Sports Round up: Bryant as ambassador; Shapovalov withdraws; Russian doping ban
Bryant and former Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming, who leads the Chinese Basketball Association, are the top representatives for the event.
Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
NHL roundup: Eberle, Isles sink Penguins
The New York Islanders produced a three-goal second period Tuesday, two of the tallies from Jordan Eberle, and rolled to a 6-3 win over the host Pittsburgh Penguins. Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, Matt Martin and Tom Kuhnhackl also scored as the Islanders won their third straight.
USA basketball names Bryant as World Cup ambassador
Kobe Bryant was named global ambassador for the FIBA 2019 basketball World Cup in China. Bryant and former Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming, who leads the Chinese Basketball Association, are the top representatives for the event.
Tennis: Shapovalov withdraws from NextGen Finals
Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov has withdrawn from next week's Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan because of exhaustion, organizers confirmed on Wednesday. Shapovalov who qualified for the second year running will be replaced by Polish player Hubert Hurkacz.
Nadal withdraws from Paris Masters
Top seed Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Paris Masters shortly before his opening match against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday, meaning he will lose the ATP number one ranking to Novak Djokovic. Spaniard Nadal, who has not played since retiring injured in the U.S. Open semi-finals, cited an abdominal injury.
NBA roundup: Leonard, Raptors rout 76ers
Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Jonas Valanciunas added 23 points off the bench as the Toronto Raptors defeated the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 129-112 on Tuesday night. Kyle Lowry added 20 points and 12 assists for his fifth double-double of the season for Toronto, and Pascal Siakam finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Serge Ibaka chipped in with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Danny Green scored 10 points, putting all five starters in double digits in points.
Doping: Seven Russians gave four-year ban for doping violations
Russia's anti-doping body RUSADA said on Wednesday that seven athletes in athletics and weightlifting have been given four-year bans for violating the country's anti-doping rules, with another being suspended for two years. Shot putter Yana Mikhailova's two-year ban has been backdated to July 12 of this year, while Natalia Polyakova, Tatyana Kachegina and Sergey Kotov have all received four-year sanctions from the All-Russian Athletics Federation.
Red Sox LHP Price staying put, declines opt out
David Price is planning to stay in Boston, declining to exercise an opt-out clause in his contract to become a free agent this offseason. The Red Sox will have the 33-year-old left-hander under contract for the next four years for $127 million. Price faced a deadline of midnight ET Wednesday to decide on the option.
D'Antoni: Rockets (1-5) lost championship swagger
Houston appeared to be cleared for takeoff after winning the top seed in the Western Conference in 2017-18, but the Rockets are pulling a first to worst to start for the 2018-19 season. "It's hard to explain sometimes. We lost our swagger," head coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're on our heels. When you're desperate, it's good on defence because your hair should be on fire, but it's bad on offence. Tonight, it was like we were pretty good defensively for most of the game, but offensively, we weren't calm and didn't have that poise and just didn't hit anything for a while."
Tennis: U.S. name unfamiliar lineup for Fed Cup final
Defending champions the United States have named an unfamiliar-looking lineup missing all their big guns for next week's Fed Cup final against the powerful Czech Republic. With Serena and Venus Williams unavailable together with Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, captain Kathy Rinaldi's top-ranked player is world number 35 Danielle Collins.
Report: Talks stall, Cavs could sidestep Drew
Larry Drew was unwilling to accept the interim head coach label from the Cleveland Cavaliers without a restructured contract. Now he might not have a seat on the bench at all. Talks between Drew's agent and the Cavaliers stalled on Tuesday night, ESPN reported, as Drew led the team against the Atlanta Hawks. With no adjustment to his existing $1 million deal as the associate head coach, the Cavaliers would be putting the ball in Drew's court to either coach under his existing deal or walk away. Drew said Tuesday night he would never quit.
(With inputs from agencies.)