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Wizards End 23-Year Drought, Beat Bulls (AP)
AP - Confetti flooded the MCI Center floor Friday night as the Wizards broke a 23-year drought without winning a playoff series by defeating the Chicago Bulls 94-91 with the help of a fluke turnover that led to the go-ahead basket.

Athletics Beat the Bumbling Yankees 6-3 (AP)
AP - The Oakland Athletics scored three times in the 10th inning without hitting a ball out of the infield, beating Mariano Rivera and the bumbling New York Yankees 6-3 Friday night.

Sources Say Nash Wins NBA's MVP Award (AP)
AP - Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns has won the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, sources told The Associated Press on Friday.

Ponson Pitches Orioles by Royals 3-1 (AP)
AP - Sidney Ponson pitched eight innings of five-hit ball for his third straight win, and B.J. Surhoff had three hits and two RBIs to lead the Baltimore Orioles past the Kansas City Royals 3-1 Friday night.

Piazza Homers Twice, Mets Beat Brewers 7-4 (AP)
AP - Mike Piazza homered his first two times up, giving him home runs in three straight plate appearances, and the New York Mets beat Milwaukee 7-4 Friday night to stop the Brewers' seven-game winning streak.

Foley Not Buying Merriman's Absence (AP)
AP - Outside linebacker Steve Foley, one of the toughest, nastiest players in the San Diego Chargers' 3-4 defense, wasn't buying first-round draft pick Shawne Merriman's reason for skipping minicamp.

Wizards snap 23-year NBA drought to book date with Heat (AFP)
AFP - An unfancied Washington squad captured its first National Basketball Association playoff series since 1982 by beating Chicago 94-91 here Friday, booking a second-round date with powerhouse Miami.

Marlins Lose Bid for New Ballpark (AP)
AP - Foiled yet again by the state Legislature, the Florida Marlins remain winless in their bid for a new ballpark and must now decide their next move. Might it be to another city?

Soccer: Teams With Violent Fans Penalized (AP)
AP - Two Australian soccer teams whose ethnically aligned fans rioted during an April game have been ordered to play each other in nearly empty stadiums for the next two years.

U.S., Finland Skate to 4-4 Tie in Worlds (AP)
AP - Mark Parrish scored the tying goal with 40 seconds left Friday when the puck bounced into the net off his skate, lifting the United States into a 4-4 tie with Finland in the second round of the world hockey championships.

Six Points: Cashing in
Some of the NFL's top receivers are holding out for more money. But who really deserves a raise?

Saints WR Horn signs six-year, $42M deal (AP)
Receiver Joe Horn signed a six-year contract extension with the New Orleans Saints on Friday. The deal, worth about $42 million, includes a $7 million signing bonus. ``I'm looking for a bigger house,'' said Horn, who had one year left on a three-year, $13 million deal. Added Saints general manager Mickey Loomis: ``Hopefully that will take him through his career and beyond.

Eagles cut fast-talking Freddie Mitchell (AP)
Freddie Mitchell has talked his way out of Philadelphia. In a move that was no surprise, the Eagles released Mitchell on Friday, cutting ties with the wide receiver after four seasons where he never lived up to his promise as a first-round pick. ``We appreciate everything Freddie has contributed to the Eagles organization over the last four years,'' coach Andy Reid said.

Big Ben not getting off motorcycle (AP)
Despite Kellen Winslow Jr.'s accident and his own coach's admonition, Big Ben isn't hopping off his big bike just yet. Ben Roethlisberger was lectured Friday by Steelers coach Bill Cowher on the dangers of riding a motorcycle without a helmet -- as Roethlisberger has been spotted doing recently -- but the quarterback isn't ready to get off his $20,000 cycle.

Panthers' Fields has cancer recurrence (AP)
When his Pro Bowl season ended, linebacker Mark Fields joked that he was re-signing with the Carolina Panthers for $2 as gratitude for their support during his battle with Hodgkin's disease. But when the weeks turned into months and there was no deal, and then his agent said Fields was holding off signing a new contract until after a round of medical tests, many began to wonder if something was...

Ex-Bills QB Ferguson treated for cancer (AP)
Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson is being treated for cancer at a Houston hospital. Stephanie Dedeaux, spokeswoman for MD Anderson Cancer Center, said Friday that Ferguson was receiving treatment but declined further comment at Ferguson's request. A message left at the Ferguson home in Louisiana by The Associated Press wasn't immediately returned.

