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Spurs Avoid Elimination With Win in Game 5 (AP)
San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan makes a hook shot over Dallas Mavericks Erick Dampier (25) in the fourth quarter in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semifinal basketball game in San Antonio, Wednesday, May 17, 2006. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)AP - Just when it seemed the Dallas-San Antonio series couldn't get any more amazing or intense, the closing seconds of a thrilling Game 5 ratcheted everything up another level.


Cavaliers Take Series Lead With Squeaker (AP)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23), defended by Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace (3), passes under the basket during the second quarter in Game 5 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., Wednesday, May 17, 2006.  (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)AP - All series long, the Detroit Pistons huffed and puffed. On Wednesday night, it was LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers who blew their house in.


Posada Drives in 2 More As Yanks Win Again (AP)
New York Yankees' Jorge Posada hits a RBI single off Texas Rangers pitcher Kameron Loe in the first inning, Wednesday, May 17, 2006, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)AP - Jorge Posada had plenty left after an exhausting performance the night before.


NU Says Men's Swim Team Hazed Members (AP)
AP - Northwestern University has punished its men's swim team and students who perform as the school's mascot for hazing, a school spokesman said Wednesday, just days after the school suspended its women's soccer team amid similar allegations.

IAAF Takes Away Gatlin's 100-Meter Record (AP)
Justin Gatlin of the United States competes in the Men's 100-meter event at the Qatar Grand Prix in Doha, Qatar Friday May 12, 2006.Gatlin equaled but did not break the 100-meter world record at the Qatar Grand Prix last week, the sport's governing body said Wednesday May 17, 2006.The International Association of Athletics Federations said a timing error in Doha gave Gatlin a time of 9.76 seconds, which was one-hundredth of a second below Asafa Powell's world mark of 9.77. (AP Photo/STR)AP - Not so fast, Justin. American sprinter Justin Gatlin thought he broke the 100-meter world record last Friday at the Qatar Grand Prix in Doha, earning the title of world's fastest man.


Pack to Play 3 P.m. Friday Preseason Game (AP)
AP - Are you ready for some football — on a Friday afternoon? The Green Bay Packers have rescheduled their final preseason game for 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1 after NFL officials rejected the team's request to hold the game against the Tennessee Titans that Thursday night.

LeBron scores 32 as Cavaliers push Pistons to edge of NBA ouster (AFP)
LeBron James (L) of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket around Tayshaun Prince of the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2006 NBA playoffs at the Palace of Aubrun Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The Cavaliers edged Detroit 86-84 to take a 3-2 series lead(AFP/Getty Images/Gregory Shamus)AFP - LeBron James scored 32 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers edged Detroit 86-84, pushing the Pistons to the brink of elimination from the National Basketball Association playoffs.


Janssen, Ryan Shut Out Angels on 2 Hits (AP)
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Casey Janssen wipes his face after giving up a single to Los Angeles Angels' Robb Quinlan, left, during the sixth inning of their Major League baseball game, Wednesday night, May 17, 2006, in Anaheim, Calif. Janssen had a no hitter going until Quinlan's single. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)AP - Home or away, Casey Janssen still has the Los Angeles Angels baffled.


Barcelona Wins Championship Over Arsenal (AP)
Barcelona players celebrate at the end of the match against Arsenal, the Champions League final in the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris, Wednesday, May 17, 2006. Barcelona won the Champions League by beating Arsenal 2-1. (AP Photo/ Michael Probst)AP - Spain heads into the World Cup with the biggest club title in European soccer.


Oilers Shut Out Sharks, Win Series in 6 (AP)
Edmonton Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson loses his helmet as San Jose Sharks' Ville Neiminen, left, keeps his eyes on the play during the first period of Game 6 of the second round of NHL playoff hockey action in Edmonton on Wednesday, May 17, 2006. (AP PHOTO/CP, John Ulan)AP - Dwayne Roloson and the Edmonton Oilers protected the Canadian national anthem from another round of booing. They knocked out San Jose before the Sharks could get the series back home.


Read and React: Ranklings
Fans of teams ranked low – and high – filled the mailbag with offseason complaints.

Holmgren signs extension with Seahawks (AP)
The last piece of an almost perfect offseason for the Seattle Seahawks is now in place. Coach Mike Holmgren signed a contract extension Wednesday to keep him with Seattle through the 2008 season. The defending NFC champions have also re-signed NFL MVP Shaun Alexander and Pro Bowl fullback Mack Strong since losing their first Super Bowl to the Steelers.

Saints set record for season tix sales (AP)
The New Orleans Saints have set a franchise record for season-ticket sales, four months before making their post-Hurricane Katrina return to the Superdome. The Saints, who spent last season in San Antonio after Katrina flooded the city and severely damaged the Superdome, have sold 54,969 season tickets, surpassing the previous record of 53,728 set in August 2003.

