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NBA's Field Is Set, but Matchups Must Wait (AP)
The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant goes to the basket between the Phoenix Suns' Shawn Marion, left and James Jones, behind and is fouled by Jones during the second half of an NBA basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 16, 2006. Bryant scored 43 and sealed a spot for the Lakers in the playoffs during the Lakers 109-89 win. (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)AP - The Lakers, Bulls, Wizards and Kings claimed the four spots that were remaining entering Sunday, and all that's left with three days to go in the regular season is figuring out the seedings.


Tigers' Surprising Shelton Hits 8th Homer (AP)
Detroit Tigers batter Chris Shelton is congratulated at home after his one-run home run in the fourth inning during the game against the Cleveland Indians in Detroit, Sunday, April 16, 2006. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)AP - The first AL player to hit eight home runs in his team's first 12 games is none other than Detroit's surprising slugger, Chris Shelton. Shelton's AL-leading eighth homer backed Mike Maroth in the Tigers' 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.


Pujols Hits 3 Homers in Cardinals' Win (AP)
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols connects for a game-winning two-run home run in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds in a baseball game Sunday, April 16, 2006, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Pujols hit three home runs as the Cardinals beat the Reds 8-7. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)AP - Albert Pujols was so ecstatic after his third home run of the game gave St. Louis the win, he couldn't help himself from showing off some moves. The normally reserved slugger did a little dance in front of home plate before teammates mobbed him after his two-run homer lifted the Cardinals over the Cincinnati Reds 8-7 on Sunday.


Devils in Race for Atlantic Division Title (AP)
New Jersey Devils' Brian Gionta (14) scores a goal against Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Robert Esche as Flyers' Derian Hatcher, right, looks on during first period  NHL hockey Sunday, April 16, 2006, in East Rutherford, N.J. It was Gionta's 46th goal, tying the Devils' season mark set by Pat Verbeek in the 1987-88 season. The Devils won, 5-1.  (AP Photo/Bill (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)AP - It wasn't long ago that the New Jersey Devils were in danger of missing the playoffs. Now, with a 10-game winning streak in hand, the Devils find themselves in a three-team race for the Atlantic Division title with a game left in the regular season.


Tour of Marathon Majors Starts in Boston (AP)
Elite athletes Hailu Negussie, of Ethiopia, men's defending champion, left, Ernst Van Dyk, of South Africa, men's wheelchair division top seed, center left, and Reiko Tosa, women's top seed, of Japan, hold up their bib numbers, Saturday, April 15, 2006, in Boston, during a breakfast in preparation for the 110th Boston Marathon on Monday. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole)AP - More than 20,000 runners are expected to line up in Hopkinton for the start of the Boston Marathon, 26.2 miles away from the traditional bowl of beef stew, an olive wreath and a $100,000 first prize.


Favre Gets More Time to Make Up Mind (AP)
AP - The due date for Brett Favre's $3 million roster bonus — originally scheduled last month — has been moved to July 27, giving the three-time MVP more time to make a decision on retirement.

SuperSonics Down Struggling Clippers (AP)
The Seattle Supersonics' Ray Allen, left, and Nick Collison, back, battle the Los Angeles Clippers' Boniface Ndong for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 16, 2006, (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)AP - Chris Wilcox missed the boat that's transporting the Los Angeles Clippers to the playoffs without him. Now he's with the Seattle SuperSonics, who are staying home this year. But that's all right with the four-year veteran, because he's getting a chance now to establish himself as an NBA regular. And with his ability, the Sonics may not be too far from being a playoff team themselves.


Giants Blank Dodgers; Still No Bonds HRs (AP)
San Francisco Giants' Omar Vizquel is congratulated by teammate Barry Bonds after scoring on a balk by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jae Seo during the sixth inning of their Major League baseball game, Sunday night, April 16, 2006 in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)AP - Brad Hennessey would like to have one pitch back — the changeup that hit Jeff Kent in the head. Otherwise, his first start of the season for the San Francisco Giants was nearly flawless. Hennessey worked 6 1-3 strong innings, three relievers combined to finish a three-hit shutout, and the Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 Sunday night despite another tough game at the plate for Barry Bonds.


