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Redskins QB Robert Griffin III Will Drive Pace Car at Richmond


Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will drive the pace car at NASCAR's Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday.

Griffin III will go through pace car training with Dale Earnhardt Jr. this week, the raceway announced on Wednesday.

The former Heisman trophy winner was recruited by Earnhardt Jr. via Twitter last month and will also take a garage tour with NASCAR team owner and former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.

Griffin burst onto the scene in 2012 with his electrifying play, and led the Redskins to an NFC East title. Still, the team fell apart in 2013 and Griffin struggled due to his recovery from a torn ACL as well as friction with former head coach Mike Shanahan.

The Redskins hired head coach Jay Gruden during the offseason to help improve on a 3-13 record last year.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Suns' Goran Dragic Named NBA's Most Improved Player


Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic was named the NBA's most improved player, the league announced Wednesday.

Dragic averaged 20.3 points a game this season along with 5.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds.

Dragic received 408 of a possible 1,134 points, including 65 first-place votes to take home the award.

"Congratulations to @Goran_Dragic winning Most Improved. He is a elite player. I'm glad that I've had a chance to see him grow over the yrs," Suns teammate Channing Frye tweeted after the announcement.

Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers finished with 158 points and 13 first-place votes and was followed by Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans with 155 points and 16 first-place votes.

The Suns missed the playoffs after finishing 48-34, and head coach Jeff Hornacek finished second to Gregg Popovich in coach of the year voting on Tuesday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Phil Jackson: Dolan's 'Been Loyal' to Promise


Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson wants people who believe in his vision moving forward in 2014.

Jackson addressed the team's vacant head coaching position on Wednesday and shot down the report in the New York Daily News that said owner James Dolan was not keeping his promise of letting Jackson call the shots.

"He's been loyal to that promise," Jackson said.  "He's been very true to his word up to this point."

The Knicks fired head coach Mike Woodson on Monday after spending two seasons with the club.

Reports surfaced that Jackson could bring in his former player with the Bulls, Steve Kerr.

"We meet very similar space about coaching in a lot of ways," Jackson said of Kerr.  "I know philosophically we have a strong connection."

"Whether he's able to take a job like this, I don't know," he continued. "I will get in a conversation with him later on this month and talk to (Kerr) about it."

Jackson said that his girlfriend and Lakers part-owner and president Jeanie Buss suggested he take over as head coach.

"If there's anyone that can encourage me to do anything, it's Jeanie Buss, but I was able to withstand her arguments the whole time," Jackson joked.

Jackson said that he'd like to find a new head coach before July.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Kentucky's Randle Declares for NBA Draft


Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(LEXINGTON, Ky.)  --  After just one season at Kentucky, forward Julius Randle announced he is leaving the school to declare for the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-9 Randle announced his decision with just five days left before the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft.  He helped the Wildcats go 29-11 this past season before losing to Connecticut in the NCAA final.

"Kentucky will always have a special place in my heart, but growing up as a kid, there's always been my dream to play in the NBA, and there's no better opportunity for me to achieve that than now," Randle said.

Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds this season and was voted to The Associated Press' All-America third team.  He could very well be a lottery pick in the June 26 draft.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Wizards Edge Bulls in OT for 2-0 Series Lead


Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(CHICAGO) --  Bradley Beal scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Washington Wizards topped the Chicago Bulls 101-99 in overtime to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.

Nene added 17 points as the Wizards rallied from 10 down in the fourth quarter to steal their second consecutive road victory.

With 2.4 seconds remaining in overtime, Kirk Hinrich was fouled by Nene on a drive to the hoop and had a chance to tie the game.  After missing the first free throw, he deliberately missed the second.  Trevor Ariza pulled down the rebound to seal the win for Washington.

D.J. Augustin led the Bulls in defeat with 25 points, while Taj Gibson added 22 points and 10 rebounds.  After dropping the first two games of the series at home, the Bulls will travel to Washington in desperate need of a victory.  Game 3 will be played on Friday night at the Verizon Center.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Pacers Clip Hawks 101-85 to Even Series


Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Paul George was not going to let the Indiana Pacers continue to struggle.

George had 27 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists as the Pacers rallied to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 101-85 on Tuesday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.

"That's why he was in the MVP conversation early," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "He always does those types of things, guarding the best perimeter player, rebounding the ball, deflecting the ball. His hands were all over the place. It makes him one of the most complete players in the game when he plays like he did tonight."

