Popovich remains out; Messina to coach Spurs

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Fed Cup: Czech Republic lead Germany 2-0 in World Group semi-final

World number 10 Petra Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova put 10-times champions the Czech Republic in control of their Fed Cup World Group semi-final against Germany. Kvitova beat Julia Goerges 6-3 6-2 and Pliskova defeated Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-3 victory in the opening singles. That gave the Czechs a 2-0 lead before Sunday’s reserve singles and potential doubles decider in the best-of-five tie in Stuttgart. In southern France, defending champions USA are level at 1-1 with the hosts. American Sloane Stephens beat Pauline Parmentier 7-6 (7-3) 7-5, but Kristina Mladenovic levelled the tie with

NASCAR Cup leader Kyle Busch insists Kevin Harvick still has edge

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Clint Capela is Houston’s secret ingredient

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Rafael Nadal has won 13 matches in a row on clay, not losing on the surface since last year’s Rome Open against Dominic Thiem Rafael Nadal produced another clay-court masterclass to beat Bulgarian fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov and reach his 12th Monte Carlo Masters final. World number one Nadal, 31, has won 34 straight sets on his favoured surface after a 6-4 6-1 semi-final victory. Nadal will play either German Alexander Zverev or Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who meet later on Saturday, in the final. Victory for the Spaniard will be a record-extending 11th triumph at the event and keep him

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10 Formula 1 cars that never raced

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Carlos Sainz Jr still learning Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault ‘tricks’

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Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes thinks playing golf will help end slump

7:11 AM ET New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes wants to swing his way out of an early season slump, but with his golf clubs rather than his bat. “One of the things that I did before, years ago, when I was in a slump, was playing golf and trying to get out of my slump,” Cespedes told reporters through an interpreter after Friday’s 5-3 win against the Atlanta Braves. “I said this season I wouldn’t go to play golf. So one of the things that I’m doing now, that I didn’t do before, is watching the videos. That’s something

Thibs on Towns’ 8 points: Gotta be more active

HOUSTON — Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau called for All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns to play with more energy after Towns was an offensive afterthought in his playoff debut.

Towns scored eight points on 3-of-9 shooting in the Timberwolves’ 104-101 loss to the Houston Rockets in Sunday’s Game 1. Thibodeau noted that the Rockets’ strategy of switching and double-teaming Towns was effective, but he put much of the onus for the off night on the 22-year-old big man’s shoulders.

“He’s got to be more active,” Thibodeau said.

Towns was held to fewer than eight points only twice in the regular season, when he averaged 21.3 points per game. He attempted nine or fewer field goals in 11 games, an alarming number for a 7-footer with Towns’ wide array of skills, capable of scoring as a post-up player, as a spot-up shooter and off the dribble.

Thibodeau especially emphasized getting out in transition when asked how Towns should be more active against a Rockets’ defensive scheme that makes him a focal point.

“You run the floor,” Thibodeau said. “Kick the ball out, repost, keep moving around, search it out, get to the offensive board. You’ve got to sprint around. You learn when teams are double-teaming you — that’s what you have to do. You have to make the right play. You also have to get to positions in which it’s difficult for them to double-team you. Transition’s a big part of that. You’ve got to run the floor.”

There were several possessions on Sunday when Towns did not receive the ball despite posting up Rockets guards such as Eric Gordon and Chris Paul on switches. However, Towns didn’t complain about a lack of touches after the loss.

“I’ve got to be better on both sides of the basketball,” said Towns, who had 12 rebounds and played a team-high 40 minutes. “At the end of the day, I trust my teammates full-heartedly that when they get the ball that they can go out there and score every single time. We have such talented players that sometimes the game plan is that. I’ve got to be better all-around if I’m going to help my teammates out as much as possible.”

Rockets center Clint Capela’s strong performance stood in stark contrast to Towns’ in the series opener. Capela scored a playoff-career-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting — doing some of his damage finishing on the fast break — grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked three shots.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Capela became the first player to record 20 points and 10 rebounds in either half of a playoff game since Kevin Durant on May 15, 2014.

“He’s terrific. He’s really good,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I think he’s probably undervalued — probably won’t be this summer when he gets paid, but right now he is. People sleep on him a little bit, but he’s one of the better centers in the league.”

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