Cavs get jump on Hawks...Rockets' Howard iffy for Game 2

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ATLANTA (AP) — LeBron James scored 31 points and J.R. Smith made eight 3-pointers and added 28, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers past the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks 97-89 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Game 2 is Friday night in Atlanta.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Rockets center Dwight Howard says he has a sprained left knee and is unsure whether he'll be able to play against Golden State in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night. Howard sat out Wednesday's practice at Oracle Arena.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP)— The Tampa Bay Lightning outlasted the New York Rangers 6-5 in overtime to take a 2-1 lead in their NHL Eastern Conference final. Nikita Kucherov (KOO'-cheh-rawf) scored at 3:33 of OT to give the Lightning their second straight victory in the series. Game 4 is Friday night in Tampa.

TORONTO (AP)— The Toronto Maple Leafs, who haven't made the playoffs in a decade, are making a big bet on the man they hope will help them end that streak. The Leafs have hired highly respected NHL coach Mike Babcock, who has coached Detroit the past 10 years. Babcock signed an eight-year, $50 million dollar deal that makes him the highest-paid coach in the NHL.

WASHINGTON (AP)— The Washington Nationals swept a two-game series from the New York Yankees by edging the Yanks 3-2 on Denard Span's bases-loaded single in the seventh inning. Coupled with the New York Mets' 9-0 loss to St. Louis, the victory gives the Nationals sole possession of first place in the NL East for the first time this season.

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