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Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Recap May 04 2012 ESPN

Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets  Recap  May 04 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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DENVER — Ty Lawson scored 25 points and the Denver Nuggets raced to an early 24-point lead on their way to a 99-84 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night in Game 3 of their first-round series.JaVale McGee had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Nuggets, who will try to even the best-of-seven series at two games each on Sunday night at the Pepsi Center.The Nuggets grabbed a 55-39 halftime lead by stifling Andrew Bynum down low and forcing Kobe Bryant to work harder for his baskets.Although both Bynum and Bryant got it going after halftime and the Lakers cut their deficit to four points in the third quarter, the hole was too big to climb out of.Bryant finished with 22 points on 7-of-23 shooting and Bynum had 18 points and 12 rebounds.
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Chicago Bulls vs Philadelphia 76ers Recap May 04 2012 ESPN

Chicago Bulls vs Philadelphia 76ers  Recap  May 04 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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PHILADELPHIA — Spencer Hawes scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds and hit the go-ahead jumper late in the fourth quarter to help the Philadelphia 76ers rally to beat the Chicago Bulls 79-74 on Friday night and take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.Hawes scored 10 clutch points in the fourth to give the eighth-seeded Sixers the surprising series lead.Game 4 is Sunday in Philadelphia.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
Get all the news and commentary on the Bulls-76ers matchup on ESPN.com’s matchup page.
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• Bulls Report | ESPN Chicago
Already playing the rest of the series without reigning MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls got another scare in the third quarter when Joakim Noah left with a sprained left ankle. Noah, who scored 12 points, returned in the fourth quarter and mostly hobbled around the court.With Rose out, the Sixers believed they were in perfect position to knock off the top-seeded Bulls and build a series lead on their home court.Good plan.The Sixers scored only 11 points in the third quarter and trailed by double digits early in the fourth before taking off against the battered Bulls.Hawes keyed the surge and buried two free throws to make it 71-70 with 3:28 left.After getting crushed on the boards all game, the Sixers scooped up a loose ball rebound and hit the open court, only to have Andre Iguodala miss a long and unnecessary 3-point attempt. Iguodala, bothered by right Achilles’ tendinitis, chucked the ball off the backboard to the dismay of a crowd that has seen him do that too many times to count.Nursing a one-point lead, Noah missed two free throws giving the Sixers new life.Hawes hit a 20-footer for a 72-71 lead and Evan Turner made two free throws for a three-point lead with 1:24 left.John Lucas III of the Bulls buried a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game and a send a shiver into a team that faded down the stretch after a 20-9 start.All of that is behind them now. Jrue Holiday hit two free throws to seal the win to the delight of 20,381 fans who packed the Wells Fargo Center.The Bulls missed 10 straight field goals over 5-plus minutes in the fourth to lose all of their 14-point lead.Holiday scored 17 points and Turner had 16 while reserve Lou Williams added 14.Carlos Boozer had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls and Richard Hamilton scored 17 points.Noah’s injury came midway through the third quarter when he stepped on Iguodala’s foot driving down the lane. His feet gave out from under him and he crashed to the court. Noah instantly grabbed his left ankle in pain — while a smattering of fans cheered the fallen Bull.Noah walked gingerly to the bench for a timeout but returned to shoot his free throws.He was on the bench after a few possessions and stayed there until the fourth.Noah hopped around trying to take pressure off the ankle. He put the pressure right on the Sixers and even nailed a 15-footer.The bumps kept coming for the banged-up Bulls.Boozer was whistled for his fourth foul with 4:36 left in the third and joined Noah on the bench. The duo had combined for 26 points and 15 rebounds by that point.That left Taj Gibson and Omer Asik in the frontcourt. With that lineup, the Bulls kept an ineffective Luol Deng in the game when he picked up his fourth foul about 2 minutes later.Before the quarter was out, Gibson became tangled with Thaddeus Young and was briefly down. No worries on this one. He buried a jumper for Chicago’s first double-digit lead of the game, 60-50.Hamilton hit a 3 for a 67-53 lead in the fourth and it appeared they were cruising toward the victory.Not so fast. With the Philly crowd standing and waving their rally towels, the Sixers seemed primed for a comeback. Hawes fought inside for a tough basket that pulled the Sixers to 69-64 to help them end the game on a stunning 26-7 run.The Sixers outscored Chicago 36-14 in the third quarter of Game 2, then followed with a 40-point first half on Friday. The Sixers missed 11 of their first 12 3-point attempts and shot only 30 percent through the first three quarters. Starting forward Elton Brand was scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting.The Bulls need to figure out a new way to play without Rose and to protect Noah if they don’t want this series to slip away.Game notes Hall of Famer Julius Erving returned to the Sixers as a strategic adviser. His deal runs through 2015 and he will be available to the franchise on an as-needed basis. … Actor Bill Murray was at the game. … The Sixers snapped a four-game home losing streak.
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Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics Recap May 04 2012 ESPN

Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics  Recap  May 04 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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BOSTON — Rajon Rondo had a triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the Celtics to a 90-84 overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night and give Boston a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.It was the seventh career playoff triple-double for Rondo, who missed Game 2 because he was suspended for bumping a referee in the closing minutes of the series opener.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
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• Celtics Report | ESPN Boston
Game 4 is Sunday night.Ray Allen returned for Boston after missing almost a month and scored 13 points in 38 minutes. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Paul Pierce had 21 points one game after having 36 points and 14 rebounds to help the Celtics swipe home-court advantage with a Game 2 victory in Atlanta.Joe Johnson scored 29 points and Jeff Teague had 23 for the Hawks. Tracy McGrady had 12 points — his highest total since he had 40 for Houston in 2008 — but 10 were in the first half, before he landed awkwardly on his right ankle and went to the locker room. He did not have a field goal in the second half.Rondo scored Boston’s first two baskets of the overtime — the second by posting up Teague and knocking down a baby hook over him.Boston never trailed from there.The Celtics went on an 11-1 run to open a double-digit lead with 7 minutes to play in regulation, but Atlanta rallied and tied it 80-80 on Johnson’s 3-pointer with 1:23 left. Both teams failed to score on its next two possessions, leaving the Celtics with the ball out of bounds with 3.9 seconds left.Rondo inbounded to Pierce, who was defended by Johnson and had to take a long, fallaway jumper that bounced off the rim at the buzzer.The Celtics got Rondo back from his one-game suspension and Allen back on the court for the first time since April 10. He played just five games over the final month of the regular season because of bone spurs in his right ankle and missed the first two games of the playoffs as well.The Hawks kept losing players. With top centers Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia already out, forward Josh Smith was scratched with a sprained tendon in his left knee.Game notes Hawks C Erick Dampier scored six points in 23 minutes. He played 83 minutes over 15 games and scored just two points in the entire regular season. … Pierce’s next playoff game will tie him with Dennis Johnson and Bob Cousy for 10th on the Celtics’ all-time list with 109. Next up is current Celtics GM Danny Ainge, with 112. … John Havlicek played in 172. … Johnson scored eight points in the first quarter and McGrady had 10 points and four rebounds in the second. … Celtics G Avery Bradley went to the locker room in the third with a sore left shoulder. The team initially said he would return, then said he wouldn’t. … Bruins president Cam Neely sat courtside with Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, getting a big cheer when he was shown on the scoreboard. … Allen, the NBA’s career 3-point leader, was 0-for-4 from 3-point range. He was 1-for-3 from the line and 6-for-12 from the field.
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Orlando Magics Ryan Anderson named NBAs Most Improved Player ESPN

Orlando Magics Ryan Anderson named NBAs Most Improved Player  ESPN

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Miami Heat vs New York Knicks Recap May 03 2012 ESPN

Miami Heat vs New York Knicks  Recap  May 03 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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NEW YORK — Frustrated and foul-prone for three quarters, LeBron James finally did what he usually does at Madison Square Garden.And the New York Knicks got the only result they know any more in the playoffs.
Heat Reaction
For a quick take after each game, check the Heat Reaction.
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James scored 32 points, including eight straight to start the fourth quarter and break open the game, and the Miami Heat took a 3-0 series lead, sending the Knicks to an NBA postseason-record 13th straight loss, 87-70 on Thursday night.James had 17 points in the final period for the Heat, who held the short-handed Knicks to eight field goals in the second half and will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon.”He just has to stay with it,” Heat coach Erik Spoeslstra said. “He had some turnovers, he had some mistakes but he was able to keep his head in it.”Dwyane Wade added 20 points for the Heat and Mario Chalmers had 19, hitting consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter when the Heat finally brought some beauty to what had been an ugly game.Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points but shot 7 of 23 for the Knicks, who are playing without Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert and needed a super effort from Anthony that he didn’t come close to providing.The Knicks broke the record set by Memphis from 2004-06. They haven’t won a playoff game since April 29, 2001, Game 3 of a best-of-five series against Toronto.In a sloppy game between two star-studded teams, Miami went 10 minutes without a field goal in the second half, followed by the Knicks managing just three baskets in the third quarter.Then James, who finished with eight turnovers, took over.He came off the bench to start the fourth after sitting most of the third in foul trouble, quickly providing the best offensive stretch in the game. He nailed a 3-pointer, followed his own miss, then hit again from behind the arc, turning the Heat’s two-point lead into a 66-56 cushion with 10:36 remaining.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
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The Heat then put it away midway through the period, when Wade made a jumper before Chalmers hit twice in a row from behind the arc to make it 77-62 with 5:40 to play.Fans started leaving, realizing there was little hope of the Knicks making up 15 points on anybody with the lineup they have.The Knicks shot 32 percent, getting a 5-for-18 night from JR Smith.”Offensively we just didn’t have it,” Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson said. “We were so stagnant and I got to take the heat for that.”Lin is practicing again after knee surgery but is not ready to return. Shumpert tore a knee ligament in Game 1, and Stoudemire is hoping the hand injury he sustained punching a fire extinguisher case following Game 2 is healed enough to let him play Sunday.Chris Bosh had nine points and 10 rebounds hours after the birth of his first child. He flew to New York with the Heat on Wednesday, then quickly hopped on a flight back to Miami after learning his wife was in labor. He returned Thursday afternoon following the birth of his son, arriving at the arena about 30 minutes before the game.Desperate to see playoff success, Knicks fans were loud early, chanting “Beat the Heat! Beat the Heat!” but the Knicks gave them little to cheer about once the game started. They made one basket in the first 5 minutes and fell behind by as many as nine points, but then shut down the Heat from the field after Bosh’s basket with 4:59 left and tied it at 19 by period’s end.James came in averaging 29.9 points at the current Madison Square Garden, trailing only Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant among opponents who played here at least 10 games. Wade was just behind in fourth with 27.3 per game.Yet the superstars each started 1 of 6 from the field, James seeming particularly frustrated with the officials and even teammates. Once a fan favorite at Madison Square Garden — Knicks fans hoped he would sign here as a free agent in 2010 — he was booed, mocked and cursed by the crowd Thursday.He eventually would get on the roll he is accustomed to here.The Heat won the opener by 33 points and took Game 2 104-94 on Monday, when the Knicks’ biggest problems came after the game. Stoudemire punched a fire extinguisher case in the arena and badly cut his left hand, needing surgery Tuesday to repair a muscle. He sat on bench with his arm in a sling.Steve Novak started for him but took only two shots and missed them both.Game notes Knicks C Tyson Chandler was honored in a pregame ceremony for winning the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award. The Knicks also held a moment of silence for former coach and scout Andrew “Fuzzy” Levane, who died earlier this week at 92.
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Pablo Sandoval of San Francisco Giants will have surgery for broken hand ESPN

