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Cards ace Wainwright on 15-day DL, could be out much longer

Sun, 04/26/2015 - 11:30pm

Adam Wainwright was a cheerleader on the St. Louis Cardinals' 2011 World Series title team, out the entire year following reconstructive elbow surgery, suiting up and slapping fives in the dugout.

The staff ace of the NL Central leaders might be reduced to that status again from an injury that came with him batting.

The two-time 20-game winner was set to undergo an MRI exam Monday to determine the extent of an injury to his left Achilles and ankle. He's already on the 15-day disabled list and the team was bracing for bad news, leaving the 6-foot-7 right-hander to put a brave face on a dire scenario.

"There's nothing I can do about it, so might as well not be nervous about it or worried about it," Wainwright said after Sunday's 6-3 loss at Milwaukee. "Worry doesn't do anybody any good."

The 33-year-old Wainwright had to be helped off the field after getting injured stumbling out of the batter's box after popping out in the fifth inning Saturday, saying the "foot just shut down on me."

"Unfortunately, it is not great news," general manager John Mozeliak said in a video on the Cardinals' website. "Any way you slice it, he is going to be missed for a while and potentially losing the season is very real."

Several published reports said the Cardinals expect Wainwright to be out for the season. Manager Mike Matheny would only say the pitcher will be examined when the team returns to St. Louis.

"I don't like to speculate until you have the full information, but if you ask me how I feel ... not good," Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "All those rumors floating around seem to have some validity to them."

Lefty Marco Gonzales, coming off a strong finish to his rookie season, is the likely long-term rotation replacement. But the 23-year-old Gonzales is also on the DL at Triple-A Memphis with tightness in his shoulder after making three minor league starts.

"I don't think he's going to be ready right out of the box, but not-too-far future I think he's going to be an option," Matheny said.

Other possibilities for Thursday's start at home against Philadelphia are middle reliever Carlos Villanueva and minor leaguers Tyler Lyons, Tim Cooney and Zach Petrick. Lyons pitched with St. Louis last year.

"I'll just cover the whole thing and say we're looking at everybody and try to think long-term, try to think short-term and have a long list of guys that we think could come in here and help us out," Matheny said.

Several top pitchers have missed much or all of a season in recent years, among them Matt Harvey, Yu Darvish, Jose Fernandez and Zack Wheeler. None of that group were sidelined because of hitting.

Wainwright, who is 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts, was hurt a few days after Washington ace Max Scherzer injured his thumb batting. Those kind of incidents are likely to ramp up the long AL vs. NL debate on the designated hitter, as in whether it's worth having pitchers bat.

The three-time All-Star is 121-67 for St. Louis, and was their star closer in place of injured Jason Isringhausen in 2006 when they won the World Series.

Helped by Wainwright, the Cardinals have reached the National League Championship Series in each of the last four seasons. They lost to Boston in the 2013 World Series.

"You have to move beyond it," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before Sunday's game. "A couple years ago, we lost our 3, 4, 5 hitters for the year. The season-ending ones are tough."

Before Sunday's loss, Matheny said any length of time without Wainwright would be tough.

"I think the test is going to be, with Adam, and everyone in here can see, the difference in our attitude," Matheny said. "We treasure every win we have, but it was different in here last night. We're just going to hopefully let the guys go back out there and play."

"They had a little time to think about some of this and the response and the answer is, we knew that some tests were going to come. And, this is a big one that we're getting early. Let's see what we're made of."

Like Michael Wacha before him, Gonzales made it to the majors less than a year after being drafted in the first round. He was in the running for the fifth starter spot in spring training along with Carlos Martinez and Jaime Garcia but began the year as the opening day starter in Memphis.

Garcia had the inside track on the fifth spot before experiencing a setback in his comeback from thoracic outlet surgery and he's also on the DL, working his way back.

Lance Lynn, the losing pitcher Sunday, said there was no extra pressure to step up and fill Wainwright's shoes.

"No," Lynn said, "we've just got to be ourselves."

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AP stringer Jim Hoehn contributed to this report.

Wall, Beal lead Wiz past Raptors 125-94 in Game 4 for sweep

Sun, 04/26/2015 - 6:27pm

WASHINGTON (AP) When Paul Pierce headed to the sideline with the Wizards leading the Raptors by 23 points in the third quarter, making Game 4 - and the series - all but over, he saw a standing ovation and waved, requesting more noise.

