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Knicks' Davis Goes Into Stands in Chicago (AP)
New York Knicks' Antonio Davis, top, is helped across the scorer's table by teammate David Lee, bottom, as Davis heads back to the court after going into the crowd during overtime of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006 in Chicago. Davis was ejected from the game after the incident. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)AP - Knicks forward Antonio Davis climbed into the stands out of concern for his wife and was ejected without further trouble Wednesday night during the Chicago Bulls' 106-104 overtime victory against New York.


Top-Ranked Duke Downs No. 14 Wolfpack (AP)
Duke's Sean Dockery (15) and Greg Paulus celebrate against North Carolina State late in the second half of this ACC basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006 in Durham, N.C. Duke won 81-68. Dockery had  just made a three-point basket and was fouled on the play. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)AP - Sean Dockery saved Duke again. This time, he didn't wait until the final buzzer. With the top-ranked Blue Devils' unbeaten record on the line, Dockery made a go-ahead 3-pointer and set up another an instant later by Lee Melchionni to help them beat No. 14 North Carolina State 81-68 Wednesday night.


Federer, Clijsters Advance to Third Round (AP)
Roger Federer of Switzerland reaches for a return shot during play against Florian Mayer of Germany Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006, at the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne, Australia.  Federer defeated Mayer 6-1, 6-4, 6-0, in the second round match.  (AP Photo/Mark Baker)AP - Top-ranked Roger Federer advanced to the third round of the Australian Open with an emphatic 6-1, 6-4, 6-0 win over Florian Mayer on Thursday.


Parcells Protege Payton Gets Saints Job (AP)
New Orleans Saints football coach Sean Payton answers a question at a news conference with Executive Vice-President and General Manager Mickey Loomis, right at the club's training facility in Metairie, La. Jan. 18, 2006. Peyton had just been named the new Saints coach replacing Jim Haslett who was let go at the end of the season.  (AP Photo/Bill Haber)AP - The latest Bill Parcells protege to get an NFL head coaching job is Sean Payton. The New Orleans Saints are hoping he can be as good a turnaround specialist as his mentor.


Two-Time Derby Winner Bailey to Retire (AP)
In an image provided by Equi-Photo, jockey Jerry Bailey is shown in a photo taken at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., March 15, 2003. Bailey, a two-time Kentucky Derby winner and perhaps the greatest jockey to climb aboard a racehorse, will retire after riding at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28. (AP Photo/Equiphoto, Bill Denver)AP - Jerry Bailey was thinking retirement for several years and finally, a few weeks into this season, he knew it was time for his illustrious Hall of Fame career to come to an end.


Column: These Wild Card Teams Are Good (AP)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme signs a helmet for a fan after practice in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday Jan. 18, 2006. The Panthers face the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game on Sunday, Jan. 22, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)AP - Only the 1985 New England Patriots have won three games on the road to get to the Super Bowl.


James miss hands Nuggets victory over Cavaliers (Reuters)
Reuters - Carmelo Anthony and Earl Boykins bagged 17 points each to overshadow another big effort from Cleveland's LeBron James in leading the Denver Nuggets to a 90-89 victory over the Cavaliers in Colorado on Wednesday.

Reliever Donnelly, Angels Agree to Deal (AP)
AP - Reliever Brendan Donnelly avoided arbitration with the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, agreeing to an $950,000, one-year contract.

Man United Advances in FA Cup (AP)
Manchester United's Giuseppe Rossi. left,  holds off Burton Albion's Chris Hall from the ball during the FA Cup third round replay at Old Trafford, Manchester, England  Wednesday Jan. 18, 2006.  (AP Photo/Phil Noble/PA)AP - Giuseppe Rossi scored twice and Louis Saha, Kieran Richardson and Ryan Giggs had one goal each to lead Manchester United over semipro Burton Albion 5-0 Wednesday night in their English FA Cup third-round replay.


Thrashers Beat Stars for First Time Ever (AP)
Dallas Stars' Jason Arnott (44) and Atlanta Thrashers' Serge Aubin (10) reach out for a loose puck in the first period of NHL hockey action in Dallas, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006. Thrashers' Brad Larsen (29) looks on from the background. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)AP - Marian Hossa scored twice, including a power-play goal in the final minute of the second period, as the Atlanta Thrashers rallied for their first victory over the Dallas Stars, 5-2 Wednesday night.


