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Allen ready for his return to Boston - with Heat

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Allen ready for his return to Boston - with Heat

MIAMI (AP) Ray Allen has played in Boston as an opponent 15 times before. He knows what it's like to play under the fabled Celtics banners, knows exactly how the crowd treats visiting players.

His 16th appearance there as a visitor will be substantially different.

Not only will his trip there Sunday be his first as a former Celtic, but it will come with him donning the colors of perhaps the team's biggest rival these days, the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat, the club that has ousted Boston from the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

And make no mistake, Allen has been getting ready for everything that will accompany this trip for quite a while.

``I've thought about it,'' Allen said. ``I think more about who, family-wise, is going, who can go and sorting the whole protocol out. I don't know what to expect from their side. But it's an interesting concept because I've always gotten a warm welcome, even before I started playing there. I just want to win. Everything else will take care of itself.''

When he played there as an opponent in the past, Allen typically got warm receptions. He starred at Connecticut and has deep roots in New England, and those two things go a long way in generating respect from the Boston fan base.

Then he joined the Celtics in the summer of 2007. A year later, he helped them win a championship. He bled green.

Now, not so much.

So on a Sunday afternoon before a national television audience, the big story won't be the return of the Heat to the site of their season-saving Game 6 win in the Eastern Conference finals last year, or the first trip back to Boston for LeBron James since his epic 45-point virtuoso performance in that game, or even the memory of how Celtics fans cheered wildly for the last few minutes of that blowout loss as a ``thank you'' to their team.

``It's going to be all about Ray,'' Heat forward Chris Bosh said. ``Celtic fans, they're very fixated on the rivalry and `How could you do that?' They're very passionate.''

Allen's relationship with the Celtics broke down in some respects last season, and when the Heat made him an offer last summer, he eventually accepted - knowing it would raise the ire of those back in Boston.

When the Celtics visited the Heat on opening night this season, the proof of the frosty relationships was there. Former teammates, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce especially, seemed to want nothing to do with Allen. As Allen checked into the game, his first official appearance as a Miami player, he approached Celtics coach Doc Rivers and got a warm embrace.

It's anyone's guess what the scene will be when he checks in Sunday.

``I'll savor it, going back and seeing the people you spent so much time with,'' Allen said. ``But if you're going into a situation thinking about negative perceptions or behavior that's unbecoming of good sportsmanship, then you just want to get it over with, win the game and get out of there. I don't want it to distract these guys from everybody doing their job and being ready to play.''

The bigger concern for both sides will likely be the way each club is playing of late.

Miami has won four straight games, hanging on to the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston has dropped six straight, and its hold on the No. 8 - and final - playoff spot in the East race is weakening.

Dwyane Wade doesn't think the teams' opposite trajectories will matter much. The way he sees it, when Boston plays Miami, everything gets amped up several notches.

``There's a lot of stories, but you can throw records out the window when we play Boston,'' Wade said. ``It's significant because we have Ray Allen and it's his first time back, but we're going on the road and we want to play well and it's a tough place to play.''

The Heat have been through these former-star-returns-to-old-home games before - most notably when James went back to Cleveland for the first time after he decided to sign with Miami.

After that scene, the Heat say they're prepared for anything Boston can offer.

``They're not going to cheer him, but it's not going to be like that,'' Wade said. ``Not even close.''

Gonzaga fends off DeMatha in WCAC championship rematch

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Chad Ricardo

Gonzaga fends off DeMatha in WCAC championship rematch

In Saturday's match-up of the 2018 WCAC championship, Gonzaga came out ahead again - this time beating DeMatha 28-26.

Gonzaga broke up DeMatha's attempt at a 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game.

Caleb Williams finished with four touchdowns for the Eagles. In 2018, the Eagles beat DeMatha on a legendary Hail Mary pass from Williams to receiver John Marshall.

