Sports Watch

Lakers look to wrap up 15th title

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The Los Angeles Lakers hope to celebrate their 15th NBA championship later today. The Orlando Magic are just hoping to take the Finals series back to Los Angeles.

The Lakers own a 3-1 series lead after a 99-91 overtime win at Orlando put them one win away from their 15th NBA championship. The Magic almost pulled out a victory in Game 4 on Thursday, but Derek Fisher drained a three-pointer with 4.6 seconds left in regulation to force OT. Fisher also hit the tiebreaking three with 31.3 seconds remaining in the extra session.

The Lakers are the 30th team to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. The other 29 won the championship.

Smoltz awaits next destination...K-Rod takes umbrage

(AP) - Boston pitcher John Smoltz doesn't know if he'll be pitching for the Red Sox or AAA Pawtucket when he makes his next scheduled start on Thursday. Smoltz has been rehabbing in the minors this season as he tries to recover from shoulder surgery. Red Sox skipper Terry Francona said before today's game against Philadelphia that a decision will be made in the next day or so.

Also in the majors, New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez shouted at Yankees reliever Brian Bruney during batting practice today before the two were separated by teammates. The incident occurred a day after Bruney criticized Rodriguez, calling the closer's exuberant celebrations on the mound a "tired act." Rodriguez said Bruney "better keep his mouth shut."

Texas closer Frank Francisco is back on the disabled list due to shoulder problems that have prevented him from pitching since June 3. Francisco will be eligible to come off the DL Friday.

Jason Isringhausen (IHZ'-ring-how-zehn) has been placed on Tampa Bay's disabled list and will undergo an MRI tomorrow. The right-handed pitcher had to leave last night's game against Washington with pain in his surgically-repaired pitching elbow.

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia (SOH'-shuh) says pitcher Scot Shields will undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee Tuesday. Shields was placed on the disabled list before the season due to patella tendinitis.

The Chicago Cubs have fired hitting coach Gerald Perry after 2 1-2 seasons and replaced him with Von Joshua in an attempt to spark a sputtering offense. Joshua had been the hitting coach of the Cubs' AAA team at Iowa, a team that's batting .277 this year. The Cubs are hitting just .246 and are 29-30 after winning back-to-back NL Central titles.

Day 2 at Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The College World Series has resumed in Omaha, where Arizona State is facing North Carolina. Game 2 has top-seeded Texas taking on Southern Mississippi.

Gay old time in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Brian Gay remained the leader early in the final round of the PGA's St. Jude Classic near Memphis. He was 15-under with 16 holes remaining, two shots ahead of Bryce Molder and four strokes better than Woody Austin.

Gay is trying to earn a berth in this week's U.S. Open at Bethpage Black on Long Island.

Swedish rookie on top

HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. (AP) - Swedish rookie Anna Nordqvist (NOHRD'-kwist) is trying to close out a victory at the LPGA Championship near Baltimore. Nordqvist padded her lead with a birdie on the first hole of her final round, leaving her three shots ahead of Lindsey Wright.

Na Yeon Choi is alone in third, four shots back.

Vickers on the pole

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) - Brian Vickers had the inside starting spot for the LifeLock 400 Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway today. Kyle Busch has the outside of the all-Toyota front row.

Sprint Cup points leader Tony Stewart starts from the number-11 hole.

Peugeot ends Audi reign

LE MANS, France (AP) - Peugeot has finished 1-2 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, ending Audi's 5-year reign as champion.

The diesel-powered Peugeot No. 9 finished one lap ahead of the No. 8 Peugeot. The defending champs were in the hunt until the 21st hour before settling for third, six laps off the pace.

Murray, Haas earn titles in Wimbledon tuneups

(AP) - Andy Murray has won a Wimbledon tuneup event in London, beating American James Blake 7-5, 6-4 at the Aegon Championships at The Queen's Club.

And Tommy Haas pulled off an upset in winning the Gerry Weber Open, knocking off Novak Djokovic (JOH'-kuh-vihch) 6-3, 6-7, 6-1.

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