Magic holds on, wins opener, 95-90
Dwight Howard returned from his one-game suspension to get 16 points and 22 rebounds Monday night and help the Orlando Magic hold off the late-charging Boston Celtics, 95-90, in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Magic opened a 28-point lead early in the second half before Boston cut the deficit to 91-87 in the final two minutes. The Celtics had several chances to come within one possession - the best Ray Allen's three-pointer that rimmed out with 43 seconds left. Paul Pierce made a three-pointer with 6.6 seconds left to make it a three-point game, but J.J. Redick went 4-for-4 from the line in the last 14 seconds to ice it. "We got complacent as a team, stopped doing what we did to get the lead and against a good Celtics team you can't do that," Howard said. "I'm not happy with the way we ended the game." Pierce scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half and Rajon Rondo had 14 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Cavs' James takes MVP in landslide
LeBron James won the NBA's Most Valuable Player, receiving the award in the high school gym where he emerged on the national scene. "This is a place where all my dreams started and where I thought they could become real," James said in accepting the honor at St. Vincent-St. Mary High in Akron, Ohio. The Cleveland Cavaliers star won what some expected to be a close vote in a slam-dunk. He received 109 of a possible 121 first-place votes to outdistance Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. James totaled 1,172 points in balloting by media members in the U.S. and Canada. Bryant, last year's winner, got two first-place votes and finished with 698 points. James averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists this season, his sixth as a pro. At 24 years, 106 days on the final day of the regular season, James is the youngest player to win the award since Moses Malone (24 years, 16 days) in 1978-79. Wes Unseld was 23 when he won it in 1968-69.
Oriole Park may be site of A-Rod's return
Alex Rodriguez's 2009 major league debut could come Friday at Camden Yards. "Is Friday the day? I can't tell you," New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "So much of it just depends on how he feels and when he believes that he's ready to go. I have not really put a date on it, because I want to see how he bounces back on Wednesday or even tomorrow. You know, if he bounces back on Wednesday, it's up to him. When he feels that he's ready, we're probably going to take him back." Rodriguez, a three-time American League Most Valuable Player who is recovering from a hip injury, hit a long homer, played seven innings in the field and drew a walk in his latest extended spring training game.
AROUND THE HORN: : Jacqueline Standley, the mother of Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain was arrested Saturday in Lincoln, Neb., on charges of selling methamphetamine to an undercover police officer in February. ... Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is out two or three weeks after being placed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring suffered while running out a bunt Sunday. Zambrano is 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA.
Foote gets release; Pats sign 3 from Navy
The Pittsburgh Steelers released starting inside linebacker Larry Foote, a move expected since Foote asked to be traded or cut. Foote has started every Steelers game for five seasons, including their Super Bowl victories last season and after the 2005 season. But he was unhappy with coming off the field on passing downs for Lawrence Timmons, a 2007 first-round draft pick.
REDSKINS: : Corey Edmonson of Nashville, Tenn., is suing defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth for causing a car accident that left him needing a hip replacement. Edmonson is asking for $7.5 million in compensatory damages alone. ... Wide receiver Roydell Williams, who caught 84 passes for 1,139 yards for the Titans over three seasons, signed with the Redskins.
QB commits to Terps; Derby TV ratings high
A new challenger has entered the competition to replace Maryland quarterback Chris Turner in 2010. Easton, Pa., quarterback Tyler Smith committed to the Terps Sunday night, according to Wilson Area High coach Bret Comp. Smith, 6 feet 5, 198 pounds, will compete with Jamarr Robinson, C.J. Brown and Danny O'Brien to take over for Turner in the fall of 2010. Smith chose the Terps over offers from Akron, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse and Connecticut. MATT BRACKEN
HORSE RACING: : The Kentucky Derby's television ratings are the highest in 17 years. NBC says Saturday's coverage of 50-1 long shot Mine That Bird's win drew a 10.2 overnight rating and 22 share. That's up 7 percent from last year's 9.5/21. It's the highest overnight rating since Lil E Tee won in 1992. The rating is the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program, while the share is the percentage of all TVs in use at the time. Overnight ratings measure the nation's largest markets.
WNBA: : Two-time MVP Lauren Jackson, an unrestricted free agent for the first time in her career, Jackson signed a one-year deal to remain with the Seattle Storm, which she helped lead to the WNBA title in 2004. ... The Indiana Fever signed three-time WNBA All-Star Tamecka Dixon.
NHL: : Five-time All-Star forward Markus Naslund, 35, retired.
From Sun staff and news services