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Wizards Lock Up No. 5 Seed, Cavs Next (AP)
Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, right, shouts instructions to his team as forward Caron Butler looks on in the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, April 19, 2006, in Auburn Hills, Mich. Butler led all players with 33 points in their 96-80 win. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)AP - The Washington Wizards earned the first crack at LeBron James, and the rest of the Eastern Conference playoff picture fell into shape Wednesday night on the final night of the regular season.


Gonzaga's Morrison Declares for NBA Draft (AP)
Gonzaga's Adam Morrison looks on during a news conference where he announced his intentions to enter the NBA draft at the McCarthy Center in Spokane, Wash. Wednesday, April 19, 2006. The 6-foot-8 floppy-haired, mustachioed forward, who led Division I in scoring last season at 28.1 points per game, is a diabetic and said uncertainty over his future health prospects was a factor in his decision  (AP Photo/Amanda Smith)AP - Gonzaga All-America forward Adam Morrison declared for the NBA draft Wednesday, passing up his senior season for a chance to be a lottery pick.


Nelson, Singh Named to Golf Hall of Fame (AP)
Larry Nelson holds the trophy after winning the Bank One Senior Championship in Dallas, in this Sept. 24, 2000 photo. Larry Nelson, overlooked as a Ryder Cup captain and often forgotten despite his remarkable journey from Vietnam War veteran to three-time major champion, finally got his due Wednesday April 19, 2006, when he was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame.  (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)AP - Larry Nelson, overlooked as a Ryder Cup captain and often forgotten despite his remarkable journey from Vietnam War veteran to three-time major champion, finally got his due Wednesday when he was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame.


Attorney: No Plea Deal for Duke Player (AP)
Duke lacrosse player Collin Finnerty, left, and his attorney Bill Cotter appear before a judge in a courtroom at the Durham County Judicial Building in Durham, N.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2006. Finnerty was arrested and charged with first degree forceable rape, first degree sexual assault and kidnapping in the case involving an exotic dancer who allegedly was raped at a party thrown by members of the Duke Lacrosse team.(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)AP - An attorney for one of two Duke University lacrosse players charged with raping a stripper at a team party on Wednesday strongly rejected any sort of deal with prosecutors, proclaiming again his client's innocence.


Tiger to Take Break From PGA Tour (AP)
Tiger Woods kisses the 2002 U.S. Open Golf Championship trophy after winning at the Black Course of Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y., Sunday, June 16, 2002. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)AP - Tiger Woods will take time off from the PGA Tour while his father battles cancer, the world's No. 1 player said Thursday.


AP Blog: Belichick Always Coy About Draft (AP)
FILE ** Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk (47) sacks Miami of Ohio's quarterback Josh Betts during the second quarter at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, in this Sept. 3, 2005 photo. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)AP - With the NFL draft just a little over a week away, AP sportswriters will be filing periodic, behind-the-scenes reports as 32 teams prepare for the influx of college talent turning pro:


Seattle's Allen sets NBA single-season 3-point record (AFP)
Ray Allen #34 of the Seattle SuperSonics reacts after hitting his sixth three-point shot of the game against the Denver Nuggets. Allen broke the National Basketball Association's single-season record for 3-pointers as he led the SuperSonics to a 109-98 win over Denver on the final day of the regular season(AFP/Getty Images/Otto Greule)AFP - Ray Allen broke the National Basketball Association's single-season record for 3-pointers as he led the SuperSonics to a 109-98 win over Denver on the final day of the regular season.


Everett Caps Mariners' Rally Past Rangers (AP)
Seattle Mariners' Carl Everett points up as he rounds the bases after hitting the game winning three run home run on a pitch from Texas Rangers' C.J. Wilson during the ninth inning of their Major League Baseball game in Seattle Wendesday, April 19, 2006. The Mariners won 9-6. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)AP - Carl Everett punctuated the first signature hit of his Seattle career by triumphantly raising both hands skyward well before his game-winning home run clanged off the facing of the second deck beyond left field.


Arsenal Go a Leg Up on Villarreal (AP)
Villarreal's Jose Mari, left, challenges Arsenal's Kolo Toure, right, during their Champions League semi-final first leg soccer match at Arsenal's Highbury stadium in London, Wednesday April 19, 2006.  Arsenal won 1-0.  (AP Photo/Fernando Bustamante)AP - Kolo Toure scored his first goal of the season in the 41st minute Wednesday night, giving Arsenal a 1-0 win over Villarreal in the first leg of the European Champions League semifinals.


Hockey Today (AP)
AP - No games scheduled. The Stanley Cup playoffs begin Friday.

Chief Justice
No offensive tackle in the draft – not even D'Brickashaw Ferguson – can match the skills of Winston Justice.

Dolphins to get Harrington, agent says (AP)
Detroit Lions quarterback Joey Harrington has decided to sign with the Miami Dolphins, his agent said Wednesday, giving the team a backup to new starter Daunte Culpepper. With Culpepper facing an uncertain timetable in his recovery from a serious knee injury, Harrington might be Miami's No. 1 quarterback when the season begins.

