down

Guard Luguentz Dort may have scored a career-high 42 points but he was not able to celebrate as the Oklahoma City Thunder slumped to their seventh straight loss against the Jazz. The Thunder are now 20-34 and practically out of playoffs contention.

 

LeBron loves Kuz sledgehammer

Kyle Kuzma got LeBron James on his feet with a massive one-handed dunk on the transition late in the second in the Lakers' win.

 

Tuesday's results

Brooklyn Nets 127-97 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Clippers 126-115 Indiana Pacers
Atlanta Hawks 108-103 Toronto Raptors
Los Angeles Lakers 101-93 Charlotte Hornets
Utah Jazz 106-96 Oklahoma City Thunder
Phoenix Suns 106-86 Miami Heat
Boston Celtics 116-115 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Nets in Philly

The top two in the East will face off when the Philadelphia 76ers host the Brooklyn Nets (both 37-17) with Joel Embiid and Kevin Durant available to play although James Harden will likely miss due to injury.

Akil Baddoo's history-making MLB season continued after starring in the Detroit Tigers' 8-2 win over the Houston Astros.

Tigers rookie Baddoo – selected in the Rule five draft, which aims at preventing franchises from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other clubs would be willing to play them in the major leagues – has made a flying start to his career with the Tigers.

Baddoo, who was a Rule five pick in December having been originally drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 2016, is already the first player in modern MLB history to hit a grand slam, another home run and a walk-off hit in his first three career games.

The 22-year-old outfielder added to that on Tuesday after homering in the Tigers' comprehensive victory away to the Astros in Houston.

Through eight games, Baddoo has four homers, a double and a triple. According to Stats Perform, his 1.043 slugging percentage is the highest in American League (AL) history through eight career games.

Baddoo is also the first Tigers player to drive in a run in six or more of his first eight career games since Don Ross in 1931, while only four players in MLB history have had more than six such games – Jorge Soler most recently with seven in 2014.

 

Giolito and Bieber put on a show, Duvall makes history

The Shane Bieber-Lucas Giolito pitching duel did not disappoint as the Cleveland Indians edged the Chicago White Sox 2-0. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Bieber pitched three-hit ball over nine scoreless innings in a battle of the All-Star aces. Bieber also finished with 11 strikeouts. Bieber has 35 strikeouts this season. Through three appearances of a season since 1983, only Nolan Ryan (37 in 1973) and Gerrit Cole (36 in 2018) have only managed more. Giolito also impressed across seven scoreless innings, only giving up three hits with eight strikeouts.

Adam Duvall posted seven RBIs in the Miami Marlins' 14-8 success against the Atlanta Braves. In September last year, he had nine RBIs for the Braves against the Marlins. Duvall in the first player in history with a seven-plus RBI game for both sides of the same matchup, per Stats Perform. He also joined Alex Rodriguez as the only two players since 1954 to have multiple games with seven RBIs, two homers and four runs.

The Pittsburgh Pirates topped the San Diego Padres 8-4, despite walking 13 and hitting three batters. According to Stats Perform, the Pirates are the first team to issue at least 16 combined batters walked and batters hit in a nine-inning win since the Browns in 1948.

 

Strasburg struggles

Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals were put to the sword 14-3 by the St Louis Cardinals. World Series champion and MVP Strasburg gave up eight hits, eight runs – seven earned – and three homers on five walks across four tough innings. Strasburg was replaced after allowing all three batters to reach base in the fifth, leading to a nine-run inning for the Cardinals.

 

Betts back with a bang

Following a four-game absence due to a stiff lower back, Mookie Betts made a smashing return to the Los Angeles Dodgers' line-up. He hit a 394-foot home run as the World Series champions routed the Colorado Rockies 7-0.

