AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Bulls lose in Rose's return to lineup
UNDATED (AP) — The Cleveland Cavaliers have wrapped up the NBA's Central Division title and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
LeBron James scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and finished with nine rebounds and eight assists as the Cavs topped Milwaukee 104-99. Cleveland led by just two midway through the final period before James hit a driving layup and a put-back slam to make it 92-86 with 5:25 remaining.
Kyrie Irving finished with a team-high 27 points, while Kevin Love added 16 and 11 boards in the Cavaliers' fourth consecutive win.
Orlando spoiled the return of Derrick Rose to Chicago's lineup and eliminated the Bulls from the Central Division race.
Victor Oladipo capped his 23-point night by hitting a layup with 1.5 seconds left in the Magic's 105-103 win over the Bulls. Nik Vucevic added 22 points to help Orlando pick up its third straight win.
Rose made his first appearance since undergoing a minor operation on his right knee Feb. 27, finishing with nine points on 3 of 9 shooting in 19 minutes.
Chicago fell into a third-place tie with Toronto in the East at 46-32.
In other NBA finals:
— Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points and Dallas eliminated Phoenix from the playoff race by downing the Suns 107-104. Nowitzki hit the go-ahead basket and a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
— Tony Parker scored 27 points and San Antonio picked up its ninth straight win by whipping Houston 110-98. Kawhi Leonard finished with 20 points and Boris Diaw had 15 as the Spurs moved within a half-game of Houston and Memphis for the Southwest Division lead.
— Memphis clobbered New Orleans 110-74 behind Zach Randolph's 15 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Jeff Green and Marc Gasol each had 15 points as the Grizzlies dropped the Pelicans into a tie with Oklahoma City for the final Western Conference playoff berth.
— LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 13 rebounds before sitting out the fourth quarter of Portland's 116-91 rout of Minnesota. Robin Lopez added 18 points for the Trail Blazers.
— Toronto had lost six straight to Charlotte before DeMar DeRozan scored 18 points in the Raptors' 92-74 rout of the Hornets. Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez each scored 16 points as the Raptors dropped the Hornets three games out of a playoff berth.
— Isaiah Thomas had a season-high 34 points and Boston bolstered its playoff hopes by downing Detroit 113-103. Jae Crowder added 17 for the Celtics, while Reggie Jackson had 21 points and 15 assists to help the Celtics move into a tie with Brooklyn for the last two Eastern Conference playoff berths.
— The Nets erased a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter before Al Horford made the go-ahead basket on a dunk with 19 seconds remaining to help Atlanta down Brooklyn 114-111. Horford contributed 24 points and Mike Scott had 20 as the Hawks completed a season sweep.
— Indiana is one game behind the Celts and Nets after George Hill scored 20 points in the Pacers' 102-86 rout of New York. Roy Hibbert finished with 11 points and 11 boards for the Pacers, who outrebounded the Knicks 54-34.
— Washington earned its fourth straight win by shooting 65 percent in a 119-90 rout of Philadelphia. Bradley Beal scored 21 points, Ramon Sessions finished with 19 and Marcin Gortat had 18, seven rebounds and six assists for the Wizards.
— Kenneth Faried scored a season-high 29 points and had 11 rebounds to lead Denver's 119-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
— Derrick Favors scored 18 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots to lead Utah Jazz past Sacramento 103-91.
Pacers' Copeland stabbed
NEW YORK (AP) — Authorities say Pacers forward Chris Copeland, his girlfriend and another woman have been hospitalized after being stabbed outside a Manhattan nightclub early Wednesday morning following an argument.
Police say the player was stabbed in the abdomen and his girlfriend was slashed in the arm and across the breast. The second woman was believed to be with the attacker and was slashed in the abdomen.
All are listed in stable condition, and the 22-year-old suspected attacker has been arrested. Copeland's driver grabbed the suspect and held him until officers arrived.
