SAN ANTONIO, May 27 (UPI) -- The San Antonio Spurs hope to advance to the NBA Finals when they face Dallas Tuesday night in Game Five of their Western Conference playoff series.
The Spurs, who won the NBA title in the lockout-abbreviated 1999 season, moved within one win of meeting the New Jersey Nets, the Eastern Conference champions, with a 102-95 win in Game Four on Sunday at Dallas.
NBA MVP Tim Duncan has had a huge series for the Spurs, averaging 31.8 points, 18.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 3.5 blocked shots per contest while making 61 percent of his shots.
Tony Parker scored 25 points, rookie Manu Ginobili added a playoff season-high 21, and Tim Duncan contributed 21, 20 rebounds, and seven assists for the Spurs, which has won three straight games since losing Game One.
Parker came up big in the third quarter for the second straight game, scoring 11 points as the Spurs ended the period on a 22-6 run to turn a nine-point deficit into a 77-70 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.
Dallas got no closer than two points in the fourth quarter.
Steve Nash and Michael Finley scored 25 points, and Nick Van Exel added 22 for Dallas, which was without the services of leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki, who sprained his left knee colliding with Ginobili in the fourth quarter of Game Three.
Because of the absences of big men Shawn Bradley and Evan Eschmeyer, both out with knee injuries, the Mavericks used mostly smaller, perimeter-based players and launched 31 three-pointers, making 12.
The Mavericks have attempted just 19 free throws over the last two games after shooting 50, making the final 49, in Game One.
Nowitzki was to be a game-time decision, but Coach Don Nelson said after a shootaround on Tuesday morning that Nowitzki had been ruled out for Game Five.
The Mavericks did not want to risk further injury to the All-Star 7-foot forward.
"Nellie told me if it's not right, he wasn't going to play me," Nowitzki told the Dallas Morning-News. "And looking back, he was 100 percent right. He's concerned about my health and my body for the future."
"We've just got to go hard for 48 minutes Tuesday, and see what it gets us," said guard Nick Van Exel. "Our energy and intensity has been great in the first half, but somehow we have to maintain it."
Hewitt, Clijsters advance in Paris
PARIS, May 27 (UPI) -- Lleyton Hewitt of Australia and his girlfriend, Kim Clijsters of Belgium, enjoyed their first day together Tuesday at the French Open.
Hewitt, the men's No. 1 seed, who has reached at least the fourth round the last four years, but has never won the title at Roland Garros, beat Brian Vahaly of the U.S., 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3.
"Conditions were very heavy out there because I think the balls are even heavier this year than ever before, and the court is probably the slowest court out of them all as well," said Hewitt, the reigning Wimbledon champion, who has won two titles this year but has limited experience on clay.
Vahaly made his first appearance at Roland Garros, and is still seeking his first match win after making his Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon last year. He earned Hewitt's respect.
"That guy runs a lot of balls down and he makes you play," Hewitt said. "But I didn't serve great, and I didn't feel like I had great rhythm out there."
Clijsters was off the court in 45 minutes after a 6-2, 6-0 win over Amy Frazier. The Belgian smacked 20 winners to five by Frazier, and lost only eight points in the second set.
Clijsters, 19, has reached at least the semifinals in all eight of her tournaments this season, winning three of those events. On clay, she lost in the final at Berlin before becoming the first Belgian to win the Italian Open, her second Tier I tournament triumph of the year.
Two years ago, Clijsters was the French runner-up, losing to Jennifer Capriati, 12-10, in the longest set in Roland Garros finals history. She squandered another chance for her first Grand Slam crown in January at the Australian Open, where she led world No. 1 Serena Williams, 5-1, in the third set and held two match points before losing in the semifinals.
Elsewhere, Albert Costa opened defense of his Roland Garros crown in more difficult fashion than expected, needing a rally to beat lucky loser Sergio Roitman of Argentina, 6-7 (3-7), 2-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.
Costa, the ninth seed from Spain, won the title last year to end a run of 65 tournaments without a championship, dating to July 1999. He has gone 22 tournaments since without further success.
Also, men's No. 3 Juan Carlos Ferrero, last year's runner-up, ousted Michel Kratochvil, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.
Reports: Patrick Roy to retire
BOULDER, Colo., May 27 (UPI) -- It appears the NHL's winningest goaltender has stolen the thunder from the start of the Stanley Cup Finals.
A report Tuesday in the Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera said goaltender Patrick Roy of the Avalanche, a four-time Stanley Cup winner, has decided to retire after 18 seasons in the NHL.