Pablo Sandoval of San Francisco Giants will have surgery for broken hand  ESPN

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Reports Pablo Sandoval of San Francisco Giants has broken bone in hand ESPN

Reports Pablo Sandoval of San Francisco Giants has broken bone in hand  ESPN

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2012 NBA playoffs Chris Bosh of Miami Heat gametime decision ESPN

2012 NBA playoffs  Chris Bosh of Miami Heat gametime decision  ESPN

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2012 NBA playoffs Chris Bosh of Miami Heat returns home to be with expectant wife ESPN

2012 NBA playoffs  Chris Bosh of Miami Heat returns home to be with expectant wife  ESPN

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Los Angeles Clippers vs Memphis Grizzlies Recap May 02 2012 ESPN

Los Angeles Clippers vs Memphis Grizzlies  Recap  May 02 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — O.J. Mayo scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and the Memphis Grizzlies bounced back to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-98 on Wednesday night.The Grizzlies blew a 27-point lead in losing Game 1 on Sunday night and letting the Clippers grab home-court advantage in the best-of-seven, first-round Western Conference series. They got back to their physical style and evened the series.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
Get all the news and commentary on the Grizzlies-Clippers matchup on ESPN.com’s matchup page.
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• Clippers Report | ESPN Los Angeles
Game 3 is Saturday in Los Angeles.Rudy Gay also scored 21 points as Memphis showed off its depth with six players reaching double figures. Mike Conley had 19, Zach Randolph 15, Marreese Speights 11 and Tony Allen 10.All-Star guard Chris Paul led the Clippers with 29 points. Blake Griffin had 22, and Mo Williams and Nick Young 11 apiece.The Grizzlies had the lead going into the fourth quarter for a second straight game. This time, the Clippers got no closer than four.Memphis led 75-69 at the start of this fourth quarter, and Paul’s four-point play with 8:06 left got the Clippers to 83-79. The Grizzlies answered with Conley scoring on a driving layup, followed by another 3 from Mayo. Bobby Simmons, starting with Caron Butler out with a broken left hand, scored seven of his nine points in the fourth.
Lob City Ledger
For a quick take on Game 2 between the Clippers and Grizzlies, check the Lob City Ledger.
It wasn’t enough as Gay and Randolph combined to score six straight points with Gay’s basket giving Memphis its biggest lead of the night at 97-84 with 3:52 remaining. The Grizzlies sealed the victory by hitting six of 10 free throws in the final 47.6 seconds.Both the Clippers and Grizzlies started this game as if they simply picked up Sunday night when Los Angeles finished the game on a 28-3 run.Playing aggressively, the Clippers jumped out to a 6-1 lead as the Grizzlies missed their first four shots. Memphis didn’t hit its first shot until Conley’s driving layup with 8:19 left in the first quarter, and Gay missed his first three shots before hitting a 15-foot jumper.The Clippers shot 64.7 percent (11 of 17) in the first quarter and hit 4 of 6 at the free throw line. But they just couldn’t match the Grizzlies who outrebounded the Clippers (37-2) with a big edge on the offensive boards (16-4), which they used to outscore them 18-6 on second-chance points. Memphis also had a 46-38 edge in the paint.The emotions are starting to boil in this series, and the Grizzlies brought out wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler came out and delivered a pile driver to someone dressed up as a Clippers’ fan.That almost seemed to help spark the Grizzlies. They opened the second quarter hitting six of their first seven shots and took their first lead on a pair of free throws by Mayo at 31-30 early in the quarter. Nick Young tied it at 37 on a 3 with 6:22 left, then Marreese Speights tipped in a bucket with 5:53 left, and the Grizzlies never trailed or were tied again. Memphis led 51-47 at halftime.Memphis hit 11 3-pointers in Game 1 and reverted back to the team that ranked 25th in the NBA from outside the arc by missing its first eight attempts Wednesday night. Mayo finally ended the drought with his 3 over Griffin with 9:32 left, and he followed with a jumper on the next possession giving Memphis an 82-73 lead.Game notes Memphis notched its eighth straight playoff sellout going back to last spring. … The Grizzlies forced Los Angeles into 21 turnovers they converted into 25 points. Memphis had just 13 turnovers. … Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy tweeted that he was in the stands for Game 2. … Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said Butler will see a specialist Thursday in Los Angeles.
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Indiana Pacers vs Orlando Magic Recap May 02 2012 ESPN