With Pierce helping show his younger teammates how to win, Washington emphatically completed the first sweep of a seven-game series in club history. And just as Pierce had hoped, the Wizards won't need to pull out their passports again.

The Wizards finished off the Raptors in four games by winning 125-94 Sunday night to quickly close the first-round Eastern Conference series, getting 21 points and 11 rebounds from Marcin Gortat, and 14 points and 10 assists from John Wall.

Six Wizards scored in double figures, including Bradley Beal with 23 points and Pierce with 14, and that duo made seven of the Wizards' team playoff-record 15 3-pointers.

After both Games 2 and 3, Pierce - the 37-year-old with an NBA championship ring from his days in Boston - declared that he didn't want to have to deal with going through U.S. Customs again, a reference to wanting to avoid having to travel back to Toronto for Game 5.

Not a problem.

Washington led by 16 in the first quarter, 20 in the second and by a whopping 32 - 102-70 - entering the fourth.

Washington has reached the second round of the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since getting to the NBA Finals in 1979, a year after winning the title. And the sellout crowd of 20,356 kept rising to cheer every made 3, salute every player who left for a substitute, yell "Sweep! Sweep!" - and, in not-so-diplomatic moments, occasionally chant "USA! USA!"

Next up for the No. 5 seed Wizards will be No. 1 Atlanta or No. 8 Brooklyn. Those teams play their Game 4 on Monday, with the Hawks up 2-1.

Toronto went 3-0 against Washington in the regular season, but failed to find any consistency from quarter to quarter in the playoffs. Kyle Lowry kept finding himself in foul trouble - he picked up his third midway through the first quarter Sunday - and shot poorly. He scored 21 in Game 4, while DeMar DeRozan had 14.

Otto Porter, who played college basketball in the same arena for Georgetown, heard choruses of his first and last names when he entered late in first quarter and again after he made a corner 3 in the second. On defense, he gave DeRozan fits, inducing a stepback jumper that barely touched the rim, then drawing an offensive foul.

The No. 4 seed Raptors extended their history of brief postseasons: Their past five trips ended with first-round exits.

The Wizards are experiencing a revival of sorts, led in large part by Wall, the No. 1 overall pick the 2010 draft and an All-Star the past two seasons.

Washington won 46 games this season, the first time the club topped 45 since it was known as the Bullets in 1979, back before anyone on the current roster other than Pierce had been born - and he was only about 18 months old at the time.

The Wizards led by as many 16 points in the first quarter and ended it ahead 36-22, despite taking about half as many shots as the Raptors. But Washington made 13 of 15 free throws, while Toronto took only one foul shot.

Weathering a mini-run by the Raptors, the Wizards closed the half up 66-50. Gortat was a major reason, delivering 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting, along with eight rebounds.

After Gortat made one basket while getting fouled, Wall jumped up and down on the sideline, twirling a red towel overhead. Then he sauntered out onto the court to chest bump Gortat and whip the towel at him playfully.

---

TIP-INS

Raptors: Toronto has never won a best-of-seven series. The only time the Raptors advanced was in a five-game series against the Knicks in 2001. ... Toronto's record for a postseason margin of defeat is 33 points, a 121-88 loss to Philadelphia in 2001.

Wizards: Washington last eliminated an opponent from the playoffs without dropping a game all the way back in 1982, when it "swept" a best-of-three series 2-0. ... Through the game's first 1 1/2 quarters, Beal had 15 points - only one fewer than Toronto's starting five combined.

Canadiens advance with 2-0 win over Senators

Sun, 04/26/2015 - 6:14pm

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Carey Price made 43 saves, Brendan Gallagher scored in the first period, and the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-0 Sunday night to advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs.

Max Pacioretty sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 1 second remaining.

Montreal won the best-of-seven series in six games, but lost two in a row after taking a 3-0 series lead - and Ottawa nearly sent it to a deciding seventh game.

Price, nominated for the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie, rebounded after allowing five goals in Game 5 with a masterful effort as the Senators outshot the Canadiens 43-20.

Montreal, which reached the Eastern Conference finals last spring, is in the second round for a second consecutive year for the first time since 1992 and `93.

Paul, Clippers even series with 114-105 win over Spurs

Sun, 04/26/2015 - 3:39pm

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Chris Paul had 34 points and seven assists, Blake Griffin added 20 points and 19 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the San Antonio Spurs 114-105 on Sunday to even their first-round series at two games apiece.

