National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Clippers' Sterling slams Magic Johnson, HIV status

LOS ANGELES (AP) Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling repeatedly disparaged Magic Johnson's HIV-positive status in an interview that aired Monday, saying he was not a fit role model for children and dismissing his work in business and charity.

The interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper was meant to be a mea culpa in Sterling's first public comments since racist recordings emerged last month and earned him a lifetime NBA ban, but when the subject turned to Johnson, who was mentioned in the recordings, Sterling is anything but apologetic.

"He's got AIDS!" Sterling said loudly at one point, cutting off Cooper as the interviewer attempted to cite Johnson's accomplishments after Sterling asked, "What has he done, big Magic Johnson, what has he done?"

Sterling changed course briefly during the interview to call Johnson "a good person," but resumed his criticism.

"He acts so holy," Sterling said. "He made love to every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS, and when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him, I hope he could live and be well. I didn't criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children?"

Cooper corrected Sterling, explaining that Johnson was HIV-positive but did not have "full-blown AIDS."

Sterling briefly adjusted his language but not his tone.

"What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV. Is that someone we want to respect, and tell our kids about?" Sterling said. "I think he should be ashamed of himself."

Johnson, who is scheduled to appear on Cooper's show to reply on Tuesday, wrote on his Twitter account that "I'd rather be talking about these great NBA Playoffs than Donald Sterling's interview."

Johnson later Tweeted, "After this week, no more Sterling talk."

The comments earned Sterling a quick rebuke from NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who handed down a lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine against Sterling last month.

"I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper and while Magic Johnson doesn't need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack," Silver said. "The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible."

Just a day earlier, Johnson and the commissioner sat together at the Clippers playoff game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, though Johnson had Tweeted that he would never again attend a Clippers game while Sterling was owner.

Ducks beat LA 4-3 in Game 5, take 3-2 series lead

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Devante Smith-Pelly scored two goals 1:23 apart in the second period, and the Anaheim Ducks moved to the brink of the Western Conference finals with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 on Monday night.

John Gibson made 39 saves in his second career playoff start as the Ducks took a 3-2 lead in the second-round series with their third straight victory.

Nick Bonino and Jakob Silfverberg also scored for the Ducks, who jumped to a three-goal lead in the second period and hung on behind their 20-year-old rookie goalie, earning the first home victory by either team in the series.

Marian Gaborik scored two goals for the Kings, who will face their fifth elimination game of the postseason.

Game 6 is Wednesday at Staples Center.

LeBron scores 49, Heat take 3-1 lead over Nets

NEW YORK (AP) LeBron James tied his playoff career high with 49 points, Chris Bosh made the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 57 seconds left, and the Miami Heat beat the Brooklyn Nets 102-96 on Monday night for a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

James carried the Heat nearly the entire way until Bosh hit the shot that put Miami ahead for good. Ray Allen followed with four free throws and James finished it off with one more, putting the Heat in position to wrap it up at home Wednesday in Game 5.

James was 16 of 24 from the field and 14 of 19 from the free throw line in matching the 49 points he scored for Cleveland against Orlando in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals. He missed his second free throw with 1.1 seconds left, muttering to himself after it fell out.

Joe Johnson scored 18 points for the Nets.

Clippers interim CEO confident team will be sold

LOS ANGELES (AP) The interim CEO hand-picked by the NBA to run the Los Angeles Clippers said Monday he's confident the league will succeed in forcing a sale of the team owned by Donald Sterling since 1981.

Dick Parsons arrived in Los Angeles and met with management and staff of the Clippers. Sterling has been banned for life by the NBA and fined $2.5 million after recordings of him making racist comments surfaced.

"My personal belief is the league will prevail, which means there will be an ownership change," Parsons said during a news conference at Staples Center. "A prolonged legal battle is in no one's interest, certainly not the league's. I would hope we could avoid that."

Parsons said he won't be involved in the ownership fight. He said he's being paid by the NBA but he doesn't report to Commissioner Adam Silver or the league's owners.

