Dustin Johnson is confident his decision to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series will not hamper his chances of winning more major titles.

Johnson made a promising start to the U.S. Open with a first round of 68 at The Country Club on Thursday, but followed that up with a three-over second round of 73.

The former world number one is playing in his homeland this week for the first time since he sensationally quit the PGA Tour to join the controversial Saudi-backed breakaway circuit.

Johnson does not believe his defection from the PGA Tour, and the consequence of not playing as many tournaments against the best players in the world, will make him less of a force at majors.

Asked how sharp he thinks he will remain by playing on the LIV Tour, the American said: "Just as sharp as I would playing anywhere."

Johnson is in no doubt he made the right by call by signing up to LIV Golf.

"Yeah, obviously it was a tough decision, but I feel very confident in the decision I made," he said. "Yeah, I'm definitely happy and looking forward to obviously this weekend and the rest of the events this year."

The 37-year-old says he has not experienced any hostility from the crowds in Brookline, Massachusetts this week. 

He said: "No, fans have been great. Obviously, this is a good sports town, and a lot of people come out and support the event."

Johnson was in a share of 27th place on one over with the second round still ongoing when his compatriot Joel Dahmen moved into the lead on five under through eight holes.

Scottie Scheffler is happy to stay "under the radar" after giving himself a great chance to win the U.S. Open with an excellent second round.

Two months after winning his maiden major title at the Masters, Scheffler is in firmly in contention at the halfway mark at The Country Club.

The world number one carded a three-under 67 in Brookline, Massachusetts on Friday to move into the top 10 on the leaderboard.

Scheffler went out in 35, but responded from back-to-back bogeys with three birdies and the highlight of his round came when he chipped in for an eagle three at the 14th.

The American is in the hunt for a fifth PGA Tour title this season, but does not feel he is in the spotlight despite being the best player in the world.

He said: "I feel like I'm kind of an under-the-radar person. I don't really feel like there's much chatter going around with me. Rory [McIlroy] won last week, Tiger [Woods] was at the PGA.

"I've been number one in the world for a while now, and it doesn't really feel like it, so I kind of like just under the radar. I can show up and do my thing and then go home and rest."

Scheffler, who is three under for the tournament after starting with a 70, felt he was not far away from a "really special" second round - during which he held a share of the lead.

"I knew I was swinging at it well. I hit it really good yesterday, I hit it really good today," he added.

"Outside of a few putts going into the hole versus barely around it, today would have been a really special round, but it was still a really good one."

Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa and Swede David Lingmerth held a share of the lead on five under through 10 and 11 holes respectively. 

Coco Gauff reached the first grass-court semi-final of her career by beating Karolina Pliskova at the Berlin Open, teeing up a clash with top seed Ons Jabeur.

Having already recorded her best tour-level run on grass by reaching the final eight, Gauff recorded a superb 7-5 6-4 win over two-time grand slam finalist Pliskova.

Gauff – who reached her first grand slam final at Roland Garros last month, saved four set points in the opener before roaring to victory in one hour and 37 minutes, and was delighted to have overcome a tough opponent in the world number seven.

"I'm super happy with how I played today," Gauff said on court after the win. "Playing her on grass, with her serve, how flat she hits the ball, it was really tough to be honest. 

"A first semi-final on grass is pretty cool, and also I feel like the opponents I've played this week haven’t been easy, especially today, so I'm proud of myself about that."

Gauff will face Jabeur for a spot in the final after the Tunisian fought back from one set down in a 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-2 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who entered the contest having won 26 matches during an impressive year.

The other semi-final will see Maria Sakkari face Belinda Bencic, after the world number six cruised to a 6-0 6-3 win over Daria Kasatkina and Bencic beat Veronika Kudermetova 3-6 6-3 6-3.

In the Birmingham Classic, meanwhile, Simona Halep raced to a 6-4 6-1 win over Katie Boulter to reach the final four, but third seed Camila Giorgi fell to a 6-3 6-2 loss to Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia, who has now won eight consecutive games on grass.

While that pair will face off in one of Saturday's semi-finals, eighth seed Zhang Shuai will face Sorana Cirstea in the other. Zhang overcame Dayana Yastremska 7-5 6-4 and sixth seed Cirstea beat Donna Vekic 5-7 6-3 6-4.

Daniil Medvedev ended his wait for a first win over Roberto Bautista Agut at the Halle Open as his impressive start to the grass-court season continued.

The world number one, who reached the final at 's-Hertogenbosch last week only to suffer a shock defeat to Tim van Rijthoven, had not beaten Bautista Agut in three previous matches.

But his duck against the Spaniard is over following a 6-2 6-4 win, which set up a semi-final meeting with Oscar Otte after the German saw off Karen Khachanov in three sets.

"I remember all the matches we had… He was playing some [great] tennis and it was tough for me to win," Medvedev said of his previous meetings with Bautista Agut. 

