May 27, 2004
New American Idol
Fantasia Berrino:

She was destined to win from her first tryout. Sort of like the Magic were destined to win the NBA lottery from their first losing streak.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

If Kobe's Colorado commute today causes him to miss part of the first quarter -- as speculated -- he may only score 40.

So as long as the T'wolves are going to take a half-hearted approach to the "Hack-a-Shaq" defense, they might as well subjugate that useless effort to the task of containing Kobe, whose last "Colorado game" was the breath-taking 42-pointer in Game 4 versus the Spurs.

Use Kobe's motivation against him: He arrives at these Colorado-commuter games desperate to score, to take some control of his otherwise uncontrollable day. If Minnesota knows he's going to shoot (and he will), double him.

"Anyone but Kobe": Let Mailman or Glove score 40, but to know what's coming from Kobe -- shots, and lots of 'em -- and not be ready for it? That would just confirm how overmatched the T'wolves are.

Pistons d. Pacers
There's only one stat from last night's Game 3 you need to know to understand why the Pacers won't get past the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals:

34 percent FG was the best the Pacers shot in the series.

Detroit's nine 2nd-qtr points
would seem pretty pathetic, except that Indiana was playing "can-you-top-this?" with an average of 15 points per quarter through Game 3's first three quarters.

Saunders Lobbies Refs
Phil Jackson's least appealing -- but most effective -- playoff tactic is when he whines to the media about the refs. Apparently, T'wolves coach Flip Saunders thinks it's a good model, because he's griping that KG doesn't get enough calls.

Expanded NBA D-League: And NCAA execs sleep worse ...
Pirates no-name Daryle Ward: Hits for the cycle last night
DJ's Mendoza Watch (TM): Yes, the rumors are true -- .200!
Richie Sexson: Season-ending shoulder surgery coming?
Andy Roddick: Okay, so maybe clay isn't his thing ...
Eddie George: Titans owner "very pessimistic" on RB future
Psst, Flip: Maybe if KG would take it to the rack more often, rather than settle for his standard array of wimpy jumpers, he might get more calls.

NBA Lottery Results
Trade the pick! Sure, the Magic could take Okafor, but is there a player in the league they couldn't acquire if they dangle T-Mac and the No. 1 pick?

T-Mac Out of Athens
Speaking of T-Mac... Larry Brown announced -- through clenched teeth, no doubt -- that McGrady dropped out of the Olympics.

No loss: Replace him with Richard Hamilton; it's the easiest choice in the world. Rip would be the first (er: only) U.S. player who could consistently hit jump-shots, critical in the international game.

Barnett Reinstated
Why college sports are screwed up:
Gary Barnett can survive this whole sex/recruiting scandal with his job intact, but if he has a 5-6 season, he'd be as good as gone.

MLB Extrapo-wards
Today: Rookie of the Year

AL: MIN CF Lew Ford (.344?!)
(Runners-up: Bobby Crosby, Erik Bedard)

NL: SDP SS Khalil Greene
(Runners-up: Kaz Matsui, Chad Tracy)

Washington Wizards:
Leave it to them to drop from a near-lock at No. 3 to No. 5 in the NBA draft order. (Psst: Josh Childress is Jared Jeffries with bigger hair.)
Today on
Page 2
Premature NBA Mock Draft
UConn C Emeka Okafor
HS stud Dwight Howard
Duke SF Luol Deng
HS 6-7 PG Shaun Livingston
Stanford SF Josh Childress

Stanley Cup Game 2: All you need to know is that the game is in Tampa, which makes road-raging Calgary the obvious fave (8, ESPN)...

NBA lottery's other big winner? Clippers, who vaulted to No. 2; with a talent blur between Nos. 2 and 20, good luck with that...

Bonds Watch: Hits No. 670, his 2nd HR in 2 days; either he's about to get on a hot streak or managers will stop pitching to him...

Nepotism rules: Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton's son Sean has already been given the successor job there...

This BALCO abbreviations story is like sports' "DaVinci Code": If "MJ" isn't Marion Jones, then which "MJ" athlete is it?...

Don't cry too much over Phish disbanding; emerging "jamgrass" is the new thing among the nomad-style fans these days, anyway...

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