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Miami Pops Pistons 92-86 to Knot Series (AP)
AP - Dwyane Wade answered the dead-of-night phone call from Shaquille O'Neal. And hours later, with the Miami Heat facing their most critical stretch of the season, Wade answered yet again. Wade had 20 of his game-high 40 points in the fourth quarter, carrying the Heat to a 92-86 win over the Detroit Pistons in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night.

Suns Can't Keep Up With the Spurs (AP)
AP - The Phoenix Suns don't want to hear it. Right now, they couldn't care less that the agonizing way they've lost the first two games of the Western Conference finals might one day make them a better playoff team. But coach Mike D'Antoni understands. He knows how tough, and how rare, it is for an NBA team to come out of nowhere and make it all the way to the finals.

Rookie Davies Adds to Mets' Woes in Atlanta (AP)
AP - Playing in Atlanta used to be Kyle Davies' dream. Now it's a nice reality. Davies and three relievers helped the Braves shut out the Mets for the second straight night, and Atlanta completed a three-game sweep of its NL East rival with a 3-0 victory Wednesday night.

Reeling Red Sox Prepare to Face Yankees (AP)
AP - It was only seven months ago the Boston Red Sox were celebrating like they hadn't in 86 years. Right now, it seems like the incredible comeback over the New York Yankees to win the pennant and the World Series win over the St. Louis Cardinals were a long, long time ago.

Jerry Rice Wants to Play for One More Year (AP)
AP - Jerry Rice wanted to give it one more shot with a coach he knew and a team that could win. Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos were as good a choice as any. The NFL's career leading receiver signed a one-year deal Wednesday with the Broncos, where he'll compete for a spot as a reserve.

NFL Owners Approve Vikings Sale to Wilf (AP)
AP - Instead of introducing its first black majority owner, the NFL unveiled a substitute feel-good story: a son of Holocaust survivors who looked and sounded a bit nervous — and who vowed never to move the Minnesota Vikings.

Wade turns on Heat as Miami levels Eastern finals (Reuters)
Reuters - Dwyane Wade poured in 40 points as the Miami Heat bounced back from their first playoff loss of the postseason with a 92-86 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, to level the Eastern Conference finals at 1-1.

Arizona Closer's Immediate Future Uncertain (AP)
AP - The mystery of Arizona Diamondbacks closer Brandon Lyon's elbow problem deepened Wednesday when team physician Michael Lee said he couldn't predict when Lyon would be able to return.

Columbus Crew Ties With L.A. Galaxy 0-0 (AP)
AP - Bill Gaudette made two saves as an emergency substitute in his first professional appearance and preserved the Columbus Crew's 0-0 tie with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday night.

NHL and Players' Association Meet Again (AP)
AP - Small groups of negotiators from the NHL and the players' association met for 6 1/2 hours Wednesday, just days after reporting progress in full bargaining sessions.

Saints on the march?
WASHINGTON – Saints owner Tom Benson says he is committed to staying in New Orleans – through this season.

Rice signs one-year deal with Broncos (AP)
Jerry Rice wanted to give it one more shot with a coach he knew and a team that could win. Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos were as good a choice as any. The NFL's career leading receiver signed a one-year deal Wednesday with the Broncos, where he'll compete for a spot as a reserve. ``To be a 42-year old and be able to do what I am doing is amazing,'' Rice said on the NFL Network.

NFL owners approve Vikings sale to Wilf (AP)
Instead of introducing its first black majority owner, the NFL unveiled a substitute feel-good story: a son of Holocaust survivors who looked and sounded a bit nervous -- and who vowed never to move the Minnesota Vikings. NFL owners on Wednesday unanimously approved the $600 million sale of the Vikings to a group led by Zygmunt Wilf, a soft-spoken New Jersey shopping mall magnate who has an...

Warner named Cardinals starting QB (AP)
Kurt Warner is the Arizona Cardinals' new starting quarterback. Cardinals coach Dennis Green confirmed Wednesday what had been believed since Warner signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the team in early March. Warner, who will turn 34 next month, has said he expected to start, but Green had stated the former Super Bowl MVP would have to compete with Josh McCown for the job.

