National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Wizards defeat Bulls 98-89, take 3-1 series lead

WASHINGTON (AP) In his customary seat next to the bench, Ted Leonsis sported a No. 42 jersey in support of his suspended forward. By the time the game was over, the Washington Wizards owner stood and cheered as the crowd chanted "Free Ne-ne!!"

Trevor Ariza had a career playoff-high 30 points, and the Wizards scored the first 14 points of the game and barely looked back Sunday, overcoming the absence of their so-called "X-factor" as they beat the Chicago Bulls 98-89 to take 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference series.

Ariza made 6 of 10 3-pointers, John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who forced 16 turnovers and committed only six. The other big difference came at the 3-point arc, where Washington went 8 for 19 and Chicago just 4 for 19.

The Wizards, seeking to win a playoff series for only the third time since the 1970s, can finish off the Bulls in Game 5 on Tuesday in Chicago.

Taj Gibson scored a career-high 32 points on 13 for 16 shooting for Chicago, but his teammates combined to go 22 for 62 from the field. He made more field goals in the first half (8) than the rest the Bulls combined (7). Mike Dunleavy, who scored 35 points in Game 3, could barely get a look, much less a basket. He went 0 for 3 from the field in the first half and finished 3 for 8 with six points.

Chicago's Kirk Hinrich committed four turnovers, and NBA Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah had a quiet 10 points and 15 rebounds against the Nene-less Wizards.

Nene was suspended for the game after grabbing Jimmy Butler's head during a face-to-face confrontation in the fourth quarter of the Wizards' Game 3 loss. Wall this week called Nene the "X-factor," and for good reason: Since the March 2012 trade that brought the Brazilian to D.C., Washington is 65-63 when he plays and 21-41 when he doesn't, although the club did hold its own by winning 12 of 21 when Nene went down with a knee injury late in the regular season.

Washington stormed to a 14-0 lead, with Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau calling a timeout after each Wizards "touchdown." Chicago's first seven possessions consisted of six missed shots and two turnovers. Butler finally got the visitors on the board with an 18-footer 4:12 into the game.

The next sequence: Hinrich hit the side of the backboard with a baseline jumper, and Ariza hit a 3-pointer that took an odd carom off the rim to make the score 17-2. The ball was truly bouncing Washington's way.

Trevor Booker, starting in Nene's spot, swung his right arm and scowled after rejecting a D.J. Augustin layup attempt, but

But foul trouble took its toll on the Wizards' non-Nene frontcourt. Booker, Marcin Gortat, Drew Gooden and Al Harrington all had two fouls by early in the second quarter. Shortly after picking up his third, Booker - while seated on the bench - and Gibson were assessed double technicals, the ninth and 10th technical fouls issued in the feisty series.

The Bulls pulled within four in the second quarter, but the Wizards closed the half on a 21-10 run. Bradley Beal swung the ball to Ariza on the right baseline for a 3-pointer at the horn, giving the Wizards a 55-40 lead at the break.

The Wizards led by 23 early in the fourth, but the Bulls threatened a late comeback. Gibson's jumper with 1:41 to play made the score 91-83, the first and only time Chicago pulled within single digits in the second half.

But a layup by Gortat and a Gortat-to-Ariza feed for a dunk got the lead quickly back to 12, forcing a Bulls timeout. As the teams headed to the benches, the graying millionaire wearing No. 42 stood, clapped and waved a red Wizards rally towel.

Notes: Ariza's six 3-pointers tied a Wizards playoff record. ... Bulls F Carlos Boozer committed five fouls - all in the third quarter. ... Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who played during the Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" era, was asked to compare today's game to those rough-and-tumble days. "Not even close," Wittman said. "It's like sixth-grade flag football compared to NFL tackle football." ... After responding well to Leonsis' appeal to show up on time for Game 3, Wizards fans reverted to their late-arriving ways Sunday. The empty seats at tipoff resembled something more like a November midweek affair against Charlotte than a playoff game for a franchise that had been absent from the postseason for six years.

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Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

Rangers push Flyers to brink of elimination

NEW YORK (AP) Brad Richards and Dominic Moore scored second-period goals, and Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves as the New York Rangers pushed the Philadelphia Flyers to the brink of elimination with a 4-2 victory in Game 5 on Sunday.

Defenseman Marc Staal gave the Rangers the lead in the first period and they extended it in the second in taking a 3-2 edge in the first-round series. Game 6 is Tuesday in Philadelphia. If necessary, a deciding seventh game would be back at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

The teams have alternated wins the entire series.