"Today I had my plan, managed to keep it going. Definitely got more edge on the most important points, because he had more break points than me. It was not easy, and I'm happy to win."

Hubert Hurkacz, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year, is also into the last four after edging Felix Auger-Aliassime in two tie-breaks and will face Nick Kyrgios, who beat Paulo Carreno Busta in straight sets.

Elsewhere, Matteo Berrettini was victorious at the Stuttgart Open and is on course to go back-to-back at the Queen's Club Championships after seeing off Tommy Paul 6-4 6-2 to progress to the semi-finals.

Botic van de Zandschlup is his next opponent, the Dutchman overcoming Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-4.

Meanwhile, Filip Krajinovic had to come from a set down to end Briton Ryan Peniston's run at the quarter-final stage, with his reward a meeting with former US Open champion Marin Cilic, a straight-sets victor over Emil Ruusuvori.

 

Stephen Curry is used to the feeling of winning. It is one that has defined his spectacular career. However, watching him to sink to the court in tears in the final seconds of the Golden State Warriors' Game 6 victory over the Boston Celtics, it was clear Curry was not used to being quite so overcome by triumph.

The Warriors' 103-90 win at TD Garden, sealed by Curry's 34-point blitz, secured their fourth NBA title in eight seasons and, as Golden State revelled in returning to the mountaintop, it was tough to disagree with co-owner Joe Lacob's assessment that this one was the most meaningful.

Curry's outpouring of emotion upon the final buzzer illustrated as such, the Warriors' hoisting of the Larry O'Brien Trophy capping a remarkable journey for a team many believed had reached the end of their time in the sun.

Two seasons ago, with Kevin Durant having departed for the Brooklyn Nets and Klay Thompson starting the first of two injury-enforced seasons on the sideline following the torn ACL he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals series with the Toronto Raptors, the Warriors had the worst record in the league at 15-50, a hand injury suffered in the fourth game of the campaign severely restricting Curry's involvement.

There was agony in 2020-21 as an MVP calibre season from Curry ended with defeat in the play-in tournament, Thompson again a spectator, this time with a torn Achilles that kept him out until January 2022.

Even with Thompson's return on the horizon, few anticipated the core of Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green to dazzle on the Finals stage in 2022, the Warriors' decision to hold on to the draft assets they accumulated rather than packaging them to acquire a fourth star met with scepticism in plenty of corners.

Those sceptics have now been silenced. While the faith in the blend of youth and experience and the unqualified success of the trade for former number one overall pick - and Golden State's second-best player in these Finals - Andrew Wiggins, played major roles in shutting up the critics, it was Curry who ultimately sealed the lips of Golden State's doubters.

Doubters have been a bewildering constant during Curry's career, even as he has blossomed into the greatest shooter in NBA history, one whose seemingly unlimited range has revolutionised the game of basketball.

Curry's resume has long since been sparkling and he has continued to embellish it. Prior to the Finals, he already had three NBA titles, two MVPs (the second of which made him the league's first unanimous winner) and the all-time record for three-pointers.

Still, there was never a shortage of observers who would respond to those list of achievements with "Yeah, but..."

"Yeah, but Kyrie Irving got hurt in 2015", "Yeah, but he won two rings after they signed Durant", "Yeah, but he doesn't have a Finals MVP".

Finally, the sceptics can no longer rely on their extremely pedantic excuses to deny Curry's position among the all-time greats, which is firmly secured after a Finals in which he was the dominant force.

Curry averaged 31.2 points per game, almost 10 full points more than his nearest challenger, Jayson Tatum (21.5), and his 31 three-pointers were comfortably the most by any player in the series. He averaged five assists per game - only Tatum (7) and Green (6.2) had more, while he was also third in average plus-minus (5.8). The two players ahead of him on the list, Kevon Looney (8) and Gary Payton II (7), averaged 21.7 and 18.6 minutes per game in the series respectively, Curry spent 37.5 minutes per game on the court.

The devastating offense provided by Curry, who supplements his devastating deep shooting by attacking the rim for lay-ups with the same remarkable consistency, was undoubtedly the decisive factor in the series. Indeed, Curry's production and the attention it forces defenses to commit to him had the Celtics bereft of ideas of how to stop the Warriors by Game 6, Golden State at one point in the first half going on a 21-0 scoring run that marked the longest in the last 50 years of Finals history.

Curry's 'gravity' cannot be overstated, the Warriors' supporting cast continuing to reap the benefits of the additional space the threat posed by their star point guard creates.

With Curry on the court in the Finals, the Warriors averaged 111.9 points per 100 possessions. That dipped to 90.1 points when he was off the floor. Their field goal percentage with Curry in the lineup was 47.1, compared to 34.9 with him on the bench.

Illustrating his effectiveness both beyond and inside the arc, the Warriors hit on 38.3 per cent of their three-point field goal attempts and averaged 42.2 points in the paint per 100 possessions with Curry in the team. Without him, they connected on 30.9 per cent of threes and put up 21.5 points in the paint per 100.