Tampa picked to host 2009 Super Bowl (AP)
The Super Bowl is headed back to Tampa in 2009. The city was selected to host the NFL title game for the fourth time Wednesday, beating out three other finalists -- Atlanta, Houston and Miami -- vying for the league's showcase event. In addition to being armed with a proposal officials felt was stronger than packages that landed Super Bowls in 1984, 1991 and 2001, Tampa's bid also got a crucial...

NFL wanted to discuss steroids bill (AP)
The NFL would have liked a chance to offer its opinion on steroid-testing legislation introduced by Sen. John McCain and Rep. Tom Davis before the proposed bill is looked at Thursday by a House committee. Based on the Olympic model, the Clean Sports Act would set drug-testing policy for the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball.

Browns, Winslow in limbo (AP)
Injured Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. has not gotten a second medical opinion on the right knee he hurt when he crashed his motorcycle while attempting tricks in a parking lot. Last week, two sources within the league told The Associated Press that Winslow tore the his right anterior cruciate ligament in the May 1 accident, jeopardizing his 2005 season.

Jamal Lewis coping well during jail term (AP)
While the Baltimore Ravens conducted a passing camp this week, running back Jamal Lewis prepared for the 2005 NFL season within the barb-wired walls of a Florida prison camp. Lewis is scheduled to complete a four-month sentence next week, then must fulfill a two-month term at a halfway house in Atlanta.

The closers
Tim Duncan is a perennial MVP candidate, but when it comes time to salt games away, the Spurs lean on Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

Wade goes off in fourth, Heat draw even (AP)
After returning home from a late-night joyride with teammates Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning, the phone rang inside Dwyane Wade's home as the dawn of a new day was drawing near. The voice on the line belonged to O'Neal, who wanted to drop one last line of reassurance into the head of his teammate who had struggled so badly in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Brown says he's never spoken to Cavs (AP)
Detroit Pistons coach Larry Brown said Wednesday he has never spoken to Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert about the possibility of becoming president of the Cavaliers. Responding to a published report suggesting he might want to leave the Pistons after this season and become Cleveland's president of basketball operations, Brown said he would like to remain Detroit's coach -- but only if he's able to...

Spurs showing experience against Suns (AP)
The Phoenix Suns don't want to hear it. Right now, they couldn't care less that the agonizing way they've lost the first two games of the Western Conference finals might one day make them a better playoff team. But coach Mike D'Antoni understands. He knows how tough, and how rare, it is for an NBA team to come out of nowhere and make it all the way to the finals.

Pistons go cold from arc down stretch (AP)
A barrage of 3-pointers brought the Detroit Pistons to the brink of claiming a stranglehold on the Eastern Conference finals. Then the long shots stopped falling, and the Miami Heat evened the series. The Pistons missed six of their final seven 3-point tries, including two that were rushed by Rasheed Wallace in the final 2 minutes.

Bucks win NBA draft lottery (AP)
After a season of injuries, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the odds and won the NBA lottery on Tuesday night, creating exciting possibilities for next month's draft. The Bucks, who had only a 6.3 percent chance of winning the lottery, now have the options of dealing the No. 1 pick in the June 28 draft, using it to entice Michael Redd to re-sign or simply choosing a talented player like center Andrew...

Subcommittee approves new steroid bill (AP)
The NFL would have liked a chance to offer its opinion on steroid-testing legislation introduced by Sen. John McCain and Rep. Tom Davis before the proposed bill is looked at Thursday by a House committee. Based on the Olympic model, the Clean Sports Act would set drug-testing policy for the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball.

Wizards' Jamison has knee surgery (AP)
Washington Wizards forward Antawn Jamison had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, and the team said Wednesday he's expected to make a full recovery before training camp begins in October. Jamison had scar tissue removed Tuesday in Los Angeles. The All-Star battled tendinitis in the knee for most of the second half of the season.

Magic bring back Brian Hill as new coach (AP)
The Orlando Magic reached back to their successful past Tuesday and hired Brian Hill as their new coach. Hill, an assistant with the New Jersey Nets the last two seasons, took the Magic to their only NBA Finals appearance in 1995. In three-plus seasons with Orlando, he won a franchise-leading 191 games against 104 losses, and his .647 winning percentage also is the best in team history.

