Heat, Spurs enjoy laughers
UNDATED (AP) — Last year's NBA finalists have opened their respective conference semifinal series with lopsided victories.
The Miami Heat led by just three at halftime before dominating the remainder of a 107-86 rout of the Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Miami took control with a 24-9 run in the third quarter en route to their first victory over the Nets in five tries this season.
LeBron James scored 22 points for the Heat, who shot 57 percent and improved to 5-0 in the postseason. Chris Bosh added 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Ray Allen went 4-for-7 from 3-point range to finish with 19 points off the bench.
Joe Johnson and Deron Williams each had 17 points for the Nets, who will try to even the series Thursday in Miami.
Unlike the Heat, the San Antonio Spurs took control early and rolled to a 116-92 rout of Portland in the Western Conference semis. Tony Parker poured in 33 points and had nine assists for the Spurs, who led 65-39 at halftime of their second consecutive blowout win. Marco Belinelli had 19 points off the bench, and Tim Duncan finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 14 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who will stay in San Antonio for Game 2 on Thursday.
Durant wins honor
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The NBA has a new Most Valuable Player.
LeBron James' two-year reign is over after Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant captured the honor. Durant averaged a league-high 32 points a game this season, along with 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists. He helped the Thunder finish second in the Western Conference at 59-23.
Durant totaled 119 first-place votes and 1,232 points in the voting of sportscasters and writers. James picked up six first-place votes following Miami's second-place finish in the East. Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin was third in the balloting.
Club president taking indefinite leave of absence
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Clippers President Andy Roeser is taking an indefinite leave of absence while the NBA restructures the franchise in the wake of owner Donald Sterling's lifetime ban. The league announced plans last week to appoint a CEO to oversee the franchise in Sterling's absence. Roeser is one of the league's longest-tenured executives, having just completed his 30th season with the team.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors have fired coach Mark Jackson after the team's first-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in a seven-game series.
Jackson had the job for three years and compiled a record of 121-109, including a 51-31 mark this season. He was just the third coach in team history to have a 50-win season, joining Don Nelson and Al Attles.
New deal for the coach
TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors have rewarded coach Dwane Casey with a three-year contract extension after the team won a franchise-record 48 games this season. This was Casey's third season with the team, which won the Atlantic Division for the second time and ended a six-year playoff drought before losing to Brooklyn in a seven-game opening round.
NBA rookie of year has shoulder surgery
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers guard and NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams has undergone successful surgery to repair the labrum of his right shoulder. Carter-Williams is only the third player since 1950-51 to lead all rookies in scoring, rebounding and assists, joining Oscar Robertson and Alvin Adams. There is no timetable set for his recovery.
Wild blank Hawks...Habs beat B's
UNDATED (AP) — The Minnesota Wild have pulled within two games to one in the NHL's Western Conference semifinals while ending the Chicago Blackhawks' six-game winning streak.
The Wild did all the scoring in the third period of a 4-0 shutout of the Hawks. Erik Haula snapped the scoreless tie with a tip-in 1:41 into the final period before Mikael Granlund tallied 2 ½ minutes later. Granlund finished with two goals and Zach Parise (pah-REE'-say) had a goal and an assist while the Wild were outshooting the defending Stanley Cup champs 8-4 in the final period.
Ilya Bryzgalov (EEL'-yah brihz-GAH'-lahv) needed to make just 19 saves to secure his first postseason shutout in eight years.
Game 4 is Friday in Minnesota.
The Montreal Canadiens have regained the lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with Boston.
P.K. Subban (SOO'-ban), Dale Weise (wees) and Lars Eller each had a goal and an assist as the Canadiens beat the Bruins 4-2 to take a two-games-to-one lead. Weise provided the game-winner, putting the Habs ahead 3-0 with six minutes left in the second period.
The Bruins pulled within 3-2 on goals by Patrice Bergeron (pah-TREES' BEHR'-zhur-ahn) and Andrej Meszaros (AHN'-dray meh-SAHR'-ohs) before Eller scored an empty-netter.
Carey Price stopped 26 shots for the Canadiens, who host Game 4 on Thursday.
New coach in Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Nashville Predators have hired Peter Laviolette (lah-vee-uh-LET') as their new coach, making him only the second head coach in the franchise's history. The Predators announced April 14 that coach Barry Trotz would not return.
General manager David Poile (poyl) says Laviolette's experience of having won a Stanley Cup as a coach shows he knows what it will take to help the Predators improve.
Laviolette coached Carolina to a Stanley Cup in 2006 and took Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup finals in 2010. He was fired in October following a 0-3 start this season.
Kershaw solid in return
UNDATED (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw looked pretty good in his first outing since he strained a back muscle in the team's season opener in Australia.
