Thunder close out Lakers...Celtics take control
UNDATED (AP) -- It will be the Oklahoma City Thunder against the
San Antonio Spurs in a Western Conference finals that pits the top
The Thunder have advanced with a third-quarter surge that
carried them to a 106-90 victory over the Lakers, closing out the
conference semifinal series in five games. Russell Westbrook had a
pair of three-point plays during a 14-3 spurt that put Oklahoma
City ahead to stay late in the third quarter. Kevin Durant drained
two three-pointers while the Thunder opened the final period on a
10-0 run to go ahead 93-77.
Westbrook finished with 28 points, and Durant added 25 and 10
rebounds in the clincher. James Harden came off the bench to add 17
points and eight rebounds for the winners.
Kobe Bryant poured in 42 points for the Lakers on 18-of-33
shooting. Pau Gasol (gah-SAHL') finished with 14 points and 16
rebounds but missed nine of his 14 shots. No other Laker took more
than 10 shots.
Game 1 of the West finals isn't until Sunday at San Antonio.
The Boston Celtics enjoy a three-games-to-two lead in the NBA's
Eastern Conference finals following a strong second half.
Brandon Bass scored 18 of his postseason career-high 27 points
in the third quarter as the Celtics pulled away to beat the
Philadelphia 76ers 101-85 in Boston. The Celtics trailed by four
until Bass helped them outscore the Sixers 54-35 in the second
half, including a 28-16 margin in the third period. The Celtics
shot 52 percent from the field for the game, with Bass hitting nine
of his 13 shots.
The Sixers led by six early in the third quarter before Boston
scored 14 of the next 16 points.
Kevin Garnett finished with 20 points, while Rajon Rondo
(RAH'-zhahn RAHN'-doh) added 13 and 14 assists.
Elton Brand had 19 points for the 76ers, who host Game 6 on
Magic fire Van Gundy
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Orlando Magic are in the market for a
head coach and a general manager.
Stan Van Gundy has been dismissed after posting a 259-135 record
in five seasons with the Magic. Orlando went 37-29 this year but
lost All-Star center Dwight Howard to a back injury late in the
season. The Magic went 5-12 without Howard, including a 1-4 mark in
their first-round playoff loss to Indiana.
GM Otis Smith was also let go after molding playoff teams in
each of his six seasons at the helm. Orlando won the Eastern
Conference championship in 2009.
Devils knot series
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils are sending the NHL's
Eastern Conference finals back to New York knotted at two games
Zach Parise (pah-REE'-see) scored twice and had an assist as the
Devils downed the Rangers 4-1 in Newark. Parise notched his goals
in the third period, including an empty-netter that secured the
victory with 1:29 remaining.
Bryce Salvador and Travis Zajac (ZAY'-jak) scored 3:49 apart in
the first period to put the Devils ahead 2-0. Parise's goals gave
the Devils three-goal cushions both times, more than enough support
for Martin Brodeur to post his 109th career playoff victory.
Brodeur assisted on Parise's empty-netter and finished with 27
saves, eight coming in the final period. Brodeur was perfect until
Ruslan Fedotenko (fed-uh-TEHN'-koh) beat him with 5:05 remaining.
Game 5 is Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Redbirds rally...Reds show Minor power...
UNDATED (AP) -- The defending World Series-champion St. Louis
Cardinals needed a late comeback to stay atop the National League
Tyler Greene belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth
as the Cards beat San Diego 4-3 to end a four-game losing streak.
Greene's blast came a half-inning after Jesus Guzman's two-run
double put the Padres ahead.
Jaime Garcia allowed two runs while striking out seven in
seven-plus innings for the Cardinals, who stayed a half-game ahead
The Reds kept pace as Drew Stubbs hit two of their four homers
in a 4-1 win over Atlanta. The game was tied 1-1 until pitcher Mike
Leake, slumping Zack Cozart and Stubbs hit consecutive solo homers
with two out in the fourth inning. Leake also allowed just two hits
in eight innings for his first win since an 0-5 start.
Also in the National League, Gio Gonzalez scattered three hits
in six innings as Washington nipped Philadelphia 2-1. Ian Desmond
homered and drove in both Nationals runs.
