Update on the latest in sports:


Associated Press

Posted on April 15, 2012 at 3:32 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 17 at 4:00 AM


Heat thump Bobcats...Hawks rip Magic...Knicks catch Sixers

UNDATED (AP) — It was a good night for the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder as they try to secure No. 1 seeds in the NBA playoffs.

The Heat improved to 25-4 at home while also climbing within 3 ½ games of Chicago for the NBA's Eastern Conference lead.

LeBron James had 19 points and nine rebounds as the Heat handed Charlotte its 15th consecutive loss, 105-82. Chris Bosh added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Heat, who led by 22 before resting James the entire fourth quarter.

Miami again played without guard Dwyane (dwayn) Wade, who sat out with a sprained right ankle after scoring 21 points in Thursday's overtime loss against Chicago. Miami is 11-1 without Wade this season.

Oklahoma City's lead in the Western Conference is back to a full game over San Antonio following the Thunder's 115-89 win over Sacramento. Kevin Durant finished with 29 points and nine rebounds, while Russell Westbrook chipped in 22 points.

Elsewhere in the NBA, The Los Angeles Lakers were 103-97 winners over Denver as Andrew Bynum provided 30 points and eight rebounds. Matt Barnes added a season-high 24 points for the Lakers, who clinched a playoff berth without coach Mike Brown or injured guard Kobe Bryant. Brown left Staples Center shortly before tipoff for undisclosed personal reasons.

Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and nine rebounds as Dallas eked out a 97-94 win at Portland. Delonte West added 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Mavericks, who blew most of a 16-point lead in the final four minutes.

Jannero Pargo drained five three-pointers and finished with 17 points as Atlanta ripped Orlando 109-81. The Hawks shot 50 percent from the field, hit 14 three-pointers and led by as many as 35 in beating the Magic for the sixth straight time.

Danny Granger scored 18 points and Indiana wrapped up a playoff berth by whipping Cleveland 102-83. Tyler Hansbrough scored 16 points and George Hill added 15 and seven assists in the Pacers' third straight win since Hill became the starting point guard.

Kris Humphries had 18 points and 13 rebounds in New Jersey's 95-89 win over Philadelphia. The 76ers are 11-19 since a 20-9 start.

New York's 103-65 laugher against Washington leaves the Knicks tied with the 76ers for the seventh seed in the East. JR Smith finished with 23 points, five more than teammates Baron Davis, Carmelo Anthony and Steve Novak.

Boston tops the Atlantic Division by three games over the Sixers and Knicks after the Celtics were beaten by Toronto 84-79. DeMar DeRozan scored 13 of his game-high 22 points while the Raptors were outscoring the Celtics 27-11 in the third quarter.

Drew Gooden dropped in 26 points as Milwaukee knocked off Detroit 113-97. The Bucks are two games behind Philadelphia and New York in the battle for the last two Eastern Conference playoff berths.

Just one game separates Phoenix and Houston for the last Western Conference playoff berth after Marcin Gortat and Steve Nash each had double doubles in the Suns' 112-105 win over the Rockets. Gortat finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Nash delivered 18 points and 10 assists

Eric Gordon scored 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter as New Orleans topped Utah 96-85.


Kings arena deal falls apart...Benson cornering pro sports market in the Big Easy

NEW YORK (AP) — The Kings' future in Sacramento is uncertain again after a tentative deal for a new arena fell apart.

Sacramento Mayor and former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson says the deal with the Maloof family is dead as we know it.

The Maloofs have balked at terms of the agreement reached last month. Johnson now isn't sure they want to stay in Sacramento after meeting with them Friday and hearing their list of concerns he said hadn't previously been disclosed.

Meanwhile, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson has agreed to purchase the NBA's New Orleans Hornets, who had been under league control since December 2010. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press the purchase price is $338 million.

The sale of the team to Benson has to be approved by the NBA's Board of Governors.


Kings dump Canucks again...Flyers in command...Devils open strong...Wings get even

UNDATED (AP) — It took the Vancouver Canucks six months to earn the top seed in the NHL's Western Conference, and just three days to drop the first two games of their opening-round series.

Dustin Brown scored two short-handed goals and the Los Angeles Kings grabbed a 2-0 series lead by downing the Canucks 4-2 at Vancouver. Jarret Stoll notched the eventual game-winner and Jonathan Quick turned back 46 shots for the Kings, who host Game 3 on Sunday.

Like the Kings, the Philadelphia Flyers are heading home after taking the first two games of their opening-round series at Pittsburgh.

