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Prince, defense save Pistons' season (AP)
Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace (3) blocks a shot by Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal during the third quarter of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference basketball finals at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., Wednesday, May 31, 2006. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)AP - Shaquille O'Neal was about to throw down another backboard-shaking dunk. Ben Wallace wasn't having it. The 6-foot-7 Wallace leaped and stuffed Shaq's slam — forcing a jump ball, putting the 7-1 O'Neal on his back and sparking Detroit's defense that refused to let the Pistons' season end.


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$22 million secures Clemens' return (AP)
Pitching great Roger Clemens wears his Houston Astros ballcap after re-signing with the baseball team Wednesday, May 31, 2006 in Houston.  Roger Clemens is coming out of retirement for the third time, agreeing to a $22 million contract to pitch for the Houston Astros for the rest of 2006. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)AP - The memory of his mother pushed Roger Clemens to come back. The chance to play with his oldest son persuaded him to pick the Houston Astros.


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Venus advances at chilly French Open (AP)
U.S. player Venus Williams reaches out to return the ball while playing a second round match against Finland's Emma Laine during the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Wednesday May 31, 2006. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)AP - So there was Venus Williams, on center court at the French Open on the final day of May, wearing a sweatshirt, her game as shaky as the weather was dismal.


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Report exonorates Armstrong of doping (AP)
Overall leader and five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, of Austin, Texas, negotiates a curve as he enters Concorde square in Paris during the 20th and last stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Montereau, southeast of Paris, and the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, in a Sunday, July 25, 2004 photo. Dutch investigators cleared Lance Armstrong of doping in the 1999 Tour de France on Wednesday, and accused anti-doping authorities of misconduct in dealing with the American cyclist. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, file)AP - Lance Armstrong called it a "witch hunt" from the very beginning, saying a French newspaper used dubious evidence to accuse him of doping — even charging that lab officials mishandled his samples and broke the rules.


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Memorial launches Mickelson's major run (AP)
Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the par-5 15th hole during the Memorial Pro-Am Wednesday May 31, 2006, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)AP - Phil Mickelson's shirt already was stained with patches of sweat, the sign of someone hard at work. This was more a case of oppressive heat and humidity at Muirfield Village, because the Masters champion had yet to play his pro-am Wednesday.


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Packers' presidency changing hands (AP)
AP - Bob Harlan handed the title of Green Bay Packers team president to eventual successor John Jones on Wednesday.

Blazers trail different path without Nash (AP)
Portland Trail Blazers general manager John Nash speaks during a news conference in this Aug. 4, 2005 file photo in Tualatin, Ore.. With the NBA draft looming and uncertainty surrounding the franchise's ownership, the Portland Trail Blazers decided not to extend general manager John Nash's contract, Wednesday, May 31, 2006.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)AP - With the NBA draft looming and uncertainty surrounding the franchise's ownership, the Portland Trail Blazers decided not to extend general manager John Nash's contract.


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Baird out, Braves exec in as Royals GM (AP)
Kansas City Royals' manager Buddy Bell points to the bullpen as he removes pitcher Scott Elarton (37) in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Wednesday, May 31, 2006, in Oakland, Calif. At left is Royals' catcher Paul Bako, at right, first baseman Matt Stairs. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)AP - Had he been willing to wait, Dayton Moore might one day have headed one of the most admired organizations in baseball.


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Rapids keep Galaxy scoreless in May (AP)
Colorado Rapids midfielder Dedi Ben Dayan celebrates after scoring his first goal of the season, in a Major League Soccer game against the Los Angeles Galaxy in Denver on Wednesday, May 31, 2006. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)AP - Dedi Ben-Dayan scored in the 34th minute to lift the Colorado Rapids to a 1-0 victory Wednesday over the Los Angeles Galaxy, who ended the month of May without scoring a goal.


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Game 7 in East finals a fitting finale (AP)
Buffalo Sabres' Adam Mair is interviewed by reporters in the locker room before an optional NHL hockey practice at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y., Wednesday, May 31, 2006. The Sabres will play the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Duprey)AP - For nearly two weeks, the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres have fought to a standstill to see who will play for the Stanley Cup, so closing the intense series with a Game 7 seems fitting.


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A cut below
Redskins wide receiver David Patten tops a lackluster list of players likely to be released on June 1.

