Heat and Spurs take command
UNDATED (AP) — The Miami Heat regained control of their NBA Eastern Conference semifinal by outlasting the Chicago Bulls 104-94 to take a 2-1 series lead.
LeBron James led the Heat with 25, and was strong down the stretch. James hit just 6 of 17 shots and even got blocked on a layup by Nate Robinson in the third quarter. But the four-time MVP came through down the stretch, scoring 12 in the fourth quarter. Chris Bosh had a huge night with 20 points and 19 rebounds. Norris Cole added 18 off the bench for the Heat.
Chicago was coming off its worst loss in franchise history, a 115-78 drubbing last Wednesday. Returning home, the Bulls did not go quietly despite missing ailing Luol Deng (LOO'-ul dehng), injured Kirk Hinrich (HYN'-rik) and superstar point guard Derrick Rose, who hasn't played this season after recovering from knee surgery.
Bulls center Nazr Mohammed was ejected from Game 3 after shoving James to the court. As James dribbled up the floor early in the second quarter, Mohammed reached in and tried to steal the ball near midcourt. Their arms got tangled and Mohammed fell. He then got up and shoved James to the court.
Game 4 is Monday night in Chicago.
In last night's other playoff series, San Antonio has taken a 2-1 series lead over Golden State with a 102-92 win over the Warriors. Tony Parker led the way with 32 for the Spurs. Tim Duncan added 23 points and 10 rebounds. Manu Ginobili (MAN'-oo jih-NOH'-blee) added 12 off the bench, all in the second half.
Game 4 is Sunday afternoon, also in Oakland. Road teams are 6-4 so far in the NBA conference semifinals.
Leagues fines Smith for five-grand for flop...AP source: Sixers hire Hinkie as GM
NEW YORK (AP) — Guard J.R. Smith of the Knicks has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for a flop during Game 1 of their playoff series against Indiana. Smith was defending Pacers guard Lance Stephenson when he ran into a pick set by David West. Smith fell to the court and threw his arms up, exaggerating the contact and fooling the referee into believing it was much more severe than it really was.
The NBA instituted a system of penalties for flopping this season. Smith is the third player to be fined during the postseason, following Indiana's Jeff Pendergraph and Oklahoma City's Derek Fisher.
In other NBA news:
__ A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press the Philadelphia 76ers have hired Sam Hinkie as team president and general manager. The person spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because the deal was not expected to become official until next week. Hinkie is executive vice president of basketball operations for the Houston Rockets.
__ Josh Kroenke will now be keeping just as close a watch on power plays as power forwards. Already in charge of the Denver Nuggets, Kroenke was announced as the new president of the NHL Colorado Avalanche. He will take over for Pierre Lacroix (lah-KROY'), who's stepping down after 18 seasons and two Stanley Cup titles with the Avs.
— Chris Hansen has upped the ante in his effort to buy the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle. He has increased his total valuation of the franchise from $550 million to $625 million in another attempt to sway NBA owners. Hansen also announced on his website that he has guaranteed owners that the franchise would pay into the league's revenue-sharing system in Seattle and not collect money as it has in Sacramento.
The NBA's relocation committee voted 7-0 last week to recommend that the NBA Board of Governors reject the Seattle move.
Champs advance...Maple Leafs staying alive...Caps and Red Wings work overtime
UNDATED (AP) __ The defending Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings are moving into the Western Conference semifinals on a roll. After dropping the first two games in St. Louis, the Kings have won the last four games and eliminated the Blues with a 2-1 clincher.
Dustin Penner scored the tiebreaking goal in the final second of the second period. Jonathan Quick made 21 saves between the pipes for the Kings. Drew Doughty added his first goal of the postseason.
In other NHL playoffs:
__ Washington nipped New York 2-1 in overtime to take a 3-2 series lead over the Rangers. Mike Ribeiro knocked in a rebound at 9:24 of overtime for the game-winner. Joel Ward scored the other Caps goal. Game 6 is Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
__ Detroit beat Anaheim 4-3 in overtime to tie that series at 3-3. Henrik Zetterberg scored his second goal 1:04 into overtime. Game 7 is Sunday night in Anaheim.
__ The Toronto Maple Leafs avoided elimination by beating Boston 2-1 to cut the Bruins lead to 3-2 in that series. Tyler Bozak and Clarke MacArthur scored and James Reimer stopped 43 shots between the pipes for the Leafs. Game 6 is Sunday in Toronto.
NHL exec "assumes" players will be in Olympics
STOCKHOLM (AP) — NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the league is "proceeding under the assumption" its players will take part in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. NHL representatives and international hockey and Olympic officials met in Stockholm on Friday in a new round of talks aimed at securing an agreement for the league's participation in the Sochi (SOH'-chee) Games.
Nats B team gets it done...One-hitters for Lester and Miller
UNDATED (AP) — The Washington Nationals racked up their season-high fifth straight victory, 7-3 over the Chicago Cubs, even with a couple of their most high-profile players sitting out the game.
Bryce Harper was out with an ingrown toenail and Jayson Werth is nursing a pulled hamstring. But the Nats still had plenty of offense in sending Cubs starter Jeff Samardzjia (sah-MAR'-jah) to his fifth straight loss. Ian Desmond collected three hits, including a two-run homer and an RBI double. Lefty Ross Detwiler improved to 2-3.
In other MLB action:
__ Jon Lester pitched a one-hitter allowing only a Maicer Izturis (MY'-sur ihz-TUR'-ihs) two-out double in the sixth inning in the Boston Red Sox' 5-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. That ends a three-game losing streak for the Red Sox.
