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Vick Leads Falcons Over Saints 36-17 (AP)
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick (7) scrambles away from New Orleans Saints defender Fred Thomas (22) in the first quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Dec. 12, 2005. (AP Photo/John Amis)AP - Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons served notice that they are still dangerous — and not yet out of the playoff race. Vick ran for two touchdowns and passed for one score before a late hit knocked him out of the game with bruised ribs, and the Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints 36-17.


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Riley Replaces Van Gundy As Heat Coach (AP)
Former Miami Heat coach Pat Riley, left, listens as Stan Van Gundy explains the reasons he is resigning as head coach of the team, during a Monday, Dec. 12, 2005 press conference in Miami. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)AP - Pat Riley and Stan Van Gundy walked off the dais together Monday, then went in opposite directions. Riley packed his tailored suits and headed back to the NBA sidelines, looking to add another entry to his long and glowing coaching resume. Van Gundy simply went home.


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Kobe Spectacular in Lakers' Win Over Mavs (AP)
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (8) goes up for a shot past Dallas Mavericks center DeSagana Diop (7) against the in the second half, Monday, Dec. 12, 2005, in Dallas. The Lakers won, 109-106. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)AP - The final seconds on the shot clock were ticking away and Kobe Bryant had just lost control of the ball at the top of the key. When he chased it down, he was about 30 feet from the basket and every bit as confident in his ability to make the shot. With 34.9 seconds left, Bryant swished a jumper while falling away with a hand in his face, leading the Los Angeles Lakers past the Dallas Mavericks 109-106 Monday night.


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Red Wings Beat Penguins 3-1 (AP)
Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby, center, tries to find the puck amidst the defense of the Detroit Red Wings and goalie Chris Osgood (30), during the third period on Monday evening, Dec. 12, 2005 in Detroit. The Red Wings won 3-1. (AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)AP - Mike Babcock prides himself on pushing the Detroit Red Wings to play so hard their talent shines.


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Co-GMs for Red Sox; Matt Morris a Giant (AP)
Boston Red Sox co-general manager Jed Hoyer, center, answers a reporters question as Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino, right, and co-general manager Ben Cherington, left, listen during a news conference at Fenway Park Monday Dec. 12, 2005 where Lucchino anounced the team's decision to apoint the pair as co-general managers. Cherington will focus principally on minor league affairs while Hoyer will primarily handle major league affairs. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)AP - Unable to decide on a successor to Theo Epstein, the Boston Red Sox chose two.


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T.O.'s Party Guest List Includes NFL Stars (AP)
Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid fields media questions about the arbitration issues surrounding the recently suspended wide receiver Terrell Owens at a news conference in a Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005 photo in Philadelphia. Andy Reid will be back to coach the Eagles next season despite his team's failures. Dom Capers is almost sure to be fired in Houston. But they share one thing: they won't let their teams quit. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower, file)AP - Terrell Owens doesn't need to score touchdowns to celebrate. Exiled from the Philadelphia Eagles last month, the All-Pro wide receiver known for his flamboyant end zone theatrics hosted a birthday party Monday night at rapper Jay-Z's 40-40 club. T.O. turned 32 on Dec. 7.


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Pacers to trade unhappy Artest (Reuters)
File photo shows Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest during the third quarter of NBA play at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis November 9, 2005. The Indiana Pacers will agree to the controversial forward's request by attempting to trade him, team president Donnie Walsh said. (Brent Smith/Reuters)Reuters - The Indiana Pacers will agree to controversial forward Ron Artest's request by attempting to trade him, team president Donnie Walsh said.


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Two to Share Red Sox GM Job (AP)
Boston Red Sox co-general manager Jed Hoyer, right, listens as his colleague co-general manager Ben Cherington, left, answers a reporter's question during a news conference at Fenway Park Monday Dec. 12, 2005 where team President/CEO Larry Lucchino anounced the team's decision to apoint the pair as co-general managers. Cherington will focus principally on minor league affairs while Hoyer will primarily handle major league affairs. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)AP - The Boston Red Sox promoted two of Theo Epstein's former assistants to be co-general managers on Monday while offering to "keep the light on" if the most successful GM in franchise history wants to lend a hand.


