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Suns Defeat Grizzlies 114-103 (AP)
AP - The Phoenix Suns never met a 3-pointer they didn't like. Those long shots — and a long, lean reserve center — made the difference in their 114-103 playoff-opening victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.

Nuggets Clip Cold-Shooting Spurs 93-87 (AP)
AP - The San Antonio Spurs couldn't stop missing, and the Denver Nuggets walked off as winners.

Short-Handed Bulls Stop Wizards 103-94 (AP)
AP - The comparisons between Ben Gordon and Michael Jordan now carry some postseason credibility. The rookie scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter Sunday, lifting the short-handed Bulls to a 103-94 victory over the Washington Wizards and giving Chicago its first playoff victory since the dynasty days.

Heat Rout Nets 116-98 in Playoff Opener (AP)
AP - Shaquille O'Neal didn't put up his customary big playoff numbers. Dwyane Wade and Damon Jones made sure it wasn't necessary. Both of Miami's starting guards put up playoff career-highs in scoring, Wade getting 32 points and Jones 30 on 10-for-12 shooting Sunday to lead the top-seeded Heat to a 116-98 win over the New Jersey Nets in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Cardinals Beat Astros 8-5 to Sweep Series (AP)
AP - Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer, and David Eckstein and Mark Grudzielanek each had three hits to help the St. Louis Cardinals complete a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with an 8-5 victory Sunday.

Home Frye: Akron QB Grew Up With Browns (AP)
AP - When he was in second grade, Charlie Frye wrote his what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow up letter. It still hangs on a kitchen wall in his family's home in Willard, Ohio.

Spurs Are Biggest Loser in Playoff Openers (AP)
AP - The first two days of the NBA postseason are in the books, and the team most surprised to find itself trailing is the San Antonio Spurs.

More Shoulder Trouble for Kerry Wood (AP)
AP - Kerry Wood's cranky shoulder flared up again, leaving his next start in doubt. Brad Penny was back on the mound for the Dodgers — and his arm felt fine.

Manchester United Beats Newcastle 2-1 (AP)
AP - Wayne Rooney and Wes Brown lifted Manchester United to a 2-1 victory against Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday.

Russia Wins Euro Hockey Tour Title (AP)
AP - Russia won its first Euro Hockey Tour title Sunday, defeating Sweden 5-2 behind Viktor Kozlov's goal and two assists.

Draft report card: NFC
The Cardinals, Cowboys and Vikings sit at the head of the NFC with their draft classes.

Orton's fall lands him in fourth round (AP)
Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers will forever be judged against each other. The quarterbacks seemed to be neck-and-neck in the race to become the top pick during the weeks leading up to the NFL draft. The San Francisco 49ers and 22 other teams thought otherwise. Smith was picked first overall out of Utah by the 49ers and charged with reviving a once-great franchise.

Clarett looks forward to starting anew (AP)
He sat out for two years, sued the NFL and alienated his alma mater. After being regarded as one of the best prospects in the country, he wound up as little more than an out-of-shape curiosity. It's no wonder Maurice Clarett surprised a lot of people by getting chosen in the third round of the draft. On Sunday, he reported to his new team and his new life, wearing a smile and holding a Denver...

Saints gamble on Adrian McPherson (AP)
The New Orleans Saints took a gamble on Adrian McPherson. The talented and troubled quarterback, who threw his college career at Florida State away by betting on football games and committing a string of felonies, was selected Sunday in the fifth round of the NFL draft. ``I'd be lying if I didn't think there was some risk,'' Saints director of player personnel Rick Mueller said.

Turner: Gannon might be done in Oakland (AP)
Raiders coach Norv Turner hinted Sunday that Rich Gannon's career is over in Oakland, raising doubt the quarterback will play again after a serious neck injury. ``Rich hasn't come out and publicly made any statements, but from a physical standpoint, it would be very difficult for him to play,'' Turner said.

Mike Williams ready for some football (AP)
Mike Williams enjoyed draft weekend. He's looking forward to next weekend even more. After more than a year away from football, the 10th overall pick of the NFL draft and newest member of the Detroit Lions is anxious to get back on the football field for the team's spring minicamp. ``This kind of closes the door to a long year,'' Williams said Sunday.

