Mighty Ducks win epic struggle
DALLAS, April 25 (UPI) -- Petr Sykora scored on a slap shot 48 seconds into the fifth overtime Thursday night, giving Anaheim a 4-3 win over Dallas.
The triumph in their Western Conference semifinal series opener came in a six-hour game that was the fourth longest in the history of the NHL.
Dallas' Brenden Morrow forced overtime by scoring with 2:47 remaining in regulation, after which the Stars and Ducks played on and on.
Anaheim's victory followed a shocking first-round sweep of the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
In the other series opener Thursday night, Jamie Langenbrunner and John Madden scored third-period goals and Martin Brodeur recorded his third shutout of this year's playoffs as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-0.
New Jersey had a week off after eliminating the Boston Bruins in five games in the opening round. While the Devils needed some time to get going offensively, they smothered the Lightning by yielding just 15 shots -- seven over the first two periods.
Langenbrunner broke the scoreless tie with 12:19 to go in the third, fooling Nikolai Khabibulin with a wrist shot from just inside the blue line that may have ticked off Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina.
It was the sixth playoff goal for Langenbrunner, moving him into a tie for the league lead.
Less than four minutes later, Madden finished off a three on one by beating Khabibulin with a wrister from the inner edge of the right faceoff circle. The center of the Devils' checking line lead the team in scoring in the conference quarterfinals with two goals and six assists.
Turner Stevenson capped the scoring with 2:51 to play as New Jersey remained the only unbeaten home team in the postseason at 4-0.
Timberwolves shock Lakers
LOS ANGELES, April 25 (UPI) -- Clutch free throw shooting in overtime Thursday night allowed Minnesota to shock the Los Angeles Lakers, 114-110.
The Timberwolves took a 2-1 advantage in their Western Conference first-round series and cast doubt on the Lakers' ability to win a fourth straight title.
Minnesota joined Boston and New Jersey as winners Thursday night with all of those teams now leading their series, 2-1.
Los Angeles trailed by nine entering the fourth quarter and still faced a five-point deficit with less than 30 seconds to play, but the Lakers forced overtime when Kobe Bryant produced a questionable four-point play and then made another free throw with 12 seconds to go.
A three-point attempt by Troy Hudson missed at the regulation buzzer sent the teams into the extra session.
Los Angeles then appeared to gain a huge advantage when Minnesota superstar Kevin Garnett fouled out in the opening seconds of overtime. But the Timberwolves hung tough thanks to two key shots by Anthony Peeler and a basket by Hudson that gave Minnesota a one-point advantage with a minute to play.
After two Los Angeles foul shots put the Lakers in front, Gary Trent put the Timberwolves ahead for good with two free throws with 24.3 seconds to go.
Bryant then provided the key moment of overtime when he missed a layup with 11.6 seconds left, after which Mark Jackson rebounded and was fouled. His two free throws made it 111-108.
Shaquille O'Neal was then fouled with 10.4 seconds left and the Lakers' center made one of two from the line. After O'Neal missed the second attempt, the ball was batted out of bounds off the Lakers and when Jackson received the inbounds pass, he was fouled.
Jackson made one of two foul shots to put Minnesota in front by three. O'Neal was again fouled with 2.6 seconds left and he once more made one out of two from the line. Hudson wrapped up the game with two foul shots with 2.1 seconds remaining.
Garnett paced the Timberwolves with 33 points while Bryant produced 30 and O'Neal contributed 28.
In Boston, Paul Pierce scored 21 points to lead six players in double figures and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Boston Celtics crushed the cold-shooting Indiana Pacers, 101-83, to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Antoine Walker added 17 points and Walter McCarty and Tony Delk had 14 apiece for Boston, which held Indiana without a field goal for an incredible 14:21 bridging the final two quarters.
The Celtics shot 45 percent and limited the Pacers to 33 percent. Indiana made just two of 15 shots in the third period.
Boston had a four-point halftime lead with Indiana making its last field goal of the second period on Ron Mercer's jumper with 6:28 remaining. The Pacers did not make another field goal until Erick Strickland hit a jumper with 4:07 left in the contest.
The physical game saw a player ejected from each team. Boston center Mark Blount tossed after a hard foul on Jermaine O'Neal with 10:41 left in the second quarter while temperamental Pacers forward Ron Artest was ejected after picking up his second technical following a foul on Pierce with 2:40 to play.
In Milwaukee, Rodney Rogers gathered up a deflection and hit a jumper with two seconds left, giving the New Jersey Nets a 103-101 triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks. Rogers' basket came after he had missed two free throws that would have given his team the lead with five seconds remaining.
