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Book: Bonds Wanted Out of BALCO Scandal (AP)
In this March 9, 2006 file photo, San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds bats against  Los Angeles Angels' starting pitcher Hector Carrasco during the third inning of their spring training game in Tempe, Ariz.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)AP - Barry Bonds tried to keep his name out of the BALCO scandal, sending his lawyer into meetings with company representatives to ask for protection, according to a new book.


Pistons Beat Heat in Matchup of Elite (AP)
Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal, left, takes it on the chin from Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace while driving to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 22, 2006, in Auburn Hills, Mich. O'Neal led the Heat with 27 points in a 82-73 loss to the Pistons. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)AP - The Detroit Pistons refused to let Dwyane Wade beat them again.


Another Switch: Soriano Plays Left Field (AP)
Washington Nationals outfielder Alfonso Soriano catches a fly ball off he bat of the St. Louis Cardinals batter Albert Pujols in the fouth inning for an out in their spring training baseball game in Jupiter, Fla., Wednesday, March 22, 2006. (AP Photo/James A. Finley)AP - Alfonso Soriano agreed at last to change positions, and he had an easy first day in his new spot.


Flyers Beat Rangers 6-3, Tie for First (AP)
Philadelphia Flyers' Jeff Carter (17), celebrates with Joni Pitkanen, left, Niko Dimitrakos (15) and R.J. Umberger (rear) after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers during the third period in NHL hockey action Wednesday, March. 22, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Flyers won 6-3. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)AP - R.J. Umberger had a puffy, black-and-blue and bloodied right eye to show for the hit into the boards he took from Ryan Hollweg. The Philadelphia Flyers left Madison Square Garden in a first-place tie with the New York Rangers, courtesy of the same vicious check.


Smooth Start for Instant Replay in Tennis (AP)
Technicians with the Hawk-Eye electronic system monitor computer screens used in the debut of instant replay at the Nasdaq 100 Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla. Wednesday, March 22, 2006. Cameras positioned around the court feed into a system that tracks the trajectory of the bal. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)AP - Jamea Jackson watched her groundstroke land close to the sideline, and when it was called out, she sensed a chance to make a little history.


Lions Re-Sign Two, Ink Free Agent (AP)
AP - The Detroit Lions re-signed defensive end Jared DeVries linebacker Levar Woods on Wednesday and also signed free-agent linebacker Paris Lenon.

LeBron Hits Game-Winner in OT for Cavs (AP)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) watches his last second shot over Charlotte Bobcats' Jumaine Jones that gave the Cavaliers' a 120-118 overtime win in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 22, 2006, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)AP - LeBron James saved his best for last — twice.


Damon Plays First Game Against Red Sox (AP)
New York Yankees Johnny Damon looks dejected after striking out leaving two men on base in the bottom of the sixth inning of the Yankees 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox, in a spring baseball game, Wednesday, March 22, 2006, at Legends Field in Tampa, Fla. Damon was one for four and drove in a run in the game against his former team. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)AP - Johnny Damon called it just another spring training game. The Yankees' new center fielder went 1-for-4 as the designated hitter in his first game against his former team, and New York beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Wednesday night.


Chelsea Shuts Out Newcastle 1-0 (AP)
AP - Chelsea advanced to The Football Association Cup semifinals, beating Newcastle 1-0 Wednesday night behind John Terry's fourth-minute goal.

Stars Stage Wild Rally to Beat Minnesota (AP)
Minnesota Wild's Brian Rolston (12) struggles with the Dallas Stars' Mathias Tjarnqvist, of Sweeden, for control of the puck in the third period of their hockey game, Wednesday, March 22, 2006, in Dallas. Dallas won 4-2. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)AP - The Dallas Stars have mastered the third-period comeback.


No harm done
AUSTIN, Texas – Vince Young didn't hurt or help his stock, and for that reason alone his workout was a success.

Raiders agree to terms with QB Brooks (AP)
The Oakland Raiders found their replacement for Kerry Collins, agreeing to terms Wednesday with former New Orleans quarterback Aaron Brooks on a two-year contract worth more than $8 million. The 29-year-old Brooks gives new Raiders coach Art Shell a proven starter to compete with veteran backup Marques Tuiasosopo and second-year pro Andrew Walter.

Judge: Culpepper was treated differently (AP)
A judge agreed that Daunte Culpepper and a former Minnesota Vikings teammate had made a case that they were treated differently than two white men who were not charged as part of a boat party sex scandal. Culpepper and running back Moe Williams are seeking dismissal of misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct.

