Sharks survive, clip Wings in thrilling Game 7

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Sharks survive, clip Wings in thrilling Game 7

May 12, 2011

BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHLPAGE NHLSCOREBOARD

SAN JOSE (AP) For all the blame Patrick Marleau has shouldered for past postseason failures by San Jose, it was only fitting that his winning goal helped the Sharks avoid their biggest collapse yet.Marleau got his first point of the series when he knocked home a rebound with 7:47 to play and then made the key defensive play in the closing seconds as the Sharks managed to knock out the Detroit Red Wings on their fourth try with a 3-2 victory Thursday night in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal series."For him to end up with the winning goal was pretty special for our team and for him," coach Todd McLellan said. "I think the monkey may be off his back for the next series. ... He was a difference maker tonight."
RATTO: Marleau saves impact for Game 7 winDevin Setoguchi and Logan Couture scored in the first period and Antti Niemi made 38 saves for the Sharks, who had lost three straight potential clinching games before eliminating the Red Wings for the second straight year in the second round.San Jose avoided becoming the fourth NHL team to lose a series after winning the first three games. A franchise known for its playoff flops avoided a colossal one and now heads into its second straight Western Conference final."There's a lot of doubters who said we probably couldn't do this," captain Joe Thornton said. "But that's two years in a row we beat a pretty good team. We're a pretty good team now, too."
VIDEO: Joe Thornton postgame
The Sharks get two days off before beginning the conference final Sunday in Vancouver against the Canucks, who also won a Game 7 after blowing a 3-0 lead in the first round against defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg scored for the Red Wings, who fought valiantly to the end but were unable to complete their bid for an historic feat. Detroit furiously pushed for the tying goal in the frantic final minutes, but couldn't beat Niemi again - even after getting a late power-play chance."It's not easy being down 3-0 and having to win four games," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "I felt like we had the upper hand. But you never knew the outcome of any game until the end. At the end, it's still disappointing to win three games and come back here with a chance to win or tie it in the final minutes and then fall short."The 41-year-old defenseman, who has won four Stanley Cup titles with Detroit, must decide if he wants to come back for a 20th NHL season.
RELATED: Sharks-Canucks Playoff Schedule"I'm going to take my time before making a decision," Lidstrom said. "We'll have our meetings and go from there. I'm going to take the whole year into account. I'll take about as much time as last year. I'll meet with the coaching staff. It's been tough the last couple of years."The much-maligned Marleau, who was called "gutless" by former teammate Jeremy Roenick after Game 5, gave the Sharks the breathing room when he poked a rebound of Setoguchi's shot into an empty net behind Jimmy Howard to give San Jose a 3-1 lead.But as tough as it was to eliminate the Red Wings in the series, it was just that hard to close out this game. Datsyuk beat Niemi with a great individual effort to make it a one-goal game with 6:01 remaining. The Sharks had to kill off a power play, when Torrey Mitchell was called for slashing with 5:03 left, to preserve the lead. Niemi then made a stop on a tricky shot by Datsyuk in the final minute.After a scramble in front of the net, Marleau broke up a scoring chance for Patrick Eaves and then got the final clear, sending the fans into delirium and giving the Sharks their first sense of relief as the clock ran out."It was just nice to have it over and have us on top," Marleau said. "They played great the whole way through. It was just nice to be able to shake hands and come back in here."The Red Wings fell behind 2-0 in the first period but that deficit surely wasn't daunting to a team that overcame a 3-0 hole in the series to force this Game 7.Detroit dominated the second period despite finishing it without three of its top forwards, with Johan Franzen missing the game with an ankle injury, Todd Bertuzzi getting knocked out in the first period with an upper body injury, and Danny Cleary getting helped to the locker room after appearing to hit his head on the ice after a collision with teammate Jiri Hudler."That's a huge chunk of team that was missing," coach Mike Babcock said. "We would love having some more minutes out of those guys."The Red Wings outshot the Sharks 17-6 in the period but managed to get only one puck past Niemi, who made tough saves on Niklas Kronwall and Cleary in the first half of the period.Zetterberg got Detroit on the board when he beat Niemi with a backhand at the end of a three-on-two rush with 6:50 left in the second. The Red Wings kept the pressure up the rest of the way as the Sharks looked desperate for the period to end, icing the puck five times.Detroit got the final 10 shots in the period as the Sharks couldn't manage even to get one after Setoguchi's attempt with 7:48 to go. But Niemi was able to preserve the lead heading into the third, robbing Zetterberg with his glove late in the period."We had to get it done, especially in the playoffs," Zetterberg said. "We should have created a few more chances."The crowd was frenzied at the start for what was being billed by many as the biggest game ever at the Shark Tank, cheering "Beat De-troit! Beat De-troit!" That energy from the fans was matched by the Sharks, who were thoroughly outplayed in their Game 6 loss in Detroit two nights earlier.They scored on a power play midway through the period when Thornton threaded a perfect pass from behind the net to Setoguchi, who beat Howard with a one-timer for his fifth goal of the series. Then after killing off two Detroit power plays, San Jose got a second goal when Couture stole an outlet pass from Zetterberg, and in the same motion beat Howard with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle with 59 seconds left in the period.Notes: San Jose F Ryane Clowe returned to the lineup after missing Game 6 with an upper body injury. ... Kris Draper replaced Franzen in the lineup. Draper scored a goal in the only previous Game 7 between these teams, a game the Sharks won 3-2 in 1994.

