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Hammon’s Playing Career Ends in Playoff Loss

Hammon’s Playing Career Ends in Playoff Loss

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) — Becky Hammon’s playing career came to an end on Saturday night as her San Antonio Stars suffered a 94-89 playoff loss to the Minnesota Lynx. The 16-year veteran will now join the San Antonio Spurs as the first full-time woman assistant coach.

The Stars opened the game on a 7-0 run and eventually led 22-4 before the Lynx turned things around. Lindsay Whalen scored 31 points, a career high in the playoffs, while Seimone Augustus added 21.

Hammon had 12 points and four assists in the final game of her career and received a standing ovation from the crowd and players as time ran out.

“I just congratulated her and said that I love her,” Augustus said. “Thank you for everything you did for women and sports.”

The defending champion Lynx advanced to the Western Conference finals where they will face either Phoenix or Los Angeles.

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Boris Diaw Returning to Spurs

Boris Diaw Returning to Spurs

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — While the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat wait and wonder about their “Big Three”, the world champion San Antonio Spurs continue to bring back the majority of their roster. Veteran forward Boris Diaw signed a new multi-year deal to return to the Spurs on Sunday.

Sources say that Diaw’s new contract is for three years, and is worth an approximated $22 million. The forward took to Twitter on Sunday to announce the signing saying, “Hey Spurs fans, Good news i stay in san antonio for a few more years. Lets win it again. #gospursgo”.

The 32-year-old averaged 9.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in 2013-14, helping the Spurs to a fifth NBA Championship.

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San Antonio Spurs Win Fifth NBA Championship

San Antonio Spurs Win Fifth NBA Championship

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) — Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as San Antonio captured their fifth Larry O’Brien trophy with a 104-87 win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night.

The Heat jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half, but the Spurs came roaring back, taking the lead for good when Leonard drilled a three with 4:47 left in the second quarter.

The 22-year-old Leonard was named the series MVP. He averaged 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in the Finals.

The Spurs’ last NBA championship came back in 2007. It marked the team’s fourth title in nine years.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 6/15/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 6/15/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NBA Finals: San Antonio Spurs 104 – Miami Heat 87 (Spurs Win Series, 4-1)

World Cup: Group E: Switzerland 2 – Ecuador 1 

France 3 – Honduras 0 

Group F: Argentina 2 – Bosnia-Herzegovina 1

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays 5 (41-30) – Baltimore Orioles 2 (35-33) 

New York Mets 3 (31-38) – San Diego Padres 1 (29-40) 

Miami Marlins 3 (35-33) – Pittsburgh Pirates 2 (34-35) – 10 Innings

Chicago Cubs 3 (28-39) – Philadelphia Phillies 0 (29-38)

Detroit Tigers 4 (36-29) – Minnesota Twins 3 (32-35)

St. Louis Cardinals 5 (37-32) – Washington Nationals 2 (35-33)

Kansas City Royals 6 (36-32) – Chicago White Sox 3 (33-37)

Cincinnati Reds 13 (33-35) – Milwaukee Brewers 4 (41-29)

Cleveland Indians 3 (35-35) – Boston Red Sox 2 (31-38) – 11 Innings

Tampa Bay Rays 4 (27-43) – Houston Astros 3 (32-39)

Seattle Mariners 5 (35-34) – Texas Rangers 1 (34-35)

Oakland Athletics 10 (42-27) – New York Yankees 5 (35-33)

Arizona Diamondbacks 6 (30-42) – Los Angeles Dodgers 3 (37-34)

Colorado Rockies 8 (34-35) – San Francisco Giants 7 (43-27)

Atlanta Braves 7 (36-32) – L.A. Angels 3 (37-31)

Golf: Martin Kaymer won the U.S. Open.

NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson won the Michigan 400.

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Spurs Stomp Heat, Take 3-1 Finals Lead

Spurs Stomp Heat, Take 3-1 Finals Lead

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) — Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and 14 rebounds while playing tremendous defense against LeBron James to help San Antonio dominate the Heat in a 107-86 win in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

The Spurs now take a 3-1 lead in the series and are one win away from a world championship.

