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Sports briefs for April 25, 2013

By BDN Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Portland Rugby to host 11th annual college championship

PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Rugby Football Club will hold its 11th annual Maine College Rugby Championship Saturday, May 4 at Deering High School.

Every year men’s and women’s clubs from Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Maine Maritime Academy, University of Maine, University of Maine at Farmington and University of New England compete for the Maine Cup at this day long festival of rugby that starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. The top 15 male and female players will also be selected for Maine’s All-Star Teams.

The daylong festival and is free and open to the public. Updates on the championship can be found at www.PortlandRFC.com, or on Facebook.

Celtics’ coach Rivers fined $25,000

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers was fined $25,000 for criticizing officials following Tuesday’s 87-71 loss to the New York Knicks.

Rivers made his comments in the postgame press conference April 23, when he chastised the officials for calling early fouls on the Celtics’ Kevin Garnett, who finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and five fouls in just 24 minutes.

“I thought the fouls on Kevin were horrendous, and had a huge effect on us,” Rivers told reporters. “He never got his rhythm when you could see he was going to have a game. It hurt us.”

The Knicks lead the series 2-0 heading into Friday’s Game 3. Boston has advanced to at least the second round in each of the last five postseasons.

Phil Jackson says he’s discussing front-office jobs

Phil Jackson continues to consider his next move, and it may extend beyond finding a coaching gig.

Could a front-office job be in his future?

“I’ve had some talks with people, and there are some interesting situations that are presenting themselves, but I really haven’t made up my mind yet what I’m going to do,” Jackson told the San Francisco Chronicle. “None of it involves coaching. … There are three or four teams that have been interested.”

He elaborated that he has interest in having influence in hiring a coaching staff and creating a culture.

“It goes all the way down to — not down to, but includes — trainers and the people who are doing the hands-on work with players, that have to be really embedded with how you put a team together,” Jackson told the paper. “The support group is important; guys who get an opportunity to hear and talk and influence the players.” It would be a real opportunity to implant the game, a culture that I believe in — that’s the intriguing part.”

Penguins’ Crosby hopes for playoff return

Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is hoping to return for the playoffs, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Crosby hasn’t played since March 30, when a deflected shot broke his jaw. He’s expected to seek medical clearance Thursday or Friday to resume playing, which could put him on track for Game 1 of the postseason. Though the schedule has yet to be released, the Penguins will open at home, likely on Wednesday.

Team officials and the coaching staff would also like to see Crosby practice with teammates before inserting him into a game.

Upon his return, Crosby will likely wear a plastic shield as protection.

Creighton’s McDermott returning

Creighton All-America forward Doug McDermott will return for one more year, delaying his entrance into the NBA draft.

“I will be returning to Creighton for my senior year and can’t wait to put on that uniform for one more season!” McDermott wrote on Twitter.

McDermott was the second-leading scorer in Division I last season, averaging 23.2 points. He must declare by Sunday.

McDermott plays for his father Greg McDermott at Creighton. The school is moving to the Big East next season.

NBA decision on the Kings’ fate will be May 13

The NBA expects to make its final decision on the fate of the Sacramento Kings on or about May 13, Commissioner David Stern said Thursday.

If that date holds up, the decision by the NBA Board of Governors would come two full weeks after the recommendation is issued by a committee of 12 team owners studying the Kings’ situation.

Speaking to a group of sports editors in New York, Stern reiterated that the proposed sale and relocation of the team to Seattle remains a difficult question for the league. “One of the cities is going to be disappointed,” he said, according to a tweet by the Associated Press Sports Editors.

Earlier Thursday, league spokesman Mike Bass said the committee vetting the two competing offers for the Kings will meet by conference call next Monday to issue its recommendation. Stern had earlier said the committee meeting could come as early as today or Friday.

The final vote by the Board of Governors couldn’t come until May 8 or 9 anyway. Under NBA rules, the board, which consists of all the team owners, must wait seven business days before acting on the committee’s recommendation.

Merion U.S. Open attracts highest ever entry total

This year’s U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania has attracted a record total of 9,860 entries, the United States Golf Association (USGA) said on Thursday.

The number of applicants for the June 13-16 tournament eclipsed the previous best of 9,086 for the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York.

“The fact that we have a record number of entries, from across the world, is a testament to both the great appeal of the U.S. Open and the historic nature and grandeur of Merion Golf Club,” USGA Executive Director Mike Davis said in a statement.

The U.S. Open, the second of the year’s four majors, will be held for a fifth time on the classic East Course at Merion. The most recent U.S. Open staged at Merion was in 1981, won by Australian David Graham.

American Webb Simpson will defend the title he clinched by one shot at Olympic Club outside San Francisco last year, after overhauling overnight leaders Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell.

Lakers’ Blake joins list of wounded

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake joined a growing list of injured teammates when an ultrasound Thursday confirmed a moderate strain of his right hamstring.

He’s out indefinitely.

Also, Steve Nash and Jodie Meeks remain doubtful for Friday’s game. Nash received two epidural injections in his back Thursday, as well as a cortisone shot in his right hip, while Meeks has an MRI scheduled for Thursday on his sprained left ankle.

With those players sidelined, Darius Morris looms as a likely starter for the Lakers. The 22-year-old has averaged 4.0 points and 1.6 assists this season.

The San Antonio Spurs lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, winning by scores of 91-79 and 102-91.

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