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Kobe Gives Knicks Fans Reason to Cheer (AP)
Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant soars to the basket for a dunk against the New York Knicks during the second quarter in NBA basketball action Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Bryant scored 40 points in the Lakers' 130-97 win. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)AP - Kobe Bryant gave New York Knicks fans something to cheer about during an otherwise dismal season.


Kentucky Derby Gets Its First Sponsor (AP)
AP - The Kentucky Derby will have a sponsor for the first time, striking a five-year deal with a fast-food restaurant company that owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

No. 1 UConn Holds on Against No. 9 Pitt (AP)
Connecticut's Josh Boone dunks the ball in the second half of the Big East Conference basketball game at Storrs, Conn., Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006. Connecticut defeated Pittsburgh 80-76.  (AP Photo/Bob Child)AP - Jim Calhoun was exhausted. His players were incredibly tired, too. Connecticut had just gutted out an 80-76 win over a physical Pittsburgh team Tuesday night. With the Big East conference in full swing, the top-ranked Huskies can expect a few more nights like this.


Thrashers Sliding, Islanders Surge in East (AP)
Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Shane Hnidy (34) vies for the puck against Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek, right, during the second period, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006 during a NHL hockey game at Philips Arena in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)AP - Just when it seemed the Atlanta Thrashers were on track to make their first postseason appearance, they've suddenly hit the skids.


Jurevicius Inspired by Memory of Son (AP)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Joe Jurevicius talks with reporters during Super Bowl XL Media Day at Ford Field in Detroit Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006. Super Bowl XL will feature the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers against the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)AP - Joe Jurevicius will stride into the Ford Field end zone before Sunday's Super Bowl, trace an "M," look up and say, "I need you."


Hasselbeck Goes From Unknown to Super Bowl (AP)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck smiles during Media Day Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006 at Ford Field in Detroit, site of Sunday's Super Bowl.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)AP - Oh, brother. This was the 3,456th question already this week asking under-appreciated Seattle about being a four-point underdog to Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. But instead of the rote, pat response of "whatever," Matt Hasselbeck used the tired query during media day Tuesday to add to a season in which he has risen from unknown to the NFC passing leader and Pro Bowl starter.


Kings' Miller breaks right thumb (Reuters)
Reuters - Sacramento Kings forward and leading rebounder Brad Miller has broken his right thumb, the team said in a statement.

Piazza, Padres Finalize $2 Million Deal (AP)
New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza acknowledges fans' applause following a tribute to Piazza's seven-year career with the Mets during the seventh inning of the team's 11-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies, Sunday, Oct.  2, 2005, at Shea Stadium in New York. All-Star Piazza agreed Sunday, Jan. 29, 2006, to a $2 million, one-year contract with the San Diego Padres. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens,file)AP - All-Star catcher Mike Piazza finalized his $2 million deal with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, saying he's looking forward to helping his new team defend its NL West title.


Late Bocanegra Goal Gives Fulham Win (AP)
Fulham's  Carlos Bocanegra, centre,  celebrates scoring with Simon Elliot, left, and Tomasz Radzinski, right,  during their English Premier League soccer match against Tottenham Hotspur at Fulham's Craven Cottage Stadium in London, Tuesday Jan. 31, 2006. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)AP - American defender Carlos Bocanegra scored his first goal of the season in second-half injury time to lead Fulham over Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Tuesday night in England's Premier League.


Selanne Resurgence Nets Him 1,000th Point (AP)
Anaheim Mighty Ducks Teemu Selanne, of Finland, celebrates after scoring a goal in the second period of a NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings Monday, Jan. 30, 2006, in Anaheim, Calif. the goal gave Selanne his 1000th career point. (AP Photo/Henry DiRocco)AP - Teemu Selanne has been through some rough times on the ice, so his recent resurgence has been especially meaningful.


Say anything
DETROIT – Not even a desperate media contingent can get the Super Bowl teams to say something controversial.

QBs relaxed, joking before big game (AP)
Oh, brother. This was the 3,456th question already this week asking under-appreciated Seattle about being a four-point underdog to Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. But instead of the rote, pat response of "whatever," Matt Hasselbeck used the tired query during media day Tuesday to add to a season in which he has risen from unknown to the NFC passing leader and Pro Bowl starter.

Jurevicius inspired by son's memory (AP)
Joe Jurevicius will stride into the Ford Field end zone before Sunday's Super Bowl, trace an "M," look up and say, "I need you." Then he'll play in his third NFL championship game, one the Seattle wide receiver says will have extra meaning for him and his family. "I do it all the time," Jurevicius said Tuesday of his tribute to Michael, his infant son who died three years ago.

Terrell Owens meets with Broncos (AP)
Terrell Owens and his agent visited Denver on Monday, talking with coach Mike Shanahan to see if he might be a fit with the Broncos. Owens is under contract with Philadelphia, but the Eagles have given him permission to seek a trade. Denver is a suitor, and a person familiar with the negotiations, who spoke on condition he not be identified because there was no deal, told The Associated Press the...