“I’m pleased that they performed as well as they did while we’ve been in Miami, and that’s about as far as it goes,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “Now we’ve got to go back home and play as well or better.”

For the second straight game, San Antonio dominated, leading by as many as 24 points in the third quarter. The Spurs shot 57.1 percent from the floor as a team, including 9-for-21 from three-point distance. Miami, who had not lost at home this postseason prior to Game 3 on Tuesday, shot just 45 percent in the loss.

Despite 28 points from LeBron James, 19 of which came in the third quarter, the Heat were unable to find an answer defensively. Now they must do what no team has ever done, win an NBA Finals after trailing 3 games to 1. 

Tim Duncan surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most career playoff minutes (8,869) as well as Magic Johnson’s all-time record for double-doubles in the postseason (158). Duncan has helped bring San Antonio all four world titles in franchise history, the most recent of which in 2007. He can add a fifth to his resume on Sunday when the team returns to San Antonio.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 6/12/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 6/12/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NBA Finals: San Antonio Spurs 107 – Miami Heat 86 (Spurs lead series, 3-1.)

MLB: Cincinnati Reds 4 (31-34) – Los Angeles Dodgers 1 (35-33)

Philadelphia Phillies 7 (28-36) – San Diego Padres 3 (28-38)

Colorado Rockies 10 (31-35) – Atlanta Braves 3 (34-31)

San Francisco Giants 7 (43-24) – Washington Nationals 1 (35-30)

Baltimore Orioles 4 (34-31) – Toronto Blue Jays 2 (39-29)

Boston Red Sox 5 (30-36) – Cleveland Indians 2 (33-34)

Detroit Tigers 4 (34-28) – Chicago White Sox 0 (33-34)

Pittsburgh Pirates 4 (32-34) – Chicago Cubs 0 (26-38)

Houston Astros 5 (31-37) – Arizona Diamondbacks 4 (29-40) 10 Innings

Milwaukee Brewers 5 (40-27) – New York Mets 1 (29-37)

New York Yankees 6 (34-31) – Seattle Mariners 3 (34-32)

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Spurs Dominate Heat to Win Game 3 of NBA Finals

Spurs Dominate Heat to Win Game 3 of NBA Finals

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(MIAMI) — The San Antonio Spurs hit 19 of their first 21 shots en route to a 111-92 destruction of the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals Tuesday.

The Spurs now lead the best-of-seven series two games to one.

The Spurs shooting may have not been as hot after their first 21 shots, but it still was good. San Antonio finished the first half hitting a Finals-record 75.8% of its shots.

“I don’t think we’ll ever shoot 76 percent in a half ever again,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said.

Kawhi Leonard, who scored 18 points combined in Games 1 and 2, had a career-high 29 points in the win.

“I just was able to get into a rhythm tonight,” Leonard said to ESPN. “In Game 1 and 2 I got in some foul trouble so I was getting subbed out pretty early. Tonight I got in a rhythm and knocked down shots early.”

The Spurs also turned Miami over 20 times, which led to 23 points.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each had 22 points in the loss.

Game 4 is Thursday night in Miami. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. Eastern. You can watch the match-up on ABC.

 

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Scoreboard Roundup – 6/10/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 6/10/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) —  NBA Finals: San Antonio Spurs 111 – Miami Heat 92 (Spurs lead series, 2-1.)