Indiana Pacers vs Orlando Magic  Recap  May 02 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Danny Granger had 26 points and nine rebounds, Roy Hibbert added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Orlando Magic 97-74 on Wednesday night to a take a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.The Pacers regained home-court advantage with the victory, riding good shooting early and building a 29-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
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They also dominated scoring underneath thanks to a 46-33 rebounding edge and have outscored the Magic 81-43 in the third quarter in the series.Glen Davis led the Magic with 22 points, and J.J. Redick added 13. The Magic never led, struggled to get any scoring in the paint, and made a series-low five 3-pointers.Game 4 is Saturday in Orlando.Indiana coach Frank Vogel’s implored the Pacers after each of the first two games to make better shot selections.They finally did it in Game 3.It translated into their best shooting of the series as the Pacers built a 23-point lead in the third quarter and led 76-55 entering the fourth.Indiana had its way both inside and out, shooting 47 percent for the game (37 for 79) and holding a 42-22 edge on points in the paint.Meanwhile, aside from Davis, Orlando’s offense stalled at several points and the Magic connected on only 30 of their 71 attempts from the field.Indiana led 44-38 at the half, but started the game on an offensive tear hitting nine of its first 10 shots from the field and shot 52 percent (18 for 34) for the half.The Magic had few answers for Hill, who scored 13 points in the opening two periods.Orlando survived the fast start, though, thanks largely to Davis’ 16-point second quarter. His scoring spree featured mid-range jumpers and some baskets in the post. It all came after Davis missed all three of his shots in the first quarter.The Pacers put the Magic in a 10-point first-quarter hole for the third straight game, jumping out to a 13-3 advantage.Orlando missed its first five shots before Hedo Turkoglu hit a 3-pointer to finally put the Magic on the board.Game notes Indiana outrebounded Orlando for the third consecutive game. … Orlando G Jason Richardson started Wednesday after jamming his left thumb in the Magic’s Game 2 loss. …About a dozen Magic fans sitting near midcourt wore homemade Davis-inspired “Baby’s Crazies” t-shirts. … Wednesday was Pacers G Paul George’s birthday.
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Utah Jazz vs San Antonio Spurs Recap May 02 2012 ESPN

Utah Jazz vs San Antonio Spurs  Recap  May 02 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker scored 18 points and the San Antonio Spurs handed Utah its second-worst playoff loss in franchise history, beating the Jazz 114-83 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.NBA Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich practically put the Spurs on autopilot after a 20-0 run in the second quarter that stunned the Jazz, who had vowed to play better after the Spurs easily won Game 1. But this humiliating rout was even easier.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
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The Jazz never quite greeted Parker with the hard fouls the All-Star was supposed to have coming, and the Utah frontcourt of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap wasn’t any more imposing on offense. Jefferson scored 10 points, and Millsap had nine.Game 3 is Saturday night in Salt Lake City.The only bigger embarrassment for the Jazz in the playoffs was a 42-point loss to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1998 NBA Finals.It’s the first time the Spurs have led a series 2-0 since opening the 2008 playoffs against Phoenix. San Antonio won that series in five, and unless the Jazz can shake this off, this one will be over just as quick.If not sooner.”We were aggressive and we wanted to make sure we matched their energy,” Parker said.It was a total collapse by the Jazz in spite of flying back to Salt Lake City and regrouping with two days of practice after losing the opener Sunday. Back home, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin admitted feeling unusually nervous before that Game 1, but said before tipoff this time that those jitters were under control.By the second quarter, Corbin appeared to be wrestling with disgust.That’s when the Spurs held the Jazz scoreless for more than 7 minutes while rookie Kawhi Leonard and unheralded swingman Danny Green outplayed the Jazz’s stars. Utah shot 5 of 28 in the second quarter and the Jazz filed off the court at halftime walking slow, heads down and quiet.It had been only minutes earlier the Jazz were as close as 31-26. But the Spurs blew the game open so comfortably and quickly that Parker and Duncan never left the bench in the fourth quarter.Jefferson and Howard, who also had 10 points, were Utah’s leading scorers.It was the most lopsided postseason win for the Spurs since beating the Nuggets by 28 in 2005. San Antonio’s playoff record is a 40-point victory over Denver in 1983.Duncan finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Leonard scored 17 points, and Green had 13.At least the Jazz didn’t look the most embarrassed the entire night. Popovich again had to show off his coach of the year trophy before the game, this time for fans while standing between Duncan and Spurs great David Robinson. Popovich obliged for several seconds before scrambling to hand the trophy off to one of his assistants as fast as possible.Game notes The last Jazz team to rally from an 0-2 deficit and win a playoff series was 2007, when Utah came back to beat Houston in the first round. The Spurs later beat that team on their way to their fourth championship. … Backup Spurs C Tiago Splitter (sprained wrist) was available to play but the rout gave Popovich the luxury of letting the big man continue to heal. Popovich said Splitter should be better by Game 3.
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2012 NBA playoffs Atlanta Hawks Josh Smith knee uncertain for Game 3 against Boston Celtics ESPN

2012 NBA playoffs  Atlanta Hawks Josh Smith knee uncertain for Game 3 against Boston Celtics  ESPN

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Andy Pettitte says he may have misunderstood Roger Clemens HGH talk ESPN

Andy Pettitte says he may have misunderstood Roger Clemens HGH talk  ESPN

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Montreal Canadiens hire Marc Bergevin of Chicago Blackhawks as general manager ESPN

Montreal Canadiens hire Marc Bergevin of Chicago Blackhawks as general manager  ESPN

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Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Recap May 01 2012 ESPN