The Warriors' point differential in the Finals per 100 possessions with Curry on court was plus-7.6. In his absence, it was minus 6.2, a swing of 13.8 points in a series where Golden State's average margin of victory in their wins was... 13 points.

That plethora of evidence left Curry as the only, and indeed unanimous, selection for Finals MVP, moving him into exalted company.

Curry is the sixth player to have won four NBA titles, multiple league MVP awards and a Finals MVP. The other five are LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan. Among players to have won at least two titles, he is second for points averaged in championship-clinching games (32.5). Only Jordan (33.7) stands above him.

The territory Curry occupies is shared by undisputed basketball legends, and he knows his previous doubters now do not have the qualifiers with which to dispute his legacy.

"I hear all the narratives," Curry said. "You hear everything about what we [as a team] are and what we aren't, and what I am as a player and what I'm not. I have a hard time figuring out what they're going to say now, so this is pretty special."

The reasons used by those who sought to keep Curry out of the NBA's pantheon of all-time greats have always been dubious at best. Now, after a career-defining Finals performance, they are non-existent and, regardless of what else he achieves before he retires, his place is reserved for good.

Eddie Jones has selected uncapped full-back Tommy Freeman to play for England against the Barbarians, while Danny Care was named on the bench for the first time since 2018.

Care was due to play for the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday, having not been selected for England since being hooked at half-time against Japan four years ago.

The veteran Harlequins scrum-half has 84 England caps and has stood out in the Premiership this season, and now gets the chance to impress ahead of the three-Test tour of Australia in July.

England's most capped player and regular scrum-half Ben Youngs is unavailable due to his commitments with Leicester Tigers in the Premiership final against Saracens on Saturday.

Care's Harlequins team-mate Jack Walker also makes his first England appearance, with Freeman and Gloucester centre Mark Atkinson the other uncapped players to start.

Winger Joe Cokanasiga returns after an almost year-long absence, while Jonny May is on the other wing after a knee injury kept him out of the Six Nations.

Jonny Hill is another who missed the Six Nations but was recalled to the side, which will be captained by back-rower Tom Curry.

England's Six Nations captain Courtney Lawes was named among the replacements, alongside the uncapped trio of Will Goodrick-Clarke, Patrick Schickerling and Orlando Bailey.

"This is a young team, they have prepared really well and worked hard over the past few camps to come together as a group," Jones said. 

"It is a great opportunity to play in this England XV side and show what they can do.

“We are looking forward to playing against an unusually French Barbarians side – which you normally only get when you play the French Barbarians.

"We'll use it as an opportunity to develop combinations and assess players for the Australia tour.

"We will put our best foot forward and it should make for a great game of rugby for all of the supporters at Twickenham."

England team: Tommy Freeman, Joe Cokanasiga, Joe Marchant, Mark Atkinson, Jonny May, Marcus Smith Harry Randall; Bevan Rodd, Will Collier, Charlie Ewels, Jonny Hill, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Alex Dombrandt.

Replacements: Jack Singleton, Will Goodrick-Clarke, Patrick Schickerling, Courtney Lawes, Jack Willis, Danny Care, Orlando Bailey, Jack Nowell.

Rafael Nadal has confirmed he is planning to play at Wimbledon after proving his fitness during a week of training on grass in Mallorca.

The 22-time grand slam winner made his announcement in a news conference on Friday.

Nadal, 36, has won the Australian Open and French Open titles already this year and is halfway towards a possible sweep of the grand slams, a feat that was last achieved in men's singles by Australian Rod Laver in 1969.

Spaniard Nadal triumphed at Roland Garros despite needing pain-killing injections before every match, as he continues to battle a foot problem that has plagued him for much of his career.

Nadal said in Paris that he intended to undergo radiofrequency injections in a bid to ensure he could compete at the All England Club, and he has undergone two courses of such treatment.

Wimbledon starts on June 27, and it is a tournament that Nadal won in 2008 and 2010, although he has not played there since 2019, when he reached the semi-finals.

Speaking in Mallorca on Friday, Nadal said: "I have managed to reduce the pain. I am happy to have been a week without going lame.

"They have been somewhat different pains. We have to wait to see how it evolves in the next few weeks. My intention is to play Wimbledon.

"Two radiofrequency sessions have been done and the evolution has been satisfactory. I don't know what might happen in five days. For now, the treatment has allowed me to train and that has made me make the decision to fly to London."

Nadal has labelled the idea of a calendar grand slam sweep as "crazy", although Novak Djokovic came tantalisingly close last year, winning the Australian and French Opens and Wimbledon before losing to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.

He is optimistic the London courts could prove helpful to his prospects, if he can carry over his clay form to the grass.

"I don't think the grass hurts my foot more than other surfaces. From my point of view, the grass is softer than other surfaces," Nadal said.

"The only thing I can say is the week I have been practising here after my treatment has been positive, I have experienced some improvements, different feelings, in my foot and I take that as a positive thing.