Bengals' Palmer expects to play opener (AP)
Carson Palmer still faces many uncertainties as he rehabs his left knee. How many games -- if any -- will he miss this fall? And who might fill in for him now that former backup Jon Kitna signed as a free agent with Detroit? He says he expects to play in the regular-season opener, but that also might be in question.

Abraham gets his wish, joins Falcons (AP)
John Abraham wanted a long-term deal and a chance to play closer to home. The Atlanta Falcons were desperately seeking another top-notch defensive end. Both sides got their wish. Abraham, a three-time Pro Bowls selection, officially joined the Falcons on Wednesday after the New York Jets agreed to a three-way trade that also included the Denver Broncos.

Colts agree to deal with K Vinatieri (AP)
Indianapolis' Super Bowl hopes ended last season on a missed field goal. After adding the NFL's best postseason kicker, the Colts may have eliminated that problem. By agreeing in principle to a deal with Adam Vinatieri on Tuesday, Indy swiped one of the top players from its old nemesis, New England, and also may have added the final piece to its elusive Super Bowl puzzle.

Patriots dynasty loses another player (AP)
The sports talk radio station in Boston extended its programming an extra hour to stay with the story. The newspapers put it on the front page. And anywhere New England Patriots fans gathered, the team's latest free agent loss was mourned. All this over a kicker. But not just any kicker. Adam Vinatieri, the fresh-faced star of two Super Bowls and a potential Hall of Famer, signed with the rival...

Vince Young works out for NFL scouts (AP)
Vince Young threw sideline passes, deep routes and across the middle. Some were touch passes, others he fired as hard as he could. Almost all were on target. The former Texas quarterback worked out for 30 minutes Wednesday in front of more than 100 NFL scouts, coaches and executives who are paying close attention to the quirky throwing motion that still raises questions despite delivering a national...

Nearly finished business
Most of the NBA's front-runners are going through the formalities of capturing their division titles.

Suns' Stoudemire may return Thursday (AP)
Phoenix Suns forward Amare Stoudemire is close to returning from a knee injury that has sidelined him all season. After participating in 5-on-5 drills with teammates for the third time in four days, Stoudemire said Wednesday there's an 80 percent chance he'll play Thursday night against Portland. He said he would decide whether to play in the morning.

Pistons shut down Wade, top Heat 82-73 (AP)
The Detroit Pistons refused to let Dwyane Wade beat them again. In their first meeting since Wade scored Miami's final 17 points in a two-point win on Feb. 12, the Pistons held him to a season-low 13 and rallied for an 82-73 victory Wednesday night. "You never want to have a player that has so much confidence against you that he thinks he can just take the game over at any time," Pistons coach Flip...

LeBron hits first game-winner of career (AP)
LeBron James saved his best for last -- twice. James made a winning shot in the final seconds for the first time in his career, hitting a jumper with 0.9 seconds left in overtime of the Cleveland Cavaliers' 120-118 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday night. He finished with 37 points and his ninth career triple-double.

Iverson scores 29 in return, 76ers win (AP)
Still playing with a sore foot, Allen Iverson came back and invigorated fading Philadelphia. Iverson scored 29 points in his return to the lineup, Kyle Korver had 23 and Chris Webber 21 to lead the 76ers over the Atlanta Hawks 115-106 on Wednesday night, snapping a four-game losing streak. "Having Allen back rejuvenated us a little bit," coach Maurice Cheeks said.

O'Neal lifts Pacers to victory in return (AP)
Jermaine O'Neal didn't need to play his best to give the Indiana Pacers a much-needed boost. In his first action in two months, the All-Star forward looked rusty at times and several of his shots were blocked, but his return sparked the Pacers to a 95-85 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

Francis has bad return to Orlando (AP)
Maybe Dwight Howard should come off the bench every night. The second-year forward had 23 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes, and the Magic rolled over the New York Knicks 111-87 Wednesday night in Steve Francis' return to Orlando. Howard, a 20-year-old drafted last year out of high school, missed the first start of his entire athletic career after showing up late for shootaround.

Injured Pierce scores 32 as Celtics win (AP)
Paul Pierce fought through nagging injuries to carry the Boston Celtics to another victory. Pierce scored 32 points to lift the Celtics over the Toronto Raptors 110-96 on Wednesday night. Pierce has been playing with bursitis in his elbow and sprained his ankle Monday against the Lakers. "Pierce is an All-Star and is paid enough money to play through injuries," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said.

Mo Williams leaves Bucks for ankle exam (AP)
Milwaukee Bucks guard Mo Williams has left the team and gone to Indianapolis for further examination on his sprained left ankle. Williams traveled with the Bucks for the start of their three-game West Coast road trip, but was in street clothes on Monday night in Portland. He went through a light workout with the team on Tuesday, before leaving the team.

