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Texans Put End to Intrigue, Sign Williams (AP)
North Carolina State's Mario Williams (9) closes in on Richmond quarterback Stacy Tutt (3) during the third quarter Saturday, Sept. 4, 2004, in Raleigh, N.C. N.C.  The Houston Texans got the NFL draft off to a stunning start a day earlier, bypassing Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and instead signing defensive end Williams with the No. 1 pick Friday night, April 28, 2006.  (AP Photo/ Karl DeBlaker,file)AP - There is now a clear-cut No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. And it's not Reggie Bush. The Houston Texans opted instead for defensive end Mario Williams, pulling one of the biggest shockers in recent history. They signed the North Carolina State standout to a six-year, $54 million contract, with $26.5 million guaranteed Friday night, hours before the start of the draft Saturday.


LeBron Gives Cavs 97-96 Win Over Wizards (AP)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) falls away as he shoots against Washington Wizards' Gilbert Arenas (0) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball playoff game Friday, April 28, 2006, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)AP - A bit battered and definitely unbowed, LeBron James dribbled the ball while the closing seconds of his NBA postseason road debut ticked away. Everyone in the building knew who'd be taking the next shot. Yet there was no stopping James.


Reds Continue Stellar Month, Beat Oswalt (AP)
Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips steals second base ahead of the tag by Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, top, in the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 28, 2006, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)AP - It seems that everything has gone right for the Cincinnati Reds in April, even beating their longtime nemesis Roy Oswalt. Cincinnati sits atop the NL Central and has already matched the club record for wins in the month with 16. With a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night, the Reds finally beat Oswalt.


Wickman and Mench Both Extend Streaks (AP)
Cleveland Indians' Bob Wickman pitches to Texas Rangers' Hank Blaylock in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 28, 2006, in Cleveland. Wickman tied a career high with his 21st consecutive save since Aug. 6 and matched Doug Jones for the Cleveland club record with 129.  (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)AP - Kevin Mench had already extended his streak. Bob Wickman had to get the better of the Texas Rangers slugger to extend his.


Stars Beat Avalanche, Avoid Elimination (AP)
Dallas Stars right wing Bill Guerin, right, swings at the puck as it flies in the air in front of Colorado Avalanche goalie Jose Theodore during the third period of the Stars' 4-1 victory in Game 4 of the teams' NHL hockey Western Conference first-round playoff series in Denver on Friday, April 28, 2006. The series returns to Dallas for Game 5 on Sunday with the Avalanche in the lead, three games to one. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)AP - The Dallas Stars finally showed up in the playoffs, and just in time. Not only that, but they avoided an early exit with a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche by playing 60 minutes of desperation-fueled hockey after two straight overtime losses in which they blew the lead in the closing minutes of the third period.


Texans Sign Mario Williams With No. 1 Pick (AP)
Top NFL Draft prospect Mario Williams, of North Carolina Sate, responds to questions during a news interview Thursday April 27, 2006 in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)AP - The Houston Texans knew Reggie Bush was the popular choice as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. In the end, they decided Mario Williams was the right one.


NBA Today (AP)
AP - Los Angeles Clippers at Denver (10:30 p.m. EDT). Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets try to even their series with the Clippers.

Former MLB Pitcher Steve Howe Killed (AP)
Former major league pitcher Steve Howe, left, is led by police from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in this June 24, 1996 photo. Howe, released by the New York Yankees two days priot, was arrested on charges of carrying a loaded gun at John F.  Kennedy International Airport.  Howe, the relief pitcher whose promising career was derailed by drug and alcohol abuse, died Friday, April 287, 2006, when his pickup truck rolled over in Coachella, Calif. He was 48. (AP Photo/Bruce Cotler)AP - Steve Howe, the relief pitcher whose promising career was derailed by cocaine and alcohol abuse, died Friday when his pickup truck rolled over in Coachella, Calif. He was 48.