KUSA-TV in Denver confirmed Roy's decision to retire and said an official announcement will be made on Wednesday.
The Avalanche squandered a three games to one lead and lost to Minnesota in the Western Conference quarterfinals. Afterwards, Roy hinted at retirement, but said he would not announce his future plans until after the postseason.
Anaheim and New Jersey begin the Stanley Cup Finals on Tuesday night. Ironically, the most intoxicating matchup of the Finals features French-Canadian goaltenders Jean-Sebastien Giguere of Anaheim and Martin Brodeur of New Jersey.
In this case, the spotlight falls on the speculation swirling around Roy, arguably the greatest goaltender in league history, Roy, 37, has 551 career victories, and has won three Vezina Trophies and three Conn Smythe Trophies, awarded to the MVP of the playoffs.
Roy, the youngest player ever to win the Conn Smythe at age 20 when he led the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup title in 1985-86, won another championship with the Canadiens in 1992-93.
The Avalanche made the best trade in club history when they acquired Roy in December 1995, along with Mike Keane, from Montreal for goaltender Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky, and Andrei Kovalenko.
That season, Roy led the Avalanche to their first Stanley Cup title, and earned his fourth in 2000-01, beating Brodeur and the Devils in seven games.
Stanley Cup Finals begin Tuesday night
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 27 (UPI) -- New Jersey, in familiar territory, and Anaheim, a novice, play Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals Tuesday night at East Rutherford, N.J.
The most intoxicating matchup in the Stanley Cup is with the French Canadian goaltenders, Jean-Sebastien Giguere of Anaheim and the Devils' Martin Brodeur, and both teams have a Niedermayer brother in the lineup.
The Might Ducks, named after Disney's 1992 hockey-themed movie, roared into the first Stanley Cup Finals berth of their 10-year history.
After a stunning sweep of the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, they eliminated the top-seeded Dallas Stars, then overwhelmed the Minnesota Wild, becoming the first team in 11 years to sweep the conference finals.
They now have had a 10-day layoff that matches the longest ever heading into the Stanley Cup Finals.
Anaheim showed no ill effects from an earlier period of inactivity, taking Game One of the Western Conference semifinals in five overtimes, a week after polishing off Detroit.
"We tried to get back to work," said Ottawa Coach Mike Babcock. "We worked really hard. We had a scrimmage in between, but there is nothing like the game. In reality, that (layoff) is over with. We play a game here (Tuesday), and we're going to be ready."
New Jersey will have had three days off since an emotional 3-2 victory at Ottawa in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference finals. In danger of squandering a three games to one lead for the first time in team history, the Devils got a late goal from former Duck Jeff Friesen to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in four years.
Scott Stevens, Brian Rafalski, Scott Niedermayer, and Colin White see the most time on defense for New Jersey Coach Pat Burns, who is back in the Finals for the first time since his rookie season with Montreal in 1989.
While Burns is in his 13th NHL season, Babcock is completing his first. After guiding the Ducks to a 26-point turnaround and their best record ever, he already has won one more playoff series than any coach in team history.
Barring a total collapse in this series, Giguere will win the Conn Smythe Trophy, win or lose. He has a remarkable 1.22 goals-against average and .960 save percentage, recorded shutouts in each of the first three games of the conference finals, and went nearly 218 minutes without allowing a goal.
"Personal statistics don't matter in the playoffs. It's all about team effort and team wins," Giguere said. "I couldn't care less if we win the game 8-7 or 1-0, it's all about winning one game at a time. It's the first team that gets to four."
Brodeur is seeking his third Stanley Cup ring in his fourth trip to the Finals. Like Giguere, he has four playoff shutouts. He is right behind his Anaheim counterpart in GAA and save percentage.
The Devils again have home-ice advantage, and that bodes well for Brodeur, who is 8-1 with a 0.90 GAA at the Continental Airlines Arena.
Orioles ink former top pick Loewen
BALTIMORE, May 27 (UPI) -- The Baltimore Orioles have come to terms with Adam Loewen, their top choice in the 2002 Player Draft.
In a statement, the team said the signing was contingent upon his passing a physical examination. He is expected to come to Baltimore later this week for his physical exam before reporting to the Orioles' minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla.
Reportedly, he got a five-year contract.
Jim Beattie, the Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations, and Mike Flanagan, Vice President for Baseball Operations, basically confirmed a report by the Baltimore Sun that an agreement was reached Monday night shortly before midnight, the deadline for signing players selected in last year's draft.
