In Sports from United Press International

May 11, 2003 at 1:53 AM
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Phil Jackson undergoes angioplasty

LOS ANGELES, May 11 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers Coach Phil Jackson underwent angioplasty Saturday with his team in the midst of a critical playoff series.

Team officials said one of Jackson's arteries was 90 percent blocked and the procedure was needed to open it. Additional tests were scheduled for Sunday and a club spokesman said it was possible that Jackson could be on the bench for Game 4 of the Lakers' Western Conference semifinal series against San Antonio.

San Antonio holds a 2-1 advantage over the three-time defending NBA champions.

Jackson, 57, reportedly had experienced chest pains during the past week and underwent tests before Friday night's game against the Spurs.

"We all know that he had some concerns," assistant coach Jim Cleamons said. "We realized he wasn't feeling 100 percent. We're happy and relieved the procedure was successful and hopefully we'll see him (Sunday).

"We were holding our fingers crossed that he would be able to make it through the game (Friday night). He wasn't his usual self. There were a couple times during the game when we asked him how he was feeling."

Jackson guided the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships in his nine years as their head coach. He was named coach of the Lakers on June 16, 1999.

Mavericks rally past Kings in two overtimes

SACRAMENTO, May 11 (UPI) -- Nick Van Exel's 40 points in perhaps the best game of the NBA playoffs Saturday night boosted Dallas past Sacramento in two overtimes, 141-137.

Van Exel put Dallas ahead with a three-pointer late in the second overtime as the Mavericks took a two games to one lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

In the East, Philadelphia jumped back into its Eastern Conference semifinal series with a 93-83 decision over Detroit.

After losing the opening game of the series in ugly fashion, the Mavericks have stormed back to win the next two and they staged a huge comeback to steal a game on Sacramento's home floor.

Dallas faced a 16-point deficit in the first half, trailed by 12 with eight minutes in regulation and fell behind in both overtime periods.

Van Exel forced the first overtime by hitting a running jumper with 3.8 seconds remaining and he put Dallas in front in the second overtime with a three-pointer that came with 1:34 to play.

Walt Williams, who did not even play in the first half, then hit another three-pointer to give the Mavericks a five-point cushion.

Sacramento rallied to within one in the closing seconds, but Van Exel made two free throws with three seconds remaining and the Kings' Bobby Jackson missed a three-point attempt that would have tied the game with one seconds to play.

Raja Bell added a free throw for the final margin.

In the first overtime, Sacramento had a two-point lead and Vlade Divac on the free-throw line with 24 seconds to go. But Divac missed both foul shots and Williams tied the game with a dunk shot eight seconds later.

Van Exel, who comes off the bench, is averaging 32 points through the first three games and has become the pivotal player in a series filled with stars.

The veteran guard with the lefthanded launch and perpetual sneer made 14 of 26 shots, including six of 12 from beyond the arc.

Sacramento had to play Saturday night, as it will for the rest of the playoffs, without All-Star forward Chris Webber. He suffered a torn knee ligament Thursday night in the Kings' Game 2 loss.

Game 4 will be played in Sacramento Sunday night.

In Philadelphia, Kenny Thomas had 10 points and 14 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers controlled both backboards and outbattled the Pistons.

Detroit had its five-game playoff winning streak snapped, but still hold a 2-1 lead in the series. Game 4 will be played in Philadelphia Sunday night.

Playing in his first postseason, Thomas is giving the smallish 76ers a big boost. He had 15 points and 19 rebounds in Thursday's overtime loss and followed with another double-double -- in the first half.

Despite the presence of Wallace, the NBA's leading rebounder, the Pistons are one of the NBA's worst rebounding teams. That showed in the first half, when they were beaten on the boards, 30-13.

The 6-8 Thomas set the pace with his energy and his teammates followed. Philadelphia had 12 offensive rebounds while Detroit managed just seven defensive boards. That led to 21 second-chance points for the 76ers, who opened a 48-37 halftime lead.

Senators, Ducks win in overtime

OTTAWA, May 10 (UPI) -- Shaun Van Allen scored his first career playoff goal 3:08 into overtime Saturday night to give Ottawa a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey.

The Senators won the opening game of the Eastern Conference finals while Anaheim claimed the first game in the West, going two overtimes before scoring the game's only goal against Minnesota.

Moments after Scott Niedermayer was hit on the back of the head by a slap shot off the stick of Ottawa defenseman Anton Volchenkov, Van Allen ended a 54-game postseason scoring drought.

Skating through the left faceoff circle, Van Allen worked a give-and-go with Martin Havlat. He got the return feed just above the crease and redirected the puck past helpless goaltender Martin Brodeur to make the Senators' first conference finals game a successful one.

Top-seeded Ottawa squandered an early two-goal lead but maintained home-ice advantage. The Senators broke an NHL playoff record by holding their 11th consecutive opponent to two goals or fewer.

In St. Paul, Petr Sykora scored 8:06 into the second extra period as the Mighty Ducks started another playoff series with a multi-overtime victory.

Minnesota defenseman Filip Kuba tried unsuccessfully to keep the puck in the Anaheim zone and was trapped at the blue line, enabling the Ducks to break out two on one. Mike Leclerc carried down the left side and slid a pass into the slot for a charging Sykora, who lifted a shot under the crossbar for his second playoff goal.

Sykora's other postseason tally came 48 seconds into the fifth overtime and gave Anaheim a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game One of the conference semifinals. The Ducks began their first-round series with a 2-1 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings on Paul Kariya's triple-overtime goal.

All nine of Anaheim's postseason victories have been by one goal.

