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Ohio Sports News

Last Update on March 06, 2015 06:35 GMT

HAWKS VS LEBRON

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks are blowing away everyone in the Eastern Conference.

Yet, there's always a sense that LeBron James will be standing in the way when they get to the playoffs.

That scenario adds an extra bit of intrigue to Friday night's matchup in Atlanta between the Hawks and James' Cleveland Cavaliers.

The front-running Hawks (48-12) insist they're not treating this game any different. Of course, that's what you would expect from the team with a double-digit lead in the East, which has all but locked up home-court advantage throughout the conference playoffs with more than a month to go in the regular season.

The Cavaliers (39-24) are 10-1/2 games behind and more concerned at the moment with beating out Chicago and Toronto for the No. 2 seed.

INDIANS-REDS

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto made his spring debut and allowed one hit and struck out two in two scoreless innings on Thursday.

But reliever Burke Badenhop got hit hard in his Reds debut, giving up five runs while retiring only two batters and the Cleveland Indians pulled away to a 9-3 victory.

Badenhop allowed Jose Ramirez's two-run single and Yan Gomez's two-run homer during Cleveland's five-run fifth inning. The reliever gave up five hits and walked a batter.

The Reds signed Badenhop to a one-year, $2.5 million deal last month, trying to improve one of the NL's worst bullpens last season.

Cleveland's Trevor Bauer allowed a run and three hits over three innings, his first of the spring.

BENGALS-MAUALUGA

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Rey Maualuga agreed to a three-year deal Thursday, allowing the Cincinnati Bengals to keep one of their top linebackers.

Cincinnati's defense slipped to 22nd in the NFL last season, when Maualuga and linebacker Vontaze Burfict missed significant time because of injuries. After Maualuga returned after missing four games with a pulled hamstring, the run defense improved measurably.

Maualuga was a second-round pick in 2009. He could have become an unrestricted free agent next week.

Burfict missed most of last season with concussions and torn knee cartilage that required surgery, leaving his status for the start of next season unclear. The Bengals will try to add depth at the linebacker spot in the offseason.

National Sports News

Last Update on March 06, 2015 13:47 GMT

NBA-SCHEDULE

UNDATED (AP) -- The Chicago Bulls were able to end Russell Westbrook's string of triple-doubles at four straight games. More important, they pulled out a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Chicago beat the Thunder 108-105 on E'Twaun Moore's go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left. The Bulls trailed by a point until Moore sent them to their second straight win. He finished with 19 points on 9 of 10 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench.

Nikola Mirotic finished with 26 points, while Pau Gasol (pow gah-SAHL') and Mike Dunleavy each had 21 for the Bulls.

Westbrook produced 43 points, seven assists and eight rebounds for the Thunder, but he also stepped out of bounds after receiving the inbounds pass following Moore's go-ahead bucket.

In the only other NBA game, Portland picked up its fifth straight win as LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds in a 94-75 triumph over Dallas. Nicolas Batum (bah-TOOM') added 15 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who finished the game without starting guard Wesley Matthews because of a left foot injury.

NBA-LOWER AGE LIMIT

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- An attorney for the union representing NBA players has strongly indicated the association will again want the age limit for turning pro lowered in the next round of collective bargaining.

National Basketball Players Association general counsel Gary Kohlman expects the issue will be a contentious one with the NBA. Commissioner Adam Silver has often said he favors raising the limit from 19 to 20 in the next labor deal.

TOP 25 MEN'S BASKETBALL

UNDATED (AP) -- Fifth-ranked Arizona and No. 6 Wisconsin have wrapped up the regular-season conference championships.

The Wildcats are Pac-12 champs after Brandon Ashley matched his career high with 21 points in a 99-60 pounding of California. Kaleb Tarczewski added 14 points and T.J. McConnell tied his career best with 11 assists in Arizona's most lopsided win of the season.

The Wildcats are 27-3 overall and 15-2 in the Pac-12.

Frank Kaminsky had 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting as the Badgers beat Minnesota 76-63 to claim the Big Ten title. Sam Dekker added 20 points and Nigel Hayes finished with 12 and nine rebounds as Wisconsin improved to 27-3 overall and 15-2 in the conference.

