Meeks hits 4 threes, scores 14; Celtics and Bucks get testy
Former Florida star Marreese Speights scored 22 points, Jodie Meeks helped Philadelphia match a franchise record with 14 three-pointers, and the 76ers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 120-101 victory over the host Grizzlies on Saturday night.
Jason Kapono and Andre Iguodala each had 15 points, Meeks had 14, and Willie Green added 12. Philadelphia was 14-for-26 from three-point range — Meeks was 4-for-7 off the bench — and the team shot 57 percent overall.
Memphis built a 10-point lead early in the second period, but had trouble maintaining the margin as Rodney Carney (11 points) came off the bench for eight points, and Meeks added nine, primarily because the Sixers were accurate from three-point range. Philadelphia connected on eight of its first 13 shots outside the arc.
Celtics 105, Bucks 90: Paul Pierce scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half, and the Celtics beat host Milwaukee without Kevin Garnett, pushing the Bucks around in the process. After a rough-and-tumble game in Milwaukee last month, this one featured more pushing and shoving late and could be a sign of things to come in a first-round matchup in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Bucks Coach Scott Skiles was ejected, Celtics forward Glen Davis squared off with Kurt Thomas, and Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings was inadvertently kicked between the legs in the fourth quarter.
Hawks 105, Wizards 95: Jamal Crawford scored 23 of his game-high 28 points in the second half, made his NBA- record 28th four-point play and started the decisive 11-0 run in the fourth quarter in Atlanta's victory over Washington on Saturday night. Joe Johnson scored 20 points to help the Hawks remain in third place in the Eastern Conference. The win also snapped their six-game road losing streak and finished off their season sweep over the Wizards.
Boston College wins Frozen Four
Cam Atkinson scored twice, John Muse made 20 saves, and Boston College won the NCAA hockey championship for the second time in three years with a 5-0 victory against Wisconsin on Saturday night. The Eagles scored four times in the third period, with Atkinson and Chris Kreider scoring 2:02 apart early in the period. Atkinson scored again midway through the period. A world indoor attendance record was set for hockey with a crowd of 37,592 at the home of the NFL's Detroit Lions. Boston College won its fourth title and third since 2001, best in the nation over the last 10 years.
Bruins, Canadiens clinch playoff spots
The Bruins scored three short-handed goals in 64 seconds to beat the Hurricanes on Saturday night and clinch a playoff berth. With 89 points, the Bruins moved into sixth place, two ahead of Montreal and three ahead of the Rangers and Flyers with one game to play. Either New York or Philadelphia will miss the playoffs. The Montreal Canadiens clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot despite losing 4-3 Saturday night on Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf's overtime goal.
■ Keith Tkachuk has played his final NHL game, and the Blues forward did it in front of the home fans back in St. Louis. The Blues scratched the 38-year-old Tkachuk from Saturday night's regular-season finale at Nashville. The team held a postgame ceremony to honor his career after a 6-3 win over Anaheim in St. Louis on Friday night.
■ Steven Stamkos scored his 50th goal and the only goal in the shootout to lead Tampa Bay to a 4-3 victory over the Panthers in the Lightning's home finale Saturday night. At 20 years, 2 months and 3 days, only Wayne Gretzky (19 years, 2 months) and Jimmy Carson had 50-goal seasons earlier than Stamkos — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft.
Ali-Frazier I referee Mercante dies
Hall of Fame boxing referee Arthur Mercante, the third man in the ring for the first Ali-Frazier fight and more than a hundred other world title bouts, died Saturday. He was 90. Mercante died at his home on Long Island, said Edward Brophy, executive director of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota. Flags at the Hall of Fame were flying at half-staff Saturday in Mercante's honor.
"He was a complete professional inside the ring and true class act outside of the ring," Brophy said. "We will miss our friend and mourn his passing."
Mercante began his career while serving in the Navy, referring service bouts in the 1940s. He became a professional referee in 1954 and, six years later, was in the ring for his first world title bout when Floyd Patterson knocked out Ingemar Johansson at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Mercante would go on to referee 145 world title fights during his career, which lasted just short of five decades. He retired in 2001.
New Meadowlands Stadium opens
The $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium drew rave reviews as the new home of the New York Giants and Jets officially opened with a college lacrosse triple-header on Saturday. The Big City Classic drew 25,710 for the first look at the stadium. Hofstra beat Delware 12-11 in the opener, Virginia defeated North Carolina 7-5, and Syracuse cruised past Princeton 13-4 in the final game.
The exterior of the new 82,500-seat facility was made with recycled aluminum. Everything about the new stadium is designed to be bigger and better than Giants Stadium, including four gigantic scoreboards, more concession stands, larger bathrooms and concourses. It is more than twice the size of the old Giants Stadium, which is currently under demolition directly next door.
Mixed Martial Arts
UFC holds first outdoor event
In the UFC's first show in the Middle East and its first outdoors, heavy underdog Frankie Edgar won a unanimous decision over BJ Penn on Saturday night to claim the lightweight title at UFC 112. Anderson Silva also successfully defended his middleweight title with a unanimous decision over fellow Brazilian Demian Maia, and Matt Hughes stopped veteran Renzo Gracie with 20 seconds left in the third round. The bouts were held in a temporary arena next to a theme park outside the city center of the United Arab Emirates' capital of Abu Dhabi, with the humidity and heat making takedowns particularly difficult.
Brantley shines in Florida spring game
John Brantley dropped back on the first play of Florida's spring game and threw it as far as he could. Deonte Thompson was open on the other end, hauling in a 47-yard pass that started the post-Tim Tebow era — and the least the spring game part of it — with some flair and gave about 50,000 fans a glimpse of what to expect in the fall. Brantley completed 15 of 19 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns Saturday — the kind of performance many expected from the highly touted quarterback who waited three years behind Tebow for a shot to start.
"Boy, he was good," Coach Urban Meyer said. "He was good."
The last word
Golfer Michelle Wie is dabbling in some new hobbies — sewing, cooking and painting — but her abstract works of art won't be Louvre-ready anytime soon. As Wie, 20, described them to The New York Times:
"It's like drawings you do in fifth grade and someone says, 'You need help.'"