Nolan cool on a Rice return to 49ers (AP)
Jerry Rice wants to return to the San Francisco 49ers next season, and coach Mike Nolan would welcome him -- but only for a ceremonial retirement. Between NFL draft picks on Saturday, Nolan repeated his declaration that he doesn't expect Rice to play for the 49ers again. The NFL's most prolific receiver has campaigned for one more year with San Francisco, where he played his first 16 seasons.

Cal QB Rodgers falls to 24th (AP)
Aaron Rodgers entered the NFL to a standing ovation, with hundreds of fans chanting his name. Sure he had to wait a lot longer than he would have liked to be drafted, but what a reception the California quarterback received when the Green Bay Packers took him with the 24th pick Saturday. ``That meant a lot to me,'' Rodgers said of the exuberant cheers poured on him by the crowd at the Jacob Javits...

Kerr's blog: Slam Dunc
The Nuggets shut down a rusty Tim Duncan to take away the Spurs' home-court edge.

Denver stuns Spurs in Game 1 (AP)
A fourth quarter that started with so much promise for the San Antonio Spurs turned into an exercise in futility. After making their first three shots, the Spurs missed their next 17. The Denver Nuggets didn't shoot much better down the stretch but frustrated San Antonio by playing physical defense while rallying for a 93-87 victory Sunday.

Phoenix shoots past Memphis in Game 1 (AP)
Nobody was surprised with the Phoenix Suns' onslaught of long shots in their 114-103 playoff-opening victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night. The contribution of their long, lean reserve center was an unexpected bonus. Shawn Marion had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and stringbean 7-foot backup Steven Hunter scored 16 points -- one shy of his career high.

Wade, Jones help Heat cruise past Nets (AP)
Mindful of Shaquille O'Neal's playoff history, the New Jersey Nets wanted to limit his touches. And while their plan kept O'Neal's numbers down, Dwyane Wade and Damon Jones took advantage of all the extra open space. Wade had 32 points and Jones made seven 3-pointers and scored 30 -- playoff career-highs for both -- as the Heat defeated New Jersey 116-98 Sunday in the opener of their first-round...

Gordon lifts Bulls over Wizards (AP)
If rookies Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni can put on this kind of show in their first NBA playoff game, imagine what's in store down the road. Gordon scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, and Nocioni added 25 points and 18 rebounds while playing all 48 minutes to lift the Chicago Bulls to a 103-94 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

Bulls shut down Wizards' Arenas (AP)
Gilbert Arenas' first taste of the NBA playoffs was a sour one. The scoring leader and All-Star guard of the Washington Wizards was bottled up by a tough Chicago defense and a bit confused by some of the calls Sunday during a dismal performance in a 103-94 loss. Arenas shot just 3-of-19 and finished with nine points, 16 under his season average, and fellow All-Star Antawn Jamison had just 14 points...

Rasheed changes Pistons -- and his image (AP)
Rasheed Wallace is credited with turning the Detroit Pistons into champions. They have, in turn, helped him improve his image. His teammates and coaches love him, like they always have. Fans adore him, like they have at times. Officials will chat with him, even those who wouldn't in the past, and reporters now get along with him.

Mavs hope to be energized after loss (AP)
From being overconfident, to underestimating the spike in intensity, to just plain being flat, the Dallas Mavericks had plenty of theories why they opened the playoffs with one of their worst performances all season. Few had much to do with the Houston Rockets. Sure, the Mavs offered the typical lines about ``having to give them credit'' and were still shaking their heads at some of the shots Tracy...

Sonics' James ready to do as he's asked (AP)
The knock against Seattle center Jerome James has always been his inconsistency. James insists it's part of his plan. ``I would just call it my role,'' he said Sunday. ``Some nights I'm going to score 22 points. Another night, maybe against San Antonio, I'm going to have five blocks and not score a point.'' The 7-foot-1 center had 17 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots in Seattle's 87-82 win...

Pacers need to bounce back in Game 2 (AP)
At least Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle doesn't have to worry about his team giving up. ``With everything we've been through this year,'' Carlisle said Sunday, ``a tough loss in one playoff game isn't going to be something that's going to derail us. I just don't see that.'' The Pacers are far from finished and they're far from defeated despite a 102-82 loss in Game 1 of the first-round playoff...

