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Mavs clamp down on Suns to tie West finals (AP)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (41),  left, of Germany, dunks in front of Phoenix Suns' Shawn Marion (31) in the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference finals basketball game in Dallas, Friday, May 26, 2006. Nowtizki scored 30 point in the Mavericks' 105-98 win. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)AP - See, these really are a new breed of Dallas Mavericks. They truly can play defense. After being run over by Phoenix in the opener of the Western Conference finals, Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks clamped down in Game 2, throttling the Suns early and late to pull out a 105-98 victory Friday night that evens the series at one game apiece.


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Hurricanes blank Sabres to tie series (AP)
Carolina Hurricanes goalie Martin Gerber stops a shot by Buffalo Sabres' Daniel Briere (48) during the first period in Game 4 of their NHL Eastern Conference hockey finals at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y., Friday, May 26, 2006. (AP Photo/David Duprey)AP - Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Martin Gerber was rested, ready and relieved to make the most of his second chance in the playoffs. Now the Hurricanes believe they've regained the momentum in the Eastern Conference finals against the banged-up Buffalo Sabres.


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Webb improves to 8-0 as Diamondbacks win (AP)
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 26, 2006, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)AP - The days Brandon Webb starts are becoming Arizona manager Bob Melvin's favorites.


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Woods to skip Memorial for the first time (AP)
United States' golf team captain Jack Nicklaus, right, puts his arm around his player Tiger Woods, left, before teeing off on the 11th hole during a four- ball match on the second day of the Presidents Cup Golf Tournament at the Fancourt Golf Estate in George, South Africa, in this Nov. 21, 2003, file photo. Still coping with the death of his father, Woods decided Friday, May 26, 2006,  to skip the Memorial Tournament for the first time, meaning he will be coming off the longest layoff in his career when he goes to the U.S. Open. Nicklaus did not enter for the first time since the tournament began 30 years ago. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe,file)AP - Still coping with the death of his father, Tiger Woods decided Friday to skip the Memorial Tournament for the first time, meaning he will be coming off the longest layoff in his career when he goes to the U.S. Open.


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U.S. reserves help beat Venezuela 2-0 (AP)
United States' Ben Olsen, top, and Venezuelas' Juan Arango collide during the first half of a practice match Friday, May 26, 2006, in Cleveland. The United States will play against Italy, Ghana, and the Czech Republic in Group E when the 2006 World Cup begins next month in Germany. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)AP - Bobby Convey and Clint Dempsey improved their chances of starting for the United States at the World Cup with sharp performances in a 2-0 win over Venezuela on Friday night.


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Giants terminate CB Peterson's contract (AP)
AP - Veteran cornerback Will Peterson was cut by the New York Giants on Friday, following his latest injury-plagued season.

Suns falter in the fourth this time (AP)
Phoenix Suns Steve Nash sits on the bench in the closing minutes against the Dallas Mavericks  in Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference finals basketball game in Dallas, Friday, May 26, 2006. Dallas won, 105-98. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)AP - Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns didn't have any fourth-quarter magic left Friday night.


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Liriano outduels Hernandez as Twins win (AP)
Minnesota Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano delivers to Seattle Mariners' Richie Sexson during the first inning of a major league baseball game in Minneapolis, Friday, May 26, 2006. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)AP - Hitters beware. The future of starting pitching was on display in Friday night's showdown between Francisco Liriano and Felix Hernandez, and it was filled with 97 mph fastballs, unhittable sliders and knee-buckling changeups.


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Romania beats Northern Ireland in soccer (AP)
Romania's Adrian Iencsi (5) and Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (18) go for the ball during the second half of an international friendly soccer match in Chicago, Friday, May 26, 2006. Romania won, 2-0. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)AP - Romania scored a pair of goals in the first 11 minutes and then held off an undermanned Northern Ireland squad for a 2-0 win in an international friendly Friday night at Solider Field.


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Bruins hire Chiarelli as general manager (AP)
Bruins Executive Vice President Charles Jacobs poses in front of Boston's Stanley Cup banners hanging from the rafters at the TD Banknorth Garden in this May 4, 2006, file photo. The Bruins announced Friday that they have hired Peter Chiarelli as the team's new general manager. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)AP - Peter Chiarelli was hired by the sagging Boston Bruins as general manager on Friday, getting a four-year contract two decades after serving as captain of the Harvard hockey team.


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They really love L.A.
DENVER – By dedicating $10 million to stadium reviews, the NFL made its strongest commitment in years to an L.A. return.