Magic: Sterling 'shouldn't own a team anymore'

Magic Johnson called upon the NBA to "come down hard" on Donald Sterling, even saying that the longtime owner of the Los Angeles Clippers should essentially be ousted from the league.

"He shouldn't own a team anymore," Johnson said Sunday.

Johnson's comments were among the strongest condemnations yet of Sterling, who allegedly made racially charged comments in an audio recording obtained and released by TMZ. Included in the recording: A male, purported to be Sterling, urging a woman to not bring black people to his team's games and upset that she posted photos of herself posing with black friends on her Instagram account.

One of those now-deleted photos is believed to have been of the woman posing with Johnson. On Sunday, Johnson said Sterling was one of the first people he met after moving to Los Angeles, where he was a Lakers star for many years.

"I had a friendship with him. So for him to then make these comments, or alleged comments, about myself as well as other African-Americans and minorities, there's no place in our society for it," Johnson said. "There's no place in our league, because we all get along. We all play with different races of people when you're in sports. That's what makes sports so beautiful."

Johnson spoke on ABC's playoff pregame show Sunday.

Both the Clippers and the NBA are investigating the audio tape and the comments on it, and Commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday night that he's hoping for a swift resolution.

"He's got to come down hard," said Johnson, adding that Sterling should also come forward and say he no longer wants to own a team. "This is bad for everybody. This is bad for America."

Johnson said he would not attend Clippers games as long as Sterling owns the team. He also said the Clippers should be focused on their playoff series with Golden State and not the latest scandal involving their long-controversial owner.

Obama: Reported comments by team owner 'racist'

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) President Barack Obama on Sunday described comments reportedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers "incredibly offensive racist statements," before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must vigilantly fight.

"When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk," Obama said when asked to respond to Donald Sterling's reported comments.

Obama's description of the controversy as part of a larger historical context is the latest example of his continuing willingness to expound on matters of race in his second term.

After avoiding much mention of race relations during his campaign to become the first black president and in his first term, the president last summer offered a personal reflection in response to the shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin. And now Obama has spoken out against an audio recording of a man identified as Sterling telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to games.

The firestorm over Sterling's comments has quickly engulfed the NBA. Obama cast the comments through a broader prism of racism in America, adding that "we constantly have to be on guard on racial attitudes that divide us rather than embracing our diversity as a strength."

"The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that's still there, the vestiges of discrimination," Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia, where he was traveling.

"We've made enormous strides, but you're going to continue to see this percolate up every so often," he added. "And I think that we just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently, but also remaining hopeful that part of why statements like this stand out some much is because there has been this shift in how we view ourselves."

In the recording attributed to Sterling recording and posted on the website TMZ, a male voice questions his girlfriend's association with minorities. TMZ reported the woman, V. Stiviano, is of black and Mexican descent.

The man asks Stiviano not to broadcast her association with black people or bring black people to games. The man specifically mentions Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson on the recording, saying, "Don't bring him to my games, OK?"

Obama said he's confident NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will address the matter. He said the NBA has "an awful lot of African American players, it's steeped in African American culture. And I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this."

Silver had said the NBA needs to confirm authenticity of the audio tape and interview both Sterling and the woman in the recording. He called the tape "disturbing and offensive" and promised to investigate quickly.

NBA probing alleged recording of Clippers owner

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Anger, frustration and calls for action echoed around the NBA on Saturday after an audio recording surfaced of a man identified as Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to games.

Everybody except for the embattled Clippers owner, who has a decades-long history of alleged discrimination and offensive behavior, seemed to have a response.

The league said it was investigating the recording posted on TMZ's website, calling the comments "disturbing and offensive."

President Barack Obama, asked to respond at a news conference with Malaysia's prime minister during Obama's visit to the country Sunday, called the reported remarks "incredibly offensive racist statements."

"I don't think I have to interpret those statements for you, they kind of speak for themselves," Obama said. "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything. You just let them talk. And that's what happened here."

Obama also expressed confidence the NBA would address the situation, and said the United States still wrestles with "the legacy of race and slavery and segregation."

"Obviously, the NBA is a league that is beloved by fans all across the country," Obama said. "It's got an awful lot of African-American players. It's steeped in African-American culture. And, I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this."

Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, a target of Sterling's remarks, said he wouldn't attend Clippers games as long as Sterling was the owner. Miami Heat star LeBron James asked new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to take aggressive measures, saying "there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league."

