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Wade's 36 help Heat tie NBA finals (AP)
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, left, goes up for a shot against Dallas Mavericks center DeSagana Diop, of Senegal, in the second quarter in Game 4 of the NBA basketball finals in Miami, Thursday, June 15, 2006. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)AP - Dwyane Wade's tender knee held up fine, and so did home-court advantage for the Miami Heat. The NBA finals aren't over — not even close. They've only just begun.


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Happy return for Monty, not so for Tiger (AP)
Tiger Woods reacts to his tee shot on 10 during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Thursday, June 15, 2006.  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)AP - This wasn't the return Tiger Woods had in mind. Three holes into the U.S. Open, he already was 3 over par. He heard more groans than cheers, which happens when the No. 1 player in the world hits three short shots — from the rough, a drop area and a bunker — that sail over the green. All that saved him Thursday was playing the final six holes in 1 under to shoot 76, his worst start ever in a major.


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Michael Jordan named part-owner of Bobcats (AP)
Robert L. Johnson, left, majority owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats basketball team, sits with Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff during the WNBA Charlotte Sting's opening game, May 20, 2006, in Charlotte, N.C.  Michael Jordan became part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday, June 15, 2006, in a deal that gives him a stake in most of  Johnson's ventures. (AP Photo/Rick Havner)AP - Michael Jordan is back in the NBA, resuming his basketball career in the state where it started.


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Roethlisberger contrite, say's he's lucky (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, right, talks with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during a second quarter time out against the New England Patriots in this Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005 file photo taken  in Pittsurgh.  Roethlisberger, who has said he dislikes wearing a motorcycle helmet, was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash in Pittsburgh and taken to a hospital Monday.  In May 2005, Steelers coach Bill Cowher lectured Roethlisberger on the dangers of riding without a helmet.  .(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)AP - Ben Roethlisberger apologized to the Pittsburgh Steelers, fans and his family on Thursday, hours after being released from a hospital, saying he was fortunate to be alive and pledging to wear a helmet if he ever again rides a motorcycle.


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England beats Trinidad 2-0 to advance (AP)
England's Steven Gerrard is congratulated by team captain David Beckham after scoring England's second goal in the second half of their World Cup Group B soccer match in Nuremberg, Germany, Thursday, June 15, 2006. England defeated Trinidad & Tobago 2-0/ Other teams in Group B are Paraguay and Sweden. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)AP - Peter Crouch and his England teammates spent most of the game missing chances in front of the net. With the time ticking away and England only minutes from a shocking draw against tiny Trinidad and Tobago, Crouch made the best of his last opportunity.


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Call to arms: Pennington at Jets' camp (AP)
New York Jets new head coach Eric Mangini, right, talks with quarterback Chad Pennington, Thursday, June 15, 2006, during the morning session of the team's mini-camp for veterans at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.  Pennington has been sidelined since October 2005 after having right shoulder surgery for the second time in eight months, although he threw mid-range passes during Thursday's workout. Mangini has said the quarterback job is wide open, and Patrick Ramsey, acquired by the Jets from the Washington Redskins, and second round draft pick Kellen Clemens are competing with Pennington for the starting position.  (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)AP - All four Jets quarterbacks huddled together before the start of team drills on the first day of minicamp Thursday.


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Column: Nowitzki a no-show for Mavericks (AP)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, of Germany, reacts in the first quarter against the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA basketball finals in Miami, Thursday, June 15, 2006. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)AP - Good thing so many Germans are tied up with that World Cup thing. Dirk Nowitzki wouldn't want the fans back home to be seeing him this way.


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Kubel homers again as Twins sweep Red Sox (AP)
Minnesota Twins third base coach Scott Ullger, left, congratulates Jason Kubel (19) on his solo home run off Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield during the second inning of a major league baseball game in Minneapolis, Thursday, June 15, 2006. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)AP - David Ortiz's drive soared toward the upper deck, a sure home run hit nearly as high and long as humanly possible. But the ball smacked against a speaker hanging from the Metrodome's ceiling, falling for a harmless single and summing up Boston's frustration while Minnesota finished a three-game sweep.


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Arena dismisses claims of player confusion (AP)
United States team manager Bruce Arena watches his players during training in Norderstedt, Germany Wednesday, June 14, 2006, as they prepare to face Italy in the 2006 World Cup soccer Saturday. Other teams in Group E are Ghana and Czech Republic.  (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)AP - For a coach who has always stressed team unity, Bruce Arena's message seems to have gotten muddled.


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Journeyman Markkanen giving Oilers life (AP)
Edmonton Oilers' goalie Jussi Markkanen, center, talks with reporters at Edmonton's Rexall Place, in Canada, on Thursday, June 15, 2006. Markkanen and the Oilers won last night's NHL Stanley Cup game, 4-3, in overtime  against the Carolina Hurricanes, in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday night. (AP Photo/John Ulan,CP)AP - Jussi Markkanen tilted his head, rubbed the blond beard sprouting from his chin and let out one of those smiles that says: C'mon, what do you think?


