Clippers, Bulls win openers

UNDATED (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers were able to win a playoff game without the services of Chris Paul. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers didn't look very good without two of their starters.

Blake Griffin recorded his second straight triple-double and the Clippers took Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series by downing the Rockets 117-101 in Houston. Griffin finished with team highs of 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists as the Clippers earned their third consecutive win.

Matt Barnes shot 8-for-11 in scoring 20 points, and starting guards J.J. Redick and Austin Rivers added 17 points apiece to make up for the absence of their top backcourt man.

Paul missed the game after straining his left hamstring during L.A's Game-7 victory against San Antonio. Coach Doc Rivers says he expects Paul to play in Game 2 versus the Rockets in Houston on Wednesday.

The Rockets scored five straight points to cut their deficit to one with about 7 1/2 minutes left. Barnes got the Clippers going after that, making two 3-pointers in a 12-0 run that made it 101-88 3 minutes later.

Dwight Howard had 22 points and 10 boards for the Rockets, who led 50-46 at halftime before they were outscored by 20 the rest of the way. James Harden finished with 20 points and 12 assists for Houston.

In Cleveland, the Bulls took advantage of the absences of Kevin Love and J.R. Smith in a 99-92 triumph over the Cavaliers in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinal series. Derrick Rose finished with a team-high 25 points and Pau Gasol added 21 and 10 rebounds to help the Bulls snag home-court advantage from the Cavs. Jimmy Butler added 20 points and banked in a contested jumper with 30 seconds left as the Bulls closed it out.

Kyrie Irving scored 30 points and LeBron James added 19 and 15 rebounds in the Cavaliers' first game since losing Love to a dislocated left shoulder. Smith missed the contest while he began serving a two-game suspension for punching Boston's Jae Crowder.

Game 2 is Wednesday in Cleveland.


Curry is NBA MVP

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors have their first NBA Most Valuable Player since the franchise was located in Philadelphia.

Point guard Stephen Curry has won the Maurice Podoloff Trophy by a sizeable margin. He received 100 of 130 first-place votes, while James Harden of Houston got 25 and Cleveland's LeBron James picked five.

Curry drained an NBA-record 286 3-pointers and averaged 23.8 points, 7.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds in helping the Warriors finish with a league-best 67 wins. He has averaged 20.9 points and 6.9 assists in six NBA seasons.

He's the franchise's first MVP since Wilt Chamberlain in 1960.


Holtby, Caps blank Blueshirts

WASHINGTON (AP) — One goal was enough for the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of their second-round series with the New York Rangers.

Braden Holtby turned back 30 shots and Jay Beagle provided the lone tally in the Caps' 1-0 verdict over the Blueshirts. The Capitals were outshot in each period, but Holtby was up to the task in his second career playoff shutout, two years to the day he blanked the Rangers.

Henrik Lundqvist was perfect until Jay Beagle skated behind the net and banked a shot off the skate of Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle and into the net at 7:31 of the second period. The fluke goal gives the Capitals a two-games-to-one lead in the series.

Game 4 is Wednesday in Washington.


Devils get a new GM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Lou Lamoriello is stepping down as the New Jersey Devils' general manager and handing the job to Ray Shero. Lamoriello will remain as president of hockey operations. The 72-year-old Lamoriello has led the Devils since 1987 and guided them to three Stanley Cups.

The 52-year-old Shero was let go as the Pittsburgh Penguins' general manager last May.

The Devils are still looking for a coach, and Lamoriello says Shero will make that hire.


Brewers win first for Counsell

UNDATED (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers were winners in their first game under new management.

The Brewers put together a three-run eighth to beat the Dodgers 4-3 in Craig Counsell's first game as Milwaukee's skipper. Hector Gomez ignited the rally with a homer off Clayton Kershaw, who was trying to earn his 100th career victory. Carlos Gomez doubled home the tying run and scored on Ryan Braun's infield single.

