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Pistons Beat Heat for Ninth Straight Win (AP)
Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace (36) and Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem tangle under the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)AP - The Detroit Pistons showed the Miami Heat that their many moves might not make a difference. Chauncey Billups scored 30 and Richard Hamilton had 25 points and a season-high nine assists Thursday night leading Detroit past the Heat 106-101 in a rematch of the last season's Eastern Conference finals.


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Sooners Seal Win Over Ducks With Late INT (AP)
Oklahoma's C.J. Ah You closes in on Oregon quarterback Brady Leaf for the sack and an eight yard loss in the third quarter of the Holiday Bowl Thursday Dec. 29, 2005 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Jack Smith)AP - It was a sight incredibly familiar to San Diego fans — a quarterback named Leaf throwing an interception.


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Dungy Rejoins Colts Following Son's Death (AP)
Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy answers questions following practice in Indianapolis, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005. Dungy rejoined his team, a week after his oldest son's death of an apparent suicide. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)AP - Two days after burying his son, Tony Dungy rejoined the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday, hugging his players and assistant coaches and thanking the public for its support while he dealt with his personal tragedy.


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Utah Rolls Up 550 Yards, Routs Ga. Tech (AP)
Utah's Travis LaTendresse, center left, is mobbed by teammates including Marquis Wilson (7) and quarterback Brett Ratliff (15) after making a touchdown reception against Georgia Tech during the first quarter of the Emerald Bowl college football game Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)AP - Although a whole new bunch of players and coaches are wearing Utah red, these Utes still can put on a phenomenal postseason show.


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Bengals Giver Palmer Six-Year Extension (AP)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer throws against the Minnesota Vikings in the first half, in this Sept. 18, 2005 photo, in Cincinnati. The Bengals gave quarterback Carson Palmer a six-year contract extension Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 through the 2014 season, aiming to bring long-term success to a franchise that is finally having its breakthrough season. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)AP - Soon after he arrived from Southern California in 2003, quarterback Carson Palmer decided he had found the perfect place to settle down and spend a career. Now, there's no reason to leave.


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QB Palmer inks six-year extension with Bengals (Reuters)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer walks off the field after their 41-17 victory over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, December 18, 2005. The Cincinnati Bengals signed Carson Palmer to a six-year contract extension on Thursday, that could pay the Pro Bowl quarterback as much as $118 million over the next nine seasons. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)Reuters - The Cincinnati Bengals signed Carson Palmer to a six-year contract extension on Thursday, that could pay the Pro Bowl quarterback as much as $118 million over the next nine seasons.


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Surging Pistons prove too hot for the Heat (Reuters)
Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh (4) shoots the ball for the basket against the Detroit Pistons during the first half of their NBA game at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan December 27, 2005. Bosh led both teams with 37 points as Detroit defeated Toronto 113-106. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)Reuters - Chauncey Billups scored 30 points and Richard Hamilton added 25 points and a season-high nine assists in guiding the red-hot Detroit Pistons to a 106-101 win over the Miami Heat at Auburn Hills on Thursday.


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Tejada Upset With Orioles' Lack of Action (AP)
AP - Disgruntled shortstop Miguel Tejada is "more upset" with the Baltimore Orioles because they haven't gotten stronger in the offseason than with the team not fulfilling his trade request.

U.S. Captain Reyna Out at Least Six Weeks (AP)
Manchester City's Claudio Reyna celebrates scoring the equaliser against Portsmouth during their English Premiership League soccer match at The City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester, England, in this Aug. 27, 2005 file photo. United States soccer captain Reyna has a broken ankle and will be out of action for at least six more weeks, Manchester City said on Thursday Dec. 29, 2005. The 32-year-old midfielder, expected to be a key player for the U.S. at next year's World Cup in Germany, is headed for the Netherlands on Friday for surgery. (AP Photo/Paul Ellis)AP - U.S. national team captain Claudio Reyna has a broken ankle and will be sidelined for at least six more weeks.


