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Bengals use stout D to beat Ravens 13-7 (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061201/ap_on_sp_fo_ga_su/fbn_ravens_bengals"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061201/capt.120fd295fade4027889832b36b83d9c4.ravens_bengals_football_pbs108.jpg?x=124&y=130&sig=31AzlGTUk8uZudLTPYb3Kw--" align="left" height="130" width="124" alt="Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson (85) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tony Tribble)" border="0" /></a>AP - Playing with a chance to win a title, the Baltimore Ravens crossed midfield once in the first three quarters. Their fearsome defense got caught flat-footed by a sandlot play. Maybe T.J. Houshmandzadeh is right after all.</p><br clear="all"/>

Kobe goes for 52 points in Lakers' rout (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061201/ap_on_sp_bk_ga_su/bkn_jazz_lakers"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061201/capt.fde620ab022047e58eeceae3aeecbf53.jazz_lakers_basketball_las102.jpg?x=83&y=130&sig=HIsQONUDK.n65wsbA4LYZQ--" align="left" height="130" width="83" alt="Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant watches his dunk go through during the first half of their basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Thursday night, Nov. 30, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)" border="0" /></a>AP - The Kobe Show is back. Looking completely recovered from offseason knee surgery, Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 52 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 132-102 rout of the Utah Jazz on Thursday night.</p><br clear="all"/>

Baze is 1 win away from making history (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061201/ap_on_sp_ot/rac_baze_s_pursuit"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061201/capt.40bfd05c9246478983d6997ad0076b37.baze_pursuit_horse_racing_cajc105.jpg?x=130&y=96&sig=0Wpvjg4iihfAjRp_DDb0ig--" align="left" height="96" width="130" alt="Jockey Russell Baze rides Christie's Fame in the sixth race at Bay Meadows in San Mateo, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006. Baze finished first. It was Baze's 9,530th victory to tie Laffit Pincay Jr.'s career record. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)" border="0" /></a>AP - Russell Baze is one victory away from earning the ultimate reward for 32 years of coaxing cheap horses across finish lines at obscure racetracks.</p><br clear="all"/>

Hossa lifts Thrashers over Maple Leafs (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061201/ap_on_sp_ho_ga_su/hkn_nhl_rdp"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061201/capt.1fe89bffa9ac4b91929d84166998ff1a.maple_leafs_thrashers_hockey_gajb102.jpg?x=130&y=92&sig=80n_mWX1oCPxuQZMNjuNXA--" align="left" height="92" width="130" alt="Atlanta Thrashers' Marian Hossa of Slovakia shoots the puck past Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft to score during the first period of a hockey game in Atlanta, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)" border="0" /></a>AP - This win meant a little more than most to Marian Hossa and the Atlanta Thrashers. They were tired of getting trounced by Toronto. Hossa had three goals and an assist to take over the NHL scoring lead and Kari Lehtonen stopped 36 shots, sending Atlanta to a 5-0 victory Thursday night for its first win over the Maple Leafs in more than three years.</p><br clear="all"/>

Phillies, Eaton ink $24.5M, 3-year deal (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061201/ap_on_sp_ba_ne/bbn_phillies_eaton"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061128/capt.9fd34ffac3354307bd31e1127a1475a1.phillies_eaton_baseball_ny174.jpg?x=123&y=130&sig=gPdOl.sSryRdPdmPdXFewg--" align="left" height="130" width="123" alt="Former Texas Rangers pitcher Adam Eaton delivers to the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning of a baseball game in Arlington, Texas, in this Sept. 16, 2006 file photo. Eaton and the Philadelphia Phillies reached a preliminary agreement on a US$24 million, three-year contract, a baseball official told The Associated Press on Monday, Nov. 27, 2006. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)" border="0" /></a>AP - Pitcher Adam Eaton and the Philadelphia Phillies finalized a $24.5 million, three-year contract on Thursday.</p><br clear="all"/>

Resurgent Cincinnati halts Baltimore's win streak (Reuters)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061201/sp_nm/nfl_bengals_dc"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/nm/20061201/2006_11_30t234511_450x372_us_nfl_bengals.jpg?x=130&y=107&sig=bZi_S7vumqY1FLt3kKQfsA--" align="left" height="107" width="130" alt="Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis (R) is tackled for a loss of yardage Cincinnati Bengals' Dexter Jackson (L) during the third quarter of play in their NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, November 30, 2006. (John Sommers II/Reuters)" border="0" /></a>Reuters - Carson Palmer connected with T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the home team's only touchdown of the game as the Cincinnati Bengals beat Baltimore 13-7 on Thursday to prevent the Ravens from becoming the first team to reach the playoffs.</p><br clear="all"/>

Bryant hits season-high 52 points as Lakers crush Jazz (Reuters)
Reuters - After a slow start to the season Kobe Bryant pushed into high gear on Thursday, pouring in 52 points to help the Los Angeles Lakers crush the Utah Jazz 132-102.

