May 14, 2011 in Sports

Memphis forces Game 7 by defeating Oklahoma City

 
Associated Press photo

Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph, top right, looks for a teammate as he is defended by Thunder’s Serge Ibaka (9) and Thabo Sefolosha (2).
(Full-size photo)

NBA: Zach Randolph had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies avoided elimination by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-83 Friday night in Memphis, Tenn., to push their Western Conference semifinal to Game 7.

The Grizzlies had never won a game before when facing elimination, but that was back in 2004, 2005 and 2006, when they were swept out of the postseason each of those years.

These Grizzlies are having not only the best playoff run in franchise history, but they now have won more games this postseason than any other No. 8 seed from the West.

Game 7 will be Sunday in Oklahoma City, with the winner advancing to play the well-rested Dallas Mavericks.

O.J. Mayo, who started in place of Sam Young, scored 16 points for Memphis.

Toms early leader at Players Championship

Golf: David Toms has gone five years without winning, and 10 years since his lone major at the PGA Championship. Now he has to fend off a host of players who have won big events a lot more recently.

Toms went 25 holes before making a bogey and countered with enough good shots for a 4-under-par 68, giving him a one-shot lead over Nick Watney going into the weekend at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Luke Donald shot a 67 to finish two shots back at 8-under 136. Graeme McDowell (69), Lucas Glover (71) and Steve Stricker (67) also finished at 8 under.

Alex Prugh (Ferris, UW) shot a 72 for a two-day total of 3-over 147, missing the cut by three strokes.

Kootenay downs Portland for WHL title

Hockey: Back in January, the Kootenay Ice gave up five players and three draft picks to pry star forward Cody Eakin away from the struggling Swift Current Broncos.

The cost was heavy, but the gamble paid off as the Ice beat the host Portland Winterhawks 4-1 to take the Western Hockey League final in five games with Eakin getting nine points in this series and 27 overall in the playoffs.

With the win, Kootenay qualified for the Memorial Cup, which gets underway Friday in Mississauga, Ontario.

Matt Fraser scored his league-leading 16th and 17th goals of the postseason to lead the way for Kootenay, which trailed 1-0 early in the first period.

Steele Boomer scored in the first period, and Jesse Ismond added at empty-netter with 41 seconds left in the third.

The Ice finished fourth in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, but lost just three playoff games on the way to their first league title since 2002.

• Sweden, Finland reach worlds finals: Sweden and Finland advanced to the finals of the ice hockey world championships in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The Swedes got two goals from St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund in a 5-2 victory over the defending champion Czech Republic, then Finland blanked Russia 3-0 to set up a Scandinavian showdown for the trophy on Sunday.

Also in Bratislava on Sunday, Czech Republic and Russia will play for the bronze in a replay of last year’s final.

Nadal makes Rome semifinals; still No. 1

Tennis: Rafael Nadal will keep the No. 1 ranking for at least another week following an efficient 6-1, 6-3 win over Croatia’s Marin Cilic in the Italian Open quarterfinals in Rome.

Nadal was at risk of losing the top spot to Novak Djokovic if he failed to reach the semifinals.

His semifinal opponent will be either seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych or 16th-seeded Richard Gasquet, who eliminated Roger Federer on Thursday.

In the other half of the draw, second-seeded Djokovic breezed to a 6-3, 6-0 victory over No. 5 seed Robin Soderling.

Djokovic has now won 36 straight matches to open the season.

He will face Andy Murray in the other semifinal. Murray overcame a slow start to beat Florian Mayer of Germany 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Belgian De Clercq wins seventh stage of Giro

Cycling: Bart De Clercq hung on to win the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia and Pieter Weening retained the overall lead.

De Clercq attacked on the long final climb to Montevergine di Mercogliano with about six miles remaining and finished in 2 hours, 54 minutes, 47 seconds. Italian Michele Scarponi led the pursuing group, but fell just short in the 68-mile stage.

Roman Kreuziger of the Czech Republic was third in the same time.

Spain’s Alberto Contador finished ninth in the pack and remains ninth in the standings, 30 seconds behind Weening.

Today’s eighth stage is 134.5-miles from Sapri to Tropea.

Kyle Busch wins Trucks race at Dover

NASCAR: Kyle Busch has won the Trucks Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Busch took the checkered flag for the third time this season in the Trucks series, winning under caution and racing all 200 miles without incident against rival Kevin Harvick.

The Sprint Cup regulars sparked a pit road dustup last week at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and both were placed on probation.

Cole Whitt had strong runs against the veteran drivers and finished second.

Matt Crafton was third, Austin Dillon fourth and Harvick fifth.


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