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Thunder put Mavericks in 3-0 series hole

Mavericks’ Brendan Haywood, left, and Shawn Marion defend Thunder’s Kevin Durant, who scored 31 points in Game 3 win. (Associated Press)
Mavericks’ Brendan Haywood, left, and Shawn Marion defend Thunder’s Kevin Durant, who scored 31 points in Game 3 win. (Associated Press)

NBA: Kevin Durant finally found his postseason shooting touch to get Oklahoma City off to a quick start, and the visiting Thunder never trailed on the way to a 95-79 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night for a commanding 3-0 series lead over the defending NBA champions.

After two close games on their home court, the Thunder ran away with Game 3.

They will run away with the first-round Western Conference series with one more win. Game 4 is Saturday in Dallas.

Durant finished with 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting. The three-time NBA scoring champion was a combined 15 of 44 in the first two games of the series. Russell Westbrook added 20 points for the Thunder.

Dirk Nowitzki had 17 points to lead Dallas.

• Heat seize 3-0 lead: LeBron James scored 32 points, including eight straight to start the fourth quarter and break open the game, and the Miami Heat took a 3-0 series lead, sending the host New York Knicks to an NBA postseason- record 13th straight loss, 87-70.

James had 17 points in the final period for the Heat, who held the short-handed Knicks to eight field goals in the second half and will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon.

Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points but shot just 7 of 23 for the Knicks.

Devils take 2-1 lead with overtime win

NHL: Alexei Ponikarovsky scored on his rebound with 2:39 left in overtime and the New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 at Newark, N.J., to take a 2-1 lead in this Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Patrik Elias, Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise also scored for the Devils, who killed off two penalties in overtime before Ponikarovsky came through with his first goal of the postseason on a backhander that sneaked past Ilya Bryzgalov.

Kings win, put Blues on brink of elimination: Drew Doughty had a goal and two assists, Jonathan Quick made 18 saves and the host Los Angeles Kings moved to the brink of an unlikely second-round sweep with a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3.

The Kings improved to 7-1 in the postseason with their third straight dominant win over second-seeded St. Louis.

Los Angeles could clinch its first trip to the Western Conference finals since 1993 in Game 4 on Sunday.

Torres appeals suspension: Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres is appealing the length of his 25-game suspension.

Torres was penalized last month for a hit to the head on Chicago forward Marian Hossa.

Clemens jury sees physical evidence

Baseball: Exhibit 52C was the semi-crushed Miller Lite beer can. Exhibit 52D was the FedEx box that once contained the beer can. Then came exhibits of gauze, tissues, syringes, cotton balls and needles, some of which were once inside the beer can, using up letters of the alphabet all the way to X.

For the first time, the jury in the Roger Clemens trial saw in person the physical evidence the government says will link the 11-time All-Star baseball pitcher to anabolic steroids, evidence that Clemens’ lawyer has called a “mixed-up hodgepodge of garbage.”

The items were presented on Day 10 of the retrial on charges that Clemens committed perjury when he told Congress in 2008 that he had never taken steroids or human growth hormone. The first trial last July ended in a mistrial.

Kentucky, Indiana rivalry reaches end

College basketball: Indiana versus Kentucky, one of college basketball’s best rivalries, is over.

Barring a change of heart between now and this summer, Indiana officials said that they will not renew the contract to play Kentucky because of a disagreement over where to hold the games. The schools have met during the regular season every year since 1969, with all but one of those games played in December.

After months of behind-the-scenes bickering over whether to play the games on campus, as Indiana prefers, or at neutral sites, as Kentucky prefers, Hoosiers athletic director Fred Glass ended the debate for now.

“In the final analysis, we want our student-athletes, our overall student body and our season-ticket holders to enjoy this series at Assembly Hall,” Glass said.

Leaf’s arraignment on 4 counts delayed

Football: Ryan Leaf’s arraignment on charges that the former NFL quarterback broke into two homes in Montana and stole prescription drugs has been postponed.

Leaf, the former NFL quarterback who played at Washington State, has been jailed in the Cascade (Mont.) County Detention Center since his second arrest in three days on April 2.

He was scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning to enter a plea on two counts of burglary and two counts of criminal possession of a dangerous drug.

But the Cascade County District Court’s clerk’s office says the appearance has been delayed. A new date has not been set.

Attorney claims payment for hits: A former U.S. attorney hired by the NFL to evaluate its investigation of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program said the evidence shows players received payments for hits on targeted opponents.

Mary Jo White said in a conference call that evidence in the league’s investigation of the three-year pay-for-pain system provided “an unusually strong record” and came from people with “firsthand knowledge and corroborated by documentation.”

Utah State, SJSU exit confirmed: A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed that Utah State and San Jose State are jumping from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference in 2013 for football.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move won’t be formally announced until today.

Regents approve UTSA move: University of Texas System regents have approved letting UT-San Antonio move to Conference USA in 2013

UTSA will incur no exit fees for leaving the WAC and pay a $2 million initiation fee to C-USA.

Simpson shares lead at Wells Fargo

Golf: Webb Simpson said he was nervous playing with Tiger Woods. It sure didn’t show.

Simpson chipped in for eagle and holed a 60-foot birdie putt that might have rolled off the 12th green if the cup didn’t get in the way. It led to a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Stewart Cink and Ryan Moore in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Charlotte, N.C.

Woods one-putted three of the last four holes for a 71.