June 17, 2005
Lindsey Hunter:
He's the new Microwave! The Pistons' off-the-bench sparkplug on defense paced 6 teammates in double-figures on offense, scoring a team-high 17 points.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

"Who's your daddy?!"

That would be the appropriate chant for the wild horde of Pistons fans at the Palace this Father's Day Sunday.

Because as badly as the Pistons were shellacked in Texas, they have given far worse than they got, beating the Spurs by an average of six more points per game in Detroit (24) than the Spurs won by at home (18).

Let's review:

Totally wrong: Early-week bandwagon-leapers who thought the Pistons would get swept, after those first two beat-downs in San Antonio.

Wildly inaccurate: 2004 Finals amnesiacs who predicted the Spurs would/could win 2 of 3 in Detroit to ease through the Finals in 5.

Not too shabby: Those who predicted the Pistons would make it competitive once the series went back to Detroit.

There's no reason to think the Pistons won't sweep all three games at home (like last season). Thank you, NBA, for the 2-3-2 Finals format.

Unbelievable at the beginning of this week, next Monday could have the Pistons up 3-2, with the reeling Spurs in the must-win situation back at home.

"Who's your daddy?" Whichever team answers that question on Sunday night could be on their way to fathering a 2005 NBA title.

U.S. Open
Low scores are overrated, anyway. The course is punishing even the best players, and even Phil Mickelson questioned whether anyone will be under par after 72 holes.

Who cares? For the casual fan, great golf is defined by close finishes (how players do relative to each other), not overall numbers (how players do relative to par).

Credit the USGA for forcing players to make the tough single shots on Sunday. Remember Tiger's sick chip on 16 at the Masters? Who remembers what his final score was?

Olin Browne: Open's Thur feel-good story; now clear the way
Randy Johnson: Complete game 5-hitter leads NYY past PIT
Royals: First to sweep Dodgers and Yankees in same season
Tim Hudson: Braves dud goes on 15-day DL (6-5, 3.78 ERA)
Andy Roddick: Top U.S. player gets tough Wimbledon draw
The people who bought the Mighty Ducks: Really? Really??
Big Unit is Back?
CG 5-hitter with 11 K's: That's why the Yankees traded for Randy Johnson. (Just overlook that it was the Pirates and concentrate on those two wins in a row for the Big Unit.)

Smoltz rolling, too? After a slow start to the season, Smoltz threw a 4-hitter in 8 IP with 9 Ks for the struggling Braves.

Two struggling dynastic division champs pinning their hopes on the arms of aging aces. It would be more dramatic if it wasn't the hated Yankees or ho-hum Braves.

College World Series
The double-elimination format is among the factors that have kept the CWS from being a bigger deal with sports fans.

It's mystifying: Why not just have the final eight teams paired up for best-of-3 series in a standard, hoops-style bracket?

There will be more clarity by the middle of next week, hopefully. You've got to like Nebraska's chances playing in front of friendly Omahans. (What DO you call someone from Omaha?)

Bowl Game Halftimes
The NCAA's dour busybodies known as the Knight Commission will recommend that bowl-game halftime shows become "more collegiate," presumably after last year's Ashlee Simpson debacle.

"More collegiate": Hmm ... would they recommend the float with the frat guys pouring GHB into the grain punch? Or the one with the professor giving the snotty students the inflated grade they demand?

Father's Day Gifts
Looking for a last-minute Father's Day gift? Books are easy, thoughtful and look good on the nightstand (even if that's where they stay).

A few recommendations from recent releases:

"Sunday Money": Your dad doesn't understand NASCAR. This rollicking look at the sport is the one book he should read to get it.

"Spinning the Globe": History of the Harlem Globetrotters (didn't your dad take you when you were a kid?)

"License to Deal": From ESPN.com's Crasnick, a season inside with a baseball agent.

"The Devil Wears Pinstripes": OK, you're low on funds. If your dad's a Yankee-hater, Jim Caple's book is cheap laughs, both literally.

NL West:
Dodgers riding 3-game losing streak. Padres are even worse (4 straight). Hard not to have an East Coast Bias when West Coast baseball is so dreary.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
NBA Daily Dime
Page 2 Friday
NBA Finals Outcomes
Spurs in 7
Hold serve at home
Pistons in 7
Win G5, ride mo to road W
Spurs in 6
Must steal Game 5 in Det
Pistons in 6
Would be staggering U-turn
Spurs in 5
Sounds dumber than Det PA guy

MLB series of the weekend: If it's more interleague, it must be wherever the Cubs are playing (at Yankee Stadium for the first time since '38).

Don't look now: The Tigers are one game under .500 after sweeping the NL West-leading Padres.

Maybe it's this weekend when the Lou Piniella saga will finally end in Tampa (and the Lou to NY saga can officially begin!)

Wyatt Sexton watch: With his dad ruling out substance addiction, it only opens up speculation that it's something either creepier or sadder.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are engaged. Someone, please: Stop the madness.

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