Brodric Thomas scored 21 points to lead six players in double figures as the Maine Celtics beat the Windy City Bulls 111-97 in a G League game Thursday night at the Portland Expo.

The Celtics, who ended a two-game losing streak, got 19 points from Luke Kornet. Chris Clemons and Deonte Burton each scored 16, Juwan Morgan at 14 and Sam Hauser 10.


The Tampa Bay Rays’ proposed plan to split the season between Florida and Montreal has been rejected by Major League Baseball.

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg announced the news on Thursday.


“Today’s news is flat-out deflating,” Sternberg said.

The idea of playing in both the Tampa Bay area and Montreal has been discussed over the past several years after attempts to build a new full-time ballpark locally failed.

“Things had progressed nicely and things had been working nicely, and then recently it just sort of took a turn to the south and we don’t precisely know why,” Sternberg said. “I have no doubt that what we tried to accomplish with our sister-city plan will become accepted in all of professional sports. Major League Baseball simply isn’t prepared to cross that threshold right now.”

When asked if he felt somewhat betrayed by his fellow owners, Sternberg replied “that’s a word.”

“The game is peculiar in a lot of senses and things happen for a lot of reasons,” Sternberg said. “Sometimes for the good, but always with good intentions for the game itself. We quite often have differing opinions on what that might mean.”

“Sometimes people don’t like to be first. There was a fellow on this call when we went cashless a few years ago said to me, ‘I get it, I understand, but why do you have to be first.’ It’s just people have different approaches to things. We don’t mind being first on things.”


Montreal had a big league team from 1969, when the expansion Expos began play, through 2004. The Expos moved to Washington and became the Nationals for the 2005 season.

“They were as, if not more, devastated than I was at the news,” Sternberg said.

The Rays’ lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the team has played since its inaugural season in 1998, expires after the 2027 season.
Since Sternberg took control in October 2005, the once-struggling franchise has been a success on the field but not at the box office.

Despite reaching the World Series in 2008 and 2020, the Rays have annually ranked near the bottom in attendance. The Rays averaged about 9,500 for home games last season, 28th in the majors and ahead of only Miami and Oakland.

St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch said he thought a new stadium in his city remains a possibility. Governmental officials have been working on a redevelopment plan for the Tropicana Field site.

• The Minnesota Twins will induct former manager Ron Gardenhire and former players Dan Gladden and Cesar Tovar into the team’s Hall of Fame this summer.


The Twins announced that Gardenhire, Gladden and Tovar will become the 35th, 36th and 37th members of the team’s Hall during separate ceremonies at Target Field before games on Aug. 20 and 21. This is the most inductees the Twins have had since the inaugural class in 2000.


TRANSFER RULES: FIFA is finally ready to enforce limits on the number of players clubs can send and take on loan internationally, two years after new rules were delayed by the pandemic.

The plans FIFA outlined on Thursday aim to stop wealthy clubs stockpiling players they have signed, encourage developing their young talent, and promote competitive balance in soccer.

However, curbs that should take effect in July have limited scope — players aged 21 and under are exempt from FIFA’s rules — and need further cooperation from national soccer federations to pass their own measures.

Clubs will be limited to a maximum of eight players loaned in and eight players loaned out at any one time in the 2022-23 season. The quotas will be cut to seven in the season after and six from the season starting after July 1, 2024. Clubs will also be restricted to the number of deals they can do with a favored trading partner in another country: Three players in and three players out at any given point with the same club.


VIDEO REVIEW: CONCACAF will institute video review during the final two windows of World Cup qualifying starting next week.

The governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean was criticized by U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter in September for its lack of Video Assistant Referees.

“That’s where the modern game is going,” he said. “We want to be right up there with the rest of the world, our region, in terms of the quality and the technology. And we need to find a way to get that done.”

CONCACAF said Wednesday that VAR will be used for six remaining qualifiers for each of the eight teams in the final round. It also will be added for this year’s CONCACAF women’s championship, which is used to determine qualifying for the Women’s World Cup and Olympic tournament, CONCACAF’s men’s and women’s under-20 championships and this year’s CONCACAF Champions League.

FIFA’s World Cup regulations allow regional confederations to implement video review and goal line technology.

AFRICAN CUP: Defending champion Algeria was dumped out in the group stage with a 3-1 loss to an Ivory Coast team that was rampant at times and announced itself as a contender for the title.


Ivory Coast’s one-sided victory meant Algeria, which was again viewed as one of the favorites this year, exited without a win after two shock results earlier in the tournament left it bottom of Group E.


