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Clippers Beat Suns to Force Game 7 (AP)
Los Angeles Clippers' Elton Brand dunks during the first half of Game 6 of their NBA Western Conference semifinal playoff basketball series against the Phoenix Suns, Thursday, May 18, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)AP - Elton Brand and the Clippers became the second team from Los Angeles to take the Phoenix Suns to the limit in these playoffs. Unlike the Lakers, the Clippers will take some momentum into Game 7.


Dallas Guard Terry Suspended for Punch (AP)
Dallas Mavericks Jason Terry, right, shows his fist to San Antonio Spurs' Michael Finley during a scramble for a loose ball in the last few seconds of  Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semifinal basketball game in San Antonio, Wednesday, May 17, 2006. On Thursday, May 18, Terry was suspended for Game 6 for punching Finley. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)AP - The Mavericks-Spurs series took another wild turn Thursday, with Dallas guard Jason Terry getting suspended from Game 6 for punching former teammate Michael Finley while chasing a loose ball in the closing seconds of Game 5.


Kenny Rogers Gives Tigers 7 in a Row (AP)
Detroit Tigers starter Kenny Rogers pitches against the Minnesota Twins in the sixth inning of their baseball game Thursday May 18, 2006, in Detroit. Rogers became the Majors' first seven-game winner this season and the Tigers extended their winning streak to a season-high seven games  The Tigers beat the Twins 5-3. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)AP - Kenny Rogers became the majors' first seven-game winner, helping the Detroit Tigers to their longest winning streak in nearly 13 years.


Wood Pitches for First Time in 9 Months (AP)
Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood delivers to Washington Nationals' Nick Johnson in the first inning of a baseball game at Wrigley Field, Thursday, May 18, 2006, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)AP - The Chicago Cubs waited nearly nine months to see Kerry Wood pitch. For an inning, he looked like the ace he used to be. Wood walked off the mound after the first inning of his latest comeback, and the fans gave him a standing ovation. Eight pitches and two strikeouts were all it took to retire the Washington Nationals.


Bears CB, 2 Others Charged With Assault (AP)
AP - Chicago Bears cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. and two former UCLA football players were charged with assault Thursday for allegedly taking part in an early morning fight at a restaurant last month.

Harrington Embracing His 'Fresh Slate' (AP)
Detroit Lions quarterback Joey Harrington watches from the sidelines at Ford Field in Detroit, on Aug. 29, 2005. The Lions traded the former third overall draft pick to the Miami Dolphins on May 12, 2006.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)AP - Joey Harrington believes the tough times in Detroit made him better. He cannot wait to begin proving that to the Miami Dolphins.


Clippers sink Suns to force seventh game NBA showdown (AFP)
Sam Cassell(R) of the Los Angeles Clippers drives around Raja Bellin of the Phoenix Suns in game six of the NBA Western Conference semi-finals in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 118-106 to even the series at three games a piece.(AFP/Getty Images/Lisa Blumenfeld)AFP - Elton Brand scored 30 points and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated Phoenix 118-106 here to level their National Basketball Association second-round series at three triumphs each.


Johnson slump puzzling to Yanks (USATODAY.com)
USATODAY.com - The Big Unit is in big trouble. Perhaps interleague play will help. Randy Johnson (5-4, 5.13 ERA) and the New York Yankees face the New York Mets on Friday at Shea Stadium as interleague play returns for its 10th season. Regional rivalries headline this weekend's games (only the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves are not playing interleague games).

Aussie Ace Aims for Comeback at World Cup (AP)
AP - As monikers go, 'Wizard of Oz' was a fair one to describe Harry Kewell when he signed to play for Liverpool in 2003.

Hockey Today (AP)
AP - Edmonton at Anaheim (9 p.m. EDT). The Oilers are in the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1992, while the Ducks are in their second conference final in three years.

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

Bears CB Manning charged with assault (AP)
Chicago Bears cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. and two former UCLA football players were charged with assault Thursday for allegedly taking part in an early morning fight at a restaurant last month. Manning was charged with one count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, Deputy District Attorney Karen Murcia said.

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.

