Cavs get Shaq, Magic pick up Carter...Clippers take Griffin at No. 1
(AP) - The NBA held its annual draft last night, but the day's biggest basketball news came from a 15-time All-Star.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have landed superstar center Shaquille O'Neal from Phoenix to play with current MVP LeBron James. The Cavs sent center Ben Wallace and swingman Sasha Pavlovic to the Suns, along with a second-round pick in the 2010 draft and $500,000 in cash. Shaq averaged 17.8 points and 8.4 rebounds last season and appeared in his 15th All-Star game.
The New Jersey Nets have shipped 8-time All-Star Vince Carter to the Orlando Magic. The Nets also send forward Ryan Anderson to the Magic for point guard Rafer Alston, shooting guard Courtney Lee and power forward Tony Battie (bah-TEE').
Also before the draft, the Atlanta Hawks acquired guard Jamal Crawford from the Golden State Warriors for guards Acie Law and Speedy Claxton.
The draft was anticlimactic, especially after the Los Angeles Clippers announced hours beforehand they would take Blake Griffin with the first overall pick.
The 6 for 10 forward was a consensus All-American after averaging 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds for Oklahoma. The Clippers hope Griffin fares better than Michael Olowokandi (oh-lah-wah-KAN'-dee), L.A.'s previous first overall pick who never made an impact in the NBA.
The Memphis Grizzlies used the second selection to grab Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet (tah-BEET') , a dominant rebounder and shot blocker who doesn't have strong offensive skills.
Oklahoma City took high-scoring Arizona State guard James Harden with the No. 3 pick before Sacramento took Memphis freshman Tyreke (ty-REEK') Evans with the fourth choice.
The Timberwolves used the fifth and sixth selections to take Spanish teenager Ricky Rubio and former Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn. The Wolves also picked up Ty Lawson with the 18th choice and sent him to Denver for a future first-round selection.
Smoltz roughed up in Bosox debut...Chisox rally to beat Dodgers
(AP) - John Smoltz indicated he was pretty pleased with his first outing as a member of the Boston Red Sox. The Washington Nationals had to be pretty pleased as well after reaching the 1996 Cy Young Award winner for five runs and seven hits over five innings of a 9-3 pounding of the Bosox.
The 41-year-old Smoltz surrendered four runs in the first inning but felt he was pretty pleased with his performance, saying he threw a lot of good pitches. But he was outdueled by rookie Jordan Zimmermann, who held Boston to a run and five hits in seven innings.
Josh Bard and Willie Harris each went 3 for 4 with two RBIs as the Nationals avoided a 3-game sweep.
Also in the majors yesterday, the Chicago White Sox spotted the Dodgers a 4-0 lead before beating Los Angeles 6-5 on Scott Podsednik's (pahd-SEHD'-niks) RBI single in the bottom of the 13th. A.J. Pierzynski (peer-ZIHN'-skee) put Chicago ahead 5-4 with a three-run homer in the sixth, but the Chisox needed Podsednik's hit to post their first 2-game home winning streak since May 23.
Like the White Sox, Tampa Bay fell behind 4-0 before producing a trio of 3-run rallies to beat Philadelphia 10-4. Willy Aybar (EYE'-bahr) tied the game with a solo homer in the second inning and went 3 for 4 with three RBIs as the Rays took the rubber match of the series.
Johan Santana allowed one earned run over seven innings as the New York Mets beat St. Louis 3-2. Nick Evans hit a two-run homer in a three-run fourth that allowed the Mets to beat the Cardinals for the third time in the 4-game set, New York's first series win since early June.
Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon each had three hits and four RBIs to help the New York Yankees outscore Atlanta 11-7. Rodriguez hit a solo homer in the first inning before Damon's bases-loaded triple put the Yankees ahead 6-1 in the third.
Denard Span tripled, walked three times and scored three runs in his first game back from the disabled list as Minnesota dumped Milwaukee 6-4. Joe Crede (KREE'-dee) hit his 11th home run for the Twins, who took 5 of 6 from the Brewers in the season series.
Magglio Ordonez (ohr-DOHN'-yehz) and Ramon Santiago hit two-run homers and Detroit completed a 3-game sweep by downing the Chicago Cubs 6-5. The Tigers trailed in the fourth until Ordonez ended his career-worst 40-game homerless drought.
Joey Votto's (VAH'-tohz) fourth hit of the night was a tiebreaking solo homer in the sixth inning of Cincinnati's 7-5 win at Toronto. Votto also provided an RBI double and a run-scoring single after entering the game 2 for 18 in five career games in his hometown.
Hanley Ramirez belted his third grand slam of the year, 1 of 3 homers hit by Florida in an 11-3 pounding of Baltimore. Ramirez has 13 RBIs in his last four games after tying the Marlins' single-season record for grand slams.
Chris Davis and David Murphy belted back-to-back home runs in the 12th inning to power Texas past Arizona 9-8. Davis went 4 for 5 and Andruw Jones added a solo homer and three RBIs to the win.
Lance Berkman homered twice and drove in four runs to help the Houston Astros overcome an error-filled day and beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4. Berkman also became the third player to collect 1,000 RBIs as an Astro.
