National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Thunder eliminate Clippers in Game 6

LOS ANGELES -- Kevin Durant had 39 points and 16 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 104-98 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 on Thursday night.

Russell Westbrook overcame a slow start to finish with 19 points and 12 assists as the Thunder reached the conference finals for the third time in four years, closing out Los Angeles with two straight wins.

Two days after the Thunder erased a late 13-point deficit to win Game 5, the Thunder rallied from an early 16-point deficit and maintained their lead throughout the fourth quarter, shaking off any memories of their Game 4 collapse.

Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists, and Blake Griffin scored 22 points as the Clippers' exhausting postseason ended in disappointment.

Durant hit five 3-pointers and Reggie Jackson added 14 points for Oklahoma City, which will face the Spurs in a rematch of the West's last two champions. The series begins Monday night in San Antonio.

J.J. Redick scored 16 points for the Clippers, who followed their epic collapse in Game 5 with a disappointing second half at home. Despite a raucous home crowd, Los Angeles won't play for its first trip to a conference finals.

Perhaps the cumulative pressure of two playoff series amid the distractions of owner Donald Sterling's lifetime ban finally cost the Clippers, who couldn't keep up late.

Or perhaps Durant is just that good.

The Clippers were in control for most of the first three quarters. But the league MVP kept the Thunder close and eventually ignited a 30-10 run stretching across the final two quarters. Westbrook, who didn't have a field goal until late in the third quarter, contributed 10 points in the fourth as the Thunder comfortably maintained their lead.

The fans' frustration boiled over after an offensive foul call against Griffin with 3:11 to play. During the ensuing timeout, fans threw at least two drinks at referee Ed Malloy, causing a slight delay while the floor was cleaned.

Griffin fouled out with 2:27 left, but the Clippers got within four points in the final minute before Westbrook and Durant hit free throws to close it out.

The loss ended a tumultuous postseason for the Clippers, who managed to win a seven-game series with Golden State in the first round even while Sterling was banned from the NBA for life for racist comments exposed during that series.

Oklahoma City smoothly secured its spot in the conference finals after these teams traded spectacular collapses in the last two games.

The Thunder blew a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 4 at Staples Center, but the Clippers responded by blowing a 13-point lead in the final four minutes in Oklahoma City. The blame for the Clippers' collapse fell mostly on Paul, who made two turnovers and a touch foul on Westbrook for the winning free throws in the final 14 seconds.

The Clippers showed little carry-over from their collapse early in Game 6, while the Thunder appeared a step slow and disorganized, falling behind by 16 points in the first half. Durant and Westbrook combined to miss their first nine shots.

NOTES: Serge Ibaka scored six points before going to the locker room in the third quarter with an injured left calf. ... The NBA fined Rivers $25,000 on Thursday for his criticism of the officiating in Game 5. "I thought it was deserved," Rivers said. ... Matt Damon, Rihanna, Tony Romo, Oscar De La Hoya, UFC President Dana White, former Clippers guard Eric Gordon and Masters champion Bubba Watson attended the game. Jack Nicholson watched from a seat near the Clippers' bench. The archetypal Lakers fan also has occasionally attended Clippers games over the years.

Pacers clinch series with 93-80 win over Wizards

WASHINGTON (AP) David West scored 29 points, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Washington Wizards 93-80 Thursday night to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight year.

Lance Stephenson added 17 points and eight assists for the Pacers, who won the series 4-2 over the Wizards. They will host Game 1 against the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat on Sunday. Indiana took the Heat to seven games in the conference finals a year ago.

The Wizards took a one-point lead with 8 1/2 minutes to play, but they scored only two field goals the rest of the way as the Pacers closed with a 20-6 run.

Marcin Gortat scored 19 points for the Wizards, who ended their best playoff run in decades.

Jeter pulled early, Yankees hold off Mets 1-0

NEW YORK (AP) Derek Jeter watched the last four outs of his final regular-season Subway Series game from the bench, pulled off the field during a double switch in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday night as the New York Yankees held off the Mets 1-0.

Alfonso Soriano's RBI double in the seventh broke up a scoreless duel at Citi Field between pitchers making their major league debuts. Rookie reliever Dellin Betances struck out six in a row as the Yankees earned a split of this year's series between crosstown rivals with their second straight shutout.

David Robertson got David Wright to ground out to Jeter's replacement at shortstop, Brendan Ryan, with runners at the corners to end the eighth.

Jeter left after an 0-for-4 night. The Yankees captain came out when Robertson entered to face Wright. Robertson pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save.

Doc Rivers welcomes $25,000 fine for ripping refs

LOS ANGELES (AP) Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes his $25,000 fine for criticizing officials is money well spent.

In fact, two people on the Clippers' front-office staff volunteered to help Rivers pay the bill after he ripped a key call in Los Angeles' 105-104 loss in Oklahoma City on Tuesday in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series.

"My assistant, Ann Marie, got two calls from employees downtown that wanted to do a payroll deduct of $100 each to help me pay for the fine, which we obviously denied," Rivers said with a grin.

The NBA levied the fine several hours before the Clippers faced playoff elimination in Game 6 against Oklahoma City at Staples Center on Thursday.

"I thought it was deserved," Rivers said. "It's one of the rare times you actually earned one. I don't mind that."

Rivers still hasn't changed his opinion of a last-minute call that abetted the Thunder's comeback from a 13-point deficit in the final 3:53 of Game 5. The veteran coach criticized the officials' reasoning while claiming the Clippers "were robbed" - and he hasn't backed down from that assessment.

