Best bets


December 30, 2005|By SIMMI BUTTAR

Pro basketball


Where -- MCI Center, Washington

When -- Tonight, 7

What now? -- Washington, which had its three-game winning streak stopped by Phoenix on Wednesday, looks to get back on track against first-place Miami. The Wizards are in the middle of a stretch of playing six of seven at home as they try to climb back to .500. After a slow start, the Heat has turned things around, winning six of eight heading into last night's game against the Pistons since Pat Riley returned as coach. The biggest question for the Wizards, of course, is can anybody stop Heat center Shaquille O'Neal? Tickets start at $10.

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Pro soccer


Where -- 1st Mariner Arena

When -- Tonight, 7:35

What now? -- The Blast returns home for its first game at the arena in almost three weeks. The Blast (4-3) is coming off a 10-6 win over California. Defender P.J. Wakefield (Calvert Hall, UMBC) was recently named Defensive Player of the Week after scoring two goals in the win. The Blast is also trying to fend off the KiXX (3-3) in the tightly contested Major Indoor Soccer League. For ticket information, call 410-73-Blast. Single-game tickets, which cost $20 and $17, are available at the 1st Mariner Arena Box Office and at Ticketmaster.

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Pro hockey


Where -- MCI Center, Washington

When -- Tomorrow, 1 p.m.

What now? -- The Capitals, mired in last place in the Southeast Division with 27 points, start a six-game homestand tomorrow against the mighty Flyers, who lead the Atlantic Division. Washington then starts 2006 by facing division-rival Atlanta on New Year's Day. Alexander Ovechkin continues to be the best reason to see the Capitals as he ranks seventh in the league in goals. Tickets are available on the team's Web site and start at $10. If you buy four or more, the tickets are just $5 each for both games.

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College basketball


Where -- Comcast Center, College Park

When -- Tomorrow, 2 p.m.

What now? -- For Terps coach Gary Williams, it's another chance to fine-tune the point guard situation before his team hits the heart of the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule, which resumes Jan. 7 against Miami. Maryland has won four consecutive games and eight of nine. For the Keydets, this is the end of a three-game stretch against area teams. VMI beat Towson, 80-78, on Dec. 21 and lost to Loyola at home last night. A limited number of tickets are available on the Terps' Web site.

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Pro football


Where -- Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

When -- Sunday, 4:15 p.m.

What now? -- Joe Gibbs for Coach of the Year? Doesn't seem so far-fetched now. Back when the Redskins were 5-6 after an overtime loss to the Chargers on Nov. 27, only the most hearty of hogs thought about the postseason. Well, the playoffs are almost here. If they can beat the injury-riddled Eagles, they will end the regular season with a five-game winning streak and qualify for the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season. And what better way of celebrating than by making the short drive to Philadelphia. Just try to avoid the bitter Eagles fans. A pair of tickets are available for as little as $50 on eBay.

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