Thu, 24 Apr 2014 04:57:00 +0000

CHICAGO (AP) Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the game at 11:17 of overtime, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Wednesday night to even their first-round playoff series at two games apiece.

Kane carried the puck down the left side as teammates Ben Smith and Brandon Saad rushed toward the net, and beat Ryan Miller with a well-placed wrist shot for his 32nd career postseason goal.

Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell also scored for defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, which blew a 2-0 second-period lead. Jonathan Toews had two assists and Corey Crawford made 30 saves.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night in St. Louis.

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:13:00 +0000

DALLAS (AP) The young Dallas Stars keep overcoming early 2-0 deficits. With their latest comeback in Game 4, they are now even with the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks.

Down in the series after losing the first two games in Anaheim, the Stars trailed by two goals in the first period Wednesday night before captain Jaime Benn started the comeback with an unassisted goal off a faceoff. Cody Eakin and Alex Goligoski later scored on Dallas' first two shots in the third period for a 4-2 victory.

"We've done that a lot and it's not something we like to do. Whether it's the start of games or obviously the start of the series," Eakin said. "Our captain kind of ignited us. And we started skating and playing the way we wanted to."

While the Stars overcame a two-goal deficit to win a playoff game for the first time in 10 years, Anaheim heads home for Game 5 with uncertainty about captain Ryan Getzlaf and questions about who will be in net Friday night.

Eakin skated the length of the ice, got around a sliding defender, closed his eyes and shot just before his stick got ripped out of his hands. His go-ahead goal with 13:38 left came before Goligoski scored on the Stars' next shot only 1:22 later, making it 4-2 and prompting the Ducks to pull rookie goalie Frederik Andersen.

"When you get the one goal and people start going crazy, it makes it easier to get the next one and the next one and just keep battling," said Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 21 shots. "And we were lucky to get those goals. It's not easy to score four straight against that team."

Getzlaf was a surprise late scratch for Game 4 with an unspecified upper-body injury, and coach Bruce Boudreau would only say it was "a previous injury aggravated." What the coach refused to say was if it was related to the puck Getzlaf took the face in the series opener before playing Games 2 and 3 with a half-cage to protect the stitches just below his mouth.

Even without Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne, the 43-year-old franchise playoff leader who was a healthy scratch, the Ducks led 2-0 in the first period.

Bryan Allen scored on a shot from just inside the blue line, and Patrick Maroon knocked in the puck shot by Matthieu Perreault that hit Lehtonen's glove and fell over the goalie's shoulder behind him.

But only 27 seconds into the second period, Benn scored when he gathered the puck after a faceoff and quickly shot. About 6 minutes later, Vernon Fiddler managed to get the puck in a small gap between the post and Andersen to tie it at 2.

Just like Game 3, after which the Ducks insisted that the Stars went over their line with their over-aggressive approach, there were plenty of scrums Wednesday night.

With 2:10 left, Anaheim's Corey Perry and Antoine Roussel got in some big blows before being separated and given 5-minute majors for fighting. It was Roussel who punched Getzlaf in the previous game.

There were also five 10-minute misconduct penalties in that closing stretch, and referees had to separate several groups of players when the game ended.

"That's the type of stuff that's their pushback, it's our pushback," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "I really feel like we're in a playoff series now."

Andersen was pulled in favor of Jonas Hiller, the veteran who won 29 games during the Ducks' best regular season in franchise history before a late slump that left him on the bench. Hiller faced only one shot in his 10 1/2 minutes, and Boudreau said he would discuss the goalie situation with his assistants before deciding who starts Friday night.

"I felt a little bit off. It was a shock on the first one, and the second one snuck by me. I was expecting (Fiddler) to pass," Andersen said. "They came out of nowhere in the second. We weren't ready for their push."

NOTES: The series returns Sunday to the American Airlines Center for Game 6. ... Benn and Fiddler each had a goal and an assist. Benn has three goals and two assists in the series, and has scored in every game. ... Lehtonen was 0-4 in postseason games before the Stars won 3-0 Monday, and stopped 58 of 60 shots in the two home games.

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:16:00 +0000

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno's wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

The Blue Jackets overcame a 3-0 deficit for their first home playoff victory in the franchise's 13 seasons, sending the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Saturday night tied 2-2.

Craig Adams, Chris Kunitz, James Neal scored in a span of 5:01 of the first period to stake the Penguins to a 3-0 lead. But Ryan Johansen and Dubinsky each had a goal and an assist and Boone Jenner also scored for Columbus, making only its second postseason trip.

It was the fourth time in the series that the team that scored first - and also went on to hold a 3-1 lead - lost.

With the Penguins hanging on to a 3-2 lead in the third period, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made a big save on Matt Calvert's second shot in a flurry. Calvert later got behind Brooks Orpik on a breakaway and his forehand clanged off the crossbar, setting off a loud groan in the arena.

But Fleury was the culprit when he went behind the cage to handle Jack Johnson's pass around the boards in the final minute. He whiffed trying to handle the puck and was stuck out of position, allowing Johansen to slide a centering pass through the crease where Dubinsky netted it with 22.5 seconds left.

What followed was the loudest sound heard in the Blue Jackets' mostly dismal 13 seasons.

In the overtime, the Blue Jackets had the best of it - as they had for all but the start.

Foligno carried the puck through the neutral zone and was just across the blue line when he fired a low wrister that he tucked under Fleury's glove. As the players piled on top of Foligno, the crowd went crazy.

Fleury had been brilliant throughout the third period, finishing with 42 saves. His Columbus counterpart, Sergei Bobrovsky, also was spectacular at times with 22 saves.

The Penguins rolled to a quick 3-0 lead and ended up with a dreaded 3-1 lead after a period - and once again it vanished.

Just 11 seconds after Jussi Jokinen was called for hooking, the Penguins took advantage of a James Wisniewski turnover near the blue line with Brandon Sutter carrying the puck through the neutral zone on a 2-on-1 break with Adams. Sutter flipped a backhander to Adams, whose rising shot from the right circle beat Bobrovsky high on the stick side at the 6:09 mark.

Pittsburgh quieted a loud capacity crowd with two goals in the span of 33 seconds in the middle of the opening period.

While on the power play after Derek MacKenzie went off for roughing, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby won a faceoff in the offensive zone and Niskanen's rocket from the right point was redirected by Kunitz.

Before the details of that goal could be announced, the Penguins won another faceoff in the offensive zone and Jokinen then beat the Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger to a loose puck. He tapped the puck with his outstretched stick toward the right hash mark where Neal unloaded a hard one-timer past Bobrovsky.

It was the first goals of the series for Adams, Kunitz and Neal, who combined for 67 goals in the regular season.