49ers acquire 22nd pick in draft (AP)
The San Francisco 49ers added a second first-round pick in next week's NFL draft by trading their second- and third-round picks to Denver on Wednesday for the 22nd overall selection. The 49ers, who already have the No. 6 pick after last season's 4-12 finish, sent the 37th and 68th overall choices to the Broncos, giving San Francisco two first-round picks for the first time since 2000.

Vikings S Willie Offord arrested (AP)
Vikings safety Willie Offord was charged with drunken driving after being stopped early Tuesday for speeding and failing to signal when he changed lanes. Offord was charged with misdemeanor fourth-degree drunken driving, Lt. Mark Peterson of the State Patrol said Wednesday. Peterson said he had not received a report with Offord's blood-alcohol level, but that the charge means it would have been less...

Giants bring back LB Brandon Short (AP)
The New York Giants added depth at linebacker, signing Brandon Short on Wednesday. Short spent the first four years of his career with the Giants before playing the last two seasons with the Carolina Panthers. "The Giants have always been a class organization, and I'm happy to be back and be a part of it," Short said.

Union: Titans deny banning McNair (AP)
The Tennessee Titans deny they breached their contract with Steve McNair by not allowing the quarterback to work out on their property, a union spokesman said Monday. The Titans defended themselves in a response to a grievance filed on McNair's behalf by the NFL Players Association on April 7. The team counsel had declined to discuss the Titans' answer for why they told McNair on April 3 that they...

New Cardinals stadium near completion (AP)
Looking something like a giant space ship amid the farmland at the western end of suburban Phoenix, the $450 million new home of the Arizona Cardinals is nearing completion. Michael Bidwill, Cardinals vice president and general counsel, gave the Arizona chapter of The Associated Press Sports Editors a tour of the spectacular building Tuesday, calling it "the most technologically advanced sports...

Chargers sign safety Andre Lott (AP)
Safety Andre Lott signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Chargers on Monday. "Andre has four years of valuable experience on the NFL level," general manager A.J. Smith said in a statement. "He's healthy now and looking for a second chance. I'm excited to see what he can do." Lott cracked the Washington Redskins' starting lineup for three games in 2004 before suffering a season-ending pectoral...

And the winners are …
It's time to open up the envelopes and find out who deserves the end-of-the-season hardware.

Wizards claim fifth seed, will face Cavs (AP)
Eddie Jordan is ready for a deep breath. The Wizards won their final three games of the regular season, including a 96-80 win over the apathetic Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, and earned a first-round playoff date with LeBron James. "I don't even want to think about Cleveland tonight," Jordan said.

Kobe is scoring champ, Lakers finish 7th (AP)
Kobe Bryant did his best this season to turn around the Los Angeles Lakers. He hopes what he and the team accomplished is just the beginning. Bryant scored 27 of his 35 points in the first half to officially win his first scoring title with the NBA's highest scoring average in 19 years, and the Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets 115-95 Wednesday night to clinch seventh place in the Western...

Brown returns, Knicks avoid 60th loss (AP)
With little fanfare and nothing to say about either his future or his stomach problem, Larry Brown returned to coaching on Wednesday night. Brown, who missed the previous three games with a stomach ailment, let Herb Williams do much of the work in the season finale at the Continental Airlines Arena. The Knicks avoided their first 60-loss season with a 90-83 win over the Atlantic Division champion...

Iverson, Webber sorry about late arrival (AP)
Allen Iverson and Chris Webber apologized Wednesday for their actions a night earlier, when they didn't arrive to the arena until just before tip-off and then didn't sit on the bench during Philadelphia's victory over New Jersey. The players were on the bench in the first quarter for the 76ers' game at Charlotte, although Iverson returned to the locker room in the second quarter.

Pacers wrap up No. 6 seed in East (AP)
Underachievers for much of the season, the Indiana Pacers look dangerous heading into the playoffs. The Pacers beat the Orlando Magic 89-83 on Wednesday night for their fifth win in six games. Indiana (41-41) will open the postseason Sunday afternoon at Atlantic Division champion New Jersey. Jermaine O'Neal had 24 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks to help the Pacers claim the No.

Bulls grab seventh seed, will face Heat (AP)
The Chicago Bulls pushed aside the Toronto Raptors to set up a first-round playoff series with the Miami Heat. A team that appeared headed to the lottery not too long ago completed its charge into the playoffs, finishing the regular season with a 127-106 victory on Wednesday night to grab the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.

James sits, but Cavs get 50th win (AP)
This milestone was almost meaningless for the Cavaliers. To them, victory No. 50 doesn't have the significance of Game No. 83. Cleveland, once an NBA wasteland, is back in the playoffs. With LeBron James resting up for his postseason debut, Cleveland concluded its regular season with a 100-99 victory Wednesday night over the Hawks, giving the Cavaliers 50 wins for just the fourth time in franchise...