Dalembert unhappy with role on 76ers (AP)
Steven Hunter was supposed to be elsewhere. Samuel Dalembert was deemed Philadelphia's franchise center after signing a multimillion dollar contract. Somehow, that all got jumbled. Hunter has worked his way into the starting lineup since a trade that would have shipped him out of Philadelphia was rescinded.

Power Rankings
Hard-charging Buffalo moves up three spots and prepares to make its case for the top spot.

Flyers beat Rangers, share division lead (AP)
R.J. Umberger had a puffy, black-and-blue and bloodied right eye to show for the hit into the boards he took from Ryan Hollweg. The Philadelphia Flyers left Madison Square Garden in a first-place tie with the New York Rangers, courtesy of the same vicious check. Mike Knuble scored two of Philadelphia's three power-play goals in the first period, and the Flyers overcame Jaromir Jagr's hat trick by...

Hurricanes hold off Sabres for 4-3 win (AP)
Justin Williams hardly celebrated when he scored Carolina's fourth goal in a game that seemed destined to become a rout against Buffalo. Little did Williams realize his goal -- padding the Hurricanes' lead to 4-0 in the final minutes of the second period -- would prove to be the decisive one. Carolina weathered the Sabres' three-goal third-period to pull out a 4-3 victory Wednesday night.

Stars rally past Wild for 4-2 victory (AP)
The Dallas Stars have mastered the third-period comeback. Jere Lehtinen, Jon Klemm and Stu Barnes scored goals during a 5:18 span in the third period as the Stars rallied for a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night. Dallas won for the 11th time this season when trailing after two periods, extending its league record for comebacks.

Panthers win season-high fourth in a row (AP)
The Florida Panthers are starting to believe that they can make the playoffs. Jon Sim, Jozef Stumpel and Joe Nieuwendyk scored goals and Roberto Luongo made 28 saves to lead Florida to its first four-game winning streak of the season with a 3-2 victory over Washington on Wednesday night. The Panthers trail Atlanta by five points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Torchetti back in NHL as coach of Kings (AP)
John Torchetti picked up his ringing phone and was offered a job that got him off his couch -- coach of the Los Angeles Kings. General manager Dave Taylor was calling to ask Torchetti if he was interested in replacing Andy Murray for the rest of the season. Murray was fired Tuesday night after seven seasons and a franchise-record 215 victories.

Erat lifts Preds over Red Wings in SO (AP)
Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun wasn't great in the shootout, just good enough. Martin Erat's goal in the sixth round of the tiebreaker gave the Predators a 3-2 victory that ended the Detroit Red Wings' six-game winning streak on Tuesday night. Nashville, which got regulation goals from Scott Hartnell and Steve Sullivan, won its fifth straight.

Thrashers move into eighth in East (AP)
The Atlanta Thrashers might look back on a shootout in Boston as the springboard for their first trip to the NHL playoffs. Jim Slater scored in the fourth extra shootout session Tuesday night, lifting the surging Thrashers to a 5-4 victory over the sliding Bruins. The Thrashers, who won for the seventh time in nine games, set a franchise record with their 34th win.

Avs leading scorer Tanguay out 2-4 weeks (AP)
Colorado's leading scorer Alex Tanguay will be out for two-to-four weeks with a sprained right knee. Tanguay, who leads the Avalanche with 74 points, including 26 goals, was hurt during the first period of Sunday's loss at San Jose. The team said Tuesday that tests revealed no further damage to the knee.

All about the Chase
It's only in its third season, but one thing is clear: The Chase has changed everything.

Kenseth crew chief fined $5,000 by NASCAR (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - Chad Norris, the crew chief for Matt Kenseth's Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been penalized due to a rules violation at Saturday's Atlanta Motor Speedway.

String of runs has Burton back on verge of being the best (AP)
Few would have been surprised if Jeff Burton needed directions to Victory Lane.

Kahne wins rain-postponed Atlanta race; Lester finishes 38th (AP)
Bill Lester would like to be known as just another race car driver.

Earnhardt and Gordon making strides (AP)
It looks like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon may be back on track after a disappointing 2005.

Lester gracious in spotlight at Atlanta (SportsTicker)
HAMPTON, Georgia Ticker) Bill Lester admitted he was a bit embarrassed to be sitting between second-place finisher Mark Martin and third-place finisher Dale Earnhardt Jr. after Monday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kahne wins NASCAR Nextel Golden Corral 500 (SportsTicker)

Burton gets first Busch win since 2002 (AP)
Jeff Burton passed Matt Kenseth with 20 laps remaining Saturday and raced away to his first NASCAR Busch Series victory in four years.

Jeff Burton wins Busch Nicorette 300 (SportsTicker)

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