Stars Collide: Magic’s Dwight Howard, Lakers’ Kobe Bryant ready for NBA finals stage

LOS ANGELES — Sporting a body-hugging tank top, Dwight Howard bounded onto the press conference podium flashing his megawatt smile and muscles on muscles. Unsure where to sit, he looked at the high chair to his right, a perch he was told was reserved for Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson. Not there.

Redeem Team II: Kobe Bryant, Lakers hoping to atone for last year’s finals failure

LOS ANGELES — His smile has vanished, replaced by something closer to a scowl. His days of joking around are seemingly on hold. Kobe Bryant has gotten deadly serious. He has that look, you’ve seen the one. It’s the cold-blooded, get-out-of-my-way-or-pay glare he’ll shoot at a teammate who messes up or an opponent who dares to try and stop him.

Howard’s 2-run homer carries Phillies to sixth straight win, 5-1 over Padres

SAN DIEGO — Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer off Chris Young and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Diego Padres 5-1 Wednesday night for their sixth straight victory.

Phillies CF Shane Victorino leaves game with strained left hip

SAN DIEGO — Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino left Wednesday night’s game against San Diego with a strained left hip.

Developer scraps plans to replace Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego’s Mission Valley

SAN DIEGO — A developer scrapped a plan to build a $1 billion stadium as part of a redevelopment of the land surrounding Qualcomm Stadium.

Romero feels “free” upon his return to Phillies after 50-game suspension

SAN DIEGO — Reliever J.C. Romero returned to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night following his 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.

Monterey Peninsula CC joins the Pebble Beach rotation, bumping Poppy Hills

MONTEREY, Calif. — The Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will have a new golf course in its rotation next year with the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club replacing Poppy Hills.

Jeff Van Gundy vows to be objective calling NBA finals games, but wants brother Stan to win

LOS ANGELES — There could be two celebrations if the Orlando Magic win the NBA championship: the one on the court and the one at the broadcast table.

Ibanez’s 2 homers, 5 RBIs power Phillies to 10-5 win over ailing Peavy, Pads

SAN DIEGO — Raul Ibanez homered twice and drove in five runs, and left-hander Antonio Bastardo won his major league debut as the Philadelphia Phillies jumped on ailing Padres ace Jake Peavy in a 10-5 win on Tuesday night.

No hard feelings: S Mark Roman happy to return to Niners after losing job, seeking trade

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — When safety Mark Roman shopped his services around the NFL over the last several weeks, he found nothing more appealing than his sketchy situation with the San Francisco 49ers.

How sweet it is: Odom’s sweet tooth injects sugar rush to his playoff performances

LOS ANGELES — Lamar Odom just can’t help himself when it comes to the sweet stuff. He loves candy.

Schwarzenegger joins US bid committee for 2018/2022 World Cups

NEW YORK — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined the group trying to bring the World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022.

Niners CB Nate Clements to miss weekend minicamp with bout of pneumonia

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco cornerback Nate Clements will miss the 49ers’ minicamp this weekend with a case of pneumonia.

Ryan Howard, Chase Utley hit consecutive homers to lead Phillies to 5-3 win over Padres

SAN DIEGO — Petco Park doesn’t normally surrender a lot of home runs, so it stood out when Philadelphia and San Diego both had back-to-back shots.

Buckner throws 6 scoreless innings as Arizona Diamondbacks beat Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2

LOS ANGELES — Billy Buckner threw six scoreless innings and rookie Josh Whitesell hit a two-run double, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.

Howard, Utley hit consecutive HRs to lead Phillies over Gonzalez, Padres, 5-3

SAN DIEGO — Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hit consecutive home runs in the fifth inning and Philadelphia beat Adrian Gonzalez and the San Diego Padres 5-3 on Monday night, the Phillies’ fourth straight win.

Former NFL player extradited to face charges in Orange County millionaire’s shooting death

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A former NFL linebacker has been extradited from Connecticut to Orange County to face a murder charge in the 1994 shooting death of his ex-lover’s millionaire boyfriend.

Australian Olympic star Mills keeping name in NBA draft

OAKLAND, Calif. — Patty Mills is prepared to test his talent in the NBA.

Bryant grateful to have another shot at winning 4th NBA title this decade

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant is staring down the prospect of sharing the court with Superman again. Only this time, it’s Dwight Howard and not Shaquille O’Neal who’s wearing the cape that Bryant wants to tug on.

Big Unit approaches pitching’s big number: Randy Johnson ready to aim for No. 300

SAN FRANCISCO — Mere mention of the milestone causes Randy Johnson to recoil.

National League Capsules

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers’ magic number for clinching the NL West is down to zero — finally.

Lakers move into NBA finals consumed by quest for redemption

LOS ANGELES — It’s going to be Orlando, not Boston, in the NBA finals. Even though the opponent is different, the Los Angeles Lakers are still consumed with redeeming themselves after last year’s abject failure.

Aurilia homers for the first time this season to lead Giants past Cardinals 5-3

SAN FRANCISCO — Rich Aurilia hit his first home run of the season to give San Francisco the lead in the seventh, Aaron Rowand doubled and scored twice and the San Francisco Giants took the rubber game from the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 on Sunday.

Angels score three in the ninth to beat Mariners 9-8

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Kendry Morales capped a three-run ninth inning with a bases-loaded RBI single and the Los Angeles Angels overcame a seven-run deficit to beat the Seattle Mariners 9-8 on Sunday and avoid a three-game sweep.

Pujols’ 2 homers, Duncan’s big hit lead Cardinals’ late rally for 6-2 win over Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Albert Pujols burst out of his power slump with two homers, and Chris Duncan drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the seventh inning of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 6-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.

Buddle’s late goal extends Galaxy’s unbeaten run to 10

CARSON, Calif. — Edson Buddle scored in the 87th minute to give the Los Angeles Galaxy a 1-1 tie with the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night.

Glen makes impact in San Jose’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Jose forward Cornell Glen scored in a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday that ended the Earthquakes’ losing streak at five.

Lopez’s 3-run HR rallies M’s to win over Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jose Lopez hit a game-tying three-run homer in the ninth inning off closer Brian Fuentes and Yuniesky Betancourt delivered the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the 10th, leading the Seattle Mariners to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

Browne aiming for best finish by an American in Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

SAN DIEGO — An American has never finished higher than ninth place in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, a fact that former Olympian Dan Browne hopes to change on Sunday.

NFLPA is trying to woo support of retired players to strengthen its hand for labor talks

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — The NFL Players Association wants the support of various groups of retired players in its upcoming contract talks with the league.

Jason Vargas pitched 6 1-3 innings, helps Mariners beat Angels 5-2

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jason Vargas pitched 6 1-3 impressive innings and the Seattle Mariners’ anemic offense got to John Lackey early in a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

Virginia beats Strasburg in San Diego State’s first NCAA regional appearance since 1991

IRVINE, Calif. — San Diego State ace Stephen Strasburg lost for the first time this season as Robert Morey pitched six shutout innings and Steven Proscia hit a two-run homer in Virginia’s 5-1 victory in an NCAA regional Friday night.

San Diego State ace Strasburg set to start against Virginia in NCAA regionals

IRVINE, Calif. — Tony Gwynn could keep it secret only so long — San Diego State ace Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start in the NCAA regionals against Virginia.

Blanco’s late goal keeps Fire unbeaten with 3-2 win

CARSON, Calif. — Cuauhtemoc Blanco’s penalty kick with seconds left in second-half stoppage time capped a late rally as the Chicago Fire remained unbeaten with a 3-2 victory over 10-man Chivas USA on Thursday night.


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