National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Heat take command of East finals, 102-90

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James had 32 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Bosh added 25 points and the Miami Heat moved one win away from a return trip to the NBA Finals with a 102-90 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

Dwyane Wade scored 15 points for the Heat, who have won three of the first four games in the Eastern Conference finals. They can win the East for a fourth straight season with a win at Indiana on Wednesday night.

Miami led wire-to-wire, opening up as much as a 23-point lead in the final quarter.

Paul George scored 23 points and David West added 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers, who got 15 points from George Hill. But Lance Stephenson was held to nine and Roy Hibbert was scoreless in 22 minutes for Indiana.

The Pacers won two elimination games in the first round against Atlanta, and need to win three more if their yearlong plan of topping Miami as kings of the East is going to become reality.

The odds are obviously stacked against them. When holding a 3-1 lead, Miami is 8-0 in Game 5s over the past four postseasons.

Much as he did Sunday, Indiana coach Frank Vogel used the big brother-little brother analogy with his team, trying any way to urge the Pacers to break through against the team that has ended their season in each of the past two years.

"He's got to make a decision at some point in his life, that no matter what, we're not going to lose this fight anymore," Vogel said, likening the Pacers to the little brother in that scenario. "We're at that point."

The fight isn't over.

But it was awfully one-sided for long stretches of Game 4.

Miami outscored Indiana 31-20 in the third quarter and increased the lead to 23 in the fourth before the Pacers used a 15-3 run to make things rather interesting. Stephenson had a layup with 3:20 left that would have gotten Indiana within nine - but it was waved off after he was called for fouling Wade on his way to the basket.

Stephenson scored with 1:31 left to make it 99-90, but James snuffed out any comeback hopes right there. His three-point play nine seconds later pushed the lead back to 12, and the Heat were moments away from a 3-1 lead.

Miami was without Chris Andersen, inactive because of a bruised left thigh. The Heat also tweaked their starting lineup, with Rashard Lewis in and Udonis Haslem out.

Bosh scored the game's first eight points, making a pair of 3-pointers and ending a series-long funk. He had scored exactly nine points in each of the first three games of these East finals and was held under 10 points in each of his last seven playoff games against Indiana.

But he came out flying, and probably not coincidentally, the Heat finally had a good start.

They won the first quarter for the first time in the series, going up 27-19 and helped in part by a late 3-pointer from Shane Battier - with replays showing Vogel moved down the sideline toward the Heat forward as he shot from near the Indiana bench.

Nothing was to Indiana's liking. Hibbert and Stephenson combined for zero points and six fouls in the half. The Heat didn't have a turnover until the second quarter. Miami shot 10 more free throws in the half. Bosh and James combined for 32 points.

And despite it all, the Pacers were down only 49-44 at halftime.

After getting hand-checked eight times by Hill on a play late in the half, James went down the lane for a reverse dunk while getting fouled to put Miami up by 10.

But the Pacers answered, a 3-pointer by George just before the break getting them within five and sealing a half that could have been much worse.

If there was any doubt, Miami erased it quickly after halftime. James scored five points in a 7-0 spurt to open the second half, and the Heat were on their way.

NOTES: It was the 74th playoff game where James had at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists, passing Michael Jordan for the most in NBA history. ... George passed Reggie Miller for the highest scoring single-season (including playoffs) by a player in Pacers history. Miller had 2,078 in 1989-90; George entered Game 4 with 2,077 points. ... Wednesday will be Indiana's 100th game of the season. Only two other Pacers teams have logged that many; they played 105 in 1999-2000 and 100 last season.

Dodgers C Ellis hurt celebrating no-hitter, on DL

LOS ANGELES (AP) Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis went on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle Monday, a day after getting hurt while celebrating Josh Beckett's no-hitter.

Ellis rushed to join his teammates in the celebration on Sunday in Philadelphia. Around home plate, he stepped on the discarded mask of backup Drew Butera, who caught the majors' first no-hitter of the season.

"I wanted to be a part of it. It's a great day, a great experience to be a part of. I quickly lost my thrill for what happened," Ellis said. "Rolled it pretty good. I'm beyond frustrated, still kind of shocked."

Ellis was scheduled to see the team physician later Monday. He had his ankle treated throughout the flight home, alternating ice and compression.

"Getting off the plane I was feeling really good, but this morning, as they predicted, it was hard moving around once I got up," he said.