J.J. Redick scored 17 points for the Clippers and Austin Rivers provided an unexpected boost off the bench with a postseason career-high 16 points.

The Clippers, who bounced back from a 100-73 loss in Game 3, host Game 5 on Tuesday. This is the only series that is tied after four games.

Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points, Tim Duncan had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Tony Parker added 18 points, but Paul proved too much.

Paul hit jumpers over Parker and Duncan in scoring six straight points for the Clippers beginning midway through the fourth quarter. He then drove the lane and kicked out to Redick, who drained a 3-pointer for a 106-92 lead.

Leonard followed with consecutive 3s to pull within 106-98, but Paul settled the Clippers with a pair of free throws.

The game grew tense in the opening minutes as Parker hit the floor on a drive and screamed for a foul on Paul, yelling, "I'm bleeding! I'm bleeding!" and pointing to a cut along his left eyebrow. Parker and San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich's tirades led Paul to scream for a technical that wasn't called.

"It's the champs, so no tech," Paul said.

Paul charged into Duncan off an inbounds two possessions later, drawing a blocking foul on the Spurs veteran. Both players stared angrily at each other, with Duncan rising and telling an official, "He kicked me! He kicked me!" after the foul.

The exchanges energized the lethargic Spurs, especially Parker, who keyed a run. Parker, who was limited to 17 points on 7-for-28 shooting in the first three games, had eight points in the opening 8 minutes.

Paul didn't need any added incentive, pushing his way into the chest of every defender the Spurs threw at him large or small to clear space for drives and mid-range jumpers.

The Spurs never trailed in Game 3, but DeAndre Jordan staked the Clippers to a 6-0 lead Sunday. He blocked the game's initial shot, a 13-foot jumper by Leonard near its apex and scored the Clippers first points on an alley-oop dunk. Jordan later set a jarring pick that dropped Leonard to the court and freed Redick for a layup to close the early run.

Jordan finished with six points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots.

TIP-INS

Clippers: The Clippers are 8-3 all-time in Game 4 of a best-of-seven series, but have never won a series after losing Game 3 when the series is tied 1-1. ... Jordan has 10 postseason games with at least 14 rebounds.

Spurs: Duncan became the first player in league history to play 9,000 minutes in the postseason. He also played in his 238th career postseason game, breaking a tie with Kevin Garnett for third all-time.

Cavs' Kevin Love out after hurting shoulder in first quarter

Sun, 04/26/2015 - 3:16pm

BOSTON (AP) Kevin Love dislocated his left shoulder Sunday on what he said was a "bush-league" play.

Cleveland's power forward was injured in the first quarter of the Cavaliers' 101-93 victory that completed a four-game sweep when he and Boston's Kelly Olynyk chased a loose ball into the left corner after Jae Crowder of the Celtics missed a 3-pointer.

Olynyk's right arm became entangled with Love's left arm. Love then grabbed his arm and kept running toward the Cleveland bench before going to the locker room, where he iced his shoulder. Olynyk was charged with a non-shooting foul.

"I thought it was a bush-league play," Love said after the game while wearing a sling.

"I have no doubt in my mind that he did it on purpose," Love said. "Olynyk was in a compromising position, had no chance to get the ball, and it was just too bad that he would go to those lengths to take somebody out of a game."

Boston coach Brad Stevens didn't think Olynyk hurt Love on purpose.

"That's not the type of person he is," Stevens said. "I hope Kevin's OK to play, whenever they play next, because you want everybody out there to finish the game."

Love said he intends on returning to the playoffs this season and wants the NBA to review the play.

"Oh, the league will take a look at it," he said, "and it better be swift and just."

The Cavaliers said Love would return to Cleveland with the team and receive additional examination, imaging and evaluation at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health over the next 24 hours before his status is updated.

Love averaged 18.3 points in the first three games and scored the first basket Sunday.

The Cavaliers would be off until at least Saturday before opening the Eastern Conference semifinals against either Chicago or Milwaukee. The Bulls lead that series 3-1.

Embarrassed early, Blackhawks hit their stride just in time

Sat, 04/25/2015 - 11:58pm

CHICAGO (AP) It smacks of desperation. And it's more a hunch than a real strategy.

But when pressed, most coaches will admit few things motivate pro athletes better than embarrassing them.