Dempsey Hopes for World Cup Spot (AP)
New England Revolution soccer player Clint Dempsey practices in Foxborough, Mass., March 27, 2006. The rising soccer star punched his captain in practice last month, was suspended for two weeks and was left off the U.S. national team for a game in Europe. On Tuesday, May 2, 2006, Dempsey very well could hear some good news--that he will play in his first World Cup this summer in Germany. (AP Photo/ Robert E. Klein)AP - Clint Dempsey dribbled slowly up the left side, then accelerated past a defender and kicked the ball.


Hockey Today (AP)
AP - Tampa Bay at Ottawa (7 p.m. EDT). The Senators can close out the defending Stanley Cup champion-Lightning with a Game 5 win at home.

The Bush recount
NEW YORK – The Texans' decision not to draft Reggie Bush first overall could shake up the top 10.

Texans snub Bush, sign DE Mario Williams (AP)
The Houston Texans knew Reggie Bush was the popular choice as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. In the end, they decided Mario Williams was the right one. The Texans signed the North Carolina State defensive end on Friday night, taking all the suspense out of the beginning of Saturday's NFL draft, and adding a disruptive pass rusher to an oft-struggling defense.

Ravens might not stay put at No. 13 (AP)
When it comes time for the Baltimore Ravens to make their first selection in the NFL draft Saturday, general manager Ozzie Newsome might consider trading the 13th overall pick to secure quantity over quality. By moving down in the first round, Newsome could conceivably fill two holes instead of one. "Our trade-down scenario is always if there are three or four guys we really like," Newsome said.

QB Young is scouts' ultimate conundrum (AP)
Nobody quite knows what to make of Vince Young. A quarterback? For sure. The best one on this weekend's draft board? Well, it's funny how a player's stock can rise and fall in the span of weeks and months. The Texas quarterback, one of the best "athletes" in the draft, once struggled so much with the Longhorns that some felt he'd be better off at another position.

Packers, Charles Woodson agree to terms (AP)
The Green Bay Packers made their first major splash in the free-agent market this offseason, agreeing to terms with defensive back Charles Woodson on Wednesday. Woodson's agent, Kevin Poston, said the Packers agreed to a seven-year deal for $52.7 million, including $10.5 million in the first year of the contract.

Bills sign RB Anthony Thomas (AP)
The Buffalo Bills signed free agent running back Anthony Thomas on Friday, a day before the NFL draft. The signing reunites Thomas with new Bills coach Dick Jauron. The two spent three years in Chicago together when Jauron coached the Bears from 1999-2003. Contract terms were not immediately disclosed.

Favre returning to Packers (AP)
Brett Favre certainly isn't the first star quarterback to have a difficult time deciding when the time is right to step aside. Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath are considered prime examples of NFL legends who held on too long. And Favre's fellow Green Bay Packers icon, Bart Starr, includes himself on that list.

Jaguars sign LB Greisen to 2-year deal (AP)
The Jacksonville Jaguars at least partly filled a pressing need at linebacker by signing Nick Greisen to a two-year contract Friday. Greisen, an unrestricted free agent who started 12 games for the New York Giants last season, should compete for the starting job left vacant when Akin Ayodele signed with Dallas.

Fantastic finishes
LeBron James and Kevin Martin each came through with a difficult drive to the rim to deliver the game-winning hoop.

LeBron hits winner with 5.7 seconds left (AP)
LeBron James drove around Antonio Daniels, collided with Michael Ruffin and banked in a 4-footer on the way down with 5.7 seconds left. Chalk up another milestone for the emerging legend: He made his first game-winning shot in the playoffs. James scored a franchise playoff-record 41 points Friday night, including two tough shots in the paint in the final minute.

Kings win on Martin's last-second shot (AP)
If Kevin Martin had spared one instant to think about the obstacles in front of him, he would have withered before taking the biggest shot of his NBA career. Sacramento's skinny shooting guard simply didn't consider Tim Duncan's long arms, the dwindling clock and a potential 0-3 playoff deficit to the defending NBA champions.

