National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Former Ole Miss guard critical of Sam TV coverage

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Former Mississippi basketball player Marshall Henderson says ESPN's coverage of Michael Sam becoming the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL was inappropriate and that he is boycotting SportsCenter.

Henderson took to Twitter Monday morning using expletives to say that he would not watch the show until the network stopped running the Sam footage, adding ".... My brothers are 7 and 11 and saw that!!!."

After a flurry of backlash, Henderson sent another tweet less than an hour later saying "Im sorry, but I DO NOT AGREE WHATSOEVER that should be shown to where innocent eyes can see!!!"

The comments drew a quick and sharp rebuke from Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork, who responded on Twitter saying that he's "extremely disappointed & we do not condone the statements made by our former bball player. We believe in respect & dignity for all."

Later Bjork added: "We use significant resources to educate our student-athletes about respect & dignity for all people & unfortunately not everyone gets it."

Henderson later sent out a string of tweets that attempted to explain his comments. He said a friend who is a psychology major asked him to send the comments to see "how people react when others say things or act a certain way against another group of people."

Henderson, known for his long-range shooting at Ole Miss, also is no stranger to controversy.

He arrived at Ole Miss after serving a short stint in jail following a probation violation and had a run-in with Oxford, Mississippi, police last summer that was part of the reason for a three-game suspension. He was also reprimanded by the NCAA in 2013 after an outburst following the team's loss to LaSalle in the NCAA tournament.

Henderson wasn't the only prominent athlete to face criticism because of a disparaging tweet regarding Sam, who kissed his boyfriend after learning he'd been drafted by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday.

Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones was fined an undisclosed amount and will undergo educational training after he tweeted "OMG" and "Horrible" shortly after Sam's name was announced. The tweets were taken down a short time later.

Jones apologized for his comments Sunday and described them as inappropriate. The Dolphins said Jones has been excused from all team activities until he completes training related to his comments.

Toews helps Blackhawks beat Wild 2-1 in Game 5

CHICAGO (AP) Jonathan Toews had a rebound goal early in the third period, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Sunday night to take a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Bryan Bickell also scored and Corey Crawford made 27 saves as Chicago bounced back from consecutive losses in Minnesota that handed the momentum to the Wild heading into Game 5.

But the Blackhawks were back at the United Center, where they improved to 6-0 in this postseason and 17-2 over the past two playoffs.

Erik Haula scored in the first period for the Wild, and Ilya Bryzgalov had 26 stops.

Game 6 is Tuesday night in Minnesota, where the Wild are undefeated in this postseason.

George's 39 lead Pacers past Wiz 95-92; 3-1 lead

WASHINGTON (AP) Paul George poured in a career playoff-high 39 points and added 12 rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers back from a 19-point deficit and past the Washington Wizards 95-92 on Sunday night to move one victory away from returning to the Eastern Conference finals.

The Pacers lead the second-round series 3-1 and can close it out Tuesday night, hosting Game 5.

George played 46 minutes and scored 28 points after halftime Sunday, including making six of his franchise playoff-record-tying seven 3-pointers.

Roy Hibbert had 17 points and nine rebounds, continuing his recent surge after a poor-as-can-be start to the series. He helped Indiana overcome Washington's 32-2 advantage in bench scoring.

Kaymer holds on to win Players

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Martin Kaymer never lost sight of opportunity even amid so much evidence of trouble in the closing stretch Sunday at The Players Championship.

A bad chip led to double bogey. A bad decision cost him a chance at birdie. With his lead suddenly down to one shot, he watched his ball soar against the gray sky toward the scariest island in golf and figured it would be fine.

What followed was a bounce sideways instead of forward, mystifying spin that nearly sent his ball over the edge and into the drink, a chip with his feet pressed near the wooden frame of the island and a 30-foot par putt that Kaymer chalked up to instinct and luck.

"It was a very strange way to make 3," he said.

But it was enough to carry the 29-year-old German to a one-shot victory over Jim Furyk in a final round filled with stress, emotion and a large dose of satisfaction.

