CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 33,026,739 and the nation’s death toll stands at 587,874, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Centers and Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday that 60 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. However, health experts are concerned about the varying vaccination rates across the country. Rates range from more than 78 percent of adults in Vermont with at least one vaccine to less than 45 percent of adults in Mississippi. Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Vermont have already reached the Biden administration’s goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of adults with at least one shot by July 4.
HOUSE APPROVES CAPITOL-ATTACK COMMISSION… The House yesterday approved the formation of an investigative panel to examine the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The vote was 252-175, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats in approving the probe. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced his opposition to the investigative panel prior to the House vote.
TEXAS GOVERNOR SIGNS TOUGH ABORTION LAW… Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday signed into law an abortion bill that prohibits the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The governor’s signing comes two days after the Supreme Court agreed to hear a major abortion case in Mississippi that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. The Texas law allows almost any private citizen to sue an abortion provider or others who “aid and abet” an abortion in violation of the restriction. The new law will go into effect on September 1.
BIDEN SEEKS END TO ISRAELI ATTACKS… President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone yesterday that he expects a quick de-escalation of military attacks against Palestinian targets in Gaza to make way for a cease-fire. On Monday, Biden said Israel has a right to defend itself but called for a cessation of hostilities and encouraged Israel to make every effort to protect innocent civilians. Hostilities continued overnight yesterday on the 10th day of Israeli attacks against Hamas targets.
EXECUTION IN TEXAS… A 41-year-old man convicted for the 1999 murder of his great-aunt was executed in Texas yesterday. Quintin Jones was administered a lethal injection hours after the Supreme Court declined a petition by his lawyers seeking a stay of execution. The court documents said the state unconstitutionally denied his intellectual disability claim and used now-discredited expert testimony during the sentencing phase of his trial to assess Jones’ future danger potential.
PAUL MOONEY DIES… Comedian, writer, and actor Paul Mooney died yesterday at his Oakland, California, home after suffering a heart attack. He was 79. In addition to performing his own material, Mooney wrote for Richard Pryor and other comics and made several appearances on “Chappelle’s Show.” His film credits include playing Sam Cooke in the 1978 film “The Buddy Holly Story.”
SARA RAMIREZ JOINS ‘SEX AND THE CITY’ SPINOFF… Sara Ramirez has signed on to co-star in HBO Max’s “Sex and the City” spinoff, “And Just Like That…” The former “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Madam Secretary” star is set to play Che Diaz, “a non-binary, queer, stand-up comedian who hosts a podcast on which Carrie Bradshaw is regularly featured,” according to the streaming service. The new show reunites the original comedy’s stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis “as they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s.” Production on the 10-episode, half-hour series is to begin in New York this summer.
NBA PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT SCORES…
WESTERN CONFERENCE – FIRST ROUND
MEMPHIS 100 – San Antonio 96… The Grizzlies jumped out to a 19-point lead after the first quarter and held on end the Spurs’ season and advance to host Golden State tomorrow to determine the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Dillon Brooks scored a game-high 24 points. Jonas Valanciunas had 23 points and as many rebounds. Ja Morant tossed in 20 points.
L.A. LAKERS 103 – Golden State 100… The Lakers rallied past the Warriors in the fourth quarter to advance as the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They’ll play Phoenix in the first round beginning on Sunday. LeBron James beat the shot clock with a long 3-pointer that broke a tie with 58 seconds remaining and finished with 22 points, 11 boards and 12 assists. Anthony Davis had 25 points and 12 rebounds for L.A.
TONIGHT’S NBA PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
EASTERN CONFERENCE – 8TH SEED GAME
Indiana is at Washington
SAN DIEGO 3 – Colorado 0… Joe Musgrove (4-4) pitched two-hit ball over seven innings and fanned 11 before two relievers completed the shutout of the Rockies. Fernando Tatis Jr. Went 4-for-4 with a solo homer. Jake Cronenworth also went deep.
San Francisco 4 – CINCINNATI 0… Kevin Gausman (4-0) limited the Reds to one hit over six innings and got help from three relievers in the shutout. Buster Posey put the game away with a bases-clearing triple in the top of the ninth inning.
Miami 3 – PHILADELPHIA 1… Brian Anderson homered on his 28th birthday to help the Marlins top the Phillies. Trevor Rogers (6-2) allowed a run on five hits over 7-2/3 innings.
ATLANTA 5 – N.Y. Mets 4… Ronald Acuna Jr. homered on the first pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the Braves past the Mets. William Contreras singled home a tying run in the eighth.
Washington 4 – CHI. CUBS 3… Juan Soto’s solo homer off the right-field scoreboard at Wrigley Field in the top of the fifth inning proved to be the difference in the Nationals’ win over the Cubs. Max Scherzer (4-2) gave up two runs on five hits over five innings.
ST. LOUIS 8 – Pittsburgh 5… Tommy Edman singled home a pair of runs during a five-run bottom of the second inning and added a sacrifice fly in the fifth to lead the Cardinals past the Pirates. Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-5 with and knocked in two runs.