The Blue Jackets played well to close out the period. Their kill unit held off the Penguins on just over a minute of 5 on 3 and killed off two more penalties.

Then at the 16:39 mark, former Penguin Mark Letestu's shot from the high slot was tipped in by Jenner, who had his back to Fleury as he muscled the puck past him.

Columbus dominated the second period, scoring the only goal and outshooting the Penguins 18-6.

A double-minor penalty on Lee Stempniak for high sticking eventually led to the Blue Jackets scoring again, this time with a two-man advantage. The Penguins killed the first 2 minutes of the 4-minute penalty, but picked up another minor penalty when Sutter was called for delay of game. From low on the right wing, Brandon Dubinsky slid a centering pass that Artem Anisimov was able to deflect toward the goal line, with Johansen jamming in the loose puck at the 14:20 mark.

On yet another power play with just 5 seconds left in the period, the Blue Jackets almost got the tying goal but the puck bounced over Cam Atkinson's stick when he had a wide open net.

From the time the Penguins built their 3-0 lead until the end of the second period, they were outshot 25-8.

Notes: The NHL announced earlier Wednesday that Game 5 will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Pittsburgh. ... Columbus was without rookie D Ryan Murray, who was wearing a boot after being hit with a puck in practice. Veteran Nick Schultz took his spot. ... Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said he was hopeful C Marcel Goc (ankle) may be able to play in the series. ... Likely NHL MVP Crosby has not scored a goal in his last nine playoff games and Evgeni Malkin hasn't found the net in his last eight.

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 01:53:00 +0000

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James scored 32 points and added eight assists, Chris Bosh scored 20 points and the Miami Heat held on to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 101-97 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Dwyane Wade scored 15 points, and had a steal in the final seconds to help seal the win for Miami. Mario Chalmers added 11 for the Heat.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 22 points for Charlotte, which got 18 points and 13 rebounds from Al Jefferson, who played through a left plantar fascia strain and shot 9 for 23 from the floor. Kemba Walker added 16 and Gerald Henderson scored 15 for the Bobcats.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Charlotte.

The Bobcats were down three with 10 seconds left, but never got a tying shot off. Wade stole the ball from Chris Douglas-Roberts with 3 seconds left, made a free throw and that was enough for the Heat - who wasted a big first-half lead, then saw another one in the fourth quarter get whittled down to nearly nothing.

It's hard to find any good news for Charlotte, between this two-game hole and the ongoing injury concerns revolving around their best player. Not only have the Bobcats lost 18 straight games to Miami, but the Heat have never dropped any of the previous 11 postseason series in which they've grabbed a 2-0 series lead.

James, between his time in Cleveland and Miami, is 11-0 in such situations. Wade has been part of nine previous 2-0 leads with the Heat, and six of those series ended in no more than five games.

Miami's lead was 91-77 midway through the fourth, and after blowing a big first-half lead it appeared as though the Heat finally had some breathing room.

A few minutes later, it looked a whole lot different.

Walker, Kidd-Gilchrist and Douglas-Roberts combined for all the damage in a 10-0 run, getting the Bobcats within 91-87. But Bosh hit a jumper to stop Miami's scoreless drought, the Heat followed that with a stop, and Bosh struck again on the ensuing possession with a drive that pushed the Heat's lead back to eight with 3:36 remaining.

With that, it was Charlotte's turn - five straight points, with Jefferson scoring with 1:42 left to make it 97-94. And Douglas-Roberts had a chance to tie it with 1:09 left, but his 3-pointer bounced off the rim.

After a free throw by James, Walker hit a 3 with 11.9 seconds left to get Charlotte within one. But James swished a pair of free throws moments later, Wade came up with the steal, and Miami escaped.

Miami led 57-47 at the half, and the Bobcats - who missed 17 of their first 22 shots - were fortunate not to be in bigger trouble.

Jefferson was obviously laboring in the early going and missed seven of his first eight shots, part of the reason why the Heat were able to run out to a 36-21 lead with 9:50 left in the half. Chalmers - whose availability was in doubt until about an hour before game time because of a bruised shin - scored 11 of those points, and the Heat seemed to be rolling.

Charlotte thought otherwise.

A 14-2 run got the Bobcats right back into it, with Jefferson getting consecutive baskets and Kidd-Gilchrist scoring seven points to help the Bobcats close the gap to 38-35. But James Jones, who came up big off the bench for Miami in Game 1, hit a 3-pointer to stop the run and the Heat's lead was quickly back to 16, before late 3's by Gary Neal and Walker got Charlotte within 10 again.

Things tightened more in the third. The Heat led by as much as 11 during the period, before Charlotte got within four twice. Miami led 79-72 entering the fourth.

NOTES: James has signed a deal with William Morris, which will represent him in entertainment-related projects. "It's been in the works," said James, who added that his management team was handling the deal so he could focus on the playoffs. ... Game 3 will be Charlotte's first playoff home game since April 26, 2010, against Orlando. No current Bobcats appeared in that game - but Heat F Rashard Lewis did, playing for Orlando.

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 04:44:00 +0000

HOUSTON (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge scored 43 points and Damian Lillard made six free throws down the stretch to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 112-105 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night and a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.

James Harden knocked down a 3-pointer with about 30 seconds left to get the Rockets within three. Lillard made two free throws before Harden fouled out about 10 seconds later. Mo Williams and Lillard both made a pair of free throws after that to secure the win.

Aldridge became the first player with consecutive 40-point games in the playoffs since LeBron James did it in May of 2009 after scoring a career-high and franchise playoff-record 46 in an overtime win in Game 1.

Dwight Howard was unstoppable early and scored 25 points in the first half, but managed just seven in the second half.

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:51:00 +0000

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Monta Ellis scored 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 113-92 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night, snapping a 10-game skid against the Spurs and evening their first-round series at a game apiece.

Shawn Marion scored 20 points, Dirk Nowitzki added 16, Devin Harris had 18 and Jose Calderon 12 for Dallas, which never trailed after the opening minutes of the second quarter.

Manu Ginobili had 27 points, Tony Parker added 12 and Tim Duncan 11 for the Spurs.

Dallas didn't relent in Game 2 after blowing a 10-point lead in the final eight minutes of the series opener. San Antonio's ineptness had as much to do with tying the series, however. The Spurs averaged 14.4 turnovers during the regular season, but had 15 with 3 minutes left in the first half. They finished with 22 turnovers, which resulted in 33 points for the Mavericks.

Dallas was extremely physical in the first half whenever Parker and Ginobili drove the lane, much to San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich's dismay when no fouls were called - not that it mattered when they were. San Antonio finished 18 for 29 on free throws.

The Mavericks attacked the basket with the same intensity, finishing with 44 points. San Antonio pulled within 61-56 with 8:38 remaining in the third quarter when Kawhi Leonard made two of three free throws, but it was the closest it would get in the second half.