Two Vikings plead guilty in boat party (AP)
Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot and left tackle Bryant McKinnie pleaded guilty Friday to misdemeanor charges stemming from the team's raucous boat party last October. Each agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and perform 48 hours of community service. Smoot and McKinnie pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and being a public nuisance on a watercraft.

Arrest report: Droughns threw wife out (AP)
Cleveland Browns running back Reuben Droughns threw his wife out the door of their home after she said she wanted a divorce, according to a sheriff's report. Droughns was released on $2,500 bail Thursday on one count of assault and two counts of harassment. He surrendered to police the day before and spent the night in jail.

Giants cut CB Peterson, ink QB Johnson (AP)
Veteran cornerback Will Peterson was cut by the New York Giants on Friday, following his latest injury-plagued season. Peterson, a third-round draft choice in 2001, played five seasons for the Giants, but two of the last three were severely curtailed by injuries. "This is a very disappointing development for our ball club," general manager Ernie Accorsi said after terminating Peterson's contract.

Shanahan: Plummer must take high road (AP)
Mike Shanahan says he believes Jake Plummer's version of his road rage dispute. But the Denver coach says his quarterback must learn to walk away when he finds himself getting angry. Police issued Plummer a summons last month after he allegedly kicked the headlight of a pickup and then backing his SUV into the other vehicle.

Bears CB Manning pleads not guilty (AP)
Chicago Bears cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. pleaded not guilty Friday to an assault charge stemming from an alleged attack on a man in a restaurant last month. The 25-year-old Manning appeared in court but entered the plea through his attorney. He remains free on $30,000 bail. He waived his right to be in court June 16, when a date is to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to...

Chiefs withdraw 2015 Super Bowl request (AP)
The Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday withdrew their request for Arrowhead Stadium to host the 2015 Super Bowl, after yet another setback in plans for a rolling roof at the Truman Sports Complex. Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt said in a statemnt Arrowhead Stadium renovations would move forward without a roof to make it and the adjacent Kauffman Stadium climate-controlled, a condition for hosting the Super...

Former Super Bowl star Smith sentenced (AP)
Tim Smith, who set a Super Bowl rushing record with the Washington Redskins in 1988, was sentenced Friday to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for cocaine distribution. The 42-year-old former running back also was ordered to pay $88,000 in back child support and must report to prison by July 10. His brother, Christopher Smith, 35, was sentenced May 12 to five years of probation.

Settling the score
Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince cured the Pistons' ailing offense to help even the East finals with Miami.

Mavs rally late to top Suns, even series (AP)
See, these really are a new breed of Dallas Mavericks. They truly can play defense. After being run over by Phoenix in the opener of the Western Conference finals, Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks clamped down in Game 2, throttling the Suns early and late to pull out a 105-98 victory Friday night that evens the series at one game apiece.

Game 3 pivotal for Pistons, Heat (AP)
Only two days ago, the Miami Heat seemed relaxed and confident as they held a one-game lead in the Eastern Conference finals. With that cushion now gone, they simply seem angry. Shaquille O'Neal wants the ball more, repeating his refrain from last season's playoffs. Dwyane Wade is growing increasingly frustrated about tactics the Detroit Pistons use against him defensively.

Howard, Van Horn start for Mavericks (AP)
Mavericks forward Josh Howard was able to start Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Friday night and was joined by a mildly surprising starter at center -- Keith Van Horn. Van Horn made his first start since April 14, 2005, in place of Erick Dampier. The move gives Dallas a smaller, more perimeter-oriented lineup to throw at the Phoenix Suns.

Pistons even East finals, top Heat 92-88 (AP)
The Detroit Pistons got off to a great start, had a double-digit lead with less than a minute left and barely hung on. Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal were spectacular for the Miami Heat. Ultimately, however, all that matters is that the Eastern Conference finals are even. Tayshaun Prince tied a career playoff high with 24 points and had 11 rebounds, Richard Hamilton scored 22 points, and Detroit...

LeBron's mom guilty on scuffle charges (AP)
The mother of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James pleaded no contest and was found guilty on Friday of four charges after her SUV nearly hit an unmarked police vehicle and she kicked a window of a patrol car. Gloria James, 38, of Green, pleaded no contest in Municipal Court to reckless operation, speeding, disorderly conduct and a reduced count -- originally drunken-driving -- of physical...

Cavaliers pick up Mike Brown's option (AP)
For the first time in recent memory, the Cleveland Cavaliers made an off-season coaching move that didn't involve someone being hired or fired. Mike Brown, who led Cleveland to 50 regular-season wins and the second round of the NBA playoffs in his first year as coach, was rewarded Thursday as the club picked up his $2.5 million contract option.