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Flames Top Wild to Move Back Into First (AP)
Calgary Flames Richie Regehr, top left, is mobbed by teammates after scoring Calgary's winning third period goal and his first NHL goal in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild during NHL hockey action in Calgary Thursday Dec. 29, 2005.  (AP Photo/Larry MacDougal, CP)AP - Steven Reinprecht and Jason Wiemer scored third-period goals and the Calgary Flames beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Thursday night to move back into first place in the Northwest Division.


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New Year's resolutions
Every NFL coach should have the following at the top of their to-do list for 2006: spend more time with the family.

Dungy rejoins Colts after son's death (AP)
Two days after burying his son, Tony Dungy rejoined the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday, hugging his players and assistant coaches and thanking the public for its support while he dealt with his personal tragedy. "It was the right time to come back," he said following an afternoon workout. "I talked about it with my wife, and we went through the grieving process and now we're starting with the...

Bengals extend Palmer's deal through '14 (AP)
Soon after he arrived from Southern California in 2003, quarterback Carson Palmer decided he had found the perfect place to settle down and spend a career. Now, there's no reason to leave. The Cincinnati Bengals reworked and extended Palmer's contract on Thursday, giving themselves more salary cap flexibility and a chance to keep their franchise quarterback through 2014.

Saints to finally meet with Tagliabue (AP)
The New Orleans Saints have waited all season for a visit from NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The meeting comes Friday, two days before their hurricane-plagued season ends. Players' reactions to Tagliabue could resemble some of the Saints' games during a 3-12 season -- ugly. "I think it's going to vary from player to player," offensive tackle Wayne Gandy said Thursday.

Leftwich hopes to be ready for playoffs (AP)
Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich says his mending left ankle is getting better. Leftwich broke the ankle Nov. 27 against Arizona and has been out since. He practiced Wednesday and Thursday and said he hopes to be ready when the Jaguars open the playoffs Jan. 7 or 8. His status for Sunday's final regular-season game with Tennessee remains a question.

Billick to return as Ravens coach (AP)
Brian Billick will return as coach of the Baltimore Ravens next year, the result of owner Steve Bisciotti's belief that continuity is the best way for the team to end a run of two straight disappointing seasons. Baltimore missed the playoffs in 2004, and this season the Ravens are assured their third losing record in Billick's seven years as head coach.

Struggling Favre undecided on retiring (AP)
Last Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears offered proof Brett Favre has still got it: a 56-yard dart to wide receiver Donald Driver, putting the Packers in position for a last-minute comeback. What happened next is why people are wondering if Favre's time is up. Back-to-back sacks, a desperation heave for an interception -- his fourth of the game and career-worst 28th of the season -- and...

Panthers not feeling must-win pressure (AP)
John Fox leaned back in a folding chair, chatting with two Carolina Panthers. Across the locker room, a circle of players vehemently argued who would win a pickup basketball game. If the Panthers are feeling any pressure heading into their regular season finale, they sure aren't showing it. Three losses in their past six games has backed Carolina (10-5) into a must-win situation at Atlanta on Sunday...

McNair hopes to be with Titans for 2006 (AP)
Steve McNair's health isn't a question as the season ends. Now, it's money and a $50 million option bonus due this offseason that poses the biggest obstacle to the quarterback returning to the Tennessee Titans in 2006. If the Titans actually pay the money, McNair's base salary and the prorated bonus would count for $26.8 million against the salary cap next year.

Former Broncos WR Sampson dies at 44 (AP)
Clint Sampson, a former wide receiver for the Denver Broncos in the 1980s who played an important role in John Elway's first fourth-quarter comeback, has died. He was 44. Sampson died Sunday in a car accident in Los Angeles, said Linda Johnson, one of his five sisters. Sampson, a third-round pick in the 1983 draft, appeared in 59 games -- starting 10 -- for the Broncos between 1983-86.