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks 4 (29-38) – Houston Astros 1 (29-37)

Chicago Cubs 7 (26-36) – Pittsburgh Pirates 3 (30-34)

Philadelphia Phillies 5 (26-36) – San Diego Padres 2 (28-36)

Minnesota Twins 4 (30-33) – Toronto Blue Jays 0 (39-27)

New York Mets 6 (29-35) – Milwaukee Brewers 2 (38-27)

St. Louis Cardinals 1 (34-31) – Tampa Bay Rays 0 (24-42)

Kansas City Royals 9 (32-32) – Cleveland Indians 5 (33-32) 

Miami Marlins 8 (34-30) – Texas Rangers 5 (31-34) 

Atlanta Braves 13 (34-29) – Colorado Rockies 10 (29-35)

Boston Red Sox 1 (29-35) – Baltimore 0 (32-31)

Washington Nationals 2 (34-29) – San Francisco 1 (42-23)

New York Yankees 3 (32-31) – Seattle Mariners 2 (34-30)

Los Angeles Angels 2 (36-28) – Oakland Athletics 1 (39-26) 14 Innings

Detroit Tigers (33-27) @ Chicago White Sox (32-33) (postponed; rain)

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Dwayne Wade Fined $5K for Game 2 Flop

Dwayne Wade Fined $5K for Game 2 Flop

Ron Elkman/Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) — Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade was fined $5,000 on Monday for over-exaggerating a foul in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

The league deemed that Wade “flopped” late in the second quarter when fouled by San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili.

“He took a swipe and he hit me,” said Wade before the fine was announced. “It was a late call by the ref, but he called it.”

The incident occurred with 4:09 to play in the second quarter. Ginobili took the ball nearly 35 feet from the basket. Wade embellished the contact, drawing a foul, and made both resulting free throws. Ginobili was relegated to the bench with his third foul of the half.

The Heat went on to win the game by two points, 98-96, evening the series at one game apiece.

Game 3 is Tuesday night in Miami.

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Rick Fox Says He’ll Be ‘Impressed’ If Miami Heat Get Three-Peat

Rick Fox Says He’ll Be ‘Impressed’ If Miami Heat Get Three-Peat

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) — Rick Fox understands what it takes to get to an NBA Finals four years in a row, having been part of the last NBA team to win three titles in a row with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000-2002. Fox said if the Miami Heat win the championship again this year, he’d give the team props.

“Their margin for error when it comes to health is really narrow,” Fox told ABC Sports Radio on Monday. “If they win and they make it through, I’ll be extremely impressed having played into June for four straight years in a row.”

Reflecting on his own wins, Fox said that he enjoyed the second NBA title with the Lakers in 2001 the most because the team clicked on all cylinders.

“It was the purist run to a championship,” Fox said.  “We almost went undefeated and we knew what we were doing.  We were on a high level of aptitude with the triangle, it was effortless.”

Fox, who studied radio and television during his time at North Carolina, also weighed in on Rashad McCant’s controversy, where the athlete admitted he had tutors write many of his term papers during matriculation and barely went to class.

“What was demanded of us was to be student athletes first,” Fox said.  “That’s not the experience I had or the experience of any of my teammates would tell you they had.”

“He’s a bit of an outlier in that respect and in my estimation a liar in the other,” he continued. “It’s unfortunate that he’s taken that route.”

Fox is currently staring in Off Season, available on Vimeo and on Demand. He also stars in VH1′s Hit the Floor, which airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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James Scores 35, Heat Tie Series

James Scores 35, Heat Tie Series

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — After two days of taking criticism for missing the final four minutes of a Game 1 loss, LeBron James scored 35 points and added 10 rebounds as Miami defeated San Antonio 98-96 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. The Heat have won 13 straight postseason games after a loss, evening the series at one game apiece.

“What happened on Thursday was Thursday,” said James after the win. “My whole focus was how I was going to try to help this team even this up and just try to make some plays.”

One play he made was an assist to Chris Bosh for a go-ahead three at the 1:18 mark of the fourth quarter. That gave Miami a 95-93 advantage that they would not relinquish. A Dwayne Wade layup on a broken play upped the lead to five with nine seconds remaining to seal the deal.

The back-and-forth affair saw San Antonio lead by as many as eight points, and hold a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. While nursing an 87-85 advantage, both Tim Duncan and Tony Parker missed a pair of free throws midway through the frame. James followed with a three-pointer to take the lead and regain momentum.

Duncan finished the game with 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs while Parker had a team high 21 points. Four different players for the Heat scored in double-figures. Game 3 is Tuesday night in Miami.

