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Hobbled LeBron Leads Cavs Past Nuggets (AP)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) is fouled by Denver Nuggets' Greg Buckner in the second quarter in Cleveland, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2005. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)AP - A banged-up LeBron James scored 26 points and got enough help from his teammates to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Denver Nuggets 94-85 on Thursday night.


McGrady Helps Rockets Defeat Sonics 104-98 (AP)
Houston Rockets' Tracy McGrady (1) drives between Seattle SuperSonics' Rashard Lewis, left, and Vitaly Potapenko, of Serbia and Montenegro, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 15, 2005, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)AP - Tracy McGrady took over down the stretch, scoring 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, and the Houston Rockets won their fifth straight, 104-98 over the Seattle SuperSonics on Thursday night.


Clemens in No Hurry to Decide About Future (AP)
AP - Roger Clemens is leaving all his options open and plans to take his time deciding whether to pitch again — or retire again.

Canucks Beat Flyers for Fourth Straight (AP)
Vancouver Canucks' Sami Salo (6), of Finland, knocks aside Philadelphia Flyers' Jon Sim (11) as Canucks goalie Alexander Auld (35) watches the puck in the first period of their NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 15, 2005, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/George Widman)AP - Anson Carter scored twice in the third period, leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.


Cardinals, Looper Agree to Three-Year Deal (AP)
AP - Braden Looper and the Cardinals agreed Thursday to a $13.5 million, three-year contract, giving St. Louis another newcomer in the bullpen.

Beating Broncos Would Please Fletcher (AP)
Buffalo Bills' London Fletcher (59) pressures New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the football game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2005. Fletcher is enjoying what can be measured as a Pro Bowl-type season on a team that's destined for the dust bowl. The Bills play the Denver Broncos on Saturday. (AP Photo/David Duprey)AP - London Fletcher is having a difficult time putting this season in perspective.


James leads Cavaliers past Denver Nuggets (Reuters)
Reuters - A battered LeBron James scored 26 points to outshine red-hot Carmelo Anthony as the Cleveland Cavaliers eased past the Denver Nuggets 94-85 on Thursday, snapping a season-high three-game losing streak.

Monforts Buy Out McMorris' Rockies Shares (AP)
Dick Monfort, left, vice chairman of the Colorado Rockies, Jerry McMorris, Rockies' chairman and CEO, center, and Charile Monfort, right, team vice chairman, hold up a sign outside Denver's Coors Field, Wednesday, June 28, 2000, to mark the 20 millionth fan to pass through the stadium's turnstiles. The Colorado Rockies announced on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2006, that the Monfort's purchased McMorris's interest in the team. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski,file)AP - Colorado Rockies controlling owner Charlie Monfort and his brother, Dick, have bought the remaining shares held by team co-founder Jerry McMorris.


Earthquakes Announce Move to Houston (AP)
AP - The San Jose Earthquakes are moving to Houston.

Sturm Stays Hot, Leads Bruins Over Wild (AP)
Boston Bruins winger Sergei Samsonov (14), of Russia, gathers in the puck at center ice as Minnesota Wild center Wes Walz (37) defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 15, 2005, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)AP - Marco Sturm is making the most of his move to the Boston Bruins.


The coaching hot list
NFL teams are starting to determine the next wave of head-coaching hopefuls for 2006.

Party boat charges for Culpepper, others (AP)
Quarterback Daunte Culpepper and three Minnesota Vikings teammates were charged Thursday with indecent, lewd and disorderly conduct for participating in a bawdy boat party that drew national attention. Culpepper, currently on injured reserve, Bryant McKinnie, Fred Smoot and Moe Williams each were charged with three misdemeanors for their behavior aboard a boat on Lake Minnetonka, according to...

Darrell Russell killed in car crash (AP)
Darrell Russell, a former standout NFL and Southern California defensive lineman whose promising career was derailed by drugs, was killed in a high-speed car crash early Thursday. Russell, 29, was a passenger in a car driven by former USC teammate Mike Bastianelli that went out of control about 6 a.m.

NAACP blasts leader for McNabb comments (AP)
The chief executive officer of the NAACP criticized the president of its Philadelphia branch Thursday for racially charged comments made about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Bruce Gordon, who heads the Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, issued a statement calling McNabb "a great quarterback, an excellent role model and a class act" and said he intended...

