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NBA Finals ratings highest since Jordan's last title

CLEVELAND (AP) — The first two games of the NBA Finals are the most-watched since Michael Jordan's final championship in 1998.

Despite two lopsided outcomes, Golden State's two home wins over Cleveland averaged 19.6 million viewers, according to numbers released Monday by the Nielsen company.

That's an increase of 5 percent from the 18.6 million average in 2016.

The Warriors' 132-113 victory on Sunday drew an average of 20.1 million viewers, up 13 percent from Game 2 last year and the most for a Game 2 since Chicago and Utah met in 1998. The telecast peaked with 23.1 million viewers.

This is the first time two teams have met three straight times in the NBA Finals.

Cavs not making any lineup changes for Game 3

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says he's not making any lineup changes for Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Despite the Cavs being down 2-0 to Golden State after being roughed up in the first two games of the series, Lue said he's sticking with his starters, including guard J.R. Smith, who has scored just 3 points so far.

Lue is adamant if the Cavs stay with their game plan and play better they can get back in the series. One of the options for Lue was to start Iman Shumpert, who came off the bench and provided quality minutes in Game 2.

The Cavs were in a similar spot last year, when they were blown out in Games 1 and 2 by a combined 48 points before they returned home and won Game 3 and then rallied from a 3-1 deficit to their first title.

Smith says the Cavs remain confident despite Golden State's dominance.

Rangers trade struggling reliever Sam Dyson to Giants

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers have traded Sam Dyson to the San Francisco Giants less than a week after the struggling reliever was designated for assignment.

Texas announced during Tuesday night's game against the New York Mets that Dyson was being sent to the Giants for a player to be named or cash. The Rangers also will pay part of the remaining portion of Dyson's $3.52 million salary this season.

Dyson was the closer for the Rangers last season when they won their second consecutive AL West title, and a key reliever for Team USA when it won the World Baseball Classic in March. But he lost the closer role in Texas a month into the season.

The Rangers decided to designate Dyson for assignment after the right-hander gave up two homers and three runs in the 10th inning of a home loss to Tampa Bay last Wednesday. He was 1-6 with a 10.80 ERA in 17 appearances for Texas this season, and blew all four of his save opportunities.

Downtown packed for Stanley Cup Final debut in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Nashville Predators and their fans finally have the game they've been waiting so very long to host.

The first Stanley Cup Final not only in the franchise's history, but also the first major league championship game ever played in Tennessee with Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

Nashville shut down a chunk of Broadway where the honky tonks and bars line the street for a free concert by country superstar Alan Jackson. Fans packed shoulder to shoulder nearly an hour before Jackson's concert with the street then being used for an outdoor viewing party.

Predators forward Harry Zolnierczyk says the atmosphere was crazy through the first three rounds of the playoffs and now sees Nashville revamping everything downtown. He says the Predators are excited for Game 3.

The defending champion Penguins lead the best-of-seven series 2-0.

Arrogate likely to return in San Diego Handicap at Del Mar

DEL MAR (AP) — Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate is likely to return to racing after a four-month break in the San Diego Handicap on July 22 at Del Mar.

Trainer Bob Baffert said Monday he'll bring Arrogate to Del Mar for the summer. The 4-year-old colt could make three consecutive starts at the seaside track north of San Diego.

After the San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles, Arrogate could run in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 19 and the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 4. The Pacific Classic and BC Classic are both 1 ¼-mile races.

Del Mar officials have increased the purse for the San Diego Handicap to $300,000 if Arrogate runs in the Grade 2 race. Otherwise, the purse would be $200,000.

Arrogate has won seven straight races and earned a North American record of $17,084,600. The gray colt has been off since winning in Dubai on March 25.

He missed last year's Triple Crown series because of injury. After winning a minor race at Del Mar last August, Arrogate won the Travers at Saratoga, the BC Classic at Santa Anita, the $12 million Pegasus Cup at Gulfstream and the Dubai World Cup.

Del Mar's summer meet opens July 19.

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