Clemens wins No. 298

OAKLAND, Calif., May 11 (UPI) -- Roger Clemens picked up career victory No. 298 Saturday with 6 2/3 innings as the New York Yankees downed Oakland, 5-2.

Jorge Posada delievered a key three-run homer.

Needing just two wins to become the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1990 to record 300 wins, Clemens is slated to make a start in Texas over the weekend.

A win there would put Clemens on pace to achieve the milestone in the ballpark where he spent his first 13 seasons -- Fenway Park in Boston.

Clemens (5-2) allowed six hits and a walk in improving to 16-15 lifetime against Oakland. He struck out five, moving within 41 of joining Ryan and Steve Carlton as the only pitchers ever to reach 4,000.

Posada gave Clemens some early breathing room with a three-run homer off Barry Zito (5-3) in the fifth. Posada, who hit his ninth homer of the season, was just one for 12 against the reigning Cy Young Award winner entering the game.

Bernie Williams staked New York to a 1-0 lead an inning earlier with his seventh homer. He was just 2-for-15 against Zito prior to Saturday.

Other American League results: Tampa Bay 3, Detroit 1; Kansas City 8, Baltimore 4; Boston 6, Minnesota 5; Cleveland 6, Texas 4; Toronto 7, Anaheim 4; Chicago 4, Seattle 3.

Braves homer their way past Giants

ATLANTA, May 11 (UPI) -- Chipper Jones hit a solo homer and Javy Lopez added a two-run shot in the seventh Saturday night, rallying Atlanta past San Francisco, 6-3.

The Giants had their six-game winning streak snapped.

San Francisco had won 30 of the previous 40 games started by Kirk Rueter, who cruised through the first six innings. He allowed just one run and had thrown just 59 pitches -- 40 for strikes.

San Francisco had a 2-1 lead when it loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh. Felipe Alou decided to pinch run for Rueter, who was on third base, in favor of fellow pitcher Kurt Ainsworth. The move immediately proved fruitless when Benito Santiago grounded out to end the inning.

The startegy looked even worse when Jones opened the seventh with a homer off reliever Joe Nathan (4-1) to forge a 2-2 tie. Vinny Castilla capped a 10-pitch at-bat with a two-out single and Lopez drove the next pitch over the center field wall for a 4-2 lead.

Atlanta's Kevin Gryboski (2-2) recorded the victory after retiring Santiago to escape the seventh-inning jam.

Other National League results: Montreal 6, Los Angeles 5; New York 4, San Diego 2; Chicago 3, St. Louis 2; Colorado 5, Florida 4; Philadelphia 2, Houston 0; Pittsburgh 5, Arizona 4; Milwaukee 9, Cincinnati 3.

Toms opens five-shot lead

CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 11 (UPI) -- David Toms moved within sight of his first victory in 19 months Saturday by opening a five-stroke lead at the Wachovia Championship.

Toms dropped just one shot on his way to a 6-under-par 66, the day's best round in demanding, breezy conditions on the Quail Hollow course.

Kirk Triplett (67), Robert Gamez (71) and J.P. Hayes (72) were tied for second at 210 while halfway leader Nick Price fell six shots behind after a 74.

Kentucky Derby under investigation

LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 11 (UPI) -- Churchill Downs officials have launched an investigation into the victory by Funny Cide at the Kentucky Derby.

Jockey Jose Santos is being investigated after a photograph appeared to show something besides his whip in his hand as he crossed the finish line.

The photograph was publiched in the Miami Herald. A Herald reporter brought the picture to the attention of stewards Thursday.

"This investigation is a pending matter and state regulations prohibit any comment on such matters," Chief Steward Bernard Hettel said. "We are gathering information at this point."

Churchill Downs President Steve Sexton said the track will fully cooperate with the stewards during the probe.

Kentucky Racing Commission rules do not prohibit a jockey from holding an object other than a whip, except those specifically prohibited, like an electrical device that might help the horse run faster.

The photo depicts a dark area in the space between Santos' hand and whip, although it is not clear what -- if anything -- he was holding.

Indy 500 qualifying rained out

INDIANAPOLIS, May 11 (UPI) -- The rains came just in time Saturday to wash out pole qualifying for the 87th Indianapolis 500.

While Pole Day was postponed until Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the rain came a bit too late for Billy Boat, who was involved in a vicious crash that sent him to Methodist Hospital.

Boat was released after he was examined following the Saturday morning practice crash. According to Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services, Boat will be re-examined Sunday morning at the infield medical center before he can be cleared for pole qualifying.

Boat's crash came on the frontstretch during the hectic morning practice session. Severe thunderstorms were on the horizon, but IRL officials were hoping the Speedway would dodge the inclement weather.

Boat's car hit the fourth turn and began to spin before making contact with the attenuator that protects the abutment to the pit wall. The car became airborne before landing, spinning and coming to a stop. Boat complained of pain between his shoulder blades.

Shortly after the crash, heavy rain and lightning forced the IRL to scrap qualifying. Practice will begin Sunday at noon EDT, with qualifying set for 2 p.m. It will continue until the 7 p.m. gun is fired.

It was the first time Pole Day has been completely washed out since 1990.

Clijsters ousts Capriati in Berlin

BERLIN, May 11 (UPI) -- No. 1 seed Kim Clijsters of Belgium defeated fourth-seeded Jennifer Capriati Saturday in the semifinals of the German Open.

Clijsters, who advanced to her fifth final of the year with a 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4 decision, will take on countrywoman Justine Henin-Hardenne in the championship match.

It was the first Clijsters-Capriati meeting on clay since the French Open final in 2001. Two years ago, Capriati beat Clijsters, 1-6, 6-4, 12-10, in the longest-ever third set in a French Open final.

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