"My goal or my intention is to travel to London next Monday, play two matches there before the tournament starts and follow my normal schedule to prepare the best possible way for Wimbledon.

"Today that's all I can say. What can happen in a couple of days, if the situation changes or becomes more negative, then that will be the moment to explain another thing. Today I am positive.

"I am excited to travel to Wimbledon to try to play Wimbledon after three years."

Stephen Curry did not need to be named MVP in the NBA Finals to cement his reputation as an "all-time great", according to Draymond Green.

However, Curry went out and made sure he could add the honour to his glittering array of accolades anyway, and Golden State Warriors team-mate Green said it had been "a long time in the making".

Curry had 13 points in the fourth quarter in Thursday's 103-90 championship-sealing win over the Boston Celtics, to finish with 34 points (12-of-21 shooting, six-of-11 from three), seven rebounds and seven assists.

Across the six-game series, the 34-year-old Curry averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists, earning the MVP award that had previously eluded him.

"When you look at a guy like Steph Curry, to have the season and the career that he's had, it is amazing," Green said.

"To stamp that with a Finals MVP – I know he said it doesn't matter, and it doesn't matter... still Steph Curry, still an all-time great. But to add that to your resume as a competitor, you want that.

"For him, well deserved. It's been a long time in the making. But he left no doubt, left no doubt, and he carried us, and we're here as champions."

The Warriors clinched their fourth NBA championship in the past eight years, sealing a 4-2 series success with their Game Six win in Boston.

 

Asked how many more championships Golden State might add, Green said: "I'm not sure. I don't like to put a number on things and say we can get five, or we can get six.

"We're going to get them until the wheels fall off. And that's our goal, to compete at this level every year."

Green, who had 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, commended the Warriors defense for keeping the Celtics at bay.

"We have always spoke about our defense, and it's been a constant for us," Green said.

"But when you have such a sexy offense, and guys shooting the ball like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, it's always going to be sexier, and people are always going to appreciate that more. We beat this team because of our defense. Did they score a hundred points tonight?

"That's four out of six games they didn't score a hundred points? We beat them because of our defense, and that's always been a constant.

"You don't win a championship without a great defense. We know that. We understand that. We pride ourselves on defense and ultimately understanding that our defense will allow our offense to flourish."

Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka declared "the future is bright and we're just getting started" after the NBA Finals series defeat to the Golden State Warriors.

The Celtics led the Warriors 2-1 in the series before relinquishing fourth-quarter leads in both Game 4 and Game 5, and ultimately came unstuck in the penultimate match.

Stephen Curry registered 34 points (12-of-21 shooting, six-of-11 from three), seven rebounds and seven assists as Golden State recorded a 103-90 win in Game 6 to secure an unassailable 4-2 series lead.

That meant the Warriors lifted their fourth NBA Championship in just eight years, and seventh overall, as Boston's 14-year wait for an NBA Finals series win continued.

Udoka guided the Celtics to their first Eastern Conference title in 12 years, though, and he believes Boston have reason to be optimistic in the future.

"We learned a tremendous amount about each other as a staff and them learning what we wanted and vice versa. That's the message to the guys tonight," he said.

"This is just the start. A foundation has been set. We can kind of hit the ground running next year. Let's get healthy and all be on the same page.

"Now it's a matter of taking that next step. What I did say to the group was there are levels. You can see the difference in Golden State, a team that's been there, been together for a long time.

"The core group, it's been 10 years now. We've seen what we can achieve. It hurts we fell short of that.

"But what I did say is the future is bright and we're just getting started, so let's all come back better from this experience."

Udoka has experienced the pain of losing in NBA Finals before after he was an assistant San Antonio Spurs when they succumbed to defeat against the Miami Heat in 2013.

The Nigerian admitted the loss will hurt for a while, but called on Boston to use it is as a learning experience.

"It's going to hurt. It will hurt for a while. Probably that stuff never goes away. I've lost one before," he added. "That was part of the message. Let it propel us forward, the experience.

"Growth and progress that we made this season. Obviously, getting to your ultimate goal and falling a few games short is going to hurt. There are a lot of guys in there, very emotional right now.

"The message was we thanked them for the effort and the growth and everything they allowed us to do coaching-wise this year.

"The biggest message was learn from this, grow from it, take this experience and see there is another level to get to.

"Just don't come back the same as players, coaching staff. Let this fuel you throughout the offseason into next year.

"Let's not be satisfied. It's not guaranteed you're going to be here. The East is getting tougher every year. They'll come back better. We will as a staff as well."

Jayson Tatum was left with a "terrible feeling" after the NBA Finals series defeat as he called on the Boston Celtics to "take it up another level".

The Celtics struggled against Stephen Curry in Game 6, the Golden State Warriors winning 103-90 after he posted 34 points, hitting six-of-11 threes, while adding seven rebounds and seven assists.

