AP Monday Sports Roundup
Clippers hammer Rockets again...James wins it for Cavs
UNDATED (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers are one victory away from their first-ever trip to the NBA's Western Conference finals.
DeAndre Jordan poured in 26 points and Chris Paul had a double-double as the Clippers crushed the Houston Rockets 128-95 to take a 3-1 series lead.
Jordan took an NBA playoff-record 28 free throw attempts in the first half as the Rockets continued to send the Clippers' worst free-throw shooter to the line. Jordan finished 14 of 34 from the line but also shot 6 of 7 from the field in helping the Clippers get within one win of a conference finals berth for only the second time since 1976, when the franchise was located in Buffalo.
Paul contributed 15 points and 12 assists in his first start since straining his left hamstring in Game 7 of the conference quarterfinals. The Clippers have posted consecutive blowout victories since Paul returned from the injury.
Blake Griffin added 21 points and J.J. Redick had 18 for the Clippers, who led by just six before opening the second half on a 29-7 run.
James Harden scored 21 points for the Rockets, but Dwight Howard finished with just seven points and six rebounds before fouling out early in the fourth quarter.
Game 5 is Tuesday in Houston.
Earlier Sunday, another Cavaliers-Bulls playoff game was decided by a buzzer-beater.
This time it was LeBron James hitting a jumper from the corner as time expired to give Cleveland an 86-84 victory at Chicago, tying the Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece. The bucket came two days after Derrick Rose drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Bulls a three-point win over the Cavs.
James came through after Rose hit a driving layup to tie the game with just under 10 seconds left. James finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, while Rose delivered 31 points for Chicago.
The Cavaliers overcame a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit and a poor shooting performance by Kyrie Irving, who scored 12 points on just 2 of 10 from the floor. Timofey Mozgov had 15 points and a team-high 12 boards for the Cavs, who host Game 5 on Tuesday.
Jimmy Butler was the only Bull other than Rose to score more than eight points, finishing with 19. The Bulls were without forward Pau Gasol, who sat out with a hamstring injury.
Ducks oust Flames...Rangers force Game 7
UNDATED (AP) — It will be the Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL's Western Conference finals.
The Ducks have advanced by taking Game 5 of their second-round series, beating Calgary 3-2 on Corey Perry's goal at 2:26 of overtime. The Flames led 2-1 on Johnny Gaudreau's goal early in the second period, and the lead held until Matt Beleskey's power-play tally 59 seconds into the third.
Ryan Kesler also had a power-play goal and Jakob Silfverberg (SIHL'-vur-burg) set up two scores to help the Ducks reach the conference finals for the fourth time.
Karri Ramo kept the Flames in the game by making 44 saves while Calgary was being outshot 47-19.
The Rangers are heading back to New York, and they are bringing the Washington Capitals with them.
The Blueshirts have forced a Game 7 in their Stanley Cup, second-round series by building a 4-1 lead before holding off the Caps 4-3. Chris Kreider scored 40 seconds after the opening faceoff and made it 2-0 on a power-play goal with 0.3 seconds left in the opening period.
The Capitals pulled within 2-1 before Rick Nash and Dan Boyle scored during the first 4 ½ minutes of the third period. Nash had gone eight games without a goal before beating Braden Holtby 54 seconds into the final period.
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Joel Ward tallied less than three minutes apart to make it a one-goal game again before Henrik Lundqvist blanked Washington over the final 9:27, including a big stop on Alex Ovechkin. Lundqvist finished with 42 saves, 34 coming in the first two periods.
The series will be settled Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, with the winner facing either Tampa Bay or Montreal in the Eastern Conference finals.
Pineda baffles Orioles
UNDATED (AP) — With a winless CC Sabathia and an injured Masahiro Tanaka, the New York Yankees have needed great performances from Michael Pineda to stay atop the American League East.
The Yanks received another gem from Pineda, who is 5-0 with 2.72 ERA after tossing seven explosive innings to lead a 6-2 triumph over Baltimore. Pineda struck out 16 to tie for the second-most in a game by a Yankee, two off the team record set by Ron Guidry against the Angels in July 1978. The Orioles mustered just one run and six hits off Pineda, who owns a 1.27 ERA in his last four starts.
Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann hit solo homers for the Yankees, who got two RBIs apiece from Jacoby Ellsbury and Didi Gregorius.
The Yankees are 17-6 in their last 23 games, giving them a three-game division lead over Toronto.
The Yanks aren't the only New York team in first place. Bartolo Colon became the National League's first six-game winner by allowing four runs in six innings of the Mets' 7-4 triumph at Philadelphia in the rubber match of the three-game set. Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer and pinch-hitter Johnny Monell added a two-run double as the Mets improved to 20-11 with their fourth victory in five games.