In other top-25 action:

-- No. 13 Utah knocked off Washington State 67-59 behind Delon Wright's 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Jordan Loveridge had 16 points in the Utes' 23rd win of the season.

-- Bobby Portis scored 24 points and pulled down eight rebounds to help No. 18 Arkansas squeeze past South Carolina 78-74. The Razorbacks saw a 20-point lead become an 11-point deficit late in the second half before improving to 24-6.

NFL-MOVES

UNDATED (AP) -- Peyton Manning has passed his physical and signed his revised contract with the Denver Broncos.

The five-time MVP agreed to a $4 million pay cut to $15 million, but he can earn all of it back through incentives.

Manning mulled retirement after the Broncos' playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. But he determined he still had the health and hunger to keep playing at age 39.

Elsewhere:

-- Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer says he has restructured his contract to help with the team's salary cap status and improve the roster. Palmer says he's recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL and hopes to be ready for OTAs this summer.

-- The Carolina Panthers have signed Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen to a three-year contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2018 season. Olsen went to his first Pro Bowl in 2014 after catching 84 passes for 1.008 yards, both new franchise records for a tight end.

-- The NFL says Panthers defensive end and soon-to-be free agent Greg Hardy will be allowed to sign a new contract even if he remains on the commissioner's exempt list. He still faces a possible suspension from the league even though his conviction on two counts of domestic violence was dismissed Feb. 9 following a successful appeal.

-- The agent for Darnell Dockett says the defensive tackle has signed a two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers, keeping him in the NFC West after playing all of his 10 NFL seasons with Arizona. The 33-year-old Dockett sat out all of 2014 with a season-ending knee injury suffered during training camp.

-- Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement and defensive end LaMarr Woodley was released by the team. Jones-Drew was paid $2.5 million last season but only rushed for 96 yards on 43 carries in 12 games.

-- Vince Wolfork says the Patriots have told him they won't pick up his option. The formidable defense tackle has spent his entire 11-year career with New England, helping to win two Super Bowls.

-- Two of the Oakland Raiders' big free agent acquisitions from last season are no longer with the team. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew retired and defensive end LaMarr Woodley was released by the team.

-- The Kansas City Chiefs released veteran linebacker Joe Mays as they attempt to free up much-needed salary cap space before the start of free agency next week. The Chiefs saved about $3 million by parting with Mays.

NHL-SCHEDULE

UNDATED (AP) -- The New York Islanders have regained sole possession of the Metropolitan Division lead while extending Nashville's season-worst losing streak.

The Isles blew a 3-1 lead in the third period before Brock Nelson scored with 6:08 remaining to send New York to a 4-3 win at Nashville. John Tavares and Nick Leddy each had a goal and an assist as the Islanders moved two points ahead of the Rangers for the Metropolitan Division lead.

Mike Ribeiro and Craig Smith scored 31 seconds apart to tie the game before the Predators suffered their fifth straight loss.

The Islanders also trail the Eastern Conference by just one point to Montreal after the Canadiens squandered a third-period lead and lost 4-3 at Los Angeles. Marian Gaborik scored twice in regulation before providing one of the Kings' three shootout goals. Gaborik's tying goal with 45 seconds left in regulation helped the Kings to pull into a virtual tie with Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:

-- Vladimir Namestnikov (nah-MEHST'-niht-kahv) and Alex Killorn scored third-period goals to help Tampa Bay wrap up a 4-2 triumph against Toronto. Nikita Kucherov (koo-CHEHRH'-ahv) and Ryan Callahan had first-period goals and Ben Bishop made 25 saves as the Lightning moved to within two points of the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens.

-- Minnesota has continued its strong playoff push as Jason Pominville scored twice in the third period to lead a 2-1 triumph at Washington. Devan Dubnyk (DOOB'-nihk) stopped 25 shots for the Wild, who are one point ahead of eighth-place Winnipeg in the West after improving to 15-2-1 in their last 18 games.

