The Lakers’ 24-year playoff dominance of the Denver Nuggets dissipated over the final 29 seconds of the fourth quarter.
That’s when Kenyon Martin hit a layup in traffic and Chauncey Billups made 3 of 4 free throws to give Denver a 106-103 victory in Game 2 on Thursday night in Los Angeles to even the Western Conference finals.
Los Angeles owned an 11-0 record over the Nuggets dating to 1985, the second-longest postseason winning streak against one team in NBA history.
•Cassell retires, joins Wizards’ staff: Sam Cassell, who won three NBA titles in a 15-season career, announced his retirement as a player and immediately joined the coaching staff of the Washington Wizards.
•Hamilton sues former manager: Detroit Pistons basketball star Richard Hamilton has filed a federal lawsuit accusing his former business manager, already at the center of recruiting allegations at the University of Connecticut, of stealing about $1 million from him.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District court in eastern Pennsylvania against 34-year-old Josh Nochimson of Glenview, Ill. It accuses Nochimson of using Hamilton’s credit card to buy airline flights, game tickets and other items.
•Illini reward Weber: Illinois coach Bruce Weber is getting a big raise after his team’s surprising turnaround last season.
University trustees voted to raise Weber’s pay by 50 percent and extend his contract by three years, through April 2015.
•Greek finals open with riot: Panathinaikos beat archrival Olympiakos 69-67 in the opening game of the Greek League finals in Athens, Greece, with riot police called to control fans inside and outside the arena.
Former Atlanta Hawks swingman Josh Childress had 23 points for Olympiakos, the home team.
“The violence we saw today, will make me think real hard over my future in Europe,” said Childress, who signed a 3-year deal worth $20 million with Olympiakos in July.
Malkin leads Penguins
Evgeni Malkin put Pittsburgh ahead for good by scoring twice in the third period of his first three-goal playoff performance and the Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 7-4 in Pittsburgh to open a two-game lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
Sidney Crosby scored a record-tying sixth goal to start a playoff game, yet was upstaged by NHL regular-season scoring leader Malkin during an exceptional performance that also gave Malkin the playoff scoring lead 25-24 over Crosby.
•Spitfires eliminate Rimouski: The Windsor Spitfires rallied behind three Dale Mitchell goals in the third period to top host Rimouski 6-4 in Rimouski, Quebec.
With the loss the Oceanic were eliminated from the 2009 Memorial Cup. Drummondville will play Windsor in today’s semifinal.
Rushing shots and unable to find her range from the baseline, Maria Sharapova was beaten in straight sets by 39th-ranked Alona Bondarenko in the quarterfinals of the Warsaw Open in Poland.
Sharapova was playing in her first singles tournament since being sidelined nearly 10 months after shoulder surgery.
Nitties shares Nelson lead
PGA Tour rookie James Nitties finished with four consecutive birdies for a 5-under-par 65 in Irving, Texas, to share the first-round lead at the HP Byron Nelson Championship with Ken Duke, another surprise at the top of the leaderboard.
Duke snapped a streak of 11 consecutive rounds in the 70s to share the first-round lead for only the second time in his 118 career starts.
•Hoch, Purtzer share Senior lead: Scott Hoch bogeyed the final two holes for a 4-under 66 and share of the first-round lead with Tom Purtzer in the 70th Senior PGA Championship at Beachwood, Ohio, the first major of the year for the over-50 set.
•Park matches career low: Hee Young Park matched her career low with an 8-under 64 for a share of the lead with Karine Icher of France, who also tied her best round as a pro in the opening round of the LPGA Corning Classic in Corning, N.Y.
Tracy Hanson of Rathdrum shot a 1-under 71 while Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., was another shot back.
•Song, USC atop leaderboard: Southern California freshman Jennifer Song shot a 1-under 71 to take a two-stroke lead in the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship in Owings Mills, Md., and help the Trojans top the team standings.
NAACP condemns ACC
The NAACP condemned the Atlantic Coast Conference for bringing its baseball tournament back to South Carolina, in defiance of the civil rights group’s nearly decade-long boycott of the state for flying the Confederate flag.
“Dignity, decency and most importantly respect continue to be absent from the action plan of the ACC,” the NAACP said it the resolution, passed by its national board last weekend.
The resolution is in response to ACC leaders voting last week to award its postseason tournament to Myrtle Beach for three years, starting in 2011.
•Menchov takes Giro lead: Denis Menchov took the overall lead from Danilo Di Luca at the Giro d’Italia by winning the race’s key individual time trial in Riomaggiore, Italy.
A Russian rider with the Rabobank team, Menchov clocked 1 hour, 34 minutes, 29 seconds over the highly technical 60.6-kilometer (37.6-mile) route along the coastal area known as Cinque Terre.
•B.C. Lions sign Lulay: B.C. Lions football coach Wally Buono has announced the signing of former Montana State quarterback Travis Lulay. Lulay holds Montana State’s career passing record with 10,746 yards.
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