AP Friday Sports Roundup
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the NBA's Western Conference finals for the fourth time in six years after disposing of the San Antonio Spurs.
Kevin Durant poured in 37 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Thunder took Game 6 of their conference semifinal series, downing the Spurs 113-99. Russell Westbrook had 28 points and 12 assists for the Thunder, who led by 24 at halftime after outscoring the Spurs 30-12 in the second quarter.
The Spurs cut a 26-point, fourth-quarter deficit to 11 and had a chance to get closer until Tim Duncan's layup attempt was blocked by Serge Ibaka. Westbrook took the loose ball and fed Durant for a dunk to make it 101-88 with 3:06 left. Westbrook hit the Thunder's next three baskets to hike the lead to 16.
Steven Adams had 15 points and a team-high 11 boards for the Thunder, who took four of the last five games after absorbing a 32-point loss in the opener.
Kawhi Leonard finished with a team-high 22 points for the Spurs, but the MVP runner-up shot just 9-for-23. LaMarcus Aldridge contributed 18 points and 14 rebounds, while 40-year-old Tim Duncan added 19 points in what could have been his final NBA game.
The Thunder disposed of a team that won 67 games during the regular season, 12 more than Oklahoma City. Next up for the Thunder are the Golden State Warriors, who have knocked off Houston and Portland in five games each after setting a league record with 73 regular-season victories.
Skiles out in Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic are in the market for a new head coach following the surprise announcement that Scott Skiles has stepped down after just one season. Skiles issued a statement saying he concluded that he wasn't the right coach for the team.
The Magic improved by 10 wins over last season, finishing 35-47 but missing the playoffs. They opened this season 19-13 before dropping 34 of their last 50 games.
The resignation seemed to catch front office personnel by surprise, although Magic CEO Alex Martins dismissed the notion that Skiles' decision was the result of clashes with GM Rob Hennigan. Skiles was not present while most of the front office staff was in Chicago on Wednesday interviewing potential prospects for next month's NBA draft. Hennigan said the two sometimes disagreed on basketball issues but it wasn't anything out of the normal.
Sharks head to conference finals
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The San Jose Sharks find themselves in the NHL's Western Conference finals following an emphatic Game 7 victory over Nashville.
Logan Couture had a goal and two assists as the Sharks thumped the Predators 5-0. Couture's unassisted goal put San Jose ahead 3-0 just 36 seconds into the second period.
Martin Jones needed to make just 20 saves in his first career playoff shutout. Jones was able to settle in while the Sharks outshot Nashville 17-3 in the first period.
Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton scored power-play goals for the Sharks, who are in the conference finals for the first time in five years. Patrick Marleau tallied 3:54 into the final period to cap the scoring and chase Pekka Rinne from the nets.
San Jose will visit St. Louis for the first two games of the conference finals. The Blues ousted the Stars in seven games.
Another bashing by the Bosox
UNDATED (AP) — The Boston Red Sox now own a five-game winning streak in which they have outscored their opponents 56-16. Their latest rout was against the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner as they tagged Dallas Kuechel (KY'-kul) for eight runs and 10 hits in six innings of an 11-1 laugher against Houston.
Xander Bogaerts started Boston's latest eruption with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first before Mookie Betts added a three-run blast that made it 8-1 in the sixth. Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-4 with an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.
David Price was back in top form after tinkering with his mechanics during a bullpen session. Price struck out 12 and lowered his ERA to 6.00 by limiting the Astros to a run and six hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Boston improved to 22-13, leaving them tied with Baltimore for first place in the AL East.
The Orioles stormed back from a 5-1 deficit as Jonathan Schoop (skohp) lined a tiebreaking, two-run triple while the Birds scored five times in the seventh to beat Detroit 7-5. Chris Davis had two hits and two RBIs in the Orioles' fifth straight win.
Elsewhere around the majors:
— Clayton Kershaw struck out 13 while tossing a three-hitter as the Los Angeles Dodgers blanked the New York Mets 5-0 to gain a split of the four-game series. Yasmani Grandal smacked a three-run homer in the first inning, and Chase Utley was 3-for-4 with a solo blast.
— Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius hit two-run homers and Starlin Castro smacked a solo shot, all off Ian Kennedy in the New York Yankees' fifth victory in seven games, 7-3 over Kansas City. Kennedy was reached for seven runs over 6 1/3 innings as the defending World Series champs lost for the 12th time in 16 games.
