D'Antoni's departure a stunning end in New York

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NEW YORK -- Mike D'Antoni waited nearly four years before he could re-create the high-octane success he had in Phoenix, and for three exhilarating weeks in February, the New York Knicks were the NBA's team to watch.

They played fast and fun, sharing the ball and sharing laughs, and their coach enjoyed the ride as much as anyone.

Just as quickly, it was gone again. And now, so too is D'Antoni, a casualty of the forces generated by a mercurial owner perpetually rebuilding the roster, the caprice of a star player and the heightened expectations of a fan base desperate for a winner.

He resigned Wednesday, a stunning finish for a coach who only a month earlier seemed rejuvenated by Jeremy Lin.

"Nobody saw it coming," said Carmelo Anthony, the star who was sidelined when Lin emerged and seemed unlikely to ever mesh with him the way D'Antoni wanted after he returned.

That meant Linsanity couldn't last, and D'Antoni may have realized it first.

Lin had come from the end of the bench to play so well that D'Antoni would compare him to Suns star Steve Nash, who ran his wide-open offense better than anyone. The undrafted Harvard point guard outplayed Kobe Bryant one night, toppled the champion Dallas Mavericks another, and D'Antoni had that feeling again that his team could outscore anyone.

"You know what, I think at that point in time we started to play well and he started to build on that offense," forward Amare Stoudemire said.

The Knicks won seven straight, leading newscasts on a nightly basis for the first time in memory.

• Baseball

Tigers top Mets, 7-6: Prince Fielder homered and had three hits.

Fielder's two-run homer came off Mets starter Dillon Gee in the fourth inning. Delmon Young had two hits for the Tigers, including a two-run single in a four-run fifth -- all unearned -- against Mets left-hander Chuck James.

Gee struck out five in four innings in his third spring start.

Detroit starter Max Scherzer did not get through the Mets' four-run third after giving up a hit and two walks and hitting Zach Lutz with a pitch.

Indians, Giants tie: San Francisco catcher Buster Posey made his first spring hit count as he recovers from a serious leg injury, hitting a home run.

Serving as the DH, Posey hit a 1-1 pitch from left-hander Tony Sipp just inside the foul pole in right field to tie the game in the sixth inning.

Giants closer Brian Wilson, coming back from an elbow injury that put him on the disabled list for the final six weeks of 2011, pitched a hitless, scoreless fifth inning.

Reds fall to Padres: Aroldis Chapman pitched more than two innings in a big league game for the first time, allowing one run over three innings of the Reds' loss.

Chapman revived a split-finger fastball while allowing four hits, including a homer to Andy Parrino.

The Cuban defector is being converted into a starting pitcher and he is competing for the fifth spot in the Reds' rotation. He is the only left-hander among the group.

Todd Frazier, who is competing for role backing up third baseman Scott Rolen, had a two-run double off Clayton Richard for the Reds.

Richard, who didn't pitch after July 4, pitched three innings in his second spring game., Richard allowed two runs on two hits and struck out two.

Howard cleared: Ryan Howard was cleared to do some light exercises in a walking boot, more than two weeks after he needed a procedure to remove an infection around his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon.

• Basketball

President picks Heels: President Barack Obama likes North Carolina's chances of winning the NCAA title.

Obama picked the Tar Heels to win it all in his 2012 NCAA bracket, beating Kentucky in the finals. Ohio State and Missouri rounded his Final Four.

Wayns entering draft: Villanova junior guard Maalik Wayns will enter his name in the 2012 NBA draft. Wayns has not hired an agent, keeping open the option of returning for his final season of eligibility.

• Elsewhere

Top players advance: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Roger Federer each needed three sets to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open, while No. 1 Victoria Azarenka improved to 21-0 on the season with a straight-set win on the women's side.

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