Latest Georgia sports

HAWKS-CAVALIERS

LeBron, Cavaliers earn NBA Finals spot by sweeping Hawks

CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 23 points, Kyrie Irving returned after missing two games and the Cleveland Cavaliers reserved a spot in the NBA Finals with a 118-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night to win the Eastern Conference title.

By sweeping the top-seeded Hawks, the Cavs earned their second trip to the finals, where they will face either Golden State or Houston.

It will be the fifth straight visit to the league's showcase event for the inimitable James, who returned to Cleveland after four years in Miami to try and end this city's championship drought dating to 1964.

Jeff Teague scored 17 and Paul Millsap 16 for Atlanta, which won a team-record 60 games during the regular season and made the conference finals for the first time since 1970. But the Hawks were no match for the Cavaliers and had no answer for James, who nearly averaged a triple-double in the four games.

BRAVES-DODGERS

Kershaw, Dodgers breeze to 8-0 win over Braves

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw combined with two relievers on a five-hitter and capped a six-run fourth inning with an RBI single, Adrian Gonzalez notched his 1,000th RBI with a two-run homer, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 8-0 on Tuesday night.

Kershaw (3-3) allowed four hits, struck out 10 and walked none while lowering his ERA to 3.86. The reigning NL MVP and three-time Cy Young Award winner is 16-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last 20 starts against NL East teams.

Julio Teheran (4-2) gave up eight runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings against the two-time defending NL West champions, who have won four of five after getting swept in a three-game series at San Francisco by a combined margin of 10-0.

FALCONS-RUNNING BACKS

Freeman makes opening bid to be Falcons' starting RB

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Devonta Freeman believes he is next in line to be the Falcons' starting running back.

He has made an early statement that he won't be outworked for the job.

The team released veteran Steven Jackson, the starter the last two years. Backup Jacquizz Rodgers signed with the Bears.

Freeman is the leading returning rusher. On the Falcons' first day of organized team activities, he drew a compliment from new coach Dan Quinn for wanting "to be the first at doing everything."

That includes being the first back to take a handoff from Matt Ryan.

Atlanta drafted running back Tevin Coleman from Indiana in the third round. Freeman says he plans to "play second to no man."

ALA-SOFTBALL STATE

Emerging Auburn, powerhouse Alabama heading to WCWS

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Clint Myers has swiftly fulfilled his promise of taking Auburn to the Women's College World Series while Alabama and Patrick Murphy are making one of their frequent visits.

The two in-state rivals represent a quarter of the eight-team field at the World Series beginning Thursday in Oklahoma City. They're on opposite sides of the bracket so No. 4 seed Auburn (54-9) and sixth-seeded Alabama (47-13) wouldn't meet before the championship game.

Auburn opens with LSU, the only team to beat them in the last 13 games. Alabama faces Michigan.

The Tigers had never even made it to a super regional before sweeping Louisiana-Lafayette behind Myers, their second-year coach.

Alabama's making its 10th World Series appearance. The Tide won the national title in 2012 and was runner-up to Florida last season.

SEC MEETINGS

SEC wants 'level playing field' regarding camps, transfers

DESTIN, Fla. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference wants a level playing field.

Yep, the league that boasts seven consecutive national championships, resides in some of the country's most fertile recruiting grounds and has loads of history and fan support is complaining about being at a competitive disadvantage.

SEC coaches and administrators gathered in a lush, beachside resort hotel for their annual spring meetings and the agenda included discussion about evening things out by potentially tweaking rules regarding satellite camps, graduate transfers and cost of attendance stipends.

Alabama's Nick Saban says, "If we're going to compete for the championship, and everybody's going to play in the playoff system and everybody's going to compete for that, then we need to get our rules in alignment so we're all on a level playing field."