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner struck out nine over seven shutout innings as the Dodgers whipped Washington 8-3. Kershaw gave up nine hits and had to work out of a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the sixth inning to keep the Nationals scoreless.
Drew Butera's three-run homer put the Dodgers ahead 8-0 in the eighth inning. Hanley Ramirez also homered and had two RBIs as the Dodgers snapped a two-game skid.
Also in the majors:
— Grady Sizemore's third hit of the night was a walkoff single in the 12th inning of Boston's 4-3 decision over Cincinnati. Sizemore and Mike Napoli each had two RBIs for the Red Sox.
— The New York Yankees pulled out a 4-3 win over the Angels on Brian Roberts' tiebreaking solo homer with two out in the ninth. Roberts had two RBIs as the Yankees won for only the second time in seven games.
— Detroit hammered Houston 11-4 as Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-5 with a solo homer and four RBIs in the Tigers' season-high seventh straight win. Winning pitcher Robbie Ray gave up one run and five hits over 5 1/3 innings in his major league debut.
— Baltimore and Tampa Bay sat through a 19-minute power outage delay just before Ryan Flaherty and Nick Markakis (mahr-KAY'-kihs) both drove in a run in the top of the eighth to lift the Orioles past the Rays 5-3. Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer for the Rays, who loaded bases with one out in the ninth but failed to score against Tommy Hunter.
— Carlos Gonzalez was 5-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored as Colorado walloped Texas 12-1. Nolan Arenado lined an RBI double in the seventh to run his hitting streak to 26 games, one off the Rockies record set by Michael Cuddyer (kuh-DY'-ur) last year.
— Justin Smoak had two hits, three RBIs and two runs scored in Seattle's 8-3 pounding of Oakland. Rookie Roenis Elias (roh-EH'-nihs eh-LEE'-uhs) is 3-2 with a 3.27 ERA after allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings of the Mariners' ninth victory in 11 games since an eight-game skid.
— Henderson Alvarez tossed his major league-leading second shutout of the season, allowing six hits and no walks in Florida's 3-0 win over the New York Mets. Giancarlo Stanton doubled home the game's first run before Casey McGehee (mih-GEE') added a pair of RBI singles in the Marlins' third straight win.
— Starling Marte circled the bases on a triple and a throwing error with two out in the bottom of the ninth to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 win over San Francisco. Marte originally was called out at the plate before Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged the call and the ruling was overturned.
— Atlanta's seven-game losing streak is over after Justin Upton homered and scored the tiebreaking run on Chris Johnson's eighth-inning single to lead the Braves past St. Louis 2-1. Braves right-hander Gavin Floyd was impressive in his season debut, allowing one run on six hits in seven innings.
— Josh Tomlin allowed a run and four hits over 6 2/3 innings as Cleveland downed Minnesota 4-2. Nick Swisher was 2-for-4 with an RBI single and a run scored to highlight the Indians' six-hit attack.
— Toronto blew a 5-0 lead in the sixth inning before Juan Francisco's sacrifice fly gave the Blue Jays a 6-5, 10-inning win at Philadelphia. Edwin Encarnacion (ehn-kahr-nah-see-OHN') and Colby Rasmus homered to help the Blue Jays withstand Cody Asche's (ASH'-eez) game-tying grand slam.
— Gordon Beckhman was 4-for-5 with a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning of the Chicago White Sox's 5-1 win over the Cubs. Moises Sierra had a career-high four hits and Jordan Danks hit a two-run double to help the White Sox complete a two-game sweep at Wrigley Field.
— Aaron Hill hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning of Arizona's 7-5 comeback win at Milwaukee. Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Owings also homered for the Diamondbacks, who trailed 5-2 in the first inning before handing the Brewers their fifth loss in seven games.
— Kansas City scored twice in the 11th as Alex Gordon hit an RBI single and came home on Billy Butler's double to lift the Royals past San Diego 3-1. Salvador Perez hit a solo homer for the Royals, and Jeremy Guthrie held the Padres to a run and four hits in eight innings.
Former heavyweight champ dies
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Former heavyweight boxing champion Jimmy Ellis, who trained with fellow Louisville fighter Muhammad Ali and squared off against some of his era's best fighters, has died in his hometown at age 74. His brother says Ellis had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease in recent years.
Ellis defeated Jerry Quarry to win the WBA crown in 1968. Ellis defended the title by defeating Floyd Patterson, but was stopped by Joe Frazier in a fight to unify the world heavyweight championship in 1970. He was stopped by Ali in the 12th round of their bout in 1971.
New pact for Stoops
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky has extended the contract of head football coach Mark Stoops through the 2018 season. The team struggled in Stoops' first season, going 2-9 overall and 0-7 in the Southeastern Conference, but attendance was up by just under 10,000 fans a game.