Liverpool Wins Its Seventh Straight (AP)
Liverpool players observe a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster that happened 17 years ago, before the English Premiership soccer match against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, Blackburn, England Sunday April 16, 2006.  96 people lost their lives in the FA Cup Semi Final soccer match at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield in 1989. (AP Photo/PA, Gareth Copley)AP - Liverpool won its seventh straight game in the English Premier League, beating Blackburn 1-0 Sunday on Robbie Fowler's fourth goal in five games.


Blackhawks Edge Blue Jackets 4-3 (AP)
Columbus Blue Jackets' Manny Malhotra, left, falls as he and Chicago Blackhawks' Kyle Calder go for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Sunday, April 16, 2006. The Blackhawks won 4-3. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)AP - The Blackhawks finally figured a way to win a close game.


From touted to doubted
Once projected to be a top-10 pick, Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway is battling to regain the NFL's respect.

Packers, Favre delay roster bonus (AP)
The due date for Brett Favre's $3 million roster bonus -- originally scheduled last month -- has been moved to July 27, giving the three-time MVP more time to make a decision on retirement. A person with knowledge of the decision, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made, confirmed the change.

Agent: McNair not welcome for workouts (AP)
Nearly two weeks ago, Tennessee asked Steve McNair not to work out on the team's property for fear an injury would give the Titans a devastating salary cap hit. Now his agent says the Titans have told McNair to continue to stay away. "They've instructed him to work out somewhere else other than their facility," agent Bus Cook said Friday.

Race in Tillman's honor raises $350,000 (AP)
Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer was one of more than 8,000 people who participated in the 4.2-mile "Pat's Run" Saturday, raising $350,000 for the foundation established to honor Pat Tillman's memory. The race finished at the 42-yard line of Sun Devil Stadium, where Tillman wore No. 42 as a Sun Devils linebacker.

Bengals' Jeremi Johnson gets 6-year deal (AP)
Fullback Jeremi Johnson got a six-year contract Friday from the Cincinnati Bengals, who value his blocking and versatility. Johnson, a three-year starter, was a restricted free agent before he signed a one-year, $712,000 deal on Thursday. He wanted to stay in Cincinnati long-term, and had agent Peter Schaffer continue negotiations.

Patriots sign Seymour to four-year deal (AP)
Last season, Richard Seymour missed part of training camp because he was unhappy with his contract. The All-Pro defensive lineman isn't dissatisfied any more. A day after signing a new four-year contract estimated between $7 million and $8 million a year, he said Thursday: "I want to retire as a Patriot." The 6-foot-6, 310-pound defensive end, who is 26, is the cornerstone of the team's young...

Bengals' Mike Brown defends Bills owner (AP)
Bengals owner Mike Brown went out of his way Friday to defend Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, who contends that the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement hurts small-market clubs. Brown set up a meeting with reporters and said he was upset with the personal attacks on Wilson, who is a close friend.

Steelers sign LB Harrison to $5.5M deal (AP)
Backup linebacker James Harrison signed a $5.5 million, four-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, even though he wouldn't have become a free agent until 2008. Harrison received a $1.375 million signing bonus. Normally, NFL teams do not offer such terms to backup players who can cannot become free agents for several more seasons.

King James' next conquest
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Already performing at an MVP level, LeBron James eagerly awaits his next challenge: the NBA playoffs.

Kobe leads Lakers by Suns, into playoffs (AP)
Helped by the absence of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant put on his usual one-man offensive show and the Los Angeles Lakers easily clinched a playoff berth. Bryant made a late-season case for league MVP honors, scoring 43 points in a 109-89 rout of the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. "It doesn't really seem like we're overly jumping for joy, but it is a great accomplishment for us," he said.