Steelers' Porter backs off Bush comments (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter is backing off tongue-in-cheek comments that he plans to tell President Bush next month that he dislikes how the country is being run. During the Steelers' minicamp last weekend, Porter was smiling and laughing when he told reporters he had "something to say to Bush" during the Super Bowl champions' June 2 visit to the White House.

Two Vikings face trial for boat party (AP)
Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot and tackle Bryant McKinnie will go on trial on charges stemming from a boat-party sex scandal. Smoot's trial is scheduled to begin May 30 while McKinnie's is slated for July 7. Both players are charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, indecent conduct, and lewd and lascivious behavior.

Decision on McNair arbitration due soon (AP)
An arbitrator heard more than seven hours of testimony Tuesday on whether the Tennessee Titans breached quarterback Steve McNair's contract by barring him from working out at the team's headquarters. McNair, who parked his sport utility vehicle in the lot for visitors and not the players' gated area, left the hearing along with agent Bus Cook without making any comment.

Top pick Williams debuts at Texans camp (AP)
Mario Williams was headed to a meeting, then turned to see the throng of reporters that had followed him across the practice field. It may have been the only moment all morning the No. 1 draft pick looked uncomfortable. The defensive end fit in seamlessly with his new Houston Texans teammates Tuesday, going through about two hours of drills.

Former Bengals TE Dan Ross dies at 49 (AP)
Dan Ross, who set the record for most Super Bowl receptions with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1982, collapsed and died shortly after an evening jog. He was 49. The former tight was stricken at his home in Atkinson, N.H., after returning from a jog Tuesday, according to a release posted by Northeastern sports information director Jack Grinold.

May Madness
SAN ANTONIO – The once-predictable NBA playoffs has become the home for fantastic finishes and unbelievable upsets.

Spurs stay alive, cut Mavs' lead to 3-2 (AP)
After one wild, late loss, then another, the San Antonio Spurs could only shake their heads. Now the Mavericks know the feeling. With the conference finals in their sights, Dallas was turned away by Tim Duncan making his first 12 shots and scoring 36 points, Tony Parker scoring 27 and the Spurs withstanding two jump balls and two shots in the final 6.3 seconds for a 98-97 victory Wednesday night.

Cavs stun Pistons at home, take 3-2 lead (AP)
All series long, the Detroit Pistons huffed and puffed. On Wednesday night, it was LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers who blew their house in. A stunning role reversal on the Cavs' fairy tale ride? Maybe not. "It's just basketball," James said. "They're not the Big, Bad Wolf. And we're not the Three Little Pigs." James scored 32 points and assisted on Drew Gooden's game-winning shot to lead the...

Clips' Baylor voted NBA's top executive (AP)
Elgin Baylor, the Los Angeles Clippers' vice president of basketball operations since 1986, has been selected the NBA's Executive of the Year in voting by 45 league executives. Baylor received 15 votes to eight for Toronto's Bryan Colangelo, who finished second in the voting. Baylor will be presented with the award by Stan McNeal of the Sporting News before Game 6 of the Western Conference...

LeBron top vote-getter on All-NBA team (AP)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James was the leading vote-getter on the All-NBA first team, which included Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash. Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki and Miami center Shaquille O'Neal rounded out the first team, announced Wednesday by the league.

James, Cavaliers coming of age (AP)
While dissecting Cleveland's latest playoff upset, LeBron James paused in mid-sentence during his postgame news conference to say "Bless You" to a sneezing reporter. He hasn't shown the Detroit Pistons any such courtesy. James, controlling the game at the both ends of the floor, scored 32 points and moved the Cavaliers within one win of a trip to the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night...

Hughes not with Cavs, but not forgotten (AP)
Although he's still not among them, Larry Hughes remains near the Cavaliers. Hughes missed his third straight playoff game on Wednesday night, remaining with his family in St. Louis following the unexpected death of his 20-year-old brother, Justin, who was buried on Tuesday. The Cavaliers attended Hughes' funeral in Missouri before flying to Michigan for Game 5 against the Detroit Pistons.

Clippers' task is win twice or go home (AP)
The Los Angeles Clippers are doing their best to look forward -- understandable since reflecting back is so painful. And all the analysis in the world won't help them beat the Phoenix Suns twice -- the requirement for advancing past the second round of the playoffs for the first time. "You can't get last night back -- it's not changing," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said Wednesday of his team's...

Bryant responds to Barkley on TNT show (AP)
Kobe Bryant said Charles Barkley was wrong to call him "selfish" for not trying to score more during Game 7 of the Lakers' playoff loss to Phoenix. Bryant and Barkley discussed their difference of opinion face-to-face Wednesday night when Bryant appeared as a studio guest during TNT's NBA playoff coverage.

Kwame Brown still under investigation (AP)
Lakers center Kwame Brown is still the subject of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault that was reported weeks ago, police said Wednesday. "The investigation's continuing and we're not going to release any information until such a time that there's either an arrest or a prosecution," said Lt.

Too slick
Non-stop pressure by the Oilers proved to be too much for San Jose, which slipped and fell out of the playoffs.

