Hawks and Lakers win playoff games


Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James has been named the NBA's MVP for a second consecutive year. James received 116 first-place votes and 1,205 total points from a panel of 122 sportswriters and broadcasters. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant finished a distant second with four first-place votes and 609 points, while Kobe Bryant of the Lakers was third in the balloting with 599 points. In 76 games this season, James averaged 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists in leading the Cavaliers to the league's best record of 61-21. James became 10th player in NBA history to garner MVP honors two years in a row. The others are Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice), Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.

Al Horford recorded 16 points and 15 rebounds, as the Atlanta Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference semis with a 95-74 win over the Bucks in Game 7 of the conference quarterfinals. The Hawks, who forced a decisive game with a victory Friday in Milwaukee, will now face second-seeded Orlando in their next series. The Magic have been waiting for an opponent since completing a sweep of Charlotte on Monday and will host Atlanta in Game 1 of their second round set on Tuesday.

The Western Conference semifinals began in Los Angeles, as the Lakers beat the Utah Jazz, 104-99, in Game 1 at Staples Center. Kobe Bryant scored 13 points in the last six minutes and finished with 31 in the win. Los Angeles is looking to end Utah's season for the third straight year after beating the Jazz in the 2009 first round and 2008 conference semis. Winning Game 1 is a good omen for Phil Jackson's club, as the legendary head coach has never lost a series when his team wins the opening game (45-0).

There are two games in the NBA playoffs Monday night. The Boston Celtics will try to pull even with the Cavaliers as the teams battle in Game 2 of that Eastern Conference semifinal series. LeBron James scored 10 of his 35 points in the last six minutes to lift Cleveland to a 101-93 win Saturday night. The other game in the playoffs Monday will be the opener in the Western Conference semifinal between the Spurs and Suns in Phoenix. San Antonio, seeded seventh, knocked off Dallas in six games in round one, while the Suns had a similar route in disposing of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Suns were beaten by San Antonio in a 2008 first-round matchup and a 2007 semifinal series. It'll also be a big clash of styles with the Spurs trying to run a half-court game and the Suns attempting an up-tempo style of play.


In the NHL playoffs, Montreal evened its Eastern Conference semifinal series with Pittsburgh by beating the Penguins, 3-1, in Game 2 at the Igloo. Mike Cammalleri notched a pair of goals and Jaroslav Halak rebounded from a shaky opening contest by stopping 38-of-39 shots for the Canadiens. The defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins had won the opener on Friday, 6-3.

Joe Thornton's rebound goal with 7:23 left in the third period gave San Jose the lead, as the Sharks rallied for a 4-3 victory over Detroit in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series. Joe Pavelski continued his amazing postseason with a pair of goals and an assist, and Dany Heatley added three helpers for the Sharks, who won the opener, 4-3, on Thursday. Ryane Clowe also scored, while Evgeni Nabokov stopped 28 shots. Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist for Detroit, which also received scores from Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom. Jimmy Howard made 41 saves, but the Red Wings were victimized by 10 penalties, including five in the final period. The series shifts to Detroit for Game 3 on Tuesday.

There are two games Monday night in the NHL playoffs. In the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia will attempt to even its series with the Bruins as those teams tangle in Game 2 in Boston. Marc Savard, playing for the first time since suffering a concussion on March 7, scored the game-winner 13:52 into overtime, in Saturday's 5-4 Bruins win. However, Boston will play the remainder of the playoffs without forward Marco Sturm due to both a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee. He suffered the injury in Saturday's game. The Canucks try for another win in Chicago as those teams play Game 2 of that Western Conference semifinal set. Roberto Luongo made 36 saves in Vancouver's 5-1 win on Saturday.


The New York Yankees have placed outfielder Curtis Granderson on the 15-day disabled list because of a groin injury. Granderson was hurt during Saturday's game against the Chicago White Sox as he rounded second base on a Brett Gardner single, then limped to third before leaving the contest. In his first season with the Yankees, Granderson is batting .225 in 23 games with a pair of homers and seven runs batted in. The Yankees have recalled pitcher Mark Melancon from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to fill the roster spot.


Rory McIlroy put together a record-setting weekend to post a four-shot win over Masters champ Phil Mickelson at the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte. McIlroy fired a course-record 62 in Sunday's final round, eclipsing the old mark by two shots. McIlroy, who was one-over through two rounds, also became the first golfer since 2006 to make the cut on the number and win the tournament. His final round included eight birdies and an eagle without bogeying a single hole. Following Mickelson at 11-under was 2009 Masters champ Angel Cabrera at 10-under and Brendon de Jonge at nine-under.


Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver is set to make his next start in the Preakness Stakes on May 15. Officials at Pimlico Race Course were informed Sunday morning by trainer Todd Pletcher that Super Saver will remain in Louisville to train before heading to Baltimore on May 12, the day of the post position draw for the second jewel in thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. Super Saver notched a 2 1/2-length victory over Ice Box in Saturday's Run for the Roses. Ice Box may not run in the Preakness, as trainer Nick Zito told Pimlico officials he won't make a decision until next week but considers it doubtful. Lookin At Lucky, who finished sixth as the post-time favorite for the Kentucky Derby, could run in the Preakness, but trainer Bob Baffert said he wouldn't make a decision until later in the week.


Rafael Nadal continued his strong clay season and preparation for another run at the French Open crown with a straight-set win over fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in Sunday's rain-soaked final at the Italian Masters. Nadal claimed a 7-5, 6-2 victory, prevailing after a couple of rain delays, to capture his fifth title in Rome. Sunday's triumph gave Nadal his 17th career Masters title, tying him with Andre Agassi for the most all-time, and his 38th career ATP singles crown. He improved to 38-12 all-time in finals, including 27-2 on clay.

Justine Henin won a tournament for the first time since ending her retirement with a three-set victory over Samantha Stosur in the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. The Belgian star notched a 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 triumph on Sunday for the 42nd title of her career and first in five tournaments since coming out of a nearly two-year retirement. Henin was the top-ranked player in the world when she decided to retire in May of 2008, and last September announced her return for the start of 2010. She lost in the final of her first two events -- the Australian Open tuneup in Brisbane and the Aussie Open -- and now appears ready for a run at a fifth French Open crown. She had won the title at Roland Garros three straight years before her sudden retirement.