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Sports Briefs

- - Monday, April 18, 2011

BASKETBALL

Magic's Howard named top defensive player

ORLANDO, FLA. | Dwight Howard has another piece of hardware for his personal trophy case. The Orlando Magic center became the first player to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award three straight seasons Monday.

Howard received 585 points, including 114 first-place votes, from a panel of 120 sports writers and broadcasters. Boston's Kevin Garnett finished second with 77 points and Dallas' Tyson Chandler was third with 70. Only Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace, with four each, have won the award more times.

The 6-foot-11 Howard ranked second in the NBA at 14.1 rebounds per game and fourth in blocks with 2.38. He also was the defensive anchor of a team that was ranked fourth in the regular season, giving up 93.7 points per game.

BASEBALL

Reds pitcher Leake charged with shoplifting

CINCINNATI | Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested on a shoplifting charge at a downtown department store Monday, accused of trying to steal six shirts with a total value of $59.88.

-- The 23-year-old starter was booked at the Hamilton County Justice Center on a first-degree misdemeanor charge of shoplifting. It carries a maximum of 180 days in jail.

-- He was arrested about two hours before Cincinnati pitchers were expected at Great American Ball Park to take batting practice before the final game of a series against Pittsburgh. Leake started and earned the victory in an 11-2 win over the Pirates on Saturday.

BASKETBALL

Adelman won't be back with Rockets

HOUSTON | Rick Adelman is out as coach of the Houston Rockets. The team announced that the Rockets and Adelman "have mutually agreed to part ways." Adelman's contract expires June 30.

Adelman, 64, went 193-135 in four seasons with Houston. The .588 winning percentage was the highest among the 11 full-time coaches the franchise has had. Adelman led the Rockets to their only playoff series victory since 1997. His career record is 945-616 and ranks eighth in all-time wins.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Air Force presented with military trophy

President Obama congratulated the Air Force Academy for winning the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, noting that the Falcons will be taking it home to Colorado Springs, Colo., for the first time in eight years.

Obama presented the trophy during a ceremony Monday in the White House Rose Garden. Until this year, he said no one on the Air Force team knew what it felt like to defeat Army and Navy, come to the White House or claim football bragging rights over the other branches.

The trophy goes to the winner of a three-way season series among the major service academies. The Falcons defeated Army and Navy last season.

VOLLEYBALL

U.S. Olympian Sykora improving after crash

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL | U.S. Olympic volleyball player Stacy Sykora is eating without the aid of a feeding tube and has taken her first walk around the hospital since seriously injuring her head in a bus crash last Tuesday in Brazil.

Doctors said Sykora was able to get out of bed and walk briefly with the help of nurses Monday but will remain in an intensive care unit.

Sykora's Volei Futuro team released a statement saying doctors had removed the tube, allowing her to eat and drink on her own.