Holmgren, Cowher both demand perfection (AP)
It's an 8-year-old snapshot of Bill Cowher that endures: the Pittsburgh coach brandishing a fist at Jacksonville's Chris Hudson as he races past the Steelers bench en route to a game-clinching touchdown. "Intense" is the word it conjures -- a word most often used to describe Cowher. It might have been more: as he clenched that fist, Cowher looked like he might jump on the field and tackle Hudson.

Jags interview Tice for assistant spot (AP)
The Jacksonville Jaguars have interviewed former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice for an assistant coaching position, and he reportedly is set to join coach Jack Del Rio's staff. Tice met with Del Rio on Monday. The two played together with the Vikings in the early 1990s. Tice was a tight end; Del Rio a linebacker.

NFL kicks in $20M for Superdome repairs (AP)
The NFL will contribute up to $20 million to the effort to repair the Hurricane-battered Superdome in time for Saints games next season. The decision was made last week at a league meeting in Orlando after a request by team owner Tom Benson and talks between Superdome officials, the NFL and the team.

Kacyvenski has tough road to Super Bowl (AP)
Isaiah Kacyvenski stood in his kitchen with his father hours after the Seahawks advanced to the Super Bowl. Finally, a quiet moment alone. Fifteen years ago, there was no way the two would have been in the same room. David Kacyvenski was estranged from his children after years of alcohol abuse tore his family apart.

Pack hires DB coach Kurt Schottenheimer (AP)
Kurt Schottenheimer is returning to the Green Bay Packers as secondary coach. New Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy announced the hiring of Schottenheimer, the brother of San Diego head coach Marty Schottenheimer, on Tuesday. Schottenheimer was the secondary coach for the Packers in 2004. He held the same position with the St.

Backup QBs ready for action if called (AP)
A discombobulated kicker made the most surprising fling in Super Bowl history -- Garo Yepremian's bar-of-soap pass attempt that resulted in a fumble and provided a comic ending to Miami's perfect 1972 season. A couple of undersized players who know how to grip the laces could provide the most unexpected throw -- or catch -- in the latest title game.

West's warming trends
The Pistons aren't the only hot team in the NBA. The Mavericks and Clippers are rolling along, too.

Nets end Pistons 11-game win streak (AP)
The Detroit Pistons have become used to absorbing everyone else's best shot as they've piled up win after win on the road this season. What they're not accustomed to is missing so many of their own shots. Detroit had its NBA-best 11-game winning streak snapped by New Jersey 91-84 Tuesday night as Jason Kidd had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets (23-20) and hit a big 3-pointer in the final...

Bryant scores 40, Lakers win 130-97 (AP)
Chants of "MVP!" "MVP" rained down from the Madison Square Garden crowd as Tuesday night's game was ending. Kobe Bryant gave the New York fans something to cheer about during a dismal season. Bryant scored 40 points, despite making only one field goal in the second half, to cap off his sensational month and lead the Los Angeles Lakers over the frustrated Knicks 130-97.

Hornets to play most of 06-07 in OK City (AP)
The Sooner state will be the New Orleans Hornets' home away from home for another season. The Hornets will play most of their home games next season in Oklahoma City, with plans to return to New Orleans full-time in the 2007-08 season. The NBA announced Tuesday that the Hornets will play 35 games in Oklahoma City and six in New Orleans in 2006-07.

Mavericks extend win streak to nine (AP)
The Dallas Mavericks were expecting a tough game from the Chicago Bulls. Those expectations diminished once they led by 30 points midway through the third quarter. Seizing on that letdown, the Bulls whittled their deficit to five and were still within six in the final minute, yet it wasn't enough. Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard helped the Mavericks hold on for a 98-94 victory Tuesday night that...

Artest nets 19 in home debut, Kings win (AP)
After the drama and disappointment that consumed Ron Artest's life over the past two seasons, he was thrilled just to have the chance to jump into the stands again. The Sacramento Kings' ever-loving fans were equally excited -- and they responded to one of their new forward's many hustle plays with one of many ovations.

Diaw gets triple-double, Suns rout 76ers (AP)
Boris Diaw dished the ball like a point guard and grabbed rebounds like a power forward. The versatile Diaw had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists for his first career triple-double, leading the Phoenix Suns to a 123-99 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night. Raja Bell scored 21 points, Steve Nash had 17 and Shawn Marion had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacific...

Hawks' Josh Smith to defend dunk title (AP)
Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith could become the third player to win consecutive NBA slam dunk contests when he participates in the event during All-Star weekend. Michael Jordan won back-to-back competitions in 1987-88 and Jason Richardson did it in 2002-03. Joining Smith in contest this year will be Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks 5-foot-9 guard Nate Robinson and Hakim...

Bryant values wins over points (AP)
An 81-point game. An average of 43.4 points per game. Seven 40-point outings. Kobe Bryant's month was filled with eye-popping numbers. But if asked to pick which number meant the most to him, he might choose 9-6. That was the Los Angeles Lakers' record in January, though it was overshadowed by Bryant's individual brilliance.

