Durant, Ibaka help Thunder even series with Spurs
Kevin Durant scored 18 of his 36 points in a scintillating final 7 minutes, Serge Ibaka added a career-high 26 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder evened the Western Conference finals at two games apiece by beating the visiting San Antonio Spurs 109-103 Saturday night.
After seeing his team's 15-point lead dwindle to four, Durant took over midway through the fourth quarter by scoring all 16 of the Thunder's points during a span of just over 5 minutes to keep the Spurs at bay.
With All-Star teammate Russell Westbrook limited to seven points, Durant did almost all of the damage late to send the series back to San Antonio all square for Game 5 on Monday night.
Tim Duncan had 21 points for San Antonio, which had won 20 in a row before losing Game 3.
Martin, Johnson starting up front at Dover
Mark Martin has more poles than candles on the birthday cake.Not bad for a driver pushing limits in a stock car long after so many elite athletes have settled into retirement.
Martin took the last qualifying ride of the day and turned a lap of 158.297 mph on Saturday to win the pole at Dover International Speedway. The 53-year-old Martin has 54 career Sprint Cup poles.
"I knew that I only had to make it one mile without wrecking, and I was going to drive to the limit and slightly beyond, and I felt like I did that," Martin said.
Martin has won three poles this season in 10 races while carrying a limited schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing. He's looking for his first Cup win Sunday since 2009.
"If any young driver ever wants to think about racing in NASCAR, that should be their role model," Michael Waltrip said. "He's committed, he's focused, he's energetic, he's enthusiastic, he's appreciative. I couldn't be prouder that he has on that suit with Michael Waltrip Racing on it."
Jimmie Johnson, who was six career wins at Dover, was poised to earn the top spot with a lap of 158.263 mph until Martin knocked him off. Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth round out the top five. Points leader Greg Biffle will start seventh.
■ Joey Logano passed Ryan Truex with a few laps left to win the Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway. Truex was second and Brian Scott third for a 1-2-3 finish for Joe Gibbs Racing. Truex had the top car toward the end of the race until he got loose with less than 10 laps left. Logano capitalized and made the late charge through lapped traffic to zip past Truex for his fourth Nationwide win of the season. Kurt Busch was fourth and Justin Allgaier fifth, and they exchanged words on pit road after the race. Danica Patrick was taken out by Sam Hornish Jr. and finished 30th.
Levin takes lead; Woods shoots 1-over
Spencer Levin will get another crack at his first PGA Tour win, this time with a smaller lead and a lot more star power behind him.
Levin felt as though he could do no wrong Saturday in Dublin, Ohio, at the Memorial when he chipped in for eagle, chipped in for birdie and even had a par putt swirl around the cup and fall in. That allowed him to make a few mistakes on the back nine and still post a 3-under 69 for a one-shot lead over Rory Sabbatini (71).
Levin blew a six-shot lead at the Phoenix Open earlier this year.
Rickie Fowler also had a 69, one of only three rounds in the 60s, and was three shots behind.
Fowler will play in the final round with Tiger Woods, a four-time Memorial champion who is very much in the picture. Woods had a share of the lead early, but fell back with a sloppy short game on the back nine and had to settle for a 73. He was four shots back.
"Four shots is definitely manageable around this golf course, considering the conditions and what they're going to be tomorrow," Woods said. "A lot of guys are still in this ballgame."
■ Jay Haas took a three-shot lead in the Principal Charity Classic after shooting a 6-under 65 in West Des Moines, Iowa. Haas won the Champions Tour event in 2007 and 2008. Larry Mize eagled the 18th hole to get within three of Haas at 8 under.
■ Stacy Lewis tied a tournament 36-hole record with a second-round 65 on Saturday at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway Township, N.J. Lewis' two-day total of 130 leads Anna Nordqvist, who shot a 67, by six strokes.
Alabama, Texas reach NCAA finals
Alabama and Texas won their semifinal matches of the NCAA golf championship Saturday in Los Angeles and will meet Sunday with the title on the line.
Alabama's match against California went down to the final group and the 18th hole. Hunter Hamrick was 1 up going into the final hole and made a par to defeat Joel Stalter. Former St. Xavier star Justin Thomas, a freshman for the Tide, lost his match to Max Homa 2&1.
Texas had a 2-1 advantage over Oregon and won the match when Julio Vegas, brother of PGA Tour player, Jhonattan Vegas, drained a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to defeat Andrew Vijarro 2 up.
Nadal, Sharapova cruise at French Open
Defending champion Rafael Nadal beat Eduardo Schwank 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 to improve his French Open record to 48-1. And Maria Sharapova completed her third straight rout, defeating Peng Shuai of China 6-2, 6-1. Sharapova has lost only five games through three matches at Roland Garros this year.
"In the next round, it starts from 0-0. Whoever you're playing, you have to go and try and do the same thing," Sharapova said. "There are a lot more rounds to go. It just gets tougher from this point."
Also, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone lost to Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 3-6, 6-3, 8-6 and former top-ranked player Caroline Wozniacki was eliminated by Kaia Kanepi 6-1, 6-7 (3) 6-3. Defending champion Li Na also advanced but needed three sets to defeat Christina McHale of the U.S. 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Game On Dude sets record in Californian
Game On Dude led all the way to win the $147,000 Californian by a record 7¼ lengths at Hollywood Park, with co-owner Joe Torre looking on. Ridden by Chantal Sutherland, Game On Dude ran 11⁄8 miles on the synthetic Cushion Track in 1:48.01 as the even-money favorite for trainer Bob Baffert. Game On Dude's next start will be in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 7.
"He made me look like a champion. It's so much fun to ride a horse like that," Sutherland said. "It's just like unbelievable, the power and so much endurance."
Kettle Corn was second. Baffert's other entry, Prayer for Relief, was another half-length back in third. There was no show wagering after Uh Oh Bango was scratched, reducing the field to four for the Grade II race.
The last word
Jack Nicklaus hasn't spoken to Phil Mickelson since the four-time major champion withdrew after the opening round of the Memorial. Mickelson was reportedly irked about the number of fans using cell phone cameras during his swings. Nicklaus said his tournament will follow tour policy, which allows cell phones but they are supposed to be on vibrate and only used in designated areas:
"We've got 30,000 or 40,000 (fans) out there. You need 30,000 security (people). You can't do that. I don't know the answer. ... From my standpoint? You don't have to worry about me. I don't know how to take a picture with a cellphone."