In brief: Nuggets down Lakers, climb to 2nd in West
NBA: Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points and had a game-saving block at the buzzer, helping the Denver Nuggets hold on for a 98-96 home win over a Los Angeles Lakers team playing without Kobe Bryant.
With time winding down, Anthony stuffed Derek Fisher’s shot as Denver won its fourth straight.
The slumping Lakers gave Bryant the night off to rest a swollen right knee and an aching right index finger. Los Angeles has dropped four of its last five games but remains in control for the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Lakers need just one win in their last four – or a Denver loss – to wrap it up.
J.R. Smith came off the bench to score 26 points, including five 3-pointers.
•Bulls squeeze past Cavs: Derrick Rose scored 24 points, Kirk Hinrich had 23 and the Chicago Bulls survived some shaky free-throw shooting down the stretch to beat the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 109-108 with LeBron James on the sideline.
Luol Deng had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Joakim Noah added 17 points and 15 boards, and the Bulls moved into a tie with eighth-place Toronto in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls prevailed even though Rose and Deng both missed two free throws in the final 15 seconds and Cleveland’s Mo Williams scored a season-high 35 points.
Purcell lifts Lightning past Senators
NHL: Teddy Purcell scored in the third round of a shootout to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Tampa, Fla.
Purcell and Martin St. Louis scored first-period goals, and Steven Stamkos added his 48th goal of the season early in the second on a power play to make it 3-0.
Spokane Chiefs defenseman Jared Cowen played 6 minutes, 46 seconds in his NHL debut with Ottawa. Cowen was assessed a hooking penalty.
•Crosby nets another milestone: Sidney Crosby took the NHL lead with his 49th goal and became the third-youngest player in NHL history to reach the 500-point mark, leading the host Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-3 rout of the New York Islanders in the final regular-season game in Mellon Arena.
The only players younger than Crosby (22 years, 244 days) to hit the 500-point mark faster were Wayne Gretzky (21 years, 52 days) and former Penguins star Mario Lemieux (22 years, 172 days).
•Carolina gets 2011 All-Star game: The NHL awarded the 2011 All-Star game to the Carolina Hurricanes, coming through on a pledge commissioner Gary Bettman once made to the franchise.
Next year’s game originally was to be played in Phoenix, but when the Coyotes filed for bankruptcy, the league re-opened its options. Bettman estimated that 14 teams applied either to host All-Star games from 2011-13 or upcoming NHL drafts.
Oklahoma’s Warren to enter NBA draft
College men: Oklahoma guard Willie Warren plans to enter the NBA draft and give up his final two seasons of eligibility with the Sooners.
Warren led the Sooners in scoring at 16.3 points per game and averaged 3.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists. He missed 10 games, including eight because of an ankle injury. He underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on the ankle March 3 and said his ankle is “doing great.”
•Battle also enters draft: Penn State junior guard Talor Battle is entering the NBA draft.
Battle won’t hire an agent, meaning he has until May 8 to decide to withdraw his name from consideration and return for his senior season.
UND’s Fighting Sioux nickname retired
Miscellany: A state Supreme Court ruling and a Board of Higher Education decision have retired for good the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname after a four-year legal battle.
The court ruled that the board had the authority to dump the Fighting Sioux nickname at any time.
The court rejected an appeal that sought to delay action.
A motion at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting to reconsider its vote in May to retire the nickname died after nobody seconded it.
Canseco testimony moved to May 5
MLB: Jose Canseco’s testimony before a grand jury investigating Roger Clemens has been postponed until May 5.
Canseco was originally scheduled to testify Thursday. His lawyer, Dennis Holahan, says neither he nor Canseco know why the date was changed.
Canseco announced last month on Twitter that he had been subpoenaed in the case.
MLS increases roster size from 24 to 26
Soccer: Major League Soccer increased the size of rosters from 24 to 26 per team to boost the signing of local “homegrown” players.
The league will allow teams to sign homegrown players from their youth programs to Generation Adidas contracts without those players passing through the MLS draft.
Before the 2007 season, MLS began requiring each franchise to start at least two youth teams.
Ten players since 2007 have been graduated to MLS rosters.