Ex-Giants WR Hilliard signs with Bucs (AP)
Former New York Giants receiver Ike Hilliard signed a contract Friday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hilliard, a former University of Florida star, started 92 of 98 games he played for the Giants after getting drafted No. 7 overall in 1997. He has 368 career receptions for 4,630 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Rams' Little gets two years' probation (AP)
Rams defensive end Leonard Little was sentenced Friday to two years' probation for speeding last year. Little was convicted last month of misdemeanor speeding but was acquitted of driving while intoxicated following his arrest April 24, 2004. On Friday, St. Louis County Circuit Judge Emmett O'Brien rejected a prosecutor's request that Little get 30 days of ``shock time'' in jail.

Wizards finish off Bulls in Game 6 (AP)
In Game 5, he made the game-winning shot. In Game 6, he made the game-altering block. While there are plenty of reasons why the Washington Wizards are headed to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 23 years, let there be no mistake: Gilbert Arenas is the man who led them there. Arenas shot just 6-of-24 Friday night but raced downcourt and blocked Kirk Hinrich's fast-break layup...

Sources: Nash will win NBA's MVP award (AP)
Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns has won the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, sources told The Associated Press on Friday. The award will be announced Sunday, and the league office has been silent regarding any details of the announcement. Two sources close to Nash, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they had been notified that the Canadian star had won.

Game 7 could be Miller's last stand (AP)
The Boston Celtics wanted to win Game 6 for Paul Pierce after his ``bonehead'' technical foul with 12.9 seconds left nearly cost them the series. Now the Indiana Pacers want to win Game 7 for retiring Reggie Miller -- and for themselves. ``No one wants the season to be over and no one wants it to be over for Reggie,'' Indiana's Stephen Jackson said Friday.

T-Mac vs. Nowitzki in Game 7 (AP)
The Dallas Mavericks keep waiting for Dirk Nowitzki to have a big game. They're also waiting for Tracy McGrady to have a quiet one. They can't wait much longer, though. Game 7 of the first-round series between the Mavs and Houston Rockets is Saturday night. It's quite possible that whichever of the two superstars plays better will be the one boarding a plane for Phoenix on Sunday, headed to a...

Knicks still hope to lure Phil Jackson (AP)
Knicks president Isiah Thomas still hopes to lure Phil Jackson back to New York, but he is interviewing other coaching candidates. Thomas has talked to former Golden State coach and current Spurs' assistant P.J. Carlesimo, as well as Flip Saunders -- fired by Minnesota in February. He also plans to contact other coaches still involved in the playoffs, all as fallbacks to Jackson.

Wolves expect to hire coach within month (AP)
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor isn't in a rush to fill the team's first coaching vacancy in almost 10 years. Taylor said Friday that he expects to name a new coach within the next month, and all three Timberwolves assistants have applied for the job. But he's willing to wait if an NBA assistant he covets is on a team that is still in the playoffs.

Shaq mad over Buss' weight-loss remark (AP)
Nearly a year after the trade, the verbal jousting between Shaquille O'Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers is still going strong. One day after Lakers owner Jerry Buss said O'Neal found motivation for losing weight only after being traded by Los Angeles to Miami, the Heat's All-Star center took issue with the remark.

Pistons waiting for second-round foe (AP)
Lindsey Hunter enjoys resting and spending time with his family while the Detroit Pistons await their second-round playoff series. What's the bad part? ``We give our mad-scientist coach too long to think of new plays,'' the reserve guard said Friday after practice. ``We'll probably have about 15 new sets before this is over.

Bucks keep Porter, fire two assistants (AP)
Coach Terry Porter is staying with the Milwaukee Bucks, but two of his assistants were fired after the team's worst season in almost a decade. General manager Larry Harris said Friday he let go of veteran assistant Mike Schuler and Jerome Kersey, saying the team needed different voices after going 30-52 in Porter's second season.

Sonics-Spurs features Allen-Bowen battle (AP)
Ray Allen is bound to be disappointed if he was hoping to talk his way into a gentler brand of defense from Bruce Bowen in the playoffs. Allen, Seattle's high-scoring guard, criticized San Antonio's top perimeter defender Thursday, saying that Bowen's playing style was too slappy and pushy to be considered real basketball.

