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Nowitzki Helps Mavs Pull Away in 4th (AP)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki of Germany (41) shoots against Memphis Grizzlies' Jake Tsakalidis (12) of Greece iin the first quarter of their NBA playoff basketball game in Dallas, Sunday, April 23, 2006. (AP Photo/LM OteroAP - Dirk Nowitzki will do everything in his power to make sure the Dallas Mavericks avoid another playoffs disappointment.


Balanced Pistons Attack Overwhelms Bucks (AP)
Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (32) shoots over the defense of Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Redd during the first quarter in game 1 of their first-round NBA basketball game at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., Sunday, April 23, 2006. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)AP - Exactly 10 months after losing Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Rasheed Wallace and the Detroit Pistons opened these playoffs Sunday like they're itching to get right back.


Hernandez Critical of Female Trainer (AP)
AP - Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez's comments that women "don't belong in the dugout" drew criticism Sunday from Padres manager Bruce Bochy, who supported the female member of his training staff and said he was surprised her gender even came up.

Uribe Hits 2 Homers to Pace White Sox (AP)
Chicago White Sox's Juan Uribe watches as his second home run of the day clears the left field fence during the sixth inning of baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Sunday, April 23, 2006, in Chicago. The White Sox won the game 7-3. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)AP - The way Paul Konerko sees it, there is no reason to be surprised. The Chicago White Sox are hitting as advertised.


Maddux Excels As Cubs Top Cardinals (AP)
Chicago Cubs starter Greg Maddux sets to deliver his pitch in the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis Sunday, April 23, 2006. Maddux and the Cubs defeated the Cardinals 7-3. (AP Photo/James A. Finley)AP - Greg Maddux is turning back the clock for a team missing its offensive star and two of its best pitchers. The four-time NL Cy Young Award winner, who turned 40 earlier this month, threw seven scoreless innings on Sunday to help the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-3. He has won his first four starts for the first time in his career, to go with a miniscule 0.99 ERA.


Arrington Supports His Agent in Court (AP)
Washington Redskin's LaVar Arrington stares at the clock as time runs out for the Washington Redskins during the fourth quarter of their NFL divisional playoff football game with the Seahawks in Seattle, in this Jan. 14, 2006 photo. Arrington has agreed to sign with the New York Giants, giving him a chance to play twice a year against his former team and helping fill a huge gap at linebacker for the NFC East champions. Arrington agreed to a $49 million, seven-year deal late Friday, according to Kevin Poston, one of his agents. Poston didn't say how much was guaranteed.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)AP - LaVar Arrington showed up in court to support his agent, who is challenging a two-year suspension over the handling of the linebacker's contract extension with the Washington Redskins in 2003.


Pistons' defense smothers Bucks (Reuters)
Milwaukee Bucks Michael Redd (L) defends against Detroit Pistons Tayshaun Prince during second quarter of Game One of their NBA quarterfinals in Auburn Hills April 23, 2006. (Hans Deryk/Reuters)Reuters - The Detroit Pistons beat the Milwaukee Bucks 92-74 on Sunday, taking the first game of their NBA playoff series on the strength of their smothering defense.


Betemit's 3-Run Homer Picks Up Braves (AP)
Washington Nationals' shortstop, Royce Clayton tags out Atlanta Braves' Wilson Betemit at second base in the 4th inning of the baseball game, Sunday April 23, 2006, in Washington.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)AP - Braves manager Bobby Cox hasn't seemed too concerned about missing three starting infielders. The subs showed why Sunday night.


Villa's Hat Trick Helps Valencia Win (AP)
Valencia's David Villa, right, shoots the ball past Athletic Bilbao's goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia, left, during their Spanish league soccer match at San Mames stadium in Bilbao northern Spain, Sunday April 23, 2006. Villa scored a hattrick with his team winning the game 3-0. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)AP - David Villa's hat trick in the last eight minutes gave Valencia a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday and maintained the club's faint chances of winning the Spanish title.


Giguere Returns, Leads Ducks Past Flames (AP)
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, right, makes a save on a shot from Calgary Flames' Jarome Iginla during the second period of game two of the NHL Western Conference quarter final in Calgary, Canada, Sunday, April 23, 2006.(AP Photo/Jeff McIntosh,CP)AP - Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 22 saves in his return to Anaheim's lineup Sunday night, helping the Mighty Ducks pull even with the Calgary Flames with a 4-3 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference series.


Yahoo! Sports report: Reggie Bush's family home
The Heisman winner's family moved out of a house amid USC's request for a Pac-10 investigation.

LB Lavar Arrington signs with Giants (AP)
LaVar Arrington signed with the New York Giants on Saturday, giving him a chance to play twice a year against his former team and helping fill a huge gap at linebacker for the NFC East champions. Arrington agreed to a $49 million, seven-year deal late Friday, according to Kevin Poston, one of his agents.

Marcus Vick looking for NFL chance (AP)
Marcus Vick was prepared for all the extra scrutiny, knowing it came with the territory after his college years were marred by roguish, out-of-control behavior. He was ready to fess up to his mistakes, show everyone he had changed. Still, he couldn't help but grimace at the inevitable whispers, the hushed comparisons to other Guys Gone Wild.