"Obviously, if the reports are true, it's unacceptable in our league," James said. "It doesn't matter, white, black or Hispanic - all across the races it's unacceptable. As the commissioner of our league, they have to make a stand. They have to be very aggressive with it. I don't know what it will be, but we can't have that in our league."

Silver spoke Saturday night in Memphis, Tenn., before the Grizzlies' game against Oklahoma City, repeating that the league finds the audio tape "disturbing and offensive" and that Sterling agreed to not attend the Clippers' game Sunday at Golden State.

"All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy, which is why I'm not yet prepared to discuss any potential sanctions against Donald Sterling," Silver said. "We will, however, move extraordinarily quickly in our investigation."

Silver said the NBA needs to confirm authenticity of the audio tape and interview both Sterling and the woman in the recording. The Clippers will be back in Los Angeles for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

"We do hope to have this wrapped up in the next few days," Silver said.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said players discussed boycotting Game 4 of their first-round playoff series during a 45-minute team meeting but quickly decided against it.

"I think the biggest statement we can make as men, not as black men, as men, is to stick together and show how strong we are as a group," Rivers said. "Not splinter. Not walk. It's easy to protest. The protest will be in our play."

Clippers President Andy Roeser said in a statement that the team did not know if the tape is legitimate or has been altered. He said the woman on the tape, identified by TMZ as V. Stiviano, "is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would `get even."'

Roeser also said the recording does not reflect Sterling's beliefs. He added that Sterling is "upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him" about Johnson, whom he called Sterling's friend.

In the recording posted on TMZ, the man questions his girlfriend's association with minorities. TMZ reported Stiviano, who is of black and Mexican descent, posted a picture of herself with Johnson on Instagram - which has since been removed.

The man asked Stiviano not to broadcast her association with black people or bring black people to games. The man specifically mentioned Johnson on the recording, saying "don't bring him to my games, OK?"

"I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner," Johnson responded on Twitter. He also said the alleged comments are "a black eye for the NBA" and said he felt bad that friends such as Rivers and Clippers point guard Chris Paul had to work for Sterling.

Paul released a statement through the players' union that said "this is a very serious issue which we will address aggressively." He also said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star guard who is the chairman of a search committee to find a new director for the union, would take a leading role to help players address the matter.

Paul and Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin declined further comment on the issue after the team's practice at the University of San Francisco. Other players were not made available as Rivers said he would speak for the team.

"A lot of guys voiced their opinions. None of them were happy about it," Rivers said. "This was a situation where we're trying to go after something very important for us, something that we've all dreamed about all our childhoods. Donald or anyone else had nothing to do with that dream, and we're not going to let anything get in the way of those dreams."

On TNT's halftime studio show Saturday, host Charles Barkley said "this is the first test of Adam Silver." He said Silver had to "suspend him and fine him immediately."

In Dallas, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said "I have plenty of opinions, just not going to share them. He fended off several inquiries before saying: "Obviously, if any business or entrepreneur says or does things that aren't congruent with what the organization is trying to convey, that's a problem. But it's not my problem."

Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who played for the Clippers from 1992-94, said of Sterling's comments: "My feeling would be the same, no matter if I was coaching, playing or a fan. There's no place for it."

Jacky Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, said the organization planned a protest outside Game 5 of the Clippers-Warriors series Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

Sterling, a real estate owner, bought the Clippers in 1981. He is the longest-tenured owner in the NBA since Lakers owner Jerry Buss died last year.

Sterling has been frequently criticized for his frugal operation of the Clippers, although in recent years he has spent heavily to add stars such as Paul and Rivers, who is in his first year as coach. Sterling also has been involved in several lawsuits over the years, including ones with accusations of discrimination.

In November 2009, Sterling agreed to pay $2.73 million to settle allegations by the government that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics and blacks and to families with children. The Justice Department sued Sterling in August 2006 for allegations of housing discrimination in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles.

In March 2011, Sterling won a lawsuit against former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor when a jury rejected the Hall of Famer's claim of age discrimination and harassment. Baylor, who was 76 at the time, had sought about $2 million after claiming he was forced out of the job he had held for 22 years. The team said Baylor left on his own and a jury awarded him nothing.

Sterling is a courtside fixture at Clippers home games. But he rarely visits the team's locker room at Staples Center, although he made an appearance in December 2012 after the Clippers won their 11th straight game, when he led an awkward locker room cheer.

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AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; AP Sports Writers Teresa M. Walker in Memphis, Tenn.; Beth Harris in Mesa, Ariz.; Schuyler Dixon in Dallas; Rick Freeman in New York; and Steve Reed in Charlotte, N.C., also contributed.