That helped the Warriors to an unassailable 4-2 series lead and fourth NBA Championship in just eight years, while Curry claimed his first NBA Finals MVP award.

Golden State were 2-1 down in the series at one point, but a three-game winning run meant Boston's 14-year wait to win the NBA Championships continued.

Tatum expressed his frustrations after the match as he admitted the Celtics fell short of expectations.

"It's hard. It's hard getting to this point. It's even harder getting over it, the hump, and win it. It's been a long journey, a long process," the Boston star said.

"Being with this group, the things we've overcome throughout the season, getting to this point. Just knowing how bad we wanted it, coming up short. It's a terrible feeling.

"That's what I took from it: it's tough. You got to take it up another level to do what we want to do.

"We all could have done things better. I feel like I could have done a lot of things better. But, like we said, we competed, we tried all season, all playoffs."

Marcus Smart was speaking alongside Tatum and vowed that the Celtics will bounce back stronger after the experience of the Golden State defeat.

"For us, it's just hard-nosed, it's who we are," Smart added. "We're a family. We take and accept every challenge head on no matter the outcome, no matter the advantages we have or disadvantages.

"We're going to take it full-heartedly. The guys came out here and competed. We could have [given] up, but we didn't. I think that shows the foundation that we have here.

"We see what we're capable of. We got a taste of it. We want the whole thing. I know for a fact that we're going to be back a different team. We're going to put in the work. But this one's going to hurt."

Steve Kerr admitted he was still in awe of Stephen Curry after his starring role in the Golden State Warriors' NBA Finals success.

The Warriors beat the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 to seal an unassailable 4-2 series lead and claim a fourth title in eight years.

Kerr, who also won five championships as a player, has been at the helm for all of those successes, but he has not lost the ability to be impressed by the feats of his star players.

And nobody has played a greater role in this season's triumph than league and Finals MVP Curry.

"He does [still inspire awe], because what he does at his size is so different from the traditional greats in this league," Kerr said of the 34-year-old.

"I've said it so many times, Steph reminds me so much of Tim Duncan. Totally different players. But from a humanity standpoint, talent standpoint, humility, confidence, this wonderful combination that just makes everybody want to win for him.

"And I'm obviously thrilled for everyone in that room, and a lot of people had a big hand in this, but I think the thing with Steph is, you know, without him, none of this happens.

"That's not taking anything away from Joe [Lacob] and Peter's [Gruber] ownership, because they have built an incredible organisation.

"Bob Myers, hell of a GM. Our players, we have had so many great players, but Steph ultimately is why this run has happened. Much like Timmy in San Antonio.

"So I'm happy for everybody, but I'm thrilled for Steph. To me this is his crowning achievement in what's already been an incredible career."

Curry averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Finals to earn the first Finals MVP of his career.

He put up a team-high 34 points in Game 6 on 12-of-21 shooting, hitting six-of-11 threes while adding seven rebounds and seven assists.

Curry also became the first player to ever win a unanimous league MVP and a unanimous Finals MVP.

Asked what distinguished this title from the rest, Kerr added: "They are all unique, they are all special. I think this one may have been the most unlikely just from the standpoint of where we've been the last couple years.

"A lot of unknowns, the injury to Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green] at the end of the year, Steph at the end of the year. A lot of young guys, a new core, or a new group around our core, I should say.

"But it's really special to see guys like Wiggs [Andrew Wiggins] and Loon [Kevon Looney] and Gary Payton, just how far they have come, the impact they made, Jordan Poole, the same thing.

"I know I'm going to forget people but it takes a full team effort to do this, and we just had a great group who do get it done."

For the second straight year, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was fined by the NFL for having practices that were deemed too physical, with the team being stripped of an organized team activity for 2023. 

After he was fined $50,000 last season, McCarthy was hit with a $100,000 charge this year for violating OTA rules that restrict too much contact during the offseason sessions. Dallas will also lose an OTA practice in 2023 as a result. OTAs with live contact are barred by the collective bargaining agreement. 

Last season, Dallas’ practice was flagged for "live contact violations" after the NFL obtained footage showing ramped-up contact from Cowboys players during 11-on-11 drills.  

They were one of three teams to be fined in 2021 and have an OTA rescinded for practice violations. San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was fined $50,000 and the organization was fined $100,000, while the Jacksonville Jaguars were fined $200,000 and former coach Urban Meyer was docked $100,000. 

Earlier this month, the Chicago Bears had to cancel an offseason workout because they violated NFL rules by having live contact during a session in May. New coach Matt Eberflus said the contact that occurred was because of overzealous players and not the team's practice structure. He said neither he nor the organization was fined. 

Golden State Warriors icon Stephen Curry took the time to sit back and soak in the journey from Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals to Thursday's Game 6, championship-sealing win against the Boston Celtics.

Curry, who averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Finals to earn the first Finals MVP of his career, scored a team-high 34 points in Game 6 on 12-of-21 shooting, hitting six-of-11 threes and adding seven rebounds and seven assists.