 

Tuesday's results

Oakland Athletics 7-5 Arizona Diamondbacks
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles 7-6 Seattle Mariners
New York Mets 4-3 Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets 4-0 Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox 4-2 Minnesota Twins
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-4 San Diego Padres
Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 New York Mets
Texas Rangers 8-3 Tampa Bay Rays
Miami Marlins 14-8 Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs 3-2 Milwaukee Brewers
St Louis Cardinals 14-3 Washington Nationals
Kansas City Royals 3-2 Los Angeles Angels
Cleveland Indians 2-0 Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers 8-2 Houston Astros
San Francisco Giants 7-6 Cincinnati Reds
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-0 Colorado Rockies

 

Red Sox at Twins

American League (AL) East leaders the Red Sox (7-3) will put their seven-game winning streak on the line in a doubleheader against the Twins (5-5) on Wednesday.

Kevin Durant played down the importance of the Eastern Conference showdown between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers as the superstar focuses on his return to full fitness.

The Nets and 76ers will go head-to-head in a blockbuster clash pitting the east's top two teams against each other on Wednesday – Brooklyn and Philadelphia share 37-17 records atop the standings.

Brooklyn eased past the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-97 in their rescheduled game on Tuesday, with Durant posting 31 points on 11-for-15 shooting in 27 minutes as the former NBA MVP works his way back from a 23-game absence following a hamstring injury.

The Nets-Timberwolves matchup was initially scheduled for Monday, but it was pushed back in the aftermath of Duante Wright being shot and killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.

It means Durant is facing the prospect of back-to-back games, with his status for the 76ers contest uncertain midweek.

"I want to play just to get back in the swing of things more so than like pinpoint that matchup," said Durant as the Nets eye their maiden championship. "You know what I'm saying?

"I think for us we want to get everybody healthy and acclimated to what we're doing out there and I think that's just as important as circling the calendar for Philly.

"They're a great team, well-coached and I'm sure a team we're going to run into here soon but for us at this point we want to continue to fine tune what we do get better at the things that make us who we are and we'll see what happens down the line."

Durant – in his first game back as the Nets played without James Harden (hamstring) and Kyrie Irving (personal) – added: "I felt good out there. I felt like my wind and legs were getting underneath me in each and every minute I'm playing.

"That's really what I wanted out of this time and we'll see how I feel in the morning and I'll talk to coach and the training staff to see where we go from there."

Durant is averaging 28.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists for the star-studded Nets this season.

He is also shooting a career-high 43.7 per cent from three-point range, while the two-time NBA champion (52.8) only boasted a better field-goal percentage in 2016-17 (53.7).

"It's a tricky balance because he needs to play a certain amount of minutes for his benefit," said Nets head coach Steve Nash. "At the same time, when the game is that out of hand, you're caught like, do we want to risk him being out there at this point in the game.

"In an ideal world he'd play close to 30 minutes, but at the same time, he's out there at the end of the game in meaningless minutes you want to be careful as well.

"We're trying to find that balance. At least he had a good game and got some minutes in his legs."

Ben Simmons insisted the Philadelphia 76ers can win the NBA title this season ahead of their Eastern Conference top-of-the-table clash with the Brooklyn Nets.

The 76ers and the star-studded Nets share 37-17 win-loss records atop the east heading into Wednesday's blockbuster match, with both franchises having strong claims for championship favouritism.

Philadelphia – swept in the first round of last season's playoffs, having reached back-to-back Eastern Conference semi-finals under former head coach Brett Brown – have not won the title since 1983, while the Nets are searching for their maiden championship.

Simmons, playing alongside fellow All-Star Joel Embiid in Philadelphia – told ESPN on Tuesday: "I think we can win it all".

Simmons and the 76ers will come up against a strong Nets side with Kevin Durant back in their ranks following a 23-game injury absence.

Brooklyn will be without former MVP James Harden with a hamstring strain but Kyrie Irving is expected back after missing Tuesday's 127-97 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves for personal reasons.

"There's one ball, there's one ball and you have to play defence still," Simmons said of the Nets.

"I take pride in defence. I know if I'm able to get stops and give guys a hard time doing their job then we're going to be able to go further.