Drugs, guns in car in Iverson's name (AP)
A relative of Allen Iverson was one of three juveniles arrested after police found drugs and guns in a car registered to the Philadelphia 76ers star, authorities said. Authorities believe Iverson, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, may have given or loaned the car, a 2005 Ford Mustang, to the relative.

Spurs set franchise record with 63rd win (AP)
Setting the franchise record for wins in a regular season was never a goal of the San Antonio Spurs. They fought hard for it anyway against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. Brent Barry scored 19 points and Michael Finley added 17 in the Spurs' 89-87 victory. San Antonio finished the regular season 63-19, topping the 1994-95 team, which finished 62-20.

Power rankings
Hockey's second season begins Friday, but is anyone sure what it will look like?

Esche will start for Flyers in playoffs (AP)
The Philadelphia Flyers need Robert Esche to block shots better than he predicts. Less than a month ago, Esche said rookie Antero Niittymaki would be the Flyers' starting goaltender in the playoffs. On Wednesday, coach Ken Hitchcock gave the job to Esche. Considering Esche played seven of the last nine regular-season games, the decision was no surprise.

Wild Atlantic finish puts Devils on top (AP)
Michael Nylander sat slumped at his stall and stared ahead with a blank look on his face. The gaze was one of disappointment and shock. And who could blame the New York forward. He and the Rangers had just dropped their fifth straight game and fell from the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference all the way to sixth in a matter of moments.

Hurricanes slumping into postseason (AP)
The best season in franchise history ended with a thud for the Carolina Hurricanes: four losses in their final five games, including one to Buffalo in the finale that cost them the top playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Not exactly the best way to prepare for the postseason. "It's tough to lose any time, but come tomorrow, nobody is going to be talking about this game," Carolina captain Rod...

Thornton, Cheechoo take scoring titles (AP)
Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo have been teammates for just 58 games with the San Jose Sharks, and their potent partnership already has earned them two NHL trophies. The Sharks' dynamic duo clinched hockey's top two scoring titles Tuesday night when Jaromir Jagr picked up just one assist in the New York Rangers' season-ending 5-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Crosby highlights Pens' woeful season (AP)
There's never been a Pittsburgh Penguins season like this, not even close. They've had bad seasons in their 39-year existence, for sure -- just check their early 1980s record before Mario Lemieux arrived. And this is not the first time they have gone four consecutive seasons without making the playoffs.

Ovechkin offers hope for Caps' future (AP)
Alex Ovechkin arrived for the Washington Capitals' season-ending meetings Wednesday wearing a black T-shirt, camouflage pants, a light gray coat with horizontal stripes and white bicycle shoes with red trim. Even if he didn't have a standout season, Ovechkin still would stand out. The Capitals expect him to be noticeable for years to come.

Offseason of change coming for Islanders (AP)
The New York Islanders skated off for the final time, hanging their heads following a loss reminiscent of so many others throughout a disappointing season. After three straight postseason appearances, the Islanders fell out of the playoff race long before their 40th loss Tuesday that concluded their most tumultuous season in a decade.

Tkachuk wants to help Blues rebuild (AP)
Subtraction was the game plan last season for the St. Louis Blues, who dumped talent and finished last overall in the NHL. A pressing decision regarding star forward Keith Tkachuk could show if the franchise is back to adding talent again. Blues ownership, present and future, will be involved in a meeting Thursday in New York with Tkachuk and his agent.

Kings fire GM Taylor, coaching staff (AP)
President and general manager Dave Taylor was among those dismissed by the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday during a major housecleaning. The moves came after the Kings stumbled down the stretch of the season and failed to make the playoffs for the third consecutive year. The entire coaching staff, including interim head coach John Torchetti, will not have their contracts renewed.

Trading Paint: Looking ahead
The Car of Tomorrow is coming, but not all NASCAR fans are happy about it.

Drivers get their "Big Chance" (AP)
There's ``American Idol'' for wannabe divas and rock stars. ``The Apprentice'' looks for a few good tycoons-in-waiting.

Martin thrilled with Lowe's repaving (AP)
If there's anything wrong with the freshly paved surface at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Mark Martin would be the driver to find it.

Graves steps down as team manager, Stremme gets new crew chief in Ganassi shakeup (AP)
Andy Graves, the first employee hired by car owner Chip Ganassi when he started his NASCAR operation, resigned as team manager Tuesday as part of a shakeup within the three-car operation.

Roush trio, Penske drivers among top names needing to get on the gas -- quickly (AP)
Matt Kenseth proved last year that a driver can have a horrible start to the season and still recover in time to make the Chase for the championship. Stuck near the bottom of the standings, he used a frantic summer push to put himself back into contention.

Smith, first lady of racing, dies at 89 (AP)
Louise Smith, the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999, has died. She was 89. Smith, remembered as "the first lady of racing," was on the NASCAR circuit from 1945-56. Known for her fearless style, she won 38 modified events. "It was hard on me," she told The Associated Press in an interview in 1998.

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.

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