Two nights after falling behind 3-0, the Flyers spotted the Penguins a 2-0 lead before Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier (koo-TOOR'-ee-ay) each recorded hat tricks to lead an 8-5 victory. Giroux also had three assists, one coming on Jaromir Jagr's (YAH'-roh-meer YAH'-gurz) tiebreaking goal midway through the third period.

Game 3 of the series is Sunday.

Detroit's 3-2 win at Nashville evens that series at a game apiece. Johan Franzen provided the eventual game-winner midway through the contest after Ian White and Cory Emmerton tallied in the first period. Jimmy Howard turned back 24 shots for the Red Wings, who host Game 3 on Sunday.

New Jersey opened its playoff schedule with a 3-2 win at Florida, giving Martin Brodeur (broh-DOOR') his 100th postseason win. Patrik Elias (EH'-lee-ahsh), Dainius Zubrus (ZOO'-bruhs) and Ryan Carter scored in a span of just over 8 minutes in the opening period for the Devils, spoiling the Panthers' first playoff action in a dozen years.

Game 2 is Sunday in Florida.


Cain baffles Bucs...A-Rod ties Junior as Yanks extend winning streak

UNDATED (AP) — Matt Cain signed a six-year, $127.5 million contract with the San Francisco Giants less than two weeks ago. He showed his value today by throwing the first complete-game one-hitter of the season.

A sixth-inning single by James McDonald stood between Cain and a perfect game as the Giants beat Pittsburgh 5-0. Cain also struck out 11 and walked none.

Aubrey Huff homered in helping the Giants win their home opener. Buster Posey hit an RBI double in his first regular-season game at AT&T Park since his season-ending collision at the plate May 25.

Also in the National League, Jayson Werth slapped a walk-off single in the 13th inning to lift Washington past Cincinnati 2-1. Jordan Zimmermann allowed just a run and three hits in seven innings before the Nationals improved to 6-2, their best eight-game start since moving to Washington.

Jason Bay hit a two-run homer and Scott Hairston added a solo shot, both off Cliff Lee, to lead the New York Mets past Philadelphia 5-2. R.A. Dickey allowed nine hits but only one run while striking out seven in seven innings.

Florida pulled out a 5-4 win over Houston on Gaby Sanchez's RBI double in the bottom of the 11th. Miami native J.D. Martinez hit the first home run in the ballpark, a two-run shot for the Astros to tie it 4-4 in the eighth.

Brian McCann hit a three-run homer and Dan Uggla (UHG'-lah) added a broken bat single that snapped an 8-8 tie in Atlanta's 10-8 verdict over Milwaukee. McCann equaled a career high with four hits and drove in four runs.

The Chicago Cubs ripped St. Louis 9-5 as Ian Stewart belted a three-run homer in the first inning before Bryan LeHair's grand slam put the Cubs ahead 8-0 in the second. The Cubs have scored 17 runs the last two games after totaling 19 runs in the first six.

Todd Helton doubled home the tiebreaking run in the eighth and finished with three RBIs as Colorado outscored Arizona 7-6. Helton finished with three hits, including a two-run single that tied it at 6 in the fourth inning.

The Los Angeles Dodgers blew an 8-3 lead before Andre Ethier (EE'-thee-ur) worked out a bases-loaded walk with two out in the bottom of the ninth to give L.A. a 9-8 win over the Padres. Aaron Harang gave up a leadoff walk just before striking out his next nine batters to set a Dodgers record.

Over to the American League, where the New York Yankees opened their home schedule with a 5-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Angels. Alex Rodriguez homered, Nick Swisher hit a three-run double and Hiroki Kuroda (hih-ROH'-kee kuh-ROH'-dah) pitched into the ninth inning of the Yankees' fourth straight win.

Rodriguez now has 630 career home runs, tying him with Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth on the all-time list and putting him within 30 of Willie Mays. Kuroda scattered five hits and was lifted following a leadoff single in the ninth.

Matt Harrison allowed seven hits in eight innings as Texas beat Minnesota 4-1. Ian Kinsler homered and Elvis Andrus (AN'-droos) had three hits to support Harrison's second win.

Cleveland erupted for seven runs in the first inning of an 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals this afternoon. Michael Brantley had a pair of hits during a first-inning rally in which the Indians scored more times than they had in any of their first five games.

