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MSNBC Sports
News provided by MSNBC.com
Harang pulled with no-hitter, Braves beat Mets 6-0

NEW YORK (AP) Aaron Harang threw no-hit ball for seven innings but was pulled after 121 pitches, and reliever Luis Avilan gave up David Wright's two-out single in the eighth as the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 6-0 Friday night.

As Harang's pitch count increased on a chilly evening, it seemed doubtful manager Fredi Gonzalez would let him go the distance. Harang worked around six walks, including two in the sixth inning and another pair in the seventh.

Harang (3-1) left for a pinch hitter during a long, four-run eighth. He was never in the on-deck circle - the decision had already been made that he was done.

Jordan Walden completed the combined one-hitter.

The Mets hit few balls hard against the resurgent Harang, who lowered his ERA to an NL-best 0.70 ERA. The closest they came to a hit off the 35-year-old right-hander was actually on a check-swing tapper by Travis d'Arnaud in the second inning.

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:19:00 +0000
Canadiens top Lightning again for 2-0 series lead

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Rene Bourque had two goals and David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher also scored Friday night, helping the Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Carey Price stopped 26 shots for Montreal, redeeming himself following a less than stellar performance during a 5-4 overtime win in Game 1.

A second road victory in three nights sends the Canadiens home with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Sunday.

Bourque and Desharnais scored in the second period after defensive breakdowns left Tampa Bay goaltender Anders Lindback in tough situations. Gallagher made it 3-0 with an unassisted goal in the third period.

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 01:59:00 +0000
Flyers could have G Steve Mason back for Game 2

NEW YORK (AP) The Philadelphia Flyers might have No. 1 goalie Steve Mason back for Game 2 against the Rangers.

Mason missed Thursday's 4-1 loss to New York because of an undisclosed upper-body injury. He was hurt last Saturday against Pittsburgh, when he was knocked over and hit the back of his head on the ice. Mason and the Flyers have declined to say whether he has a concussion.

Mason took part in a goalie practice Friday at New York's Chelsea Piers and said afterward that he is feeling better than he did a few days earlier. He has set his sights on playing Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

"I felt pretty good for being on the ice for the first time in a couple of days. It was a good step," the 25-year-old Mason said. "I felt great movement-wise. It was a pretty controlled setting and it felt good.

"I'll know exactly when I am ready to go physically, but it is also a management and doctor's decision, as well."

Ray Emery made 32 saves in Mason's absence Thursday and couldn't be blamed for the loss. The game was tied 1-1 in the third period but changed when the Rangers scored twice during a double-minor, high-sticking penalty against young forward Jason Akeson.

Emery had little chance to stop either scoring shot. His backup's strong performance took some of the sting away from Mason.

But he still hopes to get the call Sunday.

"This is the time that you've worked all season to get to, and to see the team go out there in a playoff atmosphere at Madison Square Garden where the stakes are so high ... it's something that you don't want to be sitting out and watching," Mason said.

"It was difficult, especially since the result. I think everybody expects a much better game on Sunday. I don't think anybody was happy with the way the team played."

Mason expects to practice with his teammates Saturday. The rest of the Flyers had Friday off.

Of bigger concern than their goaltending, the Flyers will have to show more discipline in Game 2 and figure out a way to get their top forwards going offensively.

Along with the game-changing penalty by Akeson, Philadelphia was whistled for three other infractions that didn't lead to New York goals but prevented the Flyers from mounting a serious comeback. They were outshot 13-1 in the final frame.

Philadelphia was outshot 36-15 overall.

"They did a good job of getting those two goals on the power play, and then after the two goals we tried too hard to get some offense going and got out of position," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said of the Rangers, who held him to no shots. "We didn't get a lot of shots, but we did a lot of good things.

"There is a reason why there are seven games. We need to see what we did wrong, and we will be ready for Game 2."

So will the Rangers, who now own a nine-game home winning streak over the Flyers.

