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In Brief: Wizards hand resting Celtics overtime loss

From staff and wire reports

NBA: The Boston Celtics didn’t play four of their usual starters, essentially setting aside their bid for a better playoff seed for the chance to give their top players some rest, and the result was a 95-94 overtime loss to the Wizards on Monday night in Washington that handed the Miami Heat the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference.

Boston’s loss, combined with Miami’s 98-90 win over Atlanta, guaranteed the Heat will finish second and the Celtics will place third.

• Mavericks jump Lakers for West’s No. 2 seed: Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points and 12 rebounds, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Rockets 98-91 in overtime in Houston to move a half game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Shawn Marion and Jason Terry scored 21 points each, and Tyson Chandler grabbed 12 rebounds for the Mavericks.

• Hornets sold with intent to stay: George Shinn said the reason he sold the Hornets to the NBA in December for $300 million, about $50 million less than he could have, was because he wants the club to remain in New Orleans. He said he would be willing to buy back in as a minority investor should a viable Louisiana ownership group come together.

Shinn, who has rarely been to New Orleans since selling the club in early December, returned to present $500,000 from his foundation to a Salvation Army program that helps the working poor find stable housing.

• Nets’ Williams undergoes surgery: New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams underwent successful surgery to remove loose bodies and scar tissue from his right wrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

• Warriors’ Ellis has concussion: Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis has been diagnosed with a concussion from a hard fall on his head in Sunday night’s loss to the Sacramento Kings.

Gators suspend two following arrest

Men’s basketball: Florida coach Billy Donovan has suspended forwards Erik Murphy and Cody Larson after they were arrested and charged with breaking into a car in Gainsville, Fla.

Police say witnesses spotted Murphy and Larson breaking into a car outside a restaurant/bar. The car owner reported nothing missing.

• Tickets given to Vols player’s mother: Former Tennessee director of basketball operations Ken Johnson provided two free tickets to the mother of an unknown athlete in March. The secondary violation ultimately played a role in his firing and the firing of coach Bruce Pearl and his staff.

NCAA makes draft party warning

College Football: The NFL forwarded a letter from the NCAA to players invited to this month’s draft that warns underclassmen about potential rules violations for attending draft parties.

The letter from Dena Garner, NCAA director of player security services, emphasized that players not eligible for this year’s draft can’t receive benefits or services such as travel, lodging, meals or entertainment if they attend such parties. Each college athlete must pay for all of those things or he could violate NCAA rules.

• Villanova holds off Big East vote: Villanova University will not take a vote scheduled for this week that would decide if the football program would move to the Big East Conference.

The university released a statement that says the Big East needs more time to do its due diligence regarding Villanova’s potential football membership.

Lawyer confident of Contador clearing

Cycling: The head lawyer for the Spanish cycling federation is confident the decision to clear Tour de France champion Alberto Contador of doping will be upheld by sport’s highest court.

Luis Sanz told Spanish news agency Europa Press that he is “completely optimistic” about the case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

• Inquiry into Mantova doping ring: The Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping prosecutor plans to open an inquiry into about 30 cyclists, team officials and physicians allegedly involved in an extensive doping operation based in Mantova.

Legendary Olympian announces bid to run

Miscellany: Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, 49, says he’ll run again – for the New Jersey Senate.

Lewis said he hopes to inspire people, encourage communities to get together and improve educational opportunities, particularly physical education, for children. He said he’ll announce a specific issue-based platform in coming days.

• Bullets strike home of Messi’s brother: Police say the home of soccer star Lionel Messi’s brother was sprayed with bullets in Argentina. No injuries have been reported.

Police say at least six bullets were fired from a small-caliber weapon Monday at Matias Messi’s home in Rosario, Argentina, about 200 miles from Buenos Aires.

• Defense claims lacrosse player slaying unintentional: A lawyer representing George Huguely, a former University of Virginia lacrosse player, says his client didn’t intend to kill his girlfriend, 22-year-old Yeardley Love, last May.

Francis Lawrence made the comment during preliminary hearing for George Huguely in Charlottesville, Va.

• Kansas consultant sentenced to 46 months: A former consultant for the University of Kansas has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for his part in a $2 million ticket scalping conspiracy that he helped to conceal.

U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown rejected a defense plea for leniency as he sentenced Thomas Blubaugh to the 46-month term sought by prosecutors.

• Wild fire Richards: The Minnesota Wild fired coach Todd Richards after his team finished in 12th place in the Western Conference at 39-35-8, 11 points out of the final playoff spot. The Wild missed the NHL playoffs in each of his two seasons as coach.

• Athletics, Cahill reach agreement: All-Star pitcher Trevor Cahill and the Oakland Athletics have reached agreement on a new five-year contract worth $30.5 million.

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