"They have a lot of talent, but at the same time you've got to be able to play together as a team."

Australian star Simmons was forthright in pushing his credentials for this season's NBA Defensive Player of the Year award too, despite stiff opposition from Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert.

Simmons is averaging 14.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game for Doc Rivers' 76ers this season.

"I'm one of those guys who can guard one to five," the 24-year-old Simmons said.

"Obviously, there's a lot of respect for Rudy. I know what he's capable of. I know he's great down there in the paint, but he's not guarding everybody and that's just what it is.

"He guarded me in Utah… I had 42 [points] and apparently I'm not a scorer. It is what it is, but I have a lot of respect for him. At the same time, I think it's mine this year."

Top seed Ons Jabeur advanced to the last 16 at the MUSC Health Women's Open, while Magda Linette was a casualty on Tuesday.

Jabeur – who reached the semi-finals of the Volvo Car Open – made a winning start at the WTA 250 event after toppling Stefanie Vogele 6-4 6-1.

The Tunisian won 88.9 per cent of her first serves to set up a clash with qualifier Alycia Parks – the latter eased past fellow American Grace Min 6-1 6-4.

However, second seed Linette crashed out at the hands of in-form Colombian Maria Camila Osorio Serrano.

Osorio Serrano, who claimed her maiden singles title at the Copa Colsanitas in Bogota last week, upstaged Linette 6-3 4-6 7-5.

Elsewhere, 15-year-old wildcard Linda Fruhvirtova – in just her second WTA main-draw appearance – progressed 6-2 6-7 (7-9) 4-4 after fourth seed Alize Cornet retired in the final set.

The Denver Nuggets have been dealt a blow after star guard Jamal Murray suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the left knee.

Murray will be sidelined indefinitely after the high-flying Nuggets revealed the injury diagnosis on Tuesday.

Denver were left sweating over Murray's fitness following Monday's 116-107 NBA loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Murray fell to the floor in agony following an apparent non-contact injury – the 24-year-old clutching his left knee amid serious concerns on court.

Denver's Murray has been averaging a career-high 21.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game this season.

Murray has also been boasting career highs in field-goal percentage (47.7) and three-point percentage (40.8).

The Nuggets (34-20) – led by MVP candidate Nikola Jokic – are fourth in the Western Conference.

Novak Djokovic will tackle teenage rising star Jannik Sinner for the first time in a tantalising clash of tennis generations on Wednesday at the Monte Carlo Masters.

World number one Djokovic is returning to action this week, having taken time away from the tour since banking an 18th grand slam title by winning the Australian Open in February.

He received a first-round bye, but waiting for him in the last 32 is Sinner, who on Tuesday saw off 2017 Monte Carlo runner-up Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3 6-4, again illustrating the 19-year-old Italian's great potential.

World number 22 Sinner is the only teenager ranked inside the top 80 in the men's game and is coming off his first run to a Masters final, at the Miami Open.

The switch from hard courts to clay is one that Sinner is having to deal with, and seeing off a specialist on the surface in round one represents an impressive start, although facing two-time former champion Djokovic will be a step up.

"It's always good for me to see what I can do on clay," Sinner said, quoted on the ATP website. "Obviously, I am not in the best form on clay now for the first week.

"But I think today was a solid match from my side. It was not easy. He's not giving [away] one point, so you have to stay there the whole match. I think I played a good match from my side."

Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the last 16 with a 6-3 6-4 win over Russian Aslan Karatsev, but there was disappointment at the same stage for Italian eighth seed Matteo Berrettini, beaten 7-5 6-3 by Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Those were the only second-round matches of the day.

Surprise Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz made a winning start, battling to a 6-3 3-6 6-3 first-round success against Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano to reach round two.

Roberto Bautista Agut, Grigor Dimitrov, Pablo Carreno Busta and Fabio Fognini each booked places in round two thanks to straight-sets wins.