It is the second DL stint for Ellis. He was out April 8-May 13 after left knee surgery.

The team recalled catcher Tim Federowicz from Triple-A Albuquerque, where he was hitting .298 in 17 games. He played 13 games for the Dodgers in April.

Manager Don Mattingly said Ellis' injury is poor timing, but that he feels comfortable with either Butera or Federowicz. Butera started Monday night at home against the Cincinnati Reds.

Also out for the Dodgers was shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who missed his fourth straight game because of a lower calf injury.

Rangers a win away from Stanley Cup finals

MONTREAL (AP) When other parts of their game are sputtering, the New York Rangers have two key assets to fall back on - penalty killing and goaltending.

It's a combo that has put them within one victory of their first Stanley Cup final in 20 years. And it has frustrated the Montreal Canadiens, who must win Game 5 Tuesday at the Bell Centre to stave off elimination.

Against the Rangers, the Canadiens are 1 for 17 with the man advantage.

Montreal's lone power-play goal came Sunday night in a 3-2 overtime loss at Madison Square Garden. That P.K. Subban blast from the point, however, was tempered by a short-handed goal by Carl Hagelin that opened the scoring.

The Canadiens' power play went 1 for 8 on a night when the Rangers spent 14 1/2 minutes or almost 22 percent of the game a man short.

"Give credit to our killers and our goaltender," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "They did a real good job."

That is nothing new. Before Subban's goal, the Rangers had killed off 27 straight penalties. New York is 37 for 39 (95 percent) on the penalty kill in its past 12 games

"We had the opportunity on the power play but we didn't take advantage of it," Montreal coach Michel Therrien. "Yes, we scored a goal. It was a tying goal, but we gave up one, and that was the story of the game. I thought our power play had to be better."

The Rangers' go-to forward pairing on the penalty kill is Hagelin and Brian Boyle. Hagelin uses his speed while Boyle's resume reads "big body, blocks shots, good on faceoffs," according to Vigneault.

Boyle can also pass a bit, finding Hagelin on a pass deep from the New York end. Hagelin broke in alone, faked a shot and tucked a backhand between the legs of Dustin Tokarski at 7:18 for his sixth goal of the playoffs. It was the Rangers' first short-handed goal in 70 playoff games, dating to 2008.

The New York penalty kill is smart and sleek. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has worked hard on his puck handling and his defenders are positioned well.

"I think our guys do a good job whether it be on the forecheck coming back in the right positions and trying to create those battles where you've a chance to make a couple plays and get it out," Vigneault said. "When we don't, (our) goaltender stops the puck."

In four games, Montreal has seven goals on 107 shots.

While Tokarski has won kudos for his play in stepping in for the injured Carey Price, Lundqvist's playoffs numbers are sparkling - a .931 save percentage and 1.98 goals-against average.

The Canadiens are going to need Tokarski to continue to play well if they want to extend their season.

"It's no secret: you start doing the right things, you start getting rewarded for it and momentum builds," captain Brian Gionta said. "You keep carrying that.

"A couple of teams have been able to do that this year, the Kings and the Rangers. So it's not something that can't be done and with the group we have in here, we believe we can do it. And we believe we've got better as the series goes on."

Gionta and Tomas Plekanec were part of a Canadiens team that came back from a 3-1 deficit to upset the Washington Capitals en route to their previous trip to the conference final in 2010.

And they remain without Price, the Canadian gold medalist from the Sochi Olympics in February who suffered a possible right knee injury when New York's Chris Kreider crashed the net in the second period of the series opener.

Price skated for about 20 minutes without equipment before the team's optional practice, but Therrien said he will not be back in this series.

For Gionta, hope comes from a feeling that his team is getting better and still has time to turn things around, as they did when they fell behind 3-2 to the Bruins in the conference semifinal.

The Canadiens rebounded with their best game of the playoffs in Game 6 and closed it out in Boston two days later.

"We were able to wear (Boston's) defense down with our speed and forechecking," he said. "We need to get better at that and I think that's what we've gotten better at as (the New York series) went on.

"Try to take advantage of their defensemen down low, try to spend some time in the offensive zone, and start to make breakdowns and make things happen that way. Our backs are against the wall. It's win or go home. I would expect the same kind of effort as we had against Boston for sure."

