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BC-AP Sports Preview Digest,1st Ld-Writethru

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April 18, 2014 12:11 PM EST | AP


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Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Friday. A full Sports Digest will be sent at about 3 p.m. All times EDT.

— MIAMI — Before the season, a poll by NBA general managers put the Miami Heat as the overwhelming favorite to win the title. Things seem quite different now.

— LOS ANGELES — An All-Star point guard on each side and two teams that don't like each other. Clippers vs. Warriors figures to create the best theater of any first-round playoff.

— DEERFIELD, Ill. — When Derrick Rose went down and Luol Deng was traded, the Bulls needed a leader. Enter, Joakim Noah. Chicago wound up with 48 wins in a season that could have gone all wrong.

— NEW YORK — NBA owners hold their end-of-season meeting with Commissioner Adam Silver. The potential sale of the Milwaukee Bucks is among the most important issues.

— The Stanley Cup playoffs resume with three games: Montreal at Tampa Bay (7 p.m.); Detroit at Boston (7:30 p.m.); and Dallas at Anaheim (10 p.m.).

— ST. LOUIS — The Blues are exhausted but ebullient after beating the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in three overtimes to open the playoffs.

— NEW YORK — Henrik Lundqvist has the most wins and shutouts in Rangers history. One thing, however, is missing from the goalie's sterling resume: a Stanley Cup title.

— MONACO — Rafael Nadal loses to David Ferrer 7-6 (1), 6-4 in the quarterfinals, his earliest exit at the Monte Carlo Masters in 11 years. Ferrer next faces Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka.

— KATMANDU, Nepal — An avalanche sweeps down a Mount Everest climbing route, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving four missing in the deadliest disaster on the world's highest peak.

— WASHINGTON — Bernard Hopkins, 49, wants to become the oldest fighter to unify world titles. The IBF light heavyweight champion faces WBA champion Beibut Shumenov on Saturday.

— HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth are in contention entering the second round of the RBC Heritage. Kuchar is tied for the lead; Spieth is three shots back.

— KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Pablo Larrazabal of Spain runs into a lake to escape hornets "three times the size of bees" during the second round of the Malaysian Open.

— DULUTH, Ga. — Bernhard Langer, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Fred Couples are among the favorites entering the start of play at the Greater Gwinnett Classic on the Champions Tour.