AP Sports Wrap from Thursday, April 7, 2016
UNDATED (AP)— The Golden State Warriors will have the home court advantage in any Game 7 they might play in the NBA playoffs.
In a huge victory, Stephen Curry scored 27 and the Warriors became the second team to win 70 games in a season by beating the San Antonio Spurs 112-101. That secured Golden State's home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
The 70-9 Warriors joined the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls as the only teams to win 70 games. Golden State can break Chicago's single-season record of 72 wins by sweeping the final three games, including a rematch in San Antonio on Sunday.
Harrison Barnes scored 21 points and Draymond Green added 18 to help the Warriors avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time this season.
In the rest of the NBA:
— Jeff Teague scored 23 points, Kyle Korver added 14 and the Atlanta Hawks held off the Toronto Raptors, 95-87. The Hawks remained in third place in the Eastern Conference by beating the East's No. 2 seed. The Raptors fell three and a-half game back of Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland.
— Dwyane (DWAYN) Wade scored 21 points, Joe Johnson added 17 and the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls 106-98. The Heat have won nine of their last 10 home games.
— Mirza Teletovic (MEER'-zah teh-LEHT'oh-vihch) scored 26 points off the bench, P.J. Tucker added 24 and the Phoenix Suns dealt another blow to the Houston Rockets' dwindling playoff chances, 124-115. It's the second straight loss for the Rockets, in ninth place in the Western Conference after a loss at Dallas on Wednesday.
— Gorgui Dieng had 18 points and 13 rebounds and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Sacramento Kings 105-97.
Penguins, Lightning clinch home-ice edge in first round...Kings close in on Pacific Division crown
UNDATED (AP) — Sidney Crosby scored in overtime and the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins recovered after blowing a three-goal lead to beat the Washington Capitals 4-3. The Penguins victory clinches home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Penguins have won eight games in a row and 14 of their past 15 to vault into second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Presidents' Trophy-winning Capitals have lost three straight games for the first time all season and four of five.
In other hockey:
— Milan Lucic (mee-LAHN' loo-CHEECH') and Kris Versteeg scored 93 seconds apart in the second period, and the Los Angeles Kings closed in on just their second division title in franchise history with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Kings clinch the division if they beat Winnipeg at home in the regular season finale Saturday.
— The Tampa Bay Lightning clinched home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs with a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Jonathan Drouin scored the go-ahead goal.
— Vladimir Tarsenko scored both St. Louis goals and the Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime. Tarasenko tied it with a goal with 1:16 left in regulation and scored against at 3:37 of OT.
— Dallas doubled up Colorado 4-2. Jason Dickinson scored in his first NHL goal as the Stars move closer to both the Central Division and Western Conference titles. Dallas is tied with St. Louis but the Stars own the tiebreaker.
— Torey Krug had a goal and two assists, Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson each added a goal and assist, and the Boston Bruins kept their playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The B's and Red Wings each have 93 points, tied for third in the Atlantic.
— Jake Gardiner scored a power-play goal at 2:51 of overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over Philadelphia. The Flyers fell a point behind Boston and Detroit for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. But Philadelphia would secure a playoff berth by winning its last two games.
— John Tavares had a goal and an assist, Thomas Greiss made 36 saves and the New York Islanders earned their first regular-season sweep of their rivals with a 4-1 victory over the crosstown Rangers.
— Max Pacioretty (pash-uh-RET'-ee) had a goal and an assist, helping the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
— Roman Josi (YOH'-see) scored 20 seconds into overtime, and the Nashville Predators rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2.
— Mikael Backlund had his first NHL hat trick to help the Calgary Flames rout the Vancouver Canucks 7-3.
— It came a bit late but the Winnipeg Jets are riding their first three-game win streak of the season. Dustin Byfuglien (BUHF'-lihn) scored with 10 seconds left in the Jets' 5-4 win over San Jose.
— Buddy Robinson scored his first NHL goal to help the Ottawa Senators defeat the Florida Panthers 3-1.
Great start for Spieth
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Defending champ Jordan Spieth (SPEETH) picked up where he left off last year with a 6-under-66 for the lead after the first round of the Masters.
That puts him in the top spot at Augusta National for the fifth straight round after his wire-to-wire win last year.
The bogey-free round left Spieth with a two-shot lead over New Zealand's Danny Lee and Ireland's Shane Lowry.
Paul Casey, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia are among those at 69s.
Former Masters winners Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson opened with even par-72's, while 66-year old two-time winner Tom Watson posted a 74 in his final Masters.