Kobe scores just 17, but Lakers top Suns (AP)
The Los Angeles Lakers' strategy against Phoenix is to pound the ball inside on offense, and slow down the Suns' running game when they have the ball. The Lakers worked the plan to perfection for the second game in a row, taking a 99-92 victory over Phoenix on Friday night. Kobe Bryant had only 17 points, but all five starters scored in double figures in the Lakers' well-balanced offense, and they...

Mike Miller wins NBA's Sixth Man Award (AP)
Grizzlies guard Mike Miller won the NBA's Sixth Man Award on Friday after making the transition from starter to key reserve. Miller led the NBA in scoring off the bench this season, averaging 13.7 points. He ranked second in scoring for the Grizzlies and was second in rebounding with a 5.4 average. He also tied for third in assists.

Heat's Posey suspended for Game 4 (AP)
Miami forward James Posey was suspended for one game without pay by the NBA on Friday for knocking down Chicago's Kirk Hinrich on a break Thursday night in the Heat's 109-90 playoff loss to the Bulls. Posey, called for a flagrant foul two and ejected with 3:15 left in the game, will miss Game 4 of the Eastern Conference series Sunday.

Pistons have every answer for Bucks (AP)
Toni Kukoc spent this week dissecting what's gone wrong with the Bucks. Maybe he should talk to the Pistons, who seem to predict every adjustment Milwaukee makes. Kukoc, who won three titles with the Chicago Bulls, spent a night in the hospital and has been bedridden with back spasms, allowing him to watch Detroit twice dismantle his current team.

Grizzlies need help to end playoff slide (AP)
The Memphis Grizzlies' newfound togetherness and winning attitude has been missing in the playoffs. Their stingy defense has been anything but so far. Perhaps now, though, the homecourt advantage will come into play -- or maybe even some Memphis mojo. Whatever. The Grizzlies need help. Down 0-2 in their playoff series with Dallas, the Grizzlies took a break Thursday to contemplate their elusive search...

Former Net G Johnson leading Pacers (AP)
Anthony Johnson hit the game-winning free throws for the Pacers in Game 1 at New Jersey and scored 13 points in the fourth quarter of a Game 3 win. None of this is a surprise to the Nets, who saw plenty of promise in the journeyman point guard when he backed up Jason Kidd for two years in New Jersey.

Former Timberwolves co-owner Ratner dies (AP)
Harvey Ratner, one of the two businessmen who brought the NBA back to Minnesota, died early Friday after a yearlong bout with cancer. He was 79. Ratner owned the Minnesota Timberwolves with partner Marv Wolfenson until selling the team in 1994. He died at his St. Louis Park home, son Mark said Ratner and Wolfenson were both born and raised on the north side of Minneapolis.

Still standing
ANAHEIM – The Ducks have some fight left, thanks to a grizzled veteran and a guy who knows something about scoring.

Umberger, Forsberg help Flyers pull even (AP)
Maybe now R.J. Umberger won't see himself flat on the ice every time he turns on the television. Umberger scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, helping the Philadelphia Flyers even their first-round playoff series against Buffalo with a 5-4 victory on Friday night. Peter Forsberg had two goals and a sensational assist, and Petr Nedved and Eric Desjardins also scored for the...

Hurricanes tie series with Habs at 2-2 (AP)
Rod Brind'Amour has restored the Carolina Hurricanes' home-ice advantage with persistence and skill. The Hurricanes captain scored 5:54 into the third period to give Carolina a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens that tied the first-round playoff series on Friday night. The second-seeded Hurricanes, who won despite blowing an early 2-0 lead, dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven...

Stars avoid sweep, beat Avalanche 4-1 (AP)
Desperation served the Stars well. If they're going to reach the second round, they'll have to play on a similar emotional level again and again and again. "They've got us on the ropes still," Dallas forward Bill Guerin said after Dallas avoided an early elimination from the NHL playoffs with an impressive 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night behind Niklas Hagman's first two goals of...