Wizards wrap up playoff berth, top Cavs (AP)
The Washington Wizards simply walked off the court and headed to the showers after securing their second straight trip to the playoffs. No big celebration, no confetti, no cigars. Maybe that's just the way it is when you figured all along you'd get there. Or when you're more relieved than thrilled, thanks to a five-game losing streak that actually put your postseason plans in peril.

Bulls beat Heat, clinch playoff spot (AP)
Luol Deng got a nice gift for his 21st birthday. He's headed to the playoffs. Deng scored 17 of his 26 points in the first half to spearhead the Bulls' rally from an early 15-point deficit, and Chicago also got 18 points apiece from Andres Nocioni and Ben Gordon to beat the Miami Heat 117-93 Sunday and clinch an Eastern Conference postseason berth.

Sacramento clinches playoff berth (AP)
Ron Artest really did predict the future. The Sacramento Kings are headed to the playoffs, just as he guaranteed back in January -- and now Artest won't be satisfied unless this unlikely trip lasts into the second round. Mike Bibby hit five 3-pointers while scoring 23 points, and the Kings celebrated their eighth consecutive playoff berth with a 96-79 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday...

Pistons set team record for wins at 64 (AP)
The Detroit Pistons did not celebrate after setting a franchise record for wins with a 103-97 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday. Some of them barely even noticed. "This doesn't matter at all," said Lindsey Hunter, who was also a part of Detroit's 20-62 season a dozen years ago. "We want the championship." The Pistons (64-16) broke the mark of 63 wins set by the 1988-89 Bad Boys NBA champs,...

Spurs move closer to West's top seed (AP)
The San Antonio Spurs want a few more quality wins down the stretch to find their rhythm for the playoffs and the next step in their title defense. This was a decent start, even against the depleted Minnesota Timberwolves. San Antonio moved closer to clinching first place in the Western Conference, beating Minnesota 103-90 on Sunday behind 57 bench points.

Mavs eliminate Jazz from playoff race (AP)
The Utah Jazz used a curious strategy to try keeping in the playoff chase: Hack-a-Dirk. Dirk Nowitzki foiled Utah's physical game plan by making all 14 of his free throw attempts, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 111-95 victory Sunday night that eliminated the Jazz from the postseason chase. "They're an aggressive offensive team so we had to make a decision to either let them shoot or make them...

Riley won't accompany Heat to Atlanta (AP)
Miami Heat coach Pat Riley will not accompany his team to Atlanta on Monday, heading instead to upstate New York to visit his ailing mother. Mary Riley, 96, still lives in the Schenectady, N.Y. area where Riley grew up. The team announced Riley's departure about an hour after Sunday's game; Riley did not mention the situation in his press conference following Miami's 117-93 loss to the Chicago...

Krstic scores 18, Nets top Celtics 95-93 (AP)
Their big lead was gone, and the New Jersey Nets had Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson on the bench in the closing seconds. It felt like preseason basketball in April. "It was a little weird," Nets center Nenad Krstic said. "It was just like a preseason game." Krstic scored 18 points to pace a balanced attack, Jefferson added 15, and the Nets held on for a 95-93 victory over the Boston...

Power rankings
Just two playoff spots remain, then the question becomes: Can anyone beat Detroit?

Devils top Flyers, push win streak to 10 (AP)
The New Jersey Devils' improbable goal of winning the Atlantic Division title is now within their grasp. Brian Gionta extended his points streak to 14 games and Patrik Elias had two goals to lead the surging Devils to their 10th straight win, 5-1 over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. The Devils and Flyers each have 99 points, good for a fifth-place tie in the Eastern Conference.

Cheechoo, Thornton lead Sharks by Ducks (AP)
When Jonathan Cheechoo scored his third goal all the way from San Jose's end of the ice in the closing seconds, the resulting avalanche of hats put a fitting cap on two incredible weeks for the Sharks. They're headed to the playoffs with the Western Conference's No. 5 seed after eight consecutive victories -- and there's a good chance they'll take two scoring trophies along with them.