— Shelby Miller gave up a leadoff single then retired 27 in a row for his first career complete game, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Eric Young Jr.'s leadoff line-drive single was the only hit off Miller, who is 5-2.
__ Alex Cobb struck out 13 in four and two-thirds innings and Ryan Roberts and Ben Zobrist drove in two runs apiece to help the Tampa Bay Rays rally for a 6-3 victory over the San Diego Padres. Cobb became the first pitcher in major league history to fan that many batters and fail to make it through the fifth.
__Lyle Overbay hit a two-run homer and finished with five RBIs, Ichiro Suzuki (EE'-cheer-oh soo-ZOO'-kee) also hit a two-run shot and the New York Yankees opened their only series in Kansas City with an 11-6 rout of the Royals.
— Jeff Baker hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh, and Texas relievers threw 3 1-3 hitless innings to lead the Rangers to a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros.
__ Hisashi Iwakuma (hee-SAH'-shee ih-wah-KOO'-muh) retired 16 straight over one stretch of a solid seven-inning outing, Raul Ibanez (rah-OOL'ih-BAHN'-yehz) homered for the first time in nearly a month and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3.
__ — Matt Cain pitched eight strong innings and San Francisco beat Tim Hudson for the first time in seven years in the Giants' 8-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
__ Miami held off the L.A. Dodgers 5-4 in a battle of last-place teams. The Dodgers have lost eight straight. Derek Dietrich tied the game with his first major league home run. Juan Pierre singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh.
__ Arizona nipped Philadelphia 4-2 for its fifth straight win. Miguel Montero hit a tiebreaking home to lead off the eighth inning.
— Mike Trout had two hits, including the go-ahead single in the seventh inning, in the Los Angeles Angels'7-5 win over the Chicago White Sox.
— Manny Machado had a tiebreaking RBI single in Baltimore's three-run 10th inning as the Orioles rallied for a 9-6 win over Minnesota.
— Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera each hit a long home run, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 10-4.
__ Wandy Rodriguez pitched the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-3 victory over the New York Mets. Garrett Jones hit a three-run homer.
__ Brandon Phillips homered and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3. The Brewers have lost seven of eight.
Another mistake by the men in blue
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has suspended umpire crew chief Fieldin Culbreth for two games and fined him after he allowed an improper pitching change in Thursday's Astros-Angels game. The other three crew members were also fined.
The umpires allowed Astros manager Bo Porter to replace reliever Wesley Wright before he had completed pitching to one batter as required by the rules.
On Wednesday night, umpire Angel Hernandez and his crew went to a video review but didn't reverse their call in a clear ninth-inning home run by Oakland in a game it lost by one run at Cleveland. MLB Vice president Joe Torre later said he umpires made an "improper call."
PGA-TOURNAMENT PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Garica and Woods top attractive leader board
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Sergio Garcia rocketed to the top of the leaderboard at The Players Championship with a second-round 7-under 65. He stands 11-under for the tournament. Tiger Woods, playing in his first event since the Masters, is one shot back at 10-under after a second round 5-under-67. Lee Westwood's 66 left him two shots off the pace.
It's an attractive leader board. Adam Scott, the Masters champion, surged into contention with a 5-under 67. He's in a group just four shots off the lead.
The 18 players within five shots of the lead include three current major champions —Scott, Webb Simpson and Rory McIlroy — along with Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan (MAY'-han) and Zach Johnson.
First-round leader Roberto Castro followed up his course-record tying 9-under 63 with a 78 and stands at 3-under par.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut after a 1-over 73 left him 1-over par.
Serena Williams beats Errani to reach Madrid final
MADRID (AP) — Top-ranked Serena Williams will have a chance to win her 50th career title after beating Sara Errani of Italy 7-5, 6-2 Saturday to reach the final of the Madrid Open.
After a skittish start, Williams dominated Errani and broke her final service game in both sets.
The defending champion improved to 5-0 against the seventh-ranked Errani and to 30-2 overall this year.
Williams will play the winner of the other semifinal between second-seeded Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic. If Sharapova makes the final, the No. 1 ranking will also be at stake.
Later Saturday, Rafael Nadal played fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar and Tomas Berdych faced Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinals of the men's event.
Kurt Busch on pole
DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Kurt Busch has set a Darlington Raceway record in earning the pole for the Southern 500.
Busch's lap of 181.918 miles per hour earned him his third career pole at Darlington. Defending champion Jimmie Johnson will start alongside Busch, followed by Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne (kayn) and Martin Truex Jr.
Johnson is the points leader, by 43 points over Carl Edwards.
Kyle Busch takes the fifth
DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Kyle Busch took the lead from Joey Logano 18 laps from the end to win his fifth Nationwide race this season and second in three years at Darlington Raceway on Friday night. Elliott Sadler ran second.
Allmendinger gets new ride
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Team Penske has confirmed that AJ Allmendinger will drive in the IndyCar Belle Isle Grand Prix Dual in Detroit. Allmendinger has spent the past six seasons in NASCAR after spending his early career in Champ Car. Team owner Roger Penske has given the driver a second chance after firing him last summer for failing a NASCAR drug test.
School says new coach doesn't have degree
UNDATED (AP) — New Rutgers basketball coach Eddie Jordan is not a graduate of the university as the school had claimed. It's another embarrassment for an athletic program still smarting from the firing of previous coach Mike Rice.
Jordan's biography on the athletic department's website says he earned a degree in health and physical education in 1977. But the registrar's office at the university says the former NBA player and coach never graduated from Rutgers, though he earned 103 credit hours from 1973 to 1985.
A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press the mistake was made by members of the university communications department. While doing research for Jordan's bio, they never verified the information with the coach.