Pacers pull off playoff surprise
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., April 21 (UPI) -- Jermaine O'Neal scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half Saturday and Reggie Miller and Brad Miller combined for 13 fourth-quarter points as the Indiana Pacers surprised the New Jersey Nets, 89-83, in Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference series.
San Antonio, Sacramento and Charlotte also recorded wins as the NBA playoffs got underway.
It marked the second straight year Indiana won its playoff opener on the home court of the top seed in the East. Last year, the Pacers stunned the Philadelphia 76ers, then lost three in a row.
En route to a playoff career high, O'Neal connected on 11 of 16 shots in the first half, when Indiana shot 57 percent and opened a 52-42 lead. He made just two shots in the third quarter as New Jersey rallied and picked up his fourth foul early in the final period.
When Pacers coach Isiah Thomas rested O'Neal, Reggie Miller and Brad Miller hit key shots.
Brad Miller, acquired with Ron Artest and Ron Mercer from the Chicago Bulls in a seven-player deal in February, had career playoff bests of 18 points and 12 rebounds in 38 minutes.
In San Antonio, Tim Duncan had a triple-double and the Spurs outshot the NBA's best-shooting team as they cruised to a 110-89 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.
A leading candidate for Most Valuable Player, Duncan had 21 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and five blocks. He more than picked up the slack for center David Robinson, who left with a sore back early in the second quarter and did not return.
Sacramento held off Utah, 89-86, and Charlotte nipped Orlando, 80-79.
Forsberg keys Colorado win
DENVER, April 21 (UPI) -- Peter Forsberg scored the tying goal midway through the second period and set up two others Saturday as the Colorado Avalanche rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings and a two games to none lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Arguably hockey's best two-way player, Forsberg returned from an 11-month absence Thursday and picked up a pair of assists as the defending Stanley Cup champions opened the series with a 4-3 triumph. He produced another multi-point effort in Game 2, helping Colorado overcome deficits of 2-1 and 3-2.
With 8:55 left in the second period, Forsberg collected his own rebound and tucked the puck inside the right goalpost to forge a 3-3 tie. It was his first goal since Game 4 of last year's conference semifinals against Los Angeles. The Swedish superstar underwent an emergency splenectomy after that series and battled foot injuries that sidelined him for the entire regular season.
Former King Steven Reinprecht put the Avalanche ahead for good with 3:15 left in the second. Joe Sakic carried the puck into the Kings' zone, pulled up at the top of the right faceoff circle and flipped a pass into the low slot. Reinprecht chopped it down and between the pads of goaltender Felix Potvin for his second goal of the series.
Toronto also took a 2-0 lead over the New York Islanders with a 2-0 victory Saturday while three other series were deadlocked at 1-1. St. Louis evened its series with Chicago thanks to a 2-0 win; Phoenix pulled even with San Jose on a 3-1 victory and Ottawa downed Philadelphia, 3-0, to tie their series.
Carr becomes No. 1 pick
NEW YORK, April 21 (UPI) -- The expansion Houston Texans officially made David Carr the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft Saturday and the mystery surrounding fellow quarterback Joey Harrington ended in a hurry when he was selected third by the Detroit Lions.
The draft got underway with an opening round that required more than six hours to complete and saw a record-equaling five players chosen from the Miami Hurricanes.
Seven defensive linemen were taken in the first round, six defensive backs and six offensive linemen. The Big East Conference led the way with eight players selected and six were chosen from the Southeastern Conference. But four of the first six came from either Texas or North Carolina.
Carr and Harrington were considered to be neck-and-neck in the draft derby last month, but the Texans made no secret as to their preference and officially coronated the Fresno State quarterback as the first pick.
Carr, 22, has reached an agreement with Houston on a seven-year contract that is similar to the one structured by Sullivan for Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons. Carr will receive a signing bonus of more than $10 million and a guaranteed payout of $16.25 million in the first three years of the deal. Vick got a guaranteed $15.3 million in the first three seasons of his contract.
In total, Carr's deal is worth at least $46 million with escalator clauses that could raise it to $60 million.
While Carr has already moved his wife and son to Houston, Harrington had no clue where he was headed and did not even attend Saturday's draft festivities.
But after the Carolina Panthers selected hometown favorite Julius Peppers of North Carolina second overall, the Lions jumped on Harrington.
It was somewhat surprising since Lions Coach Marty Mornhinweg and president Matt Millen did not indicate they would take Harrington. The 6-4 Harrington appears to be an ideal fit in Mornhinweg's West Coast offense. He does not have a strong arm, but sets up quickly and is accurate on the intermediate throws.
The top five selections were rounded out by Buffalo taking offensive tackle Mike Williams of Texas and San Diego choosing another Texas player, cornerback Quentin Jammer.