Slovenia rallies from three goals down to edge Denmark; Austria ties Germany (AP)
Mark Parrish scored the tying goal with 40 seconds left Friday when the puck bounced into the net off his skate, lifting the United States into a 4-4 tie with Finland in the second round of the world hockey championships. The goal was allowed to stand when a video replay showed that Parrish didn't kick the puck.

NHL, Players Association conclude two-day session (SportsTicker)
TORONTO (Ticker) - The NHL and the Players Association concluded a two-day session at the bargaining table, meeting for approximately 4 1/2 hours Friday.

NHL makes new offer to players; no progress reported (AP)
The NHL made a new offer to the players' association during two days of negotiations in Toronto, but no headway was made toward ending the lockout. The sides met for 4 1/2 hours Friday on the heels of a 3 1/2 -hour meeting Thursday -- the first round of talks since April 19. ``No real progress I can report on,'' said NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly, who declined to provide details of the...

Sweden beats archrival Finland for third straight win (AP)
Jonathan Hedstrom scored two goals, helping Sweden beat Nordic archrival Finland 5-1 Wednesday for its third straight victory at the World Hockey Championship. Sweden, the runner-up in 2003 and 2004 behind two-time defending champion Canada, will play the winner between Canada and the United States on Saturday in the qualification-round opener.

Jagr returns to Vienna despite broken little finger (AP)
Jaromir Jagr returned to the world hockey championships Wednesday after the broken little finger on his left hand was fixed with a splint. Jagr, a five-time NHL scoring champion and member of the New York Rangers, left the Czech Republic's 2-0 win over Germany on Tuesday after getting hurt on a slash from defenseman Stefan Schauer.

Shedden's contract won't be renewed by Maple Leafs' AHL farm club (AP)
Doug Shedden was told Tuesday night that his contract as coach of the club's AHL team won't be renewed when it expires July 1. Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr. gave Shedden the news. Also released will be assistant coach Russ Adam. The team moves next season to Toronto from Newfoundland.

USA Hockey executive director leaves (AP)
Doug Palazzari resigned as executive director of USA Hockey nine months before the Turin Olympics. Palazzari said Monday he ``lost the confidence of some of the members of our executive committee.'' He came to the organization in 1991 and has spent the last six years as executive director. ``For our own well-being, I felt it was the right decision to make,'' he said.

Report: NHL, NHLPA set to resume talks Thursday (SportsTicker)
TORONTO (Ticker) - The NHL and the Players Association apparently will engage in another round of talks.

Canada to get bronze medals -- 41 years later (AP)
Canada's hockey team from the 1964 world championships will finally get its bronze medals. In 1964, the worlds were held in conjunction with the Winter Olympics. The Soviet Union won both gold medals and Sweden won both silvers. The bronze went to Czechoslovakia for the Olympics and Canada for the worlds.

Trackside from Darlington: Challenges (Audio)
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Cup teams and the track itself are facing challenges this weekend.

Kenseth wins NASCAR Busch Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200 (SportsTicker)


Kenseth wins Darlington Busch race (AP)
Matt Kenseth took control in the second half of the race and pulled away to a convincing victory Friday night in the first NASCAR Busch Series event under the lights at Darlington Raceway.

Kahne wins pole for NASCAR Dodge Charger 500 (SportsTicker)


Kahne edges Newman for Darlington pole (AP)
Kasey Kahne drove to his second NASCAR Nextel Cup pole in three tries at Darlington Raceway, easily beating qualifying ace Ryan Newman in time tests Friday for the Dodge Charger 500.

Everything changes at Darlington except the racing (AP)
A lot has changed at Darlington Raceway since NASCAR's first paved speedway was opened in 1950.

NASCAR hands out long list of penalties (AP)
NASCAR has issued a long list of penalties for rules violations found by its inspectors during last week's race events at Talladega Superspeedway and Gateway International Raceway.

Jarrett, NASCAR prepare for different Darlington (AP)
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Dale Jarrett shrugs his shoulders when he looks at what has become of the old country...

Few boos this time as Gordon wins again (AP)
Not a single beer can or seat cushion flew through the air last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway as Jeff Gordon...

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