The Mets top the NL East by 3 ½ games over Washington.
In other major league action:
— Kansas City leads the AL Central by 1 ½ games over Detroit after Omar Infante lifted a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning of the Royals' 2-1 verdict over the Tigers. Greg Holland loaded the bases with nobody out before getting out of the jam, allowing the Royals to take the rubber match of the three-game showdown.
— Garrett Richards flirted with a no-hitter and the Los Angeles Angels did their scoring in the fifth inning of a 3-1 victory of Houston. Richards held the Astros hitless until Jason Castro singled with two out in the seventh.
— Danny Salazar served up a leadoff homer before retiring his next 21 hitters in Cleveland's 8-2 romp over Minnesota. Salazar struck out a career-high 11 and Lonnie Chisenhall belted a three-run homer as the Indians sent the Twins to just their second loss in 11 games.
— Adrian Beltre homered and drove in two runs to back Wandy Rodriguez in the Rangers' 2-1 win over Tampa Bay. Rodriguez set a club record for most consecutive batters retired at 34 after mowing down his first 15 hitters on Sunday.
— Boston won for just the second time in nine games as Mike Napoli launched a three-run homer and Pablo Sandoval added a two-run shot in a 6-3 victory over Toronto. Clay Buchholz gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings for the first victory in his last six starts.
— Jung Ho Kang belted a solo homer and later singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning of Pittsburgh's 4-3 verdict over St. Louis. The Cardinals dropped to a major league-best 22-9 with their first series loss of the year.
— Washington completed a three-game sweep and earned its fourth consecutive win by beating Atlanta 5-4 on Wilson Ramos' RBI double in the bottom of the eighth. Bryce Harper doubled home the Nationals' first run, giving him 13 RBIs in his last four games.
— Gordon Beckham singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Chicago White Sox past Cincinnati 4-3. Reds closer Aroldis Chapman hadn't allowed an earned run this season before surrendering three straight singles, including Beckham's hit.
— Martin Maldonado was the hitting star in Milwaukee's 3-2 win over the Chicago, hitting a solo homer in the seventh and delivering the game-winning single in the bottom of the 11th. Matt Garza had to settle for a no-decision after limiting the Cubs to a run and three hits while striking out nine in seven innings.
— Steve Cishek hadn't allowed a run in 13 previous appearances against San Francisco until the Giants scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to beat Florida 3-2. Cishek walked Nori Aoki to force in the tying run before Gregor Blanco scored on Matt Duffy's game-winning single.
— Felix Hernandez became the fourth-youngest player to reach 2,000 career strikeouts as he pitched Seattle past Oakland 4-3. Dustin Ackley hit a two-run double to back Hernandez, who allowed two runs in seven innings to become the American League's first six-game winner.
— Arizona beat San Diego 2-1 as Aaron Hill and A.J. Pollock hit solo homers. Daniel Hudson made his first major league start since June 2012, giving up two hits over 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
— Pinch-hitter Justin Turner hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer while the Los Angeles Dodgers scored four times in the eighth inning to beat Colorado 9-5. Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run double and had four RBIs as the Dodgers sent the Rockies to their ninth straight loss.
GOLF-THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Fowler wins in playoff
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Rickie Fowler has won The Players Championship in a four-hole playoff with Kevin Kisner.
Fowler made birdie from inside 6 feet three times Sunday on the island-green 17th, the last of which gave him the victory over Kisner after Sergio Garcia was eliminated on the third hole.
Fowler trailed by five shots with six holes left in regulation before a birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie finish to his final round. He took the lead with a 5-under 67 and continued to wait for the end of regulation before Kisner and Garcia caught him at 12 under to force the first three-man, three-hole playoff in tournament history.
Bill Haas and Ben Martin were one stroke back and two ahead of Kevin Na (nah) and Rory Sabbatini.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy finished four shots off the pace.
Murray tops Nadal
MADRID (AP) — Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal on clay for the first time, dominating the Madrid Open final to win 6-3, 6-2.
It was Nadal's fourth loss on clay this year, raising questions about his ability to win a 10th French Open title this spring.
Rosberg wins from pole
GRANOLLERS, Spain (AP) — Pole-sitter Nico Rosberg is the winner of the Spanish Grand Prix for his first victory of the Formula One season.
Championship leader and Rosberg's Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton finished second, followed by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
Isles forward leads US win
PRAGUE (AP) — Brock Nelson had two goals and an assist to pace the United States to a 3-1 win over Slovenia at the ice hockey world championship. The victory moves the Americans into the quarterfinals. Nelson has six goals in the tournament