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Suns Send Heat to Another Home Loss (AP)
Phoenix Suns' Kurt Thomas (42) forces Miami Heat's  Dwyane Wade (3) to pass the ball off to Udonis Haslem (40) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006, in Miami. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)AP - Jason Williams was sidelined with stitches holding his right ring finger together. Dwyane Wade spent much of the second half hobbling and grimacing. And the Miami Heat remained winless for the season against the NBA's upper echelon.


Unseeded Baghdatis Reaches Aussie Final (AP)
Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus jubilates after winning his semifinal match against David Nalbandian of Argentina at the Australian Open Tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006. Baghdatis won the match 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to final on Sunday.  (AP Photo/Rick Stevens)AP - MELBOURNE, Australia — And then there were none — or so it might seem to Roger Federer.


Bode Suggests Bonds, Armstrong Cheating (AP)
World Cup overall champion Bode Miller, seen here in 2005, headlines a 19-strong alpine team nominated for the Turin Olympics by the US Ski and Snowboard Association(AFP/File/Thomas Coex)AP - Here we go again with Bode Miller. Just as the brash World Cup champion skier decided to skip this weekend's events to rest up for the Turin Games and get away from media scrutiny, Miller suggested in an interview with Rolling Stone that Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong took performance-enhancing drugs.


Celtics Acquire Szczerbiak From Minnesota (AP)
Minnesota Timberwolves Wally Szczerbiak (10) works his way past Memphis Grizzlies' Shane Battier (31) and Lorenzen Wright (42) under the basket during first quarter NBA basketball action, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2006, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/ Matthew Craig)AP - Wally Szczerbiak was finally traded as the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves finally made a move. Now the question is who will be better off?


Jobe, Levet in Lead As Woods Struggles (AP)
Brent Jobe hits his second  shot to the 8th hole of the North Course during the first round of the Buick Invitational golf tournament on  Thursday Jan. 26, 2006 in San Diego. Jobe was the leader at seven-under-par. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)AP - Coming off one of the longest breaks in his career, Tiger Woods might get another one sooner than he would like.


Seahawks' Rouen Ready for 3rd Super Bowl (AP)
Seattle Seahawks kicker Josh Brown kicks from the hold of punter Tom Rouen during the NFC championship football game against the Carolina Panthers in Seattle, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006. The Seahawks take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006 in Detroit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)AP - Tom Rouen doesn't bring up the 1998 Super Bowl very often to Mike Holmgren. "Never," Rouen emphatically said. Job security is too important to the Seahawks punter.


NBA Today (AP)
AP - Golden State at L.A. Lakers (10:30 p.m. EST). The Warriors look to cool off Kobe Bryant in his first game since scoring 81 points against Toronto.

Thomas Eager to Move Forward With A's (AP)
Oakland Athletics' Frank Thomas smiles during a media conference Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006, in Oakland, Calif. The A's are eager for the addition of Frank Thomas to their baseball lineup and general manager Billy Beane believes the team could get back to the top of the AL West. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)AP - As determined as Frank Thomas is to move forward with his new team in Oakland, there's still some lingering frustration about how he parted ways with the Chicago White Sox.


River Trounces Bolivia's Oriente 6-0 (AP)
Daniel Montenegro, left, of Argentina's River Plate, is embraced by teammate Jairo Patino fter scoring his team's second goal against Bolivia's Oriente Petrolero during their Libertadores of America soccer cup game at Stadium Monumental in Buenos Aires, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006.  (AP Photo/Eduardo Di Baia)AP - Marcelo Gallardo converted a pair of penalty kicks and River Plate beat Bolivia's Oriente Petrolero 6-0 Thursday in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores preliminary phase match.


Shanahan Gets 100th Game-Winning NHL Goal (AP)
Detroit Red Wings' Brendan Shanahan raises his glove after scoring the winning goal on Vancouver Canucks goalie Alex Auld in the third period in their NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006. The Red Wings beat Vancouver, 2-1. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)AP - Brendan Shanahan has made a career of coming through when his team needs him most. He was at it again Thursday night, scoring a power-play goal with 7 minutes left to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. It was Shanahan's 100th game-winning goal, fourth on the all-time list behind only Gordie Howe, Phil Esposito and Brett Hull.


