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Seo, Park Lift South Korea Over Taiwan (AP)
South Korea's starter Seo Jae-weonng pitches against Taiwan's Chang hien-ming in the first inning of their Asia Round game in the World Baseball Classic at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo Friday, March 3, 2006. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)AP - Jae-Weong Seo pitched two-hit ball and Chan Ho Park worked three effective innings for a save to lead South Korea past Taiwan 2-0 on Friday in the opener of the inaugural World Baseball Classic.


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Finley Schools Former Team as Spurs Win (AP)
San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) scores over Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41), of Germany,  during the first quarter in NBA basketball action in San Antonio, Thursday, March 2, 2006. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)AP - Michael Finley is still being paid millions of dollars by the Dallas Mavericks. On Thursday, he was money for the San Antonio Spurs. Finley scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter against his former team, and the Spurs beat the Mavericks 98-89 in a matchup of the top teams in the Western Conference.


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NFL Extends Free Agency Deadline (AP)
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue speaks the media during a news conference following a meeting with NFL owners at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Thursday, March 2, 2006, in New York. NFL owners voted unanimously Thursday to break off talks with the players' union on a contract extension, leaving the current salary cap in place with the start of free agency looming _ and possibly forcing the mass dumping of veterans. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)AP - The NFL delayed the start of the free-agent signing period by three days Thursday, seven hours after the owners had seemed to end all hope for a labor contract extension.


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UAB Stymies Memphis Offense in Upset Win (AP)
UAB's Brandon Tobias (44) celebrates a second half score against Memphis during a college basketball game, Thursday  March 2, 2006 in Birmingham, Ala.  (AP Photo/Rob Carr)AP - The points just stopped coming for No. 3 Memphis — and so did the wins. Marvett McDonald had 17 points and UAB held the Tigers scoreless for more than eight minutes down the stretch in an 80-74 upset on Thursday night, sending another top-five team tumbling.


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Cavaliers Blow Huge Lead, Nip Bulls (AP)
Cleveland Cavaliers' Ronald Murray, left, gets a hug from teammate LaBron James after Murray hit a 3-point shot with seconds left in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Thursday, March 2, 2006, in Chicago. The shot gave the Cavaliers a 92-91 victory. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)AP - LeBron James had the ball. Ronald Murray had the open look. So James passed to his teammate, and Murray responded by making a 3-pointer from the right side with 3.9 seconds remaining to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 92-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.


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Free agent deadline extension slows salary dump (Reuters)
Reuters - NFL teams continued to dump salary and high-priced players on Thursday as negotiations to extend the collective bargaining agreement remained stalled.

Murray comes to rescue as Cavaliers edge Bulls (Reuters)
Reuters - Ronald Murray drained a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left on the clock to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a 92-91 win over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.

One and Done for Many Baseball Stars (AP)
Chinese policemen take part in a spring training session in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou province, March 2, 2006.   Photo taken March 2, 2006. CHINA OUT REUTERS/CHINA DAILYAP - It was one and done for Johnny Damon, Dontrelle Willis and many major league stars headed to the World Baseball Classic.


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Mexico Defeats Ghana 1-0 in Exhibition (AP)
Ghana forward Michael Essien, left, gives Mexico forward Guillermo Franco (10) a push from behind during the second half of their friendly match Wednesday night, March 1, 2005 in Frisco, Texas.  Mexico won the game 1-0.  (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)AP - Mexico defeated Ghana 1-0 in an exhibition game Wednesday night on Guillermo Franco's goal in the 75th minute.


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Iginla Scores Twice As Flames Top Blues (AP)
Calgary Flames' Jarome Iginla, left,  fights with St. Louis Blues' Barret Jackman in the third period during NHL hockey action in Calgary, Canada, Thursday, March 2, 2006. Calgary won, 3-1, with two goals by Iginla.    (AP Photo/Larry MacDougal,CP)AP - Jarome Iginla showed off his scoring — and fighting — skills in one of his best games of the season. The Calgary captain scored twice and had a spirited fight with Barret Jackman in the Flames' 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.


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Read and React: Miss hits
The mock drafts had many readers wondering why their favorite college stars were missing.

NFL pushes back free agency deadline (AP)
It wasn't as wacky as the Immaculate Reception. Nor was it as telegenic. But Thursday had to be one of the strangest days in the history of NFL labor negotiations. When it ended, the deadline for free agency had been extended until Monday, the union and the league were back talking and a lot of big-name players who were about to be cut remained with their teams.

Titans keep McNair for $1M through 2006 (AP)
The Tennessee Titans decided Thursday they will pay a $1 million fee to keep quarterback Steve McNair this season but allow him to become a free agent after 2006. The move means the Titans won't have to pay a $50 million option that would have extended McNair's contract through 2009, the quarterback's agent said Thursday.

