The Orlando Magic became the first team to advance to the second round in the NBA playoffs thanks to a 99-90 win in Charlotte Monday night. The Magic won the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series in a sweep and will play either Atlanta or Milwaukee in the next round. The Hawks and Bucks are even after four games of their series. That's because Milwaukee won 111-104 at home Monday night. There was one game in the Western Conference Monday and it was a blowout as Phoenix dispatched the visiting Portland Trail Blazers, 107-88. That gave the Suns a 3-2 advantage in the series.
Boston, Cleveland and San Antonio can gain spots in the conference semifinals on Tuesday in the NBA. The Celtics hold a 3-1 lead on Miami as that Eastern Conference set swings back to Boston. The top-seeded Cavaliers hold a similar advantage as they head back to Cleveland to battle the Bulls in Game 5. The Spurs, seeded seventh in the West, aim to oust the Mavericks on their home court. It would be a complete turnaround from last year when Dallas won in five games, clinching that first-round series on San Antonio's home floor. The final game of the night is the most anticipated one as the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers head home tied with the Thunder after four games. The Lakers dropped both contests in Oklahoma City and Kobe Bryant was limited to 12 points in LA's last game, a 110-89 blowout on Saturday.
Boston and Chicago are into the conference semifinals after securing Game 6 victories Monday night, while top-seeded Washington was pushed to a deciding contest by the Canadiens. David Krejci tallied twice and Miroslav Satan notched the game-winner late in the third period, as the Bruins closed out their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Buffalo Sabres with a 4-3 decision at TD Garden. Also in the East, Jaroslav Halak made 53 saves and Michael Cammalleri netted two first-period goals, as Montreal staved off elimination with a 4-1 win over the Caps at the Bell Centre. The eighth-seeded Canadiens are attempting to come back from a three games to one deficit to win a series for just the second time in team history. Montreal pulled off the feat against Boston in the first round of the 2004 playoffs. Game 7 is Wednesday. In the lone Western Conference game Monday, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews each posted a goal and two assists as the Chicago Blackhawks moved into the semifinals after eliminating Nashville with a 5-3 win. Chicago will face Vancouver for the second straight year in the conference semifinals. Last season, the Blackhawks topped the Canucks in six games.
It'll be winner take all Tuesday night as Phoenix hosts Detroit in Game 7 of that Western Conference first-round series. The Coyotes pulled out a 5-2 win in the Motor City Sunday afternoon. This will be actually the second straight Game 7 for Detroit, which lost to Pittsburgh in last year's Stanley Cup Finals. The Coyotes franchise is 0-4 all-time in Game 7s. The winner of Tuesday's game will play top-seeded San Jose in the second round.
Jacques Lemaire's second tenure in New Jersey was a short one, as the Devils head coach has decided to retire after just one season. Lemaire spent five seasons as Devils head coach from 1993-94 through the 1997-98 season, guiding the club to its first Stanley Cup title in the spring of 1995. He then returned to the franchise last July after eight seasons as the coach of the Minnesota Wild. The Devils won the Atlantic Division title this past season with a record of 48-27-7, but were dumped in the first round of the playoffs by the Philadelphia Flyers in five games. Lemaire is the franchise's all-time leader in games coached with 460 and victories with 247, and his 35 postseason wins are also the most in club annals.
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has signed a five-year contract extension. The new deal guarantees Howard $125 million over five years and includes a sixth-year club option that could make the total package worth $138 million. It also includes awards bonuses and a limited no-trade clause. Howard is under contract through the 2011 season, and the new deal could keep him in Philadelphia through the 2017 campaign. He will receive $20 million for 2012 and 2013 and $25 million from 2014-16. The club option is worth $23 million with a $10 million buyout.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said in a statement Monday he will not appeal the suspension handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "I am accountable for the consequences of my actions," the statement read. "Though I have committed no crime, I regret that I have fallen short of the values instilled in me by my family. I will not appeal the suspension and will comply with what is asked of me - and more." Last week the league announced Roethlisberger had been suspended six games following the case from Georgia, in which Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault at a nightclub.
The Patriots have released linebacker Adalius Thomas, who spent three seasons with New England after playing his first seven NFL seasons with Baltimore. In 14 games last season, Thomas managed only 31 tackles and three sacks. He was a healthy scratch for two games, including a December 13 contest against Carolina when he spoke out publicly against Bill Belichick following the coach's decision to send him home earlier in the week after being late to a team meeting because of a snow storm. Thomas was a two-time Pro Bowl selection during his time with the Ravens.
The Tennessee Titans announced Monday they have agreed to terms with 15 undrafted free agents, including running backs LeGarrette Blount and Stafon Johnson. Blount played in just three games last season for Oregon, as he spent most of the year under suspension for punching a Boise State player shortly after the conclusion of the September 3 contest, the Ducks' season-opener. Initially suspended for the season, Blount was reinstated in early November and played in Oregon's last two games of the season. Johnson, meanwhile, missed most of 2009 after a frightening weight room accident on September 28, when a bar reportedly carrying 275 pounds slipped from his hand and crushed his throat. Johnson underwent extensive emergency surgery and was eventually released from the hospital in mid-October.
The University of Oregon has made Creighton's Dana Altman its next head basketball coach. His seven-year contract will call for a guaranteed annual salary of $1.8 million. The 51-year-old Altman has compiled a 327-176 record in 16 seasons for the Bluejays. They went 18-16 last season, losing to Missouri State in the semifinal round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Before the 2009-10 season, Altman led Creighton to 11 straight seasons of 20 or more wins. They have been to postseason play 13 consecutive years.
Creighton University worked quickly to fill the void, hiring Greg McDermott as its new men's head basketball coach. McDermott will be officially introduced at a Tuesday morning press conference. The 45-year-old spent the past four seasons as head coach of the Iowa State Cyclones, going 15-17 a year ago with a 4-12 record in the Big 12, and was 59-68 overall since arriving in Ames in 2006.