Ask the Chicago Blackhawks, who overcame another big first-period deficit and then a goalie swap for the second time against the Nashville Predators. The result was another 4-3 win Saturday night that closed out their first-round playoff series in six games and left Chicago awaiting the winner of the Minnesota-St. Louis matchup.

As they had for most of the series, the Blackhawks started sloppy and paid the price. Predators winger James Neal notched two quick goals, and then teammate Matt Cullen picked defenseman Duncan Keith's pocket along the left boards and put Nashville ahead 3-1 just past the midway mark in the first.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, experiencing something very much like deja vu, had seen enough. In the opening game of the series at Nashville, he pulled Corey Crawford after he gave up three goals on just 12 shots and replaced him with rookie Scott Darling. The Hawks roared back from a 3-0 deficit to win in double overtime.

After Darling started Game 6 by surrendering three goals on the same number of shots, Quenneville pulled the switch again. Chicago didn't need any extra periods to shake the Predators this time. It was 3-3 by the end of the first.

"It's never a situation you want to be in, but you might be right that it's a wake-up call," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. "We know we can't hang our goaltenders out to dry the way we have numerous times in this series."

"But when we get that first or second goal, especially at home," he added, "I think there's that feeling across our lineup that we can take control of a game."

Before that could happen, though, Crawford needed a confidence boost of his own. He came in cold with just less than nine minutes left in the first and almost immediately faced a high whistling shot from Neal.

"The first one clipped my glove and went off the post," he recalled. "Then I settled down and started seeing pucks a lot better."

Apparently, so did his teammates. Other than that wrister by Neal, they didn't allow Nashville another shot on net for the next four minutes. Keith, a perennial Norris Trophy candidate, was clearly embarrassed when Cullen, a 38-year-old veteran, went through him like a revolving door for the Predators' third score.

He got his revenge in the third, using some deft stick-handling to end a cat-and-mouse duel with Nashville defenseman Seth Jones near the left boards, freeing up enough space to rip a slap shot that beat netminder Pekka Rinne high on the stick side at 16:12.

"You don't want to have to rely on something like that," Keith said, referring to the goaltender swap. "We're a proud team and any time you get drilled the way we did, you know it's not their fault. ... At the same time, we knew there was lots of time left. So we used it as a kind of reset."

The Predators will have the entire offseason to examine what happened. They earned home-ice advantage in the first round by finishing second - a place ahead of Chicago in the Central Division - but suffered a major blow early in the series when defenseman Shea Weber went down with a lower-body injury. They also played without forward Mike Fisher for a large chunk of time,

Afterward, coach Peter Laviolette wasn't in the mood to look back at his first year with the team.

"It's probably a better question for another day," he said.

"The objective was to get to this point," Laviolette added a moment later, "but that wasn't the whole objective, so disappointing right now."

That was obvious from the mood in the Predators' locker room. Rinne was still replaying some of the tougher chances that beat him, wondering what difference a save or two might have made.

"Throughout the series I felt like some of the games, the puck had eyes," he said. "You look at least three games, the winners ... just find a way through the maze and, obviously, that feels disappointing. ... You feel like maybe you get a break one of these games and it hits something and it doesn't go in."

"It's frustrating," he said finally, "but now I have way too much time on my hands to think about these things."

Calgary Flames advance to 2nd round for 1st time in a decade

Sat, 04/25/2015 - 11:48pm

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) With a chance to clinch in their grasp, the Calgary Flames stayed determined.

Down 3-0 early and 4-3 midway through the second period, they turned a switch and beat the Vancouver Canucks 7-4 on Saturday to take the series and advance to the second round of NHL playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

Calgary will face the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference semifinal.

Matt Stajan scored the winner at 15:43 of the third period to give the Flames a 4-2 series win.

"Things happen so quickly out there and even when I go home, I'll probably blink my eyes and still have to pinch myself to realize what happened," said Stajan. "That's why we play the games. This is a special moment."

Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland each had a pair of goals including empty-netters in front of a delirious Scotiabank Saddledome. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan also scored for Calgary.

The Flames last advanced beyond the opening round in 2004 when they reached the Stanley Cup final and lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"What about the crowd?" Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "The crowd never left us. We were down 3-zip and we felt their support. What a great story."

The Flames' opponent, the Ducks, have had a few days rest already.

They rallied from a deficit to win all four games of their series against the Winnipeg Jets, capped by a 5-2 victory in the clincher on Wednesday night in Winnipeg. Anaheim led for less than 39 total minutes of the four-game series.