Qualifier Federico Delbonis was a 7-5 6-1 victor over France's Adrian Mannarino, meaning the Argentinian faces the ultimate test in clay-court tennis next, a tussle with Rafael Nadal, the 11-time former champion in Monte Carlo.

Nadal has won all four of their previous matches, and their fifth encounter will immediately follow the Djokovic-Sinner match on Wednesday.

World number two Daniil Medvedev has pulled out of the Monte Carlo Masters after returning a positive coronavirus test.

The Russian, who was given a bye for the first round, went into isolation after returning a positive test on Monday.

"It's a big disappointment not to play in Monte Carlo," he said in a statement. "My focus is now on recovery and I look forward to getting back out on Tour as soon and as safely as possible."

Medvedev, who lost the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic in January, had been practising with 11-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal on Monday.

The 25-year-old last played at the Miami Open at the end of March, where he lost in the quarter-finals to Roberto Bautista Agut.

Hideki Matsuyama's maiden major triumph has elevated golf to a new level, according to Gary Player.

Matsuyama entered the history books as he became the first Japanese man to prevail at a major after winning The Masters on Sunday.

The 29-year-old, with five PGA Tour titles under his belt prior to his Augusta triumph, held his nerve to win by one shot and claim the famed green jacket.

Matsuyama (2011) became the third Masters champion in the last five years to have previously earned low amateur honours, following in the footsteps of Tiger Woods (2019, low amateur in 1995) and Sergio Garcia (2017, low amateur in 1999).

Having clocked up seven top-10 finishes across golf's four headline tournaments, Matsuyama catapulted himself into esteemed company with his Georgia glory and Player, a nine-time major winner, knows there is a huge gap between winners and also-rans. 

And he feels Matsuyama's success has taken the sport "up a notch".

"Now you see there are lots of ifs and ands, but finishing second, only your wife and your dog knows about it – that's if you've got a good dog," the South African, who donned the green jacket three times, told Stats Perform News.

"So now he comes along and he wins the Masters in great style and I said to him, 'I'm very happy that you won because you can be president or prime minister of Japan and I won't need a visa!'.

"No, his play was exemplary, he kept his cool, and what wins golf tournaments is not long driving as we are brainwashed about, it's the putter and the mind.

"I'm so happy he won because I want to see people win golf tournaments where golf is going to be the benefactor.

"More clubs will be sold around the world now and golf went up a notch. I always wanted to have the best world record as a global golfer, not just in America only, so for me to see an international player win, I'm always happy to see anybody win but it's going to do golf so much good. I can't tell you.

"If this wasn't during COVID you would have had people flying over from Japan the night before, the press people. He would have had 60 representatives of the media in Japan because they've been thirsting and hungry and starved for a major championship winner. And a golfing nation of that status has been deprived of that, and there they've got it at last. Thank goodness."

Stephen Curry broke Wilt Chamberlain's franchise points record in the Golden State Warriors' 116-107 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday, with coach Steve Kerr convinced he is setting a new standard.

Curry finished with 53 points for the Warriors, surpassing Chamberlain's franchise landmark of 17,783 in the first quarter when he reached 19 points for the match.

The 33-year-old may have played 745 games for the Warriors compared to Chamberlain's 429, but he was visibly overjoyed with the achievement.

Curry, whose 53 was the ninth 50-plus score of his career, was also later drenched during a post-game interview by team-mate Kent Bazemore with ice cold water.

But while the record itself and Curry's longevity will attract much of the focus, Kerr was keen to emphasise just how well his star man is playing at the moment.

"I mentioned his work ethic, focus, passion for the game, he sets the tone for us every day," Kerr said of Curry after the win.

"What he's doing is ridiculous. No one has ever shot the ball like this. The fact he does it off the catch or dribble, most guys are one or the other. 

"He can shoot anywhere, anytime, any situation, any defender on him. It's kind of crazy what he does out there. It's hard to fathom sometimes watching him make those shots.

"It was kind of surprising to see him break that record in the first quarter. We all figured he'd find a way to get 19 points tonight, but maybe not in the first quarter!

