AP Sports Wrap from Friday, April 22 2016
UNDATED (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers are a win away from advancing to the NBA's conference semifinals.
The Spurs struggled against the Grizzlies before putting together a 13-6 run over the final 3:41 to earn a 96-87 win at Memphis. Kawhi (kah-WY') Leonard scored 13 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter after the Spurs entered the period trailing by one. Leonard shot 11 of 22 for the game and 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points and 10 rebounds to help San Antonio overcome Vince Carter's 20 points and 11 boards for the Grizzlies.
Game four is Sunday in Memphis.
LeBron James had a double-double and the Cavs took a three-games-to-none lead by beating Detroit 101-91. James finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds in helping the Cavaliers earn their 11th straight playoff win over the Pistons.
Kyrie Irving added 26 points, including a pair of big 3-pointers down the stretch.
Andre Drummond scored 17 points for the Pistons, who have dropped their last nine playoff games.
The Pistons host Game 4 is Sunday.
The Celtics are within two games to one in their conference quarterfinal series after Isaiah Thomas scored a career-high 42 points in a 111-103 victory over the Hawks in Boston. Thomas scored 16 points while the Celtics outscored Atlanta 37-20 in the first quarter, two games after Boston managed just seven points in the opening period.
Evan Turner had 17 points and seven assists after being inserted into the starting lineup. Amir Johnson added 15 points and seven boards to the victory.
Jeff Teague had 23 points for the Hawks, who stay in Boston for Game 4 on Sunday.
Curry says he'll probably play Game 4
HOUSTON (AP) — The Golden State Warriors could be at full strength this weekend.
NBA reigning MVP Stephen (STEH'-fehn) Curry said Friday that he'll be very surprised if his sprained right ankle causes him to miss Game 4 of the Warriors' first-round playoff series against the Rockets in Houston on Sunday. Curry has sat out the Warriors' last two games after he scored 24 points in the series opener.
The Warriors have split their two games without Curry and lead the Rockets two games to one.
McCollum of Blazers most improved
NEW YORK (AP) — The winner of the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year Award is Portland's CJ McCollum. The shooting guard more than tripled his scoring average from the previous season, going from 6.8 to 20.8 points a game. McCollum joined Zach Randolph and Kevin Duckworth as the only Trail Blazers to win the award.
Charlotte's Kemba Walker finished second in the voting of NBA reporters.
Neuvirth, Flyers blank Caps...Isles win in 2OT
UNDATED (AP) — The Washington Capitals put four times as many shots on goal than the Philadelphia Flyers did on Friday. Guess who won?
The Flyers are within three games to two in the NHL first-round series after Michal Neuvirth (NOY'-vurth) turned back 44 shots in Philadelphia's 2-0 victory at Washington. Neuvirth made at least 14 saves in each period en route to his second career playoff shutout, and his first since he was with the 2011 Capitals. He is 2-0 since replacing Steve Mason in the Flyers' goal, stopping 75 of 76 shots.
The game was scoreless until Ryan White scored 7:52 into the second period. It remained 1-0 before Chris VandeVelde (VAN'-deh-vehld) added an empty-netter with 31 seconds left, scoring on the Flyers' 11th and final shot.
Philadelphia is the first team in 28 years to record 11 shots or fewer and win a playoff game.
Game 6 is Sunday in Philadelphia.
Like Washington, the Dallas Stars had a chance to close out their opening-round series. Instead, the Stars coughed up a 4-3 lead late in the third period and lost to Minnesota 5-4 on Miiko Koivu's (MEE'-koh KOY'-vooz) goal 4:55 into overtime.
Jason Spezza (SPEHT'-suh) and Alex Goligoski (goh-lih-GAHS'-kee) scored 28 seconds apart in the third period to give Dallas its first lead, but the Wild forced OT on Koivu's tally with 3:09 left in regulation.
Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist for the Wild, while Devan Dubnyk (DOOB'-nihk) turned aside 37 shots.
Game 6 is Sunday in Minnesota.
Meanwhile, the New York Islanders are much happier with their three-games-to-two series lead following a marathon win at Florida.
