NBA

SAN FRANCISCO (AP)Stephen Curry scored 30 points in his return to Golden State’s starting lineup and the Warriors beat Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets 102-98 to end the first-round series in five games.

Curry converted a three-point play with 1:33 left and scored again with 29 seconds remaining to help send the Warriors on to the second round in the Western Conference.

Jokic scored 12 of his 30 points in the final 3:46 and finished with 19 rebounds and eight assists.

The Warriors advanced to play the winner of the Memphis-Minnesota, with the Grizzlies up 3-2 going into Game 6 on Friday night in Minneapolis. Memphis eliminated Golden State in the play-in round last year.

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and nine rebounds and the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks routed the Chicago Bulls 116-100 to finish off the first-round series in five games.

The third-seeded Bucks advanced to face second-seeded Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Game 1 on Sunday in Boston. The Celtics swept Brooklyn.

After splitting the first two games, the Bucks won the last three by an average margin of 23.3 points. They won those three games without Khris Middleton, the All-Star who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the fourth quarter of Game 2.

The Bulls played without the starting backcourt they used for the first four games with two-time All-Star Zach LaVine in health and safety protocols and Alex Caruso in concussion protocol. The absences enabled Milwaukee’s defense to focus much of its attention on containing DeMar DeRozan, who had scored 41 points in the Bulls’ Game 2 victory. DeRozan was held to 11 points Wednesday while shooting 5 of 10.

BASEBALL

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The New York Mets’ hit-by-pitch frustrations boiled over when reliever Yoan Lopez threw a pitch near Nolan Arenado’s head, sparking a benches-clearing brawl that led to Arenado’s ejection in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 10-5 victory.

Mets hitter J.D. Davis left in the top of the eighth inning after being hit in the left foot by a pitch from Genesis Cabrera, the major league-leading 19th hit-by-pitch for the Mets this season – including three Tuesday night against St. Louis.

New York appeared to retaliate a half-inning later against Arenado, who reached four times and drove in three runs. Lopez zipped a 94 mph fastball near his head, and Arenado began yelling for Lopez to ”do it again.” The benches and bullpens cleared, and the teams pushed and shoved near home plate.

First-year Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said Arenado’s reaction was justified.

Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp seemed to tackle Mets star Pete Alonso near the center of the melee. Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright later walked over to Alonso to ask if he was all right.

Clapp was ejected along with Arenado, but Lopez remained in the game.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Taylor Ward hit a grand slam and finished a single shy of the cycle, Shohei Ohtani showed off his two-way prowess and the surging Los Angeles Angels rolled to a 9-5 victory over the Cleveland Guardians for their fourth consecutive victory.

Mike Trout added a pair of RBI doubles and extended his hitting streak to 10 games for the Angels, who look for their first four-game sweep over Cleveland at The Big A since 1982 on Thursday afternoon.

The Guardians dropped their sixth straight despite Jose Ramirez’s two home runs. The All-Star third baseman had two-run shots in the first and eighth innings.

Ward’s slam off Zach Plesac (1-2) in the second inning was the third of his career and gave the Angels a 6-2 lead.

Ohtani (2-2) won his second straight start, going five innings and allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts. The reigning AL MVP – who came into the game batting .213 on the season and 3 for 20 during the homestand – also had his first three-hit game of the season and drove in a run.

NHL

DALLAS (AP) – Travis Boyd scored 1:43 into overtime and the Arizona Coyotes beat the playoff-bound Dallas Stars 4-3.

The Stars wrapped up the Western Conference’s final playoff spot when Vegas lost in a shootout to Chicago just before this game went to overtime. After a seven-round shootout victory at home over Vegas on Tuesday night, the Stars were only one point away from earning a wild card.

Anton Stralman, Shayne Gostisbehere and Barrett Hayton scored in regulation for the Coyotes, and Harri Sateri had 26 saves.

Jani Hakanpaa, Tyler Seguin and Miro Heiskanen scored to give Dallas a 3-0 lead 3 minutes into the scond period. Joe Pavelski had two assists to reach a career high in points at age 37. Scott Wedgewood finished with 33 saves.

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Penguins CEO David Morehouse stepped down, ending a 16-year run with the franchise that included three Stanley Cup titles.

Morehouse did not provide an explanation for his decision in a release. The Penguins changed ownership last fall when Fenway Sports Group bought the club from Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle.

Morehouse served as a consultant on the team’s arena project in 2004 and was hired as team president in 2007 before being promoted to CEO in August 2010. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009, 2016 and 2017 during Morehouse’s tenure.

Pittsburgh is also heading to the playoffs for a 16th straight season, the longest active streak in North American professional sports. The Penguins have become one of the hottest tickets in the NHL in the process. The club had a home sellout streak of 633 games that stretched from Feb. 14, 2007, to Oct. 16, 2021.

Team president Brian Burke and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Acklin will run the day-to-day operations for the club, which finishes up the regular season at home on Friday night against Columbus.