When Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel benched his starters for the entire game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, it meant extended playing time for the team's reserves. Chris Copeland made sure to take advantage. Copeland scored a season-high 18 points and made a difficult driving layup with 1.2 seconds remaining, giving the Pacers a hard-fought 104-102 that moved them back into first place in the Eastern Conference. Following a pair of timeouts, the Pacers inbounded the ball to Copeland, who drove hard to the basket for the winning shot.
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma was impressed by Kris Letang in his return after recovering from a stroke 10 weeks ago. Jussi Jokinen scored in regulation and then got the game-winner in the shootout, lifting Pittsburgh to a 4-3 victory over the playoff-bound Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night. James Neal scored two power-play goals in regulation - his 25th and 26th of the season - for Pittsburgh, which got the 26-year-old Letang back for the first time since January. ''He made a difference.'' Tomas Jurco, Jakub Kindl and Riley Sheahan scored for the Red Wings, who are headed to the postseason for an NHL-leading 23rd straight time.
The Oakland Athletics brought Jim Johnson into their bullpen when they lost All-Star closer Grant Balfour in free agency. Manager Bob Melvin couldn't afford to wait while the former Orioles closer got into a groove, removing him from that role on Thursday. ''There's no timetable,'' Melvin told A's beat writers before the team played their series finale against the Minnesota Twins. It's a far cry from the dominant reliever who saved 50 games for the Orioles last season, tied with Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel for the most in the majors.
Three NFL players are named in a police report involving a woman who passed out in a hotel and later woke up in a hospital not knowing how she got there, though no one has been charged with a crime, authorities said Thursday. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and wide receiver Quinton Patton, and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, were with the woman at a Miami hotel where Lockette lives, according to the Miami Police Department report. Kaepernick came into the room, began kissing her and undressed her completely. The woman told police that they did not have sex, and that Kaepernick left the bedroom saying he'd be right back.
A police investigation of a suspected burglary involving Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has been closed without an arrest, primarily because of reluctant witnesses who fear retaliation and harassment for bringing a criminal complaint. Coach Gary Pinkel announced the junior receiver's indefinite suspension Monday for an unspecified violation of team rules. On Thursday, Columbia police reported they can't proceed with a case that began early Sunday when an 18-year-old Missouri student said Green-Beckham forced open her apartment door at 2:30 a.m. while trying to see his girlfriend, a friend of the victim. The woman said Green-Beckham pushed her down at least four stairs.
Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith kicked Zach Price off the team Thursday, ending the forward's career with the Tigers before it began. Price, a transfer from Louisville who wasn't eligible to play until next season, was arrested twice last week on four counts of suspicion of assault. Another Missouri player, Earnest Ross, filed a petition in Boone County Circuit Court on April 2 that sought a protection order against Price. Haith suspended Price indefinitely after his arrest.