Heat, Spurs clinch, Knicks wait
UNDATED (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat managed to complete four-game sweeps of their NBA conference quarterfinal series on Sunday. The New York Knicks weren't as fortunate.
LeBron James poured in 30 points and the Heat advanced by downing the Bucks 88-77 in Milwaukee. Ray Allen shot 4-for-7 from three-point range and finished with 16 points to help Miami win without Dwyane (dwayn) Wade, who sat out with bone bruises on his right knee.
The Bucks got within 69-67 with 9:34 remaining before Allen and Mario Chalmers hit consecutive three-pointers to put the Heat back in control.
It's the first time the Heat have swept a series since acquiring James and Chris Bosh three years ago. They'll play the winner of the Chicago-Brooklyn series.
The Spurs sprinted out to an 18-point halftime lead and cruised to a 103-82 win over the Lakers in Los Angeles to earn a conference semifinal meeting with either Denver or Golden State. Tony Parker scored 23 points and the Spurs took advantage of the Lakers' 21 turnovers to turn the game into a rout.
San Antonio also helped itself by attempting 23 free throws, hitting 20 while the Lakers were going 5-for-12.
Lakers center Dwight Howard took just two shots, went 3-for-9 from the foul line and had just seven points before he was ejected for arguing a call early in the third quarter.
Boston is still alive in its series with the Knicks despite blowing a 20-point, second-half lead. Jason Terry scored the Celtics' last nine points in a 97-90 win over New York. Terry also scored the game's final six points and finished with 18.
Paul Pierce had a team-high 29 points and Jeff Green added 26 as the Celtics forced a fifth game Wednesday in New York.
Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 36 points for the Knicks, who lost as J.R. Smith served a one-game suspension for his flagrant foul in Game 3.
Golden State took a 3-1 series lead by downing the visiting Denver Nuggets 115-101. Stephen (STEH'-fehn) Curry hit six of the Warriors' 11 three-pointers and finished with a game-high 31 points and seven assists. Jarrett Jack delivered 21 points and a game-high nine assists for the Warriors, who've who three straight since a last-second loss at Denver in the series opener.
Ty Lawson had a team-high 26 points for the Nuggets, who will try to stay alive when they host Game 5 on Tuesday.
Bosox win again...Dickey loses, Price wins...Kershaw brilliant again
UNDATED (AP) — The Boston Red Sox have tied a club record with their 18th victory in April while stretching their winning streak to five games.
John Lackey returned from the disabled list and allowed five hits over six innings of the Bosox's 6-1 win against Houston. David Ortiz went 2-for-4 with two RBIs while stretching his hitting streak to 20 games dating to last season. He's hitting .516 with 11 RBIs in eight games since coming off the DL.
The Red Sox will set a club record for wins in April if they beat Toronto on Tuesday.
The reigning Cy Young Award winners each gave up three runs in seven innings but came away with different outcomes.
Lyle Overbay smacked a go-ahead, two-run homer off R.A. Dickey in the seventh inning to lift the New York Yankees past Toronto 3-2 and complete a four-game sweep. Brennan Boesch (bahsh) also homered against Dickey, who's 2-4 with a 4.50 ERA.
David Price picked up his first win of the year and lowered his ERA to 5.21 in Tampa Bay's 8-3 win over the White Sox in Chicago. Price was in line for a no-decision until Ben Zobrist snapped a 3-3 tie with an RBI single in a three-run eighth. Homers by Jose Lobaton and Matt Joyce helped the Rays improve to 4-9 on the road.
Also in the majors, Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson and Omar Infante (ihn-FAHN'-tee) homered in Detroit's 8-3 pounding of Atlanta. Cabrera's three-run blast put the game out of reach as the Tigers completed a three-game sweep and handed the Braves their seventh loss in nine games since a 10-game winning streak.
Kansas City took the opener of the first day-night doubleheader at Kauffman Stadium, ripping Cleveland 9-0. Alcides (al-SEE'-des) Escobar and Alex Gordon homered to back Jeremy Guthrie, who allowed six hits over 6 2/3 innings. The Indians bounced back with a 10-3 pounding of the Royals as Mike Aviles hit a three-run homer and collected a career-high five RBIs. Carlos Santana went 4-for-5 with an RBI in the nightcap, while Corey Kluber held Kansas City to two runs in seven innings.
Texas has its first losing streak of the season after Kevin Correia (koh-RAY'-uh) worked eight innings and Justin Morneau (MOHR'-noh) homered in Minnesota's 5-0 shutout of the Rangers. Correia lowered his ERA to 2.23 while working at least seven innings for the fifth time in as many starts this season.
A throwing error by third baseman Manny Machado allowed the winning run to score in the Athletics' 9-8 comeback victory over Baltimore. The Orioles led 5-0 and were within four innings of their first four-game sweep at Oakland since 1987 until Yoenis Cespedes (yoh-EH'-nehs SEHS'-peh-dehs) and Seth Smith hit two-run homers to lead the Athletics' rally.
Late-inning homers by Jason Bay and Michael Morse gave Seattle a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma (hih-SAH'-shee ih-wah-KOO'-muh) settled for a no-decision despite allowing no earned runs while striking out eight in six innings.
