NBA – PLAYOFFS
A 25-point halftime lead wasn’t enough for the Indiana Pacers against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. The Cavaliers are up three games to none in their NBA first-round series after setting a league record for the largest halftime deficit in a playoff victory, a 119-114 win at Indiana. The Cavs were down by 26 in the in the first half and trailed 74-49 at intermission before LeBron James scored 13 of his 41 points in the third quarter.
James also had team highs of 13 rebounds and 12 assists while passing Kobe Bryant for third on the NBA’s career playoff scoring list. He also tied another NBA record by winning his 20th consecutive first-round game.
The Pacers wasted Paul George’s 36 points, a playoff career-high 15 boards and nine assists.
The Cavs will try to complete the four-game sweep Sunday at Indiana.
San Antonio had won 10 straight playoff games against Memphis until Mike Conley scored 24 points and had eight assists in the Grizzlies’ 105-94 victory against the visiting Spurs. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph added 21 points apiece for the Grizzlies, who outscored the Spurs 31-17 in the third quarter to get to two games to one in the series. Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was held to 18 points after scoring 69 in the first two games.
Milwaukee owns a 2-1 series lead after Khris Middleton dropped in 20 points and All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 19 and eight boards in a 104-77 trouncing of Toronto. Greg Monroe added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Bucks, who held DeMar DeRozan without a basket and never looked back after leading by 20 points after the first quarter. The Raptors never recovered after shooting 4-for-18 in the opening period. The series stays in Milwaukee for Game 4 Saturday.
The Boston Red Sox have added to the Toronto Blue Jays’ misery. The Blue Jays are 3-12 after Mookie Betts hit a three-run double in the 10th inning to give the Red Sox a 4-1 win at Toronto. The winning rally came after Kendrys Morales extended the game with a ninth-inning homer off Boston closer Craig Kimbrel. Bosox starter Chris Sale had to settle for a no-decision despite striking out 13 over eight shutout innings. The Blue Jays have dropped each of their first five series, leading to the worst 15-game start in team history.
The Orioles beat the Reds, 2-1 in Cincinnati on J.J. Hardy’s RBI single in the top of the 10th. Baltimore starter Wade Miley served up Joey Votto’s homer but combined with two relievers on a two-hitter as the Orioles improved to a major league-best 10-4.
The Indians have completed a sweep of their rain-shortened, three-game series at Minnesota as Trevor Bauer struck out seven over 6 1/3 innings to lead a 6-2 win over the Twins. Bauer gave up two runs and three hits after entering the game with an 8.44 ERA in two starts this season. Carlos Santana was 3-for-5 with two RBIs to help the defending AL champs improve to 8-7.
Ryan Zimmerman belted a go-ahead, two-run homer and Stephen Strasburg fanned 10 over seven innings to help Washington complete a three-game sweep of the Braves, 3-2 in Atlanta. R.A. Dickey was the hard-luck loser, yielding just three hits in seven frames
Maikel Franco was in a career-worst 0-for-22 slump before hitting an RBI double and a solo homer to lead the Phillies past the Mets, 6-4 in New York. The Mets squandered Neil Walker’s three-run blast and lost a series to Philadelphia for just the third time in 18 sets.
The Brewers lead the majors with 32 homers after slamming three more in a 7-5 win at St. Louis. Jett Bandy and Eric Thames each slammed two-run homers following Travis Shaw’s three-run blast. Thames tops the majors with eight home runs after providing the go-ahead shot in the fifth inning.
Delino DeShields delivered a walk-off single that scored Joey Gallo in the bottom of the 13th to push Texas past Kansas City, 1-0. Gallo’s double was the first hit for the Rangers since Jonathan Lucroy’s leadoff double in the fifth.
Carlos Beltran hit his first home run since rejoining the Astros and Jake Marisnick also went deep in a 2-1 win against the Angels. Astros closer Chris Devenski gave up Mike Trout’s solo homer and a pair of singles before picking up the save for Lance McCullers, who tossed shutout ball over 6 2/3 innings.
The Rays were 8-1 winners over Detroit as Steven Souza Jr. fell a single shy of the cycle, delivering a two-run triple and a solo homer. Erasmo Ramirez and two relievers combined on a five-hitter to help Tampa Bay complete a three-game sweep.
Clayton Richard surrendered nine hits over 6 2/3 but held the Diamondbacks to one run as San Diego earned its second straight win since a five-game skid, 4-1 over Arizona. Wil Myers and Austin Hedges homered to help the Padres gain a split of the four-game set.
Trevor Plouffe hit a three-run homer in the seventh as Oakland knocked off Seattle, 9-6. A’s emergency starter Cesar Valdez pitched in the majors for the first time in nearly seven years, allowing three runs and five hits in four innings.
NFL – HERNANDEZ DEATH INVESTIGATION
Family members of Aaron Hernandez are asking a judge to order Massachusetts prison officials to preserve evidence so they can investigate the circumstances of his death.
A medical examiner says the former New England Patriots player hanged himself while serving a life sentence for murder.
Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, filed an order Wednesday on behalf of the daughter she had with Hernandez. It asks that prison officials be barred from altering or destroying any potential evidence, including Hernandez’s writings, video and audio recordings and medical records.
A judge in New Bedford is due to hear the request at 2 p.m. Friday.
Hernandez was found dead in his cell Wednesday, days after being acquitted in a 2012 double homicide case. He was already serving a life term in a 2013 killing.
NHL – STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
The defending Stanley Cup champs have advanced to the second round of this year’s playoffs, while the 2015 champions are done after one round.
Bryan Rust had a pair of goals and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 49 shots as the Penguins ousted the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2 in Game 5 at Pittsburgh. The Pens were clinging to a 3-2 lead until Sidney Crosby and Scott Wilson scored 51 seconds apart early in the third period. Phil Kessel also tallied for the Penguins, who will take on either Washington or Toronto in the next round.
Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators have completed what is arguably the biggest series win in team history. Roman Josi scored twice and the Predators used a three-goal third period to close out a four-game sweep of the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1. Nashville went ahead 3-0 after Colton Sissons and Josi scored 1:29 apart midway through the final period. Pekka Rinne stopped 30 shots and blanked the Hawks until Jonathan Toews tallied with 5:18 remaining. The Predators outscored Chicago, 13-3 in their first series sweep.
Mika Zibanejad scored 14:22 into overtime to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 victory and a 3-2 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 34 shots and blanked the Habs following Brendan Gallagher’s power-play goal late in the first period. Jesper Fast and Brady Skjei also scored for the Rangers, who can finish off the Atlantic Division leaders on Saturday.
Edmonton also won in OT as David Desharnais scored at 18:15 of the extra session to complete the Oilers’ comeback in a 4-3 win against San Jose. Oscar Klefbom tied it with 2:46 left in regulation before Desharnais gave the Oilers a three-games-to-two lead. Mark Letestu sparked the Edmonton rally with a late second-period tally after the Sharks went ahead 3-1. Game 6 is Saturday in San Jose.