Alan Quine (kwyn) scored a power-play goal 16 minutes into double-overtime to complete the Isles' 2-1 win over the Panthers. Derek MacKenzie was in the penalty box when Quine notched his first career playoff goal to give the Islanders their second OT victory of the series.
Thomas Greiss (grys) extended the game by stopping Alexander Barkov on a penalty shot during the first extra session. Greiss finished with 47 saves and was perfect after Barkov beat him at 1:59 of the third period.
Frans Nielsen had the game's first goal and Thomas Hickey set up two scores for the Islanders, who are trying to win a playoff series for the first time in 23 years. They can advance as early as Sunday at Brooklyn.
And the San Jose Sharks are the second team to advance to the second round, joining the Tampa Bay Lightning following a 6-3 triumph over Los Angeles. The Sharks squandered a 3-0 lead in the second period of the Game 5 clincher before Joonas Donskoi (YOO'-nuhs DAHN'-skoy) beat Jonathan Quick 3:58 into the third. Donskoi finished with two goals, while Logan Couture (koo-TOOR') and Brent Burns each had three assists.
Matt Nieto (nee-EH'-toh), Chris Tierney and Joe Pavelski also scored for San Jose before Melker Karlsson notched an empty-netter.
Extension for Nordstrom
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Carolina Hurricanes center Joakim (JOH'-keem) Nordstrom has accepted a two-year contract extension after scoring 10 goals and 24 points in 71 games this season. Nordstrom was acquired from the Blackhawks last September.
The 'Canes also worked out a deal with defenseman Jake Chelios (CHEL'-ee-ohs), the son of Hall of Famer Chris Chelios.
Norman's agent says cornerback accepts deal with Skins
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Redskins have added one of the NFL's top defensive backs to their roster.
Josh Norman has agreed to terms on a contract with Washington, giving the team one of the NFL's best cornerbacks. Norman became a free agent Wednesday after the Carolina Panthers rescinded the franchise tag, which would have paid him $13.9 million next season.
He had a career-high four interceptions, 16 passes defensed and 56 tackles last season for the NFC champions last season.
Lobaton, Werth, Espinosa lead Nats
UNDATED (AP) — Another night, another victory for the Washington Nationals.
The Nats are 12-4 after Jose Lobaton (LOH'-bah-tohn) went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in an 8-4 rout ofMinnesota. Lobaton tripled home a run in the third and scored later in the inning to make it 7-0. Jayson Werth hit a solo homer and Danny Espinosa drove in a pair to back Gio Gonzalez, who allowed three runs - two earned -- in six innings.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— The Cubs have outscored Cincinnati 24-1 in the first two games of their series after Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez homered in Chicago's 8-1 rout of the Reds. Jon Lester laid down a squeeze bunt and allowed a run and five hits in seven innings to help the Cubs improve to a major league-best 13-4.
— Wil Myers had a good night in San Diego's 4-1 win against St. Louis, going 3-for-3 with a solo homer and three ribbies. Andrew Cashner gave up a run and just three hits in six innings to get his first win of the year.
— Curtis Granderson belted a grand slam and a solo shot while the New York Mets were taking a 5-0 lead in a 6-3 victory in Atlanta. Matt Harvey needed 101 pitches over five innings to finally got his first win of the season, holding the Braves to two runs and seven hits.
— Mike Moustakas (moos-TAH'-kahs) was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs as Kansas City topped Baltimore 4-2. Chris Young looked good over six innings, fanning 10 and holding the Orioles to a pair of runs and four hits.
— The New York Yankees doubled up Tampa Bay 6-3 as Brian McCann belted a two-run homer and had three RBIs. The Yankees' bullpen tossed 4 1/3 hitless innings after starter CC Sabathia (sah-BATH'-ee-uh) was reached for three runs on nine hits and three walks.
— Josh Tomlin outpitched Justin Verlander and Cleveland hit a pair of solo homers to beat Detroit 2-1. Carlos Santana and Marlon Byrd went deep to back Tomlin, who limited the Tigers to a run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
— Chris Coghlan launched a three-run homer and Khris Davis added insurance with a two-run double in Oakland's 8-5 victory at Toronto. Sonny Gray was a winner in his season debut, allowing three runs and six hits while striking out seven in seven innings.