"We are not going to overthink it here," Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. "We did a lot of good things, and we are going to continue building on that. It's one game, and we start over again on Sunday. You have to earn it every night."

The emergence of Brad Richards also gave the Rangers another shot of energy and optimism. Richards scored the go-ahead goal Thursday and then assisted on insurance tallies by Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin in the third period.

Richards, a potential candidate to have his contract bought out over the summer, is proving his worth after a disappointing end to last year's postseason when he was benched for the final two games by former coach John Tortorella.

"We controlled play," Richards said. "In a series, sometimes having the puck and wearing them out can benefit you later in the game. That was our main goal. We would like to get more pucks to the net, and we will try to do that."

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:04:00 +0000
Grizzlies PG Nick Calathes suspended for 20 games

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Nick Calathes has been suspended for 20 games for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy.

The league said Friday night in a release that Calathes tested positive for tamoxifen. The suspension begins Saturday night when the Grizzlies take on Oklahoma City in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Yahoo Sports was the first to report the suspension.

Calathes, a 25-year-old rookie reserve, averaged 4.9 points and 2.9 assists in 71 games this season.

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 03:52:00 +0000
Silver wants age limit change, no rush on others

NEW YORK (AP) Even as the NBA prepares for a draft that could be headlined by freshmen, Commissioner Adam Silver remains committed to keeping them in college.

So much so that NCAA President Mark Emmert was invited to discuss his involvement with owners.

Silver is moving cautiously on potential changes to areas such as the lottery format and playoff structure, but makes it clear that raising the draft age limit to abolish the so-called "one and done" is one of his priorities.

Freshmen Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and Jabari Parker of Duke are expected to be top-five picks in June, but Silver believes teams are taking those players young because of the system in place, not because it's their preference.

"The fact that our teams would draft these players if they were coming out of high school as they used to, or one year out of college, I think doesn't mean change isn't necessary," Silver said Friday.

The age limit requiring American players to be 19 and a year out of high school was implemented in 2005, creating a system where players would simply go to college for a year and then declare for the draft. Silver and predecessor David Stern have long spoken about the desire to increase the limit to 20. But no change, which would have to be discussed with the union, was made during the last round of collective bargaining in 2011.

The sides haven't been able to have much serious discussion since then. The union has been without an executive director since ousting Billy Hunter 14 months ago, but Silver's desire for change remains.

"We're ready to go," Silver said. "We've been thinking about this issue for a long time."

Silver said a change was unlikely for next season, and a transition period would be necessary whenever one was made. In the meantime, he wants the NCAA part of the discussion, so Emmert addressed owners during the two-day meetings.

"One thing that we also agree on is that historically what you've heard is that the age issue is one that needs to be negotiated almost in isolation between the NBA and its union. What Dr. Emmert and I agree on is that the NCAA needs to have a seat at the table, as well, for those discussions," Silver said, "that if we are going to be successful in raising the age from 19 to 20, part and parcel of those negotiations go to the treatment of those players on college campuses, that closing the gap between what their scholarships cover and their other incidental expenses, having a longer discussion about eligibility periods so they can make the best decisions for them and their families if they do decide to come out early."

Overseeing his first board meeting since replacing Stern in February, Silver seems open to considering anything to improve the league. Owners heard a discussion on ways to change the lottery system, which could be a way to erase the desire to "tank" - seeking a poor record to have the best chances at the No. 1 pick. Silver said there was also discussion about redesigning the playoff structure to qualify the top 16 teams, rather than the top eight in each conference. Phoenix, which finished ninth in the West with 48 wins, would've tied for third in the East.

But Silver said those items should be discussed first at length by the competition committee.

"For me, the league is doing so well right now, I just want to be very deliberate and cautious about any major changes like that," Silver said. "It doesn't mean that we shouldn't make changes."

Silver also said owners weren't ready to vote on the potential sale of the Milwaukee Bucks yet, though that could happen soon once owners could review all the financial documents. Owner Herb Kohl reached agreement to sell the franchise to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million.

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:42:00 +0000

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