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Pittsburgh's prognosis
Ben Roethlisberger's injuries from a motorcycle accident could impact the Steelers more than you think.

Big Ben apologizes, vows to wear helmet (AP)
Ben Roethlisberger apologized to the Pittsburgh Steelers, fans and his family on Thursday, hours after being released from a hospital, saying he was fortunate to be alive and pledging to wear a helmet if he ever again rides a motorcycle. "In the past few days, I've gained a new perspective on life," the Super Bowl-winning quarterback said in a statement released by the team.

NFL meets with Anaheim officials (AP)
Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is convinced the NFL needs a team in the Los Angeles area. Where and when remain the multimillion dollar questions. Bowlen and NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue were among league officials who held a luncheon meeting Thursday with Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, other city officials and Orange County business leaders.

Giants WR Burress addresses absences (AP)
Plaxico Burress has no regrets for his absences. Burress missed both a mandatory team meeting the day after the New York Giants 23-0 playoff loss to Carolina and the team's offseason workouts, preferring to work out in Florida. "No one was happy with the way the season ended," the Giants top wide receiver said Thursday.

Jets' Pennington participates in drills (AP)
All four Jets quarterbacks huddled together before the start of team drills on the first day of minicamp Thursday. One emerged to take the first snap from center. Surprise. It was a rookie. Kellen Clemens lined up, barked orders and dropped back but was forced to run after feeling some pressure. All the while, Chad Pennington looked on, waiting for his chance.

Patriots RB Dillon eager to bounce back (AP)
Corey Dillon is "looking to do big things" for the New England Patriots. The 31-year-old Dillon says too many people have been too quick to anoint rookie first-round draft pick Laurence Maroney as the savior of the Patriots' running game, which declined last season as Dillon battled ankle and calf injuries.

Bengals WR Henry pleads innocent (AP)
Bengals receiver Chris Henry pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges accusing him of providing alcohol to three underage females. Henry, 23, has been arrested four times in the last seven months in three states. He was arraigned on his latest set of charges in northern Kentucky on Thursday morning, then went to Paul Brown Stadium for the team's minicamp.

Chiefs OL John Welbourn retires (AP)
Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman John Welbourn announced his retirement Thursday. Welbourn, 30, was acquired from Philadelphia in 2004 after coming into the league as a fourth-round draft choice in 1999. He was hampered by a knee injury during his first year in Kansas City, and was suspended the first four games of 2005 for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Keep on moving
Pat Riley's Heat won Game 3, but he still might make more moves than Avery Johnson in Game 4.

Wade's 36 help Heat top Mavs, tie series (AP)
In a Flash, the NBA finals went from dead to dead even. A few days ago this series looked to be over. Really, it's just begun. And thanks to a hard foul, it's beginning to boil over. Dwyane Wade, Miami's flashy and slashing guard who was barely able to walk on a banged-up knee 24 hours earlier, scored 36 points and big buddy Shaquille O'Neal added 17 with 13 rebounds as the Heat downed the Dallas...

Jordan becomes part-owner of Bobcats (AP)
Michael Jordan is back in the NBA, resuming his basketball career in the state where it started. Jordan became part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday in a deal that gives him a stake in most of majority partner Robert Johnson's ventures. Jordan's investment makes him second only to Johnson as the largest individual owner of the Bobcats.

Shaq finds free-throw shooting touch (AP)
There was nothing subtle about Jerry Stackhouse's attempt to tackle Shaquille O'Neal on a fast break. Nothing subtle in O'Neal's response to the flagrant foul, either. Alone at the foul line, O'Neal pushed his first attempt toward the rim. Swish, fist pump. And again: Swish, fist pump. There was 6:29 left in the third quarter, and O'Neal and the Miami Heat -- maybe for the first time -- looked to be...

Mavericks collapse early in Game 4 (AP)
With an arena full of white-clad fans on their feet, one sat glumly in the front row, slumped back with arms crossed over his black shirt. Mark Cuban wasn't enjoying himself one bit. Midway through the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the NBA finals, his team appeared headed for its first title. Midway through the first quarter of Game 4 on Thursday night, they were headed for nothing but trouble.

Harris returns to Mavs starting lineup (AP)
Hoping to break a skid of three straight poor-shooting starts, the Dallas Mavericks returned speedy guard Devin Harris to the starting lineup for Game 4 of the NBA finals Thursday night. Harris didn't become a starter until Game 2 of the second round against San Antonio. He remained in the lineup the rest of that series and the entire Western Conference finals against Phoenix, then was benched in...

Mavs miss five shots on one possession (AP)
There's no record for shots missed on a single possession of the NBA finals. If one existed, the Dallas Mavericks may have challenged it Thursday night. In a 47-second span of Game 4, the Mavericks took five shots -- and missed them all. It started with 3:42 left in the first quarter, when Dirk Nowitzki rebounded a hook shot that sailed long out of the hand of Miami's Alonzo Mourning.

