Aldridge, Blazers top Pelicans to clinch playoffs
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 18 rebounds and the Portland Trail Blazers clinched their first playoff appearance in three seasons with a 100-94 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night.
Wesley Matthews added 21 points, Damian Lillard 20 and Nicolas Batum had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Portland. The Blazers are in fifth place in the Western Conference with four games remaining.
Reserve Anthony Morrow had 17 for New Orleans and Anthony Davis had 15 points on 6-of-18 shooting.
Memphis' loss to San Antonio earlier in the evening cleared the way for Portland to clinch. It appeared the Trail Blazers might fumble the chance when New Orleans took a 10-point second quarter lead. But the Blazers blew past the Pelicans with a 25-6 third quarter run and never trailed again.
Mariners head home after strong opening road trip
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Mariners jumped to an early three-run lead Sunday before losing 6-3 to the Oakland Athletics to wrap up a winning road trip to open the season. Now, the club heads to Seattle with a 4-2 record to play its home opener Tuesday against the Angels at Safeco Field.
Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer, Yoenis Cespedes (yoh-EHN'-ehs SEHS'-peh-dehs) connected in the eighth and Josh Donaldson beat out an infield single in the fifth to drive in the go-ahead run off Erasmo Ramirez.
Ramirez struggled with his command after an impressive win in his season debut Tuesday at Los Angeles. He allowed seven hits and walked three in four innings.
Robinson Cano's third-inning double gave him a 14-game hitting streak against the AL West, yet the Mariners managed little else in the late innings. Cano has a hit in each of his first six games after joining the Mariners on a $240 million, 10-year contract this offseason.
Durant scores 38 but Suns beat Thunder 122-115
PHOENIX (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 38 points, his 41st consecutive game of 25 or more, but it wasn't enough as the Phoenix Suns beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-115 Sunday night behind 26 points from Goran Dragic and 24 from Gerald Green.
Durant moved ahead of Michael Jordan with the third-longest such streak in NBA history and longest since Oscar Robertson did it for 46 in a row in the 1963-64 season.
P.J. Tucker scored a career-high 22 points, including a career-best four 3-pointers, for the Suns, who pulled a game ahead of Memphis for the No. 8 playoff spot in the West and took the season series from the Thunder 2-1. Eric Bledsoe added 18 points.
Russell Westbrook had 33 points and eight assists for Oklahoma City.
UConn back in title game, beats Stanford 75-56
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Connecticut Huskies are back in a very familiar position, undefeated and playing for a national championship.
They'll be going for an unprecedented ninth national championship after Breanna Stewart scored 18 points and the Huskies advanced to another title game with a 75-56 win against Stanford on Sunday night.
It wasn't easy early, though the Huskies did part and set up the highly anticipated championship showdown of undefeated teams.
They will square off against Notre Dame, an 87-61 winner over Maryland, on Tuesday night in the title game. It will be the first women's national title game between unbeaten teams.
Stanford lost its third national semifinal since reaching the 2010 championship against UConn, which the Huskies also won. All-American Chiney Ogwumike (ah-GWOO'-mih-kay) finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Amber Orrange scored 16 points, and Lili Thompson had 12.
Thompson, a freshman, hit four of her first five shots for 10 quick points, helping the Cardinal get off to a good start early. The Cardinal led by as much as six a couple of times, the last at 22-16 with 12:32 left when Mikaela Ruef banked in a jumper just before the shot clock expired with 5:39 to go.
It was the third sluggish start for the Huskies, who missed shot after shot and had a couple tough shooting stretches in the first half. The first lasted more than 5 minutes and the second nearly 7 minutes.
Then they finally got going.
The Huskies scored 12 straight to finish the half on a 12-2 run. Kiah Stokes hit a free throw, then Hartley hit the Huskies' lone 3 of the half with 4:42 left.
In the second half, it was all UConn.