Cast removed from Maggette's left foot (AP)
The cast was removed from Corey Maggette's injured left foot Tuesday, and the Los Angeles Clippers said an X-ray revealed significant healing in the ligament he injured almost two months ago. "We will proceed with our intended therapy and rehabilitation program," team physician Dr. Tony Daly said after examining Maggette.

Power rankings
Healthy again, Ottawa is back on track and reclaims its position atop Matt's rankings.

Cole nets hat trick, 'Canes top Habs 8-2 (AP)
The Carolina Hurricanes were thinking of the one that got away as they closed out January with a record-tying win. Erik Cole scored three goals and tied a career high with four points, and Eric Staal had two goals and an assist to lead the Hurricanes to a 8-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Sabres push Thrashers' skid to six games (AP)
Ryan Miller put on quite a show for the guy sitting high atop the arena. Passed over for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, Miller turned away 35 shots to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday night, extending the Thrashers' losing streak to a season-high six in a row. Jason Pominville scored a short-handed goal that put Buffalo ahead to stay, and Miller blanked the...

Avs beat Wild, Aebischer sets team mark (AP)
David Aebischer followed a winless December with a nearly flawless January. The Colorado Avalanche goalie put an end to what was quickly becoming a disappointing season by setting a franchise record with nine victories in January. He capped the month with a 3-2 win Tuesday night over the Minnesota Wild in which Milan Hejduk and Patrice Brisebois broke out of scoring slumps.

Lightning defeat struggling Leafs in SO (AP)
The Tampa Bay Lightning rebounded after a disappointing loss. Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards scored in a shootout, leading the Lightning past the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Tuesday night. Tampa Bay was coming off a 2-1 defeat at Washington on Sunday. The Lightning outshot the Capitals 35-24, but went 0-for-7 on the power play.

Auld makes 42 saves, Canucks top Coyotes (AP)
Markus Naslund made a successful return to the Vancouver Canucks lineup. Three nights after sitting out his first game of the season with a sore groin, Naslund was one of seven players to score as the Canucks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 7-4 Tuesday night. "It wasn't the prettiest of games but nevertheless we will take the two points," Naslund said.

Blake's goals lift Isles past Capitals (AP)
For Jason Blake and the New York Islanders, positive signs were a long time coming. Blake scored a power-play goal with 4:43 left and then added an empty-netter to lead New York to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals that stretched the Islanders' winning streak to a season-high three games on Tuesday night.

Weight sees a future back with Blues (AP)
A few hours after joining the Carolina Hurricanes, Doug Weight already was plotting his return to the St. Louis Blues. Right now, a Blues' fire sale is in full swing while the owners try to sell the team. So far, they've traded away top scorers Weight and Mike Sillinger in a 24-hour period, and sent star defenseman Chris Pronger packing before the season started.

Blues F Mayers out six to eight weeks (AP)
St. Louis Blues forward Jamal Mayers was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and will be sidelined six to eight weeks after breaking his foot in a victory over Calgary on Monday. It was unclear when during the game Mayers was hurt. He played nearly 17 minutes against the Flames and had three shots on goal.

Flyers rally, beat Rangers 3-2 in OT (AP)
The Peter Forsberg-less Philadelphia Flyers were searching for a goal from anyone in any way. Then, it happened. A puck deflected off the stick of an opponent and found its way into the New York Rangers' net, starting a riveting comeback that turned a sure-fire loss into a 3-2 overtime victory Monday night.

Bruton's gamble
LAS VEGAS – LVMS owner Bruton Smith is about to make a $300 million wager ... and the potential payoff is huge.

Racing publicist ``Chip'' Williams arrested on child sex charges (AP)
A well-known NASCAR publicist was arrested Tuesday and charged with statutory rape and soliciting a minor for sex over the Internet, authorities said.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway to get multimillion-dollar makeover (AP)
LAS VEGAS – The Las Vegas Motor Speedway will get a multimillion-dollar makeover to increase the...

Hall of Fame Racing could be aptly named (AP)
By the time the Hall of Fame Racing team co-owned by Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman makes its NASCAR debut next month, the team name could aptly apply to both former quarterbacks who won Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys. Staubach was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, his first year of eligibility.

Ganassi team gets Rolex win (AP)
It hasn't taken long for Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon to build up a rapport. And that could carry the new Chip Ganassi Racing teammates a long way in the Indy Racing League. After combining with NASCAR star Casey Mears over the weekend to win the Rolex 24, America's most prestigious sports car endurance race, Dixon and Wheldon engaged in a session of mutual admiration.

Ganassi Racing cruises to victory in Rolex 24 at Daytona (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - The all-star driver lineup of IRL champions Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon and NASCAR star Casey Mears captured the 44th Rolex 24 at Daytona for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Busch asks for delay in reckless driving hearing (AP)
TOLLESON, Ariz. – NASCAR driver Kurt Busch had his pre-trial hearing on reckless driving charges postponed.

Judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit against NASCAR (AP)
A federal judge ordered Friday that Kentucky Speedway can move ahead with its $400 million antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR.

Kenseth re-signs with Roush Racing (SportsTicker)
CONCORD, North Carolina (Ticker) - Former NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth has been with Roush Racing for seven years. He will remain there for at least a few more.

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