In brief – Miami sweeps Charlotte
NBA: LeBron James scored 31 points, and the Miami Heat completed a first-round sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats with a 109-98 victory Monday night in Charlotte, N.C.
James scored 19 points after injuring his thigh in the third quarter. He finished the game 10 of 19 from the field and had nine assists.
Chris Bosh added 17 points and Dwyane Wade battled through foul trouble and finished with 15 as Miami won its 20th straight game over Charlotte.
The two-time defending NBA champions await the winner of the Brooklyn-Toronto series, which is tied 2-2.
The Bobcats played without Al Jefferson, their leading scorer and rebounder, who has been bothered by a foot injury since Game 1.The loss signaled the end of an era for the Bobcats. They will become the Hornets next season.
• Pacers’ rally falls short: Mike Scott made five 3-pointers during a 30-6 second-quarter run, and the Atlanta Hawks fended off a furious fourth-quarter rally to beat top-seeded Indiana 107-97 in Indianapolis and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Scott scored all 17 of his points during an incredible 12-minute stretch when Atlanta went 13 of 16 from the field and outscored Indiana 41-19 to take a 61-40 halftime lead.
The Hawks and the 1970 Milwaukee Bucks are the only road teams in the shot-clock era to score at least 40 points and allow fewer than 20 in any quarter of a playoff game.
Shelvin Mack led the eighth- seeded Hawks with 20 points.
• San Antonio evens series: Manu Ginobili scored 23 points, Boris Diaw hit a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute and the visiting San Antonio Spurs held off a second-half surge by Dallas to beat the Mavericks 93-89, pulling even in their first-round playoff series.
The Spurs regained the home-court advantage by getting a split of two games in Dallas, matching what the eighth-seeded Mavericks did in San Antonio.
The Spurs led by 20 points in the third quarter before the Mavericks pulled even midway through the fourth quarter of Game 4. The score was still tied when Diaw hit from long range over Dirk Nowitzki at the top of the key for a 90-87 lead.
Monta Ellis led Dallas with 20 points but missed two potential tying shots after Diaw’s basket.
Penguins beat Blue Jackets to advance
NHL: Evgeni Malkin had a hat trick and the Pittsburgh Penguins almost blew a four-goal lead before beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in Columbus, Ohio, to clinch their first-round playoff series in six games.
The Blue Jackets, closer to making tee times than thinking about a Game 7, scored three times in a 4:52 span in the third period to turn up the pressure on the Penguins.
Pittsburgh awaits the winner of the New York-Philadelphia series, with the Rangers leading 3-2 going into tonight’s Game 6.
Brandon Sutter also scored and Matt Niskanen had two assists as the Penguins became the first team in the series to score first and win – but barely.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves.
• Minnesota forces Game 7 with Colorado: Zach Parise scored early and late on tipped shots, and the Minnesota Wild tacked on two empty-net goals for a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in St. Paul, Minn., that will send the first-round playoff series to a decisive Game 7.
Parise and Mikko Koivu each had two assists. The teams will meet again in Denver on Wednesday night, with the winner taking on the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference semifinals.
• Kings tie series with Sharks: Justin Williams forced the tiebreaking goal underneath Alex Stalock with 8:04 to play, and the host Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 4-1, rallying all the way back from an 0-3 series deficit to force a decisive Game 7.
Williams and Anze Kopitar each had two goals and an assist, and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves as the Kings became the ninth team in NHL history to force a seventh game after losing the first three. Just three teams in NHL history have rallied from an 0-3 deficit to win a series.
Stalock stopped 26 shots in his first NHL playoff start, and James Sheppard scored for the spiraling Sharks.
• Norris Trophy finalists selected: Boston’s Zdeno Chara, Chicago’s Duncan Keith and Nashville’s Shea Weber are finalists for the Norris Trophy, given annually to the NHL’s best defenseman.
Chara won the award in 2009 and is a finalist for the sixth time. The Bruins’ captain had 17 goals and a plus-25 rating this season.
Keith finished first among defensemen in assists with 55 and second in points with 61. He won the Norris in 2010, the only other time he was a finalist.
Weber had 33 assists and led all blue-liners with 23 goals. The captain of the Predators was a finalist in 2011 and 2012 but has never won the award.
• Carolina promotes Francis to GM: Jim Rutherford is stepping down as general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes and the team has promoted Hall of Fame player Ron Francis to replace him.
The Hurricanes also hired Mike Vellucci as assistant GM and director of hockey operations and promoted Brian Tatum to assistant general manager.
• Flames hire Treliving as GM: Brad Treliving helped Don Maloney guide the Phoenix Coyotes through a difficult four-year span without an owner.
The Calgary Flames are hoping he can get them past a playoff-less streak that stretched to five years this season.
Calgary hired Treliving as its next general manager, finally filling the spot left by the firing of Jay Feaster in early December.
Treliving will work under president of hockey operations Brian Burke. The Flames finished 35-40-7 and were 13th in the Western Conference with 77 points to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
San Jose St. LB in critical condition
College football: The family of San Jose State football player Jared Leaf said the linebacker is in critical condition after suffering burns to his body while escaping from a fire in his apartment about a block from campus in San Jose, Calif.,late last Wednesday.
Leaf, who had been listed as a starting linebacker for the Spartans at the conclusion of spring practice, is being treated at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Burn Center.
Leaf’s family said, “Jared has a long road ahead of him, but we are confident he will recover” with the continued support from all.