Nowitzki finished 7 for 19 after missing his first six attempts.

NOTES: Popovich received a standing ovation before the game after being recognized as the NBA Coach of the Year. Spurs owner Peter Holt presented Popovich with the Red Auerbach trophy, which he has won three times. ... After assigning Spurs nemesis Joey Crawford to officiate Game 1, the league had Danny Crawford on hand for Game 2 to the chagrin of the Mavericks' fans. But just as in the opener, both officials reserved most calls and non-calls for the opposition. Crawford's lack of calls led Popovich to scream at Crawford throughout the first half. ... Academy Award-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones sat courtside beside Holt. ... Nowitzki was assessed a technical foul with 1:38 remaining in the first half after Ginobili was fouled by Marion on a 3-point attempt. Marion touched Ginobili's hip as he released the ball, but the Argentian appeared to exaggerate the contact when he fell to the floor. ... After scrambling to capture a loose ball under the basket, Tiago Splitter flung an overhead, two-handed no-look pass to an open Ginobili for a 3-pointer with 4:44 remaining in the third quarter.

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 01:32:00 +0000

NEW YORK (AP) Mike McCarthy promises there won't be any bad memories plaguing his Green Bay Packers when they open the NFL season on Sept. 4 at Super Bowl champion Seattle.

The last time Green Bay visited CenturyLink Field was in Week 3 of the 2012 season, a 14-12 Seahawks victory clinched on what now is often dubbed the "Fail Mary." Russell Wilson's desperation pass on the final play was called a touchdown reception for Golden Tate by the replacement officials.

A few days later, the lockout of the regular officials ended.

"This game won't be about the past," he said. "It will be about the 2014 Green Bay Packers.

It's the third straight season the Packers have traveled to face the defending Super Bowl champions.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for our football team," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We have experience playing in the kickoff opener three years ago, and we will draw on that. Obviously, being the visiting team this time presents new challenges. It will help sharpen our focus even more during training camp and the preseason."

That Thursday game is the first of four prime-time games on opening weekend. Also at night will be a Sunday matchup of AFC champion Denver and Peyton Manning hosting his former team, Indianapolis; and a Monday night doubleheader with the New York Giants at Detroit, followed by San Diego at Arizona.

The NFL will play three games in London: Dolphins-Raiders on Sept. 28; Lions-Falcons on Oct. 26; and Cowboys-Jaguars on Nov. 9. The Detroit-Atlanta game will kick off at 9:30 a.m. ET in an experiment to test the NFL's audience draw on a Sunday morning.

A Saturday doubleheader in Week 16 has San Diego at San Francisco and Philadelphia at Washington.

For the first time, games in Weeks 5 through 10 can be flexed from Sunday afternoon to night, with a limit of two. Beginning with Week 11, a Sunday game can be moved to prime time each week. Also, a select number of Sunday afternoon games are being "cross-flexed," moving between CBS and Fox to potentially draw more viewers.

The Thanksgiving tripleheader features three strong division rivalries: Chicago at Detroit, Philadelphia at Dallas, and Seattle at San Francisco, a rematch of the memorable NFC title game last January.

That game will be played in 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., which opens in Week 2 when they host Chicago in a Sunday night match.

Looking for the latest installment of Manning vs. Tom Brady? The Patriots host it on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 2.

And for those looking for the rematch of the Super Bowl, Seattle's 43-8 rout of Denver, it's on Sept. 21 at Seattle. Denver opens the season against three 2013 playoff teams: Indianapolis and Kansas City at home, then at the Seahawks.

"I think when you look at it, we have to start fast," Broncos general manager John Elway said. "We knew it was going to be a tough schedule playing the NFC West, and when we finish first in our division like we have the past three years, it is always going to be a tough schedule with a lot of good football teams on it."

Bye weeks begin in Week 4 when Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Seattle and St. Louis are off. They end in Week 12 when Carolina and Pittsburgh are idle.

The season ends Dec. 28 with all divisional games.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:38:00 +0000

BOSTON (AP) Michael Pineda was ejected for using a foreign substance less than two weeks after appearing to get away with it in another game against Boston, and the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 5-1 on Wednesday night.

The right-hander was thrown out in the second inning when plate umpire Gerry Davis found a shiny substance on the right side of Pineda's neck after Red Sox manager John Farrell asked him to check. Pineda walked from the mound without protest.

"When it's that obvious, something has got to be said," Farrell explained after the game. "Our awareness was heightened, given what we had seen in the past."

Pineda (2-2) had nothing on the right side of his neck in a photo of him on the mound in his tough first inning, when four of the first six batters reached on hits.

Another photo taken in the second showed a shiny horizontal substance on his upper neck below his right ear. After Pineda struck out the first two batters and had a 1-2 count on Grady Sizemore, Farrell talked to Davis. The umpire went to the mound, looked at the ball then touched the substance on Pineda's neck with his right index finger. Then he gestured with that same finger, indicating Pineda's ejection.

Rule 8.02(b) says a pitcher shall not "have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game. In addition, the pitcher shall be suspended automatically."

"We will talk to the umpires tomorrow and review their report before taking any action," Major League Baseball spokesman Michael Teevan said.

In recent suspensions of pitchers for pine tar, Tampa Bay's Joel Peralta was penalized eight games in 2012, the Los Angeles Angels' Brendan Donnelly 10 days in 2005 and St. Louis' Julian Tavarez 10 days in 2004. The suspensions of Donnelly and Tavarez were cut to eight days after they asked the players' association to appeal, and Peralta dropped his challenge with no reduction.

In Pineda's previous start against the Red Sox, a 4-1 Yankees win in New York on April 10, television cameras caught Pineda with what appeared to be sticky pine tar on his hand on a cool night. Farrell didn't see a photograph of Pineda's hand until the fourth inning; when Pineda came out to warm up for the fifth, his hand was clean.

Pineda said the dark substance was dirt but it sparked debate about pitchers' use of sticky substances to get a better grip on cool nights.

On Wednesday, with the game time temperature at 50 degrees, Sizemore started the first with a triple and scored on Dustin Pedroia's single. With one out, Mike Napoli singled Pedroia to third. After Mike Carp flied to left, A.J. Pierzynski singled up the middle, scoring Pedroia.

After Pineda's ejection, David Phelps came in and completed the strikeout of Sizemore.

John Lackey (3-2) allowed one run and seven hits in eight innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks. Koji Uehara struck out three in the ninth in a non-save situation.

The previous time Lackey faced the Yankees he allowed four homers in a 7-2 loss on April 12. On Wednesday, he struck out the side in the third then had two strikeouts in each of the next two innings.

