May 24, 2005
Rasheed Wallace:
20 pts, 10 reb, 3 blocks and 4/5 3-pt FG (although this shout-out should be reserved for Tayshaun Prince, whose D stymied uber-star Dwyane Wade).
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
WADE.  INFLATION.

Welcome to the real playoffs, Dwyane.

Maybe feasting on the Nets and Wizards actually softened him up for the Pistons.

Maybe he doesn't make it look too easy; consider it actually has been too easy.

It's like grade inflation at an Ivy League school; call it "Wade inflation."

Because when finally faced with a team that plays defense, he was locked down:

7 of 25 FG shooting, after averaging more than 50 percent in his first 8 playoff games.

Between Prince's length and Rip's motor and help from the rest, Wade is at the mercy of a team whose playoff D is as good as it gets.

The Heat lost more than home-court advantage last night:

They lost their air of invincibility. An 8-1 playoff team has never looked more vulnerable.

And rather than vaulting over Kobe, Wade has never looked more like him -- at least the version that was stymied by the Pistons last June.

So what happens to Wade's overloaded bandwagon now?

Spurs-Suns Game 2
It's hard to say "must-win" about a Game 2, but if the Suns lose a second straight game at home, they're in serious trouble.

Will the Spurs come out trying to outrun the Suns at their own fast-paced game, like they did on Sunday?

Or is this the game where the Spurs try to dictate the pace (if they even can)?

NBA Lottery
A guide to the NBA Lottery tonight, for Lakers fans (from a Wizards fan, which makes me expert in all things Lottery):

"Ping-Pong balls": Currency of the Lottery-bound; much like a nightly TV Pick 4 drawing, especially in that you have no chance of winning.

"Table rep": Poor schmoe assigned to sit smiling while the league announces his team has the 4th pick in a three-player draft.

"Lottery winner": In years with an obvious top pick, the winner brings a jersey of the player. (Hint: Do NOT bring a "Bogut" Lakers jersey.)

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Brian Hill: Magic bring back coach from, uh, "glory days"
Dontrelle Willis: D-Train wins his NL-leading 8th game
Troy Brown: Two-way threat returns to Pats after being cut
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Reds closer Danny Graves: Bad Pitching + Gesture = Release
Francisco Rodriguez: K-Rod put on 15-day DL (forearm)
Mark Loretta: Padres 2B out for 2 months (thumb surgery)
 
"Conspiracy": Losers like to keep an eye out for signs of a rigged game. If the Lakers finish in the Top 3, expect similar claims.

Jon Garland Loses!
What's more incredible:

That unlikely White Sox ace Garland (8-1) finally lost a start?

Or that he's having such a sick season that a single loss is notable?

Speaking of emptying bandwagons ...

But don't leap just yet! He ran into Erwin Santana, who decided to pitch like he was Johan. Garland's b'wagon has earned another start.

Sixers Get Cheeky
Why'd Philly bother hiring Jim O'Brien at all, since it was so obvious that they were going to hire fan fave Mo Cheeks eventually?

O'Brien got a mediocre Sixers team to overachieve, but just like in Boston, he seemed to torch his relationships with players to get there.

Cheeks is widely known as a "players' coach," which is a great euphemism defined as either "relaxed" or "lax," depending on the standings.

NFL Labor War
The NFL officially has its own "nuclear option."

Not to be outdone by the NHL and NBA, the NFL union honcho provided ominous foreshadowing about the end of the NFL's labor deal in 2007.

The most mind-boggling notion: If no new deal is struck, every NFL player could be a free agent in 2007. With no salary cap in place.

Just think about that ...

Marquette Name Game
Official nickname choices: Blue and Gold; Explorers; Golden Avalanche; Golden Eagles; Golden Knights; Hilltoppers; Saints; Spirit; Voyagers; Wolves.

What an uninspired list, obviously cleaved into "gold-related" and "anything but gold." Held out they'd at least offer one that's totally freaky.

Voting starts today; the top two meet in a June run-off. Only problem: It's only open to Marquetters, not the entire country. What gives?

My prediction: Golden Eagles, the current name and one when the team went to the Final Four (plus Dwyane Wade's nickname of choice).

Ricky Watch
"Definitely" coming to Dolphins training camp, according to his agent (via MIA Herald). The 2005 season has a new Top Storyline!

If he gets back into shape (huge "if"), Miami goes from an NFL-worst running game to having its arguably best tandem. Ricky as a backup?

Anastasia Myskina:
Ignominious record to set: First French Open defending champ to be ousted in the opening round. Sacre bleu!
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
NBA Daily Dime
Page 2: Jax vs. Neel
 
Ranking NBA Lottery Teams' Chances:
Hawks (25 pct)
Like Marvin, need Bogut/Paul
 
Hornets (17.8 pct)
Woeful group needs star SF
 
Bobcats (17.7 pct)
Like home-state PG Paul?
 
Jazz (11.9 pct)
Could sneak into Top 3
 
Blazers (8.8 pct)
Is Bogut next Sabonis?
 

World According to Curt: Schilling rips Tony La Russa for throwing Edgar Renteria under the bus by labeling him as "sensitive."

PHX G Joe Johnson won't play in Game 2, but will get a long rest until Saturday's Game 3 (but if down 0-2 headed to S.A., will it matter?)

MLB warns Indians and Twins to be civil: What if the only reason we're paying attention is to SEE them wig out on each other?

NFL notes: Dolphins sign DT Keith Traylor; just call Titans WR Tyrone Calico "Escaladies Man."

If when the Lakers don't finish in the Lottery top 3, don't be surprised if they take a long look at prep C (and UConn signee) Andrew Bynum.

Still getting over the fact the Wizards aren't participating in the NBA Lottery tonight ...



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