Thursday's Sports In Brief


NEW YORK (AP) -- The Houston Texans made South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney the first pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

Considered a budding NFL star even when he was a freshman, Clowney brings size, speed and power to a Texans lineup that already has 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.

This draft's other big name, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, sat with a sullen look on his face until Cleveland made its third trade of the round and grabbed the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner at No. 22. To rousing cheers and chants of ''Johnny, Johnny,'' Manziel smiled widely as he walked onto the Radio City Music Hall stage.

St. Louis took Auburn tackle Greg Robinson with the second pick, Jacksonville selected Central Florida Blake Bortles at No. 3, Buffalo traded with Cleveland to move up from the ninth spot and pick Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins in the fourth spot and Oakland rounded out the top five by choosing Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack.



LOS ANGELES (AP) - The estranged wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the team, her lawyer said, adding an unwanted twist to the NBA's plan to force new ownership on the franchise.

Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, said his client ''will not agree to a forced or involuntary seizure of her interest.''

''As her lawyers we will fight vigorously to defend her property rights,'' he said.

O'Donnell said Mrs. Sterling has no interest in managing the Clippers and wants a new investor group to come in with a professional management team.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers won the NBA Sixth Man Award, becoming the oldest recipient and the first to do so with different teams.

The 34-year-old guard also was honored as the league's best player off the bench while with the Atlanta Hawks in 2009-10.

Crawford led the league's reserve players in scoring this season, averaging 18.6 points. He came off the bench in 45 of 69 games he played in, helping the Clippers to a 57-25 record, their best regular-season mark in franchise history.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The Portland Trail Blazers were clearly rattled by the San Antonio Spurs in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals, and they were almost snake bit before Game 2.

A baby rattlesnake, estimated at about 3 to 4 feet, was discovered in the team's locker room at the AT&T Center about two hours before the game Thursday.

It was found by reserve forward Thomas Robinson, who recoiled a few feet after seeing the snake when he moved a bag from his locker.

Portland didn't fare any better in the game, losing 114-97 to fall into a 2-0 hole in the seven-game series.



PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Former PGA champion Martin Kaymer tied the course record with a 9-under 63 to take a two-shot lead after the opening round of The Players Championship.

Along with tying the course record on the Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass, he broke the nine-hole record with a 29. It gave the 29-year-old German a two-shot lead over Russell Henley.

Kaymer became the fourth player to shoot 63 at the TPC Sawgrass. The others were Fred Couples (1992), Greg Norman (1994) and Roberto Castro (2013). Kaymer has gone more than two years since his last win, in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.



ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado broke the team record with a 28-game hitting streak.

Arenado had a two-out single in the third inning Thursday night against the Texas Rangers to surpass teammate Michael Cuddyer's 27-gamer last season.

Arenado's streak is the longest for anyone 23 or younger since Albert Pujols had a 30-game run in 2003 when he was 23.

The streak for Arenado began April 9, a week before his 23rd birthday.

NEW YORK (AP) - The Yankees will retire former manager Joe Torre's No. 6, leaving Derek Jeter's No. 2 as the last single digit in New York's pinstripes.

Torre, Rich Gossage, Tino Martinez and Paul O'Neill also will be honored with plaques in Monument Park.

Torre managed the Yankees to World Series titles in 1996 and from 1998-00 and six AL pennants during 12 seasons as manager that ended in 2007. Currently Major League Baseball's executive vice president for baseball operations, he is being inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame this summer.



SINGAPORE (AP) - Andre Agassi says Rafael Nadal should be considered the greatest tennis player ever, not Roger Federer.

Agassi made the comments in an interview with Singapore newspaper Straits Times, saying Nadal's achievements are more impressive because he has had to deal with tougher opponents.

Federer has 17 Grand Slam titles to Nadal's 13, although the Spaniard leads his Swiss rival 23-10 in head-to-head meetings.

MADRID (AP) - Andy Murray hit error after error and was eliminated from the Madrid Masters in the third round.

The Wimbledon champion lost to Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-2. Murray's play was erratic throughout the match against the Colombian qualifier, who earned his first career victory against a top-10 player in 20 attempts.

Defending champions Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams had little trouble reaching the quarterfinals at the clay-court tournament, both winning in straight sets.

Williams earned her 650th career victory with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Carla Suarez Navarro and Nadal beat Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-1, 6-4.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A man, his wife and their two teenage children were shot before the million-dollar home they were renting burned down in what investigators called arson, a fire perhaps exacerbated by fireworks and gasoline, authorities said Thursday.

Autopsies were still being completed to determine how they died, but investigators have said they are looking into the possibility of a murder-suicide at the house owned by former tennis p James Blake. Authorities recovered a gun at the home registered to Darrin Campbell and he bought an ''exceedingly large amount'' of fireworks and gas cans days before the fire, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Col. Donna Lusczynski said.



SAO PAULO (AP) - A worker at a World Cup stadium in Brazil died in an electrical accident, temporarily interrupting construction at one of the most-delayed venues only five weeks before the soccer tournament.

Rosenil Moraes, head of emergency services in the western state of Mato Grosso, said the construction worker received an electric shock at the site of Arena Pantanal in the wetlands city of Cuiaba. He died more than half an hour later of a cardiorespiratory arrest. Officials were not clear on what caused the accident.

It is the latest accident to tarnish World Cup preparations, marking the eighth death from injuries while building stadiums for the world's biggest soccer tournament. His death comes as organizers rush to finish the last three stadiums ahead of the opening match on June 12.



SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - The disqualified winner of the Orange County Marathon says he still thinks he's a champion and denies he cheated.

Mohamed Fadil of Albuquerque, New Mexico, crossed the line Sunday in a record time of 2 hours, 21 minutes, 42 seconds, but he was disqualified a few days later because video showed a bicyclist paced him and gave him fluids - both violations of USA Track & Field rules.

Fadil told the Orange County Register on Wednesday that he was worried about getting lost and asked the cyclist to lead him because the official cyclist got a flat tire and fell behind.

As for the fluids, Fadil says he didn't know it was illegal.

What to Read Next