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Nets rest starters, lose 114-85 to Cavaliers

CLEVELAND (AP) - Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd sat his starters for the playoffs and the Nets closed the regular season with a 114-85 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Although the Nets could have clinched the Eastern Conference's No. 5 spot with a win, Kidd elected to rest Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston, who spent the night on the bench as the world's highest-paid cheerleading squad. Kidd also limited the minutes of key reserves and used only seven players.

Tyler Zeller scored 22 points with 11 rebounds and Dion Waiters scored 19 for the Cavaliers, who finished a disappointing 33-49 in coach Mike Brown's first season back and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year. All-Star Kyrie Irving scored 15.


Knicks beat Raptors, who get No. 3 seed anyway

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Knicks finished their disappointing season with a 95-92 victory Wednesday night over the Toronto Raptors, who blew a 21-point lead but earned the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Toronto will host the Brooklyn Nets, who fell to the No. 6 seed, in its playoff opener Saturday.

Cole Aldrich made the tiebreaking dunk with 1:23 left for the Knicks, who won their final four games to finish 37-45. J.R. Smith scored 30 points, while Aldrich finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds.

Kyle Lowry scored 22 points in 26 minutes for the Raptors, who finished 48-34.


Knicks sign Lamar Odom

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Knicks have signed former NBA champion Lamar Odom, who was out of the league this season.

The move gives new president Phil Jackson an offseason to look at the versatile forward who thrived in his system. Odom helped the Los Angeles Lakers win NBA titles in 2009 and 2010, and was the Sixth Man of the Year in 2011, Jackson's final season as coach.

But Odom has never captured that success again. He last played in the NBA with the Clippers in 2012-13, averaging 4.0 points in about 20 minutes per game, and appeared in two games for a team in Spain this season.


Woodson still believes he's right coach for Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) - Mike Woodson won't lobby to keep his job with the New York Knicks. He believes he's already proven he deserves it.

Woodson is hoping to get an answer soon from new president Phil Jackson, who will have to decide if he wants to hire a new coach after the Knicks missed the playoffs.

Atlantic Division champions last season who thought they could contend for a title in 2013-14, the Knicks instead entered their season finale against Toronto on Wednesday with a 36-45 record.

Woodson says he believes he is "the only guy for this job," but added that he's a "realist."

He says he and Jackson, who was hired last month, have had only little chats so far, but he expects the one about his future to come shortly.


White wash: Yanks sweep Cubs 3-0, 2-0

NEW YORK (AP) - Michael Pineda followed an overpowering outing by Masahiro Tanaka with one of his own, pitching six innings of four-hit ball as the New York Yankees beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 on a bitterly cold Wednesday night to complete its first doubleheader shutout sweep since 1987.

Tanaka (2-0) struck out 10 and allowed just two bunt hits - one replay aided - over eight innings in a 3-0 win in the opener of the day-night twinbill. Carlos Beltran homered for a third straight game, off Jason Hammel in the first inning of the Cubs' first regular-season game at the current Yankee Stadium.

Brett Gardner and Scott Sizemore had RBI singles off Travis Wood (0-2) in the nightcap, helping the Yankees win for the fifth time in six games and handing Chicago its fourth straight loss.

New York had not won by shutout twice in one day since April 9, 1987, against Kansas City, according to STATS, and no tea, in the major leagues had done it since Minnesota swept Oakland on June 26, 1988.

The Cubs had not been blanked twice on the same day since Larry Gibson and Ray Sadecki pitched complete games for St. Louis on June 27, 1962.


Who's on first? Yankees short on first basemen

NEW YORK (AP) - Since Mark Teixiera went on the disabled list April 5 with a strained right hamstring, the New York Yankees have cobbled together a platoon at first base.

Kelly Johnson made his 10th start at first this season for Wednesday's doubleheader opener against the Chicago Cubs. In the other two games after Teixeira's injury, catcher Francisco Cervelli started at first twice.

Coming into the season, neither had started at first - although Johnson had shifted there three times during games.

And when Cervelli strained his right hamstring in the fourth inning Sunday, Carlos Beltran took over for Cervelli at first against Boston. Beltran had made 1,970 big league starts in the outfield and not a single appearance at first base in a 17-year career.


Gee, Mets send D-Backs to 6th straight loss, 5-2

PHOENIX (AP) - Dillon Gee allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings, and the New York Mets beat Arizona 5-2 Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep and send the Diamondbacks to their sixth straight loss.

Arizona finished an 0-6 homestand and dropped to 1-11 at Chase Field. At 4-14, the Diamondbacks are off to their worst 18-game start.

Gee (1-0) retired his first 14 batters, struck out three, walked none and threw 72 pitches. He also had an RBI groundout.

Anthony Recker hit a solo homer off Brandon McCarthy. Two errors led to the final two Mets runs in the ninth.

McCarthy (0-3) gave up three runs, nine hits and three walks - two intentional - in 5 2-3 innings.

Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt homered off Jose Valverde in the ninth.


Mets bring up Matsuzaka and send down Lannan

NEW YORK (AP) - The Mets are bringing up pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to replace John Lannan on their big league roster.