The Pacers trailed 38-27 during the second quarter and were down four at halftime.  They came out surging in the second half, outscoring Atlanta 31-13 in the third quarter to seize control of the game.

Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 19 points.  Game 3 will be played on Thursday night in Atlanta.  The Pacers have only two wins there since December 2006.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Albert Pujols Hits 500th Career Home Run


Jason Wise/MLB Photos via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  Albert Pujols hit his 500th career home run in thrilling fashion.

Pujols became the first major leaguer to hit his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-2 win over the Washington Nationals Tuesday night.  He also drove in five runs.

"It tastes better with a win," Pujols said after becoming the 26th player in big league history to reach the milestone.  "I knew this year, it was going to happen, whether it was tonight, tomorrow, two months from now. So my goal was just to prepare myself every day to try to help this organization win."

Tyler Skaggs (2-0) gave up two runs in seven innings for the win.  Pujols now has eight home runs this season, all in the past 13 games.  His 19 RBIs lead the team.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Scoreboard Roundup - 4/22/14


Getty Images/Hemera (NEW YORK) -- NBA First Round: Indiana Pacers 101 – Atlanta Hawks 85 (Series tied at 1-1)

Toronto Raptors 100 – Brooklyn Nets 95 (Series tied at 1-1)

Washington Wizards 101 - Chicago Bulls 99 OT (Wizards lead series, 2-0)

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – First Round:  Montreal Canadiens 4 – Tampa Bay Lightning 3 (Canadiens win series, 4-0)

Boston Bruins 3 – Detroit Red Wings 0 (Bruins lead series, 2-1)

New York Rangers 4 – Philadelphia Flyers 1 (Rangers lead series, 2-1)

San Jose Sharks 4 - Los Angeles Kings 3 OT (Sharks lead series, 3-0)

MLB: Los Angeles Angels 7 (10-10) – Washington Nationals 2 (11-10) Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hits 499th and 500th career home run.

Kansas City Royals 8 (10-9) – Cleveland Indians 2 (9-11)

Cincinnati Reds 4 (9-11) – Pittsburgh Pirates 1 (9-12)

Miami Marlins 1 (10-11) – Atlanta Braves 0 (13-7)

Detroit Tigers 8 (10-7) – Chicago White Sox 6 (10-11)

Toronto Blue Jays 9 (11-9) – Baltimore Orioles 3 (9-10)

Tampa Bay Rays 8 (10-10) – Minnesota Twins 3 (9-10)

New York Yankees 9 (12-8) – Boston Red Sox 3 (9-12)

St. Louis Cardinals 3 (12-9) – New York Mets 0 (10-10)

Colorado Rockies 2 (12-10) - San Francisco Giants 1 (11-10)

Chicago Cubs 9 (7-12) - Arizona Diamondbacks 2 (5-18)

San Diego Padres 2 (10-11) - Milwaukee Brewers 1 (15-6) 12 Innings

Texas Rangers 5 (13-8) - Oakland Athletics 4 (13-7)

Houston Astros 5 (7-14) - Seattle Mariners 2 (7-13)

Philadelphia Phillies 3 (10-10) - Los Angeles Dodgers 2 (12-9) 10 Innings

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Spurs' Gregg Popovich Named NBA Head Coach Of The Year


San Antonio Spurs/NBA(SAN ANTONIO) -- San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was named the NBA coach of the year on Tuesday. He joins Pat Riley and Don Nelson as the only coaches to win the award three times.

Last season, Popovich led San Antonio to the NBA Finals, where they lost in seven games to the Miami Heat. He and the Spurs regrouped and finished the 2013-14 campaign with the league’s best record, 62-20, and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

It’s the 15th straight season that Popovich and the Spurs have won at least 50 games, and the fourth time during that run that the club has eclipsed the 60-win plateau.

Popovich finished with 59 first-place votes, followed by Phoenix’s Jeff Hornack with 37 first-place votes and Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau with 12 first-place votes.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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MLB Suspends Four Players For Altercation


Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Major League Baseball suspended Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and three other players for their roles in the bench-clearing altercation during Sunday’s game with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Gomez received a three-game suspension, while his teammate, catcher Martin Maldonado, was banned for five games. Pirates outfielder Travis Snider was given a two-game suspension and catcher Russell Martin will sit for one game. All four received fines as well.

Gomez, Snider and Martin will appeal their suspensions and be allowed to play, while Maldonado will serve his immediately.

The altercation began when Gomez and Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole exchanged heated words after Gomez was admiring what he thought was a home run. Gomez wound up with a triple.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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