"He was extra special tonight, obviously. You can feel it when he's really got it going, and we could feel it early tonight."

Kerr also spoke extensively on the subject just before the game and took the opportunity to laud Curry for his legacy, which stretches far beyond a specific points total.

"Passing Wilt in anything statistically is sort of remarkable because his name is all over the record books," he said.

"So, the fact that Steph is about to break that record is just incredible and obviously a testament to what he's done here in his 12 years and impact he's made.

"I don't know if breaking that record even tells the story because what Steph brings goes so far beyond points. It's the impact on his teammates, the community, the organisation, the style of play, just how unique he is.

"As an individual, he has changed the game, inspired all the young NBA point guards who have come up to be much better shooters. He has changed the game, so as awesome as this accomplishment is, passing Wilt, it's just one of many for Steph."

Curry was unsurprisingly swamped post-game, with Kerr suggesting he gave as many as 17 interviews before being able to join up with his team-mates in the locker room again.

Among the soundbites, Curry suggested he has found it quite intimidating being mentioned in the same breath as Chamberlain and his record.

"Anytime you hear [Chamberlain's] name, it's kind of daunting because some of his records are so hard to eclipse," Curry added.

"To be anywhere near him on any record book, or now be on top, it's surreal and it's wild. If you grow up in the game of basketball and you hear his name, you know it's something extremely special, no matter what it is."

Mike Trout hit his fourth home run of the MLB season as the Los Angeles Angels won 10-3 over the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

Trout put the icing on the cake for the Angels after Shohei Ohtani's earlier heroics, scoring a two-run homer in the ninth.

Right-hander Alex Cobb struck out 10 batters as the Angels moved to a 7-3 record and top spot in the American League West.

Ronald Acuna Jr continues to dazzle early in this season although it was not enough to lift the Atlanta Braves to victory, losing 5-3 to the Miami Marlins.

Acuna tripled in the third, before a sac fly to second which showcased his blistering pace and energy.

 

Glasgow shuts down Rangers, Greinke eephus

Tyler Glasnow continued his fine start to the MLB season for the Tampa Bay Rays with 14 strikeouts in their 1-0 win over the Texas Rangers.

The right-hander shut down the Rangers, allowing just three baserunners, two hits and a walk across seven and a half innings.

Renato Nunez did not quite know what to do when Houston Astros' right-hander Zack Greinke tried something different, with a 51.5-miles-per-hour pitch called a strike. It was Greinke's slowest pitch in the tracking era.

It came on a tough night for Greinke as the Houston Astros lost 6-2 to the Detroit Tigers, with former top overall pick Casey Mize delivering seven scoreless innings.

Kyle Higashioka homered twice to spare Gerrit Cole's early blushes, before the latter finished by retiring his final 15 batters in the New York Yankees' 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Chicago White Sox edged the Cleveland Indians 4-3 with Nick Madrigal winning it after an errant throw in the ninth.

 

Baez's wild throw

Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez had a moment to forget when he unleashed a wild throw which sailed a good 30 feet above first baseman Anthony Rizzo, allowing Billy McKinney to easily complete the single.

 

Ohtani's incredible exit velocity

Shohei Ohtani may not have hit a home-run in the seventh inning but his two-run double re-established the Angels' three-run lead and also had an incredible exit velocity of 119 mph.

 

Monday's results

San Diego Padres 6-2 Pittsburgh Pirates 
New York Yankees 3-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Texas Rangers
Miami Marlins 5-3 Atlanta Braves
Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 Chicago Cubs 
Washington Nationals 5-2 St Louis Cardinals
Chicago White Sox 4-3 Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers 6-2 Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels 10-3 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 9-5 Arizona Diamondbacks
Cincinnati Reds 3-0 San Francisco Giants

Yankees in Florida

American League East foes the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees will meet again at the former's temporary home in Florida.

Steph Curry broke Wilt Chamberlain's franchise points record as he produced his ninth career 50-plus score in the Golden State Warriors' 116-107 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.

