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West, Pacers advance to Eastern Finals

Fri., May 16, 2014

NBA: David West scored 29 points, and the visiting Indiana Pacers beat the Washington Wizards 93-80 Thursday night to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight year.

Lance Stephenson added 17 points and eight assists for the Pacers, who won the series 4-2 over the Wizards. They will host Game 1 against the two-time defending NBA-champion Miami Heat on Sunday. Indiana took the Heat to seven games in the conference finals a year ago.

The Wizards took a one-point lead with 8 1/2 minutes to play, but they scored only two field goals the rest of the way as the Pacers closed with a 20-6 run.

Marcin Gortat scored 19 points for the Wizards, who ended their best playoff run in decades.

• Thunder eliminate Clippers: Kevin Durant had 39 points and 16 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 104-98 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6.

Russell Westbrook overcame a slow start to finish with 19 points and 12 assists as the Thunder reached the conference finals for the third time in four years, closing out Los Angeles with two straight wins.

Two days after the Thunder erased a late 13-point deficit to win Game 5, the Thunder rallied from an early 16-point deficit and maintained their lead throughout the fourth quarter.

Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists, and Blake Griffin scored 22 points as the Clippers’ exhausting postseason ended in disappointment.

• Sale of Bucks approved: The NBA’s board of governors has unanimously approved the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to New York investment firm executives Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry.

Former U.S. senator Herb Kohl reached agreement with them last month for about $550 million after they pledged to keep the team in Milwaukee. The NBA says in a statement that the transaction is expected to close shortly.

Commissioner Adam Silver says the Bucks and their fans “will benefit greatly from their vast business experience, energy and strong commitment to Milwaukee.”

• Portland’s Stotts signs extension : Fresh off their surprising run in the playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers have signed head coach Terry Stotts to a multi-year contract extension.

Stotts led the Blazers to a 54-28 regular-season record, for the team’s biggest improvement in team history. Portland made the playoffs for the first time since 2011, dispatching the Houston Rockets in six games, before falling to the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the Western Conference semifinals.

Stotts has an 87-77 record in two seasons with the Blazers, after service as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks for four seasons.

Parker day to day with strain: The San Antonio Spurs say point guard Tony Parker has a Grade 1 strain of his left hamstring and is listed as day to day.

Parker had an MRI exam, one day after leaving Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Portland with the injury. A Grade 1 strain is considered the least severe of the three grades, so the Spurs appear to have avoided what would have been a devastating injury to their best player.

Parker had a Grade 2 strain in the NBA Finals last season, but was able to play through it.

Four players share Champions Tour lead

GOLF: Jay Haas, Mark Calcavecchia, Olin Browne and Chien Soon Lu share the first-round lead at 3-under-par 69 in the Regions Tradition in Birmingham, Alabama, the first of the Champions Tour’s five majors.

With windy, unseasonably cool conditions at Shoal Creek, it was the highest score to lead after the first round at the Tradition since three players were tied at 3-under in 1990 at Desert Mountain in Arizona. The course absorbed more than an inch of rain overnight and the players were allowed to lift, clean and place the golf balls.

• Munoz, Ernst each shoot 65: Azahara Munoz and Austin Ernst had strong finishes to share the first-round lead in the Kingsmill Championship at 7-under 65.

The former NCAA individual champions completed their morning rounds on the front nine at Kingsmill’s River Course in Williamsburg, Virginia, with Munoz birdieing four of her last seven holes, and Ernst closing with birdies on No. 7 and 9.

Hanson ahead at Byron Nelson: Peter Hanson made his only back-nine birdie with a 6-foot putt at the 18th hole, closing out a 5-under 65 for a one-stroke lead over David Duval and two others after the first round of the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas.

Marc Leishman and Tim Wilkinson matched Duval at 66. Ferris grad Alex Prugh is tied for fifth after a 67.

Leader Matthews claims 6th Giro stage

CYCLING: Overall leader Michael Matthews claimed his first individual victory on the sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia in Montecassino, Italy, but the race was marred by a crash which left Giampoalo Caruso seriously injured.

The incident occurred on the wet road approaching the final climb, and involved several cyclists, but Caruso was the most seriously affected. The Katusha rider was taken to hospital in an ambulance with unknown injuries.

The crash affected the rest of the race. Matthews won from a four-man breakaway, coming up the inside of Cadel Evans’ wheel to take victory on the longest stage of the Giro, a 257-kilometer (160-mile) route which ended in a climb up to Montecassino.

Phinney wins 5th stage: American Taylor Phinney raced to a 12-second victory in 100-degree heat in the fifth stage of the Tour of California, and Britain’s Bradley Wiggins retained the overall lead.

Phinney escaped from the front group with 19 miles left and completed the 107.4-mile stage from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara in 3 hours, 59 minutes, 33 seconds for his seventh career pro win. Wiggins in the field to keep a 28-second margin over Australia’s Rohan Dennis.


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