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Real Salt Lake Trades Mathis to Colorado (AP)
AP - Real Salt Lake traded midfielder Clint Mathis to the Colorado Rapids for forward Jeff Cunningham on Monday.

Hockey Today (AP)
AP - Vancouver at New York (7 p.m. EST). The Rangers, 10-2-1-1 at home, host the Canucks.

Smashing success
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The hits just kept coming from the defense in Tampa Bay's battering of the Panthers.

Vick injured in Falcons' rout of Saints (AP)
Michael Vick gave the Falcons the shot in the arm they needed. Then Atlanta's immediate future took a shot to the ribs. Vick ran for two touchdowns and passed for another score Monday night to lead the Falcons over the New Orleans Saints 36-17. But a late hit knocked Vick to the turf and out of the game in the fourth quarter.

Stars turn out for T.O.'s birthday bash (AP)
Terrell Owens doesn't need to score touchdowns to celebrate. Exiled from the Philadelphia Eagles last month, the All-Pro wide receiver known for his flamboyant end zone theatrics hosted a birthday party Monday night at rapper Jay-Z's 40-40 club. T.O. turned 32 on Dec. 7. The bash drew several NFL stars, some of Owens' former teammates on the Eagles and a few celebrities.

Colts: Chase history or rest starters? (AP)
When the Indianapolis Colts face San Diego on Sunday, the regulars who made them the fourth 13-0 team in NFL history most likely will play. After that, things could change. One day after the Colts wrapped up their third straight AFC South title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, coach Tony Dungy again had to contend with the NFL's hot topic: Will the unbeaten Colts...

Texans hire Reeves as special consultant (AP)
Grasping for answers in their 1-12 season, the Houston Texans hired Dan Reeves as a special consultant to team owner Bob McNair on Monday. McNair made it clear that Reeves, an NFL head coach for 23 seasons with the Broncos, Giants and Falcons, was not brought in to critique coach Dom Capers or general manager Charley Casserly.

Chargers face uphill battle for playoffs (AP)
The San Diego Chargers were still shaking their heads on Monday at the jam they've gotten themselves into. In order to make it back to the playoffs, the Chargers need to win their last three games and get help from other teams. That's asking quite a lot, because those three games are at undefeated Indianapolis and then Kansas City, with the season finale at home against AFC West-leading Denver.

Seahawks rest before making final push (AP)
Moments after his Seahawks finished off San Francisco on Sunday to improve to 11-2, Seattle coach Mike Holmgren called together his players for a surprise announcement. But it really shouldn't be that much of a surprise anymore. Holmgren told his men they had Monday off. That means a third consecutive two-day mini-vacation before practice resumes Wednesday.

Cowboys' creativity keeps Glenn involved (AP)
The Cowboys know how explosive their offense can be when Terry Glenn gets the ball. So do opposing teams, which is forcing Dallas to be more creative with the speedy receiver. Glenn scored on a 71-yard flea flicker and a 6-yard end around -- the first rushing TD in his 10-year career -- in the Cowboys' much-needed 31-28 victory Sunday over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Chiefs may let DE Allen do the snapping (AP)
In Ed Perry's first game last month after he replaced one of the league's great long-snappers, Kansas City tied an NFL field-goal record. Two weeks later, fans are clamoring for the team to find someone else to step in for injured Pro Bowler Kendall Gammon. And maybe the Chiefs are, too. But instead of grabbing someone else off the street, they're thinking about turning to second-year defensive end...

Edwards unsure of Martin's future role (AP)
No matter the year, the New York Jets had one sure thing week after week: Curtis Martin. Now that he is out for the season, nothing is so sure anymore. Will Martin return to the New York Jets in 2006? If he does, will he be the starter? Martin vowed to be back in 2006, and coach Herman Edwards said Monday he anticipates the venerable running back will be on the team.

Bird's gambling problem
Larry Bird rolled the dice on bringing back Ron Artest. It's no surprise Bird and the Pacers crapped out.

Riley replaces Van Gundy as Heat coach (AP)
Pat Riley has been preparing for hip replacement surgery. Replacing his hand-picked successor as Miami Heat coach may be a more difficult operation. Yet with Stan Van Gundy saying he voluntarily resigned Monday to spend more time with his wife and four children, Riley is back in his element. He took over for his former protege and will make his second debut with the franchise on Tuesday when Miami...