Michael Ferland and Jiri Hudler each scored twice, and Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau added goals for Calgary. Hudler tied it at 4 with a power-play goal at 6:14 of the third period.

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins gave the Flames all the credit on their comeback.

"They found ways all year and they found a way again tonight," he said. "I'm proud of our guys. One hundred and one points this year was a good run."

Luca Sbisa, Brandon McMillan, Jannik Hansen and Radim Vrbata scored for Vancouver. The Canucks had a 3-0 lead midway through the first period.

"We looked at this game as a must-win on home ice," Monahan said. "We could knock them out and move onto the second round. We were still excited on the bench being down 3-nothing. We did whatever we could to push back and we found a way."

Flames starting goalie Jonas Hiller was pulled early in the first after allowing two goals on three shots. Karri Ramo stopped 17 of 19 shots in relief. Ryan Miller made 28 saves in the loss.

Calgary's fourth line of Stajan, Ferland and David Jones produced the winner. The Vancouver goalie made an initial save on Ferland, but Stajan banged in the rebound.

Vancouver scored three times on its first four shots. Hiller was replaced by Ramo after Vancouver's second goal at 7:32 and Ramo gave up a goal on the first shot he faced.

Ferland scored late in the first, and Monahan and Gaudreau tied it early in the second.

Sbisa put Vancouver back in front midway through the period.

With McMillan in the box for goalie interference, Hudler pulled the Flames even in the third. He corralled Monahan's deflection at the side of net and went backhand to forehand on Miller.

After Stafan gave the Flames the lead, Hudler and Ferland finished the scoring with empty-net goals.

Curry leads Warriors to 109-98 win and sweep of the Pelicans

Sat, 04/25/2015 - 10:52pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Stephen Curry had 39 points, eight rebounds and nine assists and Golden State cruised to 109-98 victory over New Orleans on Saturday night, completing a sweep of their first-round playoff series.

Klay Thompson added 25 points for the Warriors, the NBA's top overall seed, who will wait to host Game 1 of their second-round series against the winner of the Portland-Memphis matchup.

Draymond Green added 22 points and 10 rebounds for Golden State, which led 67-54 at halftime and widened the gap to as many as 24 points in the second half before the Pelicans briefly cut the deficit to single digits in the final minutes.

Anthony Davis had 36 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans and Eric Gordon had 29 points.

Golden State shot 50.6 percent from the field, including 13 of 24 from 3-point range. Curry was 6 of 8 from deep, while Thompson was 4 of 7 and Green 3 of 6.

BUCKS 92, BULLS 90

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Jerryd Bayless made a layup at the buzzer off an inbounds pass to draw Milwaukee within 3-1 in the Eastern Conference playoff series.

With 1.3 seconds left, Jared Dudley threw a high-arcing pass toward the basket from side court. Bayless caught the ball and quickly threw up the layup for the game-winning basket.

Bulls guard Derrick Rose walked away in frustration after trying to guard Bayless. The Bucks won their first playoff game in five years.

Chicago had a chance to win with the game tied at 90. But Milwaukee's Khris Middleton tipped a dribble away from Rose to force a steal. Bucks coach Jason Kidd called a timeout to set up the final play.

Game 5 is Monday in Chicago.

Jimmy Butler had a playoff career-high 33 points for the Bulls. Rose finished with 14 points, while Pau Gasol had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

O.J. Mayo finished with 18 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:42 left, while Dudley had 13 points and five assists while Bayless had 10 points.

NETS 91, HAWKS 83

NEW YORK (AP) - Brook Lopez had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Thaddeus Young added 18 points and 11 rebounds as Brooklyn cut Atlanta's lead to 2-1 in the Eastern Conference series.

The Nets seized control with an 18-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters after the Hawks grabbed their first lead since the opening basket, then went on to beat the No. 1 seed for the first time in seven meetings this season.

Bojan Bogdanovic added 19 points for the eighth-seeded Nets, who can tie the series with another victory here Monday night in Game 4.

DeMarre Carroll scored a playoff career-high 22 points for the Hawks, who were denied what would have been their second 3-0 lead since moving to Atlanta in 1968. Paul Millsap added 18 points and 17 rebounds.

GRIZZLIES 115, TRAIL BLAZERS 109

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Marc Gasol had 25 points and Memphis took a 3-0 lead in their playoff series with Portland.