Koivu can't inspire Canadiens to victory (AP)
Canadiens captain Saku Koivu delivered some good news to his teammates before they faced the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. It just wasn't enough to inspire Montreal to a victory. Koivu, who was struck in the eye by an errant stick in Game 3 of the series Wednesday night, sent a message to his teammates that he was released from the hospital and would be watching the game at home.

Reeling Rangers look to avoid sweep (AP)
New York rookie Henrik Lundqvist winced and doubled over in pain when shots from his teammates during practice struck him in the shoulder and wrist. If only those drives stung New Jersey's Martin Brodeur that way, the Rangers might not be facing playoff elimination so quickly. But New York has hit the Devils' net behind Brodeur only twice in three playoff contests -- all Rangers' losses in a...

Red Wings, Oilers face pivotal Game 5 (AP)
The Red Wings entered the playoffs with the NHL's best record. The Edmonton Oilers got in as an eighth-seeded team. Those facts have been rendered meaningless. Their best-of-seven series is tied at 2 after both teams split games at home, setting up an important Saturday afternoon showdown in Detroit. "Game 5 is obviously a huge game," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

Preds think they've found playoff gear (AP)
The Nashville Predators think they finally have figured out the postseason. They have one game left to prove it. The Predators finally outshot the San Jose Sharks for the first time in their opening Western Conference series but still lost 5-4 Thursday night. That leaves them on the verge of elimination, trailing 3-1 going into Game 5 in Nashville on Sunday night.

Flames confident as they head home (AP)
Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere is really tough to solve. He's even tougher when he doesn't have to face many chances. The Calgary Flames are looking to put more pressure on the talented Mighty Ducks goalie in Game 5 of their first-round series Saturday night. The series is tied 2-2 and Giguere's play has been ordinary, but Calgary hasn't generated enough chances to take advantage.

Sens move Tampa to brink of elimination (AP)
So much for the idea the Ottawa Senators might be vulnerable in the first round of the NHL playoffs because of rookie goaltender Ray Emery. Emery stopped 30 shots and Martin Havlat scored for the fourth straight game Thursday night, leading the Eastern Conference's top seed to a 5-2 victory that pushed the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning to the brink of elimination.

Trading Paint: Commercial break
Fans complaining about Fox's race coverage make up part of this week's mailbag.

Kyle Busch remains center of controversy at Talladega (SportsTicker)
TALLADEGA, Alabama (Ticker) - It is undeniable that Kyle Busch is an extremely talented driver. But it's also obvious that he is a magnet for trouble both on and off the race track.

Yeley wins pole for NASCAR Busch Aaron's 312 (SportsTicker)

Spies sets record in AMA Superbike qualifying (AP)
Ben Spies turned a record lap of 1 minute, 23.374 seconds on the 2.36-mile, 21-turn California Speedway motorcycle road course Friday to earn the provisional pole for the Suzuki Superbike Challenge AMA Superbike doubleheader. The 21-year-old Suzuki driver overcame a severe head cold to make the record run.

Yeley gets another superspeedway pole (AP)
For a guy who cut his racing teeth on the Midwest's short tracks, J.J. Yeley really loves the big ovals.

Drivers give new soft bumpers a nudge at Talladega (AP)
A love tap here, a slight nudge there. With speeds nearing 195 mph, few dared to test NASCAR's soft new bumpers on Friday with a full-forced slam.

Childress and Harvick close to deal (AP)
Richard Childress and Kevin Harvick are close to a deal that would keep the driver with Richard Childress Racing well beyond the 2006 season.

Junior's new paint job stirs some echoes (AP)
Father-son relationships are complicated enough, never mind trying to sort out the issues while nudging the speedometer toward 200 mph. Yet that's the delicate task Dale Earnhardt Jr. set himself this weekend at Talladega, hoping to honor the man who taught him the business while scaring the snot out of everybody else -- and still win the race.

Earnhardt enters Hall of Fame (AP)
Dale Earnhardt was already the most popular driver stock car racing has ever known.

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