Mike Napoli had three hits and Boston scored two runs in the first and two more in the third. The Yankees scored on Alfonso Soriano's sacrifice fly in the sixth.

NOTES: Boston Marathon men's champion Meb Keflezighi threw out the ceremonial first pitch wearing a Red Sox jersey with the name "MEB" and the number "26.2" on the back, the mileage distance of the race. ... Ortiz played in his 1,643rd game as a designated hitter, matching Harold Baines' major-league record. ... Boston sent OF Daniel Nava to Triple-A Pawtucket and recalled RHP Alex Wilson. ... In the finale of the three-game series Thursday night, New York's CC Sabathia (2-2) pitches against Felix Doubront (1-2).

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:06:00 +0000

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) The NHL cracked down hard on Matt Cooke, suspending the Minnesota Wild left wing for seven games Wednesday for his knee-to-knee hit that injured Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.

Cooke was at the league office in New York for a hearing about the incident, and his punishment finally was announced more than eight hours later. The Avalanche lead the Wild 2-1 with Game 4 looming Thursday, so Cooke will be out for this first-round series and more. If the term of the ban isn't finished during the playoffs, Cooke must complete it at the beginning of the next regular season.

He played a key part for the Wild in Game 3 in quieting Avalanche stars Nathan MacKinnon, Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog, matching up against that line often. Cooke was all over the ice Monday, colliding with almost every white Colorado jersey he could get close enough to and providing Minnesota plenty of energy in a game it had to win.

But Cooke crossed the line, the league ruled, by sticking out his knee to clip Barrie in open ice early in the second period. Barrie, who ducked to his right in attempt to avoid the collision, tumbled over in immediate pain. He suffered a medial collateral ligament injury to his left knee and will need four to six weeks to recover.

"I think everyone is pretty informed on what he does out there and what he's done in the past, and I think that speaks for itself," Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said Wednesday before the punishment was levied. "There's no place for that in the game. Look at the guy who he hit: one of our top `D.' He's going to be out for the foreseeable future."

Added Johnson: "I don't even know if there's a place for him in this game. It's disgusting what he's done to guys' careers."

This is Cooke's sixth career suspension for various player safety violations, bringing his total of games banned to 34, including playoffs. He has also been fined four times. Four of his suspensions came between 2008 and 2011, his first three years with Pittsburgh, but since vowing to change his style his penalty minutes have dropped sharply. This was his first banishment in more than three years, meaning he wasn't considered a repeat offender according to the collective bargaining agreement.

That didn't mean the NHL couldn't account for that past pattern, however.

In an explanatory video posted on the league website, it cited Cooke's history in determining the punishment in addition to the position of his knee, his intent to make contact, the amount of force he applied and the significance of the injury to Barrie.

Cooke began striding toward Barrie well before they collided and had the play entirely in front of him. Cooke further extended his knee after Barrie released the puck. Though the NHL acknowledged Barrie's attempt to evade contact might have worsened his injury, it said that "should have been entirely predictable to Cooke."

The Wild will replace Cooke on the third line centered by Erik Haula and flanked by Justin Fontaine with Nino Niederreiter, whose place on the fourth line will be taken by Kyle Brodziak, a healthy scratch in Game 3.

"As the year's gone on, we've lost some guys here and there and we've always had guys step up so that's been the strength of our team," Haula said after practice Wednesday in anticipation of Cooke's absence. "I don't have any doubt that it'll happen again."

Said captain Mikko Koivu of Cooke: "He's a big piece of this team. The way he plays, he gives confidence to the whole team. But we're going to support him whatever happens. Now it's a chance for somebody else to come into the lineup and do that job for us . in a different way."

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Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:58:00 +0000

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner were unified on three points Wednesday.

Yes, they scrapped during a practice before Game 1 of their first-round series against Atlanta. No, they didn't throw any punches. And, for now, everything seems to be OK.

Pacers players and coaches all described the physical confrontation between Stephenson and Turner through their own prisms, but nobody - including Stephenson and Turner - called it a fight.

"We got in a little scuffle, but it was just practice related," Stephenson said. "No blows, just hard playing and getting ready for the playoffs. I mean I've got no problem with him."

The descriptions varied about what happened in the lead up to the first game against Atlanta.

While Stephenson called it a "scuffle," Turner and Vogel both said the players got "tangled up." Paul George explained it as two guys "bumping heads." Yahoo! Sports, which first reported the encounter, said fists were involved.

Whatever happened, Turner had two visibly large scratch marks on the side of his neck when he entered Saturday night's game, which the Pacers lost.

But the only thing that seemed to matter to the Pacers on Wednesday was getting back to work. They tied the series with a Game 2 win Tuesday night, then headed to Atlanta following practice.

"Every team goes through that," All-Star center Roy Hibbert said. "Sometimes, you've got to get things off your chest instead of letting things fester."

For the Pacers, it's just the latest distraction in a postseason that has been full of them.

Critics have questioned their toughness, their penchant for turnovers, their lineup choices, even whether they're worthy of being the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed after a second-half swoon. Losing Game 1 only amplified those voices.

Winning Game 2 didn't quiet the chorus, either.

Hours after the reported spat between Stephenson and Turner leaked, ESPN.com cited an unidentified source who said Vogel was "coaching for his job."

Vogel did spend 25 minutes, more than usual, talking to Larry Bird, the Pacers' president of basketball operations, after practice. But Vogel sure didn't sound like a man who was overly concerned.

"It's the NBA, we're all coaching for our jobs," Vogel said, smiling. "All I know is that I've got incredible support from Larry and we're trying to win games."

Nor did he seem worried about the encounter between Stephenson and Turner, who acknowledged there was nothing personal about it.

"I think if a team is struggling and guys don't get scrappy, that's bad," Vogel said.

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:14:00 +0000

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) With one Joe Paterno statue in storage, fans of the late Penn State football coach are commissioning a new one to be placed across from the university.

A State College, Pa., restaurant owner says he's interested in having the new statue put in front of his establishment.

Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers says the school isn't involved in the plan. In 2012, the school removed a Paterno statue outside its football stadium. That happened after a university-commissioned report accused the late coach and three administrators of concealing sex abuse claims against retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Organizers say the new statue will feature Paterno sitting on a bench reading. It's expected to cost about $300,000. They hope it will be done in 2015 by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis.

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:22:00 +0000

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has announced that he and his wife Ashton are divorcing.

Wilson made the announcement in a statement released by the Seahawks on Wednesday. He says decisions like this are not easy and respectfully asks for "prayers and understanding and privacy during this difficult time."

The pair married in January 2012 after he finished his college career at Wisconsin and before he was drafted by the Seahawks. The couple had been visible at Seahawks events for his first two seasons in the league.

