Rockets outlast Curry-less Warriors...Durant, Westbrook lead lopsided win

UNDATED (AP) — The Golden State Warriors did just fine without Stephen Curry in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series on Monday. Game 3 was a different story.

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Houston is within two games to one after James Harden hit a jumper with 2.7 seconds left to send the Rockets past the Warriors 97-96 Thursday night. Harden delivered 35 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. His game-winning basket moments after Ian Clark hit a layup that gave Golden State its first lead since the first minute of the opening period.

Dwight Howard had 13 points on 6 of 9 shooting and grabbed 13 boards to help the Rockets bounce back from consecutive losses in Oakland.

The Rockets led by 17 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half before the Warriors cut it to 55-48 by intermission. Marcus Speights came off the bench to score a team-high 22 points in 18 minutes for Golden State.

Curry sat out his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. The Warriors hope he can play in Game 4 on Sunday.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder enjoy a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference quarterfinals following a blowout victory in Dallas.

Durant scored 20 of his 34 points in the first half of the Thunder's 131-102 pounding of the Mavericks. He hit seven of his first nine shots after needing 33 to hit seven baskets in Oklahoma City's Game 2 loss to the Mavs.

Russell Westbrook scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half and finished with 15 assists, one off his playoff career high. Dion Waiters scored 19 points and was 4 of 8 from long range as the Thunder made 15 of 27 from beyond the arc.

Dirk Nowitzki played despite a right knee bruise and scored 16 points for the Mavericks.

Toronto whipped Indiana 101-85 to take a two-games-to-one lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

DeMar DeRozan broke out of his postseason shooting slump by scoring 21 points. Kyle Lowry also had 21 points for the Raptors, who regained home-court advantage in the series after dropping the opener.

Paul George contributed 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Pacers.


Wizards pick Brooks as their new coach

WASHINGTON (AP) — NBA All-Star Kevin Durant is scheduled to become a free agent after the playoffs. The Wizards may have given him reason to return to Washington.

Two people familiar with the hiring tell The Associated Press that the Wizards have reached an agreement with Scott Brooks to become the team's new coach. Brooks went 338-207 in seven years with the Oklahoma City Thunder and helped develop Durant and Russell Westbrook into superstars and led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012.

Brooks would replace Randy Wittman, who was fired after going 178-199 in five seasons with the Wizards.

Durant is a DC-area native who has spent his entire nine-year NBA career with the Thunder franchise. The Wizards are projected to have ample salary cap room to sign at least one major free agent this summer after missing the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.


NBA boss turns up heat on Carolina pols

NEW YORK (AP) — Commissioner Adam Silver is cranking up the economic pressure on North Carolina officials to change a new law that directs transgender people to use public toilets corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate.

The NBA boss says the league has been "crystal clear" that the 2017 All-Star Game only stays in Charlotte if that controversial North Carolina law goes.

Political and business leaders he's spoken with in the state believe it will. So for now, Silver says he's holding off on setting any deadlines for when the NBA might act.

Silver said last week that the law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people was "problematic" for the NBA.


Arrieta throws season's first no-hitter

UNDATED (AP) — Another season, another no-hitter for Jake Arrieta.

The Chicago Cubs' ace has tossed a no-hitter for the second time in eight months, doing it in a 16-0 laugher against the Reds in Cincinnati. Arrieta struck out six and allowed four walks in the Cubs' 15th no-hitter in team history. The gem was completed when Eugenio Suarez flied out to Jason Heyward in right field.

Arrieta is the second Cubs hurler to throw at least two no-hitters with the team, joining Ken Holtzman and Larry Corcoran. It's the first time the Reds have been no-hit in a regular-season game since Rick Wise did it for Philadelphia in 1971.

Arrieta's masterpiece managed to overshadow Chicago's 18-hit assault that included five home runs, two by Kris Bryant. The Cubs third baseman went 4-for-6 with six RBIs and four runs scored, including a grand slam in the seventh inning.

Ben Zobrist, David Ross and Anthony Rizzo also went deep as the Cubbies improved to a major league-best 12-4.

Elsewhere around the majors:

— Curt Casali belted a two-run homer and Evan Longoria added a solo shot and two RBIs as Tampa Bay outscored the Bosox 12-8. Steve Pearce and Corey Dickerson also collected two RBIs apiece for the Rays, who tagged David Price for eight runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

— The Indians rallied from a 7-3 deficit before Robinson Cano launched a three-run homer off Cody Allen in the 10th inning of Seattle's 10-7 win at Cleveland. Cano delivered three hits and four RBIs, and Steve Clevenger added a two-run blast to help the Mariners win for the fifth time in seven games since a five-game skid.

— Jean Segura and Paul Goldschmidt drove in two runs apiece and accounted for half of Arizona's 10 hits in a 6-2 victory at San Francisco. Yasmany Tomas hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the fourth inning, and Tyler Wagner worked five shutout innings of two-hit relief after Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller walked four consecutive batters in the bottom of the third.

— The Dodgers knocked off the Braves 2-1 on Yasmani Grandal's RBI double in the 10th inning. Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw struck out 10 and held Atlanta to just one run despite yielding 10 hits in eight innings.

— Ichiro Suzuki had two hits, scored twice and made two sliding catches in right field for the Marlins in a 5-1 win over Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals. Nats slugger Bryce Harper banged out his eighth home run of the season and leads the majors with 22 runs batted in.