The Clippers had a two-point lead with 14 seconds left when Chris Paul made a turnover while attempting to draw a shooting foul. Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson then drove the lane and went up for a shot while defended by Matt Barnes, who appeared to hit Jackson's hand.

No foul was called as the ball flew away from Jackson and out of bounds with 11.3 seconds left. But officials awarded the ball to the Thunder and upheld their call on video replay.

NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn issued a statement Wednesday affirming the officials' call.

"In order to reverse the call made on the court, there has to be `clear and conclusive' evidence," Thorn's statement said. "Since no replay provided such evidence, the play correctly stood as called with the Thunder retaining possession."

Rivers was irate on the sideline, repeatedly screaming "That's our ball!" at the officials. Oklahoma City rallied to win on three free throws by Russell Westbrook and another turnover by Paul in the final seconds.

Paul was downcast and discouraged when the Clippers returned to Los Angeles, but the All-Star point guard perked up in the hours before Game 6, Rivers said.

"The guys who know him here, you know he's very intense, very aware," Rivers said of Paul. "Sometimes you wish he wasn't. ... I thought today he was so much better. He's a gamer. He'll be ready."

Aaron Hernandez charged in 2 more shooting deaths

BOSTON (AP) Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez ambushed and gunned down two men after a chance encounter inside a nightclub nearly two years ago, prosecutors said Thursday in an indictment that places the gun in his hands weeks before he signed a five-year, $40 million contract and went on to catch 51 passes and score five touchdowns during the 2012 NFL season.

Hernandez was already jailed in connection with a man's 2013 shooting death and was indicted anew on two counts of first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the July 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. A third man was wounded in that attack.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the killing last year of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, whose body was found in an industrial area near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough. He was released by the Patriots last summer after being arrested in Lloyd's death, and his attorneys said he looks forward to proving his innocence of the new charges.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley would not say whether prosecutors suspected a link between the two cases beyond their accusations of Hernandez's involvement.

According to Conley, the night of the 2012 shootings unfolded when Hernandez and an associate went into the Cure Lounge in Boston at about the same time as the other men. The prosecutor would not describe their encounter but said there was no evidence Hernandez knew the victims.

After the men left, Hernandez followed in an SUV and pulled up alongside them as they were stopped at a red light in Boston's South End, Conley said.

"Aaron Hernandez fired a .38-caliber revolver multiple times from the driver's side of his vehicle into the passenger's side of the victim's vehicle," killing de Abreu and Furtado, Conley said.

The case remained unsolved for months, but following Lloyd's killing, Conley said, the SUV was found in Bristol, Connecticut, where Hernandez grew up, and the gun used in the double shooting was recovered from a person with ties to Hernandez. Previous court documents said the vehicle was found at the home of Hernandez's uncle.

A grand jury heard testimony from more than 24 witnesses and examined more than 80 pieces of evidence before returning the indictments, Conley said. He said Hernandez's notoriety played no role in the investigation.

"This was never about Aaron Hernandez," he said. "This case was about two victims who were stopped, ambushed and senselessly murdered on the streets they called home."

Hernandez is looking forward to his day in court, said his attorneys, Charles Rankin and James Sultan.

"It is one thing to make allegations at a press conference and another thing to prove them in a courtroom," they said in a statement.

The Patriots had no comment.

De Abreu and Furtado were close friends who attended school and served in the military together in Cape Verde before coming to the United States, said attorney William Kennedy, who represents their families in a $6 million civil lawsuit against Hernandez.

"They were two young men who had come to this country to make a better life for themselves ... and they were cut down in really the prime of their life," he said.

Hernandez's cousin Tanya Singleton was charged with criminal contempt of court. She was given immunity to testify before the grand jury but refused, Conley said.

Singleton's attorney, E. Peter Parker, called her prosecution "aggressive and unnecessary." He said Singleton, who is being treated for breast cancer, has suffered a number of health setbacks since being jailed more than six months ago.

Hernandez was expected to be arraigned on the new charges in Suffolk Superior Court next week. He is expected to be tried first in the Lloyd case.

His lawyers filed a motion Thursday to dismiss the first-degree murder indictment against him in the Lloyd slaying, saying prosecutors hadn't shown enough evidence to support it.

Also Thursday, a man described by prosecutors as Hernandez's "right-hand man," Ernest Wallace, pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in Lloyd's death. He had previously denied an accessory charge.

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AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen contributed.

Ducks, LA Kings expect dramatic finish in Game 7

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) For the past few years, the Anaheim Ducks have watched enviously while the Los Angeles Kings evolved into phenomenal playoff performers and Stanley Cup champions.

The Ducks want that reputation as much as they want the Cup.

In Game 7 of their second-round series Friday night, they're on the perfect stage to supplant their rivals and to demonstrate they're a title contender, not just a regular-season power.

"We knew what kind of team they were," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. "We knew things weren't going to be easy, and they weren't going to be quick."

After five straight wins in elimination games this spring, the Kings won't surrender their postseason supremacy. The Ducks will have to take it at Honda Center in a fitting finale to the Freeway Faceoff.

"When you have our trust and experience with each other, it puts games like this in perspective," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We've been through a lot worse. We know what has to be done."

The Kings have pushed another playoff opponent to the limit, and the Ducks have one last chance to push back. After a series filled with tight games, dramatic momentum swings and improbable heroes, Los Angeles and Anaheim will finish their first postseason series with one game to earn a trip to the Western Conference finals against Chicago.

"You say you want to approach this like any other game, but no one believes that," Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "This is an exciting time. These are situations that you grow up wanting to be involved in."