Wilson led Seattle to its first Super Bowl title in February, when the Seahawks overwhelmed the Denver Broncos.

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:06:00 +0000

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky forward Julius Randle took a lot of time and talked to a lot of people before deciding to leave after one season for the NBA draft, where he is expected to be among the top five selections.

With five days left before the deadline for underclassmen to declare, the 6-foot-9 Dallas native announced the decision many expected even before he arrived as part of Kentucky's best recruiting class ever. Projected as a lottery pick from the outset, Randle solidified his draft stock by leading Kentucky (29-11) to the NCAA final behind a string of double-doubles despite being double- and triple-teamed.

Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds and was voted to The Associated Press' All-American third team. With Tuesday's announcement, he joins guard James Young, who said last week that he would enter the June 26 draft.

"Kentucky will always have a special place in my heart, but growing up as a kid, there's always been my dream to play in the NBA, and there's no better opportunity for me to achieve that goal than now," Randle said at a news conference attended by his mother, Carolyn Kyles, and teammates Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein, who rode in on a scooter.

Decisions remain for three more freshmen - twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison and center Dakari Johnson - along with sophomore forward Poythress, who didn't talk about his future Tuesday. But Randle's announcement was the most anticipated, even though Kentucky's fan base was resigned to him becoming the latest of the program's "one and done" players.

Randle's steady low-post play led to positive feedback from league executives about his NBA potential. After spending the past couple of weeks talking with his family, Kentucky coach John Calipari - who didn't attend the news conference - teammates and others, Randle made the decision many expected. His next step is hiring an agent.

"It wasn't something that we said we were going to do overnight," Kyles said of the decision-making process. "We prayed about it and talked about it for a while and decided this is the best decision for him. ...

"It was important to know their feedback, if they thought he was ready to go out there and contribute to a team. The positive feedback, there was enough of it coming from coach Cal that we felt this was the right thing to do."

Added Randle's mentor, Jeff Webster, "I just wanted to hear him say it, that this is what he wanted to do."

Considered the best player of Kentucky's much-heralded eight-man recruiting class featuring six high school All-Americans, the 250-pound Randle was initially described by Calipari as the "alpha beast" of this talented group.

The Wildcats overcame a stretch-run slump to reach the NCAA championship game before they lost 60-54 to Connecticut. Randle had 10 points, six rebounds and four assists in the final, but the Huskies' defense kept him from being a threat in the paint.

The left-handed freshman led the Wildcats in rebounding and scoring and posted a nation-leading 24 double-doubles in spite of opponents' work in limiting his options near the basket.

Calipari said in a statement that Randle "was Shaq'd all year - in every way," referring to defenses applied to former NBA great Shaquille O'Neal. "I cannot wait to watch him shine at the next level."

Randle scored nearly half of his 599 points from the foul line, as he often had to muscle his way through double teams. He also provided one of Kentucky's season highlights in late February with a game-winning putback in the final seconds of a 77-76 overtime victory over LSU, one of many hard-fought games for a gifted yet inexperienced Wildcats squad that needed all season to come together.

Through it all Randle remained a steady force with physical play that reinforced speculation that he would be among the top players chosen in June.

"I came here to win a national championship. I came here to mature on and off the court, and I did that," Randle said. "I came (up) one game short of winning a national championship, we did as a team. But everything we went through this year was just an experience I'll never forget. That alone kept me at peace."

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:33:00 +0000

The San Antonio Spurs, the model for stability and sustained success in the modern NBA, were still a shaken team when they showed up for training camp in October, less than four months after a devastating loss to Miami in the NBA Finals.

Some coaches would try to brush off the disappointment of letting a title slip through their fingers and refuse to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

Gregg Popovich took it head on, embraced the heartache, and in a career full of masterful coaching performances, delivered perhaps his finest effort in season No. 18.

"The way we lost in the finals wasn't an ordinary loss, it was pretty devastating," Popovich said on Tuesday after being named NBA coach of the year. "We decided that we needed to just face that right off the bat at the beginning of the season and get it out of the way. Don't blame it on the basketball gods or bad fortune or anything like that, the Miami Heat beat us and won the championship and that's that."

Popovich joined Don Nelson and Pat Riley as the only coaches in league history to take home the Red Auerbach trophy three times in their career.

"They're on the hood of my car," Popovich cracked. "One, two, three, right on the car, the way players do license plates. ... I've got three of those right on the hood."

He's never liked the attention, never bought into the proclamations of his genius. When the accolades come his way, Popovich is quick to deflect them, giving the credit to his players, his assistant coaches, owner Peter Holt and general manager R.C. Buford. The humility in his voice on Tuesday was genuine, the challenge of putting the pieces back together after last season's finish as daunting as ever.

They showed up to training camp still stinging from that defeat, and Popovich had to get to know a new-look coaching staff after losing longtime assistants Brett Brown and Mike Budenholzer to head coaching jobs in Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Then he led the Spurs to a league-best 62-20 record, which gives them home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. And he did it while deftly navigating a season filled with nagging injuries to several key players. Tim Duncan was the only starter to play in at least 70 games. No Spur averaged 30 minutes per game and Tony Parker led the team with a modest 16.7 points per game.

Despite all of that, the Spurs won at least 50 games for the 15th straight season and topped 60 for the fourth time in that span.

"Day after day, year after year, the energy that Pop provides our organization is truly unique," Buford said.

The Spurs lead the Dallas Mavericks 1-0 in their best-of-seven series, with Game 2 on Wednesday night in San Antonio.

"He's a gentleman," Spurs swingman Marco Belinelli said. "Everybody knows that he's the best coach in the league. So to say that is not really important. But maybe some people, they don't know he's really a great guy, a great gentleman. He really helps guys, helps each other. He wants to help everybody. Great person."

When Miami topped San Antonio in that classic seven-game series, Popovich's reaction resonated deeply within some members of the Heat organization.

Instead of showing his disappointment at the final buzzer, Popovich lingered on the court for a few minutes, sharing heartfelt embraces and words with Erik Spoelstra, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, among others - even smiling as he chatted with them and congratulated them on winning the title. And when told of Popovich's award Tuesday, James offered high praise to the Spurs' coach.

"Not surprised," James said. "It's well-awarded. I have the utmost respect for Gregg Popovich, man. Not only what he's been able to do for that team, but him just being able to always keep those guys motivated and always keep their best interests. ... From the outside looking in, it seems that he has their best interests and all he cares about is the team's success and nothing else matters. That's big-time."

Behind all his press conference bluster and the orneriness he directs toward the officials, there is a softer side that endears Popovich to those around him. That much was revealed during Game 1 against the Mavericks when he was interviewed by Craig Sager Jr., who was filling in for his father, a longtime sideline reporter who is being treated for leukemia. Popovich's curt demeanor and one-word answers to the elder Sager's questions have become appointment viewing, but this time the coach stopped in the middle of tense game, stared right into the camera and delivered a heart-felt message.

