Rockets star James Harden was diagnosed with strep throat, but is still expected to play Friday night in Game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Houston. Harden had what the team called flulike symptoms Wednesday, but he scored 31 points with seven 3-pointers to lead the Rockets to a 107-100 win in Game 5. The team said Harden was treated by doctors Thursday afternoon. The Rockets have cut the lead in the series to 3-2 and are trying to become the first team in NBA history to win a best-of-seven playoff series after trailing, 3-0 . . . Golden State coach Mark Jackson was fined $25,000 by the league for making public comments in an attempt to influence the officiating in the Warriors’ playoff series with the Denver Nuggets . . . The Minnesota Timberwolves announced that owner Glen Taylor has decided not to pick up the option next season on David Kahn’s contract as president of basketball operations. Three people with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press that Taylor is putting the finishing touches on a deal to hire Flip Saunders as Kahn’s replacement. Saunders coached the Wolves from 1995-2005 . . . Phil Jackson will help the Detroit Pistons search for a head coach. The Pistons said that Jackson will serve as an adviser.
Rays pitchers fined along with umpire
Major League Baseball fined umpire Tom Hallion and Tampa Bay pitchers David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, and Matt Moore for their dust-up last weekend. Each of the pitchers was fined $1,000. It was unknown how much Hallion was docked. Hallion was the plate umpire and crew chief during a game Sunday at Chicago against the White Sox when Price thought he missed a pitch. They exchanged words and the AL Cy Young winner accused Hallion of directing an expletive at him while he walked off the field. Hallion called Price a ‘‘liar’’ after the game . . . Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain has a strained oblique on his right side and will be put on the disabled list retroactive to April 28. He’ll become the 10th player on New York’s DL.
SEC, ESPN reach 20-year agreement
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN announced a 20-year agreement to operate an SEC network that is scheduled to debut in August 2014. SEC commissioner Mike Slive said the SEC network will produce 1,000 live events each year, including 450 televised on the network and 550 distributed digitally. Slive says the network will carry approximately 45 SEC football games each year ‘‘and a depth of content across all sports.’’ No financial terms were released for the deal, which continues through 2034 . . . The NCAA’s board of directors suspended four of the recruiting rules it passed in January and decided to keep the sliding scale for academic eligibility indefinitely. The board also recognized the reformed Big East Conference as a multi-sport league
McKinnie re-signs with the Ravens
General manager Ozzie Newsome said the Ravens agreed to a two-year deal to re-sign offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie. The 33-year-old McKinnie is an 11-year veteran who has played the last two seasons with Baltimore. He played his first nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings . . . Warren Sapp will become the newest member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor. The four-time All Pro defensive tackle will be honored Nov. 11 at Raymond James Stadium.
Wescott sets sights on Olympics
Two-time Olympic snowboardcross champion Seth Wescott told the Portland Press Herald he hopes to resume snowboarding in November and to be ready for the Sochi Olympics in Russia in February. Westcott, from Maine, is recovering in Utah after surgery April 23 to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee . . . Chris MacKenzie, an 11-year veteran, was hired as women’s hockey coach at the University of Connecticut. He'll succeed Heather Linstad, who resigned in March after serving as the team’s only coach since it was established in 2000 . . . Ricardo Portillo, 46, a longtime Utah soccer referee, is in a coma after being punched by a 17-year-old recreational league player unhappy with one of his calls. Portillo has swelling in his brain and his recovery is uncertain as he remains in critical condition, Dr. Shawn Smith said Thursday at the Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray. Police said the teen punched Portillo after the man called a foul on him and issued him a yellow card. The teen has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault . . . Denny Hamlin received medical clearance to return this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Hamlin missed four races after sustaining a compression fracture of a vertebra in his lower back in a last-lap accident at California March 24.