MacKinnon leads Avs to 4-3 OT win over Wild

DENVER (AP) Nathan MacKinnon scored 3:27 into overtime after P.A. Parenteau tied the game late in regulation, helping the Colorado Avalanche rally for a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night and a 3-2 lead in the first-round series.

MacKinnon poked the puck past Darcy Kuemper's glove with two defenders all over him. The rookie also had two assists.

Parenteau scored with 1:14 left after Avalanche coach Patrick Roy pulled goaltender Semyon Varlamov with 2:22 remaining. The strategy worked out yet again.

The series switches back to Minnesota for Game 6 on Monday.

Nick Holden and Cody McLeod also added goals for the Avalanche.

Kyle Brodziak, Zach Parise and Matt Moulson scored for the Wild. Two of Minnesota's goals came after a Colorado defenseman shattered their stick and had to play without one.

O's Davis headed to DL with oblique strain

BALTIMORE (AP) Orioles slugger Chris Davis will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique, a development that came as a disappointing surprise to the first baseman after he expressed confidence he would soon return from the injury.

Davis left Friday night's game against Kansas City after four innings. He received an MRI on Saturday, and the results indicated that rest would be the best course of action.

"A little bit worse than what we thought it was going to be," Davis said Saturday night. "It's kind of crazy because I don't feel terrible. I've never had anything like this before. I figured it would just be a few days and then we'd forget about it."

Davis led the majors last season with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs. He has only two homers this season, and it will be a while before he gets to add to that total.

"I guess the DL is the best choice right now," he said. "Hopefully things will go well and I'll be able to bounce back quickly."

Earlier in the day, Davis expressed confidence that he wouldn't miss more than a few games.

"It's definitely disappointing, frustrating," he said. "I do a lot to try and take care of my body and prevent injuries. You play this game long enough eventually you're going to run into something like this. But I'm going to stay positive."

It is uncertain when the injury occurred, although Davis suspected the muscles in his left side might have been weakened when he dived for groundballs in Boston and Toronto before the Orioles returned home to face the Royals.

On Friday night, Davis winced after hitting a flyball in the third inning. He played another inning before manager Buck Showalter removed him from the game.

Now, it appears as if Showalter will have to adjust to being without Davis for at least the next two weeks.

"It's something we think will take the DL period at a minimum, so we'll start with that (Sunday)," the manager said.

Right fielder Nick Markakis was in the starting lineup at first base Saturday night. Before batting practice, three Baltimore coaches worked with Markakis at the position, going over throws and positioning.

The Orioles recalled infielder Jemile Weeks from Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday to provide an extra bat after optioning reliever T.J. McFarland to Norfolk late Friday night.

Utility infielder Ryan Flaherty also is expected to get time at first base. Flaherty has been playing third base while the Orioles wait for Manny Machado to come off the disabled list following offseason knee surgery.

Asked if subbing for Davis, an All-Star last season, will be imposing, Flaherty replied, "I got stuck trying to do that for Manny the first couple weeks."

Machado could play in Class A Frederick or Norfolk on Monday. It appears the Minnesota series on May 2-4 could be the most likely time for him to return to the Orioles, Showalter confirmed.

Logano's late move gets him victory at Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Joey Logano took advantage of a three-car duel by sneaking below the trio to take the lead Saturday night, outrunning former champions Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keslowski to win at Richmond International Raceway.

Logano's first career victory on the 0.75-mile oval came seemingly from nowhere after a restart with nine laps to go. He sat fourth and on the outside with Kenseth leading, Dale Earnhardt Jr. alongside in second and Gordon on the inside in third, in prime position to sneak underneath the leader and grab the victory.

Instead, when Gordon, Kenseth and Keselowski raced in a triangle jockeying for position, Logano went underneath all three with three laps to go and then held off Gordon for his fifth career victory.

James, Heat top Bobcats 98-85 for 3-0 series lead

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) LeBron James had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and the Miami Heat defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 98-85 Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first round series.

Dwyane Wade added 17 points for the Heat, who can close out the best-of-seven Monday night.

James, who was an efficient 10 of 18 from the field, pushed his record to 18-0 against the Bobcats since joining the Heat in 2010. Miami has won 19 straight overall against Charlotte.

Al Jefferson had 20 points for the Bobcats, who are still searching for the first postseason win in franchise history.

After trailing most of the first half, the Heat took a 42-40 lead on a 3-pointer by Mario Chalmers. Miami closed the half on a 16-4 run.