"We miss you. You've been an important part of all of us for a long time, doing a great job," he said. "We want your fanny back on the court, and I promise I'll be nice."

Popovich garnered 59 first-place votes and 380 total points in voting conducted by a panel of media members. Phoenix's Jeff Hornacek (37 first-place votes) finished second and Chicago's Tom Thibodeau (12) finished third in the voting, with Charlotte's Steve Clifford and Toronto's Dwane Casey rounding out the top five in a season so strong that Spoelstra did not make the top 10.

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AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.

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Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 00:20:00 +0000

NEW YORK (AP) The NFL says 30 top prospects, including Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, will attend the draft next month in New York.

Among other players scheduled to appear at Radio City Music Hall include Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins and Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack.

The prospects are expected to be selected in the first three rounds.

The first round will be Thursday, May 8, with rounds 2-3 the next day.

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:52:42 +0000

Manager David Moyes has been sacked by Manchester United, the club announced via Twitter early Tuesday morning.

"Manchester United announces that David Moyes has left the club," the club wrote. "The club would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role."

Speculation about Moyes' job security had been rampant for months, but the fervor reached a peak Monday as multiple outlets reported his imminent dismissal.

The man hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson to be his replacement at Old Trafford never quite delivered on his predecessor's lofty praise. In addition to a club-record 11 Premier League losses, Manchester United will finish out of the top-3 for the first time in club history. The club also failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

The final straw was a 2-0 defeat to Moyes' old club Everton on Sunday, their first double over United since the 1969-70 season. The loss followed embarrassing defeats to Manchester City, Liverpool, in addition losses at home to Newcastle and West Brom.

Manchester United will need to find someone to steer the ship in time for Saturday's match against Norwich City at Old Trafford (12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN/Live Extra).

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 23:04:00 +0000

NEW YORK (AP) Major League Baseball has suspended four players involved in last Sunday's brawl between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Milwaukee catcher Martin Maldonado was suspended five games while outfielder Carlos Gomez was suspended three games. Pittsburgh outfielder Travis Snider received a two-game penalty, with catcher Russell Martin also missing one game.

Maldonado began his suspension with Tuesday's game against the San Diego Padres. Gomez decided to appeal and was in his usual leadoff position. Manager Ron Roenicke said he thought a decision could take a couple weeks.

"I'm appealing because it's not fair and I'm not the one that started the fight and I'm not the one that started throwing punches first," Gomez said Tuesday in the dugout. "I'll appeal it and wait for the result."

Gomez said he did not throw the first punch during the fracas, and that umpires know "who started everything."

Gomez would be biggest loss among the four players disciplined. The surprising Brewers entered Tuesday with the best record in baseball at 15-5, four games up on the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Gold Glove-winning center fielder is hitting .313 with five homers and 12 RBIs after being moved to the leadoff position this season.

Snider and Martin plan to appeal the suspension and were penciled into the lineup for Tuesday night's game against Cincinnati. Martin said he was surprised at being disciplined.

Martin has a scheduled off day on Thursday in favor of backup Chris Stewart. It's possible he could sit out then to serve the suspension.

Benches cleared after Gomez and Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole exchanged words after Gomez's triple in the third inning. Snider came onto the field and tackled Gomez, getting a minor assist from Martin in the process.

Snider was then punched in the face by Maldonado, receiving a small gash under his left eye.

Roenicke and general manager Doug Melvin were unhappy with the suspensions, and Roenicke said he didn't think it was fair.

"No, I don't. The guy who started it all got nothing, and I don't understand that," Roenicke said. "I know they're tough decisions ... They've got precedent, they've got a lot of things that go into this, but I don't think it's fair."

Maldonado's suspension leaves utilityman Elian Herrera, who was just called up last week, as the backup to starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

Mon, 21 Apr 2014 21:24:00 +0000

NEW YORK (AP) Mike Woodson had the Knicks on top of their division and in the second round of the playoffs, destinations that had become unreachable and practically unimaginable in New York.

A year later, he was out of job.

Phil Jackson fired Woodson and the entire coaching staff on Monday, making his first big move since becoming team president in March and saying in a statement that "the time has come for change throughout the franchise."

The dismissal comes shortly after the Knicks completed a 37-45 season that began with their belief they were a serious contender.

Instead, they started poorly, making Woodson's job security practically a season-long distraction. A late surge wasn't good enough for a postseason spot or another year for Woodson.

It was a stunningly swift fall for Woodson, whose .580 winning percentage with the Knicks ranks behind only Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, and who finished third in the NBA's Coach of the Year voting after going 54-28 last season.

He and the staff were informed of the decision Monday morning by Jackson, the man the Knicks originally wanted to replace Woodson as coach but preferred to run the team's front office.

Jackson has won an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach. He has repeatedly said he's not interested in returning to the bench, so he will have to hire someone before he turns his attention to the roster. The team said the coaching search begins immediately.

Jackson said he has a "tremendous amount of respect" for Woodson and his staff, which included longtime Knicks assistant Herb Williams. Jackson called this an "extremely difficult" season and said "blame should not be put on one individual."

"But the time has come for change throughout the franchise as we start the journey to assess and build this team for next season and beyond," he added.

Jackson has said he won't insist the Knicks run the triangle, the offensive system he used in Chicago and with the Lakers, but has made clear his belief in it. TNT analyst Steve Kerr, who played for Jackson with the Bulls but has never been a coach, has repeatedly been mentioned as a top candidate.

Kerr said Monday during his SiriusXM NBA Radio show that he and Jackson have remained close and that he expected to speak with him at some point about the job.

"It's going to be very interesting and obviously my name is being thrown around. I do anticipate at least being part of the conversation and we'll see where it all goes," Kerr said.

Jackson is scheduled to speak with reporters on Wednesday.

Woodson, a former Knicks first-round draft pick, was hired as an assistant coach before the 2011-12 season, then engineered an 18-6 finish after replacing Mike D'Antoni on an interim basis the following March to capture a playoff spot. Given a multiyear deal two months later, Woodson then led the Knicks to their first Atlantic Division championship since 1994.

New York then beat Boston in the playoffs, its first series victory since 2000, and general manager Steve Mills picked up next season's option year on Woodson's contract before this season began.

But the Knicks were saddled with some early injuries, including center Tyson Chandler's broken leg, and lacked the veteran leadership they enjoyed last season. Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan was already considering replacing Woodson by December, when he met with Jackson at a holiday party and talked to him about coaching the team.