Suns fade in fourth quarter again (AP)
The Phoenix Suns aspire to be champions. The San Antonio Spurs are delivering a stern lesson in what it takes to get to the top. For the second time in as many games in the Western Conference finals, the Suns went into the final period leading the San Antonio Spurs, and again the visitors made the big plays down the stretch.

NHL, Players Association continue labor talks (SportsTicker)
CHICAGO (Ticker) - Maybe a new location will help solve the NHL labor dispute.

NHL and players' association meet for 6 1/2 hours (AP)
Small groups of negotiators from the NHL and the players' association met for 6 1/2 hours Wednesday, just days after reporting progress in full bargaining sessions. Both sides declined comment after the meeting, as talks are ongoing this week. This latest set of discussions that were to resume Thursday morning, again without commissioner Gary Bettman and union executive director Bob Goodenow, are...

Czech Republic names Hadamczik coach (SportsTicker)
PRAGUE, Czech Republic (Ticker) - Less than two weeks after Vladimir Ruzicka rode off into the sunset, the Czech Republic has found a replacement.

State drops assault charge against hockey team owner (AP)
State prosecutors dropped an assault charge against the owner of a minor league hockey team who was accused of punching a referee after a game last December. Senior Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III said he believed there wasn't enough evidence to convict Danbury Trashers owner James Galante of the misdemeanor assault charge.

United States to face Canada in first round of next year's hockey worlds (AP)
The United States was drawn into the same group as Canada on Tuesday for next year's world hockey championships in Latvia. Canada, which lost to the Czech Republic in the final on Sunday, the U.S., Norway and Denmark are in Group D. The Canadians and Americans also were in the same group for this year's worlds.

Mighty Ducks drop Cincinnati as AHL affiliate (SportsTicker)
ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) - A franchise-record win total was not enough to keep the American Hockey League affiliate of the Mighty Ducks in Cincinnati.

Czech Republic blanks Canada 3-0 at ice hockey worlds (AP)
Martin Rucinsky made sure the Czech Republic wouldn't need overtime or a shootout to win the world hockey championship. Rucinsky set up Vaclav Prospal's first-period goal, and scored one of his own in the third as the Czech Republic denied Canada its third straight title and won the world championship 3-0 Sunday.

Players' association cancels membership meeting (AP)
The NHL Players' Association will not hold a scheduled membership meeting at the end of the month because there has been little change in negotiations with the league on a new collective bargaining agreement. The decision was made Friday night after union leaders held a conference call with team representatives.

Trading Paint: Click your heels
Fans are fired up over the possibility of a NASCAR Hall of Fame going to Kansas City.

Earnhardt's car owner pursues life insurance claim for widow (AP)
A life insurance company cheated the widow of late race car driver Dale Earnhardt out of millions of dollars by refusing to pay up when he died, a lawyer for Richard Childress Racing said in the opening statements of a civil trial Wednesday. The insurer, United of Omaha, argued the $3.7 million policy was never in effect because Earnhardt had not taken the required physical before he died in a...

Smith proposes monorail project from Hall of Fame to Speedway (AP)
Race track mogul Bruton Smith suggested on Tuesday that a monorail be built to connect a proposed NASCAR Hall of Fame to Lowe's Motor Speedway, and pledged $50 million of his personal funds to jump-start the effort.

Hmiel replaces Rondeau as Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief (SportsTicker)
MOORESVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) - NASCAR's most popular driver is an unpopular 11th in the point standings. As a result, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will get the services of a new crew chief.

Slumping Earnhardt changes crew chiefs (AP)
Still seeking his first win of the season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Tuesday replaced his crew chief in an attempt to turn his team around.

All-Star race doesn't change Martin's retirement plans (AP)
Mark Martin has no regrets and no second thoughts about his impending retirement. He is positive that this season will be his last at NASCAR's highest level.

Martin wins NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge (SportsTicker)


Martin wins All-Star race in retirement year (AP)
In a throwback paint scheme that honored his glory years, Mark Martin raced as if he was in the prime of his career.

Big wreck forces red flag in first segment of All-Star Challenge (AP)
Bad boy Kevin Harvick was right in the middle of another big wreck. This time, it wasn't his fault.

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