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Nowitzki huge as Mavs topple Suns in 4th (AP)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (41), of Germany, dunks against the Phoenix Suns in the first half  in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference finals basketball game in Dallas, Thursday, June 1, 2006. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)AP - Down by seven and feeling as if a tremendous season might be slipping away, Dirk Nowitzki turned to his Dallas Mavericks teammates during a timeout and simply said, "Let's go." They went all right — all the way to the brink of the NBA Finals.


'Canes rally past Sabres, advance to final (AP)
Carolina Hurricanes' Rod Brind'Amour, left, celebrates as the team races to goalie Cam Ward, center, after the Hurricanes defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 in  Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference hockey finals on Thursday, June 1, 2006, in Raleigh, N.C. The Hurricanes  advance to the Stanley Cup finals.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)AP - Rod Brind'Amour was the faceoff-winning, penalty-killing rock in the Carolina Hurricanes' lineup all season. Then he put them into the Stanley Cup finals.


D'backs break 24-inning scoring drought (AP)
Arizona Diamondbacks starter Juan Cruz works in the first inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, June 1 , 2006, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)AP - The Arizona Diamondbacks finally broke their scoreless streak. Juan Cruz kept his going. The right-hander pitched seven shutout innings in the longest outing of his career, and the Diamondbacks broke a 24-inning scoring drought with two unearned runs in the eighth for a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.


Tigers beat Yanks, snap losing streak (AP)
Detroit Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez celebrates after scoring the winning run on a Carlos Guillen hit off the New York Yankees in the ninth inning as as pitcher Kyle Farnsworth, back left,  and catcher Jorge Posada, right, walk off the field after their Major League Baseball game in Detroit, Thursday, June 1, 2006. The Tigers beat the Yankees 7-6. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)AP - The latest injury for the New York Yankees sounded funny at first. It was anything but a laughing matter in the bottom of the ninth inning. Mariano Rivera injured his back putting on his spikes 90 minutes before the game, and the Detroit Tigers scored two runs off replacement closer Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth for a 7-6 victory Thursday night.


Expectations high for U.S. at World Cup (AP)
Members of the USA soccer team, left to right, goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, forward Landon Donovan, defender Jimmy Conrad, ABCs Good Morning America  weather correspondent Mike Barz, midfielder Clint Dempsey, forward Brian Ching, defender Oguchi Onyewu, and defender Chris Albright, appear on ABC's Good Morning America television show, Thursday, June 1, 2006 in New York, before heading off to the World Cup 2006 in Germany.(AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh)AP - When the U.S. soccer team arrived at the World Cup on Friday, players were greeted with a far less visible show of force than they saw in South Korea four years ago.


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

Nowitzki shines as Suns fade (Reuters)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (L) drives to the basket past Phoenix Suns' Boris Diaw during the 4th quarter of Game 5 of their NBA Western Conference Final playoff basketball game in Dallas, Texas, June 1, 2006. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)Reuters - Dirk Nowitzki took charge with a playoff career high 50 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 117-101 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday and within one victory of their first NBA finals.


Dodgers rout Phils as Drew, Kemp go deep (AP)
Los Angeles Dodgers' J.D. Drew, right, is greeted at home by teammate Nomar Garciaparra after hitting a three-run homer off Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Gavin Floyd in fourth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 1, 2006.(AP Photo/Francis Specker)AP - Derek Lowe threw six shutout innings, Matt Kemp and J.D. Drew each had three-run homers and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2 Thursday night, their seventh consecutive home victory.


South Korea pins hopes on Park Ji-sung (AP)
AP - Park Ji-sung used to sleep with a soccer ball, back when he was in school. His father would trawl frog farms each fall to make a medicine that was thought to boost young boys' growth. Now, the South Korea midfielder towers over soccer in his homeland, carrying the dreams of a nation on his shoulders ahead of his second World Cup.

No pep talks needed as Oilers prepare (AP)
Edmonton Oilers Fernando Pisani (34) celebrates his game-winning goal against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim with teammate Michael Peca, Sergei Samsonov and Jason Smith, left to right, in this file photo, during third period of Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference Finals  hockey action on May 23, 2006 in Edmonton. The Oilers are anxious to take the ice for the Stanley Cup final. (AP PHOTO/CP, Paul Chiasson)AP - Craig MacTavish has no pep talk planned to motivate his overachieving Edmonton Oilers for the Stanley Cup final.


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

Redskins S Taylor avoids jail (AP)
Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor reached an agreement with prosecutors to drop felony charges against him and pleaded no contest Thursday to two misdemeanors in an assault case, avoiding any jail time that might have derailed his NFL career. The deal calls for Taylor to be placed on 18 months' probation, talk about the importance of education at 10 Miami-Dade County schools and contribute...