Matsuzaka's contract was selected Wednesday from Las Vegas, and New York sent Lannan outright to the Triple-A team.

Matsuzaka, a 33-year-old right-hander, was 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA in seven starts for the Mets last year and 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts for Las Vegas this year.

Lannan, a 32-year-old left-hander, was 1-0 with a 15.25 ERA in five relief appearances for the Mets this year. He has the choice to refuse the outright assignment and elect to become a free agent.


Rangers look to make most of home ice vs. Flyers

NEW YORK (AP) - It's Broadway vs. Broad Street for the first time in 17 years.

It doesn't matter if these longtime rivals are in the Patrick, Atlantic, or newly formed Metropolitan Division, when the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers clash, it is every bit of a backyard brawl.

The Rangers come into the latest best-of-seven, first-round playoff series with a bit of an edge, having secured home-ice advantage by finishing second in the Metropolitan - two points ahead of the third-place Flyers.


Sabres coach Nolan shuffling staff of assistants

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan is overhauling his staff of assistants.

Goalie coach Jim Corsi will not return, and assistant Teppo Numminen's contract will not be renewed, the Sabres announced Wednesday. Two other assistants, Joe Sacco and Jerry Forton, have a choice to stay with the Sabres after being offered jobs within the team's hockey department.

The moves come three days after the Sabres finished in last place. The shake-up doesn't come as a surprise. Nolan inherited the staff in November, after being hired on an interim basis to replace Ron Rolston.

Nolan has since been signed to a three-year contract and was expected to bring in his own staff.

Corsi was the Sabres' longest tenured assistant after completing his 17th season in Buffalo.


Tippett to coach Canada at world championships

(AP) - Dave Tippett will coach Team Canada at the upcoming world hockey championships.

Tippett, who narrowly missed making the playoffs with the Phoenix Coyotes, was an assistant in 2009 and 2013.

Peter DeBoer of the New Jersey Devils and Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets will be Tippett's assistants. DeBoer was an assistant at the 2011 tournament.

The IIHF world hockey championship runs from May 9-25 in Minsk, Belarus.

Tippett tells The Canadian Press in a telephone interview that the coaching staff has "a very good template" from Canada's gold-medal performance in the Sochi Olympics.

Canada, along with several other countries, is expected to ice a young team because this is an Olympic year.


Henry, Sam lead Red Bulls past Union 2-1

HARRISON, N.J. (AP) - Thierry Henry and Lloyd Sam scored second-half goals to give the New York Red Bulls their first win of the season, 2-1 over the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night.

Eric Alexander helped set up both goals, contributing on Henry's tally in the 57th and lofting a cross 10 minutes later for Sam to head inside the right post.

Sebastien Le Toux converted an 80th-minute penalty kick after Ibrahim Sekagya was ejected for an intentional handball in the penalty area, and New York finished the final 12 minutes with 10 men.

It was only the second time this season the Red Bulls had scored more than one goal in a game and the third straight match in which Philadelphia had allowed two goals.


AP Source: Giants sign QB Josh Freeman as backup

(AP) - A person familiar with the deal says quarterback Josh Freeman has agreed to terms with the New York Giants.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the team had not announced the move.

Freeman was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in October after a messy split. He signed with Minnesota four days later, but played just one game for the Vikings.

That happened to come against the Giants, when he went 20 for 53 for 190 yards and one interception in the ugly 23-7 Monday night loss.

The 17th pick in the 2009 draft, Freeman started 59 games for the Bucs over four-plus seasons before the relationship soured. He threw for 3,451 yards and 25 touchdowns with six interceptions in 2010.

Freeman would compete to back up Eli Manning with the Giants.


Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Jets and former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson have agreed to terms on a deal.

Johnson met with the Jets all day Tuesday and stayed in town to watch the Knicks-Nets game in Brooklyn Tuesday night before signing Wednesday. The team announced the move, but didn't release terms.

Johnson was officially released by the Titans on April 7, three days after being told by the team of its decision. The former 2,000-yard rusher will team with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to give coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg a versatile and deep backfield.

Johnson, who turns 29 in September, is only the sixth player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. But Johnson finished with 1,077 yards - the second-lowest total of his career - last season.


Bills great Kelly hoping to spend weekend at home

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is planning to spend this weekend celebrating Easter at home in suburban Buffalo, before returning to New York City to resume treatments for sinus cancer.

Dan Kelly tells The Associated Press on Wednesday that barring any setbacks, his brother intends to travel home Friday before returning on Sunday. Kelly says his brother is doing "pretty good," and has felt particularly better the past two days since beginning chemotherapy on April 8.

The former Bills star has spent the past three weeks being treated at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

He is scheduled for two more chemotherapy sessions, and is having radiation treatment five days a week. The treatments are targeting cancer cells in Kelly's maxillary sinus and adjacent tissues.


Lynx trade G Sugar Rodgers to Liberty

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Lynx have traded second-year guard Sugar Rodgers to the New York Liberty for the rights to swap third-round picks in the 2015 draft.

The Lynx announced the move on Wednesday. Rodgers was chosen in the second round last season, but played only sparingly on a veteran-laden team. She averaged 1.9 points in 7.6 minutes per game last season.

