LeBron James makes more NBA history

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LeBron James makes more NBA history

From Comcast SportsNetMIAMI (AP) -- It's not the type of streak that LeBron James ever thought about, this run of putting together at least 30 points and 60 percent shooting in six straight games.Still, it's something he'll savor. He's rolling right now, and so are the Miami Heat.James scored 30 points on 11 for 15 shooting to get into the NBA record books, Chris Bosh scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Heat wound up beating the Portland Trail Blazers 117-104 in a wild, momentum-swinging game on Tuesday night.It was the 1,000th regular-season win in Heat history. But on this night, the only history anyone will remember was what James accomplished."I'm at a loss for words," James said in a televised postgame interview. "Like I say over and over, I know the history of the game. I know how many unbelievable players who came through the ranks, who paved the way for me and my teammates. And for me to be in the record books by myself with such a stat -- any stat -- it's big-time."Dwyane Wade added 24 points for Miami, which wasted a pair of 14-point leads -- then put the game away with a 14-0 run in the final minutes. Ray Allen added 14 for Miami.Damian Lillard had a game-high 33 points for Portland, which got 29 from LaMarcus Aldridge and 20 from Wesley Matthews.Just like the Heat, the Blazers also saw a 14-point lead slip away in the game, and then simply got shut down late by a stretch of airtight Miami defense."That was typical Miami Heat stuff," Lillard said. "Transition, finishing strong around the rim, and LeBron picking defenses apart."James has made 66 of his past 92 shots, over the past six games -- and is an absurd 60 for 80, or 75 percent, in his last 188 minutes of court time. According to the Heat, only Adrian Dantley and Moses Malone had done the 30-point, 60-percent streak in five straight outings before James joined their club.Now he stands alone."That's why he is who he is," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The best player in the game."Added Wade: "Obviously he is doing something that is amazing and special."And on a night where the teams took turns putting together big runs, it was the Heat who had the last rally -- ultimately, the last laugh as well.With the game tied at 99-all, James drove baseline on former Cleveland teammate Sasha Pavlovic for a two-handed slam that he punctuated with a long scream.The Heat immediately responded. Matthews made a 3-pointer on the next Portland possession to give the Trail Blazers their last lead. Miami scored the next 14 points, and when James got loose for a dunk with 2:38 remaining, history was his -- the first stretch of six straight 30-point games on 60 percent or better shooting in each outing."He played a very good basketball game," Spoelstra deadpanned afterward. "That's all you're going to get out of me right now. He competes. He loves to compete. He loves close games. ... And he's leading us, not just with his talent."Bosh made a jumper with 1:55 left to end the run and seal the win, Miami's sixth straight overall.Miami next plays Thursday night in Oklahoma City, an NBA Finals rematch before heading into the All-Star break. The Heat topped the Thunder in the first meeting of the clubs this season, winning in Miami on Christmas Day."It's a game we'll look forward to," Wade said.A glance at the halftime boxscore -- Portland 59, Miami 58 -- would have suggested the opening two quarters were closely contested, back-and-forth basketball.Not exactly.There were deep and dramatic shifts in momentum, with James and Aldridge simply taking over play for long stretches in the early going.Miami started with a flurry, hitting its first seven shots and doing so with James collecting five assists in the game's first 3:52. The Heat led 14-5 after that burst, and were still shooting 75 percent with a minute to go in the opening quarter.They also were trailing at that point. The Blazers were doing anything they wanted on the offensive end."I thought it was a good effort by our team," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "Miami's one of the best if not the best team in the league right now and they are playing at a high level. We matched it for about 44 minutes."More than matched it for a while, too.Aldridge went on a personal 13-0 run over a stretch of nearly four minutes midway through the half, single-handedly seeming to turn what was a 29-24 Portland deficit into a 37-29 Portland lead. And another quick burst, this time a 10-1 run by the Blazers, gave the visitors what was their biggest lead, 57-43 with 4:48 left in the half.Take away Miami's sizzling start, and the Blazers outscored the Heat 52-29 over a huge swath of the first half. Of course, by the break, everything looked just about even. James scored 10 points in a 15-2 Miami run to end the half, and the Blazers' lead was down to a single point at intermission.It wound up as a 34-12 run by the Heat in all, as Miami rebuilt what became a 14-point lead midway through third.Predictably, the Blazers came back. Lillard scored nine points in the final 4:36 of the third, and the Miami lead was down to 86-82 entering the fourth after James waited too long to shoot a beat-the-clock 30-footer that went in anyway.But down the stretch, it was all Miami."I thought one of the biggest differences were the 50-50 balls," Lillard said. "A few went their way. And they made us pay."NOTES:It was the 25th time Lillard scored more than 20 points this season, adding to his rookie-of-the-year credentials. ... Aldridge has at least 11 field goals in each of his past five games. ... The Heat were without Mike Miller, the latest victim of the flu bug that has ripped through the locker room, and lost starting forward Udonis Haslem to a lower-leg contusion in the opening quarter. X-rays on Haslem's shin were negative.

STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

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STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.

All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.