Giancarlo Stanton's grand slam highlighted a five-run fourth
that led Miami's 7-4 win over Colorado. Mark Buehrle (BUR'-lee)
pitched shutout ball after a four-run first inning, allowing five
hits over 7 2-3 innings as the Marlins improved to a major
league-best 15-5 this month.
Pittsburgh erased a 4-0 deficit and beat the New York Mets 5-4
on a sacrifice fly by Clint Barmes (BAHR'-mehs) following a
three-base error by center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis (NOO'-ehn-hys)
in the bottom of the eighth. Michael McHenry's two-run homer tied
the game 4-4 in the seventh.
Chris Capuano is 6-1 after pitching the Los Angeles Dodgers to
their fifth straight win, 6-1 over Arizona. Matt Treanor
(TRAY'-nur), Andre Ethier (EE'-thee-ur) and James Loney homered to
back Capuano, who was reached for just one run and four hits in six
San Francisco beat Milwaukee 4-3 on Hector Sanchez's home run
leading off the top of the 14th inning. It was the Giants' first
run since Buster Posey's three-run blast in the opening frame.
Three-run homers by Jason Castro and Chris Johnson powered
Houston to an 8-4 win over the Chicago Cubs. Bud Norris allowed
five hits in seven shutout innings to send the Cubbies to their
season-high seventh consecutive loss.
Over to the American League, where Felipe Paulino blanked the
New York Yankees for the second time in as many starts this season.
Paulino allowed six hits while striking out eight over 6 2-3
innings as Kansas City beat the Bombers 6-0 in the Bronx. The Yanks
went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position against Paulino and
the Royals' bullpen.
Mike Moustakas (moos-TAH'-kahs) and Jeff Francoeur (fran-KOOR')
hit two-run homers as the Royals handed the Yanks their sixth loss
in seven games.
The Yankees are 21-21, their worst record at this point in the
season since they started 20-25 in 2008. The Yankees are now tied
with Boston for last place in the AL East.
In other AL action, Kyle Drabek (DRAY'-behk) had been 0-2 with a
5.23 ERA on the road this season before holding Tampa Bay to a pair
of runs and three hits in six innings of Toronto's 6-2 win over the
Rays. Yunel Escobar hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth.
Boston trailed 5-2 until David Ortiz hit a solo homer to spark a
three-run sixth in an 8-6 win at Baltimore. Dustin Pedroia
(peh-DROY'-uh) had two RBIs and Mike Aviles (ah-VEE'-lehs) scored
the go-ahead run on Daniel Nada's sac-fly in the seventh to help
the Red Sox secure its ninth win in 11 games.
Ichiro Suzuki singled, tripled and collected two RBIs off Yu
Darvish as Seattle whipped Texas 6-1. Darvish failed to become the
majors' first seven-game winner of the season, laboring through 96
pitches and a season-high six walks.
Tommy Milone is 6-3 after allowing a run and three hits in seven
innings of Oakland's 2-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Angels. The
Halos have dropped three straight and four of five.
Berkman needs knee surgery
UNDATED (AP) -- St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman
will be out at least six weeks after he undergoes arthroscopic
surgery on his right knee this week. Berkman was injured Saturday
while making a routine stretch to receive a throw against the
Dodgers in Los Angeles. Berkman is batting .333 with one homer and
four RBIs in 13 games, missing a significant portion of the
schedule due to a pulled left calf muscle.
Elsewhere in the majors, Angels outfielder Vernon Wells will
undergo right thumb surgery Tuesday and is expected to be sidelined
eight to 10 weeks. Wells was hurt stealing second base in the
second inning of Sunday's 3-2, 13-inning loss at San Diego.
Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington says outfielder
Cody Ross has a broken bone in his left foot and could be sidelined
6-8 weeks. Ross fouled a ball off his foot in Friday night's game
Padres starter Cory Luebke (LOOB'-kee) says he'll have
reconstructive surgery on his left elbow Wednesday. Luebke was 3-1
with a 2.61 ERA when he went on the 15-day disabled list May 2.