Josh Beckett pitched eight strong innings just before the Boston Red Sox exploded for eight runs to beat Tampa Bay 12-2. Kevin Youkilis (YOO'-kih-lihs) and David Ortiz drove in three runs, and Adrian Gonzalez and Kelly Shoppach (SHAHP'-ak) had three hits to help the Red Sox win their eighth straight home opener on the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

Seven homers were hit in Baltimore's 7-5 win at Toronto, but the key blow was Wilson Betimit's (BET'-ih-meets) two-run single in the eighth inning. Robert Andino, Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold went deep for the Orioles, while Edwin Encarnacion (ehn-kahr-nah-see-OHN'), Yunel (yoo-NEHL') Escobar, Kelly Johnson and Colby Rasmus went deep for the Blue Jays.

Oakland was a 4-0 winner at Seattle behind Bartolo Colon, who limited the Mariners to three hits in seven shutout innings. Jemile Weeks hit a solo homer with two out in the ninth to cap the scoring.


Marlins return home amid controversy

MIAMI (AP) — The Marlins hope the healing process continues tonight when they hosted the Houston Astros. It's Miami's first home game since Ozzie Guillen's (GEE'-ehnz) now-infamous Time magazine interview in which he expressed his admiration for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Guillen has apologized but won't be in the dugout this weekend. He's in the middle of a five-game club-imposed suspension


Truex earns pole

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. has captured the pole for Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Matt Kenseth finished second in qualifying, just ahead of Roush teammate and series points leader Greg Biffle.

Jack Roush has won eight of 22 Cup races at Texas.


WASHINGTON (AP) — London Fletcher has agreed to a two-year deal that keeps the 36-year-old linebacker on the Washington Redskins. Fletcher has been the anchor of the Redskins' defense for five seasons and has never missed a game in his NFL career, having played in 224 straight since debuting with the St. Louis Rams in 1998.

Also in the NFL, the Denver Broncos have released cornerback Andre' Goodman in a move that's been expected ever since they signed free agent cornerback Tracy Porter last month.

And former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf has been formally charged with four felonies. He's accused of breaking into an acquaintance's home to steal prescription painkillers, then robbing a second home two days after being released from jail.


Petrino won't appeal and his mistress is put on leave

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has notified the university he won't appeal his firing nor will he seek any of the $18 million buyout that was part of his contract.

Petrino was fired Tuesday for failing to disclose his personal relationship with football staffer Jessica Dorrell (dor-EHL') and withholding other information from Long. Petrino hired Dorrell days before the April 1 motorcycle accident with her that led to his downfall.


Beal and Drummond are one and done

UNDATED (AP) — Florida guard Bradley Beal and Connecticut center Andre Drummond are turning pro after one season of college basketball.

Beal averaged 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists and was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference choice. He's expected to be one of the first five players picked in June's NBA draft.

Drummond averaged 10 points for the Huskies and led the team in rebounding at 7.6 per game.

His announcement comes just days after UConn's leading scorer, Jeremy Lamb, announced that he's leaving early for the NBA.

In other college basketball news, Johnny Jones is leaving North Texas to become head coach at LSU. Jones played for LSU in a Final Four in 1981 for then-coach Dale Brown, and was one of Brown's assistants with LSU's 1986 Final Four squad.

And Missouri says Alex Oriakhi (ohr-ee-AH'-kee) is leaving Connecticut for the Tigers. Oriakhi helped the Huskies win last year's NCAA title and has averaged 7.2 points and 6.8 rebounds as a collegian.


Round 2 at Harbour Town

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Colt Knost has a two-stroke lead over Carl Pettersson at the midway point of the PGA's RBC Heritage. Knost had been tied for the lead before firing a 6-under-par 66 that included three birdies in a four-hole stretch, putting him 9-under through 36 holes. Two-time RBC Heritage winner Boo Weekley and Harris English were another shot off the lead at 6 under.


Fleisher leads

LUTZ, Fla. (AP) — Bruce Fleisher is the leader after one round of a Champions Tour event in Florida. The 63-year-old Fleisher opened with a 6-under-par 65 that puts him one stroke ahead of Michael Allen and Chien Soon Lu.


Day 3 of America's Cup World Series postponed

NAPLES, Italy (AP) — The third day of the America's Cup World Series off Naples was postponed on Saturday because of bad weather.

Heavy winds off the coast of Naples meant the earlier Match Races were rescheduled for Sunday. The America's Cup committee later decided to do the same with the Fleet Races, with gales of up to 35 knots predicted.

Emirates New Zealand is nine points ahead of second-place Oracle Spithill.

The World Series allows teams to regularly race and promote the America's Cup to help attract sponsors. The Naples leg ends Sunday.