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers  Recap  May 01 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES — The Denver Nuggets ran the court and drove the lane with all the intensity they lacked in their playoff opener. They double-teamed Andrew Bynum, harassed Pau Gasol and scored relentlessly in the paint.Nope, still not enough to beat Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Not even enough to get a lead.
More on Lakers-Nuggets Game 2
ESPN.com
Even if the focus of opponents is shifting more toward Andrew Bynum, the Lakers are still all about Kobe Bryant, J.A. Adande writes.
Story
ESPNLosAngeles.com
The biggest factor in the Lakers’ chances of playoff success just might be their health, Dave McMenamin writes. Story
• Land O’Lakers blog | ESPN LA
Bryant scored 38 points, Bynum followed up his triple-double with a career playoff-high 27 points and nine rebounds, and the Lakers weathered Denver’s late rally for a 104-100 victory Tuesday night, taking a 2-0 series lead.Gasol had 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the third-seeded Lakers, who still haven’t trailed in two games despite several dicey moments in Game 2. They survived a much-improved effort by the Nuggets and Ty Lawson, who scored 25 points and led the fourth-quarter charge.Bryant was too sharp in his 83rd career 30-point playoff game, more than anybody except Michael Jordan. After last season’s second-round ouster in their failed quest for a three-peat, Bryant and his teammates are healthier and happier — and they’ve been too much for Denver.
“I think we’re just playing much better,” Bryant said. “It’s tough to play against us, because there’s legitimately three guys you have to double-team.”Game 3 is Friday in Denver.
The Lakers didn’t get out of Staples Center without a little drama. Los Angeles’ 19-point lead in the third quarter dwindled to four with 3 minutes to play, but Ramon Sessions scored four key points in the final 1:14 before Bryant’s icing free throws with 9.4 seconds left.
Western Conference Playoffs
Get all the news and commentary on the Lakers-Nuggets matchup on ESPN.com’s matchup page.
• Predictions: Simulator | SportsNation
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• Lakers Report | ESPN Los Angeles
“I think losing last season, and the way we lost, we’re approaching this postseason much more focused,” Gasol said. “We’re not overlooking any team, any game. We’re doing whatever it takes to be successful. … Overall, I think we played well again. We just allowed them to play their game a little more than in the first game.”Lawson shook his awful series opener with 17 second-half points, but the sixth-seeded Nuggets lost their ninth straight road playoff game despite playing much closer to their preferred speedy tempo after the Lakers muzzled them in Game 1.Kenneth Faried had 14 points and 10 rebounds while Danilo Gallinari and Corey Brewer added 13 points apiece, but Denver still couldn’t consistently defend Bryant or negate Bynum, who played another outstanding low-post game on both ends until disappearing a bit in a three-point fourth quarter.”It’s closer, (but) when you get down 19 points and try to battle back, it takes a lot of energy,” Lawson said. “I feel like we learned a couple of things from this game. At one point in the game, we’ve got to be up. It’s tough to be battling back the whole game.”Sessions scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles, which played just enough fast-break ball of its own to stay ahead of Denver — and now the Lakers are halfway to the second round. They have only lost one playoff series in franchise history after winning the first two games, going 42-1.A 14-5 run in the final minutes eventually trimmed Los Angeles’ lead to 98-84, but Sessions hit a teardrop layup with 1:14 to play, and Bryant made a slick steal on the other end. JaVale McGee’s tip-in with 30 seconds left trimmed the Lakers’ lead back to four, but Sessions and Bryant hit their free throws.”The only thing I wish is the fight of this game is what we had in Game 1,” Denver coach George Karl said. “But we’re young, and we’re learning. You saw us play a lot of Nuggets basketball today. I think it’ll get a little better in Game 3. I think the home court will be good for us. We haven’t played a good defensive game yet, so we’ll learn from this.”Jordan Hill shook off brewing legal troubles to contribute six points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who used just three reserves. Denver’s bench outscored the Lakers’ reserves 35-8.Bynum blocked just two shots after swatting 10 in the Lakers’ series-opening victory, but Denver minimized his dominance with home run passes, speedy outlets and 30 fast-break points.Karl attempted to help through the media after Game 1, saying Bynum and the Lakers played illegal defense constantly during the opener. Karl tried another gambit before Game 2, saying Staples Center is not a noisy, intimidating road building, but more like “a Broadway stage.”The Lakers were called for no illegal defenses in Game 2, and their fans were screaming for encores.Denver cut Los Angeles’ lead to four points late on consecutive hustle plays by Faried, but Bryant scrapped for a loose ball on one end and led the break to the other, feeding Bynum for a dunk — his first points of the fourth quarter — and a foul with 2:15 to play.Hill produced another strong performance off the Lakers’ bench a day after news broke of a felony assault charge against him in Houston, where he played for the Rockets before a late-season trade. Hill said Tuesday night he was “shocked” by the charges, but thinks he won’t miss any time in the Lakers’ championship quest.Game notes Lakers F Metta World Peace served the third game of his seven-game suspension. … Before the game, Denver announced F Wilson Chandler had surgery Monday to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. He should be ready for training camp in the fall. … Bryant has never lost a first-round playoff series after winning the opener, going 11-0. … Fans near courtside included Lil Wayne, David and Victoria Beckham, Poppy Montgomery and Mario Lopez.
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Washington Nationals Bryce Harper shows off arm not bat in home debut ESPN

Washington Nationals Bryce Harper shows off arm not bat in home debut  ESPN

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Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks Recap May 01 2012 ESPN

Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks  Recap  May 01 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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ATLANTA — Paul Pierce knocked down the free throws to clinch it, then dropped to a knee near midcourt.He wasn’t planning on Tebowing, but it just felt right.With a stunning performance, Pierce single-handedly led the Boston Celtics to a playoff win — even without their floor leader.Pierce battled through another tough shooting night to score 36 points and the Celtics wiped out Atlanta’s 11-point lead in the second half, stunning the Hawks 87-80 on Tuesday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference series.Boston heads home for Game 3 on Friday night tied 1-1. Rajon Rondo will be back for the Celtics in that one, his shorthanded team having claimed the home-court edge even while he served a one-game suspension for bumping a ref in the postseason opener.Pierce made sure the point guard wasn’t missed, outscoring the Hawks all by himself over the last 15:08.”I have a lot of experience, a lot of confidence from being in those moments,” Pierce said. “You believe in yourself, your coach believes in you, your team believes in you, it’s a combination of all those things.”Pierce scored Boston’s first nine points but struggled mightily through the second and third quarters. He came through when the Celtics really needed him, especially with the Rondo-less offense a bit out of sync and Ray Allen sitting out again with an injured right ankle.Down the stretch, the Celtics simplified things: Give the ball to Pierce and get out of the way.”Paul was great,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “The only way we were going to win a game like this without Ray and Rondo was if Paul had a game like this.”After making a couple of foul shots with just over a minute remaining to clinch it, Pierce paused on his way back to the bench to copy the move named after NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, sinking to a knee and bowing his head for a brief prayer in the middle of the court.”You just want to thank God for putting you in those positions,” Pierce said. “It wasn’t pre-scripted. It just came to me.”The Hawks appeared to be in control when they pushed out to a 65-54 lead late in the third quarter. But Boston sliced it to 66-61 by the end of the period, and Pierce led a dominating fourth.In wiping out the double-figure deficit, Pierce outscored the Hawks all by himself, 18-15, including 13 points in the final quarter. That was more than he had in all of Game 1, when Atlanta held Pierce to 12 points on 5-of-19 shooting.”We expected him to come out and be aggressive offensively,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “He got going early.”The Celtics were up 74-72 when a quick spurt essentially finished the Hawks, especially when Josh Smith went out late in the game with a sprained left knee.Joe Johnson turned it over, part of another tough game for the Hawks star, sparking a fast break that ended with a give-and-go from Avery Bradley to Pierce for a dunk. After Jeff Teague missed badly on a jumper, Pierce came down and hit his first 3-pointer of the series after missing his 10, stretching the lead to 79-72 with 3 1/2 minutes left.The Hawks called a timeout, but no need.This one was over.Atlanta’s last hurrah ended when Johnson missed a free throw with a chance to close the gap to two points with 1:35 remaining. Kevin Garnett was hacked at the other end and made both his foul shots, Johnson missed a wild 3 from the top of the key and chants of “Let’s go Celtics!” erupted at Philips Arena while the red-clad fans headed for the exits.For good measure, Pierce also led his team in rebounding with 14. Garnett had 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Bradley, who shifted over to take Rondo’s spot at the point, chipped in with 14 points but only three assists — a far cry from what the Celtics usually get out of that position.Johnson had 22 points but never got many open looks, hitting just 7 of 17 from the field. Smith had 16 points and 12 rebounds, the state of his knee now becoming a major concern for the Hawks, who already have played most of the season without Al Horford.Smith, who went out for good with 4:20 remaining, will be re-evaluated Wednesday. The Hawks surely can’t afford to lose him, too.”He is one of our go-to guys down the stretch,” Drew said. “We were missing all of the things he brings to the table for us, especially down low.”Early on, Teague was a force at both ends for the Hawks. He made a great crossover move out beyond the 3-point stripe, split the Celtics defense and went right down the lane for a massive slam. Defensively, he showed off his speed when he got caught on the wrong side trying to double-team the ball, sprinting all the way to the other corner to swat a 3-point attempt by Keyon Dooling into the crowd.Teague thumped his chest defiantly and was patted on the back by a fan wearing a vintage Hawks jersey. He finished with 18 points but missed all four of his shots in the fourth.The game definitely appeared to be going the Hawks’ way by the third quarter. When Smith tried to pass the ball inside, Boston’s Greg Stiemsma got a hand on it, but the ball deflected into the corner — right to a wide-open Johnson, standing behind the 3-point arc. With no one around, he swished the 3 to push the Hawks to their 65-54 advantage.For the longest time, the Celtics struggled to do anything right. They botched a 3-on-1 when Mickael Pietrus tried an ill-advised bounce pass, which was about the only way Atlanta’s Kirk Hinrich had any chance of breaking it up. The Hawks took off the other way, and Smith laid in an easy one.Rivers stormed out of his seat, livid at his team’s sloppiness, and signaled for a timeout. He was so mad he didn’t even want to stand near his players as they trudged to the bench, remaining out near the foul line until he regained his composure.He was feeling a lot better by the end. The Hawks made just 4 of 19 shots in the final quarter, missing all four of their 3-point attempts. They also turned it over five times.”We wanted that one at home,” Teague said. “We’ll have to go on the road and try to get the next one.”Game notes The Celtics had hoped Allen would be able to return, but his ailing right ankle had a setback after feeling relatively good Monday. … The Hawks shot just 35 percent (29 of 83). … Boston held a 45-40 edge on the boards, even while collecting just three at the offensive end.—Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
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Philadelphia 76ers vs Chicago Bulls Recap May 01 2012 ESPN