Beating Lundqvist three straight times will be tough. He has 41 career playoff wins, tying him with Mike Richter for the most in Rangers history. His counterpart, Tokarski has played all of 13 NHL games - 10 in the regular season and three in the playoffs.

Lundqvist picked up an assist on Derick Brassard's second-period goal, his first in 85 postseason games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Rangers goaltender to record a playoff assist since Richter on May 11, 1997.

The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in 13 of their 18 playoff games, including six of the past seven games.

One question for the Rangers will be whether Derek Stepan can return from his broken jaw in Game 3. Over the weekend, he dropped by the arena to see his teammates before returning home to recuperate from surgery.

Martin St. Louis is on a roll for the Rangers. His overtime winner Sunday extended his point streak to six games. He leads the Rangers with 13 points in these playoffs.

NOTE: The Rangers are 12-1 when they lead a playoff series 3-1.

Caps hire Trotz as coach, make MacLellan new GM

After missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years, the Washington Capitals hired former Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz and promoted Brian MacLellan to general manager on Monday.

Trotz was the Predators' coach for 15 seasons before being dropped from the job in April. In Washington, he takes over for Adam Oates, who was fired last month with a season left on his three-year deal.

MacLellan replaces George McPhee, whose contract was not renewed after 17 seasons as the Capitals' GM.

In the team's press release announcing Monday's moves, owner Ted Leonsis said Trotz was "the only coach we coveted" and called him "an ideal fit to help lead our club."

It's a change in philosophy for the Capitals in terms of picking a coach: Each of McPhee's choices for the job had never previously been a head coach in the NHL.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has won three league MVP awards and again led the NHL in scoring this season with 51 goals. But the Capitals haven't made it past the second round of the playoffs during the Russian wing's career.

"Barry's teams have always played with structure, discipline and intensity, and I look forward to him leading us to success for many years to come," said MacLellan, who also gets the title of senior vice president.

MacLellan has been with Washington for 13 seasons, seven as assistant GM. He was with five clubs during a 10-year NHL playing career.

"After conducting an extensive search for a general manager, we determined that Brian was the best candidate to help us reach our ultimate goal, winning the Stanley Cup," Leonsis said. "We have witnessed his abilities firsthand, and we have tremendous respect for how he manages people and situations."

Trotz and MacLellan will be introduced at a news conference Tuesday.

When Leonsis held a news conference in late April to discuss the dismissals of McPhee and Oates, the owner said: "I just felt that new leadership at this time was needed, and let's start it with a clean slate."

From 1992-97, Trotz coached the Capitals' top minor league affiliate in the American Hockey League. He was hired by the Predators in August 1997, when the club was preparing for its expansion season of 1998-99.

Before leaving Nashville, Trotz had been the league's longest-tenured coach with one team.

"We are getting an experienced and well-respected coach whose presence and tutelage will benefit our players," Capitals President Dick Patrick said.

His Predators contract was set to expire at the end of June, and that club offered him a job in their hockey operations department. But Trotz - a finalist for the Jack Adams award as the top coach in the NHL twice in the past five seasons - made clear at the time that he wanted to keep coaching.

The Predators failed to make the playoffs each of the past two seasons.


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Hunter-Reay proud to be IndyCar's American star

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Ryan Hunter-Reay was deeply disappointed when his 2012 championship was overshadowed by IndyCar politics. His breakthrough moment was largely ignored by the league as it fought with yet another CEO.

It was a lost opportunity for a series starving for an American star, a role Hunter-Reay has desperately wanted to fill. He would knock on doors, shake hands and kiss babies if IndyCar asked, but no one ever did.

Now he's an Indianapolis 500 winner, just the sixth American driver in 20 years to claim that title. When Tony George created IndyCar in 1996, he said it was a series that would give American drivers a chance to succeed. But Hunter-Reay is just the fourth American to win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since George launched his league, and he's the first red, white and blue draped driver to win since 2006.

So maybe this win, the biggest by far of his career, will be the boost Hunter-Reay needs to raise his profile and that of the series he loves.

"I'm real. I'm genuine. There's not a whole lot theatrics about me," Hunter-Reay said Monday, a day after he nipped Helio Castroneves at the line to win Indy.

"I'm not going to put on a whole big show and jump through hoops. I'm going to be me, and I am thrilled to be here. I'm a hard-charging American and I've had to fight every step of my career for this ride."

