DENVER — With bags on his back, Nikola Jokic playfully swerved his way through the crowd of family and friends gathered at the airport terminal.

The Denver Nuggets finally returned home after their longer-than-many-anticipated stay inside the NBA bubble.

Arriving with them, a new reputation — the comeback crew.

The Nuggets overcame a pair of 3-1 series deficits in advancing to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2009. Their extended stay at Disney in Florida ended when LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers sent them packing after Game 5.

Still, they accomplished something historical in becoming

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PARIS — Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez rallied for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over No. 31 seed Magda Linette of Poland in her main-draw debut at the French Open on Monday.

The 18-year-old from Laval, Que., won the girls’ tournament at the clay-court Grand Slam last year before rising to the women’s ranks.

“I’m actually pretty pleased with myself with the win today,” said Fernandez.

“I’ve been having some success in the past few years here in Paris and I was just trying to use that energy and that positive vibe that I feel over here and push through in

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Unbeaten Edmonton middleweight K.B. (The Bengal) Bhullar has signed with the UFC and will make his debut with the promotion Oct. 10 against England’s Tom Breese.

The fight is on a televised card in Abu Dhabi.

Bhullar (8-0-0) was slated to compete on Dana White’s Contender Series but makes the jump straight to the UFC.

The 28-year-old is coming off a decision win over former UFC fighter Matt Dwyer.

Bhullar, a former Unified MMA champion, trains with Alberta’s Tanner (The Bulldozer) Boser, currently ranked 15th among UFC heavyweight contenders.

He cornered Boser in July for a bout at Fight Island

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For a driver like Valtteri Bottas, it must be tough to see your Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton grace the top step of the podium nearly every race week.

The Briton, who is chasing a record-equalling seventh world title, is also aiming to win and match Michael Schumacher’s 91 Grand Prix triumphs.

Hamilton has repeatedly held the edge over the field in recent years, extracting the full potential of a dominant Mercedes car.

So commanding the Silver Arrow machine has been since 2014 that anybody driving as Hamilton’s team-mate should be finishing second in the championship with ease.

But it hasn’t

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Jake Nerwinski felt he and his Vancouver Whitecaps teammates played well Sunday night — they just didn’t play well enough to win.

The ‘Caps (5-9-0) dropped a 1-0 decision to the Portland Timbers, extending the club’s losing skid to two games.

“Sometimes that’s how soccer goes — you play well and you lose 1-0,” Nerwinski said after the game. “But it’s something that we can definitely build off of going forward.”

Despite the final score, the game was something of a bounce back for Vancouver, coming after an ugly 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Los Angeles

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Bam Adebayo scored a career-high 32 points while grabbing 14 rebounds and dropping five dimes as the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics 125-113 Sunday evening to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.

Awaiting Miami will be a familiar face in LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, who closed out the Denver Nuggets in five games Saturday.

The NBA Finals will begin Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Miami last made the NBA Finals with James still in the lineup as part of the celebrated team that made four straight Finals and won two,

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LAS VEGAS — Two decades of heartbreak at his home track finally ended for Kurt Busch when a little bit of luck fell his way at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Busch happened to be the leader when a late caution Sunday night jumbled the field and put him in control of his 0-for-21 losing streak in his hometown. He had three magnificent restarts, including one in overtime, to steal a vital playoff race.

The good timing helped Busch sneak his way into the third round of the NASCAR Cup playoffs. He had been ranked last among the 12 title contenders

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NEW ORLEANS — Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers sounds increasingly enamoured with the scheme and play-calling philosophy of second-year head coach Matt LaFleur.

The Packers are unbeaten and putting up some of the best offensive numbers in the NFL. So why not?

Rodgers passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns, and the Packers scored 10 points in the final nine minutes to pull out a 37-30 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night.

“We’ve gotten in a good flow,” Rodgers said. “I feel so much more comfortable in the offence this year, and I think Matt has really

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