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'I'm definitely going to take some time to enjoy this one.'– Boston Celtics coach Jim O'Brien, on his team advancing to the Eastern Conference Championship

NBA playoffs down to four

Jason Kidd scored 23 points and made several plays that swung the momentum as the New Jersey Nets defeated Charlotte 103-95 Wednesday night at East Rutherford, N.J. The Nets earned their first trip to the Eastern Conference finals since joining the NBA in 1976, and will play the Boston Celtics in a best-of-seven series beginning Sunday.

In the West, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings begin their conference final in Sacramento Saturday.

The Nets, a two-time champion of the old ABA in the 1970s, face Boston, a franchise that has won an NBA-best 16 titles. The Nets had made it out of the second round of the playoffs only once (1984) in their 25 years in the NBA.

August baseball strike?

Baseball players are eyeing early August as a possible strike date if a new labor agreement can't be reached, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Because there is no real sign of progress in negotiations, the union has begun to talk about setting a strike date.

"You never want to have to discuss it, but you have obligations to consider that contingency," Gene Orza, the union's No. 2 official, said. The timing of a walkout would be reminiscent of 1994 when players went on strike Aug. 12, leading to the cancelation of the rest of the season and postseason – including the World Series. Owners have pledged not to lock out players or impose changes in work rules through the World Series.

World cup tix aplenty

With just two weeks before the World Cup opener in Seoul, South Korean organizers announced 250,000 tickets still remain unsold, raising concerns of empty stadiums during less attractive games. The hopes in South Korea are to sell 1.5 million tickets – 760,000 to domestic fans and 740,000 to fans from outside the country – to 32 soccer matches. Another 1.5 million tickets were allotted for 32 matches in Japan, a co-host.

But as of Wednesday, fans could still buy tickets for all matches played in South Korea except for Brazil vs. China in Seogwipo June 8 and Brazil vs. Costa Rica in Suwon June 13. In contrast, tickets were available for only five matches to be played in Japan.

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