Police say Atlanta Hawks players Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha were arrested for obstructing the crime scene. Team officials say they are investigating.
Suns Morris brothers probed
PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns' Marcus and Markieff Morris are being investigated on allegations that they beat a former mentor. Phoenix police say they are seeking aggravated assault charges against the Morris twins and three others in the alleged January attack.
Police say Eric Hood suffered a fractured nose, abrasions and a large bump on his head after he was hit and kicked by the five.
Ashley leaving school for draft
UNDATED (AP) — Arizona junior Brandon Ashley has announced that he will declare for the NBA draft.
Ashley averaged 12.2 points and 5.2 rebounds while helping lead the Wildcats to the Elite Eight for the second straight season.
He becomes the second Arizona player to leave school early for the NBA, joining sophomore forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Braves complete Miami sweep
UNDATED (AP) — The Atlanta Braves have pulled off their first season-opening sweep in eight years by outscoring Miami 16-3 in a three-game set.
A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run homer and five Braves combined to scatter six hits in a 2-0 shutout of the Marlins. Pierzynski's blast snapped a scoreless tie in the seventh inning and allowed Brandon Cunniff to pick up his first major league win.
Braves new closer Jason Grilli picked up his second save in as many chances.
— Jeff Francoeur hit a three-run homer and Philadelphia ruined Rick Porcello's Boston debut by beating the Red Sox 4-2. Aaron Harang looked good in his first start with the Phillies, holding the Red Sox to two hits while striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings.
— Colorado pulled out a 5-4 win at Milwaukee on pinch-hitter Wilin Rosario's homer in the 10th inning. Carlos Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and Corey Dickerson provided a solo blast as the Rockies completed a three-game sweep.
— Jake Odorizzi took a two-hitter into the seventh inning before the Tampa Bay bullpen gave up just one more hit in a 2-0 shutout of Baltimore. The game was scoreless until the Rays worked out four straight two-out walks to avoid a three-game sweep.
— Lorenzo Cain capped his three-hit night with a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning of Kansas City's 7-5 win over the Chicago White Sox. Cain also scored on Eric Hosmer's three-run blast in the third.
— Anibal (AH'-nih-bahl) Sanchez allowed three hits in 6 2/3 innings of Detroit's 11-0 pounding of Minnesota. Ian Kinsler drove in four, Jose Iglesias had four hits and Alex Avila scored four runs while the Tigers' staff posted its second shutout of the Twins in two days.
— Chase Headley provided the tiebreaking single in a three-run eighth that allowed the New York Yankees to beat Toronto 4-3. The Yanks rallied after R.A. Dickey held them to one run in 6 1/3 innings.
— Ryan Zimmerman smacked a two-run homer and Jordan Zimmermann allowed just a run and five hits over six innings of Washington's 2-1 triumph against New York. Reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jacob de Grom blanked the Nationals after Zimmerman's first-inning blast, yielding six hits over six frames in a losing effort.
— Jake Arrieta allowed three hits over seven innings and Starlin Castro singled home the go-ahead run in a two-run seventh to lead the Cubs over St. Louis Cardinals 2-0. Lance Lynn was the hard-luck loser, allowing just one earned run and two hits in six-plus innings.
— Carlos Carrasco tossed 6 1/3 innings while giving up three hits and striking out 10 to pitch Cleveland past Houston 2-0. The scoring came on homers by Carlos Santana and Mike Aviles.
— Adrian Gonzalez was 4-for-4 with three homers, four RBIs and three runs scored in the Dodgers' 7-4 triumph over San Diego at Los Angeles. Brandon McCarthy was shaky in his Dodgers debut, surrendering two home runs and nine hits in five-plus innings.
— Casey McGehee hit a two-run homer and scored twice as San Francisco beat Arizona 5-2. Chris Heston gave up just a pair of unearned runs and three hits in six innings of his first major league victory.
— Mark Canha belted a three-run homer and an RBI double lead Oakland's 14-hit attack in a 10-0 laugher against Texas. Scott Kazmir held the Rangers to one hit while striking out 10 in seven brilliant innings.