— Manny Machado doubled home the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning and finished with two RBIs in Baltimore's 3-2 verdict over Toronto. Chris Tillman gave up a pair of first-inning runs before combining with three relievers on a four-hitter.

— Homers by Mark Canha, Khris Davis, Coco Crisp and Chris Coghlan powered Oakland past the Yankees 7-3 in New York. Canha and Coghlan drove in two runs apiece to back Rich Hill, who fanned 10 and held the Yanks to a run and three hits in six innings.

— Kansas City was a 4-0 winner over Detroit behind Edinson Volquez, who blanked the Tigers on five hits over seven innings. Mike Moustakas hit a solo homer in the Royals' three-run fourth.

— Minnesota had been 0-7 on the road until Ricky Nolasco held the Brewers to a run and five hits in six innings of the Twins' 8-1 win at Milwaukee. Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier hit solo homers and Eddie Rosario was 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored to help the Twins become the last major league team to get a road victory.

— Mike Trout hit a two-run homer and reached base four times to support Jered Weaver in the Angels' 3-2 triumph over the White Sox. Weaver allowed a run and three hits in seven innings to help Los Angeles finish 5-5 on its 10-game road trip.

— Texas has a four-game winning streak after Ian Desmond smashed a three-run homer and Adrian Beltre hit a solo shot in the Rangers' 7-4 win against Houston. The Astros dropped to 5-11 despite Colby Rasmus, who socked a two-run homer and a solo shot.

— Francisco Cervelli and Josh Harrison each had two hits and two RBIs in Pittsburgh's 11-1 romp over the Padres. Winning pitcher Gerrit Cole scattered four hits and whiffed seven in six innings.


Players concerned about trip to Puerto Rico

MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates are slated to meet in a two-game series next month in Puerto Rico. Worries over the Zika virus have led players from the teams to express concerns about the trip. Union head Tony Clark says the players and ownership have been having discussions about health and safety concerns.


Lightning advance...Hawks stay alive.

UNDATED (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning are the first team to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Alex Killorn scored with 1:43 remaining to give the Lightning a 1-0 victory in Game 5 of the opening-round series. Ben Bishop helped Tampa Bay close out the series by turning back 34 shots in his fourth career postseason shutout. Bishop kept the game scoreless while the Red Wings outshot the Lightning 14-6 in the second period.

Petr Mrazek stopped 23 shots for the Wings, who were bounced in the opening round for the third straight year.

St. Louis could have joined Tampa Bay in Round 2, but the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-3 on a goal by Patrick Kane at 2:56 of double-overtime. The Hawks squandered a 3-1 lead in the third period before the Art Ross Trophy winner won it with his first goal of the series.

Second-period tallies by Marian Hossa, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin put Chicago ahead 3-1, but Robby Fabbri and David Backes scored in the third period to extend the game.

Corey Crawford stopped 43 shots for the Blackhawks, who host Game 6 on Saturday.

Pittsburgh has given itself a chance to wrap up its opening-round series on home ice.

Matt Murray earned his first playoff shutout and Evgeni Malkin collected four points as the Penguins hammered the Rangers 5-0 in New York. Murray preserved the whitewash by making 14 of his 31 saves in the third period.

Eric Fehr, Patric Hornqvist and Conor Sheary scored first-periods before Malkin tallied in each of the last two periods. Malkin also had two assists for the Penguins, who dealt the Rangers their team-record fifth straight home playoff loss.

Henrik Lundqvist was pulled early in the second period after surrendering four goals on 18 shots. Antti Raanta made 13 saves for the Blueshirts, who will try to avoid elimination Saturday in Pittsburgh.

The road team is 4-0 in Anaheim's series with Nashville. Frederik Andersen stopped 30 shots and the Ducks evened the series at two games apiece by downing the Predators 4-1 in Music City. The game was tied 1-1 until Nate Thompson and Jamie McGinn scored 1:52 apart late in the second period.

Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Getzlaf also scored for the Ducks, who host Game 5 on Saturday.


Seguin to miss Game 5

DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Stars will play a third straight game without All-Star center Tyler Seguin when the team hosts a potential first-round series clincher against Minnesota.

Seguin played Game 2 on Saturday after missing a month because of a slight cut of his left Achilles' tendon. Coach Lindy Ruff says Seguin sat out the last two games due to an injury that's "kind of related" to the Achilles' problem.


Hoffman early leader

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Brendan Steele was leading the PGA's Texas Open when the first round was suspended by darkness.

Steele was 8-under through 13 holes when play was stopped. The round was delayed 3 1/2 hours because of rain.

Charley Hoffman is the clubhouse leader following a 6-under 66, a stroke ahead of Stuart Appleby and Peter Malnati.


Ryu goes low in Daly City

DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) — So Yeon Ryu shot a tournament-record 9-under 63 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

The South Korean had seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch on the back nine found herself two strokes ahead of Candie Kung and Haru Nomura at the end of the day.

Two-time defending champion Lydia Ko opened with a 68.


Stewart gets green light

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Tony Stewart has been cleared to return to racing and will be back in his car Friday at Richmond International Raceway. Stewart missed the first eight races of the season with a fractured vertebra suffered in a January all-terrain vehicle accident. Stewart has said he will retire after the season.

Meanwhile, NASCAR has fined Stewart $35,000 for criticizing the series about a potential safety hazard during races. The three-time champion warned on Wednesday that a driver is going to get hurt if the series doesn't start policing pit stops for missing lug nuts. NASCAR chairman Brian France said Stewart is "wrong" and the series takes pride in its push for safety.