Johnson scores 27 to help Hawks beat Heat, advance
Joe Johnson was tired of all the double- and triple-teaming. So he put up a shot before Miami could get an extra defender on him.
From about 30 feet away. Swish.
Johnson made six 3-pointers and scored 27 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks into the second round of the playoffs with a 91-78 victory over Dwyane Wade and the visiting Heat in Game 7 on Sunday.
Atlanta got past the first round for the first time since 1999, and next faces top-seeded Cleveland.
Johnson, the Hawks’ top scorer during the regular season, missed his first five shots of the decisive contest. Then, suddenly, he found his range. He finished 6 of 8 from beyond the arc, leading the Hawks to the final blowout in a series that was devoid of drama. Every game was decided by at least 10 points.
The Hawks pulled out to a 49-36 lead by halftime. They might as well have started the celebration right then. There were only 15 lead changes in seven games – not one of them after the opening period.
The Hawks turned the contest into a laugher in the final quarter. Flip Murray hit a 3-pointer to give Atlanta its biggest lead, 85-66.
•Nuggets take Game 1: Nene scored 18 of his career playoff high 24 points in the first half and the Nuggets raced past the Dallas Mavericks 109-95 in Denver in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and J.R. Smith added 15 points, leading a bench that outscored Dallas’ celebrated reserves 38-24 before both teams emptied their benches in the meaningless final minutes.
Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 28 points and 10 rebounds.
Ducks trip Wings in 3OT
Todd Marchant scored 1:15 into a third overtime, lifting the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-3 series-evening win over the Red Wings in Detroit.
Jonas Hiller made a career-high 59 saves and Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Pronger and Ryan Carter scored for the Ducks in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal.
Chris Osgood stopped 42 shots, Brad Stuart, Mikael Samuelsson and Johan Franzen scored for the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings, who lost for the first time this postseason.
•Hurricanes get even: Cam Ward’s second playoff shutout in four games and a rare misplay by Zdeno Chara gave the Carolina Hurricanes a split of their first two games against the Boston Bruins.
Ward turned aside 36 shots, and Chara’s bad pass led to Matt Cullen’s short-handed goal as the Hurricanes won 3-0 in Boston and headed home for Games 3 and 4 Wednesday and Friday nights.
•U.S. in quarterfinals: Russia routed Latvia 6-1 in Bern, Switzerland, sealing a spot for the United States in the world hockey quarterfinals.
With Russia already assured of No. 1 seeding in the quarterfinals, its latest victory resolved some issues among a logjam of four teams fighting for three places.
Sweden, Latvia and the United States all have seven points, with the Swedes earning a spot with a 4-1 victory over Switzerland.
Latvia cannot edge the U.S. by virtue of the Americans’ 4-2 win in a first-round match April 25.
Switzerland must beat the United States in regulation time today to earn the three points it needs to send the Latvians home.
Nadal wins record fourth Rome Masters
Rafael Nadal is looking unstoppable on clay for a fifth consecutive year.
The top-ranked Spaniard won his record fourth Rome Masters, beating defending champion Novak Djokovic 7-6 (2), 6-2 for his third clay-court title in three weeks, adding to his victories at the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open.
Having only dropped one set over the three-week stretch, it’s tough to imagine someone taking three sets from Nadal at the French Open, which begins in three weeks.
The Spaniard will be aiming for a record fifth consecutive title at Roland Garros, which would break a tie with Bjorn Borg, who won six French Opens overall.
•Kuznetsova pulls Porsche upset: Svetlana Kuznetsova upset top-ranked Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-3 to win the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, and capture her first WTA title since September 2007. It was Safina’s first tournament since becoming No. 1 two weeks ago.
Leipheimer, Armstrong finish 1-2 at Gila
Levi Leipheimer won the Tour of the Gila in Pinos Altos, N.M., after finishing first in two of the early stages and coming in third behind Lance Armstrong in the last stage. Armstrong moved up in the overall classification from fourth to second after Sunday’s stage.
The Astana riders moved to the front of the peloton as it closed a gap of more than three minutes that had been built by a breakaway of 11 riders in the first 40 miles of the stage.
•Warner ahead of schedule: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner says he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery to repair a hip injury.
Warner took part in Arizona’s minicamp over the weekend, but on a limited basis. He underwent arthroscopic surgery March 17 to repair a torn labrum and remove some loose fragments in his left hip.
•Worsham wins Funny Car: Del Worsham raced to his first win of the season in Funny Car at the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories.
•Branagh, Youngs win in San Diego: Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs won their third tournament this season, beating Lisa Rutledge and Brooke Hanson 21-18, 21-15 in the final of the AVP Crocs Tour San Diego.
Seventh-seeded John Mayer and Jeff Nygaard beat second-seeded Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal 21-18, 21-17 for the men’s title.