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Nuggets bounce back against Lakers

Nuggets guard Ty Lawson pulls in the ball as forward Kenneth Faried looks on in host Denver’s win against the Lakers. (Associated Press)
Nuggets guard Ty Lawson pulls in the ball as forward Kenneth Faried looks on in host Denver’s win against the Lakers. (Associated Press)

NBA: Ty Lawson scored 25 points and the host Denver Nuggets raced to an early 24-point lead on their way to a 99-84 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night in Game 3 of their first-round series.

JaVale McGee had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Nuggets, who will try to even the best-of-7 series at two games each on Sunday night at the Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets grabbed a 55-39 halftime lead by stifling Andrew Bynum down low and forcing Kobe Bryant to work harder for his baskets.

Although both Bynum and Bryant got it going after halftime and the Lakers cut their deficit to four points in the third quarter, the hole was too big to climb out of.

Bryant finished with 22 points on 7-of-23 shooting and Bynum had 18 points and 12 rebounds.

• Rondo returns with triple-double: Rajon Rondo had a triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the host Celtics to a 90-84 overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks and give Boston a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series. Game 4 is Sunday night.

It was the seventh career playoff triple-double for Rondo, who missed Game 2 because he was suspended for bumping a referee in the closing minutes of the series opener.

Ray Allen returned after missing almost a month and scored 13 points in 38 minutes. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Paul Pierce scored 21 points one game after leading Boston with 36 points and 14 rebounds.

76ers rally past Bulls: Spencer Hawes scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds and hit the go-ahead jumper late in the fourth quarter to help the host Philadelphia 76ers rally to beat the Chicago Bulls 79-74 and take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series. Game 4 is Sunday in Philadelphia.

Hawes hit 10 clutch points in the fourth to give the eighth-seeded Sixers the series lead over the Derrick Rose-less top-seeded Bulls.

• T-Wolves owner looks for successor: Glen Taylor tells the Associated Press that he is looking for a minority partner who could eventually succeed him as the majority owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Taylor, 71, bought the Timberwolves in 1994, saving the team from moving to New Orleans.

Coyotes go up 3-1 over Predators

Hockey: Shane Doan scored in the first period, Mike Smith made 25 saves and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators 1-0 at Nashville, Tenn., to grab a 3-1 lead in their NHL Western Conference semifinal series.

By winning their first game in the month of May, the Coyotes can advance to the conference finals with a win in Game 5 on Monday night in Arizona.

The Predators played with forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn scratched for a second straight game, this time the decision by coach Barry Trotz to stick with the lineup that won 2-0 on Wednesday night.

Radulov leads Nashville with a team-high six points in the postseason, and Kostitsyn is tied for the team lead with three goals. Fans cheered the announcement that the two were scratched after they were suspended for Game 3 for an apparent curfew violation last weekend in Arizona.

• U.S. wins at world hockey: New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo scored twice to help the United States beat France 7-2 in the first game of the world hockey championships in Helsinki. The United States will face Canada today. Canada beat Slovkia 3-2.

Seau’s brain to be donated for research

NFL: Junior Seau’s brain will be donated by his family for research into football-related head injuries.

San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell said he didn’t know where the brain will be sent.

“The purpose is not initially to discover anything about their son and what led to these tragic circumstances, but rather the betterment of other people and athletes down the road through anything that can be learned through the study,” Mitchell said.

Seau, a star at Southern California before playing for his hometown Chargers for 13 seasons, was found dead Wednesday at his Oceanside, Calif., home. An autopsy concluded he shot himself in the chest.

Union files grievance in bounty case: The NFL players union has challenged Commissioner Roger Goodell’s authority to suspend players who participated in the New Orleans Saints’ pay-for-pain scandal and wants him removed from hearing appeals. The union filed a grievance late Thursday, one day after Goodell suspended four players who participated in bounties from 2009-11.

Civil settlement in Senser case: The family of a Thai restaurant chef in Minneapolis who died after he was struck by a sport utility vehicle in August settled its wrongful death lawsuit with former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser and his wife, Amy, attorneys said. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The announcement comes a day after Amy Senser, 45, was convicted of two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide for the Aug. 23 accident that killed Anousone Phanthavong, 38.

Watney takes lead as Woods heads home

Golf: Nick Watney answered what he referred to as a wake-up call at the Wells Fargo Championship by taking the lead. Tiger Woods might need one after missing the cut.

Watney had gone nine straight rounds on the PGA Tour without breaking 70 and had failed to crack the top 10 in all nine of his stroke-play tournaments this year. He worked hard to change that, and it paid off with an 8-under 64 that gave him a one-shot lead over Webb Simpson going into the weekend at Charlotte, N.C. His “wake-up call” came when he missed the cut in New Orleans last week.

Woods wound up with a 73 for an even-par 144 to miss the cut by one shot.

It was only the eighth time in 267 events on the PGA Tour that Woods missed the cut, and the first time it happened at the same place twice – Quail Hollow, where in four trips before the downfall in his personal life Woods had won once and never finished worse than 11th.

Lehman leads Champions event: Tom Lehman had an eagle and five birdies on the first eight holes on the back nine, then bogeyed the par-4 18th for a 7-under 65 and a one-shot lead after the first round of the Champions Tour’s Insperity Championship in The Woodlands, Texas.

Former Pullman resident Kirk Triplett opened with a 73.