Time to follow the bouncing ball
UNDATED (AP) - The Heat will take what they hope is their first
steps toward winning an NBA championship when a season of title
expectations finally opens tonight in Boston. Miami squares off
against the reigning Eastern Conference champion Celtics (7:30 p.m.
It will mark LeBron James' opener with Miami after seven seasons
in Cleveland. And it will be Dwyane (dwayn) Wade's first time with
James and Chris Bosh as his Heat running mates.
The Celtics have their story lines as well.
Shaquille O'Neal, who was once a teammate to both Wade and
James, will be playing his first game in Celtics' colors. And Paul
Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett should be motivated by a Game 7
loss to Los Angeles in last season's finals.
The Lakers are also on the opening-night schedule. They open
defense of their championship at home against a Houston Rockets
club that gets All-Star center Yao (yow) Ming back after a season
lost to foot surgery.
Rounding out this evening's slate, you've got the Portland Trail
Blazers hosting the Phoenix Suns.
Early start to Top 25 schedule
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Second-ranked Boise State gets the jump on
its fellow AP poll members tonight. The Broncos return from a bye
week to host a Louisiana Tech team that's lost nine straight games
on the road.
Boise State is No. 3 in the BCS rankings and likely needs
another lopsided win to maintain its position. The Broncos have
outscored their opponents 164-14 over the past three games, while
improving to 6-0.
The Bulldogs have lost eight straight the WAC-rival Broncos.
They'll bring a 3-4 record onto the signature blue turf in Boise.
When is home ice not an advantage?
UNDATED (AP) - The Flyers return home to host Buffalo, one night
after suffering a 2-1 loss at Columbus. Philadelphia has lost three
of its last four outings on home ice. The Sabres are winless in
five home outings this season, but are 3-1-0 on the road.
The rest of this evening's NHL slate has Florida skating at
Toronto, Ottawa home to Phoenix, Edmonton at Calgary, Anaheim at
Dallas and Vancouver hosting Colorado.
One day away
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Giants and Rangers are getting ready
for tomorrow night's World Series opener.
San Francisco has home-field advantage, courtesy of the National
League's victory in this summer's All-Star game.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy (BOH'-chee) will hand the ball to Tim
Lincecum (LINZ'-ih-kuhm) for Game 1. He'll be opposed by Texas
lefty Cliff Lee in a matchup of past Cy Young Award winners.
Baseball playoff expansion possible
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Baseball's playoffs could be expanding in
The new head of the players' union says his members are open to
adding more wild-card teams for 2012 and possibly extending the
division series to a best-of-seven.
Union head Michael Weiner says it's also possible players would
agree to cutting the regular season from 162 games. But, he says
that is more problematic because it would cost teams revenue.
Eight of 30 baseball teams make the playoffs under the format
that began in 1995. By comparison, 12 of 32 NFL teams make the
playoffs, and 16 of 30 teams advance to the postseason in the NBA
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig (SEE'-lihg) appears to be
increasingly in favor of proposing more playoff teams during
collective bargaining with the union next year. Those discussions
will determine the postseason format for 2012 and beyond.
VIENNA (AP) - A former top-ranked player is making his return to
the ATP Tour at the Bank Austria Trophy.
Forty-three-year-old Thomas Muster (MOO'-stur) is a wild card
entry and will face fellow countryman Andreas Haider-Maurer in his
first match on the tour since losing in the first round of 1999
Muster won 44 titles, including the French Open in 1995, to
become Austria's most successful tennis player. He held the No. 1
spot in the rankings for six weeks in 1996.
Muster never formally retired, saying in 1999 he would "go on a
holiday." He had been playing on the Champions Tour and suddenly
announced his comeback in June.
SOCCER-PAUL THE OCTOPUS/OBIT
We hardly got to know him
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Remember Paul the Octopus?
The tentacled tipster who fascinated football fans by predicting
results at the World Cup, died Tuesday in Germany.
Paul had reached the octopus old age of 2 1/2 years and died in
his tank at the Sea Life aquarium in Germany.
Paul correctly tipped the outcome of all seven of Germany's
games. He made his predictions by opening the lid of one of two
clear plastic boxes, each containing a mussel and bearing a team
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)