Philadelphia 76ers vs Chicago Bulls  Recap  May 01 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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CHICAGO — Jrue Holiday scored 26 points, Lou Williams added 20 and the Philadelphia 76ers beat Chicago 109-92 on Tuesday night to even their first-round series in the Bulls’ first game since Derrick Rose’s season-ending knee injury.The superstar point guard received a standing ovation and waved to the crowd as he limped onto the court to present the game ball, then watched from a suite as the 76ers simply blitzed the Bulls in the third quarter.
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They outscored Chicago 36-14 in the period, turning an eight-point deficit into an 83-69 lead, and pulled even with the league’s top-seeded team. Game 3 is Friday in Philadelphia.Holiday was 11 of 15 from the field, and the Sixers shot 59 percent overall. Williams came up big, going 8 of 13 after hitting just 1 of 6 shots in the opener, and Chicago product Evan Turner chipped in with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists.Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 21 points and eight rebounds. John Lucas III scored 15 points, but Carlos Boozer scored just nine and Luol Deng finished with eight. More alarming, the Bulls simply couldn’t stop the Sixers, particularly in the third quarter.Turner scored 11 points in the period, and Philadelphia wiped out a 55-47 deficit.The Sixers were leading 68-61 midway through the quarter after a 12-0 run that Elton Brand started with a foul-line jumper. Then, after a basket by C.J. Watson, Andre Iguodala threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk over Deng for a three-point play that drew plenty of oohs, aahs and groans from a crowd that felt this one slipping away.Things didn’t get much better for Chicago after that.The 76ers continued to pour it on, with Iguodala throwing down another vicious dunk late in the quarter and then hitting Williams with an alley-oop pass that made it 83-69 heading into the fourth.It was a rough night for the Bulls, who insist they have enough to make a championship run even though they lost Rose to a torn ACL in his left knee near the end of Game 1.After all, they know how to win without him.Rose missed 27 games during the regular season because of a variety of injuries, and the Bulls did just fine, going 18-9. Throw in injuries to Richard Hamilton and Deng, and they were able to go with their projected starting five just 15 times, yet they still captured homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs for the second straight season.Game notes The Sixers shuffled their lineup from Game 1, with Turner starting for Jodie Meeks and C Spencer Hawes for Lavoy Allen. … Scottie Pippen says the Bulls still are the team to beat even without Rose. In an open letter to the team posted Tuesday on the Bulls’ website, Pippen wrote, “You’re still the best team in the NBA until an opponent proves otherwise.” The Hall of Famer also compared the loss of Rose to Michael Jordan’s first retirement and pointed out the 1993-94 team won 55 games. Pippen said the Bulls “believed in ourselves” and never “felt sorry for ourselves.” … Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau finished second in the Coach of the Year voting to San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich after winning the award last season.
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Washington Nationals Bryce Harper takes swings during slowpitch softball game on Mall ESPN

Washington Nationals Bryce Harper takes swings during slowpitch softball game on Mall  ESPN

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New York Yankees Andy Pettitte takes stand in Roger Clemens perjury trial ESPN

New York Yankees Andy Pettitte takes stand in Roger Clemens perjury trial  ESPN

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Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder Recap April 30 2012 ESPN

Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder  Recap  April 30 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, Kevin Durant added 26 in an off-shooting performance and the Oklahoma City Thunder clawed out a 102-99 victory over defending champion Dallas on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.Durant hit two free throws with 50.4 seconds left to give Oklahoma City a 98-97 lead, and James Harden hit four more foul shots to close it out for the Thunder.Jason Terry missed two 3-point attempts from the left wing in the final 5 seconds that could have tied it.Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 31 points and Shawn Marion scored 15. The Mavericks led in the closing minutes of both road games but couldn’t even manage a split.Game 3 is Thursday night in Dallas.Durant put the Thunder ahead to stay after salvaging two key points with Oklahoma City inbounding the ball with only 2.6 seconds left on the shot clock. He grabbed the inbounds pass from Harden while headed toward the sideline, and Terry was called for a foul for bumping him.Durant hit both foul shots, and Nowitzki missed his chance to answer with a short jumper from the left side at the other end.Marion fouled Harden on the rebound, and the league’s top scoring reserve — only eight days removed from a concussion as the result of Metta World Peace’s elbow to the head — also converted both free throws. He hit two more with 15.6 seconds left after Terry got the Mavs within one with a driving layup.After losing both of their home games to Dallas in last year’s Western Conference finals, the Thunder barely got by in the rematch. Durant hit a jumper with 1.5 seconds left to win the first game 99-98 on Saturday night.Dallas was up seven points with 2 1/2 minutes left in Game 1 and just a point in the final minute of Game 2.Beforehand, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks downplayed a rivalry blossoming along Interstate 35.”Right now, they beat us one time last season. I don’t know if that’s considered a rivalry,” he said. “It takes more than one or seasons, but definitely it’s there for the making.”Maybe he spoke too soon.The tension escalated quickly after Serge Ibaka tried to block Nowitzki’s jumper midway through the first quarter and smacked him in the left eye on his follow-through, without getting called for a foul. Nowitzki hit another jumper along the baseline on Dallas’ next possession before he got shoved in the back by Kendrick Perkins while jockeying for rebounding position on a made 3-pointer by Durant.Perkins followed Nowitzki for a few steps before Nowitzki bumped him away, and Perkins responded by taking a swing at Nowitzki’s head with his open hand. Official Zach Zarba stepped in front of Perkins and backed him away, and both were assessed technical fouls.The Thunder erupted a few minutes later, scoring the final nine points of the first quarter — all within an 82-second span — to go up 32-24 and then carrying over the momentum after the break.Derek Fisher hit three jumpers and Dallas started the second quarter just 2 for 8 from the field and committed five turnovers as Oklahoma City charged to a 46-30 lead with 5:55 left before halftime to prompt Mavs coach Rick Carlisle’s third timeout in less than 3 1/2 minutes.When Nowitzki and Perkins finally got back on the court together, the Mavericks’ All-Star exacted some revenge while getting his team back in the game. He went on a personal 10-2 run, with all of the points coming while he was matched up against Perkins, to get the deficit down to 50-47.The Mavs pulled ahead in the first 5 minutes of the second half, as the game turned into a foul fest and the Thunder made only one basket in the first 7 minutes.Game notes After going back and forth responding to each other’s comments on how Oklahoma City’s defense on Nowitzki was officiated in Game 1, Brooks insisted any dispute with Carlisle wasn’t personal. Years ago, the two roomed together while playing in the Continental Basketball Association. “He was a good roommate. He didn’t snore,” Brooks said. “That’s all it takes. Buy me a meal every now and then and not snore, you’re a perfect roommate.” He later playfully retorted: “If you want it to be personal, I was a better player. How many years did I play in the league? How many years did he play? I played over a decade. He played three.” … Marion hadn’t made a playoff 3-pointer since 2007 before making two in Game 1. He had another in Game 2. … Ibaka, who tied his regular season best with 22 points in the first game, got into foul trouble and scored only two.
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New York Knicks vs Miami Heat Recap April 30 2012 ESPN