Courtney Lee had 20 points and Mike Conley added 14 before leaving the game late in the third quarter with a facial injury. Memphis was already thin at point guard with reserve Beno Udrih sidelined with a sprained right ankle.

Game 4 is Monday night at Portland.

Nicolas Batum's 3-pointer got Portland as close as 94-91 with 2:23 left. But Tony Allen's basket ended Portland's 9-0 run and Randolph added free throws.

Batum finished with 27 points for the Blazers, who have dropped seven straight games, including four to wrap up the regular season, and CJ McCollum added 26.

Zach Randolph had 16 points and the Grizzlies won their seventh straight against Portland, including a sweep of the four-game regular season series.

Baseball fans asked to stay at stadium after violent protest

Sat, 04/25/2015 - 7:53pm

BALTIMORE (AP) Fans at the Baltimore Orioles-Boston Red Sox baseball game were briefly asked to stay inside the stadium toward the end of the game after a small group of Freddie Gray protesters became violent.

The protesters blocked an intersection near Oriole Park at Camden Yards for several hours and had a tense standoff with police Saturday night. The protesters were eventually cleared.

In the middle of the ninth inning, the public address announcer told fans that city officials requested no one leave because of "ongoing public safety issues." They were later allowed to leave but advised to avoid certain areas of the city. The Orioles won 5-4 in 10 innings.

The attendance was 36,757.

Demonstrators are angry Gray, a black man, died in police custody after suffering an unexplained spinal injury.

Daniel Sedin scores tiebreaker to lift Canucks past Flames

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 9:57pm

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Daniel Sedin scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the Vancouver Canucks avoided elimination Thursday night with a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 5 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Nick Bonino had the other goal for Vancouver, and Ryan Miller had 19 saves in his first start in the series after replacing Eddie Lack in Game 4.

David Jones scored for the Flames and Jonas Hiller stopped 41 shots.

Game 6 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday night at Calgary.

After the Flames were whistled for icing in the opening minutes of the third period, the Canucks put out their top line for the offensive-zone faceoff. Daniel Sedin took advantage, shoveling Dan Hamhuis' rebound through Hiller's pads at 1:47 for his second goal of the series.

Warriors erase 20-point hole, beat Pelicans 123-119 in OT

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 9:55pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Stephen Curry scored 40 points, including a 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to complete a 20-point, fourth-quarter comeback, and the Golden State Warriors beat New Orleans 123-119 in overtime Thursday night to take a 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Curry hit seven 3s in all, including one to start overtime that gave the Warriors the lead for good.

Klay Thompson had 28 points for the Warriors, who trailed 89-69 after three quarters, then outscored New Orleans 39-19 over the next 12 minutes.

Anthony Davis had 29 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans, but his missed free throw with 9.6 seconds left - as the crowd chanted "M-V-P!" - allowed Curry's late 3 to tie it.

Davis had a chance to tie it in the final seconds of overtime, but Warriors center Andrew Bogut forced him into a difficult driving shot, which missed badly.

Rose scores 34, Bulls hold off Bucks 113-106 in double OT

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:05pm

MILWAUKEE (AP) Derrick Rose scored 34 points, Jimmy Butler added 24 and the Chicago Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 113-106 in double overtime on Thursday night to take a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.

Jimmy Butler got the second overtime off to a rousing start, intercepting a backcourt pass from Giannis Antetokounmpo and racing in for a layup. It set the tone for an 8-0 run that gave Chicago a 109-101 lead with 2:44 left to finally shake the pesky Bucks.

Rose atoned for a missed free throw with 4 seconds left in regulation that left the game tied. He scored six points in the second overtime, including a layup off an offensive rebound with 2:15 left for a 10-point lead.

Milwaukee went scoreless for more than 6 minutes between the first and second overtimes.

Game 4 is Saturday at Milwaukee.

Johnson, Lightning rally past Detroit 3-2 in OT, tie series

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 7:13pm

DETROIT (AP) Tyler Johnson led a stirring Tampa Bay rally late in regulation, then scored 2:25 into overtime to lift the Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night, evening their playoff series at 2-2.

The Red Wings led 2-0 in the third period before Johnson scored with 5:26 remaining. He then assisted on Ondrej Palat's tying goal 77 seconds later.

