December 21, 2014
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Wednesday national sports headlines

UNDATED (AP) — The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have advanced to the NBA's conference finals by winning Game 5 of their respective second-round series. LeBron James scored 29 points and the Heat rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 5 ½ minutes to beat Brooklyn 96-94. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green each had 22 points in the Spurs' blowout win over Portland, 104-82.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors have hired Steve Kerr as their new head coach, giving him a five-year deal worth $25 million. Kerr had been in talks with the Knicks about becoming their next coach since Phil Jackson took over as team president in March. He replaces Mark Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors last week after three seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances.

UNDATED (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens were able to win Game 7 of their conference semifinal series before the Los Angeles Kings forced a seventh game in their series with Anaheim. Carey Price turned back 29 shots and Daniel Briere had a goal and an assist as the Canadiens downed the Bruins 3-1 in Boston. Jonathan Quick handled 21 shots and Trevor Lewis provided the game-winner to lead the Kings past the Ducks 2-1.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The San Jose Sharks are bringing back coach Todd McLellan and general manager Doug Wilson for another season despite the team's early playoff flop. Owner Hasso Plattner says he was accepting Wilson's recommendation to keep McLellan after the Sharks became just the fourth NHL team ever to lose a best-of-seven playoff series after winning the first three games. San Jose has a 271-130-57 record in six seasons under McLellan, posting the second-most wins in the NHL in that span.

BALTIMORE (AP) — Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome has been made the heavy 3-5 favorite for the Preakness Stakes, and he drew a favorable post position in the 10-horse field. California Chrome will break from the No. 3 post, which has produced 10 winners in the previous 138 runnings of the 1 3/16-mile race. Social Inclusion has drawn the No. 8 post and is the 5-1 second choice.

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