PGA: Patrick Cantlay shot a 10-under 62 in perfect weather and turf conditions at La Quinta Country Club for a share of the first-round lead with rookie Lee Hodges in The American Express at La Quinta, California.

Cantlay played the first seven holes in 7 under, making an eagle on the par-5 sixth and five birdies. The FedEx Cup champion added birdies on Nos. 11-13, two of them par 5s, and closed with five straight pars.

Hodges played the back nine in 7-under 29, eagling the par-5 fifth and making five birdies.

Cameron Young and K.H. Lee were tied for third at 64.


LPGA: Gaby Lopez of Mexico began a new year and her seventh LPGA Tour season with a simple, and potentially prophetic, Instagram post: “Surprise me, 2022,” she wrote.

Lopez jumped out to the lead in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at Orlando, Florida, piecing together what she considered a near-perfect opening round to the new season. She made six birdies in a 5-under 67 at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club.

Lopez led by one shot over a foursome of players at 68 that included three major champions: world No. 1 Nelly Korda, who won her first major last year in the KPMG Women’s PGA; Danielle Kang, the 2017 Women’s PGA champion; and U.S. Open champion Yuka Saso, who bogeyed her final hole.

Also at 68 was Ryann O’Toole, a 34-year-old American who won for the first time last summer.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Seeking a third win in his last four events, Viktor Hovland started the Abu Dhabi Championship by shooting 8-under 64 and was one stroke off the first-round lead held by Scott Jamieson.

Hovland was in the marquee group with Collin Morikawa, and outplayed his playing partner by rolling in nine birdies on the undulating greens at Yas Links, a first-time host of the Rolex Series event on the European tour.


Jamieson, a Scot ranked No. 336, hadn’t played competitively in eight weeks but quickly settled into the 2022 season with a bogey-free 63. He also had nine birdies – four of them coming in a five-hole span at the start of his back nine and the final one coming from 12 feet at the par-5 18th.

Thomas Pieters was alone in third place after a 65, while defending champion Tyrrell Hatton was in a tie for fourth place after 66.


FOUR CONTINENTS: The United States took the lead in the pairs and ice dance on the first day at Tallinn, Estonia, and Japan’s Mai Mihara led the women’s event.

U.S. skaters Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov placed first in the pairs short program with 68.35 points, three points ahead of Canada’s Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud. Emily Chan and Spencer Akira Howe are third for the U.S., a point further back.

The 35-year-old former world champion singles skater Daisuke Takahashi is on track to win a medal for Japan in ice dance with his partner Kana Muramato.
They are second after the short dance on 72.43 as U.S. skaters Caroline Green and Michael Parsons lead on 80.62. Christina Carreira and Antony Ponomarenko are in the bronze medal position for the U.S. with 69.35.


Mihara is chasing her second career Four Continents title after landing a triple lutz-triple toeloop combination on her way to scoring 72.62 in the women’s short program ahead of a trio of South Korean skaters. Lee Hae-in is second on 69.97, ahead of Kim Ye-lim on 68.93 and You Young on 67.86.


MEN’S HOCKEY: Former NHL players Leo Komarov, Sami Vatanen, Valtteri Filppula, Markus Granlund and Mikko Lehtonen were among those named to Finland’s men’s hockey roster for the Beijing Olympics.

Komarov is the most recent to play in the NHL, dressing for one game for the New York Islanders in October. Filppula, Vatanen and Lehtonen were in the NHL last season.

Finland has 12 players with NHL experience. Filppula is the most accomplished with 616 points in 1,222 regular-season and playoff games and a Stanley Cup championship with Detroit.
Vatanen, 30, and Komarov, who turns 35 Sunday, were part of Finland’s bronze medal-winning team in Sochi in 2014. Filppula won bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

MEDIA: ESPN has joined the increasing number of media companies that will not be sending reporters to next month’s Beijing Olympics due to continued concerns about rising COVID-19 cases worldwide and China’s strict policy about those who test positive.

Executive Vice President Norby Williamson, who is in charge of ESPN’s event and studio productions, said in a statement that the network had planned to send four reporters to China but they will now join a larger group covering the Olympics remotely.

ESPN will report Olympics results as well as airing features, but the network is under video usage restrictions since NBC holds the rights. ESPN can’t air highlights until after NBC’s live coverage ends, which most days will be at 3 a.m. ESPN news programs may only use up to six minutes of highlights and can’t air any that have been available for more than 72 hours.

The Associated Press will be sending over 100 journalists to the Games.

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