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No Drama As Pistons Top Pacers 96-81 (AP)
AP - No brawls or bomb scares. Just basketball. Richard Hamilton scored 28 points and Ben Wallace had 21 points, 15 rebounds and four steals to lead Detroit to a 96-81 victory over Indiana on Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Clemens Pushes Astros Past Marlins 2-1 (AP)
AP - Roger Clemens pitched seven shutout innings to win for the first time since April 8, and the Houston Astros broke an 11-game road losing streak Monday by beating the Florida Marlins 2-1.

Yankees Edge Mariners 4-3 (AP)
AP - Randy Johnson pitched eight gritty innings, Tony Womack hit a go-ahead single and the New York Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 Monday night for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Nixon, Millar Power Red Sox Past A's 13-5 (AP)
AP - After Manny Ramirez was beaned in the first inning, Trot Nixon and Kevin Millar stepped up to power the offense for the Boston Red Sox.

MLB Sees Fewer HRs Amid Steroid Crackdown (AP)
AP - In the first year of toughened steroid testing, home runs are down in the major leagues for the first time since 2002. Florida Marlins pitcher Todd Jones doesn't think it's a coincidence. He's convinced there's a connection.

Rams' Stadium to Get New Playing Surface (AP)
AP - The St. Louis Rams, who have long complained about the rock-hard consistency of their artificial playing surface, are getting a new field next season.

Pistons glide to Game One win over Pacers (Reuters)
Reuters - Richard Hamilton scored 28 points and Ben Wallace added 21 with 15 rebounds as the Detroit Pistons eased to a 96-81 playoff win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday.

Soriano Brings Order to Rangers (AP)
AP - Alfonso Soriano's mind-set stays the same: He's a leadoff hitter, even though he's no longer at the top of the lineup for the Texas Rangers.

Japan Accepts FIFA Decision on Qualifier (AP)
AP - Japan's soccer association on Tuesday accepted FIFA's choice of Bangkok as a new venue to play the June 8 World Cup qualifier against North Korea.

U.S. Struggles in 1-1 Tie With Ukraine (AP)
AP - Zach Parise was stopped on a penalty shot with 1:25 left, but the United States clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of the world hockey championships by tying last-place Ukraine 1-1 Monday.

Breath of fresh air
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The stench of a 2-14 mark is dissipating, but it'll take time for the 49ers to create a winning atmosphere.

Browns' Winslow remains hospitalized (AP)
Kellen Winslow Jr. remained hospitalized more than a week after sustaining internal injuries and damage to his right knee in a motorcycle accident. ``He's still in the hospital and we don't know when he will be getting out,'' Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel said Monday. ``We're hoping that he can recover soon.'' The Browns have not provided an update on Winslow's status since releasing a...

Pats give Brady $60 million extension (AP)
The New England Patriots have signed quarterback Tom Brady to a six-year extension worth $60 million, a deal that for the first time brings the two-time Super Bowl MVP's salary in line with his accomplishments. The extension was reported by ESPN and confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday night by a football source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Jets send in Namath to lobby for stadium (AP)
Joe Namath, the New York Jets' most famous alum, urged lawmakers Monday to build a new stadium in Manhattan for his former team. ``A prediction?'' Namath said. ``We're going to have that stadium.'' Unlike New York's 1969 Super Bowl win over the Baltimore Colts, Namath wouldn't guarantee a political victory for the Jets.

Dolphins CB Poole likely to miss season (AP)
Miami Dolphins cornerback Will Poole is expected to miss the 2005 season with a knee injury suffered during minicamp last week. Poole was a leading candidate to replace Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain, traded last month to Kansas City. The Dolphins fear Poole torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, said his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

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.