San Diego completed a three-game sweep of San Francisco as Chase Headley, Nick Hundley and Alexi Amarista homered off Ryan Vogelsong in the Padres' 6-4 verdict over the Giants. Buster Posey hit a two-run homer and stretched his hitting streak to nine games but couldn't stop the Giants from suffering their season-high fifth straight loss.
Clayton Kershaw retired 18 consecutive batters and struck out 12 in eight dominant innings to pitch the Los Angeles Dodgers past Milwaukee 2-0. Carl Crawford homered twice off Kyle Lohse (lohsh) to support Kershaw, whose ERA shrunk to 1.73.
Gerardo Parra hit a triple and scored twice as Arizona doubled up Colorado 4-2. Patrick Corbin carried a shutout into the sixth and improved to 3-0 with a 1.91 earned run average.
Pinch-hitter Ryan Howard hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the seventh inning before Philadelphia completed a 5-1 victory and a three-game sweep of the Mets. Cole Hamels held New York to a run and two hits while striking out over six innings for his first win of the year.
Giancarlo Stanton homered twice and had four RBI's as Miami beat the Cubs 6-4 to improve to a major league-worst 6-19. Winning pitcher Ricky Nolasco gave up three runs in seven innings and retired his final 15 batters.
Brandon Phillips hit a two-run single and the Reds avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of the Nationals with a 5-2 victory in Washington. Tony Cingrani (sihn-GRAHN'-ee) struck out a career-high 11 and became the fourth Cincinnati hurler to fan four in the same inning.
Pittsburgh stands on top of the National League Central after Russell Martin hit two of the Pirates' four homers in a 9-0 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis. Pirates rookie Jeff Locke pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and improved to 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA.
Habs win Northeast with Sens' win over B's.
BOSTON (AP) — The NHL's Eastern Conference playoff pairings are set following Ottawa's 4-2 triumph at Boston.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (pah-ZHOH') scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:34 remaining before Kyle Turris scored into an empty net. Erik Karlsson assisted on the winning and insurance goals as the Senators claimed the seventh seed in the East while allowing Montreal to edge out the Bruins for the Northeast Division championship and the No. 2 seed.
The Senators will open the postseason against the Canadiens while the Bruins take on Toronto. The other Eastern Conference matchups have top-seeded Pittsburgh against the New York Islanders and No. 3 Washington versus the Rangers.
DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche have fired coach Joe Sacco (SAK'-oh). The move came a day after the team missed the playoffs for the third straight season. The Avs never got on track in the lockout-shortened season and finished last in the Western Conference. Sacco was hired in 2009 after coaching in the minors.
DALLAS (AP) — Joe Nieuwendyk (NOO'-in-dyk) has been dismissed as general manger of the Dallas Stars after four seasons. The firing came the day after Dallas completed a 22-22-4 season and missed the playoffs for the fifth season in a row.
Suspension of play late in final round
AVONDALE, La. (AP) — Billy Horschel rallied to earn his first career PGA victory, taking the Zurich Classic at Avondale, La. Horschel began the final round two shots back before a string of six straight birdies vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard. He closed with an 8-under 64 for a 20-under total, one shot ahead of D.A. Points.
LPGA-NORTH TEXAS SHOOTOUT
Park grabs title
IRVING, Texas (AP) — Inbee Park shot a final round 4-under-67 to edge out Carlota Ciganda (SHAR'-lah-tah SUH'-gahn-dah) for the North Texas LPGA Shootout. Park finished 13 shots under par, one in front of Ciganda. Suzann Pettersen finished three shots off the lead.
Faxon/Sluman finish first
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The pairing of Brad Faxon and Jeff Sluman won the Champions Tour Legends of Golf better ball tournament in Savannah, Ga. They finished play 23 under par, one shot in front of the teams of Fred Funk and Mike Goodes and Kenny Perry and Gene Sauers. The duo had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch in the middle of their round and made par on their final four holes to hold on for the win.
Pre-tournament favorites Bernhard Langer (LAHN'-gur) and Tom Lehman (LAY'-muhn) finished play 19-under-par.
Norman calls for better testing
SYDNEY (AP) — Greg Norman says the time has come for golf to institute blood testing to check for drug use and calls the game's anti-doping procedures "disgraceful." Norman cites Vijay Singh's (VEE'-jay SINGS) recent admission to having used deer antler spray, which contains a muscle-building hormone banned by the PGA Tour. It can be detected only by blood tests.
Nadal and Sharapova win tournaments
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Rafael Nadal (rah-fay-ehl nah-DAHL') won the Barcelona Open for the eighth time, defeating Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3 for his fourth title of the year. After trailing 3-0 in the first set, Nadal found his form and broke his fellow Spaniard in three of his next four service games to take command.
STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Maria Sharapova (shah-rah-POH'-vah) beat Li Na (lee nah) 6-4, 6-3 to successfully defend her WTA Porsche Grand Prix title in a final between the last two French Open champions. The top-seeded Russian swept to her second title of the year after winning in Indian Wells, Calif.
Yale hockey coach dies
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Tim Taylor, who had the most hockey wins in Yale University history, has died of cancer at the age of 71. He coached 28 seasons in New Haven, not including two years with Olympic teams. He won more games, 337, than any coach in the 117-year history of the program.