The victory returned home-court advantage to the Nets, who have a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.
New Jersey, which led by as many as 19 points late in the first half, had a nine-point advantage with 5 1/2 minutes to play and a 101-94 edge with 3 1/2 left. But the Bucks scored the next seven points, tying it on a finger roll by Toni Kukoc with 27 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Jason Kidd milked the clock until the 10-second mark, when he dribbled to the right, just outside the paint. He passed out of a double-team to the arc, from where Rogers dribbled into the lane and was fouled by Anthony Mason.
Rogers missed his first attempt and, after his second rimmed out to the right, Kenyon Martin deflected the ball back to Rogers, who swished a jumper from just inside the top of the key.
Selig says this term is his last
NEW YORK, April 25 (UPI) -- Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday he does not plan to stay on the job after his current term expires in December 2006.
Named acting commissioner in September 1992 after owners accepted the resignation of Fay Vincent, Selig often has been the scapegoat for the sport's woes. He managed to broker labor peace last August, but he told a group of sports editors Thursday that he has decided this term will be his last.
The 67-year-old Selig has said he never intended to take the job permanently, but the announcement came as a surprise since he continues to implement change. This season, he has addressed the use of dietary supplements and is attempting to implement a plan that would give the winning league in the All-Star Game home-field advantage in the World Series.
Selig is credited with adding an extra round to the playoffs, implementing interleague play and the current three-division format. But his greatest success came last year, when he was able to avoid a potentially devastating work stoppage.
Couples leads at Houston Open
HUMBLE, Texas, April 25 (UPI) -- Fred Couples showed a glimpse of his past Thursday, firing a 7-under-par 65 to hold a one-shot lead at the Houston Open.
Action was delayed for two hours in the morning due to rain and 72 golfers were on the course when it was halted due to darkness. The round will resume Friday at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
The 43-year-old Couples has 14 titles on the PGA Tour but is winless since capturing the Bob Hope Classic and The Memorial in 1998.
In addition to a 30-footer for birdie, Couples had four putts from 15 feet. He has finished 13th or better in four of his last five starts, including a seventh-place showing at the Nissan Open.
Bengals reach agreement with Palmer
CINCINNATI, April 25 (UPI) -- The Cincinnati Bengals announced Thursday they had agreed to a contract with quarterback Carson Palmer.
The Bengals thus ended any suspense surrounding the first pick in Saturday's NFL draft. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Last year's top pick, quarterback David Carr, agreed to a seven-year contract with Houston Texans prior to the draft. That deal has a base value of $21.5 million but could be worth $58 million if every incentive is reached.
The Detroit Lions, who own the second pick in the draft, are now free to finalize a contract with a prospective selection once the Bengals' deal is approved by the NFL.
Palmer will be the first Heisman Trophy winner to be selected No. 1 since quarterback Vinny Testaverde went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987.
Palmer becomes the second Heisman Trophy winner to be drafted by the Bengals. The first was running back Archie Griffin of Ohio State, a two-time Heisman winner who was the 24th overall pick in 1976.
The last player from Southern California to go first overall was receiver Keyshawn Johnson in 1996.
Anaheim cools off Yankees
ANAHEIM, April 25 (UPI) -- Early home runs by Tim Salmon and Bengie Molina Thursday night boosted the Anaheim Angels past the New York Yankees, 6-2.
Salmon hit a solo homer in the first and Molina added a three-run home run in the second as the Angels roughed up Andy Pettitte and snapped the Yankees' seven-game winning streak.
Pettitte (3-1) became the first New York starter to lose since Orlando Hernandez was beaten by Tampa Bay last Sept. 23. The Yankees' rotation had won a major league-record 16 straight decisions to start the season before the Angels got to Pettitte.
Salmon started the scoring with his sixth homer, a shot to left-center field that extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Pettitte could not settle down after Salmon's 21st career homer against the Yankees and served up Molina's first blast since Sept. 21.
While Pettitte was tagged for six runs and eight hits in five innings, Anaheim starter Ramon Ortiz (3-2) cruised through 5 1/3 frames, allowing two runs and eight hits before departing with a 6-2 lead.
Hideki Matsui had an RBI single and Bernie Williams hit a solo homer off Ortiz, but the Yankees were denied their first three-game sweep at Anaheim since May 4-6, 1990.
Other American League results: Kansas City 2, Minnesota 1; Texas 16, Boston 5; Baltimore 5, Chicago 4; Toronto 5, Tampa Bay 3; Oakland 2, Detroit 0; Seattle 4, Cleveland 2.