Donald Sterling apologized for the racist comments captured during a recorded conversation, saying in a televised interview Monday night that they were a "terrible mistake."

"I embarrassed the league. I humiliated them. I don't know how, why I did it," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I mean, it's so terrible."

Sterling said he apologized to the NBA, and he doesn't believe the other owners would vote to have him removed as owner of the Clippers.

"Of course they support me. They can't understand why I would say that. I can't understand why I would say that," he said. "People want me to hire a wall of lawyers and them to have to hire a wall of lawyers and go to war. I don't think that's the answer."

Sterling said he believes the players on the team "love" him.

"They know I'm not a racist, and I'm not a racist," he said. "I think I create opportunities for them, so they can make $100 million. I don't give them anything, believe me, and those players could get that same amount of money anywhere else. Of course they earn it, and they work harder than any other sport."

Parsons doesn't know Sterling and won't be talking to him because the 80-year-old owner is banned.

"He's a little late, to be sure," Parsons said about Sterling's apology. "I'm here to turn one of the burners off under the pot, not to turn it up higher."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he was aware of Sterling's apology, although he had not seen the interview.

"I'm glad that he did it," Rivers said by phone from Oklahoma City, where the team plays Tuesday. "That's what you have to do and you should do it. Probably should have done it right away."

Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, has said she will fight to keep her 50 percent ownership of the team. Parsons said he anticipates talking with her at some point, although he said Donald Sterling is the only controlling owner of the team.

Parsons described himself as a conservator of the team, someone who will try to keep it from losing value and ensure there is a viable franchise to work with once the ownership issue is resolved.

"I want to leave this place in good shape and in good hands," he said.

With Sterling barred from anything to do with the team or league, and team President Andy Roeser on an indefinite leave of absence, Parsons will be a key contact for the team's support staff.

"A lot of these folks have felt beleaguered, beyond disappointed with the way the franchise has been characterized," said Parsons, who wore a Clippers lapel pin on his suit. "Part of my job will be to tell the folks here to stay focused on the business. Ultimately, there will be a change of ownership and management."

He said he let them know they are appreciated and the interaction gave him ideas on how to move forward, although he has offered no specifics since taking the job Thursday.

"I'm only beginning to get my arms around what I'm going to do," he said.

Rivers endorsed Parsons' hiring, believing he can calm the situation and allow employees to focus on their jobs.

"He's just gotten in the door, but he's going to make a big difference, especially for the folks downtown," Rivers said. "They want to know if they're safe and where do we go from here."

Parsons has spoken to Rivers, but not yet to the players. The team is tied 2-2 with Oklahoma City in the Western Conference semifinals.

"I really think it's going to become America's team if we get this right," he said. "Americans love a story where someone gets knocked down and they get back up into the ring. This team has talent."

Parsons, the 66-year-old former Citigroup chairman and former Time Warner chairman and CEO, was set to return to New York in the evening because his wife is having major surgery on Tuesday. He called himself semi-retired, although he is currently a senior adviser at Providence Equity Partners.

The folksy Parsons described the team's crisis as "a very exciting challenge and an interesting time for everybody." He likened his job to that of a ship's captain in charge of keeping it afloat, headed in the right direction and possibly picking up speed.

"There's huge danger and pitfalls in front of us," he said, "but there's tremendous opportunity for this franchise."

Canadiens force Game 7 with 4-0 win over Bruins

MONTREAL (AP) Carey Price made 26 saves for the shutout and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins 4-0 on Monday night to force Game 7.

Thomas Vanek scored twice and Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty also scored for Montreal, which overwhelmed the Bruins to tie the series at 3-3.

Game 7 is Wednesday night in Boston.

Eller opened the scoring just 2:11 into the game after the Bruins misplayed the puck and Eller was alone in front of the net to beat a sprawled out Tuukka Rask.

Pacioretty made it 2-0 after scoring on a long stretch pass through Rask's legs in the second period.