Culpepper, Williams: Boat case biased (AP)
The prosecutor in the Minnesota Vikings' boat party case denied Thursday that race played any role in his decision to charge four black players and not two white men for their alleged conduct on a cruise last October. Lawyers for Minnesota Vikings players Daunte Culpepper and Moe Williams accused prosecutor Steven Tallen of racial discrimination on Wednesday.

Seahawks cut CB Dyson, LB Sharper (AP)
The Seattle Seahawks cut cornerback Andre Dyson and linebacker Jamie Sharper on Thursday and got more time to work on a new contract for NFL MVP Shaun Alexander. The cuts saved the Seahawks over $6.7 million against the league's $94.5 million salary cap for 2006 and left them about $13 million below the cap for now.

Raiders cut Washington, Stone, Walker (AP)
The Oakland Raiders cut defensive lineman Ted Washington, offensive lineman Ron Stone and defensive back Denard Walker on Thursday, saving the team more than $12 million in salary cap room for next season. The Raiders were one of many teams whose cap number was well above the projected $94.5 million limit they must reach before the start of free agency.

Agents for Jets' Abraham seeking trade (AP)
Several teams have expressed interest in acquiring Jets defensive end John Abraham, who has made it clear he wants out of New York. Meanwhile, the Jets appear to be in a holding pattern with quarterback Chad Pennington, who needs to renegotiate his contract to stay with the team. They needed to get a deal done Thursday but got a reprieve when the start of free agency was delayed three days.

Chiefs cut CBs Warfield, McCleon (AP)
The Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday cut cornerbacks Eric Warfield and Dexter McCleon and linebackers Shawn Barber and Gary Stills. Kansas City, which spent lavishly on free agents in an effort to upgrade its defense last year, is believed to be about $15 million to $20 million over the salary cap, which will be about $94.5 million.

Joe's no longer ordinary
Joe Johnson is starting to show why the Hawks paid so much money to lure him from Phoenix.

Finley rallies Spurs past former team (AP)
Michael Finley is still being paid millions of dollars by the Dallas Mavericks. On Thursday, he was money for the San Antonio Spurs. Finley scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter against his former team, and the Spurs beat the Mavericks 98-89 in a matchup of the top teams in the Western Conference.

Murray's late 3-pointer saves Cavaliers (AP)
LeBron James had the ball. Ronald Murray had the open look. So James passed to his teammate, and Murray responded by making a 3-pointer from the right side with 3.9 seconds remaining to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 92-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night. The Cavaliers then held their breath as Andres Nocioni missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Wade accepts invitation from Team USA (AP)
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade wants another shot at a gold medal. Wade said he has accepted an invitation to try out for the U.S. basketball team that will compete at the world championships and the 2008 Olympics. USA basketball director Jerry Colangelo is expected to reveal the 25-man roster on Sunday.

Suns seem on verge of signing Tim Thomas (AP)
A day after he was waived by the Chicago Bulls, Tim Thomas watched Phoenix practice on Thursday and appeared ready to sign with the Suns on Friday. "In the event that Tim Thomas clears waivers, I hope to work something out with Phoenix," his agent Arn Tellem said in a statement released by his office.

Hornets score record-low 16 in 2nd half (AP)
Next month will mark six years since Sports Illustrated mocked the Los Angeles Clippers in a feature story that labeled them as the worst franchise in sports history, and put three alleged Clipper fans on the cover with paper bags over their heads. This week, the magazine finally got around to praising the Clippers for their turnaround -- four months into their best season in 30 years.

Iverson not invited to U.S. tryouts (AP)
Allen Iverson is looking forward to spending the summer at home with his family rather than in Japan with Team USA. The Philadelphia 76ers star said Wednesday that he isn't upset about not being one of the players invited to try out for the U.S. basketball team that will compete at the world championships this summer.

Nuggets hand Pistons rare road loss (AP)
The Detroit Pistons were trying to figure out what went wrong in a rare road loss. Kenyon Martin had 28 points and 12 rebounds and Carmelo Anthony added 25 points to help the Denver Nuggets beat the Pistons 98-87 on Wednesday night. "I was trying to provide a lift for us and give us some energy, but it wouldn't come," said Denver native Chauncey Billups, who led the Pistons with 27 points.

Iverson's 40 power 76ers past Rockets (AP)
Even though Allen Iverson scored 40 points, the Philadelphia 76ers knew it took a team effort to rally past the Houston Rockets. Iverson had 12 points in the fourth quarter, but he had plenty of help in Philadelphia's 106-101 on Wednesday night. "This was a heck of a win for us," coach Maurice Cheeks said.

Marion big again, Suns win 8th in a row (AP)
Amare Stoudemire need not rush back to the Phoenix lineup. The Suns are thriving without their star center, who has yet to play this season after undergoing knee surgery. Shawn Marion had 29 points and 18 rebounds, and Phoenix beat Milwaukee 123-110 Wednesday night to extend the NBA's longest active win streak to eight games.