Kaymer got up-and-down with his putter from short of the 18th green for one last par, giving him a 1-under 71 and his first victory in nearly 18 months. The only time he nearly lost his composure was when talking about his mother, Rina, who died of cancer six years. He has a sunflower, her favorite flower, on his golf bag. His brother, Phillip, sent him a text that he described only as a "very emotional."

"To win on Mother's Day ... we show our parents way too little," he said. "We always need some occasions to show them, which is what you realize when they're not there anymore. So to win on those days ... it adds a little bit of a nice thing to the whole week.

"I think about her every day. I don't need a Mother's Day."

Furyk closed with a 66, having to wait out a 90-minute rain delay to make a 3-foot par putt. It looked as though it might be enough to force a playoff, or even win outright when Kaymer started to struggle. Just as he did last week at Quail Hollow, Furyk could only watch on TV from the locker room and settle for second place.

"I did what I could," Furyk said. "I left it all on the golf course, and I hung it all out there today and every cliche you can think of. I played hard today."

Sergio Garcia (70) finished alone in third, though he never got within two shots of the lead at any point.

That wasn't the case with 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who was tied with Kaymer going into the final round. He made his first bogey of the tournament on the fifth hole, and four more bogeys followed in his round of 74. He tied for fourth.

"I'm stinging right now," Spieth said, a runner-up at the Masters. "It's not fun being that close and having opportunities and being in the lead on Sunday and not pulling it off."

The typical stress that Sawgrass brings on Sunday was contained to the final hour, and it was almost more than Kaymer could take. He was sailing along until the lightning flashes and rain forced the rain delay. He had a three-shot lead with five holes left and was a different player when the round resumed.

He made double bogey from an aggressive play behind a pine tree on the 15th. He nervously chose putter from a collection area on the par-5 16th that turned a simple chance at birdie into a par.

Nothing could top the 17th hole, the most exciting on the Stadium Course. When his chip shot stopped just inside 30 feet from the hole, and bogey looked certain, Kaymer figured he still had one more hole. He couldn't see the line in the approaching darkness, though he remembered it from practice rounds.

When it dropped, he walked to the side and slammed his clenched fist in celebration, rare emotion for the German.

"Making a putt like this is more than big," he said. "I think I will realize it the next few days."

Kaymer finished at 13-under 275 and joined an elite group by winning the biggest event on golf's strongest tour. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott are the only other players to win a major, a World Golf Championship and The Players Championship.

For Spieth, it was his second big tournament in the final group. Tied for the lead through seven holes, he dropped shots to Kaymer on each of the next four holes - two bogeys by Spieth, two birdies by Kaymer.

Kaymer had just over 3 feet left for par on the 18th, and it made him think of his winning putt to beat Steve Stricker and ensure that Europe kept the Ryder Cup at Medinah two years ago. The celebration was different. This was for him, and a long journey back from when he won the 2010 PGA Championship, reached No. 1 in the world six months later, and then set out to improve his swing to avoid being a one-dimensional player.

"When I was standing over the putt, I just thought, `It would be really nice to make that putt now, would be a very nice way to finish,"' he said.

Rangers win again, force Game 7 vs. Pens

NEW YORK (AP) Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin scored 2:51 apart in the first period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves and the New York Rangers avoided elimination again with a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night.

The matchup between the Metropolitan Division rivals will be decided in Game 7 at Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. The Penguins, who led the series 3-1, failed in their first attempt to advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a 5-1 home loss on Friday.

Derick Brassard pushed the Rangers' lead to 3-1 in the second period. Brandon Sutter scored the lone goal for the Penguins, who got 26 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury.

This was a far cry from New York's disheartening 4-2 home loss in Game 4.

The Rangers are 9-2 in their past 11 games when facing elimination, dating to Game 6 of the first round in 2012 at Ottawa. New York has never won a series it trailed 3-1.

New York scored the all-important first goal, St. Louis' third of the playoffs that had Madison Square Garden rocking just 3:34 in. New York had just withstood an extended period of time in its own end when Pittsburgh's crisp passing and forechecking kept the Rangers under pressure.