The remainder of the top 10 were defensive tackle Ryan Sims of North Carolina (to Kansas City), offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie of Miami (to Minnesota), safety Roy Williams of Oklahoma (to Dallas), defensive tackle John Henderson of Tennessee (to Jacksonville) and offensive tackle Levi Jones of Arizona State (to Cincinnati).
Twins take over division lead
MINNEAPOLIS, April 21 (UPI) -- Matt Kinney, who had not pitched in the big leagues in nearly two years, allowed one run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings Saturday night as the Minnesota Twins handed the Cleveland Indians their fifth straight defeat, 6-2.
The 6-5 righthander, who was recalled from Class AAA Edmonton earlier in the week after the Twins placed starter Joe Mays on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, had been just 1-1 with a 10.13 ERA in the minors this season.
But in just his ninth career start -- he went 2-2 with a 5.10 ERA in 2000 -- Kinney (1-0) held the Indians scoreless until Milton Bradley hit a solo home run with one out in the seventh. Kinney was removed and received a standing ovation.
Torii Hunter and Doug Mientkiewicz homered as the Twins won their third consecutive contest. They have won seven of eight to move a half game ahead of the Indians and the Chicago White Sox for first place in the American League Central.
Other American League results: Toronto 5, New York 4 in 10 innings; Chicago 12, Detroit 5; Oakland 8, Anaheim 7; Baltimore 6, Tampa Bay 3. Boston at Kansas City was rained out and will be made up in a double header today.
Maddux impressive in comeback
On Wednesday night in New York, Maddux (2-0) pitched just one inning after aggravating a back injury that landed him on the disabled list earlier this season. But the four-time Cy Young Award winner allowed one run and five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Marlins starter A.J. Burnett (2-2) was masterful until the sixth, when he a left up a changeup that Jones belted 412 feet into the right field seats to give Atlanta a 3-1 lead.
Rookie Tim Spooneybarger and Mike Remlinger made the lead stand by tossing a scoreless inning apiece. Closer John Smoltz worked around a hit in the ninth to record his fifth save.
Other National League results: Montreal 7, New York 5; Pittsburgh 6, Philadelphia 5; Milwaukee 5, St. Louis 3; Cincinnati 6, Chicago 1; San Francisco 13, Houston 9
Leonard takes lead at Hilton Head
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., April 21 (UPI) -- Justin Leonard jumped to the top of the leaderboard at the Worldcom Classic Saturday, shooting a 5-under-par 66 for a three-stroke advantage over Cameron Beckman.
A former British Open champion, Leonard has not won outside his home state of Texas since 1998. But he moved to 16-under 197 through 54 holes as he seeks his seventh PGA Tour title.
Leonard has failed to finish better than sixth in nine starts this season, but he opened some breathing room Saturday over two of the world's best players.
Phil Mickelson, who is second in the world rankings, began the third round with the lead, but shot a 1-over 72 to drop into a tie for third at 12-under 201.
Davis Love III, a four-time winner of this event who is ranked 11th in the world, opened the round four shots back and also carded a 72 to fall six strokes off the pace.
Of the top nine players on the leaderboard, Mickelson and Love were the only ones who failed to break par.
Wreck mars Busch race
TALLADEGA, Ala., April 21 (UPI) -- Jason Keller avoided an early 27-car pileup and gave himself an early birthday present Saturday by winning the NASCAR Busch series Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Stacy Compton was the only driver to put pressure on Keller over the final laps but finished second in a Chevrolet, while Tim Fedewa was third in a backup Pontiac Grand Prix as the only other driver on the lead lap.
Keller, who turns 32 on Tuesday, started 12th in a Ford Taurus and made it to the front after a few laps. On lap 15, Kenny Wallace and Scott Riggs jockeyed for position off turn 2, forcing Riggs to hit the brakes.
Rookie Shane Hmiel was unable to avoid Riggs, bumping him in the rear. Riggs' car shot down the track and straight into rookie pole-sitter Johnny Sauter, whose Chevrolet was turned around and went upside-down, touching off the huge melee on the back straightaway.
Only 13 cars made it back to the finish line and the race was halted for 40 minutes. There were no serious injuries reported, although Mike Harmon bit his tongue and required stitches.
Schnyder reaches final
CHARLESTON, S.C., April 21 (UPI) -- Patty Schnyder of Switzerland posted a 6-4, 6-3 upset over top seed and current world No. 1 Jennifer Capriati of the United States Saturday at the $1.22 million Family Circle Cup, setting up a title match with Iva Majoli of Croatia.
Capriati's loss paves the way for Venus Williams to move back atop of the WTA rankings when they are released Monday for the first time since March 18.
Today's final will be the first in the 30-year history of this claycourt tournament to be contested between a pair of unseeded players.
Majoli toppled seventh-seeded Sandrine Testud of France in the other semifinal, 6-2, 6-4.