Before the period was over Vanek scored on the power play. Vanek added his second of the game into an empty net late in the third.

Rask finished with 24 saves for the Bruins.

Cavaliers fire coach Mike Brown - again

CLEVELAND (AP) Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert felt he made a big mistake when he fired Mike Brown as his coach in 2010.

That didn't stop him from doing it again.

Brown's second shot with the Cavs ended Monday after one just one season as Gilbert dismissed the only Cleveland coach who has ever made it to the NBA finals.

Brown had been re-hired last April by Gilbert, who regretted dismissing him four years earlier. While the Cavs' record improved and they made strides defensively under Brown this season, the club missed the playoffs again and Gilbert decided it was time to make another change.

"This is a very tough business," Gilbert said in a statement. "It pains all of us here that we needed to make the difficult decision of releasing Mike Brown. Mike worked hard over this last season to move our team in the right direction. Although, there was some progress from our finish over the few prior seasons, we believe we need to head in a different direction. We wish Mike and his family nothing but the best."

In addition to firing Brown, Gilbert announced he's retaining David Griffin as the club's full-time general manager. Griffin had been the interim GM since Feb. 6, when Gilbert fired Chris Grant one day after the Cavs lost to a Los Angeles Lakers team which finished the game with just five eligible players.

Gilbert said Griffin would lead the search for Brown's successor. It's not known what input Griffin had in Brown's firing.

Griffin has ties to former Phoenix executive Steve Kerr, who is one of New York president Phil Jackson's top choices to take over the Knicks. Griffin also has worked with Mike D'Antoni and Alvin Gentry. Other coaches who could get consideration for the Cavs' opening include Mark Jackson and George Karl.

Brown had four years remaining on his $20 million contract. Brown, who was fired last year by the Lakers five games into his second season, could not be reached for comment.

Brown went 272-138 in his first stint with Cleveland. Led by superstar LeBron James, the Cavs made the finals for the first time in 2007 and were title contenders throughout Brown's tenure. However, they didn't advance past the Eastern Conference semifinals four years ago and Brown was let go.

At the time, it appeared Gilbert was making the move - and hiring Byron Scott as coach - to appease James and hopefully keep him in Cleveland. James, though, decided to leave as a free agent for Miami, where he is chasing his straight third NBA title with the Heat.

"It's just a tough business. I mean, that's all it is. It's a tough business and, you know, Mike Brown got the short end of a tough business," James said.

Gilbert brought back Brown to fix Cleveland's defense, and the Cavs improved, moving from last in the league in field-goal percentage to 12th. But the offense never flowed like it should and the Cavs didn't make a late playoff push despite a favorable schedule down the stretch.

Cleveland's players didn't care for Brown's defense-first philosophy and there seemed to be a disconnect between the Cavs and the coaching staff.

Brown seemed resigned to his fate following the season finale, when he said he would support whatever decision Gilbert made.

"It's his team," Brown said.

Cleveland went 17-16 under Griffin, who worked as Grant's assistant before being promoted. Gilbert said he interviewed several other candidates before deciding to remove the "interim" from Griffin's title.

"We chose David as our GM because we believe he is the best person to lead our franchise at this critical time and into the future," Gilbert said. "David brings over two decades of experience. He knows the ins and outs of this league as well as anyone and is also an outstanding talent evaluator."

The Cavaliers will hold a news conference on Tuesday at the team's facility in Independence.

Gilbert had high praise for Griffin, who previously worked in Phoenix's front office before coming to Cleveland.

"He is a general manager who is aligned with our culture and philosophy which is the foundation of how we do business," Gilbert said. "David is not only passionate about his own job but also cares deeply about the success of everyone around him. His presence alone creates an infectious positive environment with players, coaches, front office people and even our fan base. We already saw some progress in the short time David led our basketball side in the latter part of this past season. Clearly, we have substantial work ahead of us and I am confident that Griff will play an essential part of the growth and success of our organization."

