Spurs advance to NBA Championship Series
DALLAS, May 30 (UPI) -- Steve Kerr ignited San Antonio to 23 straight fourth quarter points Thursday night, putting the Spurs into the NBA Finals with a 90-78 win over Dallas.
San Antonio, which won the 1999 title, hosts the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at the SBC Center on Wednesday night. It will be the first NBA Finals matchup between two former ABA teams.
With Tim Duncan struggling and Tony Parker playing with a stomach flu, the Spurs looked flat and trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter. Dallas still owned a 71-58 lead after a jumper by Nick Van Exel of Dallas with 10:53 to play.
But after Duncan made one of two free throws 13 seconds later, the Spurs' wing players got hot from the outside. Manu Ginobili made a three-pointer and Stephen Jackson back-to-back shots from beyond the arc to pull San Antonio within 71-68 with 8:53 left.
Kerr, 37, then tied the contest with a three-pointer with 7:12 left, added another to put San Antonio ahead for good at 74-71 with 6:28 left, and connected on a third shot from long range with 5:14 to play to make it 79-71. Ginobili capped the incredible 23-0 burst with a pair of free throws with 3 1/2 minutes to go to give San Antonio an 81-71 advantage.
The Spurs outscored the Mavericks by 34-9 in the final 12 minutes with Dallas scoring the final four points of the game in the final minute with the result not in doubt.
Jackson scored a playoff career-high 24 points, Duncan contributed 18 with 11 rebounds and Malik Rose 12 and 11 for the Spurs, who won each of their three games in Dallas in the six-game series.
Van Exel scored 19 points and Walt Williams 17 for Dallas, which played its third straight game without injured All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki.
Devils take 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Finals
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 30 (UPI) -- Martin Brodeur recorded another shutout Thursday night to lift New Jersey past Anaheim, 3-0, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Oleg Tverdovsky set up a pair of goals against his former team to give the Devils a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series.
Brodeur is the active goaltender with the best chance to break the records of Patrick Roy for regular season and playoff wins. A day after Roy announced his retirement, Brodeur became the first goalie in 58 years to open the Stanley Cup finals with back-to-back shutouts.
Like Tuesday night's series opener, Brodeur did not have much work to do until the third period. He made 16 saves, just nine over the first 40 minutes, to run his latest shutout streak to 138 minutes, 7 seconds.
It was his sixth shutout of this year's playoffs, tying Dominik Hasek's 2002 record, and the 19th of his career, four shy of Roy's mark.
The last goalie to start the Stanley Cup Finals with three shutouts was Toronto's Frank McCool in 1945. Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere opened the Western Conference finals with three shutouts to match McCool's playoff record.
But it has been a different story for Giguere in this series. After giving up former Duck Jeff Friesen's third goal in two games, Giguere broke his stick in half.
Tverdovsky, another ex-Duck, picked up assists on the first two goals of the night as Patrik Elias scored on the power play at 4:42 of the second period and Scott Gomez ended a nine-game drought 7 1/2 minutes later.
Mariners pound out 18 hits
MINNEAPOLIS, May 30 (UPI) -- Carlos Guillen and Bret Boone paced an 18-hit attack Thursday night in carrying Seattle past Minnesota, 10-6.
The second and third hitters in the Seattle lineup, Guillen and Boone went a combined seven for 10 with six RBI and four runs scored.
Guillen matched a career high with four hits, including a run-scoring single and RBI double. Boone hit his 200th career homer, a two-run shot and also added pair of RBI doubles.
Edgar Martinez added three hits and knocked in two runs for the Mariners (34-18), who have won 10 of their last 13 games to move a season-best 16 games over the .500 mark.
Mariners starter Gil Meche (7-2) benefited from the offensive support. The righthander gave up four runs and six hits over seven-plus innings, walking one and striking out four.
Twins starter Brad Radke (5-5) was roughed up for five runs and 11 hits in five innings.
Other American League results: Texas 8, Baltimore 4; Chicago 3, Toronto 2; Anaheim 2, Tampa Bay 1; Oakland 6, Kansas City 1.
Helton helps Rockies to sweep
DENVER, May 30 (UPI) -- Todd Helton went four for five with three homers and a career-high six RBI Thursday as Colorado pounded Los Angeles, 12-5.
It was the first home sweep ever for the Rockies over the Dodgers.
Ron Belliard finished with a career-best five hits and scored four times and Jay Payton homered and drove in three runs for the Rockies, who have won five straight games for the first time since last June.
Elarton (1-1), who was making just his second start since undergoing shoulder surgery in March 2002, allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings.
Despite a two-run homer by Helton in the bottom of the first inning, the Rockies trailed, 3-2, before rallying for four runs against Odalis Perez (4-3) in the third.
