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Doc Rivers signs five-year contract extension with Celtics

NEWSWIRE

The 49-year-old returns to the Celtics after saying earlier this season he planned to take a break from coaching.

May 13, 2011|Staff and wire reports

Doc Rivers agreed to a five-year contract extension that would not only give him another run at an NBA title as coach of the Celtics, but also could keep him in Boston to help rebuild the franchise when the Big Three era is done.

"I think Doc is the best coach in the league. So it's great for us," General Manager Danny Ainge said. "There's nobody I'd rather have as my coach than Doc."

Rivers' contract was set to expire — he had an option for next season — and he said after the Celtics were eliminated by the Miami Heat on Wednesday night that he was "leaning heavily" toward coming back. But he was expected to return on a short-term deal to make one more run at a title with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Instead, the five-year contract worth a reported $35 million would give him the chance to lead the franchise with a rebuilt roster that probably won't include any of those three stars.

Rivers has coached the Celtics for the last seven seasons, winning the NBA title in 2008 and reaching the Finals in 2010 before losing in seven games to the Lakers.

BASEBALL

Killebrew ends cancer fight

Harmon Killebrew announced that he no longer plans to fight his esophageal cancer and has settled in for the final days of his life, saddening friends and fans of the 74-year-old Hall of Fame slugger.

In a statement released jointly by the Minnesota Twins and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Killebrew said "it is with profound sadness" that he will no longer receive treatment for the "awful disease."

He said the cancer has been deemed incurable by his doctors and he will enter hospice care.

"With the continued love and support of my wife, Nita, I have exhausted all options," Killebrew said. He added: "I have spent the past decade of my life promoting hospice care and educating people on its benefits. I am very comfortable taking this next step and experiencing the compassionate care that hospice provides."

ETC.

Murray Handicap is Saturday

Acclamation and Haimish Hy are expected to lead the charge in Saturday's $150,000 Jim Murray Handicap at Hollywood Park. The Grade II race is on turf at 1½ miles and will be run as the third race of the card, starting at about 2 p.m.

By winning, the 5-year-old Acclamation can become the second repeat winner of the Murray, which is named for the late Times sports columnist and has been contested since 1990, missing only in 2009.

Acclamation, trained by Don Warren, won the Murray and the Grade I Charlie Whittingham three weeks later at Hollywood Park and has run out of the money in his four races after that. Joel Rosario, currently the second-leading rider in the country, has replaced Christian Santiago Reyes on Acclamation, who won by a record 7½ lengths last year.

The only other dual winner of the Murray is On the Acorn, who won in 2007 and '08.

Haimish Hy will be a close second choice. He won the Grade I Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park last November, under Garrett Gomez, and will be ridden Saturday by Mike Smith.

Acclamation will carry 119 pounds, Haimish Hy 117. The other entries are Falcon Rock, Buenos Dias, Restless Soul and All Saint.

— Bill Dwyre

The long-running Los Angeles Open golf tournament, reenergized in 2008 by title sponsor Northern Trust, will carry the financial firm's banner through 2016. The announcement that Northern Trust would extend its sponsorship for four more years was made by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who also announced the addition of former Lakers star Jerry West as the tournament's executive director.

The tournament has been an L.A. fixture since 1926 and moved permanently to Riviera Country Club in 1973. Since Northern Trust assumed the title sponsor role, it has raised more than $5 million for local charities, according to tournament officials.

— Bill Dwyre

Chris Wood shot a five-under-par 65 and led the European Tour's Iberdrola Open by three shots at eight-under 132 after the second round at Son Servera, Spain. Matthew Nixon of England and Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, who both shot 70, were tied for second.

Rafael Nadal will keep the No. 1 ranking for at least another three weeks after his 6-1, 6-3 victory over Marin Cilic in the Italian Open quarterfinals at Rome. Novak Djokovic also reached the last four, extending his winning streak to 37 matches with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Robin Soderling. Djokovic's semifinal opponent will be fourth-ranked Andy Murray, and Nadal will face Richard Gasquet. Top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki defeated Jelena Jankovic, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, and will face Maria Sharapova in the women's semifinals. Li Na beat Greta Arn, 6-3, 6-1, and will face Sam Stosur. … Venus Williams pulled out of the French Open 24 hours after her younger sister Serena withdrew, making it the first Grand Slam tournament since 2003 without either Williams sister.

Sweden and Finland advanced to the final of the ice hockey world championship at Bratislava, Slovakia. The Swedes got two goals from St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund in a 5-2 victory over the Czech Republic, the defending champion. Finland beat Russia, 3-0.

The No. 3-seeded UCLA women's water polo team beat No. 6 Indiana, 8-5, in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Ann Arbor, Mich. The Bruins (25-6) will face No. 2 California in the semifinals Saturday. No. 4 USC also advanced with a 14-9 win over UC Irvine. The Trojans (19-6) next face No. 1 Stanford.

Kyle Busch won the NASCAR truck race at Dover, Del, his third victory in the series this season. Cole Whitt finished second.

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