Early in the extra session, defenseman Victor Hedman led an odd-man rush from the right side and slid the puck across the goal mouth. It deflected ever so slightly off goalie Petr Mrazek, but Johnson was able to shoot into an open net from a tough angle for his fourth goal of the series.

Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson scored in the second period for Detroit. Andersson's goal came in fluky fashion when goalie Ben Bishop knocked it in off the crossbar.

Eagles personnel chief says Tebow has improved

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:13am

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Ignore the hype. Tim Tebow is just another guy competing for a roster spot on the Philadelphia Eagles.

"Obviously, we were intrigued with what we saw there," Eagles personnel chief Ed Marynowitz said Thursday. "We saw a player who improved from the last time we saw him live, which was when he was here with New England. We had some conversations and some discussions, and we felt that it was an opportunity to bring in someone who could compete for a spot.

"Look, we've got 68 players who are on our football team right now. And Tim's one of them. He'll have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot. And his role will be determined by his performance and it's as simple as that."

Philadelphia's new vice president of player personnel was the first member of the organization to publicly discuss Tebow since the Eagles signed the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner to a one-year contract on Monday. Neither Tebow nor coach Chip Kelly has been available to the media.

Tebow was 9-7 as a starter for Denver in 2010-11, including playoffs. He threw just eight passes for the New York Jets in 2012 and also lined up as a punt protector.

Marynowitz said Tebow is here to play quarterback, not another position. Still, the innovative Kelly could try various ways to get Tebow involved in the offense. Sam Bradford, acquired in a trade from St. Louis, is penciled in as the starting QB. Mark Sanchez is the backup. Tebow is competing with Matt Barkley for the No. 3 job. G.J. Kinne also is on the roster.

Tebow has worked with former Texas Rangers pitching coach Tom House on his mechanics. The Eagles were impressed with his improvement during a private workout in March. Tebow's career completion percentage is 47.9.

CP3, Griffin lead Clippers past Spurs 107-92 in opener

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 10:25pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) Chris Paul scored 32 points, Blake Griffin added 26 points and 12 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers surged in the second half for a 107-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night in their first-round playoff series opener.

Jamal Crawford added 17 points for the Clippers, who met the defending NBA champions' challenge in a difficult postseason-opening matchup for two powers. Griffin threw down his usual array of roof-raising dunks, while Paul quarterbacked Los Angeles to an 18-point lead in the third quarter.

Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points for the Spurs, who had won the opening game in their previous 11 playoff series. Tim Duncan had 11 points and 11 rebounds, but the Spurs couldn't rally from their hefty second-half deficit.

Game 2 is Wednesday night.

Brodie leads Flames past Canucks 4-2 in Game 3

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 9:57pm

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) TJ Brodie had a goal and an assist, and the Calgary Flames beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Sunday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Brandon Bollig, Sam Bennett and Sean Monahan also scored for the Flames, who host Game 4 on Tuesday night.

Shawn Matthias and Jannik Hansen had goals for the Canucks.

Calgary's Jonas Hiller and Vancouver's Eddie Lack each stopped 23 shots.

Grizzlies never trail, rout Trail Blazers 100-86 in Game 1

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 7:45pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Reserve Beno Udrih scored 20 points and the Memphis Grizzlies never trailed in routing the Portland Trail Blazers 100-86 on Sunday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference first-round series.

Zach Randolph had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Marc Gasol added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Mike Conley finished with 16 points and didn't play the fourth quarter. Jeff Green had 11.

LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 32 points while taking more shots than anyone had ever taken against Memphis in the postseason, going 13 of 34. Damian Lillard added 14 points, shooting 5 of 21 overall and 0 of 6 beyond the arc. Nicolas Batum had 15 points. The Trail Blazers have lost five straight overall.

The Grizzlies swept Portland during the regular season and have won 10 of the last 11, including the first playoff game between the teams.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Memphis.

Memphis started the postseason with home-court advantage for only the second time in franchise history, thanks to finishing with four more wins than Northwest Division champion Portland. The Grizzlies blew a 27-point lead in 2012 before losing that series to the Clippers, and they topped that lead going up by 29 late in the third quarter.

The banged-up and short-handed Trail Blazers proved no threat to make that kind of comeback with Aldridge doing everything he could to keep them in the game.

Portland looked out of synch from the start with Aldridge and Lillard combining to shoot 3 of 15 in the first quarter, and Aldridge even fell to the court when missing a dunk off an inbound lob at one point. It didn't get much better as Batum threw the ball to the sideline missing Robin Lopez in the third.