The Sun report said the Orioles beat the deadline by five minutes.
"It feels very good to get a young, talented kid in the organization," Beattie told the paper. "It was an interesting process, that's for sure."
The paper also said that, when the Orioles lost centerfielder Gary Matthews Jr., to the San Diego Padres on waivers last week, they saved about $645,000 so they could use that money toward signing Loewen. Matthews' departure also opened up a spot on the 40-man roster.
Loewen, 19, a 6-6, 230-pounder, is a native of Surrey, British Columbia, was the fourth overall pick in last year's draft after graduating from Fraser Valley Christian High School. This past year, he attended Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla., where he went 6-1 with a 2.37 ERA in 12 games.
Loewen was a member of the Canadian Junior National Team, was team MVP in 2000, was named MVP of the Canadian National Games in 2002, and is the highest draft pick in Canadian history.
Brewers send Sanchez to Tigers
MILWAUKEE, May 27 (UPI) -- The Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday dealt veteran outfielder Alex Sanchex to Detroit for minor leaguers Chad Petty and Gary Varner.
Sanchez did give the Brewers some chances with his speed and hitting prowess, but the team tired of his undisciplined play and mental mistakes.
General Manager Doug Melvin, in speaking with MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball, gave the indication that the Brewers feel they are better off with a player who was projected as a prospect of the future.
"Scott Podsednik's performance over the last several weeks gave us this opportunity to trade Alex Sanchez," Melvin said. "We were able to get two young players to add to our minor league system, and we believe that Alex, with his talent, will get a better opportunity with Detroit. We wish him well."
Sanchez, who also fell into the doghouse with Tampa Bay, was hitting .282 with 15 runs scored and 14 RBI in 43 games this season. He earned a spot on the bench of Manager Ned Yost on May 13.
Brewers coaches wanted Sanchez to work pitchers deeper into counts, bunt more, and work harder on his outfield defense, but he failed to comply.
Sanchez, a native of Cuba, displayed his potential when he stole 92 bases in 131 games in 1997, and swiped 66 more while hitting .330 for Single-A St. Petersburg in the Florida State League in 1998, good for Tampa Bay's Minor League Player of the Year honors.
He played in the Major League Futures game in 1999.
Petty, 21, began this season with Single-A Lakeland, where he went 3-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 10 starts. Last year, he tied for the lead in the Midwest League with 15 wins and 28 games started.
Varner, 22, began this season with Double A Erie, hitting .303 in 44 games with three home runs and 30 RBI.
Bay sidelined with broken wrist
SAN DIEGO, May 27 (UPI) -- The struggling San Diego Padres have learned that they will be without rookie outfielder Jason Bay for an extended period because of a broken wrist.
In a weekend series at Arizona Saturday, Bay was hit by a pitch from Elmer Dessens in the second inning. X-rays taken at Bank One Ballpark revealed the injury to be a fracture to the ulnar styloid bone, which is on the outside edge of the wrist.
Padres trainer Todd Hutcheson described the break as fairly clean with no other complications.
After getting plunked, Bay took his base and played the bottom half of the inning in the outfield, but was unable to answer the call for defensive duties in the third and was replaced by the recently-signed Gary Matthews Jr.
"I ran the bases and then I went out to the outfield and played catch and it didn't really feel all that great," Bay said. "It just started getting tighter as the inning went on, and thank God a ball didn't get hit my way. I went in and after that it just sort of locked up. I've never had a broken bone before, but I knew there was something wrong."
MLB.com, the Web site of Major League Baseball, reported that the injury normally requires a minimum of six weeks to heal, but in this case, that process may be quicker.
"It depends," Hutcheson said. "Doc (Jan) Fronek said 4-6 (weeks), but we'll have to reevaluate it as we go. Obviously, he'll be in a splint for a couple of weeks. We'll re-X-ray it to make sure the fracture hasn't moved positions. It's a non-displaced fracture so there is nothing else we have to do. Just immobilize it and let it heal."
Bay, 24, who in his major league debut on Friday homered off Arizona's hard-throwing closer, Matt Mantei, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, where he joins the man he replaced, centerfielder Mark Kotsay, as well as closer Trevor Hoffman and left fielder Phil Nevin.
To fill his roster spot, the Padres have recalled Jermaine Clark from Triple-A Portland of the Pacific Coast League.
Clark, who was claimed off waivers on April 30, began the season with the Texas Rangers, but was demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma after batting just .188 in 10 games with the Rangers.