Andrew McCutcheon drove in the tying and winning runs as Pittsburgh rallied for a 3-2 win over Cleveland. McCutcheon poked a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, two innings after working out a bases-loaded walk.
Ichiro Suzuki lined the 29th career leadoff homer before Rob Johnson's three-run double capped a four-run first that highlighted Seattle's 9-3 rout of San Diego. Mike Sweeney had 4 of the Mariners' 15 hits, and Ichiro finished a triple shy of the cycle.
Ramirez leaves before Isotopes game...Cubs' catcher tests positive
(AP) - Manny Ramirez left the ballpark before the start of the AAA Albequerque Isotopes' game Thursday night. The Dodgers' suspended slugger was scheduled to play seven innings after appearing in the first four innings of the Isotopes' previous two games. But heavy rains hit the area, causing the first pitch to be delayed more than 45 minutes.
The Dodgers decided to keep Ramirez out of the game rather than risk a possible injury on the wet turf.
In other major league news:
Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto says he is embarrassed after testing positive for marijuana at this year's World Baseball Classic. Soto says he will accept any consequences for what the Cubs say is the first positive drug test of his career. Soto was chosen as the National League Rookie of the Year last season after hitting .285 with 23 home runs.
Texas Rangers shortstop Omar Vizquel (vihz-KEHL') singled in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks for his 2,678th career hit, the most ever by a native of Venezuela. The 42-year-old Vizquel moved ahead of Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparacio, who played in 107 fewer games.
Arizona outfielder Eric Byrnes will require surgery after breaking his left hand during the second inning of Thursday's game against Texas. Byrnes could miss four to eight weeks.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) - It will be the United States against Brazil in the Confederations Cup final on Sunday. Daniel Alves put Brazil into the final Thursday by scoring on a free kick in the 88th minute of a 1-0 win over host South Africa.
The American team advanced Wednesday with a 2-0 win over Spain.
Bandaged Venus Williams into third round at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) - Venus Williams was among the second-round winners at Wimbledon Thursday.
The 2-time defending champion steamrolled Kateryna Bondarenko (kat-uh-REEN'-ah bahn-dah-RENK'-oh) 6-3, 6-2 on Day 4 at the All England Club to join top-ranked Dinara Safina (din-NAH'-ruh sah-FEE'-nah) in the third round.
Safina is a step closer to her first Grand Slam title after a straight-sets victory.
French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova (svet-LAH'-nah kooz-NET'-so-vah) also advanced, needing less than an hour to dispose of Pauline Parmentier (pahr-MEHN'-tee-ay) of France 6-1, 6-3.
And Marietta, Ga. native Melanie Oudin has advanced to the third round in her first appearance at Wimbledon by beating Yaroslava Shvedova 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Oudin will play former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic on Saturday.
Unseeded Australian Lleyton Hewitt displayed the day's biggest upset, knocking out fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro (wahn mahr-TEEN' dehl POHT'-roh) 6-3, 7-5, 7-5.
Sixth seed and 2-time runner-up Andy Roddick lost serve only once but needed four sets to win his second-round match.
Third seed Andy Murray beat Ernests Gulbis 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 as Murray tries to become the first Briton since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.
Second seeds Roger Federer and Serena Williams are among the players scheduled to play their third-round matches at Wimbledon Friday. The schedule also includes matches for Elena Dementieva (dee-mehn-tee-AY'-vuh), Novak Djokovic (JOH'-koh-vihch) and American Mardy Fish.
Mayfield denies methamphetamine use
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield says in an affidavit that he's never taken methamphetamines and doesn't know how he failed a random drug test. Mayfield also contends his indefinite suspension from NASCAR has ruined his driving career.
The affidavit was among several hundred pages of documents filed by his attorneys at U.S. District Court in Charlotte. He's been suspended since May 9 for failing a random drug test conducted eight days earlier at Richmond International Raceway.
Mayfield sued in late May to have his indefinite suspension lifted, and NASCAR alleges in a countersuit that Mayfield breached his contract and defrauded NASCAR and its competitors of earnings. Both sides will be back in court July 1.
Perry has great round
CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) - Kenny Perry shot a 9-under-par 61 for a two-shot lead after the opening round of the PGA's Travelers Championship. His round consisted of 9 birdies and tied the course record. Paul Goydos and Charles Warren each opened play with a 63.
Gal leads Gal's golf event
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) - Sandra Gal was the clubhouse leader when the first round of the Wegmans LPGA was suspended by darkness.
Gal fired an 8-under-par 64 to move one shot ahead of Jiyai Shin.
Play was halted for three hours by an afternoon storm.
Raiola gets new deal from Lions
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions have signed center Dominic Raiola to a 4-year contract extension that the team says will run through the 2013 season.
Raiola has been with the Lions since 2002, starting 108 of 124 starts as a pro.
Russian star heads home
WASHINGTON (AP) - Nineteen years after defecting from the Soviet Union, Sergei Fedorov is leaving the NHL to play in his homeland. The 1994 league MVP and 3-time Stanley Cup winner with the Detroit Red Wings has signed a 2-year contract with a Russian club of the Kontinental Hockey League.