Jets RB Houston OK after car accident (AP)
New York Jets running back Cedric Houston was injured in a one-car accident late Friday night. He was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where he was treated for injuries that were not considered life threatening and released. The former Tennessee standout was a passenger in a car that went up an embankment on a rural stretch of Interstate 40, about 50 miles west of Knoxville, and...

Bears ink CB Manning to offer sheet (AP)
The Chicago Bears signed restricted free-agent defensive back Ricky Manning Jr. to an offer sheet Friday, with his agent saying the deal is worth up to $21 million over five years. The deal includes about $7.5 million in guaranteed money in the first year of the contract, agent Jim Ivler said. Manning spent his first three seasons with the Carolina Panthers, who eliminated the Bears from the...

Mayor: No money for new Chargers stadium (AP)
Cash-strapped San Diego doesn't have the money to help the Chargers build a new stadium, Mayor Jerry Sanders said Friday, opening the door for Southern California's only NFL team to leave the city it has called home for 45 years. Sanders said he plans to ask the City Council to amend the Chargers' lease to allow the team to begin looking at sites elsewhere in San Diego County before the end of the...

NFL hires firm to help find new commish (AP)
NFL owners hired a Los Angeles-based firm to assist with the search to replace retiring commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The eight-owner committee chose Korn/Ferry International to help find a new commissioner. Tagliabue hopes to retire in July. The firm will begin the process by interviewing all 32 owners, then make regular reports, including one at the league meetings in Denver on May 23-24.

Chargers LB Steve Foley arrested (AP)
Linebacker Steve Foley of the San Diego Chargers was arrested on charges of resisting arrest on Friday after police said he scuffled with officers. Foley also was booked on charges of battery on a police officer and public drunkenness. One of three officers involved in the struggle with the 6-foot-4, 265 pound linebacker suffered minor injuries, said police spokesman Gary Hassen.

LeBron's rave reviews
LeBron James quickly shook any playoff jitters to put on a show that Magic Johnson could appreciate.

Johnson lifts Pacers over Nets 90-88 (AP)
Anthony Johnson was nothing more than Jason Kidd's backup when he played for New Jersey. On Sunday he backed up his new reputation -- as one of the Indiana Pacers' most dependable players. Johnson made two free throws with 0.9 seconds left and played tough defense on Kidd, and the Pacers beat the Nets 90-88 to take Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Kobe struggles, Suns hold off Lakers (AP)
Kobe Bryant didn't score, the Phoenix Suns couldn't run. Nothing was quite as it was supposed to be Sunday when the Suns escaped with a 107-102 victory over Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. "We certainly didn't play very well," said Suns point guard Steve Nash. "We look at that as a positive. We didn't play well and we found a way to win, and we've got a lot of improvement to make." Tim Thomas had...

Pistons hold Redd to 11, top Bucks 92-74 (AP)
Exactly 10 months after losing Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Rasheed Wallace and the Detroit Pistons opened these playoffs Sunday like they're itching to get right back. "This is what we've been looking forward to all year," Wallace said. Wallace scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half and Richard Hamilton had 21 to lead Detroit to a 92-74 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their...

Nowitzki, Terry ready to lead Mavs (AP)
The Dallas Mavericks weren't about to give away their home-court advantage so easily this year. Having opened last year's playoffs with two home losses, the Mavericks came out strong from the start this time, shredding the NBA's stingiest defense with 60 first-half points and getting key baskets when they needed them the rest of the way in a 103-93 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in the opener...

Nets' Carter has awful shooting game (AP)
Unless Vince Carter was dunking, he missed just about everything in the New Jersey Nets' playoff opener against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. It was so bad, the All-Star guard could only laugh at himself during and after the Pacers' 90-88 win at the Continental Airlines Arena in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series.

James leads Cavs to win in playoff debut (AP)
Hollywood arrived a few days ago as a film crew began shooting scenes for the next "Spiderman" sequel. On Saturday, East 9th Street was closed to accommodate the production. One block away, nothing could stop the city's resident superhero. LeBron James soared. Cleveland's young star had a dazzling NBA playoff debut, making history with a triple-double in a 97-86 series opening win over the Washington...

Kings hatching plan to slow speedy Spurs (AP)
The Sacramento Kings schemed in secret Sunday. Really. Coach Rick Adelman pulled a black curtain across the entrance to the AT&T Center floor before the Kings' lengthy practice, so only his players and staff were privy to any of Sacramento's plan for avoiding another humiliating playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Clippers cautious despite Game 1 victory (AP)
Emotions were slightly mixed for the Los Angeles Clippers a day after their first postseason victory in 13 years. There was the good feeling that accompanies winning, of course. But there was also some discomfort that comes with blowing a 10-point lead in the last 4 minutes. "I'm not happy with the way we played late in the game.

Heat lead Bulls 1-0, but face questions (AP)
Standing outside their posh hotel in a tony suburb, with waterfalls sparkling in the Sunday afternoon sunshine and a breeze rustling palm trees, the Chicago Bulls couldn't have looked more relaxed. A few miles up the road, the Miami Heat were a team with plenty on their collective minds. Sure, the Heat escaped Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series with an 111-106 victory over the...