The top-seeded Ducks have more at stake than extending beloved forward Teemu Selanne's career. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau's team had the best regular season in franchise history, but will have little to show for it without one more win over the Kings, who have developed a preternatural poise in tough situations. Los Angeles improved to 6-1 in elimination games over the last two years with its 2-1 win in Game 6 on Wednesday.

"We just have the mentality that nothing is going to stop us," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We're just a close-knit team that wants nothing more than to be another Stanley Cup champion."

The Kings already won a Game 7 in this postseason, making a merciless rally from three games down to stun San Jose in the first round. Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter cast his team as the underdog throughout this series, but ramped up the rhetoric immediately after Game 6.

"I think the two rivals, especially the one team that had 116 points, probably would prefer not to play a Game 7," Sutter said. "But (Los Angeles) was prepared to play a Game 7 because we knew that they're a tough team to beat, and if we could get to seven, that meant that we'd done good things."

Boudreau could use a breakthrough along with his team. The coach is 1-4 in Game 7s with Washington and Anaheim, losing four of those at home and never reaching a conference final.

"I think you learn more every year you're in this situation," Boudreau said. "My Game 7 record wouldn't indicate that I've learned anything, but I tend to believe that I have. ... I am due, I think."

The Ducks lost a Game 7 in the first round last year, dropping the final two games of their series against lower-seeded Detroit. That loss to the Red Wings has stuck with the Ducks, whose team workout gear bore the slogan "Unfinished Business" all season.

"I hope guys learned a lot," Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "That's terrible feeling when you have that opportunity in front of you and you don't take it."

Selanne isn't the only Finn whose NHL career might hinge on the result. Center Saku Koivu is contemplating retirement after a lengthy career in Montreal and Anaheim.

Game 7 will conclude an eventful series that seems certain to boost hockey's growing popularity in Southern California. The road team won the first four games before the home teams rallied for two victories.

Kings forwards Mike Richards, Marian Gaborik and Justin Williams are all 5-0 in a Game 7 in their NHL careers, while Jeff Carter is 3-0. Williams, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, has scored five Game 7 goals.

The goalie matchup features the same stark contrast that defined the past three games - ever since Boudreau chose 20-year-old John Gibson over veteran Jonas Hiller. Less than two weeks after Gibson was stopping pucks in the minors, he's in a winner-take-all game against Jonathan Quick, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner and U.S. Olympian who has never lost a Game 7.

Gibson doesn't have Quick's experience, but Boudreau knows there's no other way to get it.

"There's not a person in either room that hasn't dreamed about what (happens) if they're successful, and the opportunities that await them," Boudreau said.

Mets honor Jeter with Subway-themed gifts

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Mets honored Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter before his final regular-season Subway Series game Thursday night, presenting him with a Subway-themed gift.

Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon gave Jeter a No. 2 subway-tile mosaic featuring Mets and Yankees colors. The team also gave the Yankees captain a cake by the "Cake Boss" with a No. 7 and No. 4 train and Jeter's number.

Wilpon, on behalf of the Mets Foundation, made a $22,222.22 donation to Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation.

Jeter had a little fun with the donation after Wilpon fumbled a bit with the amount, asking if the check was for "$222.22."

Wilpon replied, "No. No. No."

Jeter has played 87 regular-season games against the Mets heading into the finale of this year's Subway Series matchup at Citi Field. He announced before the start of the season that this would be his last year as a player.

He hit .368 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs against the Mets going into the wrapup game.

Jeter was the MVP of the 2000 World Series when the Yankees beat the Mets in five games.

"It doesn't get any bigger than playing in the World Series against them. I think that was something I think the whole city was pulling for," he said.

Jeter was on the disabled list last year when Mariano Rivera was honored by the Mets. Told that the former Yankees closer struggled on the night of his tribute, Jeter drew laughs.

"Well, I won't blow a save. I know that much," he said.

NHL suspends Sabres F Konopka 20 games

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Sabres forward Zenon Konopka accepted responsibility for testing positive for a banned substance that led to the NHL's decision to suspend him for 20 games Thursday.

Without revealing what the substance was, Konopka defended himself by saying it was an ingredient found in an over-the-counter product and not used as a performance enhancer.

"I take full responsibility for this error. As a professional athlete, I am responsible for what I put in my body, and I am to blame for this mistake," Konopka said in a statement he released through the NHL Players' Association. "Unfortunately, I did not take the necessary care to ensure that the product did not contain a prohibited substance."

In announcing the suspension for violating the league's performance enhancing substances program, the NHL did not reveal what substance was discovered in the player's system or when the test was conducted.

The Sabres have been off for the past month, since they missed the playoffs after finishing the season with the NHL's worst record.

Konopka's future was already uncertain in Buffalo because he is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in July. The NHL said the 20-game ban will be enforced once the player signs a new contract.

The Sabres claimed the 33-year-old journeyman off waivers in January after he was released by Minnesota. He had an assist in 23 games in Buffalo, and missed a few weeks of action because of a back injury.

Overall, he has 12 goals and 18 assists in 346 games split between eight teams over nine NHL seasons.

Kelly vows to beat cancer, preserve Bills' future

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) The recurrence of cancer isn't tempering Jim Kelly's resolve to keep the Bills in Buffalo.

Citing a family motto of "Staying Kelly tough," the Hall of Fame quarterback vowed Thursday he will beat cancer and preserve his former team's long-term future at the same time.