They got the puck up ice, and defenseman Anton Stralman ripped a hard drive from the high slot that caromed off Fleury. Derek Stepan swiped at the puck in traffic and knocked it off St. Louis' right leg and into the net.

The team that scored first has won all six games.

St. Louis capped off an emotional Mother's Day with his father and sister in attendance, just three days after his mother died suddenly. His return to the team Friday night, without missing a game, provided a lift to his teammates as they kept their season alive.

St. Louis heard cheers of "Mar-ty, Mar-ty" during his first shift that grew louder after his goal.

St. Louis was the first star of the game. He patted his heart when he came out to an ovation from the crowd.

Buoyed by another early lead, the Rangers pressed for more, and got it on Hagelin's unassisted goal at 6:25. Hagelin's initial shot attempt from the left-wing boards was blocked by Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi. But Hagelin got to the loose puck in the center of the left circle and sent a hard backhand sailing past Fleury for his fourth of the postseason.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma then burned his lone timeout to try to calm his team that was being outshot 7-2.

Pittsburgh reversed that trend, cut its deficit in half, and trailed by only one goal at the end of the first period.

The Penguins started to gain momentum after they killed a roughing penalty against Jussi Jokinen and then received their first power play after Chris Kreider knocked down Jokinen at the edge of the crease with 8:40 left in the period.

New York had built its shots edge to 12-3, but then helped the Penguins make the score 2-1. Sutter flung the puck toward the net, and it appeared to hit Rangers defenseman John Moore and then bounce in off the foot of defenseman Kevin Klein near the left post with 3:04 left. Lundqvist was clearly agitated by the late goal by Pittsburgh, which led 15-14 in shots in the first period.

The teams both had chances in the middle period, and neither could connect on a pair of power plays.

Pittsburgh twice challenged Lundqvist with short-handed breakaways, and the Rangers had a goal waved off at 5:55 when Kreider was called for goalie interference after he was shoved from behind into Fleury by Kris Letang.

The Rangers made it 3-1, however, with 4:30 remaining in the period - just 25 seconds after Mats Zuccarello finished serving a tripping penalty.

Fleury tried to scoop a loose puck into his glove near the right post, but Brassard was able to get his skate on it and kick it into the air and behind the goalie. Brassard lunged with his stick, knocked it down and put it into the net for his third goal in two games and fourth in the series.

Benoit Pouliot earned an assist, giving the line of Pouliot, Brassard, and Zuccarello 12 goals and 15 assists in 10 games - regular season and playoffs - against Pittsburgh.

NOTES: Brassard's line combined for seven points in Game 5. ... The Penguins dropped to 9-3 at the Garden in the playoffs and 15-15 overall in Game 6s. ... Lundqvist made his 79th consecutive playoff start, tying Fleury for third place on the NHL list among goalies with one team. Fleury's run ended last year. New Jersey's Martin Brodeur is first with 194, a streak that began in 1994 and is still current. Patrick Roy is in second place with 133.

Clippers rally for 101-99 win over Thunder

LOS ANGELES (AP) Darren Collison scored 10 of his 18 points in the final 2:58, rallying the Los Angeles Clippers past the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-99 on Sunday to tie the Western Conference semifinal series 2-2.

Russell Westbrook, who scored 27 points, missed a 3-pointer and Serge Ibaka's tip attempt was too late at the buzzer, allowing the Clippers to salvage a game they trailed until the final 1:23.

Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 25 points, making 9 of 11 free throws, and Chris Paul had 23 points and 10 assists. Jamal Crawford added 18 points. DeAndre Jordan had 14 rebounds, helping the Clippers win the boards, 45-43 - the first time in 11 playoff games the Thunder were outrebounded.

Kevin Durant scored 40 points, hitting 15 of 18 free throws, for the Thunder.