Report: Clippers trade Chris Paul to Rockets

Report: Clippers trade Chris Paul to Rockets

A blockbuster trade reportedly went down on Wednesday morning.

The Clippers are sending Chris Paul to the Rockets, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

In exchange, Houston will ship Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams and a 2018 first-round pick to Los Angeles.

More to come...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Knicks, Phil Jackson part ways

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AP

Knicks, Phil Jackson part ways

NEW YORK -- Phil Jackson is out as New York Knicks president after he oversaw one of the worst eras in team history and feuded with star Carmelo Anthony.

Days after Jackson reiterated his desire to trade Anthony and said he would listen to deals for Kristaps Porzingis, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan reversed course and cut ties with Jackson on Wednesday.

"After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction," Dolan said in a statement. "Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched."

But his work as a first-time executive was awful. The winner of an NBA-record 11 championships as coach, Jackson couldn't engineer one playoff berth while running the Knicks. The team was 80-166 in his three full seasons, including a franchise-worst 17-65 in 2014-15. His departure was quickly welcomed by Knicks fans such as film director Spike Lee, who posted a picture of himself on Instagram in a celebratory pose after it was first reported by The Vertical.

The move comes less than a week after Jackson led the Knicks through the NBA draft and on the eve of free agency that opens Saturday. Dolan said general manager Steve Mills would run the day-to-day business of the team in the short term.

Jackson was a Hall of Fame coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, delivering titles with some of the game's biggest stars like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. He also played for the Knicks when they won NBA titles in 1970 and 1973.

He was welcomed back to the organization to huge fanfare in March 2014, but it soon became clear the transition would be a poor one. His first coaching hire, Derek Fisher, lasted just 1½ seasons, and Jackson's trades and free agency moves also failed to improve the club.

"I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA championship to the Garden. As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren't able to do that," Jackson said. "New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organization all the best - today and always."

The turbulence he created off the court may have led to his departure more than the Knicks' record on it.

Jackson wanted to trade Anthony, the All-Star forward who has two years left on the five-year, $124 million deal that Jackson gave him shortly after taking the job. Anthony has a no-trade clause and has said he wants to stay in New York, and the stalemate that hung over the team for much of last season threatened to linger throughout the summer.

Then he said before the draft that he was listening to offers for Porzingis, the 21-year-old forward from Latvia whom Jackson drafted with the No. 4 pick in 2015 in one of his few successful moves.

Jackson believed the Knicks would compete for a playoff berth last season after he traded for Derrick Rose, signed Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee and hired Jeff Hornacek to coach. But after a solid start, they quickly spiraled toward their familiar position at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and finished 31-51.

Despite all that, Dolan said during an ESPN Radio interview in February that he would allow Jackson to finish his contract, and the sides picked up the mutual two-year option on Jackson's contract.

But the instability involving Anthony and Porzingis threatened to damage the team's ability to lure free agents and may have spurred Dolan's decision. Though he had been intent on keeping Jackson, the dysfunction within the franchise showed no sign of ending even as Jackson, 71, largely stayed out of sight.

He never spoke to the media last season after vowing openness upon taking the job and refused to provide Anthony with the communication he sought.

"It's like a total train wreck ," tennis great and Knicks fan John McEnroe told The Associated Press last week.

"I mean, he's known as the Zen Master, like a master talker, and then he's not talking to anybody," McEnroe said of Jackson. "So this whole thing seems to have gone completely off the rails."

There was also incessant debate about Jackson's insistence that the team employ the triangle offense, which potential incoming players were schooled on during the run-up to last week's NBA draft. The Knicks wound up taking 18-year-old French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who spoke highly of the triangle and Jackson's belief in the scheme.

"I think I can definitely fit with this system," Ntilikina said on draft night.

Not even a week later, the triangle is probably gone, and the Knicks will start anew.

Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, will be a free agent. Noah - whom Jackson gave a puzzling four-year, $72 million contract last summer - will start the season by finishing out a 20-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy. He averaged 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in his first season in New York, shooting just 44 percent from the foul line.