November 3, 2005
Matt Lawton:
Worst. Birthday. Ever. (Really, I'm serious. You can't make this stuff up. He was born on 11/3/71, the poor schmuck.)
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
DUELING  DEBUTS

"Zen Way" trumps "Right Way."

That's the first impression of the 2005 season debut of Phil Jackson (winner) and Larry Brown (loser).

For Phil, there's no shame in needing a Kobe buzzer-beater in OT to get the win. Bryant is the star; he SHOULD be making shots like that.

On the road, the Lakers beat a Nuggets team many considered Top 3 in the West, getting serious contributions from bit players.

Phil had them looking less like the Lottery team (many presume they are) and more like a team that hit the lottery in snagging NBA cast-offs, Smush Parker (20 pts, 6 ast) and Kwame Brown (7 pts, 6 reb).

Meanwhile for Larry, there's so much shame (and blame) in assessing the debut of the "new-look" Knicks, vs. the lottery-quality Celtics.

Here's a Right Way rundown:

*Outscored: 20-6 in OT
*Outrebounded: 57-41 (57!!)
*Outhustled: Into 22 t'overs
*Outmatched: Allow 47 FTs
*Outmanned: Top draftee? DNP
That would be the Wrong Way.

If the No. 1 story line of the new NBA season was the debut of Larry in NY and the re-debut of Phil in LA, it's never too early to judge.

Phil has Kobe and a system that flows around him; Larry doesn't and a system that might be a Right Way to play but Wrong for his roster.

NBA Wrap
LeBron's new supporting cast is a HUGE improvement from last year. Imports Hughes, Jones and Marshall combined for 40, but LeBron was the star with 31 (6/7 3-pt).

'Toine doesn't douse Heat: Contrary to naysayers, maybe Walker WILL thrive as a third option in Miami (team-high 25 pts, 16 reb).

Bucks Bandwagon rolls on: Unstoppable! Star Redd scores NBA-high 41, PG Ford continues resurgence with 21 and Bogut may have had FG troubles (4/13), but corralled 17 rebounds.

The Oklahoma Hornets getting waxed in Cleveland only strengthens my argument that their NBA-best home crowd carried them to a win over the Kings.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Warriors: Crush ATL. NBA West's Bucks? (Baron inj. hammy)
Trent Dilfer: Backed by Crennel, Edwards as Browns' top QB
ESPN-bashing by SEC coaches: Spurrier agrees w/Tuberville
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Sixers: Obliterated by Pistons; drop to 0-2
Chad Johnson's "checklist": Marvin Lewis finally nixes
Nene: Nuggets power forward out for season (ACL)
 
More on Lawton
Here's what really stinks: The rumor was that an "AL playoff outfielder" tested positive. Of all the tantalizing choices, we get this guy? (birthday tip via Deadspin)

T.O. Doubtful
With an otherwise struggling offense and facing a very good Redskins defense, the Eagles are in serious jeopardy of losing Sunday and falling back into last place in the NFC East.

Then there's the detail that has Philly fans "phreaking": T.O. told ESPN that he might not play in the Week 10 MNF game vs. Dallas either. (Why the concern? Because that's the first Andy Reid had heard of it. Oops.)

Meanwhile, Donovan McNabb didn't practice yesterday, and he's iffy for Sunday, too. I suspect he'll play but what does it signal about his long-term effectiveness? And without T.O., his job is that much harder.

PGA Playoff
Purists are cringing, but I love it. Taking a page from NASCAR (which cribbed it from the NFL playbook) is simply smart business.

I appreciate the tradition of the Majors, but the "rankings" are such a farce. Is it so bad to have a little playoff action?

Theo Speaks Out
Time for the Theo Translator!

What he said: "Larry and I like each other."
What he meant: "Larry and I hate each other."

What he said: "As with any other working relationship, there are complexities, there are ups and downs."
What he meant: "No, we REALLY hate each other."

What he said: "If there are reports of a power struggle or meddling on behalf of Larry, that really wasn't the case."
What he meant: "The most intense media coverage on the planet, and you guys STILL can't get a story right. (except BostonSportsMedia.com)"

What he said: "Essentially, I felt like I had pretty much a free hand to run the baseball operation the way I saw fit."
What he meant: "If 'essentially' means 'if not for Larry's meddling.'"

What he said: "In the end, I decided I could no longer put my whole heart and soul into it."
What he meant: "I was the architect of the Red Sox winning the freaking World Series. Seriously, what more can I do?"

What he said: "It was a time in my life I'll always look back on with fond memories."
What he meant: "So, have the Nats got that new ownership yet or what?"

Monster Mash
Think Mike Tyson and Bobby Brown knew they were being made fun of? Or did they embrace the hilarity? Either way, a must-see clip.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Index
Stein: Zen and now
 
Game NBA Surprises
Bucks rolling
Michael Redd: 35.5 ppg
 
Antoine fits in
Where's the headache?
 
Deron Williams
Jazz rookie PG: 18 pts
 
Nuggets 0-2
Where's Karl's spring mojo?
 
Sean May struggles
Where are backers now?
 

Big Ben's knee scoped: No worries. At most, the games he'll miss are vs. the Packers, Browns and Ravens. Yet another example of "Big Ben Luck."

MLB Hot Stove: The Dodgers reportedly contacted Theo (and also may be interested in ex-Texas GM John Hart). Who wants to work for McCourt?

NL Gold Glove: As with AL yesterday, love the 1st-timers who break through the "vote-on-rep" cabal. Congrats Mike Lowell and Bobby Abreu.

CFB tonight: Pittsburgh vs. Louisville. Remember when Pitt. was good (before Wanny got there); uh, remember when I said Louisville would be in Pasadena? D'oh!

By the way, what looked dumber: Theo's gorilla outfit to sneak past the media on Monday? Or Mark Cuban's heinous Mavs blue blazer?

I checked out Whitlock's chat off his controversial column about ND's deal with Weis. For the record, I think his column made spot-on points.

Coming tomorrow: The shallowest NFL preview online (featuring Pats/Colts: Does it mean anything?), VA Tech-Miami, an NBA wrap and more.



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