Curry finished with 53 points for the Warriors, surpassing Chamberlain's franchise all-time scoring record with 19 points in the first quarter.

The 33-year-old may have played 745 games for the Warriors compared to Chamberlain's 429, but he was visibly overjoyed with the achievement.

Curry was also later drenched during a post-game interview by teammate Kent Bazemore with an ice cold water.

MVP candidate Nikola Jogic had 27 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets.

Joel Embiid won the battle against Luka Doncic as the Philadelphia 76ers stayed top in the East with a 113-95 triumph over the Dallas Mavericks.

Embiid only played 26 minutes but finished with 36 points, including 23 by half-time, and seven rebounds.

Doncic scored 32 points, reaching 30-plus for the 19th time this season for the Mavs, who were without Kristaps Porzingis due to a knee complaint.

 

Beal silences Jazz, Zion dominates again

Ladder leaders Utah Jazz were beaten by the Washington Wizards 125-121 with Bradley Beal returning from his latest niggle to score 34 points.

Beal was well supported by guard Russell Westbrook who had his ninth triple-double in 10 games with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists.

The Jazz move to 40-14 despite Donovan Mitchell's 42 points and center Rudy Gobert's double-double.

Red hot Zion Williamson continued his form surge with 30 points in the New Orleans Pelicans' 117-110 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Williamson had scored 37 and 38 points in his past two games and delivered again, while Brandon Ingram had 34. The improved De'Aaron Fox scored 43 points for the Kings.

The Los Angeles Lakers lost again without LeBron James as Julius Randle hit 34 points and had 10 rebounds to lead the New York Knicks to a 111-96 victory.

The Phoenix Suns edged past the fast-finishing Houston Rockets 126-120 after equaling the NBA record for 18 three-pointers in the first half, while the Memphis Grizzlies scored 31-16 in the fourth to win 101-90 over the Chicago Bulls.

 

Jamal injury concerns

Emerging Nuggets guard Jamal Murray was left writhing in pain after going down with a left knee injury which had fellow players visibly concerned. Fingers crossed.

 

Morant's monster alley oop

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant's alley-oop finish was a sight to behold with teammate Grayson Allen's assist leaving him with plenty to do, but he did that emphatically.

 

Monday's results

New York Knicks 111-96 Los Angeles Lakers
Philadelphia 76ers 113-95 Dallas Mavericks
San Antonio Spurs 120-97 Orlando Magic
Washington Wizards 125-121 Utah Jazz
Memphis Grizzlies 101-90 Chicago Bulls
New Orleans Pelicans 117-110 Sacramento Kings
Golden State Warriors 116-107 Denver Nuggets 
Phoenix Suns 126-120 Houston Rockets

 

Lakers in Charlotte

The Los Angeles Lakers (33-21) have been sliding without LeBron James and Anthony Davis and they face a tough assignment at the Charlotte Hornets (27-25) on Tuesday.

Third seed Shelby Rogers eased into the second round of the MUSC Women's Health Open while fifth seed Misaki Doi retired in a three-hour epic on Monday in Charleston.

World number 46 Rogers, who reached the last 16 at last week's Volvo Car Open in Charleston, proved too good for fellow American Caty McNally winning 6-0 6-1 in just over an hour.

Doi's match with countrywoman Nao Hibino lasted much longer, extending to three hours and nine minutes with the latter progressing in a walkover 7-5 5-7 6-6. Doi succumbed to cramps in the third set tiebreaker.

Seventh seed Lauren Davis defeated Coco Vandeweghe 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in their All American battle while Australian sixth seed Ajla Tomljanovic cruised past Renata Zarazua 6-1 6-1 in the final match of the first day.

Eighth seed Madison Brengle also progressed in three sets past Natalia Vikhlyantseva and unseeded Dane Clara Tauson won 6-3 6-3 over Liudmila Samsonova.

Miles Bridges had mouths agape across the NBA on Sunday with his thunderous dunk over Clint Capela.