Utley's first hit is a bid one
PHILADELPHIA, April 25 (UPI) -- Chase Utley hit a grand slam in his third career at bat Thursday to help Philadelphia finish off a sweep of Colorado, 9-1.
Randy Wolf (3-1) yielded one run and four hits in 7 2/3 innings for the Phillies, who had lost four of five before the three-game series. The Phillies also swept the Rockies at Veterans Stadium last May and have beaten them seven straight meetings here.
Philadelphia had a 2-0 lead when Utley sent a pitch from Aaron Cook just over the wall in right field. Utley, a second baseman who was recalled from Class AAA Scranton prior to the game, struck out as a pinch-hitter against Pittsburgh on April 4 and flied out in the second inning Thursday.
The last Philadelphia player to record a grand slam for his first hit was Jim Command against the Brooklyn Dodgers on July 11, 1954.
The six-run cushion was more than enough for Wolf, who surrendered just a one-out solo homer to Jay Payton in the fourth inning after retiring his first 10 batters.
The starter pitched himself out of bases-loaded jams in the next two frames, getting a strikeout and two popouts with nobody out in the fifth and inducing Gabe Kapler to hit into a double-play to end the sixth.
Other National League results: San Francisco 3, Pittsburgh 1; San Diego 2, Chicago 1; Philadelphia 9, Colorado 1; Florida 4, Milwaukee 2; Montreal 1, Arizona 0; Cincinnati 3, Los Angeles 2 (11 inn.); New York 7, Houston 4; Atlanta 4, St. Louis 3.
Stoudemire named rookie of the year
NEW YORK, April 25 (UPI) -- Phoenix Suns forward Amare Stoudemire was named NBA Rookie of the Year Thursday.
He became the first player to win the award after entering the league out of high school.
Selected with the ninth pick in the 2002 draft out of Cypress Creek High School in Orlando, Fla., Stoudemire edged Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, 458 points to 405. The 20-year-old received 59 of 117 first-place votes, 14 more than Yao.
Miami Heat forward Caron Butler garnered the other 13 first-place votes, but was a distant third with 179 points.
The 6-10, 245-pound Stoudemire averaged 13.5 points and a rookie-best 8.8 rebounds -- the best statistics of any player who came into the league straight out of high school since Moses Malone. He easily surpassed the first-year numbers of current superstars Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady.
Stoudemire helped Phoenix return to the playoffs after a one-year absence and became the third Suns player to win the award and first since Walter Davis in 1978. He shot a team-best 47 percent from the field as the Suns (44-38) posted an eight-win improvement from last season.
While balloting concluded before the postseason, Stoudemire made a spectacular playoff debut, scoring 24 points and nailing a banked three-pointer at the end of regulation as Phoenix surprised top-seeded San Antonio, 96-95.
Syracuse's Anthony heads for NBA
SYRACUSE, April 25 (UPI) -- Carmelo Anthony, who led Syracuse to its first NCAA title earlier this month, has decided to pursue a career in the NBA.
Anthony will leave the university after just one year. The 6-8, 220-pound forward averaged 22 points and 9.8 rebounds per game during the regular season and stepped up his play in the tournament. He became just the third freshman to earn Most Outstanding Player honors in the NCAA tourney.
A near lock to be a lottery selection, Anthony should compete with high school phenom LeBron James for the honor of being the top player selected. James is expected to declare for the draft on Friday.
Anthony broke the Syracuse freshman scoring and rebounding records and was at his best when the team needed him most, averaging 26.5 points and 12 rebounds over the Orangemen's final two tournament contests. Hampered by a bruised lower back in the final against Kansas, Anthony had 20 points and registered a season-high seven assists.
The NBA draft will take place June 26.
Raymond, Kidd named to Hall of Fame
SOUTH BEND, Ind., April 25 (UPI) -- Harold "Tubby" Raymond was among nine individuals added Thursday to the College Football Hall of Fame Class for 2003.
The Hall of Fame announced its players and coaches chosen from NCAA Division I-AA, II, III, and NAIA on Thursday.
Raymond won three national titles in 36 years as coach at Delaware. He was named in the coaching category along with Roy Kidd of Eastern Kentucky and Marino Casem, who guided Alabama State, Alcorn State, and Southern.
Raymond, who retired after the 2001 season, led the Fightin' Blue Hens to 300 total victories, good for ninth on the all-time list and third on the Division I-AA level. Delaware won 14 Lambert Cup trophies and made 16 NCAA playoff appearances during his tenure.