November 4, 2005
Ron Artest:
In front of David Stern and wild Miami crowd, Ron-Ron scores 22 to lead the Pacers past the Heat in early test of top two contenders in NBA East.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
TALKING  SMACKDOWN

Forget that T.O. practiced Thursday, even after being listed as doubtful for Sunday's game.

That's nothing compared to the freak-out his interview with ESPN.com will cause.

He said the Eagles would "probably be in a better situation" if Brett Favre, rather than Donovan McNabb, were the QB.

It's one thing for TV provocateur Michael Irvin to say that; it's another for McNabb's top playmaker to say it.

He doesn't stop there. He specifically lauds Favre's reputation as a "warrior" and "knowledgeable."

OK, so obviously T.O. "lurves" Favre, but isn't he, by implication, arguing that McNabb isn't either of those two things? Ouch.

T.O. does say that, "If Donovan wasn't hurt, our record would probably be better," but that feels more like a condemnation than a compliment.

McNabb didn't practice Thursday, but the team didn't comment on whether his newest injury was sustained from being thrown under a bus by T.O.

Yet again.

NFC Least?
With the NFL's Week 9 drama back-loaded to Monday night's Game of the Year between the Pats and Colts, a look at Sunday's schedule affirms this season's ugliest trend: The NFC is uninspiring.

Sunday's best game is the Panthers at the Bucs. With both teams at 5-2, the winner will, at worst, be tied for the best record in the NFC.

Let's review: The Bucs just lost to the 49ers, and that game was supposed to be the joke of their already cream-puff schedule.

Look at the NFC's best: The Falcons' QB situation is a mess. The Giants are unreliable. The Seahawks could host the NFC title game and still no one would pick them to gut it out.

Try to make an argument that the best team in the NFC could compete with any of the Top 5 of the AFC. Impossible.

Quotable Joe Paterno
Expect some reaction to this:
"[The] black athlete has made a big difference. They have changed the whole tempo of the game. Black athletes have just done a great job as athletes and as people in turning the game around."

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Steve Nash: Suns' MVP has 12 pts, 17 assists in win over LA
Mike Sherman: Job security is having Favre support you
Brockton Rox: Indy minor-league team offers Theo a GM job
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Phil Jackson: L.A. homecoming ruined by distinct lack of D
Antoine Walker: 5/15 FG? There's the 'Toine we know!
Tom Benson: Fearing safety, Saints owner to skip Baton Rouge games
 
NFL Week 9 Preview
Call it the QB Shuffle. Do all the new starters bring new hope (like in SF) or renewed dread (like in Detroit)?

PIT at GB: Charlie Batch in.
Good thing they play Packers.

NYG at SF: Cody Pickett in.
He's already beaten the Bucs.

SEA at ARZ: Kurt Warner in.
Too bad Cards D is problem.

OAK at KC: Todd Collins in?
Vermeil coy re: Green status.

DET at MIN: Joey Harrington back in.
Classic "lesser of two evils".

TEN at CLE: Dilfer still in.
Got dreaded vote-o'-confidence.
See Big 5 for more subplots.

Shaq Hurts Ankle
Without Shaq, the Miami Heat are more like a South Beach version of the Mavericks. His injury last night was particularly bad news for the wannabe champs of the East.

And so it begins: Everyone knows this team is merely a handful of losses and incidents away from a slow start and the return of Pat Riley to the bench.

Meanwhile, if it's possible to have a "statement" game the third night of the season, this game was it. In the pecking order of East contenders, put Indiana ahead of Miami (but for now, keep both behind new-look Detroit).

MLB GM Watch
The boldest move the Dodgers could make, would be to promote assistant GM Kim Ng, making her the first female GM in baseball (or any other major men's pro sport).

I can understand why the team would want to talk to an experienced hand, like John Hart, but the Dodgers could simply restructure the front office as the D-Rays have.

Under smart new ownership, Tampa just hired seasoned ex-Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker to be the mentor and No. 2 to 28-year-old head of baseball ops Andrew Friedman.

CFB Weekend Preview
It's a de facto playoff:
Miami (5) at VA Tech (3): If Tech loses, the Hokies are effectively out of the title chase.

But if they win, give them credit for racking up the most impressive win of any unbeaten college team. And that means Tech would deserve to sit in the BCS Top 2.

The other unbeatens (USC, Texas, Alabama) are all playing to deflect attention from VA Tech by running up the score as much as they can.

Speaking of de facto, the Big Ten race has a "knock-out" game. Co-leaders Wisconsin and Penn State play each other (Ohio State tracking).

Red Sox GM job
Padres GM Kevin Towers, at the top of the RSN wish list, signals that he's not interested in the job. Who in his right mind would want to follow Theo?
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Index
NBA Daily Dime
 
More NFL W9 Subplots
ATLANTA at MIAMI
Expect running. Lots of it.
 
SAN DIEGO at NYJ
Tomlinson better QB than Bollinger?
 
HOUSTON at JAX
Jags NEED a win here.
 
CIN at BALTIMORE
Chad Johnson excited.
 
CHI at NEW ORLEANS
"Yikes" game of the week.
 

NFL Week 9 Office-Pool Picks: TEN, KC, ATL, MIN, SD, CAR, JAX, CIN, CHI, SEA, NYG, PIT, PHI (SNF), IND (MNF) (LW: 11-3, Season: 74-38)

NBA Weekend: Larry Brown's home opener at Madison Square Garden; LeBron gets a firsthand look at championship basketball when the Cavs play the Spurs.

Nats trade 3B Vinny Castilla to Padres for SP Brian Lawrence. (Wait. Did the Nats call Theo Epstein and get his OK before they did that?)

David Ortiz wins top AL honor from MLB Players Choice awards. Think it was a vote for Ortiz, or a vote against A-Rod?

Watch for an interesting new SC segment this week, starting Sunday: Fake press conferences, starring Steve Phillips as GM of troubled MLB teams.

Finally, much appreciation to the NBA fans over at yaysports.com for their funny (and mildly freakish) shout-out. Ben Affleck, eh?



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