The Lynx won their second WNBA title in three seasons last year and didn't have room for Rodgers on the roster after selecting Duke guard Tricia Liston in the first round of the draft on Monday night and signing free agent guard Tan White on Wednesday.

White averaged 9.2 points for the Connecticut Sun last season and will be entering her ninth season in the league.


Esposito, Cooke leads Senior PGA Pro

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - Frank Esposito Jr. shot a 3-under 69 on Wednesday for a share of the second-round lead with Stan Cooke in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship.

Esposito, the 50-year-old PGA head professional at Brooklake in Florham Park, N.J., made a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th on PGA Golf Club's Wanamaker Course - the site of the final two rounds.

Cooke, the 53-year-old PGA general manager and director of golf at Ocala (Fla.) National, had a 71 on the Ryder Course to match Esposito at 8-under 136.

Originally scheduled for October at Creighton Farms in Virginia, the event was postponed because of rain and flooding. The top 35 will earn spots in the Senior PGA Championship on May 22-25 at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich.


Image of Anna wins Big A feature

NEW YORK (AP) - Image of Anna rallied for a 3½-length victory over Allie Sweet in the $67,000 allowance feature for fillies and mares on Wednesday at Aqueduct.

It was the second straight win for the 3-year-old trained by Rick Violette and ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. The time was 1:37.75 for the mile on the main track in the race originally scheduled for the turf.

Image of Anna paid $9.50, $4.70 and $2.70. The pacesetting Allie Sweet returned $3.80 and $2.60 while Minx, the 8-5 favorite, paid $2.30 to show.


Guard from NJ power St. Anthony signs with Huskers

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Point guard Tarin Smith of powerhouse St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, N.J., has signed a letter of intent to play at Nebraska.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Smith helped the Friars to a 53-7 record in his two years as a starter and consecutive state runner-up finishes.

Nebraska coach Tim Miles said Wednesday that Smith is a "complete package" as a point guard. Smith averaged 15 points, four rebounds and four assists as a senior. He scored in double figures in all but two games.

Smith picked Nebraska over Mississippi, Providence and Duquesne. He has a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.

Smith is the second member of the Cornhuskers' recruiting class, joining 6-foot-10 center Jacob Hammond of Comanche, Okla., who signed in the fall.


NJ senior signs to play at Notre Dame next fall

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - High school point guard Matt Farrell has signed a letter of intent to play at Notre Dame this fall.

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey described the 6-2, 170-pound Farrell from Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., as extremely skilled with a tremendous worth ethic. Brey compared Farrell to former Notre Dame guard Kyle McAlarney.

Farrell averaged 19.5 points, 5.9 assists, 3.0 steals and 3.8 rebounds while leading Point Pleasant Beach to a 29-2 record this season.

Farrell joins two high school forwards who signed with the Irish in November: Bonzie Colson Jr. of New Bedford, Mass., and Martin Geben, a Lithuanian who played at St. Maria Goretti High School in Hagerstown, Md.


Big East commissioner Ackerman to receive award

NEW YORK (AP) - Big East commissioner Val Ackerman will receive the woman of distinction award at the 20th annual WISE luncheon.

Women in Sports & Events will present the award to Ackerman and three others on June 17. Also honored for 20 years of service in the sports industry are Christine Driessen, executive vice president and CFO for ESPN; Barbara Paddock, senior VP with JPMorgan Chase for her involvement with the corporate challenge races; and Judy Sweet, a former NCAA president.

Ackerman, the first president of the WNBA and former president of USA Basketball, recently took over as commissioner of the realigned Big East conference.

WISE is a resource for women in the sports and events industry, with 10 chapters across the country. A symposium will be held June 16 in New York.


$1.2M needed to save famed Negro League stadium

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - Volunteers and historians are on a fundraising campaign to save a decaying stadium that is one of the few still in existence where Negro League games were played.

A plaque naming Paterson's Hinchliffe Stadium as a national historical landmark was unveiled Wednesday.

The decrepit art deco structure was home to the New York Black Yankees, the New York Cubans and other Negro League teams. Eleven Hall of Famers played there.

D. Brent Leggs of the National Trust for Historic Preservation says Hinchliffe is baseball's only national historic landmark, a designation even higher than those bestowed on such sporting cathedrals as Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.

Advocates are trying to raise $1.2 million to stabilize the structure. But that's only a fraction of what it would take to fully restore it.


Yankees unveil plaque for Nelson Mandela

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Yankees have honored the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, with a plaque in Monument Park as part of their Jackie Robinson Day festivities.

Mandela's grandson, Zondwa Mandela, and Jackie Robinson's wife, Rachel, helped unveil the plaque that hangs next to the tribute to Jackie Robinson. The ceremony was pushed back a day to Wednesday because the game between New York and the Chicago Cubs was postponed by rain.

The beloved anti-apartheid activist, who ushered in reconciliation in South Africa as its president, died in December at the age of 95. Mandela spoke at the Yankee Stadium on June 21, 1990, just four months after completing a 27-year prison sentence. During his speech he declared, "You know who I am. I am a Yankee."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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