While the Cavs showed signs of progress with Brown, he was unable to get one of the league's youngest teams to play consistently. His replacement will have a similar challenge, assuming Griffin doesn't do a complete overhaul to Cleveland's roster.

The Cavs are entering a critical summer. They'll once again be in the draft lottery and the club is expected to be active in free agency. The team must also decide whether to offer Irving a maximum contract extension in July.

Kaymer wins big event by looking at big picture

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Martin Kaymer reached the top of golf and wondered how he got there.

He won his first major at the 2010 PGA Championship. He reached No. 1 in the world six months later. And then he realized his game would not be good enough to stay there.

Kaymer wasn't much different from Tiger Woods, who overhauled his swing not long after a record-setting performance in the 1997 Masters. Kaymer was concerned about being a one-dimensional player - his primary shot was a fade - especially if he wanted to contend at Augusta National and other majors.

He just didn't realize it would take this long.

Halfway through his victory at The Players Championship, he thought back to the time he put in on his game.

"All that work, all the hours," Kaymer said. "When you are standing on the range for six, seven hours, hitting the same shot, the same drill, you feel like it should be enough. You just don't want to be there at one stage because it's so much. And it's a little boring as well. But you know long term, it will become something good."

It paid off in a big way last week at The Players, the next best thing to a major.

The 29-year-old German tied the course record with a 63 on Thursday and was never behind after any round the rest of the way. His biggest challenge Sunday was when he had to return from a 90-minute storm delay and finish four holes in which he had everything to lose.

Even with a double bogey that cut his lead to one shot, he didn't feel as if the tournament were slipping away.

About the only thing that annoyed him was that "soft egg" moment to the left the green on the par-5 16th. Kaymer had spoken all week about being confident enough in his swing to stop thinking about the mechanics and to start playing by feel. He talked about hitting the right shot - the brave shot - not the easy one.

He kept using the word, "wimp," until he jokingly was asked the German word for it.

"Weiches ei," he replied in his native language. And then he offered that polite smile and added the English translation. "It's `soft egg."'

Instead of chipping on the 16th, Kaymer decided to use a putter. He didn't hit it nearly hard enough, so instead of having a good chance at birdie, he had to two-putt from over 30 feet just to make par and keep his one-shot lead.

He wound up with one of the craziest pars ever on the island green at the par-3 17th, which ended with a 30-foot putt that broke some 8 feet to the right. And he collected the crystal trophy, along with the $1.8 million check from the richest purse on the PGA Tour.

But that wimpy decision on the 16th gnawed at him even in victory. He wants perfection.

"It's not the right thing to putt it. It's a soft egg," he said. "The swing is all good. I'm happy the way that it works out and the way I go. Everything is fine, and I'm really happy about this. But those things ... on 16, I was not true to myself, and that's painful. It really is. Because it's just not right.

"You can think, `I won the golf tournament. I should be happy,"' he said. "And I'm very, very happy about this. But those are things I would like to improve for the future."

His future again looks bright.

Kaymer now has won 14 times around the world. Even as he was retooling his swing with longtime coach Gunter Kessler, he managed to win a World Golf Championship in Shanghai by closing with a 63. Having barely made a Ryder Cup team in 2012 when Europe would have been better off without him because of his form, Kaymer still had enough left to beat Steve Stricker in the match that assured Europe would keep the cup.

And he won at the end of last year in South Africa.

But it means more to have beaten one of the strongest fields in golf, and to have conquered a course on the TPC Sawgrass that punishes the slightest mistake.

Kaymer never really flinched all week. He put his name out front and stayed there. Darren Clarke noticed it in the second round. Kaymer didn't hit it his best that day, but he scored. That's the golf Clarke remembered.

"He's a proper golfer this one," Clarke said. "He's a finely tuned engineer."

Perhaps he is ready to take his place among the best in the game. The major season is just getting started.

"Now it's important that you don't stop," he said. "It's very easy to just be happy now, relax and let things happen. But now it's a time we have to work even harder."

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.

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