November 2, 2005
T.J. Ford:
Returning from a brutal spine injury, Bucks PG was sensational in season-opening win vs. 76ers: 16 points, 14 assists, 9 rebounds. Wow.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
'HOMA.  COURT.

OKC is OK with the NBA!

And the best fans in the NBA are ...

From Oklahoma City?!

Any fans that can inspire the lousy Hornets to beat a West playoff contender like the Kings by nearly 30 have to be at the top of the argument.

The amazing thing is they have no track record as an NBA fan base; they host the Hornets only because of the disaster in New Orleans.

The Hornets may not want to leave. The sellout crowd was frenzied. The team was inspired.

And, given their brutal support back in New Orleans, who would blame them or the team and the NBA from wanting to make this permanent?

(This isn't the same as the Saints' relocation debacle: New Orleans fans still love their football team, even if Baton Rouge fans boo. The Hornets have been a bad fit since Day One.)

Sure, it's been only one game, but instantly, OKC has morphed the team into the Celtics of '86.

The Hornets might improve last year's overall win total (18) by 50 percent simply off their home games.

I'm so impressed with the fans in OKC that as of today, I'm willing to rank them the best fans in the NBA. I've even got a slogan for them:

"'Homa-Court Advantage."

AI: Dress? Yes!
AI passes dress code: Was that so hard? Too bad the natty, brown-dominated, buttoned-up look didn't translate to the court, where, despite his game-high 35, his Sixers blew a late lead.

Bucks Legit!
New-look Bucks are for real! Ford is a revelation, star Michael Redd scored 30, top free-agent import Bobby Simmons scored 22 as a starter and ...

A. Bogut: Step off, haters! No. 1 overall draft pick had 13 and 9 (with 3 blocks) in his rookie debut. (Critics? Hmm: Didn't think so.)

Spurs Get Rings
Then dispatch the Nuggets, who are considered an elite team in the West. If that's the best the West can put up against the Spurs, all the consensus that San Antonio will repeat as champ is understatement.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Tennessee: Big shocker: Vols are No. 1 in women's CBB poll
Nat'l steroid-testing law: McCain/Bunning put it on table
Big Ben knee worries: Could sit out Sunday vs. Packers
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Kings' Bibby-Bonzi backcourt: Combine for 5/22 FGs, 3 FTs
Ken Hamlin: Seahawks deactivate DB involved in club fight
Jim Boeheim: First ejection of career comes in preseason
 
A-Rod's Poker Club
Is he playing with Teddy KGB? The Yankees reportedly have told A-Rod they don't like his rumored association with backroom NYC poker clubs. (via NY Daily News)

His agent, Scott Boras, denies the Yankees have said anyting to A-Rod, but -- let's be honest -- a little seedy behavior involving something trendy like an illegal poker club would go a long way toward giving A-Rod more street cred with the kids.

Gillick to Philly
"The Phillick Era?" Pat Gillick is one of those '90s GMs who was so successful that he was nearly legendary.

Expectations will be huge with Philly that he can do something with an aggressive payroll and some great talent (see Ryan Howard).

Bobby V to Tampa?
What a great fit for Bobby V: Valentine can't seem to ever finish first in a division, and the D-Rays simply want to finish second one of these years. Perfect match!

Meanwhile, Gerry Hunsicker, who put together the winning Astros team in the late '90s through 2004, will reportedly join the D-Rays.

If that's right, it'll be fascinating to follow the interplay between the seasoned Hunsicker and the D-Rays' 28-year-old baseball ops honcho Andrew Friedman.

MLB Award Season
AL Gold Gloves: Nothing says "reputation pick" like a Gold Glove, which is why I'm always interested in the first-time winners:

C Jason Varitek, whose rep has soared since the 2004 postseason.

2B Orlando Hudson, whose selection over Balto's Brian Roberts was a surprise.

1B Mark Teixeira, whose place as the top 1B (and No. 2 overall) on Elias' offensive player rankings makes him arguably the best all-around player in the game.

Theo Watch
Talking to the media today at Fenway. Don't expect any revelations, and I'd be shocked if he did anything but keep it safe.

What next for him? I like him enhancing his rep as an "advisor" for a year, then cherry-picking a GM job that is positioned like the anti-Sox.

Kornheiser lobbied for him to join the Nats in the Washington Post today, which I laughed off until I saw a similar theory in the Boston Globe. Hmm ...

The new Nats owner would be crazy not to pursue Theo. I'd throw this in: Give him a small slice of the ownership (like Beane's deal in Oakland).

Meanwhile, the boldest thing the Red Sox could do is hire Kim Ng from the Dodgers and make her the first female GM in MLB history.

L.A. Dodgers:
"The Curse of DePo?" Who will be the GM of this team? Gillick and Hunsicker are reportedly off the table, and Theo ain't gonna happen. It's a mess.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Index
NBA: Daily Dime
 
NBA Coaching Subplots
Phil Jackson
No MJ? No Shaq? Good luck
 
Larry Brown
Can he work the magic in NY?
 
Pat Riley
Will he enter the mix?
 
Mike Brown
Rookie gets to coach LeBron
 
Mike Montgomery
Warriors on the rise?
 

More NBA openers: Suns lose in 2 OT: Think a healthy Amare might have made the difference? Yep: Me, too.

Tonight's NBA: 14 games, highlighted by a double-header on ESPN: DET/PHI (8 ET) and LAL/DEN (10:30 ET). Plus: Larry Brown in Boston; Heat in Memphis.

MLB Hot Stove: Are the Mariners interested in veteran closer Trevor Hoffman? (via SEA P-I). Speaking of closers ...

With Braden Looper gone, expect the Mets to be in the mix for the big RP names like Billy Wagner and B.J. Ryan. GM Omar Minaya is angling for back-to-back Hot Stove MVP.

Manny trade rumor: Ramirez to Angels for Erstad, but the D-Backs would be involved, sending Glaus to Boston. What's in it for ARI? (via LA Times)



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