Carmelo Anthony praised his coach Thursday and even offered to back him publicly if necessary. But it was probably a clear sign Woodson wouldn't be back a few minutes later when Amare Stoudemire said the coach hadn't taken part in the exit meetings with players that Jackson and Mills held.

Woodson previously coached six seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, leading them to the playoffs in his final three seasons. He has a career record of 315-365.

Woodson went 109-79 with the Knicks, who hadn't even made the playoffs since 2004 before he led them there in 2012. But he lost one of his biggest supporters within the organization when general manager Glen Grunwald, Woodson's college teammate at Indiana, was surprisingly fired last September.

Players and fans sometimes grumbled during the season about Woodson's strategies as the defense regressed and the offense was inconsistent beyond Anthony, who plans to become a free agent in July. Chandler said there probably was some "disconnect" and "misunderstanding" at times.

"Coach Woodson put together a game plan for us on the basketball court and there were times we didn't totally buy into it," Stoudemire said last week.

Still, the Knicks nearly rallied to make the playoffs by winning 16 of their final 21 games. But Woodson, who said he and Jackson had only brief chats in Jackson's first month in charge, said before the season finale he knew the coach often takes the blame.

"Everyone in this franchise owes a great deal of gratitude to what Mike and his staff have done," Jackson said. "We wish him the best."

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 08:17:00 +0000

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Tyrone Corbin oversaw Utah's transition from Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams to a youth movement, one he won't get to see to fruition.

The Jazz are in the market for a new coach after deciding not to offer Corbin a new contract Monday.

Corbin went 112-146 in three-plus seasons in Salt Lake City. He took over on Feb. 10, 2011, following the resignation of Sloan, for whom he played three seasons and served as a longtime assistant.

Corbin reached the playoffs in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season, but his team was swept by San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs. The Jazz went 43-39 the next season and dumped a number of veterans. This year, they went 25-57, the worst season by the Jazz since 1979-80, when Utah was 24-58 following the franchise's relocation from New Orleans.

Still, it wasn't easy to cut ties with a classy man who steered the franchise through the difficult stretch and who's worked for the organization for more than a dozen years.

"Ty's a man of dignity, class, integrity and we'll do nothing now in this press conference or moving forward that will disparage him or his coaches in any way," Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said. "Today, we're grateful for a period that they saw us through and following coach Sloan in many ways ... is like following John Wooden."

Lindsey said he doesn't have a short list of preferred coaching candidates nor does he have a deadline for hiring Corbin's replacement.

Corbin was the seventh coach in franchise history. He served as an assistant under Sloan from 2004-11. He also played for nine teams during a 16-year NBA career, including three seasons with the Jazz from 1991-94.

Lindsey left open the possibility of Corbin returning to the organization in some capacity.

"I don't want to speak for Ty and understand his range of emotions, from disappointment to anger to everything in between, but (he's) a good man who was a very good player, very good assistant that led us well through a tough three-plus years where there was significant change of personnel," Lindsey said. "So, I wouldn't rule anything out, just because he's that high of character.

"And I'll say this, as well: I think Ty is ... going to be a better coach or is potentially going to be a better head coach for his experience, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him land on his feet to be a head coach and to do very well going forward. If that doesn't happen and he were to want to come back in some fashion, I don't think there's anybody within the organization that would prevent that."

Owner and CEO Greg Miller said in a statement that Corbin "has always represented the Jazz franchise in a first-class manner both on the court and in the community. He did a wonderful job of building relationships with the players and encouraged their growth throughout the season."

After jettisoning veteran salaries last summer, the Jazz started 1-14 amid injury woes, but improved as the season progressed. Rookie point guard Trey Burke started the season on the bench with a broken finger, pressed through a shooting slump and ended with a season-high 32 points in the final game. He averaged 12.8 points and 5.7 assists.

Despite the losses, the team never splintered. Players pointed to Corbin's positivity and the veteran influence of Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson, who resurrected his career, shooting 41 percent from 3-point range and scoring 10.1 points after rarely playing at Golden State last year.

A lottery pick, another first-round choice and sizeable salary cap flexibility will benefit the Jazz and Corbin's successor this offseason. And there's plenty of promise in Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks. The two big men improved in all statistical areas. Burks became a go-to scorer and ended up as the second-leading scorer despite playing as a reserve most of the season.

Mon, 21 Apr 2014 21:06:00 +0000

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) As his 23rd season as an NBA coach entered the home stretch, Rick Adelman looked tired.

Tired of trying to wring a few more wins out of a talented, defensively deficient roster. Tired of getting on an airplane at midnight after a game and landing somewhere across the country at 3 a.m. Tired, most of all, of putting his wife Mary Kay and her lingering health issues second to a job that, when done right, is all-consuming.

So when he finally decided to step away, announcing his retirement from the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, he did so with mixed feelings about the pressure-cooker life he is leaving behind and the one that awaits him.

"It becomes your life, your family's life, an everyday routine," Adelman said of the NBA. "It's a real grind. You get some time off in the summer but it's pretty much on your mind all the time, so there's some sadness but there's also a relief. I'm ready and my wife's ready to move on to another phase. We're looking forward to that."

Adelman and the Timberwolves had a mutual option in place in the four-year contract he signed in 2011. His announcement did not come as a surprise after the Wolves finished a disappointing 40-42, but it nevertheless marked an unceremonious end to a career that includes 1,042 victories, putting him eighth on the NBA's career list. He coached Western Conference powers in Portland and Sacramento and also had stops in Golden State and Houston.

Adelman said the time is right for him to step aside and spend more time with Mary Kay, who has been treated for seizures over the last two years. He also thinks the Wolves need a fresh voice to help them try to persuade star power forward Kevin Love to remain in Minnesota.

"If anything, I felt if I coached another year and then his future comes up and my future is gone, that makes it even harder," Adelman said. "I think it's best for the organization to have somebody else coaching the team, give them a year to see what they can do and hear that voice. I think that's a much more positive situation for the organization. I feel strongly about that."

After missing the playoffs for the third straight season, the 67-year-old Adelman decided it was time to walk away from one of the most quietly influential coaching careers in NBA history. The introverted coach worked below the radar for most of his career, but his impact on the league is unquestioned.

Adelman won at least 50 games in a season 11 times in his career, led the Portland Trail Blazers to two NBA Finals appearances and then developed a post-passing offense in Sacramento that continues to influence the league. He had more modest success with Houston and Minnesota, but walks away with his fingerprints all over the league.

While with the Kings, Adelman worked with assistant and former Princeton coach Pete Carril to fine-tune his famed "corner" offense, a precision system that maximized the talents of big men Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Brad Miller, all of whom were gifted passers from the elbow of the lane.

"A lot of people have run the elbow action, but no one's run it like him," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "He started doing it in Portland and then in Sac, everywhere he's gone he's won for the most part. He's one of the better coaches that we've ever had in the league and a lot of people don't realize that. And I think that's too bad. But he's been good for the game. He's brought a lot to the game."