Titans must let QB McNair use facilities (AP)
The Tennessee Titans must allow Steve McNair to work out on their property as long as he has a contract with the team, an arbitrator ruled Wednesday. Arbitrator John Feerick heard more than seven hours of testimony May 16 on charges that the Titans breached McNair's contract by barring him from working out at the team's headquarters.

Jets QB Pennington takes part in drills (AP)
Chad Pennington threw for a second straight day at the Jets' passing camp Wednesday, another encouraging sign in his comeback from a second major shoulder injury. Pennington participated in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills Tuesday, the first day of organized team activities. He did the same Wednesday, indicating he had no major setbacks from his first team practice since last September.

Harlan hands Packers presidency to Jones (AP)
Bob Harlan handed the title of Green Bay Packers team president to eventual successor John Jones on Wednesday. Jones becomes the 10th president in team history, and will remain the team's Chief Operating Officer until Harlan retires next May. The title switch puts a formal stamp on a process that began in 1999, when Harlan hired Jones away from the NFL management council.

Panthers RB Foster practices at minicamp (AP)
DeShaun Foster opened Carolina's minicamp Wednesday on the practice field, showing no ill effects from the broken ankle that knocked him out of the playoffs last season. He also declared himself fit to be the Panthers' starting running back. "I've been looking forward to it for a while, and now it's finally here," Foster said.

Ricky Williams practices with Argonauts (AP)
Ricky Williams is hard at work in the CFL. Clad in shoulder pads, shorts and a blue practice jersey with his new No. 27, the suspended Miami Dolphins running back appeared to be in great shape Monday during his first practice with the Toronto Argonauts. Williams was suspended by the NFL for the entire 2006 season following a fourth positive drug test.

Panthers promote Skipper (AP)
The Carolina Panthers promoted running backs coach Jim Skipper to assistant head coach Wednesday. Skipper came to Carolina in 2002 when coach John Fox was hired as head coach. The two worked together on the New York Giants' staff, but Skipper spent the 2001 season coaching the XFL's San Francisco Demons.

Vikings hire Spielman as personnel chief (AP)
The Minnesota Vikings hired Rick Spielman as vice president for player personnel Tuesday, four months after passing on him in favor of the now-fired Fran Foley. Spielman, an ESPN analyst and former Miami Dolphins GM, interviewed for the opening when it was first created in January, but the Vikings elected to go with Foley.

Pistons' road block
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Ben Wallace's monumental swat of Shaquille O'Neal summed up Detroit's determination to play another day.

Pistons stay alive, beat Heat 91-78 (AP)
Shaquille O'Neal was about to throw down another backboard-shaking dunk. Ben Wallace wasn't having it. The 6-foot-7 Wallace leaped and stuffed Shaq's slam -- forcing a jump ball, putting the 7-1 O'Neal on his back and sparking Detroit's defense that refused to let the Pistons' season end. "It was a big play -- a momentum-changer," Wallace said of the third-quarter block.

Suns' Bell ready to play in Game 5 (AP)
Though understandably sore on Wednesday, Raja Bell was confident he would be ready to play when the Phoenix Suns meet the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. Bell made a surprise start Tuesday night after missing two games with a slight tear in his left calf muscle.

Stackhouse urges Mavs to fight harder (AP)
Fresh out of a demoralizing film session, Jerry Stackhouse delivered Wednesday what could become the Dallas Mavericks' rallying cry for the rest of the postseason: "It's about the fight." The Mavericks showed very little of it Tuesday in a game where the only emotional problem should've been too much enthusiasm.

Heat struggle from line in Game 5 loss (AP)
How close were the Miami Heat from possibly getting to the NBA Finals? About 15 feet. That's the distance separating the basket from the foul line -- the spot where Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and Miami misfired from with alarming regularity in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Heat were 6-for-20 on free-throw attempts Wednesday, a debacle that played a huge role in the Detroit Pistons'...

John Nash out as Trail Blazers GM (AP)
With the NBA draft looming and uncertainty surrounding the franchise's ownership, the Portland Trail Blazers decided not to extend general manager John Nash's contract. President Steve Patterson will serve as interim general manager. Kevin Pritchard, director of player personnel, had his contract extended for next season, Patterson said Wednesday in a brief news conference.

Knicks' Brown waiting to hear his fate (AP)
Larry Brown says the wait to hear if he will be fired by the New York Knicks has made him feel like "a dead man walking." Brown made the comment Tuesday to reporters who were waiting near the Knicks practice facility in Greenburgh, N.Y., while the coach ran workouts of draft prospects. He pulled his car over and told them he didn't know anything more about his job status than they did.

