Rockets, Celtics stay alive...Pacers take control
UNDATED (AP) — The Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks each own three-games-to-two leads in the NBA's conference quarterfinals. Of the three teams, only the Pacers are happy about their situation after both the Thunder and Knicks failed to close out their series for the second straight game.
The Houston Rockets have staved off elimination again with a 107-100 win at Oklahoma City. James Harden paced the eighth-seeded Rockets by shooting 7-for-9 from three-point range and finishing with 31 points. Harden also chipped in eight rebounds, while Omer Asik provided 21 points and 11 boards.
Kevin Durant had a game-high 36 points for the Thunder, who are 1-2 since losing Russell Westbrook to a season-ending knee injury.
The series shifts to Houston for Game 6 on Friday.
In New York, Kevin Garnett had 16 points, 18 rebounds and five assists as the Celtics downed the Knicks 92-86 to force a sixth game in Boston. The Celtics saw a 15-point lead shrink to 88-83 with 1:05 remaining before Garnett hit a jumper and two free throws to clinch it.
Jeff Green finished with 18 points, while Brandon Bass and Jason Terry each had 17.
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony had a miserable shooting night, going 8-for-24 from the field and 0-for-5 from three-point range. Anthony ended up with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Raymond Felton finished with 21 points.
Game 6 is Friday.
The Pacers took control of their series as David West scored 24 points and Paul George had a double-double in a 106-83 romp over Atlanta. George contributed 21 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana, which opened the second half on a 12-3 run to open a 62-46 lead.
The Hawks shot just 33 percent and were outrebounded 51-28 for the game. Josh Smith and Al Horford each had a team-high 14 points for the Hawks, who will try to avoid elimination when they host Game 6 on Friday.
NBA-ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Lillard is named NBA's top rookie
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is the fourth player to be unanimously selected for the NBA's Rookie of the Year award.
The sixth pick in last year's draft led all rookies in scoring at 19 points a game. Lillard also averaged 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds while playing all 82 games.
Bucks and Jim Boylan part ways
ST. FRANCIS, Wis. (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks are in search of a new head coach after dismissing Jim Boylan yesterday. The Bucks were swept out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat after dropping 12 of their last 16 regular-season games to post their eighth losing season in nine years.
Boylan was promoted from assistant coach when Scott Skiles left the team on Jan. 8.
Pens, B's open with convincing wins
UNDATED (AP) — It turns out the Pittsburgh Penguins didn't need team captain and leading scorer Sidney Crosby in Game 1 of the NHL's Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Pascal Dupuis (do-PWEE') scored twice and three players had two assists as the Pens forged a 5-0 win over the New York Islanders. Kris Letang and Dupuis scored 32 seconds apart to chase Evgeni Nabokov (ehv-GEH'-nee nah-BAH'-kahv) and put Pittsburgh ahead 4-0.
Beau Bennett put the Penguins ahead to stay just 3:30 into the game. Tanner Glass also scored to support Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 26 shots in his sixth career playoff shutout.
Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla (ih-GIHN'-luh) and Jussi Jokinen (YOO'-see YOH'-kih-nehn) each set up two goals as the Penguins spoiled the Islanders' first playoff game in six years.
Game 2 is Friday in Pittsburgh, and there's still doubt as to Crosby's availability. He hasn't been cleared to play after suffering a broken jaw against the Isles on March 30.
Boston also won its Stanley Cup opener, spotting Toronto a 1-0 lead before beating the Maple Leafs 4-1. Nathan Horton scored the go-ahead goal on a power play with 12 seconds left in the first period. Wade Redden and David Krejci (KRAY'-chee) each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who scored more than three times for the first time in 10 games.
Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday in Boston, where the Bruins have won six straight against the Maple Leafs.
Vancouver became the first home team to lose a playoff game, allowing two goals in the third period of a 3-1 loss to San Jose. Dan Boyle snapped a 1-1 tie with 10:43 remaining before Patrick Marleau (MAHR'-loh) made it a two-goal game about four minutes later.
Boyle and Logan Couture each finished with a goal and an assist.
Antti Niemi (AN'-tee nee-EH'-mee) stopped 29 shots while outplaying Roberto Luongo (loh-AHN'-goh), who received the Canucks' starting assignment over Cory Schneider.
Vancouver will host Game 2 on Friday.
A six-pack for Buchholz...Nats finally beat Braves...Lynn continues streak
UNDATED (AP) — Boston's Clay Buchholz is the majors' first six-game winner of the year.
Buchholz did it by scattering two hits while striking out eight in seven shutout innings of the Red Sox's 10-1 rout of the Blue Jays. He improved to 7-0 in his last eight starts in Toronto.
The Bosox supported Buchholz with five homers, two by Mike Napoli. Stephen Drew, Daniel Nava and Mike Carp also went deep as the Red Sox earned their major league-leading 19th win.
In other big league action, Washington beat Atlanta for the first time in their last 10 meetings as Jordan Zimmermann and Rafael Soriano combined on a two-hitter in a 2-0 win over the Braves. Ian Desmond provided the scoring with a two-run homer in the fourth to back Zimmermann, who allowed two hits and no walks while striking out eight in eight innings.
Trevor Bauer picked up his first American League win by limiting Philadelphia to one hit in five innings of Cleveland's 6-0 shutout of the Phillies. Ryan Raburn had two RBIs and tied a career high with four hits after hitting two homers in each of his two previous games.