"I've stolen from him, very honestly," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Adelman's final season in Minnesota was a frustrating one, with Nikola Pekovic missing 28 games, Chase Budinger never fully healthy after offseason knee surgery and a team that beat the Thunder, Heat, Spurs, Grizzlies, Rockets and Pacers but also lost to the Kings, Magic and Jazz.

Now the team heads into a precarious summer, with President Flip Saunders needing to find the right coach and make the right personnel moves to keep Love, who can opt out of his contract after next season.

Michigan State's Tom Izzo, a friend of Saunders for years, ESPN analyst George Karl and former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins are among the candidates likely to be considered to take over a team that has the longest-running playoff drought in the league at 10 years. Saunders himself could also take over, though owner Glen Taylor has said he prefers to keep Saunders in the front office.

Saunders hinted Monday that a coach who has experience running the show is the preference.

"Be demanding, hold players accountable, just like any good coach, everyone has the same formula what you are looking for," Saunders said. "We are more geared toward bringing someone who has a track record, who's had some success."

Adelman said he had "a sour taste" with how this season finished, especially with a lackluster effort in a season-ending home loss to the Jazz. He's not sure what he's going to do with all his free time. Probably play a lot of golf, definitely spend Christmas at home with his family and just maybe - "You never say never" - listen to another coaching offer down the road.

Adelman said a return is very unlikely, and it sounded believable when he was asked what it was going to feel like to wake up on Tuesday morning without the job to worry about. He smiled and his face brightened.

"It's going to be good," he said.

Mon, 21 Apr 2014 21:04:00 +0000

NEW YORK (AP) New York City FC will play homes games at Yankee Stadium during its first season in 2015.

Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost said at a news conference Monday he anticipated the upper deck would be closed off, leaving capacity at 33,444, down from the ballpark's baseball capacity of 49,642.

Trost said it will take three days to convert field from baseball to soccer, although in a rush it could be cut to 2 1/2, and the same amount of time to switch it back. The pitcher's mound will be removed each time with a clawlike structure, stored and replaced.

The soccer field, which runs from the first-base dugout to left field, will be 110 by 70 yards, slightly shorter and narrower than the preferred 115-by-74 yards. NYCFC is working on plans to build a permanent soccer-specific home in New York City and hasn't given a timetable for how long it will play at Yankee Stadium.

Retired Yankees closer Mariano Rivera attended the news conference in his role as NYCFC's first season-ticket holder.

NYCFC, co-owned by Manchester City and the Yankees, joins MLS next year along with Orlando as the league expands to 21 teams. Atlanta joins the league in 2017 and David Beckham has been given a Miami team that starts play at an unspecified date.

Mon, 21 Apr 2014 21:37:00 +0000

CINCINNATI (AP) The Bengals exercised a 2015 contract option for receiver A.J. Green on Monday, letting them turn their focus to an extension for quarterback Andy Dalton.

Green was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft and was entering the final season on his deal. The collective bargaining agreement allows teams to exercise a fifth-year option on players drafted in the top 10. The Bengals will have to pay him the average of the top 10 receivers in the NFL.

Green has 3,833 yards receiving in his first three seasons, trailing only Randy Moss' 4,163 yards in his first three seasons. He set club records with six 100-yard receiving games and five straight 100-yard games last season. He finished with 1,426 yards, trailing only Chad Johnson's club record of 1,440 yards.

Bengals owner Mike Brown said at the NFL's annual meeting last month that he planned to exercise the fifth-year option on Green, which had to be done by the first week in May.

"It's what is in the new CBA," Green said on Monday morning. "There's nothing I can do about it."

By exercising the option, Bengals can wait until after next season to talk to Green about a long-term deal.

"That's one thing I don't ever worry about, that business side," Green said. "I feel like my body of work speaks for itself. So whenever the time is right, it happens."

Dalton was taken in the second round in 2011, so he's not subject to an option year. His deal expires after this season. Dalton said on Monday that the Bengals have talked to him about an extension, but nothing appears to be imminent.

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 01:12:00 +0000

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders have traded away the final player drafted by late owner Al Davis.

Oakland dealt quarterback Terrelle Pryor to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday for a seventh-round pick in next month's draft.

The Raiders fulfilled Pryor's wish to be traded a day before the start of their offseason program. Pryor had asked to be dealt after the season when he lost his starting job to undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, and the Raiders made the move after acquiring Matt Schaub from Houston to be the starter.

Pryor said on Twitter: "Thank you Mr Davis and Raidernation for the unbelievable support!! I will miss the Fans and all of the teammates I have met over the years with the Raiders organization!!"

The Raiders took Pryor in the third round of the supplemental draft in 2011, less than two months before Davis died. Pryor was suspended for the first five games by Commissioner Roger Goodell, who ruled he must miss the time he would have served under a suspension had he stayed at Ohio State.

Pryor got on the field only once as a rookie, committing a false start before his first play. He then played sparingly late in his second season before beating out general manager Reggie McKenzie's hand-picked starter, Matt Flynn, in training camp last summer.

Pryor showed flashes of what he could do early in the season, completing 68.1 percent of his passes for 845 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions and a 97.6 passer rating in his first four starts. He also brought the running element to Oakland's offense and set an NFL record for quarterbacks with a 93-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage against Pittsburgh on Oct. 27.

That was the final real highlight of his first year as a starter. He lost his job to McGloin a few weeks later after struggling through a knee injury in a loss to the New York Giants. Pryor had completed 50.1 percent of his passes for 714 yards with one touchdown, eight interceptions and a 44.2 passer rating in his four starts before losing his job.

He played only sparingly after that until starting the season finale against Denver. Pryor finished the season having completed 156 of 272 passes for 1,798 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions, with a passer rating of 69.1. He also rushed for 576 yards on 83 carries, but was sacked 31 times.

Pryor will compete with Tarvaris Jackson and B.J. Daniels for the backup job to Russell Wilson on the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.

"Terrelle is an incredibly explosive athlete and we're excited for him to come in and compete," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said in a statement.

The Raiders had already decided to go in a different direction at quarterback when they traded a sixth-round pick to Houston for Schaub. Coach Dennis Allen had already chosen Schaub as his starter and McGloin is in place as the backup. Oakland could still draft a quarterback next month.

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 02:14:00 +0000

NEW YORK (AP) The NBA has fined Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri $25,000 for using profanity in a public place.

Ujiri was speaking at a public rally Saturday before the Raptors hosted the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 of their first round playoff series when he used an expletive. He later apologized.

The NBA announced the penalty Monday night, a day before the Raptors host the Nets in Game 2.

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