Top defensive prospects
MOBILE, Ala. – The 2006 NFL draft will be the place to be if you're looking for defensive ends and linebackers.

Kubiak introduced as Texans coach (AP)
As a ball boy for the Houston Oilers more than 25 years ago, Gary Kubiak never thought he would eventually coach the team that replaced them. But he long vowed that he would return to Houston. On Thursday he did, and was introduced as the second coach of the Houston Texans. "I always told my mom and dad I would be home someday," he said.

New ruling: Steelers' Long killed self (AP)
Former Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Terry Long committed suicide by drinking antifreeze, a revised death certificate shows, and did not die as a direct result of football-related head injuries. The Allegheny County coroner ruled in September that Long, 45, who had attempted suicide before, had died of meningitis.

Campaign manager fired for Swann remark (AP)
A gubernatorial candidate challenging pro football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann in the Republican primary fired his campaign manager after the man told a televised call-in show: "The rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann." Bill Scranton, a former lieutenant governor who is white and comes from a wealthy family, also issued an apology to Swann after his campaign manager's comments Wednesday.

Steelers pumped before first practice (AP)
Steelers linebacker Clark Haggans was relaxing at home, enjoying a few days off before returning to practice for the Super Bowl. Then a commercial touting The Rolling Stones and their upcoming performance in Detroit came on the air. "They're talking about the Seahawks versus the Steelers and I'm saying, 'Hey, I play for that team,"' Haggans said Thursday.

Seahawks DE Bernard has sack dance (AP)
Get ready, America, for "The Shakedown." At least that's what the black T-shirt hanging in Rocky Bernard's locker Thursday called the comical, shoulder-shimmying dance the Seahawks' unheralded defensive tackle does after each of his sacks. The T-shirt -- a gift from the locker room's unofficial barber, Jason Kinlow -- has an ironed-on picture of Bernard in mid-dance after a sack of Carolina's Jake...

NORAD does Super Bowl exercises (AP)
The North American Aerospace Defense Command on Thursday practiced its plan to protect Detroit's Ford Field from an air attack on Super Bowl Sunday, a concern spawned by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The exercise run by the joint Canadian and American command, which defends North American from missile and air attacks, was hampered by "weather issues" and will be redone next week,...

Second chance lands Warrick in Detroit (AP)
Excuse Peter Warrick if he were to become an NFL Films buff over the next week. Or if he holes up in the Seahawks' suburban Detroit hotel to replay the 1997 Super Bowl over and over. Or suddenly started sporting a Packers jersey, No. 81. Warrick has good reason to be thinking of Desmond Howard. Nine years ago, Howard became the first special teamer to win the Super Bowl MVP award.

Marino to Big Ben: Enjoy the moment (AP)
He was a kid when he made it to the Super Bowl, his right arm gunning the Miami Dolphins all the way to California for a date with the San Francisco 49ers. Dan Marino figured every year would end with the big game, even after the Dolphins lost 38-16 in the 1985 Super Bowl. He was only 23. He had plenty of time.

Detroit character makes venue special (AP)
With enormous windows offering views of downtown, tons of exposed brick and dramatic steel beams across the ceiling, these may just be the coolest digs in Detroit. This distinctive pad is the home of the Detroit Lions, and if you're lucky enough to have a ticket to the Super Bowl, you'll get a chance to look around.

Another royal pain?
The Kings don't have to worry about losing Peja Stojakovic to free agency. But now they must deal with Ron Artest.

Celtics, Timberwolves make trade (AP)
Wally Szczerbiak was finally traded as the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves finally made a move. Now the question is who will be better off? The Timberwolves shook up their roster Thursday night, sending their swingman Szczerbiak to the Boston Celtics for guard Ricky Davis in an exchange involving seven players and three draft picks.