"(Kelly tough) means standing up and giving it your all no matter what comes your way, and sticking to your guns when it comes to what you believe in," Kelly said. "For me, it means staying tough to beat cancer. And I want everyone in Buffalo to join me in being Kelly tough to keep the Bills right where they belong: Here in western New York."

The statement was released through his company, Jim Kelly Inc., and comes at an uncertain time for both Kelly and the Bills.

Kelly has spent the past six weeks receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatments for sinus cancer.

"The cancer has been rough. It's hurt really bad," he said. "I'm not out of the woods by any means, but we think the treatments are going well, and I'm going to beat this!"

This is Kelly's second bout with cancer in less than a year. In June, he had surgery to remove cancerous cells from his upper jaw. A follow-up test in March revealed that the cancer had returned.

The diagnosis came shortly before Bills owner Ralph Wilson died, leading to questions about the franchise's future. The Bills will be put on the market and could be sold by as early as October.

A strict non-relocation clause essentially ties the Bills to playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium through the 2019 season. There remain concerns a new owner could relocate the team after that.

Kelly remains interested in joining a prospective ownership group.

Kelly's brother, Dan, said he's had several conversations with at least one candidate, New York City developer Donald Trump.

Beyond that, Jim Kelly urged fans show their support and convince prospective owners to keep the team in the region.

"The Buffalo Bills are a part of life here. They brought me to Buffalo and I love this community so much that I stayed here to raise my family," he said. "Now is the time. It's absolutely critical to come out and show your support for the team this season to show the new owners how crazy they'd be to take the team elsewhere."

Though valued at $870 million, the Bills' price tag is expected to be higher because it's rare for NFL franchise's to go on the market. There is also anticipated to be more than a few bidders, which has the potential of driving the price higher.

One of prospective ownership groups is expected to include Toronto-based businessmen Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and Edward Rogers, deputy chairman of Rogers Communications. Their group is regarded by Buffalo-area leaders as one that would be interested in buying the team and moving it to Toronto.

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

Pac-12 title game headed to new 49ers stadium

The Pac-12 is moving its conference championship game to the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara for the next three years.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, 49ers owner Jed York and team President Paraag Marathe announced the plans Thursday outside Levi's Stadium. The first three conference championships had been held at the home of the division champion with the best conference record - Oregon in 2011, Stanford in 2012 and Arizona State last year.

Scott said the conference didn't go through a bidding process for the title game now but did when it expanded the league with Colorado and Utah before the 2011 season, eventually settling on a home-hosted site. He mentioned Seattle, Glendale, Arizona, Denver and Los Angeles as possibilities at that time.

Scott said the "excitement and demand" surrounding the opening of the $1.2 billion stadium, located about 45 miles south of downtown San Francisco, is a unique opportunity for the conference. He compared it to the high level of attention the opulent Dallas Cowboys stadium received.

The commissioner also cited the 68,500-seat venue's central location in the conference, the luxurious amenities and the corporate dollars in Silicon Valley as reasons to take the championship game to the neutral site. The winner will be in line for a Rose Bowl berth or a spot in the new four-team College Football Playoff.

"The importance of this game continues to increase. And with this new agreement, we're going to be playing on one of the most exciting stages in all of football," Scott told reporters outside the stadium in Santa Clara.

As part of the conference's previously outlined television agreement with FOX and ESPN, the game will alternate being played on Friday night and Saturday. FOX will broadcast the game this season on Dec. 5, ESPN will show it on a Saturday next year and FOX will televise the game on a Friday night again in 2016.

The Pac-12 is following a model similar to that of other major conferences that hold championship games. The SEC, Big Ten and ACC stage their title games at neutral sites. The Big 12 no longer has a championship game.

Attendance has been good at two of the three Pac-12 title games, with nearby Stanford being the exception - partly due to rain, a rematch of the game between Stanford and UCLA played six days prior in Los Angeles and a 5 p.m. Friday kickoff that gridlocked traffic on the San Francisco Peninsula.

"A lot of events conspired against us," Scott said in a conference call with reporters.

Marathe, the 49ers president, said he is not concerned about traffic for the Friday night games, though the Santa Clara site has not been tested with a big crowd yet.

In previous years, Scott noted the challenges of staging the championship game at a host school when the site - not to mention the teams - often isn't known until a week before the game.

He also had acknowledged concern from some school presidents about the travel demands that fans would face if teams in the far-flung conference - which stretches from Washington to Arizona - would have to travel to Santa Clara, which is about 15 miles from the Stanford campus and just across the bay from Berkeley. But having a neutral location also has big benefits, Scott said, notably giving the conference time to plan logistics and sell tickets locally.

For the 49ers and the city, it's a major victory as they have been trying to fill dates at the new stadium.

The NFL already has awarded the site the 50th Super Bowl to be played in February 2016. The stadium will open with a Major League Soccer game on Aug. 2 between San Jose and Seattle.

It also will serve as the new home for the upgraded Fight Hunger Bowl, which had been played at AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of Major League Baseball's Giants. And Cal will host Oregon in a regular-season game at Levi's Stadium on Oct. 24.

York said about 80 percent of the 49ers' ticket base has some Pac-12 connection, and he expects the conference championship game to be a sellout.

"When we were selling suites, when we were selling seats," York said, "this was hands down the No. 1 event people were asking about."

UConn coach Ollie says he's not looking for job

STORRS, Conn. (AP) UConn coach Kevin Ollie is listening to job offers, but isn't looking to leave Connecticut.

The 41-year-old coach, who spent 13 years as an NBA journeyman before returning to his alma mater, has been linked to several NBA job openings, including with the Los Angeles Lakers.

He hasn't been soliciting job offers after leading UConn to the NCAA title in April, he said.