It is the Warriors' fourth championship in the past eight seasons, with Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and coach Steve Kerr there for all four.

Speaking to the media while still wearing his goggles from the champagne celebrations in the locker room, Curry pushed back on the first question being about his elusive Finals MVP.

"Forget that, we're champs," he said. "We've got four championships.

"God is great, the ability to be on this stage and play with amazing teammates against a great Boston Celtics team that gave us everything to try to get to the finish line… this one hits different for sure.

"Knowing what the last three years have meant, and what it's been like. From injuries, to a changing of the guard with the roster, 'Wiggs' [Andrew Wiggins] coming through, our young guys. Carrying the belief that we could get back to this stage and win, even if it didn't make sense to anybody when we said it.

"All that stuff matters, and now we've got four championships. Me, Dray, Klay and Andre – and I finally got that bad boy [motioning to Finals MVP trophy] – it's special, man. Special.

"All the work that went into it, all the faith and belief, everybody in that locker room that's getting to spray champagne around the locker room – everybody mattered in that process. I'm proud of everybody."

Curry was superb down the stretch in the close-out win, scoring 13 of the Warriors' 27 fourth-quarter points, and he was overtaken by emotion as the finals seconds ticked down.

Touching on what was going through his head, he said it was thoughts of the long road back to the top after the 2019 Finals ended in devastating fashion, with a loss and serious injuries to Thompson and Kevin Durant.

"These last two months of the playoffs, these last three years, these last 48 hours, every bit of it has been an emotional rollercoaster, on and off the floor," he said.

"You're carrying all of that on a daily basis, trying to realise a dream and a goal like we did tonight – you get goosebumps just thinking about all those snapshots and episodes we went through to get back here.

"That's why I said this championship hits different – that's why I've got so many emotions, and still will – because of what it took to get back here. 

"When we started this season, there was a lot of conversation about who we were as a team, and what we were capable of, and I clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero for how many more championships we'd have going forward.

"We hear all of that, we carry it all, and you try to maintain your purpose and not let it distract you, but you carry that weight, and to get here, it all comes out."

He added: "It was definitely overwhelming – it was surreal – just because you know how much you went through to get back to this stage.

"Me personally, my workouts from the offseason last year when we lost the play-in tournament, it's been a year and six days since I started the process of getting ready for this season – and it all paid off.

"I didn't know how it was going to happen, I didn't know what the environment was going to be like, but it hits different.

"Out there on the floor – I mean, I didn't even know [my dad] was down there – and I saw him, and I just lost it… I just wanted to take in the moment."

Curry also became the first player to ever win a unanimous league MVP and a unanimous Finals MVP, further cementing his legacy as one of the greatest players to ever lace them up.

San Diego Padres ace and NL Cy Young Award candidate Joe Musgrove put in another quality start to help his side to a 6-4 away win against the Chicago Cubs.

While Musgrove finished with a great game, it was a rough beginning, with Christopher Morel hitting a home run from the Cubs' first at-bat of the game.

The Padres took the lead in the second inning as Nomar Mazara connected on a two-run home run, before Jake Cronenworth's RBI double a couple of batters later made it 3-1.

Andrelton Simmons pulled one run back with a base hit later in the second inning, and that would be the last run Musgrove gave up, holding the Cubs scoreless for the next five innings.

Musgrove finished with nine strikeouts from seven complete innings, giving up two earned runs from five hits and one walk.

His dominance through the middle innings allowed the Padres to open up some breathing room, with MVP candidate Manny Machado tacking on a run with an RBI single in the fourth, before Austin Nola made it 5-2 with a sacrifice fly an inning later.

Jurickson Profar completed the away side's scoring with a solo home run in the eighth inning, before the Cubs added a pair of consolation runs with RBIs to Frank Schwindel and Ian Happ.

Machado finished with three hits – all singles – from five at-bats, taking his batting average for the season up to .328.

Yankees walk it off

The New York Yankees came out on top in a hard-fought pitching duel, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 thanks to a walk-off home run by Anthony Rizzo.

Francisco Mejia finally broke the deadlock with a solo home run to give the Rays a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning, before Rizzo tied things up with an RBI single an inning later.

Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt only went three innings before he was withdrawn, while Rays starter Jalen Beeks pitched just two innings without allowing a baserunner before he was also pulled, with the two teams trusting their bullpens in long-relief.

With the scores tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, with one out, Rizzo cleared the fence with the game-winning homer, moving the Yankees' league-leading record to 47-16.

Phillies stay hot

It's now 12 wins from their past 14 games for the Philadelphia Phillies after a dominant 10-1 win against the Washington Nationals.

Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler was lights-out on the mound, giving up just one run from four hits and no walks in seven complete innings, while his side were just as impressive with the bat.

Five Phillies drove in at least one run each, with Kyle Schwarber the star, hitting two massive home runs, with both travelling further than 415 feet.