Brady jogs, still questionable for Bucs (AP)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady jogged on the field at the start of practice Thursday, but he remains questionable for Saturday's game against Tampa Bay with a left shin injury. Including playoffs, Brady has started 84 straight games for the Patriots since subbing for an injured Drew Bledsoe early in the 2001 season.

Falcons' Vick practices, will face Bears (AP)
Michael Vick took all the snaps with the first-team offense Thursday, even though the Atlanta Falcons had to practice outdoors during an ice storm that left much of Hall County without electrical power. Coach Jim Mora, who listed Vick as probable with bruised ribs the day before, removed his quarterback from the team's injury report.

Brooks may not play for Saints again (AP)
Reality struck the New Orleans Saints once they saw Todd Bouman, not Aaron Brooks, taking snaps with the first-team offense. Not only is it likely Brooks won't start at quarterback again this season, he very well might not be with the team next year, either. "Aaron is my friend, I love him to death, so I wish him the best," receiver Joe Horn said.

Seahawks RB Alexander waits for new deal (AP)
The only things apparently slowing down for Shaun Alexander right now are his contract talks. The Seahawks' Pro Bowl running back and NFL rushing leader with 1,496 yards through 13 games said he believes negotiations on a new contract have stalled. "Honestly, I believe that they're going to wait until the end of the year," Alexander said, one month after saying he "definitely" felt he would have a...

RB Barlow says he's 49ers' man, not Bush (AP)
With the downtrodden San Francisco 49ers already destined for one of the top spots in the NFL draft order, their fans are buzzing at the possibility of a Helix High School reunion in their backfield. But before anybody gets too excited about the prospect of quarterback Alex Smith reliving his San Diego prep years with probable No.

LB Davis signs extension with Browns (AP)
Linebacker Andra Davis signed a five-year contract extension Thursday as the rebuilding Cleveland Browns locked up their leading tackler and a team leader for the future. Financial terms were not immediately known. Davis, who has a team-high 169 tackles through 13 games, signed a one-year maximum contract tender before this season, which pulled him off the market as a restricted free agent.

Not your father's Clips
These aren't the same Los Angeles Clippers you used to know and mock. Here's why.

LeBron gets best of 'Melo as Cavs win (AP)
A bruised shin didn't stop LeBron James from leading the Cavaliers out of a slump or cheerfully singing in the locker room afterward. James scored 26 points and got enough help from his teammates to lead Cleveland past the Denver Nuggets 94-85 on Thursday night. James bruised his left shin and hobbled to the locker room with 29 seconds left in the first half.

Finley keys Spurs win over T-Wolves (AP)
Michael Finley nearly signed with Minnesota this summer, ultimately choosing to leave Dallas for defending champion San Antonio. On Thursday night, Finley left the Timberwolves frowning again. The veteran swingman scored 21 points, including the last six for the Spurs, to help San Antonio hold off Minnesota 90-88.

Pacers deal with injuries, turmoil (AP)
Ron Artest's request to be traded has hurt the Indiana Pacers, but injuries have done more damage. Only Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson have started all 20 games for the Pacers (12-8). O'Neal, Jackson, Fred Jones and rookie Sarunas Jasikevicius are the only team members to have played in every game.

McGrady leads way for streaking Rockets (AP)
Playing for the second consecutive night in the middle of a six-game road trip, Tracy McGrady made it a point to get his teammates involved early. He took over late. McGrady scored 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, 11 in the final 7 minutes, and the Houston Rockets won their fifth straight game, 104-98 over the Seattle SuperSonics on Thursday.

Brown finding it tough to coach Knicks (AP)
Larry Brown hears the boos, too. Bad shots. Awful defense. Poor decisions. And a whole lot of frustrated fans at Madison Square Garden. "This is much more difficult right now than I ever imagined," the New York Knicks coach said Thursday after practice. More than a quarter of the way through his first season in charge of his hometown team, the man who preaches doing things the right way is stuck with a...

Heat down Bucks, move to 2-0 under Riley (AP)
A four-game, five-night road trip is the perfect way for Miami Heat coach Pat Riley to bond with his new team. Even if that means getting stuck with the occasional lunch bill. Dwyane Wade scored 27 points and Gary Payton added 20 to give Riley his second win in as many nights, a 100-83 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

Artest, Lakers fined by NBA for comments (AP)
Ron Artest's trade request will cost him $10,000, and the NBA also fined the Los Angeles Lakers $25,000 Thursday for coach Phil Jackson's comments about Toronto forward Chris Bosh. Artest was penalized for "making public statements detrimental to the NBA." He expressed his desire to be traded from the Indiana Pacers in a Dec.