Vikings, Eagles swap wide receivers (AP)
Philadelphia traded wide receiver Billy McMullen to Minnesota for rookie free-agent receiver Hank Baskett on Thursday. A third-round draft pick in 2003, McMullen never really found a steady role in Philadelphia with 22 catches for 294 yards and one touchdown in three seasons. He'll be reunited with news Vikings coach and former Eagles offensive coordinator, Brad Childress, and quarterback Mike...

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.

Brand recognition
Thanks to another dominating performance by Elton Brand, the Clippers get to play another day.

Clippers top Suns, force Game 7 (AP)
Elton Brand and the Clippers became the second team from Los Angeles to take the Phoenix Suns to the limit in these playoffs. Unlike the Lakers, the Clippers will take some momentum into Game 7. Brand had 30 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, Corey Maggette came off the bench to score 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Clippers beat the Suns 118-106 Thursday night to even...

Mavs G Terry suspended for Game 6 (AP)
The Mavericks-Spurs series took another wild turn Thursday, with Dallas guard Jason Terry getting suspended from Game 6 for punching former teammate Michael Finley while chasing a loose ball in the closing seconds of Game 5. Terry and Finley jostled with 3.4 seconds left in San Antonio's 98-97 victory on Wednesday night.

Cavs confident, can eliminate Pistons (AP)
LeBron James and his teammates flashed only a few smiles after practice Thursday. The Cavaliers are confident and feeling good about taking a 3-2 lead against the Detroit Pistons, but they've learned how quickly things can change in the playoffs. "We're not surprised that we're up and I think Detroit's a little surprised that they're down," James said.

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.

Heat play waiting game before East final (AP)
A day after the Miami Heat clinched another trip to the Eastern Conference finals, Pat Riley celebrated by taking his wife to lunch, two movies, then dinner. Here's hoping Chris Riley liked "The Sentinel" and "The Lost City." Her next date may not be for a while. "I kissed her goodbye this morning at 6 o'clock," Riley said.

Nets feel they must address depth (AP)
With two double-digit winning streaks and an Atlantic Division title to their credit this season, no one is questioning anymore whether the New Jersey Nets' Big Three of Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter can coexist. Instead, as Nets players packed up and headed for the offseason Thursday after losing to Miami in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the emphasis was on how...

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.

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.

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...

Sabres need offense from Afinogenov (AP)
As long as Maxim Afinogenov is generating scoring chances, Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff won't worry. However, he wouldn't complain if some of those opportunities turned into goals for the flashy Russian forward. "I don't think it's anything more than just relaxing a little bit," Ruff said after the Sabres practiced Thursday in advance of the Eastern Conference final.

Carlyle: Ducks won't be rusty for Game 1 (AP)
Call the Mighty Ducks well-rested, or excited to play again. Just don't imply they might be off their game after a weeklong layoff. "Rusty's not a word other than our nickname for (Ruslan) Salei. Rusty's not a word in our vocabulary," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said Thursday as the Ducks prepared to open the Western Conference finals against Edmonton.

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.

Sabres C Mair cleared for contact (AP)
Sabres center Adam Mair took a step closer toward returning from a concussion when he was cleared for contact on Thursday. Mair, who has been out since early April, still needs to pass concussion-related tests before he can play in Buffalo's Eastern Conference final series against Carolina. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Mair will see a specialist in Pittsburgh and isn't likely to be ready to play at...

Sharks waste opportunity in playoffs (AP)
Although the San Jose Sharks seem destined to be postseason players for years to come, they wasted an opportunity this spring that might never come again. Team Teal's roller-coaster season flew off the tracks Wednesday night, with a 2-0 loss in Edmonton that capped a stunning playoff collapse for many experts' favorites to reach the club's first Stanley Cup finals.

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.

Trucking to Lowe's
The Craftsman Truck Series gets back to work this weekend at Charlotte.

Toyota preparing for 2007 Cup entry and beyond (AP)
Sitting on a crowded concrete floor in the new Toyota Racing Development, USA shop, among the many tubeframe...

Jarrett's switch jarring for Ford fans, NASCAR garage (AP)
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Butch Meyer walked outside Darlington Raceway in his No. 88 hat and UPS racing jersey,...

Notes: Bodine's bobsleds are back (AP)
Gentlemen, restart your bobsleds. The Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge is returning to Mount Van Hoevenberg in...

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.

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.

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