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

Sterling's wife pledges to keep stake in Clippers

LOS ANGELES (AP) In her first interview since the NBA banned her estranged husband, Shelly Sterling said she would fight to keep her share of the Los Angeles Clippers and plans one day to divorce Donald Sterling.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Donald Sterling for making racist comments and urged owners to force him to sell the team. Silver added that no decisions had been made about the rest of Sterling's family.

"I will fight that decision," Shelly Sterling said, according to a short story that ABC News posted Sunday with excerpts from her conversation with Barbara Walters. "To be honest with you, I'm wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there's 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in?

"I don't know why I should be punished for what his actions were."

Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, has said she will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the team.

Sterling also said that she "eventually" will divorce her husband, and that she hadn't yet done so due to financial considerations.

"For the last 20 years, I've been seeing attorneys for a divorce," she said. "In fact, I have here - I just filed - I was going to file the petition. I signed the petition for a divorce. And it came to almost being filed. And then, my financial adviser and my attorney said to me, `Not now."'

Donald Sterling has not spoken publicly about the situation.

James: Players want no Sterlings to own Clippers

NEW YORK (AP) LeBron James understands it will take time, but he wants Donald Sterling out of the NBA.

And he said Sunday that NBA players believe nobody in Sterling's family should be able to own the Los Angeles Clippers if he's gone.

Sterling has been banned for life for making racist comments and Commissioner Adam Silver has urged owners to force Sterling to sell the franchise. But Silver said no decisions had been made about the rest of Sterling's family.

Shelly Sterling, Sterling's estranged wife, said she intends to keep her 50 percent of the franchise.

"As players, we want what's right and we don't feel like no one in his family should be able to own the team," James said after the Miami Heat practiced for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Brooklyn.

But Shelly Sterling told ABC News' Barbara Walters that she doesn't believe she should be punished for what her husband said.

"I will fight that decision," she said in the interview. "To be honest with you, I'm wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there's 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in?"

James was one of the first and strongest voices to speak out after a recording of Donald Sterling's remarks to V. Stiviano were posted on TMZ's website last month, saying the comments were unacceptable and that there was no place in the league for Sterling.

The league is trying to act quickly to remove him. Dick Parsons has been installed as the Clippers' interim CEO, and the owners' advisory/finance committee has held conference calls each of the last two weeks to discuss that process and timeline for a forced sale. That would require a three-fourths vote of owners.

But Sterling, who bought the team in 1981 and is the NBA's longest-tenured owner, could choose to fight those attempts by the league.

"At the end of the day, this is going to be a long litigation when it comes to that," James said. "This guy who's owned the team since the `80s is not going to just give the team up in a day. So we understand it's going to be long, but we want what's right."

Bruins' Thornton fined $2,800 for squirting water

NEW YORK (AP) Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said on Sunday that he will not contest a fine of more than $2,800 for squirting water from the bench at Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban in the final minute of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"I obviously got caught up in the moment," Thornton said on an offday at the TD Garden. "I'm sorry that this silly incident kind of overshadowed how my teammates played and the great win and how good this series has been. There's definitely more important things that we can focus on."

The Bruins were leading the Canadiens 4-2 in the final minutes of Game 5 on Saturday night when Subban skated past the Boston bench with the puck. Thornton squirted water at the Montreal defenseman, hitting him in the face shield.

Angered, Subban approached the bench and exchanged words with Thornton. He then went to complain to the referee.

"Somebody sprayed water on my visor at the end of the game. I couldn't see out of half of it," Subban said after the game, acknowledging that the incident, while annoying, did not affect the outcome. "I don't want it to be bulletin board material."

Boston held on to win the game 4-2 and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Bruins need a victory on Monday night in Montreal to eliminate the Canadiens and avoid a decisive seventh game in Boston on Wednesday.

The fine of $2,820.52 is the maximum allowed under the league's collective bargaining agreement with the union. The money goes to the players' emergency assistance fund.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said he did not approve of Thornton's behavior and let him know.

"As a coach, you always want to support your players. But there's certain things you can't support," Julien said on Sunday. "I don't think I can support Shawn on those actions. To me, I don't think we like seeing our players do that. Now whether he got caught up in the game or whatever, to me he's got to own up to it."

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