The Golden State Warriors secured their fourth NBA Championship in the past eight years with a 103-90 away win against the Boston Celtics in Game 6.

With the win, the Warriors secured a 4-2 series win, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to rattle off three of the next four, including two road wins in Boston.

While the night ended in Golden State celebrations, the start was all Celtics, jumping out of the gates to a 14-2 lead.

The Warriors kept in touch, and then went on an explosive, game-winning run late in the first quarter, turning a 22-16 deficit into a 37-22 lead with a 21-0 run.

Golden State's defense rose to the occasion, out-playing the Celtics' league-best defense, holding the home side to 17 points in the second quarter to lead 54-39 at half-time.

The Celtics did not lay down, launching their own run late in the third quarter, closing the term on a 16-4 run to cut the lead down to 10 as Al Horford willed his side back into the game. Horford had 12 points, six rebounds and a block in just the third quarter.

Down the stretch, with the Warriors needing to steady, it would be their superstar who would stand up. 

Stephen Curry had 13 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 34 points (12-of-21 shooting, six-of-11 from three), seven rebounds and seven assists.

His performance capped off a series where he averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists, earning him the first Finals MVP of his Hall-of-Fame career.

Andrew Wiggins was the Warriors' second-best player all series, and he produced one of the best defensive games of his career in Game 6, holding Jayson Tatum to just 13 points on six-of-18 shooting, while taking four steals and blocking three shots.

Wiggins also added 18 points on seven-of-18 shooting, with six rebounds and five assists. With the performance, he scored at least 17 points in five of the six Finals games, and averaged a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game in the series.

Jaylen Brown was the Celtics' brightest star, scoring 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting, but he also had five turnovers, which was a theme for the hosts.

The Celtics committed 22 turnovers as a team – seven more than the Warriors – after committing 18 to Golden State's seven in their Game 5 loss. During the regular season, Boston averaged 13.6 turnovers per game.

The Golden State Warriors have won the NBA championship, with a 103-90 victory in Game 6 at the TD Garden on Thursday, sealing a 4-2 series win against the Boston Celtics.

It was the Celtics who started hot in front of their home fans, starting the game on a 14-2 run, but the Warriors fought back to a 22-16 deficit, and from there launched a game-winning 21-0 run. The Warriors used that run to jump ahead 37-22, and the Celtics were never able to trim the lead to below eight points the rest of the way.

Stephen Curry secured his first ever Finals MVP with a team-high 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting, going six-of-10 from long range, while also adding seven rebounds and seven assists.

However, where the Warriors won Game 6 was on the defensive end, forcing 21 turnovers and holding Jayson Tatum to just 13 points on six-of-18 shooting.

Andrew Wiggins was terrific, finishing with four steals and three blocks as he made Tatum's life miserable, and he added 18 points on seven-of-18 shooting. 

It is the Warriors' seventh NBA title in their history, and their fourth in the past eight seasons.

Thursday's win completed an impressive turnaround from 2-1 down in the series to a 4-2 victory after winning the last three contests, including two in Boston.

Head coach Steve Kerr – who won five NBA Finals rings as a player for the Chicago Bulls (three) and San Antonio Spurs (two) – has now won the same number as a coach, all with the Warriors.

 

England's Matt Fitzpatrick and American Max Homa spoke about the unforgiving nature of The Country Club at Brookline, despite being two of 25 players to finish Thursday's opening round under par.

Fitzpatrick, who shot a two-under 68, is tied for seventh place, with a bogey-free front nine that featured birdies on the fifth, eighth and ninth holes, before three bogeys and two birdies on his second nine.

On a course billed as favourable to the long-drivers, Fitzpatrick did not finish inside the top-50 four driving distance on Thursday, but made up for it with terrific precision.

He was top-10 in driving accuracy, hitting 10-of-14 fairways, top-10 in strokes gained off the tee (1.26) and fifth in strokes gained around the green (2.59).

Speaking to the media after his round, he said enjoys the challenge the course presents, having also won the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship there.

"I've got great memories of the place, and the whole time I've been out, I see shots that I hit and I see the places I was," he said. "I think because of that I'm a bit more at ease.

"I think the tight fairways… are a big deal. There is just a premium on driving accuracy. From there – I think you have to putt your way around here… you have to think about it.

"[Compared to the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot] I feel like there is a lot of drivers, but you are then going into the greens. You can't miss on the left side because the slope is so severe, and you have no shot.

"You might decide to play to a corner on 18 with a three-wood, or you just take it even further with driver. I just think it gives you plenty of options and things to think about around this place."

Homa, who finished one shot further back than Fitzpatrick at one under, said he enjoyed his day, but was blown away by the difficulty of the greens. 

"It was good – the weather was really nice in the beginning of the day," he said. "The wind picked up, and it got a little more tricky than difficult.

"But the greens are just so – they're crazy, so it's just really hard to leave yourself good looks for birdie. I missed a bunch of putts today, but they just never felt very easy."

