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story.lead_photo.caption Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart in action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)


Celtics' Smart fined $15,000

Boston guard Marcus Smart has been fined $15,000 by the NBA for public criticism of the officiating. The NBA fined Smart on Friday, a day after his comments following the Celtics' 108-87 victory at Charlotte. "Really, just, I wish they would call the game the right way," Smart said Thursday night. "A lot of calls that they called, I didn't understand where the fouls were. And it just seems like whenever I get the ball and I'm on offense, I can't get a call. Nobody else is going to protect yourself. You've got to protect yourself. So if that means I've got to lose a little bit of money, then I've got to lose a bit."

Pitino to coach Greeks

Rick Pitino has agreed to coach the Greek national basketball team and lead the country's effort to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Greek basketball federation said Friday that Pitino will be officially presented on Monday, when details of his agreement will be announced. "Really honored to be coaching the Greek National team," Pitino wrote on Twitter. "Have a lot of work and preparation ahead but I'm looking forward to the challenge." The 67-year-old American coached Greek club Panathinaikos last season and guided the team to victory in the country's cup competition before returning to the United States. He remains popular among Greek fans despite his outspoken criticism of smoking and rowdy behavior by spectators at games. NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo both play for Greece and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Greeks narrowly missed out on reaching the quarterfinals at the World Cup in China in September. Pitino spent much of his career jumping between the college ranks and the NBA, coaching the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks as well as Kentucky and Louisville.


Maggert maintains lead

Jeff Maggert shot a 6-under 65 on Friday to increase his lead to four strokes in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, with Bernhard Langer second in a bid for his record sixth PGA Tour Champions season points title. Maggert birdied three of the first four holes in a front-nine 31 and capped the bogey-free round with a birdie on the par-4 17th in perfect conditions at Phoenix Country Club. He had a 14-under 128 total. The 55-year-old Texan entered the season-ending event 31st in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, just three spots from failing to qualify. He won three times on the PGA Tour and has five senior victories, one in 2014 and four in 2015. Langer closed with a double bogey after hitting into the water on the par-5 18th. Coming off a playoff loss to Colin Montgomerie on Sunday in California, Langer is third in the standings behind Scott McCarron and Jerry Kelly. Ken Duke (Arkadelphia, Henderson State) shot a 1-under 71 and sits in a tie for 15th place for the tournament at 5 under.

Schwab in front by one

Matthias Schwab started with an eagle and finished with a birdie to lead by one shot after the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open on Friday. The 24-year-old Austrian shot 5-under 67 to move to 12 under overall, leading a four-man group that includes Danny Willett (66) and Alex Noren (67). Schwab, who has a tour-best nine top-10 finishes this season, begins the weekend with five more players within two shots. The 10-under group includes two-time defending champion Justin Rose (67). A day after his selection by Tiger Woods for the United States' 12-man Presidents Cup team, Patrick Reed shot 7-under 65 to trail Schwab by four shots.


New stadium plans unveiled

Tennessee has unveiled updated plans for a Neyland Stadium renovation as the facility approaches its 100-year anniversary. Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer had announced in November 2018 that the start of the renovation was being delayed to review all aspects of the plan. Fulmer discussed the new plan Friday at a board of trustees meeting. Tennessee's board of trustees had approved a $180 million first phase of renovation in November 2017 when John Currie was athletic director. School officials said Friday that the updated plan meets the requirements from the previous board of trustees approval, and that the project wouldn't require any state funds or subsidies. Neyland Stadium, which currently has a seating capacity of 102,455, already added a 360-degree ribbon board this year. The new renovation plan calls for the stadium's sound system to be replaced and upgraded before the 2020 football season. Changes for the stadium's centennial season in 2021 include renovating the Lauricella Center for letter winners and moving the press box from the west side to the east side. An open-air donor lounge would replace the current media facilities on the west side. Planners hope to complete south course renovations, add a video board to the north side of the stadium and rebuild the lower west-side seating deck by the fall of 2022.


NHL sets return to Europe

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday that the NHL plans to return to Europe for games in the next two years. Citing huge demand, Bettman said the Boston Bruins and the Nashville Predators will open the regular season next year with a game in Prague. The Colorado Avalanche and the Columbus Blue Jackets will play two games in the Finnish capital of Helsinki. Bettman did not specify dates for the games. He added that he is "pretty certain" that the NHL will return to Sweden in two years but gave no details about the teams involved and venue. Bettman was talking to reporters before the Buffalo Sabres and the Tampa Bay Lightning played the first of their two games in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. In October, the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 to open their season in Prague.


Minor leaguers suspended

Three minor-league pitchers have been suspended after testing positive for steroids. Cincinnati's Israel Lantigua and the New York Mets' Amaury Pereya have been banned 72 games each and Toronto's Jackxarel Lebron 52 games. The suspensions start next season. The commissioner's office said Friday that Lantigua and Pereya tested positive for Stanozolol, and Lebron for Boldenone. A 20-year-old right-hander, Lantigua was 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Dominican Summer League Reds last season. Pereya, also a 20-year-old right-hander, pitched in three games in August for the Dominican Summer League Mets2. Lebron, a 19-year-old right-hander, was 2-2 with an 11.32 ERA in seven relief appearances for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Blue Jays. Forty-six players have been suspended this year under the minor-league drug program and eight under the major-league program.


Nike to investigate claims

Nike will investigate allegations of abuse by runner Mary Cain while she was a member of Alberto Salazar's training group. Cain joined the disbanded Nike Oregon Project run by Salazar in 2013, soon after competing in the 1,500-meter final at track and field's world championships when she was 17. Now 23, Cain told The New York Times in a video essay that under Salazar's direction she was told to lose weight, and he created an "arbitrary number of 114 pounds." Cain said she started having suicidal thoughts and cutting herself. Nike said in a statement that these are "deeply troubling allegations which have not been raised by Mary or her parents before." The company adds it takes this matter "extremely seriously and will launch an immediate investigation to hear from former Oregon Project athletes."

Sports on 11/09/2019

Print Headline: Off the wire


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