Memphis led 25-15 at the end of the first quarter and 58-39 at halftime. They grabbed their biggest lead with Randolph hitting a pair of free throws with 1:56 left in the third quarter at 82-53.

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: Aldridge topped Russell Westbrook's mark of 33 shots attempted in the playoffs against Memphis set in 2011. ... Lillard missed his first six shots and didn't score until midway through the second quarter with a layup. ... McCollum started only two games during the regular season, and Portland was 0-2 in those starts.

Grizzlies: Conley missed the last four games of the regular season with a sprained right foot. He got to rest the entire fourth quarter. ... Lee finished both of his 3-pointers, and Memphis went 21-3 this season when he hit two or more. ... Udrih hit his first six shots. ... Memphis sold out its 21st straight home playoff game.

INJURY UPDATE

Trail Blazers forward Arron Afflalo missed his fourth straight game with a strained right shoulder. ... Wesley Matthews (left Achilles' tendon) made the trip with the Trail Blazers with his role limited to cheerleader.

Weise lifts Canadiens over Senators 2-1 in OT

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 7:27pm

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Dale Weise scored the tying goal late in the third period and then won it 8:47 into overtime, leading the Montreal Canadiens to a 2-1 victory Sunday night in their first-round playoff series.

Montreal has a chance to complete a four-game sweep Wednesday, with Game 4 in Ottawa.

Weise sent the game to overtime with his goal with 5:47 remaining in the third. Torrey Mitchell assisted on both goals, and Carey Price made 33 saves.

Clarke MacArthur opened the scoring for the Senators at 11:28 of the first period. Craig Anderson, making his first start of the playoffs, made 47 saves in the loss.

Montreal dominated at times in the second and third periods, outshooting Ottawa 31-15 through the final 40 minutes of regulation.

AP Sources: Tim Tebow expected to sign with Eagles on Monday

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 5:33pm

PHILADELPHIA (AP) It's Tebow Time in the City of Brotherly Love.

Tim Tebow is expected to sign a one-year contract with the Eagles on Monday, according to three people familiar with the deal. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because the contract hasn't been finalized.

Tebow hasn't played in the NFL since 2012 with the New York Jets. He was released by the New England Patriots before the 2013 season and spent last year working in television as an analyst for the SEC Network and ESPN.

Despite being out of the league, the 27-year-old Tebow remained one of the most popular players around. He has a legion of fans who follow him because of his strong Christian beliefs.

The former Heisman Trophy winner led Florida to two national titles and was a first-round pick by Denver in 2010. He started 16 games during two seasons with the Broncos, including a playoff victory over Pittsburgh in January 2012. Tebow was traded to the Jets after Denver signed Peyton Manning.

The 27-year-old Tebow joins quarterbacks Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne on Philadelphia's roster. The addition of Tebow would be the latest move in a stunning offseason for coach Chip Kelly. He traded Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and allowed Jeremy Maclin to leave in free agency.

Tebow worked out for the Eagles last month and Kelly later said he's always "been a fan of Tim."

Tebow had some success in Denver, but his inaccurate passing and lack of pocket presence was an issue. His strength has been running the ball or improvising. Tebow has completed just 47.9 percent of his passes for 2,422 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has 989 yards rushing, a 5.0 average yards per carry and 12 TDs.

Tebow worked with former major league pitcher Tom House on improving his mechanics. He joins the Eagles in time to start their offseason program this week.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Korver scores 21, Hawks hold off pesky Nets 99-92 in Game 1

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 5:13pm

ATLANTA (AP) Kyle Korver scored 21 points, including five 3-pointers, and the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks held off the pesky Brooklyn Nets 99-92 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoff series Sunday night.

The Hawks led nearly the entire game and pushed the margin as high as 16 points, but the Nets kept coming back.

Finally, Jeff Teague dropped in a floater coming off the left wing, giving Atlanta a 95-89 lead. Joe Johnson missed a 3-pointer from the corner for Brooklyn, and Teague made a pair of free throws with just under a minute remaining to essentially seal it.

Teague and DeMarre Carroll scored 17 points apiece.

Eighth-seeded Brooklyn finished 22 games behind the Hawks and slipped into the playoffs on the final day. But, with Johnson and Brook Lopez each scoring 17 points, they didn't look overmatched by a team that won the season series 4-0.

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