He added: "I have to get my speed better on the greens. They're very uncomfortable. 

"I don't know how to make myself comfortable, but just maybe try to find a speed that I like seeing the ball go in at a little more, because right now my pace just feels a little bit inconsistent."

Set to start Friday's second round on the back-nine, Homa said he expects that to be the far tougher starting position due to the difficulty of holes 10 and 12 right out of the gate, but he acknowledged "it's the U.S. Open – it's always going to be hard."

Adam Hadwin ended Thursday as the outright leader following the opening round of the U.S. Open in Brookline, Massachusetts.

The Canadian shot a four-under-par round of 66, one ahead of five players tied for second, including Rory McIlroy, who had been four under himself before bogeying his final hole on the ninth.

Callum Tarren, David Lingmerth, Joel Dahmen and M.J. Daffue sit alongside McIlroy, with seven more players on two under, including Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson.

It was otherwise not a great day for some of the LIV Golf International Series participants, with Phil Mickelson carding an opening round of 78 (seven over), while Louis Oosthuizen managed just one shot better and Sergio Garcia finished on four over.

LIV Golf's new additions Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau ended even par and one over respectively. 

World number one Scottie Scheffler recovered from a wobbly start to finish on even par, while PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas ended the day one under, as did the man he beat in a playoff for that trophy, Will Zalatoris.

Defending champion Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Adam Scott also shot one-under rounds of 69, while world number four Patrick Cantlay came away from Thursday two over.

Shot of the day

After ending up just off the green in the longer grass on the 12th, a precision chip from Matt Fitzpatrick still had a significant distance to travel, but slowly rolled its way straight into the hole to the delight of the Englishman and the Brookline crowd, sending him back to two-under straight after bogeying the 11th.

Player of the day - Adam Hadwin

Hadwin sat on one over after three holes, before birdieing five of the next six to catapult himself into the leading pack. The 34-year-old has never finished higher than T39th in this tournament, and also responded to a bogey at 12 with another immediate birdie at 13, and then ended with five tidy pars to head into day two as the outright leader.

Chipping in

Rory McIlroy: "I'm going into tomorrow with the mindset of 'let's keep it going', rather than 'where is the cut line' or whatever. If you don't get off to a great start, those thoughts start to creep in, 'okay, what do I need to just be here for the weekend?'"

Jon Rahm (asked about two children stealing his ball on the 18th hole): "Yes… I'm pretty sure I know who it was. I recognised the two kids that were running the opposite way with a smile on their face. (Laughing) I am 100 per cent sure I saw the two kids that stole it."

A little birdie told me...

- McIlroy's 67 was the 13th of his career at the U.S. Open, now level with Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia for most by a European player at the tournament.

- Lingmerth, ranked 592nd in the world, has never finished worse than tied for 21st in three previous U.S. Open appearances, and the Swede started with a promising 67 here.

- The first round scoring average of the last 10 winners at the U.S. Open is 69.1, with 25 players hitting under that on Thursday.

Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid took the high road when responding to criticism from former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, opting not to start a war of words through the media.

Mahomes did, however, say he did not expect to hear critical comments from Hill, who was traded to the Miami Dolphins earlier this offseason.

Hill said on the first episode of his 'It Needed To Be Said' podcast that the Chiefs and Mahomes may struggle without him and argued he should have received the ball more last season.

"I'm surprised a little just because I feel like we love Tyreek here," Mahomes said at the conclusion of the Chiefs' offseason program Thursday. "We've always loved him. We still love him.”

Reid's comments were brief but echoed a similar sentiment.

"I love Tyreek," Reid said. "He's a good kid. We think the world of him."

Hill made a career-high 111 catches in 2021 and carried the ball nine times, totalling 1335 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns.

He also said his new quarterback, Miami's Tua Tagovailoa, is a more accurate passer than Mahomes.

"It doesn't get to me at all," said Mahomes, a former league MVP, on being compared to Tagovailoa.

"As long as we're winning football games and we're putting up points, I think I'm doing my job the right way. It doesn't have to be the best accuracy and completion percentage in the world. So long as we're scoring touchdowns and winning Super Bowls, I'll take it."

Mahomes said he has not spoken to Hill since the release of the podcast but mentioned there was no tension between them when they attended a Formula One race together in Miami last month.

"It's something where I'm sure he's trying to show he loves where he's at in Miami - he loves his teammates," Mahomes said. "But at the end of the day, it's just going out there and playing football. You kind of let other people talk about who is the best and other type of stuff. You just want to go out there and win football games."

Hill has hinted on social media that his comments were made strategically in an attempt to boost the confidence of his teammates, chiefly Tagovailoa.

Former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III said on Twitter, "Tyreek knows Tua isn't Mahomes. Two different styles of play and Mahomes has certified greatness. Tua is accurate but [Hill] is just tired of people going in on his QB and I respect his support."

Hill replied: "Finally someone gets the message."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.