May 14, 2004
Lakers hero
Derek Fisher:

Miracle shot ends greatest literally-last-second flurry in NBA playoff history. Fish's lifetime rep is secure; ".04" goes down in hoop legend.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
EPIC.  ENDING.

Can a fraction of a second be "epic?"

Hollywood's summer blockbuster "Troy" has nothing on Thursday night's split-second finish -- the most spectacular in NBA playoff history -- made untouchably memorable by:

Who: Lakers over rival Spurs
What: Series-defining Game 5
Where: Hostile San Antonio
When: Climax of TV prime time
How: Where to start?!?!

Alone, Duncan's "winning" shot was ridiculous, inspiring thousands of couch analysts to instantly cry: "And he's not the NBA's MVP?!"

But then "The Point-Four Shot"
(as it will always be known), following those endless, drama-ratcheting timeouts, by the most unlikely player on the floor.

Stop calling it "lucky." Troy's Homer -- in the deus et machina attribution style of his day -- would have used the word "fate."

Think the Lakers believe? The rest of us do.

Conspiracy Theory
Want a great conspiracy theory? The Spurs filed a protest over the clock management for that final shot; watch the NBA rule in favor of the Spurs ... if the Lakers win Game 6, forcing the Game 7 you just know the NBA would like to see. (Maybe not, but would you really put it past them? To wit: watch that Game 6 officiating.)

More Playoffs
Nets/Pistons: The Pistons better right the ship at home in Game 5 on Friday, or it could be a humiliating Game 6 over-and-out Sunday in Jersey.

Kings/T'wolves: Given both teams have won at the other guys' house, Game 5 tonight in Minny is no gimme for KG and Co; neither is Game 6 on Sunday in Sacto for the Kings. Watch each team snag a win, but not necessarily at home.

Heat/Pacers: Really, we're going to get to Monday morning and still only be through five games of this series? Maybe this is what David Stern was referencing when he said next year the playoff schedule would be "tighter."

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Carlos Zambrano: No Wood? No problem; 1 ER in last 24 IP
Martina Navratilova: Making singles return at French Open
'Survivor' Rupert: Freakish-looking guy wins fan-vote mil
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
NHL home-ice adv.: Matching Calgary, San Jose ignores it
NHL coaches feud: TB's Tortorella, Phi's Hitchcock ease up
Luke Walton: Britney likes you ... and you just sit there?!
 
Bonds Gone?
"Losing ain't positive": Between his batting slump (.091 in May) and his team's shoddy performance, how frustrated will Barry Bonds get?

Frustrated enough to leave San Francisco in the offseason for a team he knows can be a winner? (West Coast: Dodgers, Angels; East Coast: (ugh) Yankees) ...

... Or will things get so depressing that he'll demand a trade-deadline exit this summer?

Help on the way? Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon says his team will pitch to Bonds. If so, by Monday, it'll be What slump?

Paterno's New Deal
What was Penn State thinking ... giving Joe Paterno a four-year contract extension Thursday, off that fabulous 3-9 '03 season?

(a) Wins don't matter anyway
(b) New slogan: 80 is great-y!
(c) Steve Spurrier said "No"
(d) Alumni money talks

NASCAR Growth
There's something about the word "realignment" in auto racing. Always intrigued by threat of core-fan backlash to NASCAR's rapid growth.

For example: I would be concerned about NASCAR

eliminating races from Rockingham and Darlington -- cities where just saying their names makes you think racin' ... except those places are old and small; on the flip side, the replacement locations (Texas, Arizona) draw sellout crowds at bigger, newer tracks.

Jones-Tarver Fight
Want to witness arguably the greatest boxer ever? Watch Roy Jones dismantle rival-in-his-own-mind Antonio Tarver on Saturday night.

Then, buckle up: Jones' next fight will be his biggest (literally) -- current heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko? Un-retired Lennox Lewis? Mike Tyson?

Preakness Pick
And remember who told ya "Smarty Jones will win the Derby!"

Place: Rock Hard Ten
Show: Imperialism
Win: Smarty Jones

Because Triple Crown hype is good for business!

NBA end-of-game
timing policy:

Not Laker-hating, but there's NO humanly way that a ref can start the clock at the precise nanosecond the ball touched Fisher's hand.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Page 2: Greatest NBA buzzer-beaters
Maisel: NCAA plans assault on gambling
IN: NBA Draft updates
 
Ranking NBA contenders-of-moment
Lakers
We said Spurs-Lakers winner
 
Nets
Better than Pistons right now
 
Pistons
D good enough to give West fits
 
T'wolves/Kings
Neither has close-out instinct
 
Spurs
Great bandwagon seats available!
 

Re: BCS rankings, let me be *really* clear: Every single coach and media ballot should be made public; process sketchy enough *without* secrecy ...

Colorado coaches now under fire for expensing beer on recruiting trips; unless they were for the kids themselves, this ain't a biggie ...

Question: How many college-athlete gamblers/game-throwers *didn't* respond to the NCAA's gambling study? Why would they? ...

Considering T-Mac hasn't won squat, does any team really need star wattage so badly that they will trade the farm for him? ...

WNBA expanding Finals to best-of-5 in '05; either they see improving ratings -- or realized fans think current best-of-3 is l-a-m-e ...



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