Payton clutch in Heat's Game 3 victory (AP)
The play seemed to be breaking down. Dwyane Wade handed the ball off to Jason Williams, whose path to the basket was immediately blocked by ultra-speedy Dallas guard Devin Harris. The score was tied, the game clock was at 12 seconds, the shot clock at 3. Williams had two choices -- force a shot, or take one more glance and find an open shooter.

Power shift
Edmonton finally scored on the power play Wednesday, but that wasn't the only trend reversal in Game 5.

Oilers' Markkanen evens it up in goal (AP)
Jussi Markkanen tilted his head, rubbed the blond beard sprouting from his chin and let out one of those smiles that says: C'mon, what do you think? No way he saw this coming. Markkanen spent more than three months either banished to the Edmonton bench, where the only thing he tended was the door for player changes, or exiled to some faraway perch above the ice, where he squinted to watch the game...

'Canes to go for Cup again in Edmonton (AP)
Carolina coach Peter Laviolette dropped his luggage on the floor of a room suited more for brides and grooms than forwards and defenseman. He and the Hurricanes had just trudged from the airport to their Canadian hotel Thursday and certainly didn't feel like celebrating after a nearly 5-hour flight they wished they didn't have to take.

Special teams key Oilers' Game 5 win (AP)
Right when the Edmonton Oilers figured out how to score on the power play, they saved their season with a short-handed goal. So maligned was Edmonton's man-advantage unit, workhorse defenseman Chris Pronger tried to end the line of questioning a few hours before the Oilers' extended the Stanley Cup finals with a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.

Oilers' Pisani enjoying star status (AP)
Fernando Pisani didn't toss and turn after the biggest goal of his brief NHL career. Pisani's short-handed goal in overtime Wednesday night made it necessary for the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes to head west for Saturday's Game 6. "I slept pretty good last night, enjoying today as well," Pisani said shortly after he and the Oilers returned home Thursday.

Blue Jackets re-sign forward Shelley (AP)
The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed fan favorite Jody Shelley, the team's career leader in penalty minutes, to a two-year deal Thursday. Shelley, a forward, led the Blue Jackets with 163 penalty minutes last season, the fourth consecutive year he has led the team. He has had 856 penalty minutes in his four years with Columbus.

Devils hire Claude Julien as coach (AP)
Persuading Claude Julien to become the next coach of the New Jersey Devils was easy for Lou Lamoriello. Julien coached Montreal until this past January, and the Devils and Canadiens play a similar style. Julien also was sold on the fact that New Jersey is a perennial Stanley Cup contender. "I'm really looking forward to working with this group of winners," the 46-year-old Julien said Tuesday after...

Stars exercise 1-year option on Lehtinen (AP)
The Dallas Stars exercised a one-year contract option with winger Jere Lehtinen on Wednesday and traded for Rangers center Mike Green. The Stars gave up a conditional draft pick in 2008 for Green, who had 17 goals and 26 assists in 50 games with the Hannover Scorpions of the German Elite League last season.

Trading Paint: Before I go …
Jerry couldn't shut down the computer and hit the beach before rolling out a mailbag.

Hendrick foresees no issues with Busch and Mears (AP)
Car owner Rick Hendrick does not foresee any problems between feuding drivers Kyle Busch and Casey Mears when the two become teammates next year.

Gordon looking for Michigan improvement (AP)
Jeff Gordon has not had the kind of NASCAR Nextel Cup season he had hoped for. But the four-time series champion,...

Teen drives his way into career using video games (AP)
GLADEVILLE, Tenn. – Playing video games is the only way most people live out their pro sports dreams.

Ganassi has yet another lame duck driver (AP)
LONG POND, Pa. – Casey Mears was diplomatic about why he would continue to give a full effort for Chip...

Mears signs with Hendrick to replace Vickers (AP)
Casey Mears was hired Wednesday to drive for Hendrick Motorsports, earning a seat with one of NASCAR's super-teams.

Ganassi: Wheldon not headed to NASCAR (AP)
Car owner Chip Ganassi, who has an unexpected hole to fill on his NASCAR team, said Tuesday that IRL driver Dan Wheldon is not a candidate to replace Casey Mears.

Stewart's shoulder fine after 500 miles (AP)
NASCAR champion Tony Stewart said his broken right shoulder blade felt fine Monday, a day after he completed all 500 miles at Pocono Raceway.

Gibbs, Stewart back grassroots racing league (AP)
Joe Gibbs does his best to keep Tony Stewart from racing outside of Nextel Cup competition. Backing an indoor stock-car series probably won't help his efforts. Gibbs on Monday invested in Arena Racing USA, a grassroots league that uses half-scale stock cars on a 1/10th-mile banked track. The minimum age limit requirement is 14, and the series is open to anyone -- including Stewart.

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