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National

  • Sharapova gets ousted

    LONDON (AP) — Maria Sharapova has been knocked out of Wimbledon by a 131st-ranked qualifier on a day when injuries forced the withdrawal of seven other players.
    The third-seeded Sharapova, the Wimbledon champion in 2004 champion, lost 6-3, 6-4 to Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal in the second round at the All England Club.
    It’s the second significant upset of the tournament, which is only in Day 3. Two-time men’s champion Rafael Nadal was beaten on Monday by 135th-ranked Steve Darcis.
    Sharapova slipped and fell several times on the grass on Court 2 and received medical treatment from the trainer in the second set.
    The women’s tournament also lost second-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who withdrew before her match with a knee injury. Sharapova and Azarenka had been considered the main challengers to five-time champion Serena Williams.

  • Nadal is early Wimbledon casualty

    LONDON (AP) — So good for so long on the clay at the French Open, where he’s won 59 of 60 career matches, Rafael Nadal is suddenly mediocre on Wimbledon’s grass, where he’s surprisingly been beaten twice in a row.
    What a 15-day swing for Nadal: from a record eighth championship at Roland Garros to a quick-as-can-be exit at the All England Club in the only first-round Grand Slam loss of his career.
    Noticeably limping and generally out of sorts, Nadal departed Wimbledon with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (8), 6-4 loss Monday against 135th-ranked Steve Darcis of Belgium — a shockingly early and straightforward result that ranks among the most memorable upsets in the grass-court tournament’s history.
    “Two weeks ago, I was in a fantastic situation, winning a fantastic tournament,” Nadal said. “Two weeks later, I lost here in the first round. That’s the positive and the negative thing about this sport.”
    Shaking his head as he leaned back in a black leather chair at his news conference, Nadal said: “Nobody remembers the losses. People remember the victories. And I don’t want to remember that loss.”
    Others surely will.

  • James, Heat hold off Spurs for title

    MIAMI (AP) — Even after the confetti fell and the champagne spilled, in the early moments of a Game 7 celebration, LeBron James couldn’t forget Game 6.
    The championship the Miami Heat won Thursday was almost lost two nights earlier. So when James remembers his second straight title, the save goes right along with the win.
    “To be able to win that game and force a Game 7 is a true test of our, I guess, perseverance,” James said, “and us being able to handle adversity through everything. It meant a lot for us to be able to do that and force a Game 7 and being able to close out at home.”
    Doing it that way, following a stunning comeback with a stirring victory, cemented a place with the NBA’s giants for this Miami team and its leader.
    “Last year when I was sitting up here with my first championship, I said it was the toughest thing I had ever done,” James said. “This year, I’ll tell last year he’s absolutely wrong. This was the toughest championship right here between the two.”
    And the San Antonio Spurs will always know it’s a title they let slip away.
    James scored 37 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 95-88 victory Thursday night in a tense game that was tight until Miami pulled away in the final minute.

  • History on the line in Game 7 tonight

     MIAMI (AP) — He is the best player in the game and this is the best moment in his sport.

    Game 7, NBA title on the line.

    "The moment is going to be grand," LeBron James said.

    And it might redefine someone's legacy.

    No matter what happens Thursday night, he and the Miami Heat, and Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs have already won titles and secured a place in NBA history.

    Now is their opportunity to elevate it.

    The truly memorable teams won the hard way, and that will be the case for the one celebrating at center court this time.

    It's either a Heat repeat, possible only after James led them back from what seemed certain elimination in the closing seconds of Game 6, or the Spurs shaking off as gut-wrenching a loss as a team can have to become just the fourth club to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals on the road.

    "As a competitor you love it, because you know you have an opportunity and it's up to you," Heat guard Ray Allen said. "We have a chance in our building to make something great. All of our legacies are tied to this moment, this game. It's something our kids will be able to talk about that they were a part of. Forever will remember these moments, so we want to not live and have any regrets."

  • Alford attends Ind. hoops camp

    FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) — UCLA coach Steve Alford fit right in Wednesday at Franklin College.
    Instead of walking into the annual summer basketball camp wearing his traditional red attire, Alford dressed in a blue-and-gold T-shirt that was just a few shades short of matching Franklin's school colors. Heck, even the school nicknames, Bruins and Grizzlies, both represent bears.
    And, of course, he enjoys being around a community where he is still so revered that the Division III school sold out every spot for this week's event.
    "It's always fun. This is the fifth different coaching job I've had and at every spot I've had at least one Indiana guy," Alford said during a mid-afternoon break. "I still recruit this area."
    For Alford, it's a rare break from the day-to-day responsibilities of monitoring his new players' progress, tracking recruits, meeting with a new staff and getting players acclimated to doing things his way.