Plummer pleads not guilty to road rage (AP)
Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer pleaded not guilty Thursday to municipal charges in a road rage dispute. The plea, entered by his attorney Harvey Steinberg, allows Plummer to skip a hearing scheduled for Friday. A trial date has not been set, Steinberg said. Plummer was issued a summons to face a misdemeanor violation of "injure or destroy property," similar to criminal mischief under state...

A.J. Nicholson to face charges in Fla. (AP)
Bengals linebacker A.J. Nicholson will travel to Florida on Saturday to face charges of burglarizing the apartment of a former Florida State teammate. Nicholson, a fifth-round draft pick last April, has been participating in offseason workouts at Paul Brown Stadium this week. The club has declined to comment while the case is handled in court.

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.

Pennington throws on back-to-back days (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.

Dirk's redemption
DALLAS – In hanging 50 points on Phoenix, Dirk Nowitzki did what superstars do: respond to pressure and adversity.

Nowitzki's 50 power Mavs past Suns (AP)
Down by seven and feeling as if a tremendous season might be slipping away, Dirk Nowitzki turned to his Dallas Mavericks teammates during a timeout and simply said, "Let's go." They went all right -- all the way to the brink of the NBA Finals. Nowitzki scored 50 points to carry the Mavericks to a 117-101 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night and a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference...

Mavs' Mbenga suspended six games (AP)
Mavericks backup center D.J. Mbenga was suspended without pay for six games Thursday for going into the stands to aid the wife of coach Avery Johnson during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals in Phoenix. The punishment is one game longer than New York Knicks forward Antonio Davis received in January for going from the court into the stands to defend his wife.

Heat look to clinch East finals at home (AP)
Amid all the ramblings about pressure, poise, adjustments and the countless other ways to dissect a playoff series, Dwyane Wade cut right to the point. "One game to win," Wade said. "That's all we've got to do." Sounds so easy. By now, the Miami Heat know it's anything but -- especially against the never-say-die Detroit Pistons.

Weary Suns on brink of elimination (AP)
The Phoenix Suns are going to need another Game 7 if they're going to make it to the NBA Finals. First, though, they've got to win Game 6. With Raja Bell hobbling, Steve Nash struggling with his shot and fatigue maybe taking a toll, the Suns lost 117-101 to Dallas on Thursday night and fell behind 3-2 in the Western Conference finals.

Heat go 6-of-20 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'...

Musselman impresses Kings in interview (AP)
Although Eric Musselman impressed the Maloof family Thursday in his second interview for the Sacramento Kings' head coaching job, the Memphis assistant soon might have more competition. Musselman, who coached the Golden State Warriors from 2002-04, appears to be the leading candidate among the three coaches interviewed by the Kings, who parted ways with Rick Adelman on May 9.

Pacers coach Carlisle feels secure (AP)
Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle doesn't feel like his job is in danger. After the Pacers finished a 41-41 season by losing in the first round of the playoffs, team president Larry Bird said Carlisle should expect more of his players and that, at times, he lost control of the team. Carlisle has spoken with Bird and CEO Donnie Walsh since the news conference, and said Thursday he feels secure...

The thin blueline
Buffalo never had a chance in Thursday's Game 7 – if you believe the injury report.

'Canes oust Sabres in 7 to reach finals (AP)
Rod Brind'Amour was the faceoff-winning, penalty-killing rock in the Carolina Hurricanes' lineup all season. Then he put them into the Stanley Cup finals. The captain's goal snapped a third-period tie and sent the Hurricanes into the championship round Thursday night with a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Injuries finally catch up to Sabres (AP)
Daniel Briere's face was pale and his eyes were red. The Buffalo Sabres co-captain wasn't ready to hear how much heart his team had. "Not right now, that's for sure," Briere said. "We'll see in the next few days. But tonight, there's nothing else to think about than the way this great ride ends." The banged-up but resilient Sabres' improbable run through the playoffs ended with a 4-2 loss to Carolina...

Oilers rest, East finals goes to Game 7 (AP)
Nearly a week after wrapping up a place in the Stanley Cup finals, the Edmonton Oilers are headed to New York for the weekend, mostly just to break up the monotony of waiting for their opponent. By the time the Oilers take the ice in Game 1 of the finals, they will have been off for eight days -- watching as Carolina and Buffalo took the Eastern Conference finals to a full seven games.

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.

Bryan Trottier back with Islanders (AP)
Hockey Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier is coming back to the New York Islanders to serve as executive director of player development. Trottier, who starred on New York's four straight Stanley Cup championship teams in the 1980s and holds several club records, was hired Thursday by the team he separated from once his playing career ended.

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...

Dover days
The Busch and Craftsman Trucks also hit Dover this weekend, where Todd Kluever is feeling the pressure.

Yates team stumbling, no end in sight (AP)
CONCORD, N.C. – Dale Jarrett could have been home cooking steaks before the halfway mark of the Coca-Cola...

Stock car tracks court families with new diversions (AP)
JENNERSTOWN, Pa. – As stock car engines howl in the background, Dave Wheeler raises a small air cannon to...

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.

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