"I love this university," Ollie said at the New York Athletic Club. "I am not looking for another job. Of course, you listen to different things. I got two ears, I'm going to listen, but I'm not running out there soliciting any other job. I want to be here at the University of Connecticut."

Ollie was at the club on Wednesday with UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma to pick up Winged Foot Awards for winning national titles.

He said he's hoping to work out a new contract with athletic director Warde Manuel. His current deal, worth just under $7 million, runs through the end of the 2017-18 season. He made just over $1.6 million, with bonuses for the NCAA tournament run, last season.

"We are talking and hopefully we can get together once all this quiets down," he said. "Have a nice talk and hopefully get everything situated."

Ollie was asked what he tells recruits about his future.

"I'm going to be the UConn coach, nothing's changed," he said.

LA Kings force Game 7, beating Anaheim Ducks 2-1

LOS ANGELES (AP) Trevor Lewis scored his fourth goal of the postseason, Jonathan Quick made 21 saves, and the Los Angeles Kings forced a seventh game in the Freeway Faceoff series with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 on Wednesday night.

Jake Muzzin scored an early goal for the Kings, who ended their three-game skid with another sturdy defensive effort at home.

Los Angeles improved to 6-1 in postseason elimination games over the last two seasons while beating Ducks goalie John Gibson for the first time in his six-game NHL career.

Kyle Palmieri scored and Gibson stopped 21 shots for the top-seeded Ducks, who missed the chance to clinch their first trip to the Western Conference finals since 2007.

Game 7 is Friday night at Honda Center.

The Southern California rivals' scintillating first postseason meeting is the NHL's only second-round series still going. The winner faces the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, who will have at least four days off before the conference finals open.

The Kings again proved their postseason credentials are unassailable after winning a Stanley Cup title in 2012 and returning to the conference finals last year. Responding to Anaheim's three straight wins with calm, intelligent defense, Los Angeles forced its second seven-game series of this postseason after rallying from an 0-3 deficit in the first round to stun San Jose.

Four days after Gibson made his NHL playoff debut at Staples Center by shutting out the Kings to even the series, the 20-year-old goalie had a rougher time in his third game in the Ducks' net. Lewis scored on an eminently stoppable shot, the puck trickling between Gibson's pads in the second period.

Quick finally outplayed his young rival, and the Kings forced Game 7 despite getting just one goal from Jeff Carter and none from Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, Slava Voynov or Jarret Stoll in the series.

The Kings came out for their fifth elimination game of the spring with the same fire they possessed in their first four, setting the pace and outhitting the Ducks early. Los Angeles took the lead midway through the first period when Kopitar slid a pass through the slot to Muzzin, who hit a mostly open net for the defenseman's third goal of the postseason, his first in 11 games.

Kopitar got his seventh assist of the postseason and extended his overall NHL playoff scoring lead, while Marian Gaborik scored his 13th point in 11 games with the other assist.

Gaborik nearly scored his sixth goal of the series later in the period, but the puck hopped over his stick after Gibson ventured far from his net and banked a clearing attempt off teammate Ryan Getzlaf's leg.

Lewis doubled the Kings' lead with an innocent-looking wrist shot that sneaked between Gibson's legs for his first bad goal of the postseason. Lewis, a grinding forward, scored just six times in the entire regular season.

The Ducks scored 1:38 later. Nick Bonino jumped on Tanner Pearson's turnover and got it to Palmieri, who wrapped it around Quick's net for his first playoff goal since Anaheim's first-round opener.

Anaheim had two power plays in the third period, but the unit that scored five goals in the previous four games couldn't connect.

NOTES: F Kyle Clifford returned to the Kings' lineup after a one-game benching, replacing Jordan Nolan. ... The Kings improved to 5-0 in the postseason when leading after two periods. ... Kopitar has points in 12 of the Kings' 13 playoff games, but hasn't scored a goal in this series.

Spurs beat Blazers, back in West finals

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard each scored 22 points, and the San Antonio Spurs overcame an injury to Tony Parker to close out the Western Conference semifinals with a 104-82 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

Patty Mills scored 18 points and Tim Duncan had 16 points and eight rebounds for San Antonio, which had four blowout victories in the five-game series.

It's the third straight conference finals appearance for San Antonio, which lost a heartbreaking seven-game series to the Miami Heat in last season's NBA Finals.

San Antonio, which had the NBA's best record, will await the winner of the series between Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Thunder have a 3-2 lead.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points for Portland, while Damian Lillard added 17 points and 10 assists.

The Trail Blazers' bench contributed only seven points compared to 40 by the Spurs' reserves.

After playing with various injuries throughout last postseason, the Spurs had been healthy in these playoffs until Wednesday.

Parker, who missed 13 games during the regular season, exited in the first half with tightness in his left hamstring.

After returning to the court with 9:46 remaining in the second quarter, Parker left the game exactly a minute later. He headed back to the locker room followed closely by San Antonio general manager R.C. Buford and team physician, Dr. Paul Saenz.

Parker was scoreless in 10 minutes, missing his only two shots as Portland pushed to keep the All-Star point guard out of the paint.

Manu Ginobili handled most of the ball-handling duties with Parker out.

Even with Parker slowed, the Spurs still had another good start thanks to their hustle on the boards.

Tiago Splitter had two offensive rebounds in the opening 3 minutes. The Spurs, who were averaging 9.3 offensive rebounds in the postseason, had five in the first quarter alone.

The Blazers went on a 9-0 run once Splitter exited, with Aldridge benefiting the most from the big man's absence. He hit a pair of jumpers over Boris Diaw for his first points of the game to spark the run.