Zito, Boras visit Rangers (AP)
AP - Barry Zito met Thursday with the Texas Rangers, the team that failed to sign the ace left-hander after drafting him in 1998.

Chicago to host Gold Cup final and semis (AP)
AP - Chicago's Soldier Field will be the site of next year's semifinals and final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, soccer's championship of North and Central America and Caribbean.

Getzlaf lifts Ducks over Canucks 2-1 (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061201/ap_on_sp_ho_ga_su/hkn_ducks_canucks"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061201/capt.a99886dc53a0489b8c535ea2f4047df3.nhl_canucks_ducks_hockey_vcrz105.jpg?x=130&y=93&sig=JPpS.euT4IXFJWo.krdQVg--" align="left" height="93" width="130" alt="Vancouver Canucks' Jesse Schultz (20) falls to the ice after being hit by Anaheim Ducks' Sean O'Donnell during the first period of NHL action in Vancouver, Canada, Thursday, November 30, 2006. (AP Photo/Richard Lam,CP)" border="0" /></a>AP - Ryan Getzlaf is finding his groove for an Anaheim Ducks team that has been in one all season long. Getzlaf scored the tiebreaking goal on a two-man advantage with 7:34 left, sending the Ducks to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.</p><br clear="all"/>

No respect
The Bears might be poised to earn the NFC's top playoff seed, but that won't make them the conference's Super Bowl favorite.

Bengals keep Ravens from AFC North title (AP)
Playing with a chance to win a title, the Baltimore Ravens crossed midfield once in the first three quarters. Their fearsome defense got caught flat-footed by a sandlot play. Maybe T.J. Houshmandzadeh is right after all. Houshmandzadeh caught a 40-yard touchdown pass on a flea-flicker Thursday night, sparking the Cincinnati Bengals to a 13-7 victory that kept the AFC North title up for grabs.

More surgery for Dolphins' Culpepper (AP)
Daunte Culpepper underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday to remove a piece of cartilage that has hampered his recovery from reconstructive surgery a year ago. The problem was discovered when Culpepper was examined Wednesday by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. "Behind his kneecap there was a little piece of articular cartilage that was causing some catching," coach Nick Saban said.

Giants say they're in perfect harmony (AP)
The New York Giants say they are a team in perfect harmony, even if they can't quite sing that way. A day after defensive end Michael Strahan ignited a controversy when he dressed down a television reporter who questioned him about critical remarks he had made on a radio show, several of the Giants entered the locker room Thursday singing the Twisted Sister anthem, "We're Not Gonna Take It." It...

Seau's arm injury puts future in limbo (AP)
Junior Seau didn't leave the NFL the way he wanted, despite his 12 Pro Bowls. So he went back. "Obviously, leaving the last two years with injuries was not satisfying," he said when he joined the New England Patriots late last summer four days after announcing his retirement. Now, one of the best linebackers in recent NFL history is hurt again.

Giants DE Strahan doesn't practice (AP)
New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan did not participate in practice on Thursday, a day after he took part in his first individual drills since spraining his right foot against Houston four weeks ago. Strahan is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys. "It's not a setback," coach Tom Coughlin said.

Browns GM Savage backs coach Crennel (AP)
Romeo Crennel's boss isn't planning to make him the next former Cleveland coach. Not now, and not anytime soon. Browns general manager Phil Savage strongly backed Crennel on Thursday, saying it was unfair to blame him for all Cleveland's problems, temporarily snuffing speculation the struggling club was on the verge of a coaching change.

Seahawks' plan for Cutler: Blitzes (AP)
John Marshall has been an NFL assistant coach for 27 years. He's been a defensive coordinator for nine of those seasons. He's concocted, or had a hand in, over 400 plans to thwart opposing quarterbacks. But the 61-year-old Seahawks defensive mastermind has never had to plan for the almost complete unknown.

