KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) - The ball hung in the humid night air, so Venus Williams charged forward, using her long strides to arrive quickly and swat a winner.
Josh Johnson has no idea how much he'll play behind 49ers starter Alex Smith, or if the backup job is even his to earn ahead of second-year pro Colin Kaepernick.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Chris Kaman scored 20 points and the Hornets rallyied for a 97-90 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, spoiling Chris Paul's return to New Orleans.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Evgeni Malkin scored twice, James Neal had four assists and the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a playoff spot with a 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Al Jefferson's putback with 0.9 seconds remaining lifted the Utah Jazz to a 103-102 win over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night.
SAN JOSE (AP) - Daniel Winnik scored his first goal with San Jose to give the Sharks' playoff hopes a needed boost with a 2-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Charlie Wi felt a lot better walking off the golf course compared with his last round.
ALAMEDA (AP) - The Oakland Raiders agreed on one-year contracts with free agent offensive lineman Khalif Barnes and cornerback Pat Lee on Wednesday.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - No hard feelings on Alex Smith's part that the San Francisco 49ers pursued Peyton Manning.
DALLAS (AP) - Kobe Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol added 27 points and nine rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers stopped the Dallas Mavericks' four-game winning streak with a 109-93 victory on Wednesday night.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles Kings have finished ahead of San Jose in the Pacific Division standings only once in 12 years. Although they moved ahead of the Sharks with an invigorating win Tuesday night, the Kings realize it is unwise to check the standings in this crazy Western Conference race until it is all over.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - If rookie Klay Thompson keeps playing like this, Golden State fans may start getting over the loss of Monta Ellis.
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - Luis Mendoza became the second Kansas City Royals pitcher to be led off the mound by a trainer in four games.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) - Kevin Slowey remains in the race for the Cleveland Indians' final rotation spot. He's just not gaining ground.
PHOENIX (AP) - Brandon McCarthy has a visit to the nail salon in his future. McCarthy allowed four runs - two earned - and five hits and three walks in four innings in the Oakland Athletics' 5-5, 10-inning tie against a Chicago Cubs split squad on Tuesday. He spent the day battling a torn middle fingernail on his right hand, an injury he'll fix with a fake nail applied at a nail salon. "I wish ...
SANTA CLARA (AP) - Several years back, Eric Reid shunned Jim Harbaugh and Stanford to stick close to home at LSU.
ALAMEDA (AP) - D.J. Hayden's remarkable comeback from a near-death experience has taken him to the first round of the NFL draft.
STOCKTON - The Stockton Thunder used a three-goal first period to take an early lead and held on for a 5-3 win over the Alaska Aces in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals, taking a 2-1 series lead in front of 3,297 fans at Stockton Arena on Thursday.
SEATTLE (AP) - Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer, part of the group attempting to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle, said Thursday he believes "there will never be a better opportunity" than now to bring back professional basketball to the Puget Sound.
OAKLAND (AP) - Nate McLouth's patience as Baltimore's leadoff hitter is paying off nicely so far.
BOSTON (AP) - David Ortiz went 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs, boosting his batting average over .500 as the Boston Red Sox beat the Houston Astros 7-2 Thursday night to win their eighth straight series opener.
MIAMI (AP) - Luis Valbuena hit a tie-breaking solo home run in the ninth inning to lift the Chicago Cubs to a 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Ray Allen scored 23 points and broke the NBA career playoff record for 3-pointers, and the Miami Heat used another of their patented runs to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 104-91 on Thursday night for a 3-0 lead in their first-round series.
Natalie Prins and Kaylie Colyn each netted two goals apiece for Ripon Christian during Wednesday's 8-0 Southern League victory over visiting Delhi.
OAKLAND (AP) - Sleep deprived but back in the Bay Area, the Golden State Warriors returned to work Wednesday calm and confident that their Mile High City masterpiece will be no fluke.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Brandon Crawford saved the day twice with late-inning offensive heroics. He never got a third chance, resting in the on-deck circle when the final out was recorded.
BOSTON (AP) - Oakland's Jed Lowrie rounded first base, reached second and immediately raised his arms in the air.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Coming off a dramatic victory in their home finale, the San Jose Sharks had a chance to move closer to earning home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Proposed changes to California environmental protection law unveiled Wednesday could help Sacramento's effort to keep its professional basketball team, according to the leader of the state Senate.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Yadier Molina hit a two-run single off Stephen Strasburg during St. Louis' three-run first inning, and the Cardinals beat the Nationals 4-2 Wednesday to complete a sweep and give Washington's All-Star ace the only four-start losing streak of his young career.