Jermaine O'Neal out at least eight weeks (AP)
Jermaine O'Neal is expected to miss at least eight weeks with a left groin tear, leaving the Indiana Pacers without their leading scorer and rebounder. The news came Thursday, a day after the Pacers acquired sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic from the Sacramento Kings for the volatile Ron Artest. O'Neal was hurt during the fourth quarter of Indiana's loss at Cleveland on Tuesday.

Raptors fire GM Rob Babcock (AP)
The Toronto Raptors fired general manager Rob Babcock on Thursday, saying they should have hired someone with more experience. Richard Peddie, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, fired him a year and a half after hiring him. The Raptors are 14-29 -- fourth-worst in the league. Babcock made many questionable moves during his brief tenure, including receiving little in return when...

Mavericks wrap up perfect road trip (AP)
Though Avery Johnson doesn't outwardly express pride in his players very often, he couldn't resist after they completed the most successful road trip in franchise history. Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points and reserve Jerry Stackhouse added 21 as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Seattle SuperSonics 104-97 Thursday night to finish a 5-0 trip.

Bell, Nash lead Suns past Heat 107-98 (AP)
Raja Bell and James Jones always enjoy playing in Miami. And the rest of the Phoenix Suns, well, they seem to thrive anywhere against the Heat. Bell and Jones -- a pair of South Florida natives -- combined for 42 points, Steve Nash had 21 points and 14 assists, and Phoenix blew most of a 21-point second-half lead before beating Miami 107-98 on Thursday night.

Magic win fifth in a row, 119-115 in OT (AP)
With key 3-pointers early and late, Pat Garrity enjoyed his best game of the season. No one on Orlando is hitting shots like Hedo Turkoglu. Together, the duo has the Magic on a roll they don't want to end. "We hit really big shots, I did, Pat did, everybody did," Turkoglu said. "We have to take the winning streak further.

Former NBA player Isaiah Rider arrested (AP)
Troubled former NBA player Isaiah Rider was arrested by Marin County sheriff's deputies Thursday on charges of kidnapping a female acquaintance, authorities said. Rider, 34, was being held on $2 million bail at Marin County Jail on charges of kidnapping and battery, said Sgt. Bruce Baker of the Marin County Sheriff's office.

Artest sent to Kings for Stojakovic (AP)
The Pacers couldn't change Ron Artest's act in Indianapolis. After all the volatile forward's troubles, Indiana is hoping a new home will help. Indiana traded Artest to Sacramento on Wednesday for Peja Stojakovic in a deal the Pacers think could help change Artest's reputation as one of the game's most unpredictable characters.

Kobe readies for encore performance (AP)
Kobe Bryant says it's just another game. Yeah, right. When the Los Angeles Lakers host Golden State on Friday night, the sports world will be watching to see what Bryant comes up with as an encore to his 81-point performance. "We'll just go out there, do what we do, try to win the game," Bryant said before practice Thursday.

Power rankings
Healthy again, Ottawa is back on track and reclaims its position atop Matt's rankings.

'Canes win for 12th time in 13 games (AP)
The Carolina Hurricanes have the league's best record, and there's nothing fluky about it. Niclas Wallin scored on a deflection 16 seconds into the third period and the streaking Hurricanes won for the 12th time in 13 games, pulling away for a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night.

Wings beat Canucks to end two-game skid (AP)
Brendan Shanahan gave his team a win and reached a personal milestone with one shot. Shanahan's power-play goal with seven minutes left gave the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. It was the 100th game-winning goal of Shanahan's career. He's fourth all-time behind only Gordie Howe, Phil Esposito and Brett Hull.

Stars force OT late, top Avs in SO 3-2 (AP)
Repetition has been good for Jussi Jokinen in shootouts. Jokinen and Sergei Zubov scored shootout goals on backhanders to lift the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. "I've used the same move and the same shot on all my shootouts," said Jokinen, who is 7-for-7 using the backhander in shootouts.