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Gatorade Issues Apology to LeBron, Electrical Malfunction Fixed

Gatorade Issues Apology to LeBron, Electrical Malfunction Fixed

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — An electrical malfunction left the air conditioner within the AT&T Center useless, causing temperatures within the arena to reach the nineties during Thursday night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.

Heat All-Star LeBron James suffered cramps in the fourth quarter that kept him out the final four minutes of the game in San Antonio’s 110-95 win.

Following the game, Gatorade tweeted, “Our athletes can take the heat,” but issued a statement to ABC News on Friday.

“Our apologies for our response to fans’ tweets during last night’s Heat vs. Spurs game.  We got caught up in the heat of the battle. As a longtime partner of the Miami Heat, we support the entire team,” a Gatorade spokesperson said.

The electrical failure was fixed on Friday morning and the Spurs Sports & Entertainment issued a statement regarding the issue.

“The electrical failure that caused the AC system outage during Game 1 of the NBA Finals has been repaired.  The AC system has been tested, is fully operational and will continue to be monitored.  The upcoming events at the  AT&T Center, including the Romeo Santos concert tonight, the Stars game on Saturday night and Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, will go on as scheduled.  We apologize for the conditions in the arena during last night’s game.”

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Spurs Top Miami, and Beat the Heat, in Game 1

Spurs Top Miami, and Beat the Heat, in Game 1

Chris Covatta/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — The San Antonio Spurs outscored Miami 36-17 in the fourth quarter, and battled an air conditioner issue to boot, to defeat the Heat 110-95 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. An electrical malfunction left the air conditioner within the AT&T Center useless, causing temperatures within the arena to reach the nineties.

“It was tough on both teams,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They were pretty dead. We tried to get guys in and out. It was really hot out there.”

Miami led 86-79 with just under nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but a 15-4 Spurs run turned it into a four-point San Antonio lead. After LeBron James cut the deficit to 94-92, the sweltering temperatures forced the Heat forward out of the game with apparent cramps. The Heat scored just three points in the final four minutes without James as San Antonio won their eighth straight home playoff game.

“After I came out of the game, they kind of took off,” James told a pool reporter after the game. “And it was frustrating sitting out and not be able to help our team.”

Danny Green scored 11 of his 13 points in the final frame, including three 3-point baskets, leading a San Antonio charge that saw them close the game on a 30-9 run. Tim Duncan had 21 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Spurs while James led all scorers with 25 points. 

NBA President of Basketball Operations, Rod Thorn, said after the game that the conditions on the court were not harmful to the players. Thorn also stated that officials expected the air conditioning issue to be resolved in time for Game 2 on Sunday.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 6/5/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 6/5/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NBA Final: San Antonio Spurs 110 – Miami Heat 95 (Spurs lead series, 1-0)

MLB: San Francisco Giants 6 (39-21) – Cincinnati Reds 1 (27-31)

New York Yankees 2 (30-29) – Oakland Athletics 1 (37-23)

Toronto Blue Jays 7 (37-24) – Detroit Tigers 3 (31-25)

Washington Nationals 4 (30-28) – Philadelphia Phillies 2 (24-34)

Miami Marlins 11 (32-28) – Tampa Bay Rays 6 (23-38)

Chicago Cubs 7 (23-34) – New York Mets 4 (28-32)

Houston Astros 8 (26-35) – Los Angeles Angels 5 (31-28)

Kansas City Royals 3 (29-31) – St. Louis Cardinals 2 (31-30)

Arizona Diamondbacks 12 (26-36) – Colorado Rockies 7 (28-31)

Milwaukee Brewers 8 (36-25) – Minnesota Twins 5 (28-30)

 

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LeBron: We’ll Be Ready For Spurs

LeBron: We’ll Be Ready For Spurs

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(MIAMI) — LeBron James isn’t fazed by Spurs center Tim Duncan’s comments after they beat the Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.

