Miami looking to keep top-seed hopes alive
UNDATED (AP) — Before we check tonight's NBA schedule it's worth mentioning that the Pacers beat the Thunder yesterday 102-97. That's important to this evening's schedule because the win by the Pacers gave them a half-game lead over idle Miami in the race for top-seed in the East.
Tonight the Pacers have the night off while the Heat are visiting the Wizards in Washington. If Miami loses the game the Pacers will clinch the conference's top seed. If the Heat win, the Pacers can clinch the title with a win in their final game of the regular season Wednesday night against Orlando. The Heat close out the regular season at home to the 76ers on Wednesday.
The final playoff spot up for grabs is the eighth-seed in the Western Conference. Tonight the two teams vying for the berth are meeting in Phoenix as the Suns entertain the Memphis Grizzlies. At the start of play, the Grizzlies top the Suns by one game in the standings and with a win tonight would eliminate Phoenix for contention.
The rest of tonight's NBA schedule has Boston playing in Philadelphia, the Raptors hosting Milwaukee, the Bobcats playing the Hawks in Atlanta, Orlando at Chicago, the Rockets at home to the Spurs, Oklahoma City at New Orleans , the Jazz entertaining the Lakers and Minnesota at Golden State.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Joe Dumars is stepping down as president of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons. The move comes a day after the Pistons lost their home finale and dropped to 29-52 with one game remaining in the season. Detroit will miss the postseason for a fifth consecutive year.
Drafted by the Pistons in 1985, Dumars spent his entire 14-year playing career with the franchise, winning NBA titles in 1989 and 1990.
Fullback signs with Cleveland
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Browns have signed fullback Chris Pressley. He is viewed as a potential lead blocker to open holes for new running back Ben Tate. Pressley, who missed all of last season with Cincinnati because of a knee injury, has made 20 career starts in the NFL for the Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Getting ready for the playoffs
UNDATED (AP) — The NHL's regular season came to an end last night. The playoffs begin Wednesday with the Lightning playing host to Montreal, the Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh and Anaheim home to Dallas.
Preds can coach
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Barry Trotz has been dismissed as coach of the Nashville Predators after 16 seasons. Trotz, the NHL's longest tenured head coach with one team, coached 1,196 games with Nashville. That puts him second only to Greg Popovich of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs for longest active coaching tenure in the four major sports.
Trotz has been offered a position in the team's hockey operations department.
Surgery for Bernier/new president
TORONTO (AP) — Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier (burn-YAY') will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair a sports hernia. He says he will be ready in time for the start of training camp in September. Bernier missed five games in March due to the injury. He then aggravated the problem April 3 against the Boston Bruins and finished the season on the sidelines.
Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan has been introduced as the new president of the Maple Leafs. The 45-year-old Toronto native will oversee all team operations for the franchise. Shanahan had been working as the head of the NHL's Department of Player Safety. In his career Shanahan was on three Stanley Cup winning teams.
Brewers look for 10th straight
UNDATED (AP) — Nine games are on the agenda for Major League Baseball this evening. The surprise team of the young season, Milwaukee, has a home game with the Cardinals. The Brewers of manager Ron Roenicke (REHN'-ih-kee) have opened the season with wins in 10 of their first 12 games. They are currently riding a nine-game winning streak. To counter the Brewers attack, the Cardinals are sending 2-0 Lance Lynn to the mound.
Another 2-0 pitcher is in action tonight as Jordan Lyles gets the ball for the Rockies as they face the Padres in San Diego. The rest of the schedule has Tampa Bay playing in Baltimore, the Mariners at Texas, L.A.'s Angels at home to Oakland, the Phillies hosting the Braves, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, the Nationals playing in Miami and the Mets at Arizona.
Former St. Louis catcher passes away
FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — Former major league baseball player Hal Smith has died. Smith was a native of Barling, Ark., who signed with the St. Louis Cardinals as a catcher in 1949. He played for the Cardinals from 1956-61 and was named to three National League All-Star teams. He later played briefly for Pittsburgh in 1965 before becoming a scout and coach for several teams.
Phelps coming out of retirement for Rio Olympics
UNDATED (AP) — Michael Phelps, the winner of 22 Olympic medals, is coming out of retirement with an eye on competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Phelps will compete for the first time since the 2012 London Olympics at a meet in Mesa, Ariz., on April 24-26.
Phelps returned to training last fall and re-entered the U.S. drug-testing program. He has completed his six-month waiting period to be eligible for competition by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Phelps turns 29 in June and is the winningest and most decorated athlete in Olympic history.
Haas to enter Formula One
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR team owner Gene Haas says he plans to field an American-based Formula One racing series team within the next two years. He says the team will be called Haas Formula and that he should know within the next four weeks if the team will begin racing in 2015 or wait until 2016.
Haas says part of when the team will start racing depends on how long it takes to find an engine supplier. Haas Formula would be become the first American-based Formula One team in more than three decades to join the racing series.