Heading toward the plate after the 500th homer of this career, Albert Pujols glanced ahead and saw a throng of Los Angeles Angels teammates waiting right there to greet him. ''I was pretty emotional running the bases and when I ... looked at all these guys coming out, it was hard,'' Pujols said. ''But I just told them, 'We've got a game to win.''' Not a problem, especially with Pujols hitting like the Pujols of old. Continuing a strong stretch, the Angels first baseman became the first major leaguer to hit his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, driving in five runs Tuesday night to help Los Angeles beat the Washington Nationals 7-2.
This one looked like it was slipping away from the Washington Wizards. Bradley Beal came on strong late in regulation to finish with 26 points, Nene scored six of his 17 points in overtime and the Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls 101-99 Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series. Game 3 is Friday at Washington. We've got to continue to stay poised.'' The Wizards couldn't maintain a 17-point first-quarter lead and had to rally from 10 down in the fourth.
When the Indiana Pacers needed a lift. Paul George stepped up. George had 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and the Pacers used a big second-half run to rally for a 101-85 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series. George Hill scored each of his 15 points in the second half, helping top-seeded Indiana earn a split of the first two postseason games at home.
Kentucky forward Julius Randle took a lot of time and talked to a lot of people before deciding to leave after one season for the NBA draft, where he is expected to be among the top five selections. With five days left before the deadline for underclassmen to declare, the 6-foot-9 Dallas native announced the decision many expected even before he arrived as part of Kentucky's best recruiting class ever. Projected as a lottery pick from the outset, Randle solidified his draft stock by leading Kentucky (29-11) to the NCAA final behind a string of double-doubles despite being double- and triple-teamed. ''Kentucky will always have a special place in my heart, but growing up as a kid, there's always been my dream to play in the NBA, and there's no better opportunity for me to achieve that goal than now,'' Randle said at a news conference attended by his mother, Carolyn Kyles, and teammates Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein, who rode in on a scooter.
DeMar DeRozan put his playoff jitters aside and turned in an All-Star performance for the Toronto Raptors. DeRozan scored 30 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 14 rebounds and the Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 100-95 on Tuesday night, evening their first-round playoff series at one game apiece. He went 3 for 13 from the field and scored 14 points in Toronto's 94-87 loss. On Tuesday, DeRozan eclipsed that total in the fourth quarter alone, scoring 17 of Toronto's 36 points.
The San Antonio Spurs, the model for stability and sustained success in the modern NBA, were still a shaken team when they showed up for training camp in October, less than four months after a devastating loss to Miami in the NBA Finals. Gregg Popovich took it head on, embraced the heartache, and in a career full of masterful coaching performances, delivered perhaps his finest effort in season No. 18. ''The way we lost in the finals wasn't an ordinary loss, it was pretty devastating,'' Popovich said on Tuesday after being named NBA coach of the year. Don't blame it on the basketball gods or bad fortune or anything like that, the Miami Heat beat us and won the championship and that's that.'' Popovich joined Don Nelson and Pat Riley as the only coaches in league history to take home the Red Auerbach trophy three times in their career.
Jose Fernandez gave credit to his catcher and even claimed he had ''a lucky game.'' The Braves weren't buying it. Fernandez matched his career high with 14 strikeouts in eight innings and combined with Steve Cishek on a three-hitter as the Miami Marlins shut out Atlanta 1-0 on Tuesday night. ''He pitched amazing,'' said Atlanta's Chris Johnson. ''We went up against a buzz-saw today.'' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said his hitters ''were coming back shaking their heads.'' Fernandez (3-1) outpitched Atlanta's Alex Wood (2-3), who also was dominant.
After Patrick Marleau's fourth career playoff overtime goal silenced Staples Center for maybe the next-to-last time this season, the veteran San Jose Sharks forward attributed his knack for postseason heroics to one simple trait. ''This one was not a hard shot by any means, but you just get it to the net.'' That's how good things happen for Marleau and the Sharks, who weathered the Los Angeles Kings' best game of the series and emerged on the brink of advancement. Marleau scored 6:20 into overtime, and the Sharks beat the Kings 4-3 on Tuesday night to take a 3-0 first-round series lead. Rookie Tomas Hertl tied it with 10:43 left in regulation for the Sharks, who had to grind out a nail-biting victory after two blowout wins in San Jose.
Major League Baseball has suspended four players involved in last Sunday's brawl between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee catcher Martin Maldonado was suspended five games while outfielder Carlos Gomez was suspended three games. Pittsburgh outfielder Travis Snider received a two-game penalty, with catcher Russell Martin also missing one game. Maldonado began his suspension with Tuesday's game against the San Diego Padres.
Former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen will retire after suffering a concussion and a stroke in a game last December. The Jaguars released Allen last week after his personal physician consulted with Jacksonville's medical staff before a scheduled physical. The Jaguars declined comment Tuesday, citing medical privacy laws. Report it immediately.'' In the months after Allen's initial stroke diagnosis, he saw three neurosurgeons.