NBA: The Hawks held the visiting Boston Celtics to the lowest-scoring first quarter in the playoffs since the NBA went to the shot clock, building a 21-point lead and holding on despite an ugly shooting performance of their own for an 89-72 victory Tuesday night, giving Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the opening-round series.
Al Horford and Kyle Korver led Atlanta with 17 points apiece, but this game was essentially decided in the first 12 minutes.
The Hawks started out 9 of 13 from the field, knocking down six from beyond the 3-point arc. Korver made four from long range, a big turnaround from a 1-of-10 performance in Game 1 that didn’t include any 3s. Atlanta led 24-3 just 6 1-2 minutes into the game. Even after failing to score the rest of the period, the Hawks still led 24-7 heading to the second.
Former Zag Kelly Olynyk sat out because of a sore right shoulder. He tweaked a previous injury in Game 1 and was unable to practice on Monday. Olynyk said he’s not exactly sure the nature of his injury but is hopeful that he will be ready for Game 3 Friday night in Boston.
Spurs topple Grizzlies: Patty Mills had 16 points, Kawhi Leonard added 13 and the host San Antonio Spurs never trailed in beating the Memphis Grizzlies 94-68 to sweep the first two games of the first-round series in imposing fashion.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 10 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes. Aldridge sat out the entire fourth quarter along with Leonard and Tony Parker while Tim Duncan and Danny Green made brief appearances.
If history and Memphis’ current state are any indication, the Grizzlies’ prospects don’t look good heading into a home game Friday night.
San Antonio’s suffocating defense held Memphis to franchise lows in total points and points in a quarter 12 years to the day after establishing those records on its way to a series sweep.
Tony Allen led Memphis with 12 points and Zach Randolph had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
James brushes off Van Gundy’s remarks: LeBron James refused to fire back at loquacious Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy, who was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Monday for criticizing officials during Cleveland’s Game 1 win over the Pistons. Upset with two non-calls in the first quarter, Van Gundy took advantage of a TV interview to present his case to the public that James gets preferential treatment from referees.
“LeBron is LeBron,” Van Gundy told ABC. “They’re not going to call offensive fouls on him. He gets to do what he wants.”
James said he was unaware of Van Gundy’s remarks and was careful not to turn the series into any kind of personal grudge match.
Minnesota considers Jackson: The Timberwolves planned to meet with Mark Jackson after interviewing Jeff Van Gundy and former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, a person with knowledge of the process told The Associated Press. Jackson has not coached in the NBA since he was fired by the Warriors in 2014 after three seasons and a 121-109 record.
Curry’s MRI causes no concern: Stephen Curry underwent an MRI exam on his injured right ankle, and the Warriors said nothing of concern came up on the test. Curry remained questionable for Game 3 in Houston.
Suns retain Watson: Without formally interviewing anyone else, the Phoenix Suns retained Earl Watson as their head coach for next season. Watson was named interim coach after Jeff Hornacek was fired on Feb. 1.
Lightning wins, leads opening series 3-1
NHL: Ondrej Palat scored with 2:59 left in the third period, lifting the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 win over the host Detroit Red Wings and a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
Game 5 is Thursday night at Tampa Bay.
Ben Bishop stopped 26 shots for the Lightning and Petr Mrazek made 30 saves for the Red Wings.
Palat was in a perfect position right in front of the net to make the most of Jonathan Drouin’s pass on the game-winning goal. Drouin had three assists.
Nikita Kucherov had power-play goals in the first and second period to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead late in the second, but Detroit’s Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist scored late in the period to tie the game.
Penguins take 2-1 lead: Matt Cullen beat Henrik Lundqvist on a semi-breakaway after beating two defensemen early in the third period and the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins spoiled the return of New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh with a 3-1 win in Game 3 of their first-round series. The Penguins take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Game 4 is Thursday night in New York. The Rangers have lost four consecutive playoff games at Madison Square Garden going back to last season’s Eastern Conference final against Tampa Bay.
Kris Letang iced the game with an empty-net goal.
Rick Nash scored for the Rangers, who played without an injured McDonagh (upper body, hand) in the first two games in Pittsburgh. Lundqvist made 28 saves, giving up a power-play goal to Crosby and a one-on-one chance to Cullen.
Ducks blank Preds: Frederik Andersen made 27 saves, and the Anaheim Ducks shut out the Nashville Predators 3-0 in Nashville, Tennessee, to pull within 2-1 in their first-round playoff series.
Andersen, who started in net after John Gibson took the first two losses in Anaheim, posted his second postseason shutout despite taking Shea Weber’s slap shot off his head.
Chris Stewart had a goal and an assist, and Jamie McGinn and Rickard Rakell each scored their first goals of the series.
Game 4 is Thursday night in Nashville.
Stars could miss Seguin for Game 4: Dallas will likely be without standout center Tyler Seguin again in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild. Seguin has been rehabbing his Achilles tendon.
Defenseman Kris Russell, who was scratched from Game 3 because of illness, also might not be ready for Game 4.
Flyers say no bracelets for Game 4: The Flyers condemned disgruntled fans who threw promotional light-up bracelets and trashed the ice during a playoff game against the Capitals on Monday night.
The wristbands were used as part of a pregame lights show. Fans started tossing them onto the ice in the third period as Washington turned the game into a rout, eventually winning 6-1 to take a 3-0 series lead. The Flyers said there were never any plans to issue bracelets again before Game 4.
Seattle votes for arena street vacation
Miscellany: The Seattle City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation committee voted in favor of vacating a street needed in order to construct a proposed arena in Seattle’s stadium district. The street vacation of Occidental Avenue is the final major step in the arena proposed by investor Chris Hansen in the hopes of luring an NBA or an NHL team to Seattle.
Concerns arise over venues for Rio Games: International sports federations expressed concern over problems with venues for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, including power failures at the gymnastics arena this week. International Olympic Committee officials will be dispatched to Rio to monitor the final preparations for South America’s first games. Rio’s sports director acknowledged to the 28 Olympic sports that the city’s seven-year preparations “were not perfect or up to your expectations” but said the games would be a success.
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