Hornets to play first Baton Rouge game (AP)
P.J. Brown knows firsthand the horrors that Hurricane Katrina brought on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region and he doesn't want anyone to forget. Brown and the New Orleans Hornets will play the Phoenix Suns in Baton Rouge on Friday, the first of six "home" games scheduled on the campus of Louisiana State University.

Webber, Iverson keeping 76ers afloat (AP)
Chris Webber and Allen Iverson have not only proved they can put up All-Star numbers together, they have the Philadelphia 76ers in first place in the Atlantic Division. Now if only they can get their teammates more regularly involved in the offense, the Sixers (12-11) might be able to break away from a mediocre pack.

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

Turco blanks Senators (AP)
The Dallas Stars are perfectly comfortable playing on back-to-back nights. Marty Turco earned his second shutout of the season, and Brenden Morrow scored his 10th goal and assisted on Jere Lehtinen's 17th, leading the Dallas Stars to a 2-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. Turco stopped 25 shots for his 23rd career shutout as Dallas recovered from Wednesday's 4-3 loss in Buffalo.

Savard's OT goal lifts Thrashers (AP)
It took the NHL's second-best power play 64 minutes and 55 seconds to solve Martin Brodeur. That left just enough time for Atlanta to beat the New Jersey Devils. Marc Savard scored with five seconds left in overtime to lift Atlanta over New Jersey 3-2 Thursday night. Atlanta entered with 48 power-play goals, second only to Detroit's 50, but the Thrashers were unsuccessful on four attempts in...

Jokinen tallies in OT for Panthers (AP)
The Florida Panthers wasted another late lead. This time, they recovered. Olli Jokinen scored a power-play goal 1:36 into overtime, pushing Florida past the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 Thursday night. Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg tied the score with 1:02 left in regulation, but the Panthers found a way to bounce back.

Carter pushes Canucks past Flyers (AP)
The best teams in the Eastern Conference were no match for the Vancouver Canucks. Anson Carter scored twice in the third period, leading the Canucks to a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night. Markus Naslund, Trevor Linden and Nolan Baumgartner also scored for the Northwest Division-leading Canucks, who won their fourth straight game.

Bolts' Burke shuts down Coyotes (AP)
Sean Burke took advantage of familiar surroundings and made the most of a rare starting opportunity. Burke made 26 saves in his eighth start, and Vincent Lecavalier netted a short-handed goal to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 Thursday night. Burke started for the first time since allowing six goals on 17 shots against New Jersey on Nov.

Oilers' third-period comeback tops Habs (AP)
Ethan Moreau's game is simple. If he is moving in fine form, the rest just falls into place. His power-play goal with 1:23 left in the third period led the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Moreau sent a slap shot from the right circle over the blocker of Jose Theodore for the winning goal on a power play.

Brind'Amour, Hurricanes beat Jackets (AP)
The Carolina Hurricanes made winning at home look downright easy at the beginning of the season. Perhaps a few lessons learned on their longest road trip can help them regain that superiority. Rod Brind'Amour scored twice and Martin Gerber made 25 saves to help Carolina hold off the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 Thursday night, giving the Hurricanes consecutive home victories for the first time since...

Rinne sparks Preds in NHL debut (AP)
Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne figured he had nothing to lose in his NHL debut. It worked out even better as Rinne made 35 saves in Nashville's 5-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night. "They told me at the morning skate that I was going to start," said Rinne, recalled Wednesday from Milwaukee of the AHL.

Sturm lifts Bruins over Wild (AP)
Marco Sturm is making the most of his move to the Boston Bruins. Sturm scored his fourth goal in six games since coming to Boston, helping the Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. Sturm, traded from San Jose on Nov. 30 as part of the Joe Thornton deal, scored the game-winner on what he described as a "garbage goal." David Tanabe's shot midway through the third period...

All good things ...
Where should the NASCAR season end? Our readers chime in.

Talladega Superspeedway to get first repaving since 1979 (AP)
Talladega Superspeedway will be repaved next year, the first time since 1979, and several drivers say they're looking forward to a smoother ride.

NASCAR champ to drive midget races under his own name (AP)
Tony Stewart will drive a midget car again, and won't try to fool anybody. The two-time NASCAR champion will drive in a pair of U.S. Auto Club indoor midget car races at Fort Wayne, where he won a 60-lap feature a year ago under an assumed name in an old junker he bought during a poker game the night before.

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.

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