Following the win that clinched a trip for a Finals rematch with the Heat, Duncan said: “We’re excited about it. We’ve got four more to win. We’ll do it this time.”

James and the Heat had an extended practice on Monday as they prepare for their fourth trip to the Finals.

“They don’t like us, they don’t. I can sense it from Timmy’s comments over the last couple of days,” James said. “They wanted this, they wanted us and we’ll be ready for the challenge.”

James is looking for his third NBA title and Dwyane Wade is seeking his fourth.

“They’ve been preparing for this moment [and] we have as well,” James said. “No one is entitled. This is no one’s championship. It isn’t ours, it isn’t theirs, it’s two teams fighting for it.”

Game 1 is on Thursday in San Antonio.  The Heat beat the Spurs in the NBA Finals in seven games last year.

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Spurs Win West, Earn Rematch with Miami

Spurs Win West, Earn Rematch with Miami

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) — Tim Duncan scored seven of his 19 points in overtime as San Antonio outlasted Oklahoma City, 112-107 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. With the win, the Spurs advance to their second straight NBA Finals where they will face the Miami Heat. 

After five blowout games, three in favor of San Antonio, the Spurs and Thunder played their most hotly contested game of the series. Duncan also had 15 rebounds as San Antonio had to play the entire second half without point guard Tony Parker, who left with an ankle injury.

“We didn’t know how much Tony was hurt in his ankle,” said Boris Diaw, who led the Spurs with 26 points off the bench. “But we didn’t want to go to Game 7, and we didn’t know if he would be ready to play if we did or if he would be 100 percent, so we tried to get it over with tonight.”

San Antonio trailed by seven at halftime but opened the second half on a 9-2 run to tie things at 51-51. The Spurs scored 37 points in the third quarter and entered the final frame with a 79-69 lead. Oklahoma City, led by league MVP Kevin Durant, battled back to take a 99-97 lead with 32 seconds left in regulation. 

Manu Ginobli drilled a three from the top of the arc to put the Spurs ahead by one, but missed a free throw that would have given San Antonio a four-point advantage. That opened the door for Russell Westbrook who was fouled on a drive to the basket, hit both free throws, and forced overtime.

Duncan scored all seven of his overtime points in a row, leading San Antonio from a 103-105 deficit to a 110-107 lead. The Spurs will face Miami in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals that the Heat won in seven games. Game 1 of the 2014 Championship round is Thursday night in Texas.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 5/29/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 5/29/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NHL Eastern Conference Finals – Game 6: New York Rangers 1 – Montreal Canadiens 0 (Rangers win series, 4-2)

NBA Western Conference Finals: San Antonio Spurs 117 – Oklahoma City Thunder 89 (Spurs lead series, 3-2)

MLB: Detroit Tigers 5 (30-20) – Oakland Athletics 4 (32-22)

Texas Rangers 5 (28-26) – Minnesota Twins 4 (24-27)

New York Mets 4 (25-28) – Philadelphia Phillies 1 (23-28)

Boston Red Sox 4 (24-29) – Atlanta Braves 3 (28-25)

Kansas City Royals 8 (25-28) – Toronto Blue Jays 6 (32-23)

Houston Astros 3 (23-32) – Baltimore Orioles 1 (26-26)

Arizona Diamondbacks 4 (23-33) – Cincinnati Reds 0 (23-29)

San Francisco Giants 6 (35-19) – St. Louis Cardinals 5 (29-25)

Pittsburgh Pirates 6 (24-29) – Los Angeles Dodgers 3 (29-26)

Los Angeles Angels 7 (30-23) – Seattle Mariners 5 (26-27)

 

 

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Westbrook Scores 40, Thunder Evens Series with Spurs 2-2

Westbrook Scores 40, Thunder Evens Series with Spurs 2-2

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(OKLAHOMA CITY) — Russell Westbrook had 40 points, five rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder past the San Antonio Spurs 105-92 Tuesday night, in Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals.

The best-of-seven series is now tied at two games apiece.