That was the story that should have been told in 2012, when Hunter-Reay, who had been out of work six years earlier, reeled off three consecutive wins to climb into the championship race. Then, facing elimination, he won again to send his title fight with Will Power into the finale, where Hunter-Reay walked away with his first championship.

It was a career year and came a season after one of the lowest points of his career: He failed to qualify for the 2011 Indianapolis 500 and Andretti Autosport had to buy a seat from A.J. Foyt to get Hunter-Reay into the race.

But IndyCar management was too busy planning the ouster of CEO Randy Bernard to focus on Hunter-Reay, and when Bernard was cut loose a month after the championship, the driver was completely forgotten.

"Yeah, I was overlooked in 2012. The series wanted an American champion and we had one," he said. "Randy was moving out and the search for a new CEO was on, and I don't really think that's big news or anything, but it definitely took precedence.

"This win, I hope it does breakthrough. I'll be a great and honest champion. I'll fly the flag for our sport and you'll always get the real deal with me."

A casting director could not have chosen a more perfect fit for the role with IndyCar. Hunter-Reay and wife Beccy Gordon, younger sister of American stalwart driver Robby Gordon, could be mistaken for Ken and Barbie. Their towheaded toddler Ryden, wearing a miniature firesuit to match his father's, has been the star of the victory celebrations. He looked on quizzically while his parents kissed the bricks after the win, then ran up and down the race track - toy cars in hand - Monday as his father posed for photos.

When he needed to be entertained, Ryden played with the faces on the Borg-Warner trophy.

One of the perks the Hunter-Reays will receive for his victory is a replica of the pace car, a black 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28.

Hunter-Reay's first car? A black Camaro, of course.

"I'm really looking forward to getting that back home. It's a car that I'll definitely use - that thing sounded mean," he said. "That's the great thing about this race. You win the race, and then you start thinking about all the things that come with it. I get my face on the trophy. And the pace car, and the check that comes with it. I was presented with an Indianapolis 500 1911 pistol. How cool is that? How American is that?

"And I got a huge belt buckle, so I need a holster with my belt buckle and I'll be strutting around the garages with that."

Hunter-Reay is game for playing the role IndyCar wants and needs. He draped himself in the American flag, noted the significance of winning on Memorial Day weekend, and spoke repeatedly about his national pride.

What he failed to mention is that Sunday's victory moved him to the top of the IndyCar points standings. And he didn't brag about one of his daredevil passes for the lead, the one in which he nearly drove into the grass.

The irony, of course, is that just a month ago Hunter-Reay was criticized for an aggressive move at Long Beach that backfired and wrecked several race cars.

If Hunter-Reay has his way, those moves will work every time and his legacy as a tough, hard, American racer will be cemented.

"I am aggressive and will always go for it. When I was growing up, I really loved the drivers that were like that," he said. "I'm married to Beccy, I was a big fan of Robby. He was always the guy that you wanted to watch. He was coming through, one way or the other. He might not finish, but he's coming through.

"We've got a championship to go win this year, for sure. I'll probably still go 110 percent and be aggressive and I'm not going to let up in any way."

Ortiz, Red Sox end 10-game skid, rally past Braves

ATLANTA (AP) David Ortiz homered and drove in four runs as the Boston Red Sox ended their 10-game losing streak, rallying from a five-run deficit to defeat the Atlanta Braves 8-6 on Monday.

The defending World Series champions trailed 6-1 after the fourth, with starter Clay Buchholz walking a career-high eight in only three-plus innings.

But Ortiz tied it by hitting a three-run homer off Ervin Santana in the fifth. With Red Sox fans at Turner Field chanting "Papi! Papi!" the World Series MVP then gave Boston the lead with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Ian Thomas (1-2) in the seventh.

Following pregame declarations of confidence from manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington, the Red Sox came back to end their worst skid since an 11-game slide in 1994.

Redskins promote Bruce Allen to president, GM

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Bruce Allen is now officially upgraded to president and general manager of the Washington Redskins.

Previously, Allen held the GM title but was an executive vice president.

In a press release issued by the team on Monday, owner Dan Snyder says "I think the world of Bruce Allen and giving him both titles is appropriate."

Allen was hired by the Redskins in December 2009, after spending time with the Buccaneers and Raiders in the NFL, as well as USFL clubs.

Last week, Allen said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the team's nickname is "respectful" toward Native Americans. That followed half the U.S. Senate publicly urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to change the club's name, saying it is a racist slur.