Tony Gwynn's agent says the Hall of Famer is joining movie
producer Thomas Tull in an attempt to buy the San Diego Padres.
Tull is the chairman of Legendary Entertainment and is among
several people interested in purchasing the franchise. Majority
owner John Moores announced last month that he was selling the team
after minority owner Jeff Moorad abandoned his attempt to gain
Infielder Drew Sutton is joining his third major league
organization in two days, traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the
Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named or cash considerations. The
Bucs sent cash to Atlanta yesterday for Sutton, who was hitting
.270 and playing mostly third base at Triple-A Gwinnet. Sutton
previously played with Cincinnati, Cleveland and Boston, all since
Johnson of Houston undergoes surgery
UNDATED -- Texans star receiver Andre Johnson says that he will
need three to four weeks to recover from arthroscopic surgery on
his left knee. The 30-year-old sat out Houston's first organized
team practice, two weeks after the procedure.
The five-time Pro Bowl selection was inactive for nine
regular-season games last year with injuries to both hamstrings. He
says he hyperextended the knee against Jacksonville on Nov. 27, his
first game back after he missed the previous six. He finished that
game and also played the following week against Atlanta before
going out with a second hamstring injury.
In other NFL news, Browns general manager Tom Heckert says the
team expects rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden to be Cleveland's
starter this season. Speaking at a banquet for Browns fans, Heckert
said Weeden will compete with Colt McCoy for the starting job and
"we fully expect Brandon to be that guy. That's our goal to have
him be the guy."
The Browns drafted Weeden with the 22nd overall pick last month.
Clemens' accuser wraps up, gets to name names
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Brian McNamee finally got to name names in
front of the jury handling the Roger Clemens perjury trial, saying
today that he enabled former Clemens teammates Andy Pettitte, Mike
Stanton and Chuck Knoblauch to receive human growth hormone.
McNamee is Clemens' former strength coach and the only person to
claim firsthand knowledge of Clemens using steroids and human
growth hormone. McNamee was initially barred by Judge Reggie Walton
from naming names for fear that such information would prejudice
the jury. However, the prosecution persuaded Walton to change his
stance after McNamee's credibility was attacked by Clemens'
attorney, Rusty Hardin, last week.
Clemens is accused of lying to Congress when the 11-time
All-Star pitcher denied using performance-enhancing drugs during a
Capitol Hill hearing.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-FINE LAWSUIT/ESPN
Wife of fired Syracuse assistant sues ESPN
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- The wife of fired Syracuse University
assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine has filed a libel lawsuit
against ESPN. Laurie Fine claims in the 48-page suit that the
network ruined her life by broadcasting salacious reports that she
knew her husband abused boys and that she had sex with one of the
boys. She accuses ESPN of reporting the allegations against her
husband in a bid to boost ratings as the Penn State sex-abuse
scandal was unfolding.
Thomason to step down after a quarter-century at Pacific
STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) -- Pacific basketball coach Bob Thomason
has announced he will retire after next season. Thomason will be
entering his 25th season at his alma mater, which will move from
the Big West Conference to the West Coast Conference in September
2013. He has posted nine 20-win seasons, won five Big West coach of
the year awards and led the Tigers to four NCAA tournament
Former WVU football coach Bill Stewart dies
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Former West Virginia football coach
Bill Stewart has died of what the athletic department says was an
apparent heart attack. The 59-year old resigned last summer and was
replaced by assistant Dana Holgorsen the same night.
Stewart was 28-12 in three seasons after taking over for Rich
Fish pulls out
PARIS (AP) -- American Mardy Fish won't be participating in the
French Open. The tenth-ranked player in the world hasn't played in
a match for more than a month and suffers from what French Open
officials call fatigue. Organizers of the Paris event made the
Nadal beats Djokovic 7-5, 6-3 to win Italian Open
ROME (AP) -- Rafael Nadal beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic
(JOH'-koh-vihch) 7-5, 6-3 to win the Italian Open for a record
sixth time. The final took place on Monday because of rain over the
weekend in Rome.
Djokovic had 41 unforced errors, including a double-fault on the
last point to give Nadal his 49th career title.