AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Warriors blow out Rockets...Blazers dominate fourth quarter...Hornets top Heat
UNDATED (AP) — The Golden State Warriors never missed Stephen Curry as they cruised into the second round of the NBA playoffs.
Klay Thompson shot 7-for-11 from 3-point range and poured in 27 points as the Warriors crushed Houston 114-81 to win their opening-round series in five games. The Warriors were never threatened after building a 37-20 lead in the first quarter. Thompson opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and finished the opening period with 11 points.
Shaun Livingston added 16 points on 7 of 8 shooting in place of Curry, who played a little more than four quarters the entire series due to ankle and knee injuries. Brandon Rush came off the bench to add 15 points and helped Golden State shoot 55 percent from the field.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers didn't do too well in their first playoff game without both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
C.J. McCollum scored 27 points and the Portland Trail Blazers took a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series with the Clippers by earning a 108-98 win at Los Angeles. Damian Lillard added 22 points for the Blazers, who were tied at 71 before scoring 37 points in the fourth quarter. Maurice Harkless finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Mason Plumlee added 10 points and 15 boards.
Clippers forwards Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce combined to shoot just 6-for-26 while Griffin sat out with a season-ending injury suffered in Game 4. And Austin Rivers was ineffective in place of Paul, who's out with a broken right hand.
J.J. Redick had 19 points for the Clippers, who need to win Friday at Portland to avoid a first-round exit.
The Charlotte Hornets are one victory away from winning a playoff series for the first time since 2002.
The Hornets own a three-games-to-two lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after Courtney Lee nailed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 26 seconds left in a 90-88 triumph at Miami. Lee missed seven of his first eight shots before giving the Hornets their third straight win.
Charlotte rallied after Dwyane Wade hit consecutive jumpers to put the Heat up 88-85 with about 2 ½ minutes remaining.
Marvin Williams had team highs of 17 points and eight rebounds for the Hornets, while Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker each added 14 points.
Wade scored a game-high 25 points for the Heat, who will try to stave off elimination Friday in Charlotte.
Stevens says Thomas on track to play Game 6
BOSTON (AP) — Celtics coach Brad Stevens says that all signs point toward Isaiah Thomas being able to play in Thursday night's Game 6 against the Hawks.
Stevens said Wednesday that he'd gotten all positive updates on the All-Star guard's status, who limped to the locker room with a mild left ankle sprain in the closing minutes of Tuesday's 110-83 loss in Atlanta.
Preds close out Ducks...Isles top Lightning
UNDATED (AP) — The Nashville Predators have advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Pekka Rinne made 36 saves and the Predators scored twice in the first period before holding off the Ducks 2-1 in Game 7 at Anaheim. It's the first Game 7 victory for the Predators, who had to win the last two games of the series to earn the right to take on San Jose in the next round.
Collin Wilson opened the scoring with an unassisted goal 6:19 into the game. Paul Gaustad made it 2-0 later in the opening period, and the two-goal lead held up until Ryan Kesler's power-play goal 1:45 into the third.
It marks the fourth straight year the Ducks have dropped a Game 7 at home after leading a series 3-2.
Fresh of their first playoff series victory in 23 years, the New York Islanders have taken Game 1 of their second-round scrum with Tampa Bay.
Shane Prince scored twice and Thomas Greiss stopped 33 shots as the Isles knocked off the Lightning 5-3 in Tampa Bay. Prince scored twice in a 2:29 span late in the opening period to give New York a 3-1 lead. It became 4-1 when John Tavares chased Ben Bishop from the net with his sixth playoff goal, a power-play tally at 8:59 of the second.
Third-period goals by Nikita Kucherov and Valtteri Filppula got the Lightning within 4-3 with 2:32 remaining, but Greiss shut the door the rest of the way while Cal Clutterbuck added an empty-netter.
Tavares finished with two points, giving him 11 in seven games in this postseason. Greiss made 15 of his saves in the final period of the Islanders' third consecutive win.
Game 2 is Saturday afternoon in Tampa.
League picks 3 Vezina finalists
NEW YORK (AP) — Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop, Washington's Braden Holtby and Jonathan Quick of Los Angeles are the finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie. Bishop led the NHL with a 2.06 goals-against average, Holtby tied the league's single-season record with 48 victories and Quick had 40 wins and a 2.22 goals-against average.
The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards June 22 in Las Vegas.
Chisox win again
UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago White Sox have continued their strong start with another outstanding pitching performance.
One night after Chris Sale became the majors' first five-game winner, Jose Quintana struck out 10 while giving up four hits over six innings of the White Sox's 4-0 shutout of Toronto. Chicago's bullpen followed with three perfect innings of relief to ensure the team's sixth consecutive win.
But the game was scoreless until the seventh, when Dioner Navarro lined a two-run triple and scored on Austin Jackson's triple. The triples helped the White Sox improve to an American League-best 16-6.
The Pale Hose are 10 games over .500 for the first time since September 2012.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Chris Tillman combined on a four-hitter and Joey Rickard smacked a three-run homer in Baltimore's 3-1 win at Tampa Bay. Tillman struck out nine and yielded two hits in 6 2/3 innings of the Orioles' first win in four games.
— Victor and J.D. Martinez each cracked three-run homers and Justin Verlander worked into the seventh inning of Detroit's 9-4 rout of Oakland. J.D. Martinez had four RBIs to support Verlander, who carried an 8-1 lead into the seventh before tiring.
— Elvis Andrus tripled home the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning of the Rangers' 3-2 triumph over the Yankees in Texas. Martin (mahr-TEEN') Perez limited New York to two runs and six hits in six innings as the Rangers send the Yanks to their 10th loss in 14 games.
