April 23, 2011 in Sports

Hawks slip past Magic for 2-1 series lead

 
Associated Press photo

Hawks center Al Horford (15) and Magic point guard Jameer Nelson scramble for a loose ball in the second quarter.
(Full-size photo)

NBA: Jamal Crawford banked in a 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left to cap a brilliant second half, leading the Atlanta Hawks to an 88-84 victory over the visiting Orlando Magic on Friday night and a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.

The Hawks led most of the game, but things got close and testy in the final minutes.

Zaza Pachulia of Atlanta and Jason Richardson of Orlando were both ejected with 2:22 remaining after a confrontation under the basket.

The teams swapped the lead four times after that near-brawl until Al Horford put the Hawks ahead for good with 46.6 seconds remaining.

But Crawford, who scored 18 of his 23 points after halftime, hit the biggest shot of all. With the shot clock winding down, he put up a jumper over Jameer Nelson that struck high on the backboard and went in.

Lakers take series lead with win over Hornets: Kobe Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol snapped out of his playoff funk with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and gave the Los Angeles Lakers a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series with a 100-86 victory over the host New Orleans Hornets.

Andrew Bynum added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Lamar Odom had 13 points for the two-time defending champs, who took the lead for good when Ron Artest made a layup as he was fouled to make it 13-10.

Chris Paul had 22 points and eight assist for the Hornets.

Pierce, Allen lead Celtics to 3-0 lead over Knicks: Paul Pierce scored 38 points, Ray Allen added 32 and Rajon Rondo had a Celtics’ playoff-record 20 assists as Boston beat the host New York Knicks 113-96 to take a 3-0 in their first-round playoff series.

Rondo also had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who pulled out two close games in Boston but never trailed in this one.

Carmelo Anthony had 15 points and 11 rebounds but shot 4 of 16 for the Knicks, who haven’t won a playoff game in a decade. Amare Stoudemire was just 2 of 8 for seven points while battling back spasms.

• Maloofs still deciding Kings’ future: Sacramento Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said his family is still deciding whether to move the franchise to Anaheim or stay in California’s capital city.

Maloof said no decision has been made and he’s “as anxious as anybody” to find out if Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson can deliver on his promises for more sponsorship support and finally finance a plan for a new arena.

The Kings have until May 2 to request permission to relocate, and a majority vote by owners are needed to approve the move.

Predators top Ducks in OT to take 3-2 lead

NHL: At Anaheim, Calif., Jerred Smithson scored 1:57 into overtime, and the Nashville Predators moved to the brink of winning their first playoff series with a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5, taking a 3-2 series lead.

Captain Shea Weber tied it on a long slap shot with 35.3 seconds left for the Predators, who had never even won three games in a series before their dramatic comeback stunned the Ducks.

Both teams scored two goals apiece in a thrilling third period, with Anaheim blowing two leads. Bobby Ryan scored a spectacular goal early in the third in his return from a two-game suspension, but Joel Ward tied it with 8:40 left in regulation.

Ennis leads Sabres past Flyers in OT: Tyler Ennis scored off a rebound 5:31 into overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 4-3 victory over the host Philadelphia Flyers and a 3-2 lead in the first-round series.

Mike Webber fired a slapper that knocked off Michael Leighton’s pad. Ennis swooped in from the right side and scored his second goal of the game.

Thomas Vanek and Marc-Andre Gragnani also scored in the first period for the Sabres.

James van Riemsdyk, Andrej Meszaros and Danny Briere scored for the Flyers.

Vezina Trophy finalists named: Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks, Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins are the finalists for the NHL’s Vezina Trophy for best goaltender.

The winner will be announced June 22 at the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

League fines Ference for obscene gesture: The NHL fined Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference $2,500 for making an obscene gesture to the crowd in Montreal.

Ference said he made the gesture while trying to pump his glove to celebrate a goal. He apologized Thursday night about the way it looked.

Donald takes 1-shot lead at Hilton Head

Miscellany: Luke Donald shot a 6-under-par 65 to grab a one-stroke lead over first-round leader Garrett Willis halfway through The Heritage golf tournament at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Donald finished the second round at 10-under 132.

Masters runner-up Jason Day, defending champion Jim Furyk, Camilo Villegas and Chad Campbell were another stroke behind at 8 under.

Two pairs tied for lead at Champions Tour’s ‘Legends’: Tom Kite and Gil Morgan shot a 10-under 62 in better-ball play for a share of the first-round lead with Ted Schulz and Gary Hallberg in the Champions Tour’s Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in Savannah, Ga.

The teams of Scott Hoch and Kenny Perry, Hal Sutton and Larry Mize, David Frost and Michael Allen, and Sandy Lyle and Peter Senior opened with 63s.

• Kyle Busch wins Trucks race in Nashville: Sprint Cup star Kyle Busch raced to his second NASCAR Trucks Series victory of the season, passing Ron Hornaday Jr. on a late restart and easily holding off Nelson Piquet Jr. at Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn.

Busch led 140 of 150 laps on the 1.333-mile concrete oval. Timothy Peters was third, followed by Hornaday and James Buescher.


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