Lightning keep playoff hopes alive (AP)
The Tampa Bay Lightning aren't counting on outside help to make the NHL playoffs. "We have to do it ourselves," coach John Tortorella said Saturday night, "and there's nothing wrong with doing it that way." The defending Stanley Cup champions got a goal from Martin St. Louis with 10.7 seconds remaining in overtime to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 and move a step closer to clinching one of the...

Miller, Sabres get 1st shutout of season (AP)
Ryan Miller provided the one thing missing in a season in which the playoff-bound Buffalo Sabres have already set a franchise record for victories. With win No. 51, Miller made 31 saves to record his and the team's first shutout of the year in a 6-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. "It wasn't real high on my list," Miller said, of recording only his second career NHL shutout.

Cujo's shutout ends Coyotes season (AP)
Curtis Joseph may be less than two weeks from turning 39 years old, but the Phoenix Coyotes goaltender appears far from finished. In his final audition before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, Joseph made 40 saves for his fourth shutout and the Coyotes ended their season with a 3-0 victory over the St.

Kings win in Robitaille's home finale (AP)
Luc Robitaille couldn't believe his eyes when he walked into Staples Center for the final time as an NHL player. Everywhere he looked in the empty arena, there was evidence of what he has meant to the Los Angeles Kings and their fans. Stretched around both ends of the rink, there were banners proclaiming "Luuuuuc!" His familiar No.

Thrashers winning, playoff hopes fading (AP)
The Atlanta Thrashers have never made the playoffs. Unless everything falls into place the last two days of the regular season, they'll be sitting home again. It would be a bitter blow for this 7-year-old franchise, which appeared to be one of the most improved teams after the lockout and played admirably down the stretch.

Canucks end regular season with OT win (AP)
The Vancouver Canucks ended their disappointing season on a rare high note. Anson Carter tied it with 42.4 seconds left in regulation and Brendan Morrison scored with 36.6 seconds left in overtime in Vancouver's 4-3 victory over Colorado on Saturday night. Todd Bertuzzi and Markus Naslund also scored to help the Canucks win for the second time in the final eight games, a streak that saw their...

Nashville Observations
GLADEVILLE, Tenn. – The Busch Series is every bit as exciting as Nextel Cup, but you couldn't tell by the attendance.

Harvick pads series lead with victory in Pepsi 300 (AP)
Nextel Cup driver Kevin Harvick raced to his first NASCAR Busch Series victory of the year Saturday, taking the lead with 52 laps to go and holding off teammate Clint Bowyer after a late caution in the Pepsi 300.

NASCAR's Kyle Busch pulled over for reckless driving (AP)
NASCAR driver Kyle Busch said Friday that he was ticketed for reckless driving after he "chirped" his tires while pulling out of a gas station and into a fast-food restaurant next door. Busch received the ticket Wednesday night in a Richmond suburb. The misdemeanor charge carries up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine and a driver's license suspension, said Sgt.

Edwards calls shakeup way to spark McMurray's team (AP)
Carl Edwards sees Jack Roush's decision to shift crew chief Bob Osborne to Jamie McMurray's car as a move to spark McMurray's season, not his own.

Roush shakes up Edwards and McMurray's struggling teams (AP)
Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray got new crew chiefs Thursday in a Roush Racing shakeup designed to jump-start their struggling teams.

Notes: Softer bumpers coming at Talladega (AP)
NASCAR is hoping that a new, less-rigid bumper configuration on its Nextel Cup cars will cut down on the bump...

Stewart worries about catching leaders, unplugging toilets (AP)
FORT WORTH, Texas – Tony Stewart climbs fences. He also helps design them. The two-time and reigning Nextel...

Roush ``Gong Show'' winner preparing to take over for Martin (AP)
Todd Kluever finally got on NASCAR's fast track by winning the ``Gong Show.''

NASCAR to reprimand Biffle's girlfriend (AP)
Greg Biffle's girlfriend faces a reprimand from NASCAR about her pit-road confrontation with Kurt Busch's fiance after the two drivers wrecked at Texas Motor Speedway.

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