Wizards' Nene suspended for 1 game

NEW YORK (AP) Washington Wizards forward Nene has been suspended by the NBA for Game 4 of the team's first-round series against the Chicago Bulls for head-butting and grabbing Jimmy Butler around the neck with both hands and attempting to throw him down.

Nene received two technical fouls and was ejected from the game for the incident, which occurred with 8:28 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Wizards' 100-97 loss to the Bulls on Friday night.

Nene will serve his suspension when the Wizards host Chicago in Game 4 on Sunday. The Wizards lead the series 2-1.

Northwestern players vote on union question

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Northwestern football players will file into an on-campus hall adjacent to their home stadium to cast secret ballots Friday on whether to form the nation's first union for college athletes.

Just don't expect results any time soon.

After the vote, the ballot boxes will be sealed for weeks or months - perhaps even years - as an appeal by the Evanston-based university runs its course.

The full National Labor Relations Board agreed Thursday to hear the school's appeal of a regional director's March ruling that the players are employees and as such can unionize, triggering a rule that the ballots be impounded.

Last month's decision by the Chicago-area head of the NLRB, Peter Ohr, sent shockwaves through the world of college sports, prompting sharp criticism from Northwestern and college athletic departments nationwide.

There have been no raucous rallies or demonstrations on the 19,000-student campus just north of Chicago, only official notices about the vote posted near the Wildcats' locker room. There has been plenty of lobbying in the form private meetings, calls and emails, and everyone from coach Pat Fitzgerald to NCAA President Mark Emmert has called for a "no" vote.

The 76 scholarship football players eligible to cast ballots know the spotlight is on them, said Ramogi Huma, president of the College Athletes Players Association, which would represent the players at the bargaining table if the pro-union side prevails.

Some of the pressure they feel stems from dire Northwestern claims about the consequences of unionization, he said.

"They're looking at anything and everything to invoke fear in the players," said Huma, a former UCLA linebacker and a longtime critic of the NCAA. "We feel like some of the tactics are scare tactics."

Northwestern, which is required by law to let the vote proceed, denies applying undue pressure on players to vote "no." It did send a 21-page question-and-answer document to the players outlining the problems with forming a union. In it, Northwestern said it hoped unionization would not lead to player strikes in the event of a dispute - but that if it did, replacement players could be brought in to cross picket lines.

"The tension created in such a situation would be unprecedented and not in anyone's best interest," it said.

The school also said divisions could emerge between scholarship players eligible for union membership and walk-ons, coaches and staff.

"There is no question but that the presence of a union would add tension in terms of creating an `us' versus `them' feeling between the players it would represent and those it would not," it said.

Northwestern did not release the document publicly, but The Associated Press obtained a copy and Paul Kennedy, a spokesman for the university's athletic department, verified its authenticity. Alan K. Cubbage, the school's vice president for university relations, dismissed Huma's suggestion that the school was using scare tactics

"I would say strongly that Northwestern has conducted an election campaign ... according to the procedures and the rules of the NLRB," he said.

When outgoing Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter announced in January that he would lead the drive to unionize, helped by CAPA and the United Steelworkers, he said nearly all of his fellow teammates were behind him.

Safety Davion Fleming said his teammates have slowly begun to understand that the issues aren't clear cut.

"When the union talk initially started, it wasn't very clear what was going on," said Fleming, who can't vote because his eligibility is exhausted. "I think they didn't understand the implications."

Huma said Northwestern seemed to be intentionally misconstruing the facts, and said the school's "subliminal messages" included the suggestion that a "yes" vote could throw their amateur status into question.

"No one is taking about striking," he said. "They are trying to rattle players."

Trevor Siemian, who is expected to replace Colter as the starting quarterback, has said he will vote against a union.

"I'll say there's a significant number of guys on the team who feel the same as me," Siemian said this month.

Fleming also said he doesn't support unionization, though he said the drive has prompted a much-needed debate about conditions for players. After weeks of both sides vying for votes, he said he detects a common sentiment among players.

"They just want this to be over - and to focus on football," he said.

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AP Sports Writer Jay Cohen contributed to this report.

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Follow Michael Tarm at https://twitter.com/mtarm

Pacers on the ropes after another loss to Hawks

ATLANTA (AP) The Indiana Pacers are questioning their toughness and dealing with speculation about a lineup change.

Hardly what's expected from a No. 1 seed.

On the ropes again at the hands of the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks, the Pacers must figure out a way to recapture the form that carried them to the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Better do it quickly.

Led by Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver and taking advantage of a missed call, the Hawks reclaimed the upper hand in the series with a 98-85 victory Thursday night. They're up 2-1 and looking to take a commanding lead in Game 4 at Atlanta on Saturday.