— Francisco Lindor laced a two-run double and drove in three as Cleveland knocked off Minnesota 6-5. Lindor provided a tiebreaking, sacrifice fly while the Indians scored four times in the fifth to take a 6-3 lead.
— Homers by Mike Trout, Yunel Escobar and Andrelton Simmons powered the Angels past Kansas City 4-2. Los Angeles starter Nick Tropeano scattered eight hits in 5 1/3 innings and blanked the Royals following Eric Hosmer's two-run homer in the first.
— Houston halted a three-game skid as Evan Gattis collected three RBIs in the Astros' 7-4 win at Seattle. Jose Altuve was 3-for-5 with a solo homer, two RBIs and three runs scored to help Houston end Seattle's three-game winning streak.
— Boston crushed Atlanta 9-4 as Dustin Pedroia launched a grand slam and a solo shot. The Braves are a major league-worst 4-17 following their eighth consecutive loss.
— The Mets picked up their sixth straight win as Matt Harvey allowed two runs with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 5-2 triumph over Cincinnati. Neil Walker belted his ninth homer of the season and had two RBIs as the Mets won for the 11th time in 13 games since a 2-5 start.
— Washington suffered its second straight loss as Jeremy Hellickson fanned eight and scattered two hits in seven innings of Philadelphia's 3-0 shutout of the Nationals. Darin Ruf broke up a scoreless tie with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Carlos Ruiz added a solo shot to cap the scoring.
— Adam Wainwright hit a bases-loaded triple and pitched into the sixth inning of the Cardinals' 11-4 pounding of Arizona. Aledmys (ah-LEHD'-mees) Diaz homered, scored three runs and had two RBIs to help St. Louis win for the fourth time in five games.
— Pittsburgh blew a three-run lead before beating the Rockies 9-8 on Jordy Mercer's RBI double in the 12 inning. Mercer, Gregory Polanco, Francisco Cervalli and David Freese each had two RBIs in the Pirates' fourth consecutive victory.
— Miami was a 2-0 winner over the Dodgers as Justin Nicolino held Los Angeles to two hits over 7 1/3 innings. Neither team scored after Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuma poked RBI singles off Scott Kazmir in the first inning.
— Brandon Belt went 3-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs scored as the Giants topped the Padres 13-9 in San Francisco. Pitcher Jeff Samardzija chipped in with a two-run single and got the win despite surrendering five runs in 5 2/3 innings.
— Jake Arrieta has had his start pushed back after the Cubs and Brewers were rained out in Chicago. Arrieta tossed a no-hitter in his last start, a 16-0 pounding of Cincinnati last week.
Darvish to test elbow this weekend
UNDATED (AP) — Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish is scheduled to pitch Sunday in his first minor league rehab start since Tommy John surgery more than 13 months ago. The Rangers say Darvish will pitch two innings, or around 30 pitches, for Double-A Frisco in its home game against Corpus Christi.
Darvish was 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 22 starts last year before his elbow surgery. He is 39-25 with a 3.27 earned run average and 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 innings over three major league seasons.
In other major league news:
— Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Charlie Morton has a torn left hamstring that will force him to miss the remainder of the season. Morton is slated for surgery on Monday and is expected to need six to eight months to recover. Morton was injured while running out of the batter's box on a sacrifice attempt during at Milwaukee on Saturday.
— The Colorado Rockies have placed left-hander Jorge De La Rosa on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain suffered in last night's loss to Pittsburgh. De La Rosa is 1-3 with a 10.18 ERA in five starts this season after winning 14 games last year. The Rockies filled the roster spot by recalling right Eddie Butler from Triple-A Albuquerque.
— The Cleveland Indians have optioned right-hander Cody Anderson to Triple-A Columbus after he opened the season 0-1 with a 7.65 ERA in four starts. The Indians had high hopes for the 25-year-old Anderson after he was 7-3 with a 3.05 earned run average in 15 major league starts last year. Cleveland recalled left-hander Kyle Crockett to fill the roster spot.
— John Stanton is becoming the new chairman and CEO of the Seattle Mariners after leading a group of minority owners in purchasing the major league franchise from Nintendo of America. Stanton has been a minority owner and will take over daily operations once his group officially takes over 90 percent of the franchise. Outgoing Chairman Howard Lincoln announced the ownership transaction on Wednesday, along with his intent to retire from day-to-day operations overseeing the franchise.
Manziel bond set
DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas judge set a $1,500 bond for former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel in his misdemeanor domestic assault case.
Manziel's attorney says his client is expected to turn himself in for booking next week, though no date has been set.
The Heisman Trophy winner and former Texas A&M star was indicted by a grand jury this week after his ex-girlfriend alleged he hit her and threatened to kill her during a night out in January.
NCAA board acts on anti-discrimination
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA Board of Governors has adopted an anti-discrimination measure that would affect the way the governing body evaluates bids to host sporting events.
The NCAA said it requires sites that are hosting events or bidding on them "to demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination."
The NCAA said the decision follows actions of legislatures in several states.
OLYMPICS-US WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
US women's squad finalized
NEW YORK (AP) — Four-time Olympians Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings headline the U.S. women's national team roster heading to Brazil for the Rio Games this summer.
The trio will be joined by newcomers Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner and Breanna Stewart.
Coach Geno Auriemma's squad is heavily favored to win its sixth consecutive gold medal.
HORSE RACING-KENTUCKY DERBY-ESPINOZA
Espinoza to shoot for three in a row at the Derby
UNDATED (AP) — Victor Espinoza has landed aboard longshot Whitmore for the May 7 Kentucky Derby.
That will give him the jockey a chance for an unprecedented three-peat in the Run for the Roses.
Espinoza won the Derby with California Chrome in 2014 and with eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah last year.
Whitmore finished third in the Arkansas Derby and second in the Rebel Stakes in his last two starts.