Nationals

Rondo, Pierce help Celtics rally past Hawks

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Rondo, Pierce help Celtics rally past Hawks

ATLANTA (AP) After listening to Doc Rivers lecture the Boston Celtics at halftime, Paul Pierce told his teammates to respect their coach and follow orders.

``We were kind of bickering at each other a little bit too much, figuring out what defense we were going to run,'' Pierce said. ``And I just had to say that the fight ain't with one another. It's against the other team on the court.''

The Celtics responded in the second half, with Rajon Rondo finishing off a triple double as Boston rallied for an 89-81 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Pierce scored 17 of his 26 points in the third quarter as the Celtics erased a 19-point deficit and went on to consecutive wins for the first time since late November against Oklahoma City and Orlando. Rondo had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Boston, which beat Indiana 94-75 on Friday night, had lost four straight road games.

Rivers insisted that despite the first-half struggles against the Hawks, the game plan would not change.

``I was like, `This ain't it, don't get mad at Doc, he's coaching,''' Pierce said. ``We've got to get mad at this other team.''

Lou Williams scored 21 of his 28 points in the first half for Atlanta, which has lost two straight. Jeff Teague added 17 points, and Josh Smith, who was 2 for 12 in the second half, finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Hawks got off to a fast start, then fell apart in the third quarter as Boston began doubling ballhandlers on the perimeter and clamping down on Atlanta inside.

``They just climbed up in us defensively,'' Teague said. ``They got physical and they brought pressure and got us out of our comfort zone. We just didn't respond.''

The Celtics trailed by 19 with 6:20 left in the second, but went up 61-60 on Jared Sullinger's alley-oop layup with 3:47 left in the third. It was their first lead since the game's first minute.

Boston opened the third with a 14-1 run to pull within one. Hawks coach Larry Drew, whose team missed its first five shots from the field to begin the second half, called timeout at the 7:29 mark, but Teague lost the ball out of the bounds on the ensuing possession.

Atlanta, which had 13 turnovers and three assists in the second half, was just 2 for 14 from the field in the third and trailed 71-62 heading to the final period.

Kevin Garnett's fast-break layup with 8:53 remaining gave the Celtics their first double-digit lead at 79-68. Garnett finished with 14 points.

``The second half was completely different,'' Rivers said. ``We worked the set. The first play went from one side to the other on offense. On defense they were late in the shot clock because Avery (Bradley) and Rondo both were up ball pressuring. And it changed the game for us.''

Williams had outscored the Celtics 13-10 by the 5:47 mark of the first, connecting on his first seven shots from the field. His 16th point came on a layup for Atlanta's first double-digit lead at 23-12 late in the first.

But the Hawks could not overcome the absence of injured shooting guards Devin Harris and Anthony Morrow. Kyle Korver then fouled out with 6:37 remaining, and DeShawn Stevenson played only 13 minutes because of sore knees.

Drew called it ``probably the most disappointing loss of the season'' considering the Hawks have gone soft with big leads all season and backed down from the team that eliminated them in the first round of the playoffs last season.

``We've seen this kind of scenario before where we've played well and then when it starts to get more physical, we don't respond,'' Drew said. ``That was clearly what happened tonight.''

Jason Terry, in his first season with Boston and 13th overall, credited Pierce with backing up Rivers and straightening out the team's collective attitude.

``We took the challenge,'' Terry said. ``We took it personal. You come in at halftime, and Lou Williams has 21 points, primarily all easy baskets. He was just letting them fly. So we wanted to invade his space. As we did that, we started to get more and more stops.

``Paul Pierce got it rolling. He really made his imprint on the game.''

NOTES: Korver fouled out for the first time in 27 games this season and finished with nine points. ... Atlanta scored 31 points in the first quarter, tying for the highest by a Boston opponent and the most since the Celtics opened the season Oct. 30 at Miami. ... The Hawks' nine points in the third were a season low by a Boston opponent. ... Harris missed his ninth straight game with a sore left foot. ... Morrow was sidelined for the fifth straight game because of a strained right hip.

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Ryan Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights pushed their remarkable expansion season into the Stanley Cup Final, beating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.

Alex Tuch also scored for the Knights. They lost Game 1 in Winnipeg before winning four straight to become the first expansion team since the 1968 St. Louis Blues -- when the six initial expansion teams were put alone in the West -- to get to the final.

Vegas will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Washington Capitals in the final. Tampa Bay leads the Eastern Conference final 3-2, with Game 6 set for Monday night in Washington.

Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves.

Reaves, the bruising Winnipeg native acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins before to the trade deadline in February, snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:39 left in the second period when he tipped Luca Sbisa's point shot past Hellebuyck for his first goal of the playoffs.

Winnipeg got a power play early in the third, but couldn't muster much of anything. The Knights smothered much of the Jets' attack for the next 10 minutes, with Hellebuyck having to come up with big stops on William Karlsson and Eric Haula to keep his team within one.

The Jets pressed with under 4 minutes to go, with Fleury stopping captain Blake Wheeler on the doorstep, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Knights closed out their third straight series on the road.

The Jets beat the Knights 4-2 in Game 1, but Vegas snatched home ice with a 3-1 victory in Game 2 before picking up 4-2 and 3-2 wins at T-Mobile Arena.

The Knights, whose jaw-dropping inaugural 109-point campaign included a Pacific Division crown, swept the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, and knocked out the San Jose Sharks in six games.

The Jets had the NHL's second-best record with 114 points in the regular season. They advanced to the first conference final in city's history with a five-game victory over the Minnesota Wild in the opening round before topping the Presidents' Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in Game 7 on the road.

The usual raucous, white-clad crowd at Bell MTS Place -- not to mention the thousands of fans outside the arena attending a street party on a sun-drenched spring afternoon -- were silenced just 5:11 into Game 5 when Tuch jumped on Morrissey's turnover and fired his sixth past Hellebuyck.

The Jets were tentative to start and it got worse after the opener as Vegas dominated the next couple of shifts, forcing some good saves from Hellebuyck before Winnipeg got its feet moving.

After being outshot 7-1 in the first 7 minutes, the Jets finally pushed back and turned the tide with the next nine attempts on goal, culminating with Morrissey making amends for his early gaffe with 2:46 left in the period.

Bryan Little won a faceoff in the offensive zone straight back to second-year defenseman, who blasted his first career playoff goal past Fleury's glove.

One of Winnipeg's downfalls in the series through four games was an inability to maintain momentum. The Knights scored within 1:28 of a Jets' goal in each of the first four games -- a crushing 12 seconds after Winnipeg tied Game 3, and an equally gut-wrenching 43 seconds after the Jets knotted Game 4 -- but they managed to take the game to the locker rooms tied 1-1.

Both teams had chances in the second period before Reaves made it 2-1, with Jets center Mathieu Perrault just missing on a pass from Little that had too much speed.

Right after Reaves scored the second playoff goal of his career -- and first since 2015 with St. Louis -- Winnipeg's Nikolaj Ehlers rang a shot off the post on Fleury.

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