Huge Heat rally in Game 2 falls short (AP)
Even on a night marred by long stretches of offensive ineptitude, the Miami Heat almost pulled off a comeback for the ages. Alas, it was in vain. A stunning flurry at the end couldn't undo the offensive wrongs committed in the first 46 minutes, and the Detroit Pistons managed to even the Eastern Conference finals with a 92-88 win in Game 2 Thursday night.

Pluck payoff
Anaheim didn't build momentum so much as finally reap the benefits of it in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.

Gerber starts for 'Canes, blanks Sabres (AP)
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Martin Gerber was rested, ready and relieved to make the most of his second chance in the playoffs. Now the Hurricanes believe they've regained the momentum in the Eastern Conference finals against the banged-up Buffalo Sabres. Gerber stopped 22 shots to register his first career postseason shutout and victory in a 4-0 win Friday night that enabled the Hurricanes to...

Mighty Ducks hope to keep series going (AP)
With a bit of Jiggy and a bit of juggling, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks are still going in the Western Conference finals. As the Oilers threatened to sweep, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle made a goalie switch -- going back to Jean-Sebastien Giguere -- and did some line-mixing. Both worked, with the Ducks taking a 6-3 victory in Edmonton on Thursday to bring the series back to Anaheim for Game 5 on...

Coyotes re-sign G Curtis Joseph (AP)
The Phoenix Coyotes re-signed goaltender Curtis Joseph to a one-year contract Friday, bringing the 39-year-old back for a 17th NHL season. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Last season was Joseph's first with the Coyotes. He has a 428-310-90 career record with St. Louis, Edmonton, Toronto, Detroit and Phoenix.

Bruins tab Chiarelli as new GM (AP)
Peter Chiarelli was hired by the sagging Boston Bruins as general manager on Friday, getting a four-year contract two decades after serving as captain of the Harvard hockey team. "I know from my college days the passion that the fans in this area have for hockey and the Bruins and I share that excitement," he said.

Mighty Ducks stay alive, beat Oilers 6-3 (AP)
With the offense clicking like this, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks probably would've stayed alive in the Western Conference finals no matter who was protecting their goal. Dustin Penner and Joffrey Lupul scored twice and the Mighty Ducks extended the series by beating Edmonton 6-3 on Thursday night. They will return home to Anaheim for Game 5 on Saturday night still facing long odds.

Penguins hire Ray Shero as GM (AP)
Ray Shero had a surprise waiting for young sons Christopher and Kyle when they arrived home from school in Nashville. On the family phone was a message from Mario Lemieux, welcoming them to Pittsburgh. That's how Shero revealed to his family he was becoming the Penguins' general manager. "If you could see the look in their eyes -- the joy in their eyes -- that Mario Lemieux actually left their dad a...

The other guys
CONCORD, N.C. – Kasey Kahne has led the way at Evernham this year, but his teammates stole the show Thursday.

Disney revs up for 'Cars' premiere, NASCAR-style (AP)
The checkered flag met the red carpet. The roar of car engines moved from the black asphalt to the silver screen. And Lowe's Motor Speedway was the unlikely host Friday for the world premiere of "Cars," whose producers hope the animated movie will become a summer blockbuster. In a fuel-injected match made in hype heaven, the public relations magic of Disney met the marketing muscle of NASCAR to...

Bodine gets pole for Saturday's Mansfield 250 (SportsTicker)


Thunderstorms cancel qualifying for NASCAR Trucks (AP)
Qualifying for the City of Mansfield 250 NASCAR Trucks series race was canceled Friday by thunderstorms and the majority of the lineup was set by championship owner points.

Dirt track ``packer'' loses legs after pre-race accident (AP)
A man driving a "track packer" car before a race at a dirt track on the grounds of Lowe's Motor Speedway remained in critical condition Friday morning after having both legs amputated. Chris James was among several volunteers who drive cars to help prepare the track across the street from Lowe's. Track workers wet the dirt, and cars then drive on the course at 40 mph or faster to pack it down.

Kenseth captures pole for Busch CarQuest Auto Parts 300 (SportsTicker)


Riggs and Mayfield make an Evernham front row (AP)
Scott Riggs and Jeremy Mayfield made it an all-Evernham Motorsports front row Thursday by taking the top two qualifying spots for the Coca-Cola 600.

Riggs wins pole for NASCAR Nextel Coca-Cola 600 (SportsTicker)


Johnson overwhelming favorite for the Coca-Cola 600 (AP)
Crew chief Chad Knaus stepped out of his hauler with a thick black binder tucked under his arm, turned and tauntingly waved it at Matt Kenseth.

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