"We have a dream of winning it all," Pacers star Paul George said. "We've got be much more tougher than that. I don't think it's there. Our toughness is questionable right now."

Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 21 points, and Luis Scola added 17 in another stellar performance off the bench. But George was held to 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting, George Hill made only 1-of-11 from the field, and 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert continually missed shots close to the hoop.

Hibbert has scored only 18 points in the first three games on 7-of-25 shooting. Coach Frank Vogel was asked if he planned to make a change, especially given the Pacers had more success with their big man on the bench.

"We're going to look at everything," Vogel said. "He has not played well in the series to this point. But we still have confidence in Roy Hibbert."

Hibbert's teammates can't figure out what's going on.

"I don't know," David West said. "We've all tried to talk to him, keep him confident, you know. But he's hurting. He wants to help us. He wants to play well. He's hard on himself. But we've got to figure a way to get him involved. He's got to figure a way to get himself involved."

Atlanta, on the other hand, is playing with confidence and swagger - and even got a crucial call to go its way.

With the Hawks up 84-78 and the shot clock nearing zero, Teague flung in a wild 3-pointer from the wing after the officials missed him stepping out of bounds.

"I knew it was a 3," Teague said. "Hopefully they just count it."

They did, even after a video review. Referee Tony Brothers explained that officials took another look at the play merely to determine if Teague was behind the 3-point line when he shot. There wasn't any doubt about that, and under NBA rules the only other thing the officials could look at was the position of Teague's feet when the ball left his hand. He was clearly in bounds when he shot.

"A lot of times those plays that you draw up don't work the way that you want them to," Korver said. "You improvise and sometimes you throw stuff up as the shot clock's coming down and it goes in."

Korver clinched the victory with the last of his four treys, putting Atlanta up 92-80 with 1:41 remaining. That was only appropriate, since the Hawks made 10 3s in the second half after going 2-of-16 from long range in the first two quarters.

Teague scored 22 points and Korver added 20 for the Hawks, who took control in the third quarter - the decisive period in all three games - and pulled away down the stretch.

The Hawks stunned the Pacers in Game 1 at Indianapolis and led by as many as 11 in the first half of Game 2 before the Pacers dominated after halftime on the way to a series-tying victory.

This time, the Hawks surged to the lead in the third - just as they did in the series opener. Korver knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner off a fast break, prompting the Pacers to call a timeout. They needed another after Teague soared for a thunderous dunk off an Indiana turnover, pushing Atlanta to a 10-point lead, matching its biggest of the game to that point.

The Hawks went to the final quarter riding a wave of momentum when Lou Williams stepped back and swished a 3 with just 1.2 seconds left in the third, pushing Atlanta ahead 67-58.

Now, it's time for Indiana to step up.

"We're not going to panic," West said. "We came down here to get one game, and that's what we're going to continue to do."

NOTES: The Hawks improved to 15-2 against Indiana at Philips Arena since December 2006. ... Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field. ... DeMarre Carroll scored 18 points for Atlanta. ... Stephenson had a double-double with 13 rebounds.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

LA Kings avoid elimination in 6-3 win over Sharks

LOS ANGELES (AP) Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik scored two goals apiece, and the Los Angeles Kings emphatically avoided first-round playoff elimination with a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 on Thursday night.

Captain Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist, and Tyler Toffoli scored on his 22nd birthday during a three-goal second period as the Kings dodged a series sweep with a one-sided win that could plant a seed of doubt in their dominant California rivals' minds.

Game 5 is Saturday in San Jose.

Jonathan Quick made 36 saves for Los Angeles, which chased Sharks goalie Antti Niemi on Gaborik's beautiful goal early in the third period.

James Sheppard, Matt Nieto and Joe Pavelski scored for the Sharks, who couldn't finish off the second playoff sweep in franchise history.

Clippers beat Warriors 98-96 for 2-1 series lead

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Blake Griffin scored 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds, DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 22 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted the Golden State Warriors 98-96 on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.

The frontcourt tandem bullied and bruised the Warriors inside to power the Clippers ahead by 18 points in the third quarter. And they did just enough late to silence a rocking, gold-shirt wearing sellout crowd of 19,596 to regain home-court advantage.

Klay Thompson scored 26 points, and Stephen Curry had 16 points and 15 assists to rally the Warriors back. But Curry forced a contested, step-back 3-pointer over Chris Paul in the final seconds to seal the Clippers' victory.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Sunday in Oakland.