Mills provided a huge spark even before Parker's exit.

The energetic Aussie sprinted for a layup after tipping away C.J. McCollum's dribble in the backcourt. A possession later, Mills blocked Lillard's 3-pointer, igniting a fast break that led to Green's first 3 of the game.

Green had the strongest effort of the postseason, going 4 for 6 on 3s.

San Antonio had four 3s in the second quarter, with Leonard's second extending its lead to 43-30 with 4:47 remaining in the half.

NOTES: Portland G Mo Williams (groin) missed his third straight game. After scoring six points on 3-for-11 shooting in the series opener, Williams exited Game 2 after nine minutes with a strained groin and has not played since. . Meb Keflezighi, the first American man to win the Boston Marathon in 31 years, was in attendance. . Ginobili slapped the scorer's table twice in celebration after Green's jumper rattled in with 6 minutes remaining. Green has struggled shooting throughout the postseason. .. Mills rushed down the court to hit a 3-pointer after receiving a push by Spurs assistant coach Sean Marks after the diminutive guard leapt into the team's bench to save a defensive rebound. . Spurs coach Gregg Popovich screamed at Duncan for not providing weak-side help for Diaw on a dunk by Aldridge with 6 minutes left in the first half. After initially shaking his head and frowning at Popovich, Duncan raised his hand, nodded his head and said "My fault. My fault." Duncan later pointed to the sky after making a straightaway, 18-foot jumper with 5:24 remaining in the third quarter.

Steve Kerr spurns Knicks, agrees to coach Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The Golden State Warriors are taking another chance on a television analyst and former NBA guard who has never been a head coach at any level.

The Warriors won the bidding war with the New York Knicks for Steve Kerr on Wednesday, hiring him away from the TNT broadcast table to be their coach. Kerr agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal with Golden State, said his agent, Mike Tannenbaum.

The Warriors confirmed the agreement Wednesday night and said they will introduce Kerr at a news conference after the contract is complete.

Kerr had been in talks with the Knicks about becoming their coach since Phil Jackson took over as team president in March. He won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago and another two under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.

Kerr told NBA.com, which first reported the agreement, that going to Golden State "just felt like the right move on many levels." He said his daughter plays volleyball nearby at the University of California, Berkeley, his oldest son is in college in San Diego and his youngest son is a junior in high school.

Kerr called the offer to coach the Knicks a "tantalizing" opportunity. He said it was "agonizing" to say no to Jackson "because of what I think of him and what he's done for my career."

"I told Phil, `I think I have to pursue this other opportunity,"' Kerr told the website. "He gave me his blessing. He said. `Go look at it, and do what was in my heart."'

Kerr, 48, said last month that he has wanted to coach since stepping down after three seasons as general manager of the Phoenix Suns in June 2010. And while the lure of rebuilding a flagship franchise with his mentor at Madison Square Garden looked appealing, the chance to coach a Western Conference contender in his home state proved to be too much.

Kerr replaces Mark Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors on May 6 after three seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances - mostly due to a sour relationship between him and team management.

The Warriors job is certainly a far more attractive one than when owner Joe Lacob hired Jackson away from the ESPN/ABC broadcast table in June 2011. The Warriors are coming off a 51-win season and consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in 20 years, and they've surrounded star Stephen Curry with a talented young core.

Kerr became the hottest coaching candidate on the market after Phil Jackson started courting him to the Knicks. Kerr also has close ties to Lacob, his son, assistant GM Kirk Lacob, and Warriors President Rick Welts, who worked in Phoenix's front office during Kerr's time as Suns general manager.

Given the tension that built between Jackson and Warriors management last season - and the back-and-forth that played out between them in the media after Jackson was dismissed - having an established relationship with Kerr was a big reason Lacob wanted him as coach.

Lacob lauded Kerr as a candidate last week and defended the decision to change coaches - which has been debated at great lengths in the basketball-united Bay Area. He compared the decision to how he built his fortune as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.

Lacob said there's a different person to lead a business at different stages of development, and the Warriors have gone from a "startup" company to an organization looking to maximize its output.

"Or in this case win an NBA championship," he said. "And we just felt overall we needed a different person to go forward and get to the next level."

And while Kerr has no coaching experience, he played 15 seasons and - also similar to Mark Jackson - has been around some of the most successful sideline leaders.

Kerr has credited Phil Jackson and Tex Winter for most of his basketball knowledge. Winter taught the triangle offense - which Kerr would not commit to running with the Warriors - and was a longtime assistant for Jackson, who used the system to win an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach of the Bulls and Lakers.

Golden State also spoke with former Orlando Magic and Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy during its search. Van Gundy agreed to a $35 million, five-year deal with Detroit on Tuesday after the Pistons also gave him control of basketball operations - something the Warriors wouldn't do with general manager Bob Myers and Kirk Lacob in place.

The Warriors met with Kerr again on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, where Kerr was calling the Thunder-Clippers game. And they apparently made a big enough impression - and contract offer - to land the man they wanted all along.

Ortiz goes deep twice again as Red Sox beat Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) David Ortiz homered twice for the second straight game and the Boston Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 9-4 on Wednesday night.

Big Papi went 3 for 5 with two RBIs, one night after a four-hit performance against his former team. Both of his homeruns - off Kevin Correia (1-5) in the third and Caleb Theilbar in the fifth - traveled more than 400 feet into the right-field upper deck at Target Field, where he's batting .528 (28 of 53) in 13 career games.