The comeback gives the Brewers three straight wins since a 5-18 start.

Counsell was in the dugout one day after the team dismissed Ron Roenicke. He received a three-year package to replace Roenicke, who compiled a 342-331 record with one division title in a little more than four seasons.

Counsell has no previous managing or coaching experience and spent the last three-plus seasons as special assistant to GM Doug Melvin. He had a 16-year career as a player, the last five with the Brewers before retiring in 2011.

Elsewhere in the majors:

— Madison Bumgarner carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and San Francisco picked up its fourth consecutive win by blanking San Diego 2-0. The reigning World Series MVP didn't allow a hit until Justin Upton's leadoff single in the seventh.

— Nelson Cruz has a major league-leading 14 homers and hitting one of Seattle's three solo shots off Matt Shoemaker in a 3-2 triumph over the Los Angeles Angels. Logan Morrison and Seth Smith also went deep to support Felix Hernandez, who fanned eight and gave up a run and six hits over seven innings.

— Robinson Chirinos singled home the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning to give Texas a 2-1 victory at Houston, ending the Astros' 10-game winning streak. The Astros managed just four hits in wasting a strong outing by Dallas Kuechel, who struck out eight while allowing a run and five hits in eight innings.

— Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam and the St. Louis Cardinals stormed back from deficits of 5-0 and 8-4 to beat the Chicago Cubs 10-8. Tony Cruz snapped an 8-8 tie with a two-run double in the seventh to send the Redbirds to their seventh consecutive victory.

— R.A. Dickey gave up a run and three hits in eight innings to pitch Toronto past the New York Yankees 3-1. The game was tied 1-1 in the eighth until Edwin Encarnacion  hit an RBI double and scored on Russell Martin's single.

— Yunel Escobar was 5-for-5 with a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth inning of Washington's sixth victory in seven games, 6-4 over Miami. The Nationals trailed 4-2 in the eighth until Ian Desmond smacked a two-run homer.

— Tampa Bay beat Boston 5-1 behind Jake Odorizzi, who limited the Red Sox to a run and seven hits with six strikeouts in seven innings. Joey Butler socked a two-run homer and David DeJesus had two RBIs as the Rays handed the Bosox their fourth consecutive loss.

— Jeff Francoeur was 4-for-5 with an RBI double and a run-scoring triple in Philadelphia's 5-2 triumph in Atlanta. Winning pitcher Aaron Harang held his old team to a run and five hits in six innings.

— Torii Hunter ripped a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the sixth inning to power Minnesota past Oakland 8-7. Brian Dozier hit a two-run double and Jordan Schafer added a pair of RBI hits to the Twins' fifth consecutive victory.

— Arizona and Colorado were postponed by rain in Denver. No makeup date has been announced.


Jacoby slapped with 14-game suspension

TORONTO (AP) — Blue Jays hitting coach Brook Jacoby has been suspended 14 games for his postgame conduct toward the umpires following an April 29 game at Boston.

Toronto catcher Russell Martin was called out on strikes by Adrian Johnson for the final out of Toronto's 4-1 loss, prompting members of the Blue Jays coaching staff to trade words with the umpiring crew as they left the field.

The Blue Jays intend to appeal Jacoby's suspension, although coaches and managers are required to begin serving their punishment as soon as it is issued. Jacoby missed Monday's game against the New York Yankees.


US stays unbeaten

PRAGUE (AP) — Torey Krug's power play goal in the second period broke a 1-all tie and the United States went on to beat defending champ Russia 4-2 at the hockey world championship. The unbeaten Americans top Group B with nine points, three more than Russia, which suffered its first loss of the tournament.


Housecleaning in Oakland

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders are planning to release two starters from last year's team, cutting ties with receiver James Jones and linebacker Miles Burris.

The decision comes after Oakland used its first-round pick on receiver Amari Cooper and later drafted linebackers Ben Heeney of Kansas and Neiron Bell of Florida in the fifth round.