Walsh: Pacers will seek trade for Artest (AP)
Ron Artest's days with the Indiana Pacers appear to be over. Artest, suspended most of last season for his role in one of the worst brawls in American sports, said over the weekend that he wants out, his past haunts him in Indianapolis and the team would be better off without him. Team president and chief executive Donnie Walsh said Monday he didn't like Artest taking the issue to the media first,...

Bryant's late 3 lifts Lakers past Mavs (AP)
Lamar Odom has a pretty good theory on why Kobe Bryant shoots so much. "It's hard not to shoot the ball when you can make shots from everywhere," Odom said. Bryant gave several more eye-popping examples Monday night, making a spectacular layup in the third quarter, then swishing a jumper from about 30 feet while falling away with a hand in his face, the shot clock expiring and 34.9 seconds left to...

Short-handed Jazz end Pistons' streak (AP)
The Utah Jazz -- what was left of them anyway -- welcomed back their frustrated owner with quite a performance. With essentially nine players, the Jazz rallied with a dominant second half and beat Detroit 92-78 Monday night -- holding the Pistons to just 27 points in the second half and snapping their six-game winning streak.

Webber, 76ers end Wolves win streak (AP)
This game was vintage Chris Webber, maybe even better. Webber tormented Kevin Garnett defensively, dunked and drove like a spry, younger version of himself and powered his way to the basket on a night Allen Iverson never really got going. "I'm up for the challenge," Webber said. "I'm not by any means dead yet." Webber had 27 points and 21 rebounds, and Iverson added 19 points and 10 assists to help...

Magic warns Heat to get ready to work (AP)
Smiling wide and laughing mischievously, Magic Johnson offered a message Monday to Shaquille O'Neal and the rest of the players on the Miami Heat: Get ready to work hard, to be yelled at and to be led by a terrific coach, Pat Riley. "Pat is going to push and push and push," Johnson said hours after Riley took over from Stan Van Gundy.

Redd, Gadzuric lead Bucks to rout (AP)
The No. 1 draft pick struggled and one of the team's starters was out with an injury. Thanks to Dan Gadzuric, Toni Kukoc and the rest of Milwaukee's reserves, the Bucks had nothing to worry about. Gadzuric scored a season-high 18 points, and the Bucks beat the New York Knicks 112-92 Monday night for their third straight victory.

Hornets hold off Suns, snap 5-game skid (AP)
J.R. Smith's perfect night at the foul line prevented another fourth-quarter collapse for New Orleans. Smith scored a season-high 26 points, including four free throws in the last 17.6 seconds, and the Hornets held off the Phoenix Suns 91-87 Monday night to snap a five-game losing streak. Smith finished 10-for-10 at the line.

Rockets fined by league for Vegas trip (AP)
The Houston Rockets have been fined by the NBA for a trip to Las Vegas last week. "They took them to Las Vegas in the middle of a road trip, and that's against salary-cap rules," league spokesman Tim Frank said Monday night. He declined to disclose the amount of the fine. Frank said teams are prohibited from providing players with any benefits or compensation that are not included in their...

Power rankings
Sidney Crosby spoke out and said what the rest of the league already knows – the Penguins need to try harder.

Wings' Fischer thankful, future unclear (AP)
Jiri Fischer couldn't control his emotions. Grateful he's still alive, the Detroit Red Wings defenseman is hopeful he'll play hockey again. Whether he'll return to the ice won't be known for weeks. "I'm really, really glad to be here," said Fischer, making his first public comments since collapsing on the bench with cardiac arrest during a game last month.

Four-goal third leads Sens past Avs 6-2 (AP)
Ottawa struggled on the power play early and was without its leading scorer. All that hardly mattered. The Senators have so much depth, they can overcome just about anything. Dany Heatley scored the go-ahead goal and added two assists, and the Senators scored four times in the final period to overwhelm the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 Monday night.

Zetterberg scores twice, Wings top Pens (AP)
After a brief slump, the Detroit Red Wings are playing like one of the NHL's best teams again. Henrik Zetterberg is leading the way. Zetterberg scored twice for the second straight game to lead Detroit to a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night. The Red Wings have three straight victories -- reaching a Western Conference-high 44 points -- after winning just three of their previous 10...