L.A. DODGERS 4 – Arizona 2… The Dodgers came up with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to upend the Diamondbacks for their seventh win in eight games. A dropped fly ball by Arizona right-fielder Josh Rojas allowed two of the runs to score.
Chi. White Sox 2 – MINNESOTA 1… Leury Garcia’s RBI single broke a tie in the top of the sixth inning and the White Sox hung on to edge the Twins. Lucas Giolito (3-4) gave up a run on two hits and struck out 11 in eight innings.
Tampa Bay 9 – BALTIMORE 7… The Rays rallied from five runs down to get past the Orioles. Randy Arozarena homered twice and drove in four runs. Mike Brosseau added a two-run homer. Ji-Man Choi produced a pair of run-scoring singles.
Boston 7 – TORONTO 3… Alex Verdugo and J.D. Martinez hit back-to-back homers during a five-run top of the first inning and the Red Sox coasted past the Blue Jays. Kiké Hernandez and Christian Vázquez added solo homers.
N.Y. Yankees 2 – TEXAS 0… Corey Kluber (4-2) pitched the sixth no-hitter of the season and second in two days in blanking the Rangers. Kluber walked one and fanned nine. Wade broke a scoreless tie with an RBI triple in the top of the sixth inning and scored on DJ LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly.
Cleveland 3 – L.A. ANGELS 2… Josh Naylor’s infield single scored Jose Ramirez with a tie-breaking run in the top of the sixth inning and the Indians made it stand in downing the Angels. Jake Bauers tied the game with a homer to lead off the fifth.
Houston 8 – OAKLAND 1… The Astros pounded the Athletics with a 15-hit attack. Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game. Yuli Gurriel went 4-for-5 with five RBIs.
Detroit 6 – SEATTLE 2… Harold Castro had three hits and drove in three runs as the Tigers cruised past the Mariners. Tarik Skubal (1-5) gave up two runs on four hits over five innings.
KANSAS CITY 6 – Milwaukee 4… Michael Taylor homered with a runner aboard and Jorge Soler added a solo blast in the Royals’ win. Nicky Lopez squeezed home a go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE…
Washington (Joe Ross, 2-3) is at the Chi. Cubs (Trevor Williams, 2-2)…
Philadelphia (Vince Velasquez, 1-0) hosts Miami (Sandy Alcantara, 1-3)…
Pittsburgh (Will Crowe, 0-2) is at Atlanta (Drew Smyly, 2-2)…
the L.A. Dodgers (Trevor Bauer, 4-2) host Arizona (Riley Smith, 1-3)
Tampa Bay (Rich Hill, 2-1) is at Baltimore (Dean Kremer, 0-3)…
Texas (Dane Dunning, 2-3) hosts the N.Y. Yankees (Domingo German, 3-2)…
Houston (Luis Garcia, 1-3) is at Oakland (Cole Irvin, 3-4)…
the L.A. Angels (Griffin Canning, 3-2; Dylan Bundy, 0-5) host Minnesota (Lewis Thorpe, 1-0; Jose Berrios, 3-2) for a doubleheader…
Boston (Nick Pivetta, 5-0) is at Toronto (Steven Matz, 5-2) in Dunedin, FL
CALGARY 6 – Vancouver 2… Matthew Tkachuk netted a pair of goals to lead the Flames past the Canucks in the NHL’s regular-season finale. Derek Ryan set up three goals.
BOSTON 3 – Washington 2 (2OT)… Craig Smith scored 5:48 into the second overtime to lift the Bruins over the Capitals and give Boston a 2-1 lead in the East Division first-round playoff series. Brad Marchand’s power-play goal tied the game midway through the third period. Game 4 is tomorrow in Boston.
CAROLINA 3 – Nashville 0… Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic stopped all 32 shots as the Hurricanes blanked the Predators to take a 2-0 lead in the Central Division first-round playoff series. Sebastian Aho found the net twice. Game 3 is tomorrow in Raleigh.
Winnipeg 4 – EDMONTON 1… The Jets scored three unanswered goals in the third period to put away the Oilers in the opener of the North Division first-round playoff series. Dominic Toninato netted the go-ahead goal. Connor Helleybuyck made 32 saves at goal. Game 2 is tomorrow in Edmonton.
COLORADO 6 – St. Louis 3… Nathan MacKinnon scored three goals and assisted on another as the Avalanche doubled up on the Blues to take a 2-0 lead in the West Division first-round playoff series. Joonas Donskoi added two goals and an assist. The series shifts to St. Louis for Game 3 tomorrow.
TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE…
Florida is at Tampa Bay for Game 3 of the Central Division first-round playoff series with the Lightning leading 2-0…
the N.Y. Islanders host Pittsburgh for Game 3 of the East Division first-round playoff series with the series tied 1-1…
Montreal is at Toronto for Game 1 of the North Division first-round playoff series…
Minnesota hosts Vegas for Game 3 of the West Division first-round playoff series with the series tied 1-1