Belliard led off with a double and scored on Helton's one-out single. After Preston Wilson struck out, Jose Hernandez singled to right field and advanced to second on a late throw trying to nail Helton at third.
Chris Stynes then gave Colorado the lead for good with a two-run single to left field and Bobby Estelalla made it 6-3 with a double off the wall in left.
The Rockies added three more runs with nobody out in the fourth, when Belliard led off with a single and Payton followed with a homer to left. Helton then sent Perez's 3-2 offering over the wall in left-center for his second homer of the game to chase the lefthander.
He added a two-run shot against Eric Gagne in the eighth for his second career three-homer game. The other came May 1, 2000 against Montreal.
The Dodgers had won 10 straight games -- their longest winning streak in a decade -- before dropping all three contests at Coors Field.
Other National League results: Milwaukee 3, San Diego 2; Montreal 3, Florida 2; New York 5, Philadelphia 0; Houston 7, St. Louis 4.
Howell leads Memorial
DUBLIN, Ohio, May 30 (UPI) -- Charles Howell took advantage of benign morning conditions Thursday to grab a one-stroke lead after one round of the Memorial Tournament.
Howell carded seven birdies and an eagle for an 8-under-par 64 on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village course. He led Kenny Perry, last week's Colonial champion, by one stroke, while course record-holder John Huston was two behind.
As well as Howell played, it was his lone bogey, at the par-four sixth hole, that he rated as the key to his lowest round of the year. He found the water in front of the green with his second shot, but after taking a penalty stroke, got up-and-down from 100 yards to avoid dropping two strokes.
He reached the turn at 2-over, before coming home in 30 strokes, including an eagle at the par-five 15th, where he hit a 4-iron to 15 feet.
Report: Marlins draw heavy fine
NEW YORK, May 30 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball reportedly has fined the Florida Marlins a "substantial amount" for failing to follow minority-hiring guidelines.
Jack McKeon, 72, was hired as manager of the Marlins on May 10, just hours after word spread that the team planned to fire Jeff Torborg. McKeon had managed four other teams, most recently the Cincinnati Reds from 1997 to 2000.
ESPN quoted a spokesman for baseball as saying "the matter's been handled," but did not report the amount of the fine.
Commissioner Bud Selig has the power to fine teams up to $2 million if they do not follow the guidelines. In 1999, Selig sent a letter to teams requiring them to notify him about certain job vacancies, including manager.
Teams are expected to provide a list of minority candidates, and the commissioner's office is expected to review the names before anyone is hired.
Marlins spokesman Steve Copses would not confirm the fine.
"We have not heard anything from Major League Baseball on that matter nor have we been advised if anything is forthcoming," Copses said.
Jefferson added to Olympic team
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 30 (UPI) -- Richard Jefferson of the New Jersey Nets was among those named Thursday to the roster of the U.S. Olympic basketball team.
Jefferson, 22, will add the Olympics to a career that includes appearances in the NBA Finals and NCAA Tournament championship game.
USA Basketball also announced that Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Elton Brand and University of Kansas forward-center Nick Collison have been added to the Olympic team, completing the 12-man roster.
"This is my proudest moment as a basketball player," said Jefferson, who will play in the NBA Finals next week for the second time in as many seasons.
Representing his country should be a better experience for Brand this time. He was a member of the American team that sullied the country's reputation with a sixth-place finish in the World Basketball Championships at Puerto Rico last summer.
"I personally have extra motivation to play well, considering I was part of the World Championship team last year that lost and since I was injured for part of the tournament," Brand said.
Duncan, McGrady, Jason Kidd and Ray Allen were the first four players selected and Karl Malone and Mike Bibby were the second additions to the U.S. team, which must qualify for the 2004 Olympics by finishing among the top three in the Tournament of the Americas in August in Puerto Rico.
Red Sox, Diamondbacks work trade
PHOENIX, May 30 (UPI) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks brought Shea Hillenbrand home Thursday, acquiring the All-Star third baseman from Boston for righthander Byung-Hyun Kim.
Hillenbrand, a native of Mesa, Ariz., was the subject of trade rumors all winter and was discussed in a deal for Montreal Expos righthander Bartolo Colon, who ended up with the Chicago White Sox.
Hillenbrand has batted .303 with three homers and 38 RBI for the Red Sox and has shared third base with Bill Mueller, who is hitting a team-best .382.
Kim, also mentioned in trade rumors, is 1-5 with a 3.56 ERA in seven starts this season. Kim is best known as a reliever who allowed a pair of monumental home runs to the New York Yankees in Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series.
Kim is expected to join the starting rotation for the Red Sox, who are in first place in the American League East.