NBA: Andre Miller scored 24 points, including two free throws with 12.8 seconds left, and the visiting Denver Nuggets survived Kobe Bryant’s late scoring barrage in a 43-point performance, avoiding playoff elimination with a 102-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
JaVale McGee had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Nuggets, who trimmed the Lakers’ series lead to 3-2, but only after a hair-raising finish.
Denver had a 15-point lead midway through the fourth quarter against the lifeless Lakers, but Bryant engineered a stunning comeback before his final three shots missed. Bryant scored 12 points in the final 4:47, hitting four 3-pointers that trimmed the Nuggets’ lead to 98-96 with 59 seconds left.
After Bryant missed two late tying attempts, Los Angeles had two more chances to tie near the buzzer, but Bryant and Ramon Sessions missed 3-pointers.
Game 6 is Thursday night in Denver.
• Indiana takes series: Danny Granger scored 25 points to help the host Indiana Pacers defeat the Orlando Magic 105-87 and clinch their first-round Eastern Conference series 4-1.
Darren Collison scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and George Hill added 15 points for the Pacers, who trailed by two at the end of the third quarter but outscored the Magic 36-16 in the final 12 minutes.
• Hawks stay alive: Al Horford scored 19 points in his first start since January, and the host Atlanta Hawks held on for an 87-86 victory over the Boston Celtics in a thrilling Game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Celtics lead the series 3-2 heading back to Boston for Game 6 on Thursday. If the Hawks can steal one on the road, the deciding game would be Saturday in Atlanta.
Boston had a chance to clinch the series when Rajon Rondo stole Josh Smith’s inbounds pass with 10 seconds remaining and raced down the court, looking for the winner. But he got hemmed in along the sideline and Smith knocked away a desperation pass, the ball rolling away as time ran out.
• Bulls trim lead to 3-2: Luol Deng scored 24 points, Carlos Boozer added 19 points and 13 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls beat the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 77-69 to avoid a first-round playoff exit.
• Nash named Canada GM: Steve Nash has been selected general manager of Canada’s national basketball program.
The star of the Phoenix Suns will guide the men’s team, which will try to qualify for the London Olympics. The men’s and women’s team haven’t played in the Olympics since the 2000 Sydney Games.
They’ll play in the final qualifying tournament next month in Turkey. Nash led Canada to a seventh-place finish
• Lin will not play: Interim coach Mike Woodson says Jeremy Lin will not play in the Knicks’ first-round series against Miami, even if they avoid elimination tonight.
Devils dump Flyers, into East finals
NHL : Bryce Salvador, David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk scored goals to lift visiting New Jersey to a 3-1 Game 5 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night, sending the Devils into the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2003.
Martin Brodeur was strong in goal and has the Devils back in position to win their fourth Stanley Cup. The Devils await the winner of the New York Rangers-Washington Capitals series. The Devils rebounded this season under coach Peter DeBoer after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996 last season.
The sixth-seeded Devils scored twice in the first period and became the first East team to win four straight games in these playoffs.
Football players filled UNC suspect classes
COLLEGES: Football players at North Carolina made up more than a third of enrollments in suspect classes within a department the school investigated for academic fraud.
The school said football players represented 246 of 686 enrollments (36 percent) in the 54 courses within the Department of African and Afro-American Studies between summer 2007 and summer 2011. Those classes lacked appropriate supervision and were called “aberrant” or were “taught irregularly” with limited contact between instructors and students, according to a university report released Friday.
Men’s basketball players represented 23 enrollments, roughly 3 percent, during that span.
The school’s investigation found fraud and poor oversight, including unauthorized grade changes and reports of grade rolls with what appear to be forged faculty signatures. The report found no evidence of favorable treatment for student-athletes or grades awarded without written work.
The News and Observer of Raleigh first reported the athlete enrollment figures Monday.
The probe was a result of an NCAA investigation into the football program. In one of the suspect classes, a former football player wrote a research paper that later led to accusations of plagiarism.
The report directed blame toward the former department chairman and a now-retired administrator.
Boxer’s lawyer defends failed test
Miscellany: Lamont Peterson’s lawyer is telling Nevada boxing regulators the champion fighter’s failed doping test stemmed from an “inadvertent” failure to disclose medical treatment last November for low testosterone levels.
In a letter obtained by the Associated Press, Peterson attorney Jeff Fried tells the Nevada Athletic Commission a doctor determined the treatment wouldn’t help the 28-year-old boxer’s athletic performance.
Peterson defeated Amir Khan in December to become the WBA and IBF junior welterweight champion.
Commission executive Keith Kizer said that Peterson’s scheduled May 19 rematch with Khan in Las Vegas is in doubt after a urine test in March found unacceptably high levels of synthetic testosterone in Peterson’s system.
• Cycling standouts injured: Giro d’Italia overall leader Taylor Phinney and world champion Mark Cavendish were nursing injuries after crashing Monday.
The BMC team said medical exams on Phinney’s injured right ankle revealed no broken bones. The wound required three stitches.
The Sky team said Cavendish “suffered considerable road rash but his injuries haven’t worsened overnight and he wasn’t complaining of any serious discomfort during the transfer to Italy. He is expected to ride on.
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