“Coach told us he needed maximum effort from us tonight, and it starts with me at point guard,” Westbrook said. “My job is to play both sides of the ball. If you want to win a championship, those are things you have to do.”

The Thunder did just that holding the Spurs under 40 percent shooting from the field while hitting 48.7% of its shots in the win.

Thunder big man Serge Ibaka played 35 minutes and had eight rebounds and three blocks in his second game back from an injury that was supposed to keep him out the rest of the postseason.

“We just play well with Serge,” Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. “We can do things with Serge in the lineup that we can’t do with other guys.”

Kevin Durant added 31 points for the Thunder, who outscored the Spurs 21-0 in fast break points.

Boris Diaw and Tony Parker both scored 14 points for the Spurs in the loss.

Game 5 is in San Antonio Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. Eastern.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 5/27/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 5/27/14

Getty Images/Hemera (NEW YORK) — NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Finals: Montreal Canadiens 7 – New York Rangers 4 (Rangers lead series, 3-2)

NBA Playoffs – Western Conference Final: Oklahoma City Thunder 105 – San Antonio Spurs 92

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays 9 (31-22) – Tampa Bay Rays 6 (23-30)

Boston Red Sox 6 (22-29) – Atlanta Braves 3 (28-23)

New York Mets 4 (23-28) – Pittsburgh Pirates 2 (23-28)

Minnesota Twins 4 (24-25) – Texas Rangers 3 (26-26)

St. Louis Cardinals 6 (29-23) – New York Yankees 0 (27-24)

Milwaukee Brewers 7 (31-22) – Baltimore Orioles 6 (26-24) 10 Innings

Colorado Rockies 6 (28-24) – Philadelphia Phillies 2 (22-27)

Houston Astros 3 (21-32) – Kansas City Royals 0 (24-27)

San Diego Padres 4 (24-29) – Arizona Diamondbacks 3 (21-33)

Los Angeles Dodgers 6 (29-24) – Cincinnati Reds 3 (22-28)

Los Angeles Angels 6 (29-22) – Seattle Mariners 4 (25-26)

Detroit Tigers 6 (29-19) – Oakland Athletics 5 (31-21)

San Francisco Giants 4 (33-19) – Chicago Cubs 0 (19-31)

Chicago White Sox 2 (27-27) – Cleveland Indians 1 (24-29)

Miami Marlins (27-25) @ Washington Nationals (25-26) (postponed due to inclement weather)Follow @ABCNewsRadio
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Ibaka Returns, Thunder Victorious in Game 3

Ibaka Returns, Thunder Victorious in Game 3

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) — After being dominated in the first two games of the Western Conference Finals, Oklahoma City controlled Game 3 Sunday and handed San Antonio a 106-97 loss. Serge Ibaka returned to the lineup for the Thunder as they closed the series gap to 2-1.

Originally thought lost for the playoffs, Ibaka started the game and recorded 15 points while pulling in seven rebounds and blocking four shots. At times there was a noticeable limp for Ibaka but the 6’10″ power forward provided the spark Oklahoma City needed.

“When you talk about a teammate, that’s everything you want in a teammate,” said teammate Kevin Durant. “I gained so much more respect for Serge for sacrificing himself for the team. Regardless of what happened tonight, that’s something you want beside you.”

After a back-and-forth first quarter that saw the Spurs hold a 29-28 advantage, it was an Ibaka layup that gave the Thunder the lead for good at 38-36 with 7:03 to play in the second. Oklahoma City continued to control tempo, leading by as many as 20 in the fourth quarter.

Freed up by the play of Ibaka, Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to score 51 points while the Thunder defense held San Antonio to less than 40% shooting from the floor. Oklahoma City also dominated the glass, outrebounding the Spurs 52-36 in the game.

“I was very disappointed that we didn’t come out with more of a foot in the neck sort of attitude,” explained Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “They killed us on the boards, they beat us in 50-50 balls and that’s very disappointing to me.”

Manu Ginobli had 23 points off the bench to pace the Spurs’ offense. Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard were the only other players in double figures for San Antonio. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

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