Make the right call, NFL
After the referees' mistake-filled weekend, it's time the NFL dug into its deep pockets to pay for full-time officials.

Alexander will play in NFC title game (AP)
Shaun Alexander joked that his concussion might have made him smarter. The Seahawks are simply satisfied to know their MVP running back will be back on the field Sunday against Carolina. Seattle coach Mike Holmgren removed all doubt about Alexander's status Wednesday, announcing that the league rushing leader would play in the NFC championship game.

Source: Lions near deal with Marinelli (AP)
Rod Marinelli was nearing an agreement with the Detroit Lions on Wednesday night to become their new head coach, a team source told The Associated Press. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team had not made an announcement, said Marinelli was to leave the team's practice facility on Wednesday night, but stayed to negotiate his contract.

Payton introduced as new Saints coach (AP)
The latest Bill Parcells protege to get an NFL head coaching job is Sean Payton. The New Orleans Saints are hoping he can be as good a turnaround specialist as his mentor. Payton, a Dallas Cowboys assistant the past three seasons, was introduced Wednesday as the Saints' new head coach, inheriting a team that won three times last season and played all its games on the road because of Hurricane...

Fumble might have brought Bettis back (AP)
Jerome Bettis might have delayed retirement for one more season if his goal-line fumble near the end of the Steelers-Colts playoff game Sunday had been his final carry of the season. "Yeah, who knows?" Bettis said Wednesday. "It would have been hard to walk away from a last carry like that." The Steelers appeared to wrap up their 21-18 upset of the top-seeded Colts by sacking Peyton Manning at the...

Peppers misses practice with injury (AP)
Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers was one of seven players to miss practice Wednesday as the Panthers prepared to play Seattle in the NFC championship. Peppers injured his shoulder in the third quarter of Carolina's win over Chicago when he knocked Thomas Jones out of bounds to prevent him from scoring a touchdown.

Panthers' Lucas forces Seahawks changes (AP)
Ken Lucas left Seattle for the Carolina Panthers 10 months ago -- and the cornerback's departure is still affecting the Seahawks. Seattle's offense had to change all of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's hand signals for audibles this week in preparation for Sunday's NFC title game against Carolina. "Whether he remembers them or not, I don't know.

NFL will not fine Steelers LB Porter (AP)
Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter won't be fined by the NFL for criticizing officials after the Steelers beat Indianapolis. NFL coaches are subject to fines for criticizing officials, but players usually aren't fined. Porter, a Pro Bowl selection and one of the Steelers' co-captains, criticized referee Pete Morelli's crew repeatedly during a series of postgame interviews following a 21-18 win in...

Bills interview ex-Packers coach Sherman (AP)
Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman interviewed Wednesday with the Buffalo Bills, bringing the team a step closer to hiring its new head coach. Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold confirmed Sherman met with the team at its headquarters, but wouldn't provide details. Sherman was the third candidate, and second with NFL head-coaching experience, to interview for the job to replace Mike Mularkey.

Chargers fire two coaches (AP)
The San Diego Chargers fired offensive line coach Carl Mauck and assistant secondary coach Albert Lewis on Wednesday. Each had a year left on his contract. "At times this can be a difficult business and we have to make tough decisions," coach Marty Schottenheimer said in a statement. "These are good football men with valuable experience in this league.

No defending this decision
Antonio Davis' entering of the stands to protect his wife was understandable. But it still didn't make it right.

Knicks' Davis tossed for dash into stands (AP)
The moment Antonio Davis dashed up into the stands, everyone was thinking the same thing: another NBA brawl. Yet this was different. Concerned his wife was in trouble, the New York Knicks forward reached her in the seats but remained calm, never took a swing at anybody and willingly walked away when security arrived.