T.O. questions release of K Vanderjagt (AP)
Terrell Owens isn't just sorry to see his pal Mike Vanderjagt go. He thinks the Dallas Cowboys made a mistake by releasing the wayward kicker. "I don't see what he did wrong to warrant him being cut," Owens said Wednesday. "I hope it doesn't come back to haunt us. Whoever made that decision, I'm pretty sure they're hoping the same thing." Vanderjagt was released Monday, only 11 games into a...

Vick fined $10,000 for obscene gesture (AP)
Michael Vick was fined $10,000 by the NFL and agreed to donate another $10,000 to charity for an obscene hand gesture toward Falcons fans following last weekend's loss to New Orleans. "I broke a rule and now I'm paying the price," Vick said Wednesday. "The good thing is I get to donate a portion of it to charity." Vick rushed for 166 yards in Sunday's 31-13 loss, just 7 yards short of his own NFL...

Welcome back, Kobe

Kobe scores 52, Lakers rip Jazz 132-102 (AP)
The Kobe Show is back. Looking completely recovered from offseason knee surgery, Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 52 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 132-102 rout of the Utah Jazz on Thursday night. He made all nine shots from the floor and was 10-for-10 at the foul line in his highest-scoring game since an 81-point outburst against Toronto on Jan.

Pistons top Heat to win seventh straight (AP)
Dwyane Wade endured a bad shooting night, and his last attempt might have been his worst. It was certainly decisive. With 2 seconds left and his team trailing by a point, Wade tried a 19-foot jumper that barely reached the rim, and the Detroit Pistons held on to beat the Miami Heat 87-85 Thursday. Detroit won its seventh game in a row.

Spurs' Parker, actress Longoria to marry (AP)
Her marriage didn't work out on "Desperate Housewives," but things are looking rosy in real life for Eva Longoria: She's engaged to her beau, basketball star Tony Parker. "Tony flew into Los Angeles last night after his game and surprised Eva at her home as she got off work," Longoria's spokeswoman, Liza Anderson, told The Associated Press on Thursday via e-mail.

76ers' Randolph breaks ankle at practice (AP)
Philadelphia 76ers forward Shavlik Randolph was set to undergo surgery Thursday night after he broke his left ankle earlier at practice and was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Randolph was playing defense when he collided with Andre Iguodala. "I saw players just running around and screaming," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said.

Mavs win 11th straight without Nowitzki (AP)
The Dallas Mavericks won their 11th straight game Wednesday night, but they received a major scare in the process. Star forward Dirk Nowitzki left the game late in the first quarter because of blurred vision, but Josh Howard scored 26 points to make up for his loss as the Mavericks beat the Toronto Raptors 117-98.

Lakers' Jackson fined $25,000 by NBA (AP)
Phil Jackson was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for criticizing referees Friday night after the Lakers' 114-108 loss to Utah. Jackson was quoted in several newspapers about the way the officials -- Derrick Stafford, Derek Richardson and Leroy Richardson -- handled second-year center Andrew Bynum.

Lenny Wilkens rejoins SuperSonics (AP)
Lenny Wilkens, the NBA's career victory leader who coached Seattle to its only NBA title in 1979, re-joined the team Thursday as vice chairman of the SuperSonics' new ownership group. In the new position created by Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett, chairman of the new ownership group, the Professional Basketball Club, Wilkens will oversee external community relations and business advancement...

Pacers win on Jackson's last-second 3 (AP)
A fourth quarter full of skilled play came down to dumb luck -- and Stephen Jackson was standing in exactly the right spot to capitalize. Jackson grabbed a loose ball and hit a 3-pointer with 1 second left, and the Indiana Pacers came from behind for a 108-106 victory over the Warriors on Wednesday night, preventing Golden State coach Don Nelson from getting his 1,200th win.

Knicks snap Cavaliers' home win streak (AP)
Eddy Curry was often New York's biggest cheerleader during crunch time last season. Now, he's the center of everything for the Knicks. "I wouldn't even see the fourth quarter, let alone the ball," Curry said. "But that was last year." Curry scored 24 points -- 12 in the final period -- and Quentin Richardson had 27 points as the Knicks continued to play better on the road with a 101-98 victory over...

March of the Penguin

Thrashers end eight-game skid vs. Leafs (AP)
The Atlanta Thrashers ended three years of frustration against Toronto. Marian Hossa had three goals and an assist, Kari Lehtonen stopped 36 shots and the Thrashers beat the Maple Leafs 5-0 Thursday night for a victory that meant the most to Atlanta's veterans. "I think we sent them a message that we're not going to accept it anymore," said Slava Kozlov, who savored his four assists after playing...

