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Riley Magic? Heat Win Again for New Coach (AP)
Miami Heat coach Pat Riley signals his team during the first half of their NBA game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Friday, Dec. 16, 2005, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)AP - Dwyane Wade scored 32 points, and Shaquille O'Neal had 21 points and 13 rebounds to give Miami Heat coach Pat Riley his third win this week, a 112-105 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.


Pistons' Balanced Attack Overwhelms Bulls (AP)
AP - Rasheed Wallace scored 10 of his 19 points in the third quarter, and the Detroit Pistons beat the Chicago Bulls 110-82 Friday night.

Kidd Sends Game to OT, Nets Finish Job (AP)
New Jersey Nets' Vince Carter (15) goes up with a shot as Denver Nuggets' Eduardo Najera, of Mexico, looks on during the second quarter of NBA basketball Friday night, Dec. 16, 2005, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)AP - Vince Carter scored 34 points and Richard Jefferson added 21, including five in overtime, as the New Jersey Nets beat the Denver Nuggets 115-106 Friday night.


Dirk Scores 10 in OT to Lead Mavericks (AP)
Dallas Mavericks' Devin Harris (34) goes up for a shot over Orlando Magic's Jameer Nelson (14) during the first half in Dallas, Friday, Dec. 16, 2005. Pictured in the background are Dallas' Erick Dampier (25), Orlando's Mario Kasun (41), of Croatia, and Orlando's Pat Garrity (8). (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)AP - Dirk Nowitzki scored 10 of his 31 points in overtime, leading the Dallas Mavericks over the Orlando Magic 109-103 Friday night.


Sabres' Biron Wins 12th Consecutive Start (AP)
Referee Dave Jackson (8) signals the game-winning overtime goal by Buffalo Sabres' Chris Drury, left, as the celebration begins in a 4-3 Sabres win in NHL action Friday, Dec. 16, 2005, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)AP - Buffalo's Chris Drury scored on a rebound in overtime and Martin Biron became the first NHL goalie in eight years to win 12 consecutive starts, helping the Sabres ruin Michel Therrien's debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins' coach with a 4-3 victory Friday night.


Chargers' Bhawoh Jue Returns to Practice (AP)
AP - Injured San Diego Chargers safety Bhawoh Jue might play against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts after he practiced Friday for the first time this week.

O'Neal in form in knocking off Jazz (Reuters)
New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury (L) and forward Qyntel Woods (R) watch the closing minutes of their loss to the Atlanta Hawks, from the bench in Atlanta, Georgia December 16, 2005. The Hawks defeated the Knicks 122-111. (Tami Chappell/Reuters)Reuters - Jermaine O'Neal scored 27 points and had 11 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers beat the Utah Jazz 93-83 in National Basketball Association play on Friday in Indianapolis.


Mientkiewicz, Red Sox Set for Arbitration (AP)
Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Bronson Arroyo leaps on top of teammates Jason Varitek, left, Doug Mientkiewicz and Keith Foulke after the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Caridnals 3-0 in Game 4 to win the World Series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2004. Mientkiewicz and the Red Sox are going to arbitration to decide who owns the ball from the final out of Boston's 2004 World Series victory.  (AP Photo/Al Behrman,file)AP - Doug Mientkiewicz and the Red Sox are going to arbitration to decide who owns the ball from the final out of Boston's 2004 World Series victory.


Trinidad to Play Soccer Match at Wales (AP)
AP - Trinidad and Tobago will play an exhibition game against Wales on March 1 as it prepares for its first World Cup appearance next June.

Khabibulin Stops 32 Shots As Chicago Wins (AP)
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, left, of Russia, makes a save on a penalty shot by St. Louis Blues' Doug Weight during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Friday, Dec. 16, 2005. The Blackhawks won 5-1. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)AP - Mark Bell, Martin Lapointe and Andy Hilbert each had a goal and an assist, and Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 32 shots to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.