James muffs foul shot, Nuggets win 90-89 (AP)
LeBron James grabbed the rebound but not the moment. James pulled down his own missed free throw -- which he purposely misfired with .6 seconds left -- and drew another foul with Cleveland trailing Denver by two points. After swishing his first foul shot, he missed his second and Alan Henderson's tip-in bounced out at the buzzer, leaving the Nuggets to celebrate a 90-89 victory over the Cavaliers...

Pistons rout Hawks to improve to 31-5 (AP)
The NBA's best and worst teams followed the script perfectly. Chauncey Billups scored 23 points, Richard Hamilton added 21 and the Detroit Pistons extended their winning streak to five in a row, routing the hapless Atlanta Hawks 117-89 Wednesday night. Ben Wallace handled the dirty work with 18 rebounds and six blocks.

Carter leads Nets past Sixers 101-90 (AP)
Allen Iverson and the rest of the 76ers are used to the boos that followed nearly every New Jersey basket in the fourth quarter. What they haven't heard too much of was an earful from their easygoing coach, Maurice Cheeks. Vince Carter scored 31 points and had 10 assists to lead the streaking Nets to a 101-90 win over the sliding 76ers on Wednesday night.

Spurs eke by Bucks 95-92 (AP)
San Antonio Spurs guard Michael Finley felt less pressure coming off the bench then starting. And it showed in the final three minutes of the game. He hit two straight 3-pointers and then made four free throws in the closing seconds to hold off the Milwaukee Bucks 95-92 Wednesday night. "I am my biggest critic, so I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to make the perfect pass or hit all of my...

Mavs' third-quarter run downs Rockets (AP)
Even when the Houston Rockets knew what was coming, they couldn't stop the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki scored 13 of his 29 points in a decisive third quarter as the Mavericks opened a five-game road trip with a 103-76 win on Wednesday night over the undermanned Rockets. At times in the first half, Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy yelled to his team what Dallas player was going to shoot it, but the...

Marion, Nash lead Suns over Clippers (AP)
The Phoenix Suns rebounded from their worst loss of the season with a strong team effort. Shawn Marion had 30 points and 17 rebounds, Leandro Barbosa had 21 off the bench, and Steve Nash added 20 points and 18 assists for the Suns on Wednesday night in a 112-102 victory that ended the Clippers' three-game winning streak.

Francis helps Magic end four-game skid (AP)
Steve Francis was back and well-behaved. Francis had 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in his first game back from a two-game suspension to lead the Orlando Magic over the Washington Wizards 106-98 on Wednesday night. The guard was suspended by the team for refusing to re-enter a blowout game late in the fourth quarter.

Johnson leads Pacers over Bobcats 98-92 (AP)
Anthony Johnson did it all against the Charlotte Bobcats. He scored 16 of his career-high 27 points in the second half to help the Indiana Pacers win 98-92 on Wednesday night. He grabbed 10 rebounds, shot 9-for-14 from the field and had four assists. He even had a transition dunk in the fourth quarter, a rare occurrence for the 31-year-old point guard.

Power rankings
The Power Rankings go west as Detroit leapfrogs two Eastern Conference teams to take the top spot.

Thrashers get first-ever win over Stars (AP)
The Atlanta Trashers were due to beat the Dallas Stars, and Marian Hossa helped make it finally happen. Hossa scored twice, including a power-play goal in the final minute of the second period for the go-ahead score, as the Thrashers rallied for their first victory over the Stars, 5-2 Wednesday night.

Penguins RW Palffy retires (AP)
Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Ziggy Palffy retired Wednesday, leaving the team without its second leading scorer and creating another question mark in a puzzling, disappointing season. Palffy wasn't at a news conference held by general manager Craig Patrick during the team's practice. Patrick wouldn't comment on a Slovak newspaper report that Palffy retired because of a lingering shoulder injury.

Holmstrom, Osgood power Red Wings (AP)
Detroit coach Mike Babcock is already thinking about how his team needs to play in the postseason. Tomas Holmstrom scored two power-play goals and Chris Osgood stopped 26 shots for his 42nd career shutout as the Red Wings beat the Blue Jackets 4-0 Wednesday night. "All four goals, someone was right in the goalie's face," Babcock said.