The thrill is back
Hockey fans rejoice. The best part of the NHL season is finally here – the playoffs.

St. Louis, Tampa even series with Sens (AP)
Martin St. Louis spent much of the regular season searching for the form that made him the MVP in 2003-04. With Tampa Bay trying to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole to start the playoffs, St. Louis found his scoring touch. The 5-foot-9 forward's second goal of the game put the Lightning ahead to stay in a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night, evening the Eastern Conference series at 1-1.

Giguere returns, helps Ducks top Flames (AP)
Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 22 saves in his return to Anaheim's lineup Sunday night, helping the Mighty Ducks pull even with the Calgary Flames with a 4-3 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference series. Giguere, the Conn Smythe winner as the playoff MVP in 2003 when Anaheim reached the Stanley Cup final, sat out the Mighty Ducks' series-opening overtime loss Friday night because of a...

Oilers rally to even series with Wings (AP)
The Edmonton Oilers are using a passive trap to stay with Detroit. Just when they seemed to lull the Red Wings to sleep, the Oilers picked the right times to be aggressive in Game 2. Brad Winchester and Fernando Pisani scored less than a minute apart late in the second period to rally Edmonton to a 4-2 victory over the top-seeded Red Wings on Sunday that tied the first-round playoff series.

Sharks rebound, even series with Preds (AP)
The San Jose Sharks kept their cool with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the house. Not even a reminder to be careful helped the Nashville Predators. The Sharks cleaned up their act after giving up four power-play goals in the playoff opener, and Jonathan Cheechoo had a goal and two assists as San Jose beat the Predators 3-0 on Sunday to even the first-round series in the Western Conference.

Jagr might miss Game 2 for Rangers (AP)
Jaromir Jagr got only as far as the trainer's room Sunday after leaving the ice with his left arm limp a day earlier in the New York Rangers' playoff opener. His teammates practiced without him and there was no immediate indication that the All-Star who scored 123 points this season would be available to face the New Jersey Devils in Game 2 on Monday night.

Hurricanes G Gerber staying confident (AP)
Martin Gerber remains confident in his abilities, and the rest of the players in the Carolina Hurricanes' locker room feel the same. His coach? Well, Peter Laviolette certainly has faith in his goaltender, even though he stopped short of committing to start Gerber in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference series against Montreal.

Offense is Flyers' focus after loss (AP)
Philadelphia Flyers forward Sami Kapanen hit the post in overtime. Peter Forsberg missed an open net. So did Mike Knuble, his shot smothered by Buffalo defenseman Jay McKee. While goaltender Robert Esche did his part, stopping a career-high 55 shots, Philadelphia's offense has to improve if the Flyers intend to rebound after losing the opening game of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff...

Avalanche knock off Stars 5-2 in Game 1 (AP)
Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett leaned wearily against the wall after practice Sunday, occasionally tapping his skates on the concrete. It had been a long, long 24 hours. After Dallas opened the Western Conference playoffs with a 5-2 loss to the seventh-seeded Colorado Avalanche on Saturday afternoon, Tippett spent much of the night watching the film.

Flyers' Umberger woozy after heavy hit (AP)
Rookie R.J. Umberger was up and walking around in the Philadelphia dressing room after being knocked woozy by a tremendous hit in the Flyers' 3-2 double-overtime playoff loss to Buffalo on Saturday night. Although Umberger wasn't made available to reporters, coach Ken Hitchcock said the forward is fine and "good to go." Umberger was hurt 12 minutes into the first overtime of the playoff...

Phoenix Observations
Kevin Harvick's audition for his next gig couldn't be going much better.

Desert sweep has Harvick happy again (AP)
His nickname is ``Happy Harvick,'' a moniker earned early in his career when things rarely went wrong.

Busch brothers run into trouble again in Arizona (SportsTicker)
AVONDALE, Arizona (Ticker) - When it comes to the Busch Brothers latest weekend in Phoenix, Kevin Harvick said it best after he won Saturday night's NASCAR Nextel Cup Subway Fresh 500.

Harvick grabs lead late, wins NASCAR Subway Fresh 500 (SportsTicker)

Harvick perfect in Phoenix (AP)
If Kevin Harvick had any doubts about the direction his race team was headed, they were eased with a dominating performance in the desert that ended a 38-race winless drought.

Stewart sent to the back of the field after tire mishap (AP)
A rare mistake by Tony Stewart's championship race team cost him a prime starting spot Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway.

NASCAR Nextel Notebook for Friday, April 21 (SportsTicker)
AVONDALE, Arizona (Ticker) - Kevin Harvick is in a position to cash in.

Harvick wins NASCAR Busch Bashas' Supermarkets 200 (SportsTicker)

Harvick makes it two straight in Busch Series with PIR victory (AP)
Kevin Harvick won his second consecutive Busch Series race Friday night, holding on through several late cautions and an overtime finish at Phoenix International Raceway.

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