May 26, 2004
Kobe Bryant:
Scoreless in the 1st half before ripping off 22 in the 2nd? Yikes: What will happen after a Colorado court session before Game 4 on Thursday?
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
CALLING.  IT.

Like the media tradition of predicting an Election Night result after only a fraction of the returns are in, it's time to "call" the Western Conference finals after three games:

The T'wolves are toast.

The Lakers are clicking:
Payton's first-quarter blitz... Shaq running circles around Minnesota's four-headed monster... Kobe scoring, seemingly, at will... even supporting players Devean, Fish and Slava were draining shots.

Even more than during L.A.'s four-game run versus the Spurs, this is the team reaching its potential -- at just the right time.

The T'wolves are overmatched, and all but the playoff vets looked bewildered. It was a nice run for Minnesota, but let's call it a series.

Lottery Madness
Growing up a Wizards/Bullets fan, I always considered the NBA draft lottery my "postseason." Isn't that pathetic? But no more sorry than the lack of a LeBron in this year's draft for the Lottery's "winner." (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Sure, Emeka Okafor will help any team, but otherwise, the Lottery pickings offer the biggest question marks since Michael Jordan brilliantly selected Kwame Brown. Again, it all comes back to the Wizards....

My favorite tradition: The random lucky charms team reps bring (say, Sixers GM Billy King bringing a Smarty Jones horseshoe; there goes that unbeaten streak).

Pacers at Pistons
Game 3: There's a classic case of performance anxiety going on in this series -- and the more each team thinks about the bad shooting, the worse it seems to get. Everyone can relate, right? (No? Just me? Yeah, right.)

Coming off being blocked 19 times Monday, now the Pacers have to contend with the Pistons' home advantage. (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Reds: Win 7th in row, and that shoulder chip is good sign
NBA fines: First Mailman for elbow, now Artest for fingers
Hockey lockout: "Nobody should doubt the owners' resolve."
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
T'wolves big men: Lose Game 2 effectiveness (Shaq: 22/17)
Tim Hudson: Shelled (as usual) at Fenway -- 5R/9H/4BB/2HBP
Charlotte Bobcats: No NBA lottery fun; guaranteed 4th pick
 
Stanley Cup Game 1
My Canadian buddy JS is Blackberrying game-related insights to me, because regular Quickie readers know I can only talk about hockey in terms of marketing problems, labor woes and other things that have nothing to do with the action actually on the ice...

"Dan: Iginla broke them with the short-handed goal. Completely representative of their team -- he missed on the breakaway and then scored on the SECOND EFFORT. Hardest working club in the league, hands down. Calgary simply played a better physical game."

NFL Back L.A.?
Bringing the NFL back to L.A. isn't contentious; the league has been eyeing that for years. No, the big issue is that owners don't want a new franchise -- they want to relocate an existing one.

Whose fans will get screwed? Chargers, Colts and Saints have been tossed around. Most convenient for everyone involved if San Diego relocates slightly north.

Griffey's Glare
Catch Ken Griffey's glare into the Marlins' dugout last night after hitting the game-winning home-run? Wow. Knowing Griffey, scowling like that might strain an eye muscle.

Kid, lighten up: You aren't so good anymore that you should take intentional walks to get to you so personally.

MLB Extrapo-wards
Today: Extrapolated MVPs
Continuing the week-long gimmick, extrapolating season-ending award winners based on a statistically significant start to the season (40 games):

AL: Vlad Guerrero. Hitting for average (5th in AL); power (3rd in HR); run production (1st in runs, 2nd in RBI) and his team is in first despite tons of injuries. (Runners-up: Manny Ramirez, Michael Young)

NL: Barry Bonds. Even though it's a cop-out, you'd take him, too. (Runners-up: Lance Berkman, Scott Rolen)

"Criminals Night":
River City Rascals cancel promotion that was criticized for glorifying the criminal lifestyle. Does that put the kibosh on "Pimp Day?"
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Page 2
Shanoff on NBA Lottery
NBA Draft Insider
 
Ranking NBA Draft Lottery "Prizes"
Emeka Okafor
Only player ready right now
 
Dwight Howard
Hawks praying he'll be there
 
Luol Deng
Prototype NBA small forward
 
Andris Biedrins
Hey, if Chad Ford raves ...
 
Devin Harris
By draft day, the top-ranked PG
 

BCS Watch: Have long-endorsed a 5th BCS game (The "Cinderella Bowl") for lower-tier teams; but "plus-one" is "Pandora Bowl"...

Serena's French Open outfits (yesterday: fuschia) are the best reason to watch the opening rounds...

An outdated notion: That "incumbent" QBs (say, Gannon) deserve some kind of edge (over, say, Collins) when a new coach comes in...

Martina Navratilova is getting a bum rap for her first-round French Open loss; after all, the 47-y.o. DID win four games...

Idol Watch: I don't know about you, but I voted for Fantasia, who's been my pick since Week One...

Congrats to Wash. Post's Michael L. Trilling Award winners; in h.s., I was honored with a journalism scholarship in his name...



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