-- David Schlemko scored in the eighth shootout round to complete Calgary's 4-3 win over Boston. Jiri Hudler (YEER'-ee HOOD'-lur) had a goal and an assist to help the Flames strengthen their tenuous playoff situation.

-- Philadelphia trailed 1-0 until Matt Read assisted on goals by Michael Del Zotto and Wayne Simmonds 1:50 apart midway through the third period of the Flyers' 3-1 win over St. Louis. The Flyers are within four points of Boston for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth, and the Blues remain four points behind the Predators in the Central Division.

-- Mike Smith make 32 saves and Sam Gagner (GAHN'-yay) scored the lone shootout goal in Arizona's 3-2 win over Vancouver. The Canucks trailed 2-0 before Chris Higgins and Radim Vrbata (vur-BAH'-tah) tallied in the last 7:39 of regulation, putting Vancouver two points ahead of third-place Calgary in the Pacific Division.

-- Colton Sceviour (SEE'-vee-ur) scored the lone shootout goal to push Dallas past Florida 4-3. Shawn Horcoff had a goal and an assist as the Stars kept the Panthers two points behind the Bruins for the last Eastern Conference playoff slot.

MLB-SPRING TRAINING

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- Rangers ace Yu Darvish left his spring training debut with tightness in his right triceps after pitching a scoreless first inning Thursday against Kansas City. He threw 10 of 12 pitches for strikes before leaving for precautionary reasons.

A Rangers spokesman said he would be reevaluated Friday.

NASCAR-KURT BUSCH

DOVER, Del. (AP) -- Delaware prosecutors say they will not file criminal charges against NASCAR driver Kurt Busch following allegations of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend.

NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch last month after a Delaware Family Court judge said the former champion almost surely choked and beat Patricia Driscoll last fall. But the Delaware attorney general's office says that there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges.

GOLF-CADILLAC CHAMPIONSHIP

DORAL, Fla. (AP) -- J.B. Holmes tamed the Blue Monster course at Doral with a 10-under 62. That's good for a four-shot lead after the first round of the Cadillac Championship. Ryan Moore is alone in second.

The top 50 golfers in the world are entered in a tournament for the first time since the 2012 PGA Championship.

France's Alexander Levy shot a 4-under 68 and is tied with Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson for third place.

This is the first of the World Golf Championship tournaments of the year.

GOLF-PUERTO RICO OPEN

RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) -- PGA Tour rookie Mark Hubbard is the leader through one round of the PGA's Puerto Rico Open in Rio Grande. Hubbard opened with a 4-under 68 that puts him one stroke ahead of Billy Mayfair, Chris Smith and Emiliano Grillo. David Duval, Jonathan Byrd, J.J. Henry and Alex Cejka (CHAY'-kah) are among 11 players at minus-2.

LPGA-SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE (AP) -- Carlota Ciganda shot a 6-under 66 to move into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park after the second round of the HSBC Women's Champions. They're at 9 under par.

Azahara Munoz was in sole possession of third place, two strokes back, after a 67 that featured six birdies against a lone bogey.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko birdied three of the last four holes en route to a 70 that put the 17-year-old in a tie for fourth with Stacy Lewis, Jenny Shin and Karrie Webb at 6-under.

Defending champion Paula Creamer is tied for 36th after a 71. Michelle Wie (WEE) fired a 70 that included three bogeys, three birdies and an eagle and is tied for 23rd.

SWIMMING-PHELPS

UNDATED (AP) -- There have been discussions about US swimmer Michael Phelps possibly competing in the world championships to be held in Russia starting in late July. However, a USA Swimming spokesman has characterized any conversations as informal and preliminary.

Phelps received a six-month suspension for his second drunken driving arrest, a punishment that ends April 6. He had already qualified for worlds, the biggest international meet leading up to next year's Rio Olympics.

The 18-time Olympic champion agreed he would not represent the U.S. at the world meet as part of his suspension by USA Swimming handed down last fall.

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Sports Director Clay Hall

WSYX - Clay Hall

Clay Hall is the Sports Director for ABC 6 and FOX 28.

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