New Year's resolutions
For 2006 to be any different than 2005, teams must find a way to beat the Spurs and Pistons.

Billups, Hamilton lead Pistons past Heat (AP)
The Detroit Pistons' continuity was too much for the changing Miami Heat. Chauncey Billups scored 30 and Richard Hamilton had 25 points and a season-high nine assists Thursday night to lead the Pistons past the new-look Heat 106-101 in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals. In their first matchup since the Pistons won at Miami in Game 7 of the series, Detroit made clutch shots and...

Finley leads 3-point barrage for Spurs (AP)
The San Antonio Spurs learned their lesson against New Orleans earlier this month -- don't let the Hornets keep it close enough to steal a win. Michael Finley led five Spurs in double figures with 18 points, and San Antonio shut down New Orleans' offense after the opening minutes in a 111-84 victory over the Hornets on Thursday night.

Allen, Lewis lead Sonics past Nuggets (AP)
Ray Allen scored a season-high 39 points and Rashard Lewis added 27 in Seattle's 112-105 victory over the short-handed Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. The Nuggets got 32 points from Carmelo Anthony, but Seattle held him to just two free throws in the final 18 minutes. He ended his frustrating night with a missed layup with 19 seconds left.

Nuggets C Camby has surgery on pinkie (AP)
Marcus Camby, the NBA's leading rebounder, underwent surgery Thursday on his right broken pinkie, the latest in a long list of injuries that have hampered the Denver Nuggets. He'll be out at least one to two weeks, possibly longer. "I was trying to persuade the doctor that I could keep playing with it," Camby said.

Kobe's 45 not enough, Lakers lose in OT (AP)
The Grizzlies never led the Lakers -- until the overtime. After Damon Stoudamire's pair of 3-pointers in the final minute of regulation drew Memphis even, the Grizzlies outscored Los Angeles 10-2 to begin the extra period, then held on for a wild 100-99 victory Wednesday night. The Lakers' Kobe Bryant, who scored 45 points on 13-of-37 shooting, missed a layup in the waning seconds, teammate Chris...

Sonics' Fortson suspended two games (AP)
Seattle SuperSonics forward Danny Fortson was suspended for two games without pay Thursday for berating a referee and failing to promptly leave the court after an ejection. The suspension began with Thursday night's game at Denver. He also will miss Saturday's home game against Memphis. The punishment -- announced by Stu Jackson, the NBA's senior vice president basketball operations -- stemmed from...

Agent: Artest accepts he's done as Pacer (AP)
Ron Artest has accepted that he's played his last game for the Indiana Pacers, his agent said. Artest went public nearly three weeks ago with his desire to be traded, then backpedaled and apologized to his teammates and to management in hopes of staying with the team. But his campaign to stay seemed to end after Pacers president Larry Bird told The Indianapolis Star on Monday that he felt...

Yao, Shaq top voting for NBA All-Stars (AP)
Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant led the Western Conference while Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James topped the Eastern Conference on Thursday after two rounds of voting for the 2006 NBA All-Star Game. Yao paced all players with 1,319,868 votes for the game in Houston on Feb. 19. Houston teammate Tracy McGrady topped the West forwards with 1,066,013 votes.

Bucks G Ford to miss 2-3 weeks (AP)
Bucks guard T.J. Ford is expected to miss two to three weeks with a sprained left foot. Ford injured his foot during the first period of the team's 109-98 loss at Miami on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Ford has started all 26 games this season and is averaging 13.2 points and 6.7 assists.

Power rankings
Dallas takes over the top spot as even Buffalo threatens to overtake the struggling Senators.

No. 1 picks Crosby, Fleury lead Penguins (AP)
The No. 1 draft pick is playing even better than the Pittsburgh Penguins expected, giving them hope in a season that has been a lost cause almost from the start. Sidney Crosby, for sure -- but also goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, the No. 1 pick in 2003 who was supposed to be the Penguins' future before Crosby arrived this year.