Critical mistake
The criticism of Donovan McNabb's quarterbacking and leadership skills by an NAACP leader was way off target.

Owens says teammates disrespected him (AP)
Before Terrell Owens was banished from the Philadelphia Eagles, the All-Pro wide receiver told GQ magazine that some of his teammates didn't want him to play in the Super Bowl last February. "A lot of people, they doubted me," Owens said in the January issue of GQ. "Some of my teammates didn't want to see me come back, but I came back.

Vikes upbeat despite boat party charges (AP)
The chatter was upbeat, smiles abounded and hip hop blared on the locker room stereo. If the Minnesota Vikings were shook up by the news that four of their teammates were charged with misdemeanors stemming from an October cruise on Lake Minnetonka, they sure did a good job of hiding it. "It's business as usual," quarterback Brad Johnson said Friday.

Ex-cheerleader enters not guilty plea (AP)
A former Carolina Panthers cheerleader pleaded not guilty to three charges after she and another cheerleader were arrested at a Tampa nightclub. Renee Thomas, 20, and Angela Keathley, 26, were arrested Nov. 6 after an incident outside a bathroom at a bar, the night before the Panthers played at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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.

Broncos try to secure playoff berth (AP)
Quarterback Jake Plummer isn't ready to relax even though the Denver Broncos are within a victory of the AFC playoffs with three games to go. The 10-3 Broncos will make it by winning Saturday night. All they have to do is beat the 4-9 Buffalo Bills. Still, there's a sense of urgency for Plummer. "We just want to go get this done," he said.

Eli, first-place Giants host Chiefs (AP)
Eli Manning might have poor stats in his second season, yet he has the New York Giants on the doorstep of the playoffs. Manning has 15 interceptions and a 52.6 percent completion percentage that rank at or near the bottom of the league. His accuracy will be a focus again Saturday when New York (9-4) faces Kansas City (8-5) at Giants Stadium in a crucial game for both teams' postseason aspirations.

Simms faces coach he recalls from youth (AP)
Chris Simms wasn't even a teenager when he got a glimpse of Bill Belichick's obsession with coaching. They'd both be in the locker room of the New York Giants, where Simms' father Phil was the quarterback and Belichick was an assistant coach. "He would always say hello and whatever else," the younger Simms said.

Dungy wants Colts to enjoy the streak (AP)
Forget the pressure. The Indianapolis Colts are having too much fun with this whole perfection thing. Sure each successive win intensifies the spotlight, but the Colts don't mind. They like the attention, welcome the scrutiny and are unfazed by the endless questions about chasing an undefeated season. Coach Tony Dungy expects nothing less.

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.

Anthony's ascension
LeBron might be one of the NBA's best, but Carmelo isn't far behind.

Wade helps Heat to 3-0 start under Riley (AP)
Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley are getting along perfectly. Wade scored 32 points, O'Neal had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Riley stayed unbeaten as Miami Heat coach with a 112-105 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. "If I had some players, I'd be better than that," Riley said, laughing.

Pistons off to best 20-game start ever (AP)
Rasheed Wallace was prepared for any defense the Chicago Bulls tried. Wallace scored 10 of his 19 points in the third quarter and led the Detroit Pistons to a 110-82 victory over the Bulls on Friday night. "I knew they were going to come at me," Wallace said. "I could see the double-teams coming, and I just got the ball to the open man." Wallace even had time to take part in the crowd's "Fire...

Pacers post first win without Artest (AP)
The Indiana Pacers didn't need Ron Artest's defense in the fourth quarter against Utah. The Pacers held the Jazz to 4-for-19 shooting in the final period en route to a 93-83 victory Friday night. It was the Pacers' first win since management said it would look to honor Artest's public request to be traded.

