In brief: Ginobili return helps Spurs tie up Grizzlies
NBA: Manu Ginobili scored 17 points in the All-Star’s return after missing Game 1 with an elbow sprain, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Memphis Grizzlies 93-87 on Wednesday night in San Antonio to even the first-round series at a game apiece.
Ginobili wore a thick sleeve to protect his right elbow but played as physically reckless as usual. He stayed questionable until just before tipoff, yet even with Ginobili, the top-seeded Spurs didn’t have it easy.
Sam Young led Memphis with 17 points.
Young’s 3-pointer with 14.9 seconds left made it 89-87 before George Hill sealed the win at the free-throw line.
Game 3 is Saturday in Memphis.
• Lakers return to form: Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Lamar Odom scored 16 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers survived poor games from their two biggest stars to even their first-round playoff series with an 87-78 victory over the New Orleans Hornets in Game 2 in Los Angeles.
The Lakers overcame the struggles of All-Stars Kobe Bryant, who managed just 11 points, and Pau Gasol, who had eight.
Game 3 is Friday night in New Orleans.
• Thunder hold court: Kevin Durant scored 23 points, Russell Westbrook added 21 and the Oklahoma City Thunder built a huge first-half lead on their way to a 106-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 in Oklahoma City.
The first-round playoff series shifts to Denver on Saturday night with Oklahoma City leading 2-0.
The Thunder got contributions from everyone to build a 26-point lead early in the second quarter.
Ty Lawson scored 20 points to lead Denver.
• Love most improved: Two people with knowledge of the announcement tell the AP that Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love will be named the NBA’s Most Improved player at a news conference today.
The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the award.
Love averaged 20.2 points and led the NBA with 15.2 rebounds per game this season.
Capitals stun Rangers, take control of series
NHL: Jason Chimera scored 12:36 into the second overtime, and the Washington Capitals completed a stunning three-goal comeback to beat the New York Rangers 4-3 in New York and push the Rangers to the brink of elimination.
New York scored three times in the second period to take a 3-0 lead and seemed poised to head back to Washington all even in the series for Game 5 on Saturday. But now the top-seeded Capitals, who are ahead 3-1, can advance to the second round with a win at home – the place in which they grabbed a 2-0 series lead.
Alexander Semin started Washington’s rally, and Marcus Johansson scored twice in the third to make it 3-3.
The Rangers built their big lead on a goal by Artem Anisimov and back-to-back tallies just 7 seconds apart by Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky.
• Penguins win in double overtime: James Neal scored 3:38 into the second overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa, Fla., in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday night.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots – 12 of them in the extra periods – to help the Penguins take a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference matchup. Game 5 is Saturday in Pittsburgh.
• Miller, Sabres knot series: Ryan Miller made 32 saves for his second shutout of the playoffs and the Buffalo Sabres beat the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 in Buffalo, N.Y., to even the first-round playoff series 2-2.
Jason Pominville’s goal scored 9:38 in stood up as the winner as the Sabres bounced back from two straight losses.
The series shifts to Philadelphia for Game 5 on Friday night.
• Ducks double up Predators: Corey Perry’s short-handed goal at 1:17 of the third period put Anaheim ahead to stay and the Ducks beat the Nashville Predators 6-3 in Nashville, Tenn., to tie the first-round series 2-2.
Game 5 is Friday night in Anaheim, with Ducks forward Bobby Ryan set to return from a two-game suspension.
• Red Wings sweep Coyotes: Danny Cleary scored from a tough angle with just over 6 minutes left, and the Detroit Red Wings swept the Phoenix Coyotes out of the playoffs and possibly out of the desert with a 6-3 victory in Glendale, Ariz.
League, players done talking for now
NFL: After four long and intense mediation sessions in Minneapolis between the NFL and its locked-out players, the judge decided to give both parties an extended break.
By the time they reconvene in mid-May, the landscape of their discussions could be completely different.
Executive vice president Jeff Pash, the NFL’s lead negotiator, said that U.S. Judge Magistrate Arthur Boylan told both sides they likely won’t convene again until May 16 because he has a few other matters to attend to.
In the interim, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson is expected to decide well before then on the players’ request to immediately lift the now 40-day-old lockout.
Also coming: U.S. District Judge David Doty has scheduled a hearing for May 12 on the players’ request for damages after he ruled in March that the NFL did not maximize revenues for both sides when it renegotiated $4 billion in TV contracts with the labor dispute looming.
Madrid beats Barca in extra time to win cup
Miscellany: Cristiano Ronaldo headed home the winner in extra time as Real Madrid ended an 18-year Copa del Rey trophy drought with a 1-0 victory over its biggest soccer rival, Barcelona, in Valencia, Spain.
Ronaldo guided Angel Di Maria’s 103rd-minute pass back across goal and past the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto into the top corner as Madrid won silverware for the first time since a 2007 Spanish league title.
• Auburn tree poisoner says he was attacked: The Alabama fan accused of poisoning landmark trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner told police he was assaulted at a gas station in Opelika, Ala., shortly after leaving the courthouse.
Harvey Updyke Jr., 62, told an officer he was punched in the head when he stepped out of his car, but didn’t see who did it.
Updyke is charged with first-degree criminal mischief in the poisoning of the trees, where Auburn fans celebrate victories by heaving toilet paper into the branches of the 130-year-old oaks.