— Albert Pujols socked a two-run homer before second baseman Robinson Cano's error allowed two more runs in the first inning of the Angels' 5-3 win at Seattle. Winning hurler Matt Schoemaker gave up six hits in six innings, including homers by Kyle Seager and Brad Miller.
—Joey Votto singled home the winning run in the 11th inning, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds are 2-0 for the first time since 2011, when they won their first five games.
Tigers place Verlander on DL, shelve Nathan
UNDATED (AP) — Justin Verlander is officially on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right triceps, a week after the Tigers indicated they would make the move.
The team initially thought Verlander might be able to start Sunday at Cleveland. The right-hander says he's not very concerned about the injury and hopes to miss just one start.
Meanwhile, Detroit closer Joe Nathan is headed to the disabled list with a strained right elbow. The flexor problem has bothered Nathan since around the end of last week. Joakim Soria will take over as Detroit's closer in Nathan's absence, and the Tigers will recall left-hander Blaine Hardy from Triple-A Toledo for Thursday's game against the Twins.
In other moves:
— Tampa Bay first baseman James Loney has been placed on the 15-day disabled list after straining his right oblique during batting practice Tuesday.
Harrison gets long term deal
CINCINNATI (AP) — Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star third baseman Josh Harrison has agreed to a four-year, $27.3 million contract that includes a pair of one-year team options worth another $21 million.
The 27-year-old finished second in the National League with a .315 batting average in 2014 while was ninth in the MVP race. Harrison is a career .283 hitter with 20 home runs, 98 RBI and 143 runs scored in 373 games with the Pirates.
Caps blank Bruins again
UNDATED (AP) — The Washington Capitals have taken a giant step toward securing home-ice advantage in the NHL's Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Braden Holtby stopped 27 shots and the Caps scored twice in the first period of a 3-0 win against the Bruins. Holtby blanked the Bruins over the entire three-game season sweep, giving him nine shutouts on the season.
John Carlson and Matt Niskanen scored 2:17 apart in the opening stanza to help the Capitals move three points ahead of the fifth-place New York Islanders.
The Bruins ended a five-game winning streak to remain in a tie with Ottawa for the final East playoff berth with two games remaining.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Patrick Eaves scored the last two goals as Dallas beat Anaheim 4-0, preventing the Ducks from clinching home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. Jonas Enroth needed to make just 19 saves in his fifth career shutout and second of the season.
— The Columbus Blue Jackets are 10-0-1 in their last 11 games after Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 35 shots in a 5-0 shutout of Toronto. Columbus maintained control once Artem Anisimov, Boone Jenner and Scott Hartnell scored in the last 6:09 of the first period.
Streelman wins Par-3 tourney at August
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Kevin Streelman beat Camilo Villegas on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the Par 3 tournament at Augusta National. Villegas had two holes-in-one through his first eight holes en route to a 5 under, one shot ahead of Cameron Tringale, Ben Martin and Ryan Moore.
Jack Nicklaus had a hole in one on the fourth hole.
Jets get Ridley
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets have signed running back Stevan Ridley to a one-year deal.
Ridley continues to rehab a knee injury suffered while with New England last season. He had 340 yards in six games for the Patriots in 2014 before tearing his right ACL.
Ridley had a career-high 1,263 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns with the 2012 Pats.
NFL breaks ground with female official
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has hired Sarah Thomas to be its first female full-time game official. The 41-year old will be a line judge for the coming season.
Thomas has been in the league's officiating development program and worked some team minicamps last year.
She was the first female official to work games on the FBS level and the first to officiate a bowl game, the 2009 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit.
Jury deliberates for second day
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — A jury will begin its third day of deliberations in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez. The panel has spent nine hours over the first two days trying to decide if Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd in June 2013.
Jurors have asked to have clarified some of the other charges against Hernandez in the shooting.
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