 

 

 

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Houston Astros beat New York Yankees in 6 games to win AL pennant, will play Washington Nationals in World Series

Houston Astros beat New York Yankees in 6 games to win AL pennant, will play Washington Nationals in World Series

HOUSTON (AP) -- Jose Altuve homered off Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth inning and the Houston Astros outlasted the New York Yankees 6-4 Saturday night to advance to the World Series for the second time in three years.

In a bullpen game with a back-and-forth finish, DJ LeMahieu hit a tying, two-run shot off Astros closer Roberto Osuna in the top of the ninth. Altuve answered with a two-run drive to left-center, setting off a wild celebration at Minute Maid Park and earning himself AL Championship Series MVP.

"Beautiful game," Altuve said. 

Astros ace Gerrit Cole was waiting to pitch a potential Game 7 on Sunday. Instead, the postseason star -- undefeated since May 22 -- could be lined up for Game 1 at home against the NL champion Washington Nationals on Tuesday night. 

Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and flashy outfield defense helped Houston's relievers defeat the Yankees and their vaunted bullpen. 

It almost fell apart in the ninth. Gio Urshela singled off Osuna leading off for his third hit of the game, and LeMahieu put a ball into the first row of seats in right field -- inches over the glove of leaping George Springer -- to tie it at 4. 

Altuve, a 5-foot-6 sparkplug touted as Houston's heart and soul, didn't let this one get away.

"I get asked to describe Jose Altuve all the time," manager AJ Hinch said. "I think MVP is what he is." 

The teams combined to use 14 pitchers in a game that lasted 4 hours, 9 minutes. 

Houston's bullpen got a lift from flashy outfield defense. Right fielder Josh Reddick dived for Brett Gardner's liner for the second out of the sixth. An inning later, left fielder Michael Brantley laid out for Aaron Hicks' shallow floater and doubled off Aaron Judge at first. 

Gurriel, a holdover from Houston's 2017 championship team, was 1 for 20 to start the ALCS before his drive in the first inning. The shot into the Crawford Boxes was his first connection this postseason. 

It's the third time Houston has eliminated New York in the past five postseasons. The Astros won the 2015 wild-card game in the Bronx and beat the Yankees in seven games in the 2017 ALCS before winning their first title. 

Washington is seeking its first championship in the 51-season history of the Montreal Expos/Nationals franchise. The original Washington Senators won their only championship for the nation's capital in 1924 and last reached the World Series in 1933 before becoming the Minnesota Twins for the 1961 season.

Gary Sanchez had an RBI single in the second and Urshela homered in the fourth. 

Alex Bregman gave the Astros an insurance run with an RBI on a forceout in the sixth inning. 

Brantley's double play elicited one of the loudest ovations of the night -- before Altuve's blast -- from the sellout crowd of 43,357 which included Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Craig Biggio and Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who watched from the front row in personalized orange Astros jerseys.

New York lost its fourth straight ALCS after falling in 2010, 2012 and 2017. The Yankees will go without a World Series appearance in a calendar decade for the first time since the 1910s.

Altuve doubled off opener Chad Green with one out in the first inning and Bregman drew a walk with two outs. After a short visit to the mound, Gurriel knocked the next pitch into the seats in left field for a 3-0 lead. The runs were Houston's first with two outs in the series. 

Houston had been 4 for 40 with runners in scoring position before that big swing. 

Brad Peacock, who threw eight pitches in a scoreless eighth inning Friday night, became the fourth pitcher ever to finish a postseason game and then start the next day, and the first since 1924. 

He needed seven pitches to retire the side in the first before running into trouble with two outs in the second. Josh James ended the inning by striking out Gardner. 

Ryan Pressly had another gutsy escape, too. He hurt his right knee again fielding a bases-loaded grounder by Didi Gregorius but limped over to tag him for the final out of the third. Pressly, who grimaced as he went toward the dugout after one pitch, had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee on Aug. 22 and returned Sept. 20. Pressly also got two strikeouts with the bases loaded in Game 4.