The Padres ended a dreadful 1-6 road trip Monday with an 8-4 loss to the Diamondbacks, and are last in the National League West at 14-37 overall, 7-21 away from home.
Dolphins send Rodgers to Saints
MIAMI, May 27 (UPI) -- The Miami Dolphins have traded weakside linebacker Derrick Rodgers to the Miami Dolphins for a seventh-round draft pick.
The recent acquisition of Junior Seau made Rodgers expendable, and the bargain price was a seventh-round pick in 2004.
The Dolphins were willing to settle for anything in return since the 6-1, 230-pounder from Arizona State likely would have been cut in June for salary cap purposes. Miami signed Seau, a perennial Pro Bowl linebacker, earlier this month to a four-year, $14 million contract.
The Green Bay Packers also expressed interest in Rodgers, but held off on a possible trade after selecting Oregon State linebacker Nick Barnett in the first round of the April draft.
Rodgers, 31, started 89 of 93 games at weakside linebacker for the Dolphins since being drafted in the third round in 1997. He has 378 career tackles, nine sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions.
"Rodgers is the kind of player we have targeted for the defense
since last season ended," said New Orleans Coach Jim Haslett. "He can fly to the ball and close gaps. We have gotten deeper, more experienced, and faster with this trade."
The Saints, who ranked 27th in defense last season, were planning on starting James Allen, a third-round pick in 2002, at weakside linebacker before acquiring Rodgers, who attended St. Augustine High School in New Orleans.
Instead of football, he played the trumpet as a member of the school's nationally renowned marching band. He left ASU after his junior season.
Rodgers graduated from high school in 1989, and then served four years as a medical technician in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed for more than two years in Okinawa, Japan, before enrolling at Riverside (Calif.) Community College in 1994.
Lions receiver stabbed outside nightclub
HOUSTON, May 27 (UPI) -- Detroit Lions wide receiver Scotty Anderson and his brother were stabbed early Monday morning outside a Houston nightclub.
According to a Houston Police Department report, Anderson, his brother, Steve, and a cousin were involved in an incident as they were leaving the Crystal Nite Club.
Scotty Anderson received a stab wound in the upper left arm, and was treated and released from a local hospital. Stevie Anderson, a former wide receiver with the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals, received multiple stab wounds and remains in critical condition at Hermann Memorial Hospital.
"The Detroit Lions thoughts and prayers are with Scotty Anderson and his family during this difficult time, and the Lions family is hoping for Stevie's complete and full recovery," the team said in a statement.
Police arrested a pair of suspects. The Detroit News said they have been identified as Christopher Lemar Robinson and Charles Edward Jones, and that the two men have been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The paper also said Scotty Anderson has been excused from reporting Tuesday for the start of a three-week mini-camp at the team's headquarters in Allen Park, Mich.
Entering his third season with the Lions, Scotty Anderson caught 25 passes for 322 yards and one touchdown last season.
Last year, he was the victim of a carjacking in Louisiana. The paper said last month, a federal judge sentenced a woman to three years in prison for he role in the carjacking of Anderson's customized Cadillac.
Nadeau released from hospital
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 27 (UPI) -- NASCAR Winston Cup veteran Jerry Nadeau has been released from the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond.
He will continue his recovery at the Charlotte (N.C.) Institute of Rehabilitation.
Doctors at the VCU Medical Center said Nadeau was "improving daily," and is on an "excellent recovery path." His rehabilitation will continue to consist of physical, recreational, and speech therapy.
Nadeau, 32, was injured May 2 during a practice session at Richmond International Raceway. He suffered a moderate to severe head injury, a fractured shoulder blade, and lung and rib injuries.
"We are thankful and very appreciative for the excellent medical care that Jerry received at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center," said Nadeau's wife, Jada. "It is a facility of the highest standard, and everyone affiliated with the hospital was compassionate, professional, and truly wonderful to work with. We look forward to returning to North Carolina as Jerry continues his recovery. He is doing great, and we know that we are going to another excellent facility at the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation."
Nadeau regained consciousness last week. He had been in a semiconscious state after suffering a "moderate to severe" head injury in the crash. He also sustained a broken shoulder blade.
He was hurt when the back end of his Pontiac Grand Prix got loose and spun, hitting the wall with the driver's side of the vehicle between turns 1 and 2.
Nadeau is in his sixth full season on the Winston Cup circuit. His only victory in 177 career starts came in the final race of 2000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.