Kapanen wins it in OT again for Flyers (AP)
The way the points are piling up on the road, the Philadelphia Flyers might never want to go home. Good thing, too. They have seven more games left on their 11-game trip. Sami Kapanen scored in overtime for the second straight game after NHL goal leader Simon Gagne tied it midway through the third period, and the Flyers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Thursday night.

Ponikarovsky lifts Leafs over Sabres (AP)
Alexei Ponikarovsky is just happy he didn't fall on his face. Ponikarovsky beat Martin Biron in regulation and a shootout to help the Toronto Maple Leafs win their fourth straight game, 4-3 over Buffalo on Thursday night. Ponikarovsky was a surprise pick in the shootout. "We have 23 guys on the roster," he said.

Ballard's SH goal in OT lifts Coyotes (AP)
Keith Ballard started the game with a fight and ended it with an overtime goal. Ballard scored a short-handed goal with 1:08 left in overtime to give the Phoenix Coyotes their second straight victory since coach Wayne Gretzky returned to the team following his mother's death, a 6-5 decision over Los Angeles on Thursday night.

Flames win, take over first in Northwest (AP)
Steven Reinprecht and Jason Wiemer scored third-period goals and the Calgary Flames beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Thursday night to move back into first place in the Northwest Division. Reinprecht broke a 2-2 tie with 8:13 left, and Jason Wiemer put the game away with 3:34 to go with his first goal of the season.

Stars' Turco shuts out Blues 3-0 (AP)
Bill Guerin has been stuck in a goal-scoring drought, and so has the Dallas Stars' power play. Both got back on track Thursday night. Guerin scored the first of three Dallas power-play goals and Marty Turco made 17 saves for his third shutout of the season and 24th of his career in the Stars' 3-0 victory over the St.

Habs snap nine-game road skid, top Tampa (AP)
Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella made it clear. The defending Stanley Cup champions are going no where until their goaltending gets better. Pierre Dagenais scored the tiebreaking goal from a tough angle with 11:26 remaining and Jose Theodore made 41 saves to help the Montreal Canadiens snap a nine-game road losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Lightning on Wednesday night.

Ozolinsh enters substance abuse program (AP)
Sandis Ozolinsh of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks has voluntarily entered a substance abuse program, the NHL and the players' union announced Thursday. The 33-year-old defenseman has been out since Nov. 27 with a knee injury. He has one goal and three assists in 13 games. Doctors Brian Shaw of the NHLPA and Dave Lewis of the NHL will oversee Ozolinsh's care in the substance abuse and behavioral health...

Troubles continue in net for Avalanche (AP)
When the Colorado Avalanche sent their third-string goalie back to the minor leagues, it seemed as though they had reached some closure at a position that has plagued them all season. When the coach yanked one of the remaining two, Peter Budaj, halfway through the first period in a 5-3 loss at home to Los Angeles on Wednesday, it became clear there are still plenty of problems to work out.

Offseason capsules: Said, Bliss, Wimmer, Kvapil
Yahoo! Sports breaks down the '06 Cup field as the season-opening Daytona 500 approaches.

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.

NASCAR to restructure regional tours in 2007 (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - NASCAR announced Wednesday that it will restructure its regional touring series divisions beginning in 2007.

Legge completes Champ Car test (AP)
Katherine Legge spent two days this week testing a Champ Car to see if she's ready to become the first female driver in the open-wheel series. The 25-year-old Legge ran a total of 238 laps for PKV Racing on the road course in Sebring, Fla. It was just the second time in a Champ car for the British racer, who ran 70 laps at Sebring in a test for Rocketsports Racing on Dec.

Kyle Busch to run full season in NASCAR Busch Series in 2006 (SportsTicker)
CONCORD, North Carolina (Ticker) - Despite making a splash in his first season on NASCAR's premier series, Kyle Busch has some unfinished business in the Busch Series.

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.

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...

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