— Philadelphia coughed up a 4-0 lead before beating Atlanta 7-4 on Cameron Rupp's three-run double with two out in the top of the 10th. Freddy Galvis belted a two-run homer to help the Phillies drop the Braves to a major league-worst 8-25.
— San Diego was a 3-0 winner at Milwaukee behind James Shields, who fanned nine and held the Brewers to seven hits in seven innings. Melvin Upton Jr. was 3-for-4 with a solo homer, a double and two RBIs in the Padres' third consecutive win.
— Johnny Cueto pitched seven strong innings for San Francisco, Zack Greinke had another rough outing at home for Arizona and the Giants opened a four-game series with a 4-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. Joe Panik hit a two-run homer off Greinke, who fell to 1-3 in five home starts. Chris Owings had an RBI triple for Arizona.
— Matt Holliday homered twice in two innings off Jered Weaver, Matt Carpenter homered as well and the St. Louis Cardinals held off a late rally to beat the Los Angeles Angels 12-10 and complete a three-game sweep. The Angels scored three runs in the ninth and had the bases loaded with one out, but Kevin Siegrist struck out Carlos Perez and got Shane Robinson to pop out to end the threat.
World Champs put two on DL
NEW YORK (AP) — Kansas City Royals pitchers Chris Young and Kris Medlen have been put on the 15-day disabled list to arm ailments.
An MRI determined Young has a strained right forearm, while Medlen has right rotator cuff inflammation.
Young is 1-5 with a 6.68 ERA this season, and Medlen is 1-3 with a 7.77 ERA.
Marlins bringing in Beimel
MIAMI (AP) — Veteran lefty reliever Joe Beimel has agreed to terms with the Miami Marlins and will report to extended spring training, pending a physical. The 39-year-old has pitched in 676 games and spent the last two years with Seattle. Last year he had a 3.99 ERA in 47 1/3 innings.
The Marlins designated reliever Craig Breslow for assignment Wednesday, leaving them with no lefty in the bullpen.
Eagles ink Wentz
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has signed a four-year contract on the eve of rookie camp.
Wentz was the second player taken in the NFL draft last month after leading North Dakota State to consecutive FCS national championships in his only two seasons as a starter. He is expected to spend most of the season playing behind starter Sam Bradford and backup Chase Daniel.
PGA-THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Big first day for Day
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — World No. 1 Jason Day opened first-round play of The Players Championship by tying the course record with a 9-under-63. That's good enough for a two-stroke lead over Cameron Tringale, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose, Bill Haas and Brendan Steele.
Day putted for birdie on every hole, making half of them. His longest par putt was 30 inches.
Former World No. 1 Jordan Spieth opened with a 73 while playing with Day.
Kenya, Russia called out by WADA
MONTREAL (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency's foundation board has suspended Kenya's anti-doping agency after determining a new law passed there to combat doping was "a complete mess." WADA has also released new numbers out of Russia showing that testing by independent authorities has decreased by more than two-thirds in the past year.
Russia won 16 medals and Kenya came away with 11 at the 2012 London Olympics. The Kenyans also tied for the lead at the world championships last year with seven gold medals.
The final call on whether either country's track team will be eligible for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics is left to the sport's governing body, the IAAF, which is set to decide about Russia at a meeting on June 17.
FIFA looks into Russia soccer team
MEXICO CITY (AP) — FIFA (FEE'-fuh) doping testers turned up unannounced Thursday to collect samples from Russian soccer team FC Rostov amid suspicions of meldonium use during its surprise pursuit of the league title.
FIFA says the starting players were tested following the team's 3-1 win over leader Dynamo Moscow to move within two points of the Russian capital club with two games remaining,
Rostov only remained in the Russian top flight after a relegation playoff last year and has stunned soccer by being involved in the title race this season.
LA SPORTS ARENA
LA says goodbye to the "dump that jumps"
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The dump will jump no more.
The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, the building that Bruce Springsteen affectionately dubbed "the dump that jumps," is having a closing ceremony with city leaders today.
In recent decades, it has lived in the shadow of the younger, sexier Forum and Staples Center.
But the Sports Arena was once home to the Lakers, Clippers and some Olympic events. It also rocked with Bob Dylan, James Brown and Michael Jackson; and saw the nomination of John F. Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention of 1960.