The Charlotte Hornets forward ensured Hawks center Capela will be on a highlight reel for the wrong reasons for years to come, towering over the former Houston Rockets man and finishing with tremendous authority.

It is sure to have sparked widespread 'dunk of the year debates' after Anthony Edwards' similarly ridiculous effort for the Minnesota Timberwolves against the Toronto Raptors back in February.

And it also capped a superb week for Bridges, as we explain in this week's edition of Heat Check.

RUNNING HOT...

Miles Bridges - Charlotte Hornets

Not only did Bridges produce a dunk that will live long in the memory, he also enjoyed the third-largest improvement in points-per-game average for last week.

Bridges entered last week averaging just 9.96 points per game but put up 21.67 across three contests, following up a 26-point effort against the Milwaukee Bucks with 23, including that dunk, in the loss to the Hawks.

Jalen McDaniels - Charlotte Hornets

One of only two players to enjoy a bigger improvement than Bridges was team-mate McDaniels, who made the most of increased playing time.

With LaMelo Ball, Malik Monk and Gordon Hayward all on the sideline, McDaniels took advantage of the opportunity to shine.

He came into the week with an average of 4.17 points per game, but that ballooned to 16.33 in last week's games, scoring a career-high 21 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

GOING COLD...

Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers

One of the most clutch shooters in the NBA, Lillard let his absurdly high standards drop over the past week.

The Blazers point guard had been averaging 29 points a game prior to last week, however, disappointing outings in losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat saw him put up 18.25 ppg across four games.

He was two for 14 from the field in scoring 11 points against the Clippers, and managed just a point more in Portland's defeat to the Heat.

Joe Harris - Brooklyn Nets

In a star-studded Nets team, Harris plays a crucial role in providing consistently impressive perimeter shooting.

But he rounded off last week with an unusually poor performance from three-point range in Brooklyn's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Harris went 0 for 4 from deep, dropping his average three-pointers made to 1.3 for the week, which he went into converting 3.24 attempts per game.

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has announced his retirement from the NFL after 12 seasons.

Edelman, a seventh-round pick in 2009, played a crucial role in the second half of the Patriots' dynasty, winning three Super Bowl titles with New England.

He was named Super Bowl LIII MVP for his performance in the most recent of the Patriots' championship triumphs, which saw him make 10 catches for 141 yards.

Consistently reliable in the biggest moments, Edelman ranks second in postseason receiving yards (1,442) and receptions (118).

But a knee injury suffered last season has put an end to his storied career, with his retirement announced shortly after the Patriots released him with a failed physical designation.

In a video announcement on Twitter, Edelman said: "I've always said, I'll go until the wheels come off, and they've finally fallen off.

"Due to an injury last year, I'll be making my official announcement of my retirement from football.

"It's a hard decision but the right decision for me and my family. I'm honoured and so proud to be retiring a Patriot."

Head coach Bill Belichick said in a statement: "By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career – wins, championships, production – Julian has it all.

"Few players can match Julian's achievements, period, but considering his professional trajectory and longevity, the group is even more select. It is historic.

"This is a tribute to his legendary competitiveness, mental and physical toughness and will to excel. Day in and day out, Julian was always the same: all out.

"Then, in the biggest games and moments, with championships at stake, he reached even greater heights and delivered some of his best, most thrilling performances.

"For all Julian did for our team, what I may appreciate the most is he was the quintessential throwback player.

"He could, and did, do everything – catch, run, throw, block, return, cover and tackle – all with an edge and attitude that would not allow him to fail under any circumstance. Julian Edelman is the ultimate competitor and it was a privilege to coach him."

Edelman finishes his career second in Patriots history with 620 receptions, fourth with 6,822 receiving yards and ninth with 36 receiving touchdowns.

He racked up 58 rushing attempts for 413 yards, the most rushing attempts and rushing yards by a receiver in franchise history. Edelman's total of 9,869 all-purpose yards is fourth in team history.

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