Pistons beat Pacers in uneventful Game 1 (AP)
Detroit and Indiana were able to just play basketball for the first time this season at The Palace. ``It was good to see the focus on basketball,'' said Ben Wallace, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year who also came through on offense Monday night in a 96-81 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

MVP Nash leads Suns against former team (AP)
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference semifinals; Game 1. Mark Cuban has never minded spending big money on his team. It's time to see if one of the few times he wouldn't will come back to haunt him and the Dallas Mavericks. A day after being awarded the NBA's MVP trophy, Steve Nash begins a playoff series against the team that let him get away when the Phoenix Suns take on Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas...

Source: D'Antoni to be coach of the year (AP)
After unleashing the Phoenix Suns to a frenetic pace and guiding them to a league-best 62 wins, Mike D'Antoni is the NBA's coach of the year, a league source said on Monday. The outcome of the vote first was reported by the East Valley Tribune in Mesa and was confirmed by a source speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Rockets' Van Gundy backs off comments (AP)
Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy clarified comments about an official telling him Rockets center Yao Ming was being targeted by referees in the first round of the playoffs, and the NBA now considers the matter closed. ``When I referred to an NBA official, people inferred that I was talking about a working NBA referee, instead of an official with the league,'' Van Gundy said Monday in a statement...

Injured Allen blames Bowen, sort of (AP)
Ray Allen thinks Bruce Bowen uses his hands too much on defense and the Seattle guard doesn't appreciate the way his San Antonio counterpart jostles him on the way up the court. ``We've all seen what he does out there on the basketball floor,'' Allen said Monday. Allen will be a game-time decision for Game 2 of Seattle's Western Conference playoff series against San Antonio on Tuesday night after...

Wizards out to rally on Shaq (AP)
Gilbert Arenas knows all the numbers indicate his season will end soon. His Washington Wizards have lost nine straight games to Miami, have won in South Florida just twice in the last seven years and -- even though the Heat were far from perfect -- are coming off a 105-86 loss to them in Sunday's opener of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Rockets have foundation in place (AP)
To truly become the NBA's new dynamic duo, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming will need a lot more help in Houston. That much was obvious during an up-and-down season that ended with the worst Game 7 defeat in league history, a 40-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks that showed just how far away the Rockets are from making a serious title run.

Celtics look to youngsters for success (AP)
Larry Bird left the arena with 3 1/2 minutes left and his Indiana Pacers showing the same combination of passion and composure that made him one of the NBA's greatest players. His former team, the Boston Celtics, lost that mixture much earlier. ``All of us can improve,'' Boston coach Doc Rivers said after one of the worst playoff losses in the history of a team that has won 16 NBA titles.

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.

United States struggles in 1-1 tie with Ukraine; Russia wins again (AP)
Zach Parise was stopped on a penalty shot with 1:25 left, but the United States clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of the world hockey championships by tying last-place Ukraine 1-1 Monday. The Americans trailed 1-0 until defenseman Brett Hauer scored a power-play goal 2:45 into the third period. They couldn't grab the lead despite holding a 39-9 shots advantage.

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.

WWD: Dodge Charger 500
A late caution changed everything at Darlington, and Greg Biffle took advantage.

Busch's team wins Pit Crew Championship (AP)
Kurt Busch's team won the National Pit Crew Championship, defeating Jeremy Mayfield's crew in the final round with a mistake-free stop Monday night.

Tire decision costs Newman victory, gives Biffle third win of season (AP)
Victory was most certainly in sight for Ryan Newman until strategy snatched it away at Darlington Raceway.

Biffle nabs third checkered flag in NASCAR Dodge Charger 500 (SportsTicker)


Bad day for Busch costs him two spots in standings (AP)
Kurt Busch hit the wall on the first lap at Darlington Raceway. Then he hit an official with a water bottle, bad-mouthed NASCAR over his radio and ended up in a closed-door meeting with series officials.

Biffle wins at Darlington (AP)
Greg Biffle needed overtime to grab another victory. The Roush Racing driver, who fell behind on a late pit stop, got one last chance when Mark Martin spun, bringing out the 12th caution flag of the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Darlington Raceway just five laps from the scheduled finish. Ryan Newman, who had taken charge late in the race, chose to stay on the track while Biffle and several other...

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 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.

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