Power rankings
Who has time to bemoan North America's failures in Turin when so many NHL teams are in the playoff hunt?

Jagr goals lead Rangers to 7th straight (AP)
Jaromir Jagr might have finished the game instead of resting his sore groin had the score been closer. With Jagr leading a dominating night for the New York Rangers on the power play, there was no need to risk further injury. Jagr scored his NHL-leading 41st and 42nd goals and also had an assist to lead the Rangers to their seventh straight victory, 6-1 over Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Iginla scores, fights as Flames win 3-1 (AP)
Jarome Iginla showed off his scoring -- and fighting -- skills in one of his best games of the season. The Calgary captain scored twice and had a spirited fight with Barret Jackman in the Flames' 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. "We want to be a hard, physical team to play against and fighting does happen in that," Iginla said.

Vokoun's 41 saves help Predators win 3-1 (AP)
The Nashville Predators didn't start the game as if it meant much to them. Good thing they know how to finish. Greg Johnson broke a tie with a short-handed goal 45 seconds into the third period, and Tomas Vokoun made 41 saves in the Predators' 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. "It's always a big momentum shift to give up a short-handed goal," Vokoun said.

Isles nip Brodeur, Devils in shootout (AP)
Miroslav Satan has a great story to tell his new baby boy. Just hours after seeing his first child born in Buffalo, the New York Islanders' forward hopped a flight and helped his team to an important 3-2 shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. Satan, in his first season on Long Island, was given the option of skipping the game.

Senators roll over Capitals 7-1 (AP)
The Ottawa Senators gave Ray Emery a lead that even Alex Ovechkin couldn't overcome. Rookie defenseman Andrej Meszaros had three assists, Emery made 30 saves and the Senators scored five special-teams goals in a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. Ovechkin, Washington's rookie sensation, scored his 38th goal with 5:07 remaining in the third to spoil Emery's shutout bid.

Avs' Aebischer shuts out Blue Jackets (AP)
Pascal Leclaire was superb in goal for the Columbus Blue Jackets. David Aebischer was even better for the Colorado Avalanche. Aebischer made 24 saves for his third shutout of the season and 13th overall, and Brett Clark scored the lone goal in the Avalanche's 1-0 victory Thursday night. "I was sharp, but I've been that way since January," said Aebischer, who improved to 7-0-0 lifetime against the...

Sanderson, Doan lead Coyotes over Stars (AP)
Geoff Sanderson and the Phoenix Coyotes returned from the Olympic far more focused. Sanderson and Shane Doan each scored twice and the Coyotes beat the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Thursday night in their first game back. "I think the break really helped us," Sanderson said. "We were on a losing streak going into the break and it was good timing for us to get away from the game.

Sturm's late goal gives Bruins 3-2 win (AP)
A fresh start for Andrew Raycroft and a timely deflection gave the Boston Bruins a much-needed victory. Marco Sturm scored a power-play goal with 2:41 left to give the Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night. "The power play is based on results and not how many chances you get," Boston defenseman Brian Leetch said.

Visnovsky goal lifts Kings over Wild 3-2 (AP)
Two of the Los Angeles Kings' top forwards were injured during the Olympics, so it was up to the team's top-scoring defenseman to pull out the victory. Lubomir Visnovsky scored with 2:36 left in the third period, giving the Kings a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night in Los Angeles' first game since the Olympic break.

Trading Paint: Fontana follies
NASCAR fans didn't fill the seats at Fontana last weekend, but they sure are filling the mailbag.

A year later, NASCAR south of the border doesn't feel so foreign (AP)
This time around, the cry ``Caballeros arranquen sus motores,'' Spanish for ``Gentlemen start your engines,'' might not sound so foreign.

Mishap aboard horse leaves Mexican driver Jourdain with minor leg injury (AP)
Second-year Busch Series driver Michel Jourdain Jr. has raced stock cars, semi-truck prototypes and touring cars and made a name for himself in open-wheel competition.

Harvick happy heading back to Mexico (AP)
Kevin Harvick is sold on stock car racing in Mexico. The NASCAR Nextel Cup star, who finished second to Martin...

Report: NASCAR Hall of Fame headed to Charlotte (AP)
Atlanta and Daytona Beach still feel good about their chances to land NASCAR's Hall of Fame, even though a report from Charlotte says that city has already locked up a deal to build the shrine to stock car racing.

Race for NASCAR Hall of Fame not exactly wide open (AP)
The race for the rights to NASCAR's Hall of Fame is in its closing laps, and chairman Brian France remains insistent that three cities are still in contention.

Kenseth wins California race (AP)
Greg Biffle was the class of the field, and Tony Stewart had a car capable of winning.

Cranky Stewart spars with media at California Speedway (SportsTicker)
FONTANA, California (Ticker) - Just two weeks into the NASCAR season, defending champion Tony Stewart is back to his old, hot-tempered self.

Matt Kenseth wins Auto Club 500 at California Speedway (SportsTicker)


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