Kobe Bryant scored 40 points, including six free throws in the final 30 seconds, to lift Los Angeles to a 105-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night after the Lakers trailed most of the game. Pau Gasol added 13 points and 14 rebounds and Derek Fisher had 13 points for the Lakers, who faced a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Gasol's two free throws tied the game for the last time at 99 before Bryant went to the line, offsetting a three-pointer by Chauncey Billups and a free throw by J.R. Smith. Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) scored 39 points for the Nuggets.
DRAFT LOTTERY: : The Clippers won the lottery for the June 25 draft, moving up from the third-best chance to earn the top pick for the third time, earning the right to draft All-America forward Blake Griffin of Oklahoma, the national college player of the year who led the nation with 30 double doubles and 14.4 rebounds per game while averaging a Big 12-best 22.7 points as a sophomore. The Grizzlies vaulted to second and Thunder will pick third. The Kings, who had the best chance to win the lottery after finishing with a league-worst 17-65 record, fell to fourth, and the Wizards dropped from second to No. 5. The Clippers last had the No. 1 pick in 1998 and, perhaps predictably, blew it, taking eventual bust Michael Olowokandi.
Connelly tied for third in NCAAs at Caves Valley
Central Florida senior Stephanie Connelly (Northeast-Anne Arundel) shot an even-par 72 at the NCAA Division I women's championship at Caves Valley Golf Course in Owings Mills and is tied for third place after one round, two shots behind Catherine O'Donnell of North Carolina and Stephanie Sherlock of Denver. Connelly bogeyed the first two holes but had birdies on three holes on the back nine. "I putted and chipped pretty well," she said. "I didn't hit the ball great. When I hit it well, I was really close. I was pretty much getting up and down a lot of the time. I putted well and made a lot of good par putts. I wasn't always right next to the hole, but my speed was pretty good, but I just limited my mistakes."
U.S. OPEN QUALIFYING: : Professional Ki Moon of Ellicott City shot a 4-under 68 and earned the medal Monday at Worthington Manor Golf Club in Urbana.
Towson basketball recruit has Hodgkin's lymphoma
Will Adams, a shooting guard from Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia who signed a letter of intent in November to attend Towson, is hospitalized with Hodgkin's disease. His future at Towson is on hold while he battles Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer of the lymphatic system. Adams, Imhotep's first 1,000-point career scorer, helped the Panthers to a Class AA state championship plus Philadelphia city and district titles.
MORE BASKETBALL: : Former St. Frances basketball player Aric Brooks announced on 1370 AM that he is transferring from Jacksonville to Morgan State. Brooks, a second-team All-Metro selection in 2007, averaged 4.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 14.7 minutes in 63 games in two seasons with the Dolphins. ... Duke junior guard Gerald Henderson, a third-team Associated Press All-American, has signed with an agent and will remain in the NBA draft. ... Baltimore-born backup forward Allan Chaney transferred from Florida to Virginia Tech and must sit out the 2009-10 season under NCAA rules; he would have three years of eligibility remaining. The freshman averaged 3.0 points in 23 games, including two starts, before being suspended in March. ... Highly touted recruit John Wall, a point guard from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C., committed to Kentucky.
FOOTBALL: : The Atlantic Coast Conference's ninth pick will face the top selection from the Mid-American Conference in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., next season. The agreement was reached after the ACC's contract expired with the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho. ... Clifton "Gator" Lewis, who played football and baseball at UMES from 1949 to 1952, will be inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame tonight in Wilmington, Del.
TRACK AND FIELD: : Hood senior Jessica Parrish (Seton Keough) qualified for the 100-meter dash at the NCAA Division III championships Friday in Marietta, Ohio, with a time of 12.29 seconds.
Vick, Humane Society join forces to end dogfighting
Michael Vick wants to work with an unlikely ally - the Humane Society of the United States - on a program aimed at eradicating dogfighting among urban teens. Society president Wayne Pacelle said that he recently met with Vick at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., and that Vick said he wants to work with the group once he's out of federal custody. Vick is serving a 23-month prison sentence after his 2007 dogfighting conviction.
SUPER BOWL: : NFL owners voted to play the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, the first time the championship will be played there since Hurricane Katrina shredded parts of the Superdome four years ago. New Orleans beat out Miami, which sought a record 11th Super Bowl, and 2008 host Glendale, Ariz. This is the 10th time New Orleans will be the Super Bowl site.
Samuelsson scores in OT, gives Wings 2-0 series lead
Mikael Samuelsson scored 5:14 into overtime, lifting the host Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. Chris Osgood made 37 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions. Jonathan Toews' second goal of the game with 7:40 to go in regulation pulled Chicago into a 2-2 tie.
Preakness TV viewership second best in 20 years
Rachel Alexandra's victory in the Preakness Stakes drew the most viewers to the second leg of racing's Triple Crown in five years and the second-most in 20 years. According to Nielsen Media Research numbers released Tuesday by NBC, 10.9 million people watched the race portion of NBC's Preakness coverage on Saturday. The hourlong race portion of the Preakness drew 3 million more viewers than last year's race, up 38 percent. The national rating for Saturday's race portion was a 6.8 with a 16 share, the highest since 2004 (7.7 and 19) and the second highest since 1990 (7.9 and 23).
- From Sun staff and news services