Chouinard, Wild keep Leafs reeling (AP)
Success for the Minnesota Wild is predicated on teamwork and precision, playing their defense-first, trapping system the way it's designed. They can't be uptight, either. And for the first time in a while, the formula worked -- on Wednesday against the sloppy Toronto Maple Leafs. Marc Chouinard had two goals for the Wild in a much-needed 5-3 victory over the scuffling Maple Leafs.

Court: Caps' Ovechkin can stay in NHL (AP)
Two days after scoring the highlight goal of the NHL season, Washington Capitals rookie Alex Ovechkin learned that he will stay in the league. A judge ruled Wednesday that he cannot be forced to return to Russia to play for his former team, Dynamo Moscow. Ovechkin leads all rookies with 32 goals and 58 points and will play for the Russian national team at the Turin Olympics.

Flyers' Forsberg out at least one game (AP)
Peter Forsberg will miss at least one game because of a groin injury, but the Philadelphia Flyers' leading scorer hopes to play Saturday. Forsberg, a five-time All-Star, termed the injury as "nothing bad." He plans to skate Friday and stressed that he doesn't want to come back too early. "It's something you have to be careful with," he said Wednesday.

Brodeur now fifth on career wins list (AP)
Martin Brodeur climbed another rung on the victory list, even if he wasn't his usual dominant self. After surrendering a three-goal lead, Brodeur finished strong to break a tie with Hall of Famer Tony Esposito for fifth place on the NHL's career victory list in the New Jersey Devils' 5-3 victory over the St.

Stars' Turco out with lower body injury (AP)
Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco was out for Wednesday's game against Atlanta because of a lower body injury. Turco missed practice Tuesday while getting treatment, then didn't take part in the Stars' morning skate before the game. Coach Dave Tippett said Turco might return to practice Thursday. "Marty's a got a bit of a sore, don't know what it is, groin, hamstring, something," Tippett said.

Blue Jackets activate D Foote (AP)
The Columbus Blue Jackets activated defenseman Adam Foote from injured reserve on Wednesday. Foote missed the last nine games with a hip injury. He was hurt in Columbus' 1-0 win against Anaheim on Dec. 28. The team captain has five goals and four assists in 29 games this season. The Blue Jackets put forward Mike Rupp on injured reserve with a broken foot and recalled forward Mark Hartigan from...

Blowing in the wind
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – High winds might have slowed NASA on Tuesday, but NASCAR's preseason testing kept on flying.

Attorney: NC family reaches settlement with Ford over limo deaths (AP)
A family has settled its lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. stemming from a rear-end collision where a limousine erupted into flames, killing the wife of a former NASCAR crew chief and her two sisters, lawyers for both sides said Wednesday.

Kyle Busch leads the way in Daytona test (AP)
Kyle Busch turned in the fastest lap Wednesday as most of the teams on hand for the final day of preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway got a feel for the draft on the high-banked oval.

Champion Martin heads 13-man IROC field (AP)
Five-time and defending champion Mark Martin heads a 13-man field for the 2006 Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series. Martin will be joined in the four-race invitational series by reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart, former champion Matt Kenseth and budding star Carl Edwards, who finished third last year in his first full Cup season.

Attorney: N.C. family, Ford settle over limo deaths (AP)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A Mocksville family has settled a lawsuit filed after a Ford Motor Co.

Jarrett eyeing renewed success at Daytona (AP)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Former NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett has a new crew chief, a new car and a whole lot...

France's Luc Alphand wins Dakar Rally, final stage not timed (AP)
French driver Luc Alphand won the Dakar Rally on Sunday after finishing the final non-timed leg of the race in Senegal. Alphand led heading into the final stage, which race organizers said would not be timed to honor two boys killed during the race. Alphand, a former ski champion, was clocked at 53 hours, 47 minutes, 32 seconds at the end of Saturday's penultimate stage.

Stewart hospitalized after flipping Midget car (SportsTicker)
TULSA, Oklahoma (Ticker) - Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart was hospitalized after flipping his car Friday night in qualifying for the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway.

NASCAR champ Stewart injures arm after flipping midget car (AP)
Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart injured his right arm after he flipped his car during a qualifying race for the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.

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