Weekend Sports In Brief

NBA

CHICAGO (AP) LeBron James watched his coach draw up the final play – and then nixed it.

”Give me the ball and get out of the way,” he said.

James overruled Cleveland coach David Blatt’s idea for a last-second inbounds play and drained a jumper from the corner at the buzzer to give the Cavaliers an 86-84 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, evening the Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2-2.

During a stoppage the Cavs only got because the officials were reviewing a play, Blatt designed a play that had James taking the ball out. The four-time NBA MVP has been in enough pressure situations that he vetoed his coach.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Houston’s strategy of intentionally fouling poor free-throw shooter DeAndre Jordan backfired in a big way.

Jordan scored 26 points, making 14 of 34 free throws after attempting an NBA playoff-record 28 in the first half, and the Los Angeles Clippers won 128-95 on Sunday night to take a 3-1 series lead.

Jordan had 17 rebounds. Blake Griffin added 21 points, J.J. Redick had 18 points and Chris Paul finished with 15 points and 12 assists in the Clippers’ second straight blowout win in the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series.

GOLF

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – The latest survey was unanimous, not anonymous. Rickie Fowler can deliver the goods.

Facing a five-shot deficit with six holes to play, Fowler produced the greatest finish in the 34-year history of the TPC Sawgrass. He beat Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner in a three-man playoff on three of the most visually intimidating holes in golf.

And when he faced that nervous shot over the water to an island for the third time Sunday, he was as good as ever.

Criticized in an anonymous survey by some of his peers for not being able to win, Fowler answered with a captivating victory at The Players Championship. At a tournament that dresses up like a major, Fowler looked the part in beating the strongest field in golf with an array of shots that won’t be forgotten.

AUTO RACING

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – Jimmie Johnson stayed on the track during a late caution to take over the lead, then held off hard-charging Kevin Harvick to win the rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway.

The six-time champ was chased across the line by Harvick and Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon late Saturday night.

Most of the leaders were conserving fuel after pitting with 58 laps to go, and Johnson and Earnhardt decided to press their luck when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. went into the wall, bringing out the final caution with 12 laps left. The Hendrick cars remained on the track while Harvick went in for right-side tires and fuel, and Martin Truex Jr. got a splash of gas.

Johnson built a quick lead on the restart, but Harvick quickly got around Earnhardt on his fresh tires down the front stretch and set his sights on the lead. Johnson then held him off to win for the third time this season and for the third time at Kansas Speedway.

NHL

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Corey Perry scored on a goalmouth scramble 2:26 into overtime and the Anaheim Ducks advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night in Game 5 of their second-round series.

Matt Beleskey got the tying power-play goal early in the third period for the Ducks, who will face the Chicago Blackhawks for a spot in the Stanley Cup finals.

The Pacific Division champion Ducks are in their first conference finals since 2007, the year of their only NHL championship.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Once merely 101 seconds from having their season end, then forced to hold off a furious Game 6 rally, Chris Kreider and the New York Rangers are now one victory away from returning to the Eastern Conference finals.

Kreider scored 40 seconds after the opening faceoff and with 0.3 seconds left in the first period Sunday night, Rick Nash and Dan Boyle added goals in the third, and the Rangers barely held on to beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 and force a Game 7 in the second round.

New York led 2-0, then 4-1 with less than 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. But Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov and Joel Ward put the puck past Henrik Lundqvist less than 3 minutes apart to make it a one-goal game with nearly half a period to go.

BASEBALL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Josh Hamilton is starting over, calling his return to baseball a ”small miracle.”

The former American League MVP spoke Sunday before starting his rehab stint with the Round Rock Express against the Nashville Sounds. He’s recovering from shoulder surgery Feb. 4 and had been working in the Texas Rangers’ extended spring program in Arizona since April 28.

He played in three extended spring training games last week before the Rangers stepped up his rehabilitation by sending him to the Express.

TENNIS

MADRID (AP) – Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal on clay for the first time Sunday, dominating the Madrid Open final to win 6-3, 6-2 against the four-time champion.

It was Murray’s first Masters title on clay, a week after his maiden career tournament victory on the red surface at the Munich Open.

Murray dictated most of the long rallies, which lasted up to 24 strokes, displaying a level of confidence that has often been lacking for the Briton on clay.

He broke twice to take a 4-0 lead in the second set and clinched the win when Nadal sent a forehand return into the net.

BOXING

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Manny Pacquiao lost his biggest fight in the ring, but that won’t stop him from plotting a bigger comeback – in the political arena that is.

In a country where elections are also entertainment and political programs secondary, candidates often win because of star power and money.

Pacquaio, who earned more than $100 million despite losing the Fight of the Century against Floyd Mayweather Jr. last weekend, certainly has that working for him. But can he overcome his poor record as an incumbent congressman, his humble origins and lack of political savvy to win a Senate seat, or even higher office?