Thomas helps Bruins top Lightning in SO (AP)
Bruins rookie Phil Kessel made his first shootout attempt a memorable one. Tim Thomas saved all seven shots in the shootout and Kessel scored on Boston's seventh attempt, giving the surging Bruins a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. Thomas and Tampa Bay goalie Marc Denis matched each other for the first six attempts, but after Thomas stuffed Ruslan Fedotenko for his seventh...

LeClair placed on waivers by Penguins (AP)
John LeClair was placed on waivers Thursday by the Pittsburgh Penguins, a decision designed to try to move the three-time 50-goal scorer to another team. If LeClair clears waivers by Friday, the Penguins must decide whether to release him and be responsible for his $1.5 million salary or keep him and try to work out a trade in which they might have to pick up part of his salary.

Ducks win fourth in a row, top Canucks (AP)
Ryan Getzlaf is finding his groove for an Anaheim Ducks team that has been in one all season long. Getzlaf scored the tiebreaking goal on a two-man advantage with 7:34 left, sending the Ducks to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. It was the second straight game-winner for Getzlaf, who capped a stunning comeback Tuesday in Edmonton by scoring in overtime after the Ducks tied...

Heatley, Emery power Senators in rout (AP)
The Ottawa Senators are beginning to look more like the team that led the NHL in goals last season. Dany Heatley had two goals and an assist and Ray Emery made 31 saves for Ottawa's first shutout of the season in the Senators' 6-0 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Andrej Meszaros and Antoine Vermette also scored for Ottawa, which won its second straight.

Caps' Kolzig beats Stars for first time (AP)
Olaf Kolzig erased a pesky zero from his career stat sheet. Kolzig made 35 saves and withstood a third-period rally to finally defeat the only NHL franchise he had never beaten when the Washington Capitals edged the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Thursday night. "I think that rounds off the NHL, doesn't it?" Kolzig said.

Hurricanes regroup, defeat Canadiens 4-2 (AP)
After three losses in four games, Peter Laviolette talked with his Carolina Hurricanes players in what he called a "regrouping" meeting. The message was simple: play hard and remember to have fun. It was apparently something the defending Stanley Cup champions needed to hear. Justin Williams and Eric Belanger scored less than a minute apart in the third period to lead the Hurricanes past the...

Avalanche move out of last in Northwest (AP)
Oilers coach Craig MacTavish had a feeling there would be a price to pay for his team's recent inconsistency. Tyler Arnason had two goals and an assist, leading the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-3 rout of Edmonton on Thursday night. "When you have been playing the way we had been playing, you are ultimately going to have to face the reaper," MacTavish said.

Nagy bounces back, Coyotes rip Kings 7-4 (AP)
Ladislav Nagy got Wayne Gretzky's message loud and clear. Nagy returned from a one-game benching to score a goal and add three assists in the Phoenix Coyotes' 7-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night. "I've got to move on," Nagy said. "I can't really think about it. I'm just trying to have fun on the ice and not really think about it.

Trading Paint: Don't slow down
The NASCAR offseason hasn't slowed the Trading Paint train one bit.

NASCAR hits the Big Apple (AP)
Jeff Gordon was taking a leisurely stroll past Central Park when he heard someone calling his name from a passing car. In one of the few cities where the NASCAR star still maintains some anonymity, he was taken aback.

Earnhardt Jr. like being best at something (AP)
Congratulations, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

A different New York for new champ Johnson. (AP)
Times Square has never seemed quite so vibrant to Jimmie Johnson.

Bank of America revs up plans for NASCAR (AP)
Banking on NASCAR fans' sponsor loyalty to drive more retail business to their ATMs and branches, Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. has signed a five-year deal as the official bank of the popular racing series.

Johnson tells Letterman that penalty wasn't that bad (AP)
David Letterman's idea of cheating is apparently much more severe than Jimmie Johnson's. Johnson appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman," on Tuesday night, and the host grilled NASCAR's new champion about a penalty his team incurred before the season opening race. Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, was fined $25,000 and suspended for four races for making an illegal modifications to...

2006 a time of change for NASCAR (AP)
Jimmie Johnson opened and closed the 2006 season on top, for very different reasons.

NASCAR's new champion lags in fan popularity (AP)
There's an Internet video of a family in its kitchen watching October's last-lap wreck at Talladega. When Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson crash on the final lap, the family flies into an expletive-laden rage against Johnson.

NASCAR owners has formula for winning championships. (AP)
Jack Roush has a unique knowledge of what it takes to win a NASCAR Nextel Cup championship.

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