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

Wild even series at 2 with 2-1 win vs. Avalanche

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Charlie Coyle scored his third goal of the series for Minnesota, and the Wild dominated the Colorado Avalanche for the second straight game on their way to a 2-1 win Thursday night that evened the first-round matchup at two apiece.

The Wild outshot the Avalanche a stunning 32-12, establishing a franchise record for fewest allowed by Minnesota. Colorado has been outshot 78-34 in the last two games, with Ryan O'Reilly getting the only goal.

Jared Spurgeon used a slap shot to get a puck past Colorado's Semyon Varlamov just 3:47 into the game, much quicker than the 65:08 the Wild needed to score the last time. Game 5 will be in Denver on Saturday night.

Solarte's 4 RBIs help Yanks top Red Sox 14-5

BOSTON (AP) Yangervis Solarte drove in four runs, Mark Teixeira hit his first homer of the season and the New York Yankees capitalized on five Boston errors to beat the Red Sox 14-5 on Thursday night.

CC Sabathia (3-2) struck out eight while allowing two runs on three hits in six innings as the Yankees rebounded from a 5-1 loss Wednesday night in which starter Michael Pineda was ejected in the second inning for having pine tar on his neck.

Pineda was suspended for 10 games on Thursday and said he wouldn't appeal. He will miss two starts.

Neither team played a clean game Thursday. The Red Sox walked 12 - five by knuckleball throwing utilityman Mike Carp in the ninth - hit one and had three wild pitches and a passed ball. They also allowed three stolen bases, all in the third inning.

The Yankees walked six and hit a batter and had one wild pitch, one passed ball and an error.

The costliest stretch for the Red Sox was the first three innings when they fell behind 7-0. They made four errors, allowed three stolen bases and had a wild pitch and passed ball.

Felix Doubront (1-3) retired the first two batters of the game before Carlos Beltran reached on an error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts and scored on a double by Alfonso Soriano.

The Yankees added three runs in the second. Brett Gardner led off with a walk before second baseman Dustin Pedroia dropped third baseman Brock Holt's throw for an error, allowing Brian Roberts to reach first. Solarte then doubled in two runs, took third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.

New York had another three-run inning in the third.

Teixeira started the inning with a homer before Gardner reached on Doubront's error. Gardner stole second and third and scored on Brian Roberts' single. Roberts stole second then made it 7-0 when Jacoby Ellsbury's single drove him in. Ellsbury took second on center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.'s error but was stranded.

Boston cut the lead to 7-2 in the third on a walk to Pedroia, a double by Shane Victorino, a sacrifice fly by David Ortiz and an RBI double by Johnny Gomes.

New York added five runs in the seventh when all nine batters against Craig Breslow reached base, including Beltran on a forceout at second. Solarte and Derek Jeter had two-run singles and Ellsbury doubled in a run.

Boston cut the lead to 12-5 in the bottom of the seventh, scoring on a double by Bogaerts, a sacrifice fly and a passed ball by Brian McCann.

Carp made his major league pitching debut in the ninth and allowed one run on five walks.

NOTES: Victorino made his 2014 debut after being activated from the disabled list before the game. He had been sidelined with a hamstring injury and the flu. ... The last time Boston made five errors was Apr. 28, 2001, against the Kansas City Royals. ... Meghan Duggan, the captain of the U.S. women's hockey team that won the silver medal this year, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Jake Peavy (0-0) pitches for the Red Sox on Friday night when they open a three-game series in Toronto. Mark Buehrle (4-0) pitches for the Blue Jays. The Yankees return home for a three-game series against the Angels with Hiroki Kuroda (2-1) pitching against C.J. Wilson (2-2) for Los Angeles. ... David Ortiz set a major league record with his 1,644th game as a designated hitter. He broke the mark held by Harold Baines.

Bruins beat Red Wings 3-2 in OT, up 3-1 in series

DETROIT (AP) Jarome Iginla scored with 6:28 left in overtime, lifting the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night in Game 4 of their first-round series.

The Presidents' Trophy-winning and defending Eastern Conference champions can advance with a win against Detroit on Saturday afternoon at home.

Detroit took a 2-0 lead early in the second period after Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall each had a goal and an assist.

Torey Krug scored midway through the second period to pull the Bruins within a goal. Milan Lucic tied it at 2 early in the third period.

Boston's Tuukka Rask stopped 35 shots. Detroit's Jonas Gustavsson made 37 saves in a surprise start Thursday night, filling in for Jimmy Howard, who was out with the flu.