It was more than enough for Felix Doubront (2-3), who allowed a run on seven hits in 6 1-3 innings and retired nine straight at one point. Doubront hadn't won since April 3 at Baltimore, his first start of the season.

Ortiz, who also doubled in the first inning, moved into sole possession of third place on Boston's all-time homers list (384) and recorded his 43rd career multi-homer game, 41 of which have come with the Red Sox.

Even the Minnesota fans - many of whom likely remember some of the 58 homers he hit with the Twins from 1997-2002 - appreciated Ortiz's display of power, politely standing and clapping as he rounded the bases after his second homer put Boston up 6-1 in the fifth.

Trevor Plouffe hit his second homer of the year for Minnesota, a two-run shot in the ninth.

Joe Mauer's sacrifice fly in the third scored Eduardo Escobar. Minnesota added an unearned run in the eighth after a throwing error by Burke Badenhop from the mound allowed Chris Parmelee to reach third, He eventually scored on Eduardo Nunez's RBI single.

Grady Sizemore had two hits and a pair of RBIs; Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks each drove in a run for Boston. A.J. Pierzynski added a two-run double in the ninth.

Notes: Ortiz's 442 homers moved him into a tie with Dave Kingman for 39th place on baseball's all-time home run list. . The Twins reinstated OF Oswaldo Arcia from the 15-day DL and optioned him to Triple-A Rochester. Arcia missed 33 games with a right wrist strain before playing a 12-game rehab assignment in Rochester. ... Friday will be a big day for injured Twins players in Rochester. Manager Ron Gardenhire said OF Josh Willingham (broken wrist) will start a rehab assignment, and RHP Mike Pelfrey (groin) will start on Friday for the Red Wings. . The teams will play the rubber third game of their series Thursday when Clay Buchholz (2-3) - who is 3-1 in seven career starts against Minnesota - takes the mound for Boston. The Twins' Phil Hughes (4-1) will try for his fifth straight win

Tanaka pitches 4-hitter, Yankees beat Mets 4-0

NEW YORK (AP) Masahiro Tanaka pitched a four-hitter for his first major league shutout and the New York Yankees got home runs from Yangervis Solarte and Mark Teixeira in a 4-0 victory over the Mets on Wednesday night.

Brian Roberts tripled twice and the Yankees finally beat their crosstown rivals after dropping six straight.

The Mets took all four Subway Series games last year and won two slugfests in the Bronx this week. Back home at spacious Citi Field, however, their bats went silent again.

Tanaka (6-0) had plenty to do with that, overwhelming the Mets with his vast assortment of pitches while spoiling Rafael Montero's big league debut. Montero (0-1), the latest to arrive in a line of touted Mets pitching prospects, threw six competitive innings but was no match for the $155 million rookie from Japan.

"In some ways, this is a David-and-Goliath matchup. One guy's never lost and the other guy's never pitched," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said before the game. "So, it's interesting. We'll see how many rocks Rafael's got."

Not enough.

Tanaka is 34-0 combined in Japan and North America over his last 42 regular-season starts. He did lose Game 6 of the Japan Series last year - before earning a save in Game 7.

The right-hander struck out eight and walked none, throwing 76 of 114 pitches for strikes during his first complete game in the majors. He made it look easy most of the night in giving the Yankees' taxed bullpen a much-needed break.

Tanaka even singled in the ninth inning for his first major league hit - giving him one more than Mets pitchers have in 64 at-bats this season.

Montero (0-1) allowed three runs and five hits. He struck out three and walked two after getting called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to step into the rotation slot previously held by Jenrry Mejia, who was moved to the bullpen.

The slim right-hander fanned Derek Jeter in the third for his first strikeout, but was hurt by his defense an inning earlier. With a runner on first and Tanaka on deck, left fielder Eric Young Jr. made an ill-advised dive in trying to catch Roberts' sinking liner with two outs.

The ball got past Young and went all the way to the wall, allowing Solarte to score from first base as Roberts cruised into third with his first triple.

Solarte, the AL's leading hitter at the beginning of the day, hit a solo homer to right in the fourth. A pleasant surprise as the replacement for suspended star Alex Rodriguez at third base, Solarte has 23 RBIs in his rookie season, tops on the team.

Teixeira sent Montero's second pitch of the sixth to right-center for his eighth home run of the season and seventh in his last 15 games.

Jeter's infield single, a dribbler that barely traveled 20 feet out in front of home plate, scored Brett Gardner in the seventh.

NOTES: Yankees RF Carlos Beltran (right elbow) was still unavailable but reserve outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (back) was feeling better, manager Joe Girardi said. ... Injured LHP CC Sabathia had his sore right knee drained and the Yankees hope he can return as soon as his 15-day stint on the disabled list is up, Girardi said. Sabathia was examined by Dr. James Andrews and is receiving treatment. ... The Mets plan to commemorate Jeter's final regular-season Subway Series game Thursday. ... The previous three starting pitchers to make their major league debuts for the Mets did not allow a run: Zack Wheeler, Collin McHugh and Matt Harvey. ... A resurgent Ruben Tejada started at shortstop again over Wilmer Flores. "You've got to ride that wave," manager Terry Collins said. "This kid has really put his mind to producing." Collins said his coaches told him Tejada was "too hot to take out."

Panthers' Hardy released from jail on $17,000 bond

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was released from jail on $17,000 bond Wednesday, one day after being arrested on charges of assault on a female and communicating threats.

Hardy left jail wearing sweatpants and a black tank top. He did not speak to reporters.