Fan accuses Mavs coach's wife of assault (AP)
A Phoenix Suns fan has accused the wife of Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson of assaulting her in the stands during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night. Rebecca Kettle told police that Cassandra Johnson hit her twice in the shoulder during a verbal confrontation. According to a police report, an officer read Johnson her rights before questioning her.

Oh boy, Danny
Daniel Briere forced just the second Game 7 of this playoff season with an overtime game-winner Tuesday.

Coyotes, Gretzky agree to five-year deal (AP)
After signing a five-year deal Wednesday to remain the Phoenix Coyotes' coach, Wayne Gretzky was asked if it would take that long to build a championship team. "It better not, or I won't be here in five years," Gretzky said with a laugh. Gretzky wouldn't say how long it could take to deliver a Stanley Cup to the desert.

Game 7 fitting for Sabres, Hurricanes (AP)
For nearly two weeks, the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres have fought to a standstill to see who will play for the Stanley Cup, so closing the intense series with a Game 7 seems fitting. Even inevitable. "If you would've told me before the series that we'd be getting ready for Game 7, I wouldn't have been surprised," Carolina forward Kevyn Adams said.

Oilers head to N.Y. to get ready for Cup (AP)
The Oilers have found a place to hide as they wait for the Stanley Cup finals to start. The NHL's Western Conference champs are escaping TO New York. Edmonton has become too small for the Oilers, who have been idle since winning the West last Saturday with a Game 5 win over Anaheim. The finals don't start until Monday, and the Oilers will be playing either at Buffalo or Carolina.

Chelios signs, Wings waiting on Yzerman (AP)
The NHL's oldest player has at least another season in him. Chris Chelios signed a one-year contract Wednesday with the Detroit Red Wings. He will be a 45-year-old defenseman next year in the middle of his eighth season with the team and 23rd in the league. The three-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's best defenseman played in 81 games last season and had a plus-22 rating.

Sabres rookie Pominville turning heads (AP)
Message to Doug Weight: The name's Jason. Jason Pominville. Pominville, the Buffalo Sabres rookie forward, is making a name for himself this postseason, although some opponents apparently haven't yet caught on. Take Weight, the Carolina Hurricanes' veteran forward, for example as the teams prepare to play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final at Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday.

Revenues to surpass projections by $300M (AP)
NHL revenues will surpass initial projections by some $300 million, the players' association told agents during a meeting on Wednesday. NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin met with 115 agents during a nine-hour gathering and provided good news to the player representatives. The final numbers won't be tallied until the end of June, but league-wide revenues will likely exceed $2.1 billion, easily...

New Bruins GM Chiarelli has restrictions (AP)
As general manager of the Boston Bruins and assistant general manager of the Ottawa Senators, Peter Chiarelli is serving opposing clubs at the same time. So what happens if both teams want the same free agent? That could happen before Chiarelli's commitment to the Senators ends July 15 at the earliest.

Trading Paint: Kahne rises, Yates falls
Readers are happy for Kasey Kahne. As for Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates Racing? That's a different story.

Busch fined $50,000 for throwing device at Mears (AP)
Kyle Busch felt the sting of his angry toss in his wallet Wednesday, when NASCAR fined him $50,000 for throwing a safety device at Casey Mears' passing car.

Kyle Busch fined, placed on probation by NASCAR (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - Kyle Busch lost his cool on a hot night in Charlotte. Now it's going to cost him.

Two Toyota truck teams eyeing Cup races (AP)
Toyota might have more than three teams in its debut year in NASCAR's Nextel Cup series after all.

Stewart does not need surgery on injured right shoulder (SportsTicker)
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) - Tony Stewart's injured right shoulder apparently will not require surgery. But the reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion may not be visiting Victory Lane for a while.

NASCAR pleased with COT test (AP)
NASCAR officials are closer to a final design on their ``Car of Tomorrow'' after a successful test session Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Stewart expected to start Sunday's race in Delaware (AP)
There is no disabled list in NASCAR, where playing hurt is mandatory -- even for defending series champion Tony Stewart.

Raising Kahne: Kasey's career is looking up (AP)
Kasey Kahne spent his first two Nextel Cup seasons locked out of the championship chase, failing to meet the lofty expectations placed on one of NASCAR's newest starts.

Kahne dethrones Johnson in Coca-Cola 600 (AP)
Most drivers would be thrilled with a second-place finish in one of the biggest races of the year.

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