Leafs end skid without Belfour, Lindros (AP)
Playing without their starting goalie and one of their best forwards because of injuries, the Toronto Maple Leafs ended a slump by regaining their scoring touch on the power play. Tomas Kaberle and Alex Steen had power-play goals, and the Maple Leafs snapped a three-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Monday night.

Wings' Yzerman sidelined by groin injury (AP)
Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman is expected to be sidelined two to four weeks because of a groin injury. Yzerman was injured Sunday in practice, general manager Ken Holland said Monday night during the Red Wings' game against Pittsburgh. The 40-year-old forward played only two of the first 10 games this season because of a groin injury, then was on the ice for 19 of 20 before being scratched...

Lemieux doubts Pens future in Pittsburgh (AP)
Penguins owner-captain Mario Lemieux said he is doubtful that the team will remain in Pittsburgh after its Mellon Arena lease expires in 2007, citing a lack of progress on a new arena. The Penguins are projecting a $7 million loss this season, a figure that assumes the team will draw near-capacity crowds and advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Blues waive struggling goalie Lalime (AP)
Goaltender Patrick Lalime's terrible numbers cost him his job, and he was waived Monday by the St. Louis Blues. The 31-year-old Lalime was let go two days after yet another poor performance. The Blues lost 5-4 in overtime to the New York Rangers on Saturday, and coach Mike Kitchen called four of the goals soft.

Berard lifts Columbus over Devils in OT (AP)
Sergei Fedorov still has some magic left in his hockey stick. Bryan Berard scored off a pass from Fedorov with 13.6 seconds left in overtime, giving the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The Blue Jackets hadn't gotten a shot in the extra period before Berard slipped around Devils defenseman Paul Martin in the right circle and beat Martin Brodeur for his sixth...

Vorobiev lifts Blackhawks to SO victory (AP)
After going 65 minutes without recording any of Chicago's 32 shots, rookie center Michael Holmqvist was surprised to hear his name called for the shootout. "I didn't think about the game possibly being on my stick," Holmqvist said. "I just saw my opportunity when my teammates missed and I took it." Holmqvist beat Atlanta goaltender Michael Garnett in the fifth round of the shootout, and the...

Observations
NASCAR's new TV deal made a splash, but Wall Street doesn't necessarily approve.

Audi to send a diesel to Le Mans race (AP)
Audi will be the first carmaker to send a diesel-powered vehicle to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Before the race June 17-18 in Le Mans, France, the R10 will have several tests, Audi motor sports chief Wolfgang Ullrich said Tuesday. A major one will be in March, in the 12-hour race in Sebring, Fla. "The R10 project is the biggest challenge Audi Sport ever faced," Ullrich said.

Iowa Speedway project gets more financing (AP)
NEWTON, Iowa - An Iowa-based construction company said it has obtained the financing to complete construction of...

Price of returning racing to North Wilkesboro is $12 million (AP)
A grass-roots group is lobbying to return racing to North Wilkesboro Speedway, but a $12 million price tag might be too steep for Wilkes County. That's the asking price of Bruton Smith and Bob Bahre, who own the former NASCAR track. A group calling itself Save the Speedway, which wants to bring racing back to the .625-mile oval, retired an online petition last week after gathering 4,582 signatures.

NASCAR's Pacific Northwest expansion plan faces tough road (AP)
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Is the land of lattes ready to join NASCAR Nation? The sport's leaders are betting on it with a...

Motorsports companies down after NASCAR TV deal disappoints (AP)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Shares of motorsports companies fell Thursday after NASCAR's new television rights...

NASCAR agrees to eight-year television package with five networks (AP)
When no one else wanted NASCAR on its networks, ESPN was thrilled to air everything it could as an eager partner in the grass-roots effort to build stock car racing into a major sport.

NASCAR signs deals with ABC, ESPN, FOX, TNT, SPEED (SportsTicker)
BRISTOL, Connecticut (Ticker) - NASCAR soon will be all over the dial.

Toro Rosso makes Speed first US F1 racer since 1993 (AFP)
Scott Speed will become the first American to race in Formula One since Michael Andretti's ill-fated 1993 flop when he takes the wheel in 2006 for Scuderia Toro Rosso, the team confirmed.

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