Grizzlies blow big lead, beat Thunder 98-95 in OT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Mike Conley scored five of his 20 points in overtime, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 98-95 Thursday night in taking a 2-1 lead in their first-round Western Conference series.

Game 4 is Saturday night in Memphis.

The Grizzlies won their second straight overtime game after blowing a fourth-quarter lead. This time, they led by 17 before going cold for most of the final 7:43 of regulation. Courtney Lee clinched the win, hitting three of four free throws in the final 10.9 seconds of OT.

NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 30 for the Thunder. But Durant missed all eight 3-point attempts and was 10 of 27. Westbrook was 9 of 26.

Zach Randolph scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds for Memphis.

Buffalo Bills cheerleaders suspend operations

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Pack up the pom-poms in Buffalo, because the Bills will be playing without the support of their official cheerleaders this year.

Stephanie Mateczun, whose company manages the Buffalo Jills cheerleading squad, said Thursday she has suspended operations through at least the end of the season. The decision was made two days after five former Jills filed a lawsuit complaining they worked hundreds of hours for free, and were subjected to groping and sexual comments.

The civil action was filed in state Supreme Court and seeks unspecified back pay and legal fees. It names Mateczun's company, Stejon Productions Corp., the Bills, and the Jills' former manager, Citadel Communications Co., as defendants. Stejon took over managing the cheerleaders in 2011.

Mateczun is in the process of hiring legal representation, and declined further comment.

The Bills have been made aware of the Jills' decision to suspend operations, but otherwise declined comment.

Lawyer Frank Dolce, who represents the five cheerleaders, said the decision to suspend operations won't affect his case because it addresses past complaints.

Dolce, however, did question Mateczun's motives, saying her decision to suspend the squad was unnecessary.

"If they cease operations, they will blame the lawsuit for the destruction of the Jills, when that was not intended at all," Dolce said, noting there is not much money at stake in the lawsuit.

"We love the Bills. We love the Jills," he said. "We do not love the travesty of its management that has occurred over the last few years."

According to the Buffalo Jills Alumni website, the squad was formed in 1967, eight years after the Bills were established as founding members of the American Football League. In 1986, the Bills relinquished managing the cheerleaders to private companies.

Cheerleaders have launched similar suits against the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals.

The case against the Bills claims the Jills are wrongly classified as independent contractors and subjected to policies that violate the state's $8 per hour minimum wage law and other workplace rules.

The Jills aren't paid for games or practices and have to make 20-35 appearances, most of which are unpaid, at community and charity events each season, the lawsuit said. On top of that, they have to pay $650 for their uniforms and are not reimbursed for travel or other expenses, the cheerleaders said.

All five cheerleaders said they had to take a "jiggle test" so that Mateczun, Stejon's president, could assess their physiques. And Mateczun, they said, controlled everything from their hair and nail polish color to what they could post on Facebook.

The time and expense, as well as rules governing their personal lives, far exceeded what they signed on for, the women said.

Dolce and his clients hope their legal action leads to policy changes within the Bills' organization that ensure future cheerleaders are paid and treated better.

"A decision to disband the Jills as an entity is a tremendous mistake for community spirit," Dolce said. "We do not feel bad that Stejon Productions has ceased operations. We think that's a good thing. We just hope the Bills don't trivialize the Jills because of the poor management of them."

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Associated Press writer Carolyn Thompson contributed to this report.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Nova to undergo season-ending elbow surgery

BOSTON (AP) New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova has decided to have season-ending Tommy John surgery for a partially torn elbow ligament.

The operation is scheduled for next Tuesday by Dr. James Andrews.

"I think it's the right decision," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Thursday night's game against the Boston Red Sox. "I haven't really seen anyone rehab a partially torn ligament and have success. And it seems what it does is (it) just delays the inevitable that's going to happen and instead of maybe missing a year and a little bit of time, you miss a couple of years."

Nova left last Saturday's 16-1 loss at Tampa Bay in the fifth inning after allowing eight runs and eight hits, including four homers. An MRI revealed the injury and he was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He was transferred Thursday to the 60-day DL.

"Obviously it's difficult to go through the operation and rehab," Girardi said, "but a lot of times you come back stronger."

In four games this year, Nova was 2-2 with an 8.27 ERA. Now in his fifth major league season, all with the Yankees, he is 40-22 with a 4.20 ERA.

In other moves Thursday, the Yankees promoted right-hand pitchers Bruce Billings and Shane Greene from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned infielder Dean Anna and right-hand pitcher Preston Claiborne to the Triple-A team.

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