Sens win 3-0, hold Canadiens to 12 shots (AP)
Dominik Hasek's latest shutout was practically a gift from the Montreal Canadiens. Hasek earned his fifth shutout of the season and Daniel Alfredsson had two goals and an assist, leading the Ottawa Senators to a 3-0 win over Montreal on Thursday night as the Canadiens tied a franchise record by being held to only 12 shots.

Fedotenko, Lightning top Devils in OT (AP)
Tampa Bay's Ruslan Fedotenko flicked the puck and hoped for the best. "I'll be honest, I just threw the puck on the net," the right wing said Thursday night after his goal with 2:38 left in overtime gave the Lightning a 1-0 victory over New Jersey and spoiled another stellar performance by Devils goalie Martin Brodeur.

Sabres hand Leafs seventh straight loss (AP)
Ed Belfour took the blame for the latest Toronto loss in what has become the Maple Leafs' worst slump in nine years. Thomas Vanek scored twice and the Buffalo Sabres handed the Maple Leafs their seventh straight loss with a 8-4 victory on Thursday night. Toronto is mired in its longest losing streak since dropping seven in a row in January 1997.

Wild top Preds for fifth straight win (AP)
Alexandre Daigle knows he must take advantage of the few opportunities he is getting. A healthy scratch the past two games, and in five of the past 11, Daigle had a goal and an assist to lead the streaking Minnesota Wild past the Nashville Predators 5-1 on Thursday night. Stephane Veilleux had goal and an assist, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Marian Gaborik and Todd White also scored for Minnesota,...

Munro, Blackhawks shut out Flames 2-0 (AP)
Chicago rookie Adam Munro outdueled one of the NHL's elite goalies and earned his first shutout in the process. Munro stopped 26 shots, including several prime chances in the third period, to lead the Blackhawks to a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff, who leads the NHL with six shutouts, finished with 18 saves.

Third-period goals lift Oilers by Kings (AP)
Ethan Moreau had gone 18 games without a goal. Todd Harvey hadn't scored in his last 15. Raffi Torres and Radek Dvorak each had 10-game droughts. All four players ended their respective dry spells Thursday night and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-3 to complete a Southern California sweep.

Offseason capsules: McMurray, Gordon, Busch
Jamie McMurray chases the Chase while Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch try to put a tough '05 season behind them.

Luhr wins pole for Rolex 24 with record-setting lap (AP)
Lucas Luhr won the pole Thursday for the Rolex 24 sports car endurance race at Daytona International Speedway with a lap of at 123.230 mph. The German will co-drive the No. 23 Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports Porsche Crawford with fellow Porsche driver Mike Rockenfeller and Patrick Long in the 24-hour race, which starts Saturday.

Harvick could be Toyota's first prize (AP)
Unless car owner Richard Childress can sign him to a long-term extension, Kevin Harvick will be one of the top free agents for the 2007 season -- just in time for Toyota to make its NASCAR debut.

Kurt Busch only looking ahead (AP)
Kurt Busch would rather not talk about his November run-in with the Phoenix police.

Wallace to move into broadcasting booth (AP)
Retirement didn't last very long for Rusty Wallace, who only needed about two months to land a job in a new profession.

Toyota names first three Cup teams: Daytona winner, old Cup hand, and an energy drink (AP)
Michael Waltrip has twice won the Great American Race. Now he'll be a pioneer in NASCAR's great Japanese experiment.

Toyota announces NASCAR Nextel Cup teams for 2007 (SportsTicker)
By Bruce Martin SportsTicker Contributing Editor

Lowe's repaving troubled track surface (AP)
After a whopping 37 cautions during the two premiere events at Lowe's Motor Speedway, officials knew they had to act quickly to fix the troubled track surface before it became too treacherous for racing.

Racing champ Stewart becoming a regular in the Oval Office (AP)
NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart has had such a successful racing career that he's becoming a regular at the White House. Stewart said President Bush recalled his two previous visits to the Oval Office -- one for his first Cup championship and another with other top drivers -- when he came in for a third Tuesday.

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