Eighth-seeded Oilers reach West finals (AP)
Dwayne Roloson and the Edmonton Oilers protected the Canadian national anthem from another round of booing. They knocked out San Jose before the Sharks could get the series back home. Michael Peca and Shawn Horcoff scored in front of a sellout crowd of pompom-waving fans Wednesday night, and Roloson made 24 saves in the biggest game of his career as the eighth-seeded Oilers beat the Sharks 2-0 in...

Golisano enjoying Sabres' success (AP)
Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano stood on the temporary stage outside HSBC Arena before a recent playoff game with a mob of fans chanting his name. "Thank you, Tom! Thank you, Tom!" everyone yelled. A reception like that might be enough for Golisano -- a Rochester billionaire, sudden hockey nut and occasional politician -- to reconsider his recent decision to rule out a fourth New York gubernatorial...

Sens' Muckler not planning major changes (AP)
The latest early playoff exit by the Ottawa Senators won't lead general manager John Muckler to overhaul a team that finished first in the Eastern Conference. "We are all here for one reason, that's to win the Stanley Cup, and that'll always be the purpose in Ottawa and I think it can be accomplished," Muckler said at a news conference Tuesday.

Flyers lining up to get operated on (AP)
The Flyers are more likely these days to have their hips checked than get hip checked. No wonder a preseason Stanley Cup favorite was wiped out in the first round of the playoffs. Philadelphia finished the season so beaten and banged up it might not have had enough healthy bodies to last another series.

Devils' Elias set to explore free agency (AP)
Patrik Elias will explore the free agency market if the Devils fail to come up with a contract that makes the high-scoring left wing want to stay in New Jersey. "If it's right, I want to stay, obviously," Elias said Tuesday after the Devils gathered one final time this season for a team picture. "It's just that I am in a situation where I can take advantage of it.

Sweden routs U.S. 6-0 at hockey worlds (AP)
Mika Hannula's hat trick helped Olympic champion Sweden beat the United States 6-0 Wednesday in the quarterfinals at the World Ice Hockey Championship. Sweden goalie Johan Holmqvist had 18 saves, earning his first shutout in five games in the tournament. The Swedes advance to face Canada, which scored three goals in a span of 1:39 in the third period to beat Slovakia 4-1 in a later quarterfinal.

Sabres G Miller keying playoff run (AP)
When the playoffs began, Ryan Miller happily recalled how he had won The Basement Cup, The Driveway Cup, The Kitchen Cup -- every type of Cup he could imagine while growing up in a hockey family in East Lansing, Mich. Now that the rookie goalie has Buffalo halfway to winning the Stanley Cup, Miller realizes this experience feels a whole lot better.

More speed not among Avs' top priorities (AP)
Colorado Avalanche president Pierre Lacroix insists a front-office makeover doesn't necessarily mean a big refurbishing of his team's roster. Lacroix, who's stepping down as general manager, said his top priorities this summer are finding his successor to run the day-to-day operations of the franchise and re-signing captain Joe Sakic and defenseman Rob Blake.

Weight finally reaches conference finals (AP)
Doug Weight essentially had his pick of teams. With unrestricted free agency looming at the end of the season and the St. Louis Blues mired at the bottom of the NHL, he was one of the hottest commodities in the league. And he waived his no-trade clause to come to the Carolina Hurricanes right before the Olympic break.

Trading paint: Busch league
NASCAR fans still are feeling a bit Buschwhacked this week.

Truex Jr.'s rookie crew wins Pit Crew Challenge (AP)
Martin Truex Jr.'s rookie team won the Nextel Pit Crew Challenge, an event aimed at showcasing the skills of NASCAR's behind-the-scenes players, by beating Kasey Kahne's defending champion team in the final round Wednesday night.

Labbe loses appeal, must serve 4 race suspension (AP)
An appeals committee upheld Richard ``Slugger'' Labbe's suspension, sidelining Dale Jarrett's crew chief for the next four weeks.

Hornish remains atop speed chart at rainy Indy (AFP)
Sam Hornish remained the speed leader as practice resumed for the Indianapolis 500, the American setting the pace for the fourth time as rain again shortened time on the track.

Wheeler picks Edwards to win All-Star race (AP)
Carl Edwards became the favorite to win NASCAR's All-Star race when the president of Lowe's Motor Speedway predicted he would win the event.

Johnson, sponsor Lowe's sign extensions through 2010 (AP)
NASCAR points leader Jimmie Johnson signed a two-year contract extension Monday committing him to Hendrick Motorsports through the 2010 season.

Fuel for thought: NASCAR might be wise to switch to ethanol (AP)
Mashed-up corn is heated to produce vapor, which condenses into grain alcohol.

Darlington looking to build on momentum (AP)
No one would blame Chris Browning if he sat back with a satisfied smile about Darlington Raceway's successful weekend.

Bad luck over, Biffle finally makes it back to Victory Lane (AP)
Because so many things went wrong for Greg Biffle during the first three months of the season, his crew chief began checking the driver's mental health the day after every race.

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