Reeling Knicks humiliated by Hawks (AP)
Larry Brown had no trouble summing up what may have been the low point of the New York Knicks' season. "We had trouble guarding out on the perimeter," Brown said, "and they had an incredible night." Joe Johnson scored a career-high 36 points and Al Harrington had 35 Friday night as the Atlanta Hawks beat New York 122-111, the Knicks' fifth straight loss.

Williams, Redd lead Bucks past Celtics (AP)
The road hasn't been an obstacle for the Milwaukee Bucks, especially when they're matched up with Eastern Conference opponents. "We're not afraid to go into someone's house and set the tempo," said guard T.J. Ford, who scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter on Friday night to ice Milwaukee's 100-96 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Nowitzki lifts Mavs over Magic in OT (AP)
Dirk Nowitzki missed a jumper that would have given the Dallas Mavericks a win in regulation. It was his last miss of the night. Nowitzki was 4-for-4 in overtime and added two free throws for 10 of his 31 points, sending the Mavericks over the Orlando Magic 109-103 Friday night. "That was Dirk being a superstar," teammate Josh Howard said.

Carter, Nets get past Nuggets in OT (AP)
The New Jersey Nets gave the kind of effort it will take to turn around their season. Vince Carter scored 34 points and Richard Jefferson added 21, including five in overtime, as the Nets beat the Denver Nuggets 115-106 Friday night. "Our effort and work ethic has been questioned a lot of late, but it wasn't a question here," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said.

Suns spoil Hornets' homecoming (AP)
Eddie House ruined the New Orleans Hornets' big night. Returning to Louisiana for the first time this season and playing just up the river from their hurricane-ruined home court, the Hornets appeared ready to give the hometown crowd a big victory. But House shook off his offensive struggles and scored 26 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, helping the Phoenix Suns rally for a 101-88...

Richardson shoots Warriors past Raptors (AP)
Golden State turned to its 3-point shooting to beat the Toronto Raptors. Jason Richardson scored 23 points and the Warriors made a season-high 17 3-pointers in a 108-98 victory over Toronto on Friday night. Golden State took a season-high 37 long distance attempts and made 15 in an overtime loss to Houston on Wednesday.

Power rankings
With Marty Turco and Mike Modano playing like Olympians, the Stars have been anything but mediocre.

Drury's OT goal lifts Sabres over Pens (AP)
Despite a new Penguins coach behind the bench and Sidney Crosby wearing his newly awarded A, the result was familiar: another L for Pittsburgh and another W for Martin Biron. Buffalo's Chris Drury scored on a rebound in overtime and Biron became the first NHL goalie in eight years to win 12 consecutive starts, helping the Sabres ruin Michel Therrien's debut as the Penguins' coach with a 4-3...

Khabibulin leads Blackhawks (AP)
Mark Bell, Martin Lapointe and Andy Hilbert each had a goal and an assist, and Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 32 shots to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night. Jim Dowd added a goal, and Pavel Vorobiev scored into an empty net with 1:37 left. Among Khabibulin's saves was a blocker deflection of Doug Weight's penalty shot at 8:22 of the second period.

Stars' Turco beats Senators 2-0 (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.

Carter pushes Canucks past Flyers 5-4 (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.

Jokinen's OT goal gets Panthers by Wings (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.

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...

Tampa's Burke shuts down Coyotes 3-1 (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.

Pens fire coach Olczyk, promote Therrien (AP)
Former player Eddie Olczyk was out and disciplinarian Michel Therrien was in as the Pittsburgh Penguins' coach Thursday, and a couple of minutes of practice quickly revealed the differences between the two. There were no sloppily run drills, no casual puck shooting, no scrimmages that looked like pickup games.

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.

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

Judge: Speedway lawsuit against NASCAR will stay in Kentucky (AP)
A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky Speedway's $400 million antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR will be heard in Kentucky and not moved to a Florida court.

Auto Racing 2005: Stewart grows up amid youth movement (SportsTicker)
MOORESVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) - In a season where youth was not only served it was showcased, Tony Stewart topped the auto racing headlines by simply growing up.

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...

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