New York Knicks vs Miami Heat  Recap  April 30 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
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MIAMI — Amare Stoudemire walked out of the visiting locker-room showers late Monday night with one towel wrapped around his waist, another over his left hand.He was silent as he briskly walked into the privacy of the training room. But this much is clear: What happened in the moments after Game 2 ended may hurt the New York Knicks more than anything that happened on the court against the Miami Heat.Stoudemire needed treatment and stitches from doctors and paramedics after cutting his left hand shortly after the Heat beat the Knicks 104-94, taking a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series and sending New York to its NBA-record-tying 12th straight postseason loss.”We’re all frustrated,” Knicks center Tyson Chandler said.Dwyane Wade scored 25 points, Chris Bosh added 21 and LeBron James finished with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Heat.”You never want to hear anyone gets hurt,” Wade said. “Hopefully he gets better. We want all their guns on the court.”Everything the Heat did seemed like old news quickly after the game, when all anyone really wanted to talk about was what was going on in the Knicks locker room. Miami-Dade paramedics — who staff every game — were summoned while reporters were kept outside much longer than the typical 10-minute cooling-off period.”I really don’t know what’s the situation with that,” said Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who said he was “on the court” when whatever happened with Stoudemire occurred.Anthony scored 30 points on 12-for-26 shooting for New York, which got 18 points from Stoudemire and 13 apiece from Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith. The only other team to lose 12 straight playoff games is the Memphis Grizzlies, who dropped their first dozen postseason contests from 2004 through 2006.New York’s last postseason win came April 29, 2001. The Knicks get another chance to snap the drought Thursday when they host Game 3.Mario Chalmers scored 13 points and Mike Miller and Shane Battier each shot 3 for 5 from 3-point range on their way to 11-point games for the defending East champion Heat, who shot 52 percent.”Every game we try to find our shooters, get them comfortable in the offense and once they catch them, they can let it fly,” James said. “It was concerted effort tonight to get them the ball and move the ball from one side to the other.”Baron Davis, who sat most of the first half and has been battling back issues, finished with 12 points for the Knicks.Along with the Grizzlies, the Knicks were one of four teams in NBA history with 11-game postseason losing streaks, according to STATS LLC, joining Denver (1988-94) and the Baltimore Bullets (1965-70).The Heat came into the game saying they expected Anthony to be much more aggressive. They were right.Anthony opened with an 11-shot quarter — the last time someone took more in the first 12 minutes of a playoff game was May 15, 2006, when Richard Hamilton got 12 shots off for Detroit against Cleveland. Anthony missed all seven of the jumpers he took in Game 1 when guarded by James, then got his first one to fall on the game’s first possession Monday.By halftime, Anthony was up to 21 points on 9-for-18 shooting, the Knicks needing all that and more. Wade, James and Bosh combined for 41 points in the first two quarters, helping Miami take a 53-47 lead.Unlike Game 1, it wasn’t over by halftime. And play was heated, just not overheated.Chandler, who set a back pick that sent James tumbling late in Saturday’s first half, picked up a technical for taunting early in the second quarter when he went over Miller for a putback dunk and then glared at him for a few moments. A few minutes later, James did a fist-pump toward the seats after a layup late in the half.But whenever Miami was on the cusp of pulling away, New York had answers.Consecutive baskets by James midway through the third quarter, the second of those good enough for him to merit it worthy of a chest-bump and long look at the Knicks bench, put Miami up 67-56 — then its biggest lead. Four minutes later, the Knicks were within four, a dunk by Chandler making it 72-68 with 1:37 left in the period.Miami’s margin was back to nine after a flurry ended the quarter. James drove right and got just about every Knick to shift with him, leaving Battier all alone for a 3-pointer, and James’ three-point play as the shot clock was running down had him laughing and the Heat up 78-69 going into the fourth.The Knicks never got any closer, and the Heat wound up holding serve at home.”We did what we’re supposed to do,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s not anything more than that. We’re already trying to leave this game behind.”Game notes It was Miami’s 57th straight home postseason sellout. … Knicks G Mike Bibby came out of one of his shoes during play early in the second quarter, then got miffed after Wade picked up the sneaker and tossed it out of his reach as New York took the ball into the offensive end. “I don’t think many people have done that before,” Wade said. … Stoudemire missed two free throws with 54.2 seconds left in the third quarter, then got to try the second one again after James was called for a lane violation — and missed that as well. … Heat F Udonis Haslem bought tickets for relatives of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen who was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26. … Knicks G Iman Shumpert, who will have surgery this week to repair a torn ligament in his left knee, watched from the locker room. … It’s the first time the Heat have held a 2-0 series lead over the Knicks. All four previous matchups were split after the opening two games.
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Delmon Young of Detroit Tigers suspended 7 games ESPN

Delmon Young of Detroit Tigers suspended 7 games  ESPN

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