United States beats Canada for under-18 world championship (AP)
The United States won its second under-18 world ice hockey championship, beating Canada 5-1 Sunday behind two goals and two assists from Phil Kessel. Jason Lawrence, Peter Mueller and Nathan Gerbe also scored for the U.S., which pulled away after Canada's Ryan O'Merra tied it 1-1 with a first-period goal.

Russia wins Euro Hockey Tour title (AP)
Russia won its first Euro Hockey Tour title Sunday, defeating Sweden 5-2 behind Viktor Kozlov's goal and two assists. Russia took the title 7-3 on total goals, having won the first game of a two-game final 2-1 in Stockholm on Friday. The win was Russia's first major success since winning the world championship in 1993.

Orr criticizes NHL leadership, players union over impasse (AP)
Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr is calling on National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and players union executive director Bob Goodenow to ``get out of the way'' if they can't solve the impasse that triggered the cancellation of the NHL's season. In a column written for the Sunday Eagle-Tribune, the 1970s hockey star wrote, ``Our sport is in danger of becoming irrelevant unless both sides...

Americans beat Canada in world championship tuneup (AP)
Mark Parrish scored with 4.5 seconds remaining to lead the United States to a 5-4 victory over Canada on Friday night in the teams' final North American tuneup before the world hockey championships. Matt Cullen had two goals for the Americans, and Mike Knuble and Yan Stastny also scored in front of 7,166 fans at the Quebec Coliseum.

United States advances to under-18 title game (AP)
Phil Kessel and Nathan Gerbe each had a goal and two assists, and the United States beat Sweden 6-2 Friday to advance to the final of the world under-18 ice hockey championship. The Americans advanced to Sunday's championship game against Canada, a 3-2 overtime winner over the Czech Republic in Friday's other semifinal.

Report: Former NHL D Ramage to stand trial (SportsTicker)
TORONTO (Ticker) - Two-time Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Rob Ramage is in for the fight of his life.

NHL linesman Provost dies in motorcycle accident (SportsTicker)
NEW YORK (Ticker) - National Hockey League linesman Stephane Provost died Friday in a motorcycle accident in Florida. He was 37.

NHL linesman Provost killed in motorcycle wreck (AP)
NHL linesman Stephane Provost was killed early Friday when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a tractor trailer. A 10-year officiating veteran with the NHL, the 37-year-old Provost died near his home in Weston, about 17 miles west of Fort Lauderdale on the edge of the Florida Everglades. Around 3:30 a.m., Provost was traveling west on State Road 84 when he hit the rear of a semi, a Broward...

ECHL suspends Langdone for eight games for injuring Scott Gomez (AP)
The ECHL suspended Bakersfield Condors right wing Ashlee Langdone for eight games for a blindside hit that injured NHL star Scott Gomez, who was playing for the Alaska Aces. The hit occurred during the second period of an April 16 playoff game. Langdone sat out a game Monday and will not eligible to play in the ECHL until Bakersfield has played seven regular-season games in 2005-06, the league said...

Phoenix observations
Bob talks Roush dominance, DEI's rebound, racing movies and hot sauce.

Busch bounces back from tough stretch with win at Phoenix (AP)
Kurt Busch was beginning to think his luck was evening out this year following a fortune-filled championship season in 2004.

Kurt Busch wins NASCAR Subway Fresh 500 (SportsTicker)


Biffle's hot streak ends with pit accident (AP)
Greg Biffle's hot streak ended on pit road Saturday night in the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Busch races to Phoenix win (AP)
Kurt Busch knew he had the best car Saturday night, but he had to keep coming from behind to prove it.

Biffle survives Busch Series crashfest at Phoenix (SportsTicker)


Biffle wins Busch race (AP)
Greg Biffle survived an early spinout and grabbed another dominating victory Friday night, this time overpowering the field in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Driver Ramirez released from hospital (SportsTicker)
SONOMA, California (Ticker) - One day after being involved in an accident during a NASCAR Nextel Cup test session at Infineon Raceway, Jose Luis Ramirez was released from John Muir Medical Center.

Biffle overpowering in Texas victory (AP)
Greg Biffle's body was sore heading into the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

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