LeBron James scored 27 points, ending the first and second quarters with last-second baskets, and Mo Williams added 15 points as the untested Cavs overpowered the Atlanta Hawks 105-85 on Thursday night in Cleveland to open a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Maurice Evans scored 16 points and Mike Bibby had 11 for the Hawks, who were missing center Al Horford and forward Marvin Williams because of injuries. If that wasn’t bad enough, leading scorer Joe Johnson rolled his right ankle in the third quarter and did not return.
X-rays were negative and the Hawks said Johnson is doubtful for Game 3 on Saturday in Atlanta.
•Nowitzki dealing with issues: Mavericks All-Star Dirk Nowitzki offered no explanation about the arrest of a woman at his Dallas home, saying only that he is having personal troubles now.
When asked about his relationship with 37-year-old Cristal Taylor, who was arrested on a probation violation and theft of services warrants Wednesday, Nowitzki declined comment.
Blackhawks even series
Andrew Ladd tipped in teammate Dave Bolland’s long shot less than 3 minutes into overtime to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 comeback victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Chicago, tying the Western Conference semifinal at 2.
Game 5 is Saturday night in Vancouver.
Martin Havlat tied it at 1 with 2:44 left in regulation after it looked as if Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo was going to shut out the Blackhawks.
•Red Wings, Ducks tied at 2-2: Johan Franzen and Marian Hossa each scored twice to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-3 in Anaheim, Calif., tying the Western Conference semifinal series at 2.
After Franzen, who also assisted on Hossa’s first goal, scored two first-period goals, Hossa broke a 2-2 tie with goals in a 3:05 span of the second period.
•Hitmen stay alive: Joel Broda scored twice and had an assist as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Kelowna Rockets 6-1 in Game 5 of the Western Hockey League final in Calgary, Alberta, to stave off elimination for the second straight night. Kelowna leads 3-2.
•Canada, Sweden set for semifinals: Canada and Sweden will meet in the semifinals for a fourth straight year at the ice hockey world championship after both won tight matches in Bern, Switzerland.
Canada got past Latvia for a 4-2 win. Sweden put away the Czech Republic 3-1.
The teams meet today after the United States plays defending champion and tournament favorite Russia.
•NHL claims control of Coyotes: The National Hockey League said it has been in control of the Phoenix Coyotes since November and is asking a federal judge to throw out the team’s bankruptcy filing.
Crane leads at Sawgrass
Ben Crane should have known what was coming when he rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the first hole of the day. He kept right on pouring them in until he had a 7-under 65 and a one-shot lead in The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Crane made four birdie putts longer than 20 feet, kept his ball on land throughout another wild opening round on the TPC Sawgrass and wound up atop a leaderboard devoid of the biggest stars.
Tiger Woods shot a 71.
•Ochoa off to quick start: Lorena Ochoa picked up where she left off in winning two weeks ago in her native Mexico with eight birdies against one bogey in Williamsburg, Va. Her 7-under 64 gave her a one-shot lead over Lindsey Wright after the first round of the Michelob Ultra Open.
Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., shot a 1-over 72 to tie for 26th.
Favre picks retirement
The Minnesota Vikings’ dalliance with the supposedly retired quarterback didn’t reach the stage of face-to-face, close-the-deal talks – and maybe they never will.
Yahoo! Sports reported that Favre called Childress and told the coach he wants to stay retired. Favre’s longtime agent, Bus Cook, reiterated for the second straight day that his famously fickle client hadn’t changed his plan to stay out of the game.
Toledo details revealed
The seven former football and basketball players charged in an alleged point-shaving scheme at Toledo include a running back who led the team in rushing one season and a backup who rarely carried the ball.
Four were basketball starters – one a hometown star who finished his career as Toledo’s third-leading scorer and another who grew up poor in Puerto Rico and became the Mid-American Conference’s freshman of the year.
The connection between all of them, federal investigators say, was a suburban Detroit businessman and gambler who made dozens of phone calls to the players, handed out cash and gifts and made large bets on Toledo games.
Investigators say the point-shaving scheme at Toledo began in the fall of 2004 and continued until 2006.
Ghazi Manni, 52, of Sterling Heights, Mich., met with different players nine times, including near the school’s football stadium, at a bank and a casino in downtown Detroit, according to a federal indictment filed Wednesday.
He and Mitchell Karam, 76, of Troy, Mich., were charged with conspiracy to influence sporting contests by bribery.
The pair bet about $407,000 on 17 Toledo basketball games between November 2005 and December 2006, according to the indictment. It did not say whether the players changed the outcome in any of those games.
The indictment does not include many details about the players’ alleged involvement. It does not list any football games that were part of the alleged point shaving.
•Scholarships returned to MSU: The NCAA has restored 5.5 football scholarships to the Montana State football team because of the academic progress the program has made, especially over the past two years.
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