Things got off to a horrendous start for two-time runner-up Ernie Els. The South African shot a 5-over-par 9 on the opening hole, the worst score ever on that hole in the tournament. Els six-putted from two feet. It was initially reported that Els took a 10 on the hole, but officials at Augusta National corrected it later in the day.
Marlins spoil Nats home opener...Reds, Cubs and Orioles 3-0
UNDATED (AP) — Miami reliever David Phelps entered after a rain delay and shut out Washington for four innings while delivering his first career RBI at the plate, and the Marlins won 6-4 to spoil the Nationals' sloppy home opener.
Phelps replaced Adam Conley following a 1-hour, 25-minute break because of a thunderstorm in the second with the score tied 3-3. Nationals starter Tanner Roark surprisingly remained in the game. Roark allowed four runs on nine hits in four innings.
Bryce Harper was presented with his 2015 NL MVP and Silver Slugger trophies during pregame festivities and hit his second homer of 2016 in the seventh.
— Anthony Rizzo matched his career high with six RBIs and the Chicago Cubs improved to 3-0 by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 14-6. But the Cubs lost Kyle Schwarber with a sprained ankle in an outfield collision.
— The Reds flexed their muscles in a 10-6 win over the Phillies to complete a season-opening, three-game sweep. Eugenio Suarez hit his first grand slam and Jay Bruce hit one of his two home runs in Cincinnati's eight-run, fourth inning. Bruce tied a career high with five RBIs.
— Hunter Pence hit a grand slam in the eighth inning to key a comeback as the Giants topped Los Angeles 12-6 in their home opener. The Dodgers pitchers saw their scoreless streak to start a season end at 31, one shot of the major league record. Joe Panik helped the Giants overcome a 4-0 deficit with three RBIs.
— Mark Teixeira (teh-SHEHR'-uh) hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the seventh inning to lift the Yankees to an 8-5 win over Houston. Starlin Castro singled and hit his second homer of the season for New York. The former Cubs infielder is 7 for 12 this season. According to STATS Inc., his eight RBIs are the most by any player in his first three games for the Yankees since the stat became official in 1920.
— Ubaldo Jimenez (oo-BAHL'-doh hih-MEHN'-ehz) pitched seven sharp innings and the Baltimore Orioles rallied to beat the Minnesota Twins 4-2 for a three-game sweep. Manny Machado and rookie Joey Rickard homered for the Orioles.
— The L.A. Angels shaded Texas 4-3. Albert Pujols (POO'-hohlz) delivered a game-winning sacrifice fly in the ninth to end it.
— Cleveland's home game with Boston was postponed due to inclement weather. No makeup date has been set.
Updates from the NFL
UNDATED (AP) — At the age of 23 linebacker A.J. Tarpley of the Buffalo Bills has announced his retirement after just one season. In making the announcement Tarpley cited the two concussions he sustained last season. Tarpley said it was hard decision to make but that he is walking away from the game, "to preserve my future health."
The Bills signed veteran offensive lineman Fernando Velasco to provide some depth.
In other NFL news:
—Oakland's Raiders have signed free-agent safety Reggie Nelson. He gives the Raiders a replacement for retired Pro Bowler Charles Woodson. The 32-year-old Nelson tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions last season for Cincinnati.
COLLEGE HOCKEY-FROZEN FOUR
Quinnipiac to meet North Dakota for title
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Quinnipiac (KWIHN'-ih-pee-ak) goalie Michael Garteig made 34 saves and the Bobcats beat Boston College 3-2. That sent the tiny school located at the foot of Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Connecticut, to the NCAA hockey title game for the second time in four years.
Quinnipiac will play North Dakota, which eliminated Denver 4-2, in the Frozen Four championship Saturday night.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NBA DRAFT
Two more look to the NBA
UNDATED (AP) — Gonzaga (gahn-ZAG'-uh) sophomore Domantas Sabonis (suh-BOHN'-his) has decided to skip the rest of his college career and declare for the NBA draft. He will not hire an agent, leaving open the possibility he could return to school. The 19-year old son of former NBA player Arvydas Sabonis is Gonzaga's all-time leader in career field goal percentage at .632. The 6-foot-11 forward was an honorable mention on AP's All-America list this season after averaging 17.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.
In other college basketball notes:
— Maryland forward Robert Carter Jr. will skip his senior season to enter the NBA draft. The school says he intends to sign with an agent. Carter played one season with the Terrapins after transferring from Georgia Tech. He averaged 12.3 points, shot 55 percent and led the team with 6.9 rebounds a game.
— Indiana center Thomas Bryant says he will return for his sophomore season and not declare for the NBA draft. The 6-foot-10 Bryant averaged 11.9 points and 5.8 rebounds this past season and led the Big Ten Conference during the regular season by shooting 68.3 percent from the field.