The New York Yankees blew a 4-0 lead before Eduardo Nunez doubled and scored on a double-play grounder in the sixth inning of a 5-4 triumph against Houston. Robinson Cano (kuh-NOH') and Ben Francisco hit solo homers in the third inning to give the Yanks a four-run cushion.
Kendrys Morales was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored in Seattle's 8-3 pounding of Baltimore. Michael Morse socked a two-run homer, a two-run shot that put the Mariners ahead 5-0 in the fourth and helped Aaron Harang earn his first win for Seattle.
Lance Lynn is the National League's first five-game winner after allowing a run and five hits over seven innings of the Redbirds' 4-2 victory over Cincinnati. He improved to 10-0 in 10 starts and one relief appearance since losing to Milwaukee last Sept. 7.
Brandon Belt slugged a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth inning of San Francisco's 9-6 win at Arizona. Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence each hit solo shots as the Giants overcame Cliff Pennington's three-run shot and four RBIs.
Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez each hit two-run doubles, and center fielder Dexter Fowler robbed Adrian Gonzalez of what would have been his second home run of the game, leading the Colorado Rockies to a 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reliever Josh Outman got credit for the victory, allowing one hit over two scoreless innings.
Pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning to help lift the Mets to a 7-6 come-from-behind win over Miami. The sixth pinch-hit homer of Valdespin's career helped the Mets snap a six-game losing streak.
Minnesota got to Anibal Sanchez for three runs in the first two innings and went on to a 6-2 win over Detroit, snapping the Tigers' five-game winning streak. Sanchez was making his first start since striking out 17 in a victory over Atlanta last week.
Mark Trumbo homered for the third straight day as the Los Angeles Angels beat Oakland 5-4 to snap a four-game losing streak. Howie Kendrick and Mike Trout also went deep to support C.J. Wilson, who is 3-0 after allowing two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Brandon Inge (ihnj) had the go-ahead single following a game-tying, two-run homer by Starling Marte as Pittsburgh rallied for four runs in the eighth in a 6-4 win over Milwaukee. The victory snapped the Pirates nine-game losing streak to the Brewers.
Conor Gillaspie and Alejandro De Aza homered in the seventh inning to help the Chicago White Sox beat Texas 5-2 and end a three-game slide. Chris Sale tossed seven innings and improved to 8-0 with a 3.12 ERA in 22 career games against AL West teams.
Kansas City spotted Tampa Bay a 5-0 lead before Lorenzo Cain and Jeff Francoeur (fran-KOOR') each collected two RBIs in the Royals' 9-8 win over the Rays. Francoeur's two-run single capped a five-run sixth that gave the Royals a 9-6 lead.
Scott Feldman retired 18 straight en route to his first career complete game as the Chicago Cubs beat San Diego 6-2. Feldman tossed a three-hitter, struck out a career-high 12 and hit an RBI double.
Strasburg OK for next start
UNDATED (AP) — Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is expected to make his next scheduled start after experiencing no pain during a bullpen session in Atlanta.
Strasburg had some discomfort in his right arm during a start Monday night against the Braves. While manager Davey Johnson initially was concerned it could be serious, it appears Strasburg had nothing more than an irritated nerve from using an electrical stimulation machine.
In other major league news, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has pushed back R.A. Dickey's next start one day to Saturday against Seattle. Dickey left an April 18 start against the Chicago White Sox after six shutout innings with neck and back tightness and has lost his two starts since. Dickey has been diagnosed with mild inflammation in his neck and back following an MRI, but Gibbons says the knuckleballer felt fine after throwing in the bullpen before tonight's game against Boston.
Texas Rangers opening-day starter Matt Harrison has undergone a second operation today, eight days after surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back. An MRI today revealed another herniation in the same disk after Harrison started feeling pain in his leg following the first procedure. The Rangers don't expect Harrison back for about three months.
The New York Yankees have acquired infielder Chris Nelson from the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named or cash. Nelson made 19 starts at third base for Colorado this season and batted .242 with no homers, four RBIs and 19 strikeouts in 66 at-bats.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have traded veteran infielder Mark Teahen to the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named later. Teahen was playing for Triple-A Reno and hasn't been in the majors since 2011.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is threatening to move the team from iconic Wrigley Field if the team is blocked from installing a video board at the stadium to generate revenue. Rooftop owners, who charge fans for access to watch games, have vowed legal action if the Cubs build anything that blocks their views. Ricketts says he's committed to working out an agreement but says the video board would bring the team $20 million a year more in ad revenue.
Orb is early Derby favorite after draw
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Orb has been made the early 7-2 favorite for the Kentucky Derby, with undefeated Verrazano the second choice in a full field of 20 horses. Orb has drawn the No. 16 post, where just four horses have managed to win.
Verrazano drew the No. 14 post and is the 4-1 second choice as one of Todd Pletcher's record-tying five horses in the field.
Goldencents landed in the No. 8 post and was made the 5-1 third choice for Saturday's race.
Penske not done yet
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — A three-member appeals board is upholding NASCAR's penalties against Penske (PEHN'-skee) Racing, but team owner Roger Penske is taking his case a step further. NASCAR chief appellate officer John Middlebrook will hear Penske's final appeal next Tuesday.
Penske was issues the penalties after the cars of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano failed inspection last month at Texas.
NASCAR docked both drivers 25 points, fined the crew chiefs $100,000 each and suspended seven Penske team members.