  • Spurs can’t hang on to late lead Tuesday as Heat force Game 7

    MIAMI (AP) — When LeBron James’ greatness almost wasn’t good enough, officials began preparing for a San Antonio celebration.
    Miami’s championship reign would be over. Someone in Spurs black would replace James as NBA Finals MVP.
    James and the Heat wouldn’t let it happen.
    “To be a part of something like this is something you would never be able to recreate once you’re done playing the game. And I’m blessed to be a part of something like this,” James said. “And I’m happy about the way we dug down and was able to get a win. It didn’t look like we could muster up at some point in the game.”
    James powered Miami to a frantic fourth-quarter rally and overtime escape as the Heat beat the Spurs 103-100 on Tuesday night to extend the NBA Finals as far as they can go and keep Miami’s repeat chances alive.
    Losing his headband but keeping his cool while playing the entire second half and overtime, James finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, making the go-ahead basket with 1:43 remaining in the extra period.
    “It’s by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of,” James said.
    He wouldn’t let the Heat lose it — or their NBA title.

  • Bruins post shutout, go up 2-1

    BOSTON (AP) — The puck bounced off the post and rolled across the crease, away from the goal line. The red light flashed briefly, but replays would confirm that Tuukka Rask’s shutout streak was intact.
    For the last 122 minutes, 26 seconds of the Stanley Cup finals, the Bruins goalie has prevented Chicago from scoring.
    Rask made 28 more saves in Game 3 on Monday night to earn his third shutout of the postseason, leading Boston to a 2-0 victory over the Blackhawks and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
    “We ran up against some of the best goalies in the league here,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “Tonight, I thought we made it rather easy on him as far as traffic and finding and seeing pucks. I think we’ve got to be better at going to the net.”
    After playing four extra periods in the first two games, the Bruins made an early night of it in Game 3 with second-period goals by Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron.
    Corey Crawford had 33 saves for a Blackhawks team playing without Marian Hossa, who was scratched just before gametime.

  • Miami needs a win to stay alive

    MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat weren’t supposed to be in this situation. Not now, anyway.
    Coming home from Texas with their season on the line in 2011 was one thing. They were at the end of their first year together — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh still trying to figure it all out and clearly a long way from it.
    But this season they were the NBA’s best team, one that lost three games in three months and made losing three times in one series look unlikely, if not downright unimaginable.
    The San Antonio Spurs can finish Miami off Tuesday night in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, reaffirming themselves as one of the league’s greatest franchises.
    If so, the Heat’s Big Three once again go from celebrated to devastated.
    “We’re going to see if we’re a better team than we were our first year together,” James said.
    The Spurs took a 3-2 lead with their 114-104 victory Sunday night. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were all brilliant again, and Danny Green added to what could become one of the most out-of-nowhere finals MVP campaigns ever.
    One more victory makes the Spurs 5-0 in the NBA Finals, keeping pace with Michael Jordan’s 6-0 Chicago Bulls as the only teams to make it here multiple times and never lose.

  • 'Big Three' lift Heat over Spurs in Game 4

    SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Miami Heat owner Micky Arison had a message as he walked to the winning locker room.
    "The death of the Big Three was overrated," he said.
    Sure was. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, his three prized players, are just fine.
    So are the Heat's championship hopes.
    Riding big performances from their three All-Stars, the Heat tied the NBA Finals with a 109-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night in Game 4.
    "It was on our shoulders," James said. "We had to figure out how to win the game for us and play at the highest level. When all three of us are clicking we're very tough to beat."
    James had 33 points and 11 rebounds after failing to break 20 points in any of the first three games of the series, and Wade scored 32 points, 11 more than his previous high this postseason.
    Bosh matched his playoff high with 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, he and Wade supplying the baskets that finally put the Spurs away for good midway through the fourth quarter.
    Three players, 85 points. Just the way the Heat envisioned it when they signed James and Bosh to play with Wade in 2010.

  • Blackhawks win Game 1 thriller

    CHICAGO (AP) — Of course, it was Andrew Shaw. The pesky little forward always gets up when he's knocked down.
    The three-overtime opener of the Stanley Cup finals came to a thrilling end at the stroke of midnight Wednesday because the tenacious Shaw is a whole lot more than his reputation for irritating opposing players.
    Shaw skated in front of the goal at the right time, deflecting Dave Bolland's tip into the net for the winning score in the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins in the fifth-longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup.
    "We knew it wasn't going to be pretty at that point," Shaw said. "You could tell both teams were physically exhausted. We've preached it: Go to the net, you'll find a way to get a greasy goal. We did a heck of a job of it there in the third overtime."
    Shaw was knocked down near the boards but got up as the puck came out to Michal Rozsival, who started the winning sequence with a shot from the right point into traffic. Bolland's tip then went off Shaw's right leg and past Tuukka Rask at 12:08 for his fifth goal of the playoffs.
    And just like that, the longest finals game in five years was over. Shaw skated off to the side and pumped his arms furiously, then joined his teammates for a weary celebration.