— Nelson Cruz had three RBIs and Franklin Gutierrez singled home the winning run in the 10th inning of Seattle's 5-2 win over the Angels. Cruz capped the scoring with a two-run homer to secure the Mariners' third straight win.
— The White Sox were 5-0 winners over Texas behind Jose Quintana, who scattered four hits in seven innings. Brett Lawrie drove in two runs, Melky Cabrera scored twice and the White Sox turned a triple play while improving to 11-6.
— San Francisco crushed Miami 8-1 as pitcher Jeff Samardzija (sah-MAHR'-juh) went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Samardzija also tossed 7 2/3 innings, allowing a run on six hits and no walks.
— Brandon Barnes laced a two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the eighth to lift Colorado past the Dodgers 7-5. Nolan Arenado (ar-eh-NAH'-doh) and Ryan Raburn homered in the fourth, three innings after Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez went deep for Los Angeles.
— Sean Rodriguez socked a two-run homer and drove in three as Pittsburgh outscored Arizona 8-7. Gregory Polanco and Jordy Mercer also homered for the Pirates.
— Aaron Nola was sharp in Philadelphia's 5-2 decision over Milwaukee, yielding a run and four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings. Mikael (MY'-kehl) Franco carried the Phillies' offense with a two-run homer and a solo blast.
— Mookie Betts was 4-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored in Boston's 6-2 win at Houston. Stephen Wright gave up just an unearned run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings as the Red Sox handed the Astros their fourth consecutive loss.
First baseman draws 80-game suspension for positive drug test
UNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball has slapped Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello with an 80-game suspension without pay for a positive test of the same anabolic steroid that caused Philadelphia pitcher Daniel Stumpf to be disciplined last week.
The punishment means Colabello would be ineligible for postseason play and will fall short of the service time required to become eligible for salary arbitration next winter.
He is batting just .069 after compiling a .321 average with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in a career-high 101 games for the Jays last year.
Also in the majors:
— Blake Snell has been recalled by the Tampa Bay Rays and will make his major league debut against the Yankees in New York on Saturday. The 23-year-old left has gone 1-1 with a 2.51 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings over three starts at Triple-A Durham.
— Texas reliever Keone Kela (KEE'-oh-nee KEHL'-uh) will miss about three months after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow. The 23-year-old right-hander experienced pain when he pitched against Houston on Tuesday, his seventh outing of the season.
— The Reds have promoted right-handed reliever J.C. Ramirez and designated righty Tim Melville for assignment.
— Ramon De Jesus has become the first Dominican-born umpire to be on the field in a Major League Baseball game. De Jesus was the second base umpire Friday night for Cleveland's game at Detroit.
Steele's 64 gives him Texas Open lead
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Brendan Steele completed an 8-under 64 Friday morning and shot a 70 in the second round to take a three-stroke lead in the Texas Open. Play was suspended because of darkness with 13 players left on the course. The schedule was thrown off Thursday morning with a 3 1/2-hour rain delay.
Scott Langley, Stuart Appleby and Charley Hoffman are tied for second.
Nomura grabs lead from Ryu
DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) — Haru Nomura shot a 2-under 70 to take the second-round lead in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. The 23-year-old Japanese player had a 9-under 135 total for a three-stroke edge over So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi and Australia's Minjee Lee.
Langer-Lehman fire 60 to take lead
RIDGEDALE, Mo. (AP) — Bernhard Langer (LAHN'-gur) and Tom Lehman (LAY'-mihn) teamed to shoot an 11-under 60 in better-ball play to take the first-round lead in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge.
Langer and Lehman had a 7-under 28 on the front nine and added four birdies on the back.
Four teams are three shots back, including defending champions Billy Andrade (AN'-drayd) and Joe Durant.
News from Duke and Detroit
UNDATED (AP) — Forward Amile Jefferson has been given a medical hardship waiver to play another season with Duke.
Jefferson played only nine games last season before breaking his right foot in December. Jefferson has started 68 of 115 games with the Blue Devils and was averaging 11.4 points and 10.3 rebounds at the time of the injury.
In other college basketball news, Bacari Alexander is returning home as the new men's basketball coach at the University of Detroit. The Motown native had been serving as an assistant coach at Michigan for the last six years. Detroit fired coach Ray McCallum after the team went 16-15 this season.