Charlotte Mecklenburg County Judge Rebecca Thorne Tin called Hardy a potential threat and ordered him not to have any contact with the accuser and to attend three Alcoholic Anonymous meetings per week.

In the arrest warrant, the 24-year-old accuser alleges Hardy threw her on a pile of guns and threatened to kill her.

She filed a protective restraining order against Hardy on Wednesday, saying he attacked her in his apartment and "picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in the bathroom" and that she "has bruises from head to toe."

She also says in the filing that the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Hardy pulled her by the hair and "was screaming he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats." She says Hardy choked her with both hands around her throat before picking her up and throwing her onto a couch "covered with assault rifles and/or shotguns" and "bragged that the guns were loaded."

"He threatened to shoot me if I went to the media or reported his assault to anyone," she says.

She says Hardy has approximately 25 to 30 firearms in his downtown Charlotte apartment, including an AK-47. She says she eventually got out of the apartment, where she ran into Charlotte Mecklenburg police.

Hardy's attorney, Chris Fialko, refuted those allegations Wednesday.

He argued in court - and later outside the courtroom - that Hardy and Sammy Curtis, his administrative assistant, were attacked by the accuser, and that it was Hardy who made the 911 call to police at 4:18 a.m. Tuesday.

The accuser's attorney, Stephen Goodwin, said his client was held down by Curtis and prevented from calling police.

Goodwin called Fialko's claim that Hardy was the one attacked by the accuser false.

"The physical evidence doesn't even come close to matching that," Goodwin said.

There were conflicting reports from 911 calls obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday night from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.

On a call made by Hardy, the NFL player can be heard saying, "My assistant is trying to restrain her and she's trying to break free and hit me with her heel. I'm literally running around the table right now."

Hardy also mentions in the call that he thinks the accuser is "on coke or something. I don't know. She's been drinking. I don't know what she's on, man."

In another call by someone at the player's condominium, an unidentified woman tells the operator that the woman had been beaten for more than 30 minutes.

"He's beating her (butt) in there. Some girl's getting her (butt) beat upstairs and I heard it. And I seen it. He's beating her (butt) right now."

Goodwin said Hardy and the accuser, who the lawyer said works as a waitress in Charlotte, were in a relationship and previously lived together. They were not living together at the time of the incident, which occurred at an "after hours" party.

Goodwin said he doesn't know what sparked the fight, but Tin stated in the courtroom that both parties were drinking alcohol.

Judge Tin said the court was "very concerned" about the bruises on the accuser's neck and back.

Hardy spent Tuesday night in jail and appeared in court Wednesday wearing an orange jump suit.

The incident began early Tuesday morning. Police said patrol officers responded to a domestic violence assault call at 4:18 a.m.

Hardy tied a franchise record with 15 sacks last season for the league's second-ranked defense. He had 11 sacks in 2012. That production convinced the salary-cap strapped Panthers to make Hardy their franchise player at $13.116 million for one season. Hardy signed the team's offer sheet in March.

The Panthers said in a statement Tuesday they were "very disappointed" to learn of the allegations and planned to investigate.

Hardy's NFL agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was in the courtroom but declined comment. Hardy's next court date is June 27.

The Panthers organization is particularly sensitive to domestic violence issues.

In 2001, Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth was found guilty of conspiring to murder his girlfriend, Cherica Adams, who was carrying his child. Carruth was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison.

Hardy's court appearance occurred on the same day the Panthers hosted a breakfast at their stadium for "Men For Change," a group that serves victims of domestic violence.

Canadiens beat Bruins 3-1 in Game 7 to advance

BOSTON (AP) Carey Price stopped 29 shots to help Montreal beat the Boston Bruins 3-1 in Game 7 on Wednesday night and put the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals.

Montreal will play the New York Rangers for a spot in the Stanley Cup finals.

Dale Weise, Max Pacioretty and Daniel Briere scored for the Canadiens, who advanced to the conference finals for just the second time since winning the most recent of their NHL-record 24 Stanley Cup titles in 1993.

Jarome Iginla scored for Boston. Tuukka Rask made 15 saves for the Bruins, who had the NHL's best record in the regular season.

Heat rally past Nets to East finals, 96-94

MIAMI (AP) Ray Allen's 3-pointer with 32 seconds left highlighted a huge Miami rally, and the Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference finals by topping the Brooklyn Nets 96-94 on Wednesday night.

The Heat won the series 4-1, and will face either Indiana or Washington in the East finals starting next week.

Miami had not led since late in the second quarter before Allen's shot from the left wing put the Heat up 93-91. Shaun Livingston tried to answer with 24 seconds left, missing in the lane and Chris Bosh controlled the rebound for Miami.

Allen made a pair of free throws with 21.6 seconds to play, capping a 12-0 run that erased an eight-point deficit.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored 28 for the Heat. Joe Johnson scored 34 for the Nets, including a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left that got his team within one.

NBA: Refs correctly stuck to call in Oklahoma City

NEW YORK (AP) The NBA says because there was no "clear and conclusive" evidence on instant replay that their call on a ball out of bounds was wrong, referees correctly stuck to their original ruling late in Oklahoma City's victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.

The Clippers believed the Thunder's Reggie Jackson had knocked the ball out of bounds with 11.3 seconds remaining, but officials ruled it Oklahoma City ball. After going to replay, the call stood, and the Thunder rallied to win the game.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was livid, saying the Clippers were "robbed," but NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn says Wednesday in a statement that: "In order to reverse the call made on the court, there has to be `clear and conclusive' evidence. Since no replay provided such evidence, the play correctly stood as called with the Thunder retaining possession."

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