May 3, 2006
Mike Nifong:
Durham D.A. leading the investigation into the Duke lacrosse scandal wins his primary election, which was widely seen as a referendum on his handling of the case.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
BELL.  WEATHER.

Rank the following in order of magnitude vis a vis the Lakers' chances of beating the Suns once in the next two games:

(1) Kwame Brown is being investigated by the police for an alleged sexual assault (he denies any wrongdoing).

The Kwame story line is the most salacious. Even Phil Jackson said he thought Brown's head was elsewhere (well, even more than usual). But since he shot 6/6 FG in 24 minutes, maybe his career simply needed a scandal.

(2) NBA Most Improved Player Boris Diaw carved up L.A.'s defense like a Swiss army knife with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

If Lamar Odom was the Suns' impossible matchup through the first 4 games (and he had 18 pts, 15 reb and 6 ast last night), maybe the even more versatile Diaw can play that role for the Suns over the last 3 games.

(3) Kobe Bryant was tossed out of the game, shortly after the Suns' Raja Bell was tossed for -- well -- tossing Kobe to the floor.

No. 3 is your answer.

When the series continues Thursday in L.A., I think the Suns' new "Kobe Rules" will be the difference. Last night's intensity showed that the Suns will slug back after Bryant's double-dagger on Sunday.

Here's your X factor: Will designated Kobe-stopper Bell be suspended by the NBA for Game 6 for the flagrant foul on Kobe that got Bell ejected last night?

It's not like Bell shut Kobe down (29 pts, 10/17 FG), but he was in Kobe's head enough to draw him into the double-T early in the game, followed by a second T that got Kobe ejected late.

If Bell plays, look for the suddenly feisty Suns to get even more physical with the "Kobe Rules," enrage the Staples Center fans and take the series back to Phoenix for Game 7.

But if Bell is out, then the result will simply be: Kobe rules.

Wade: Too Tough
Life imitating art: Have you seen the Dwyane Wade shoe commercial showing footage of him getting knocked down and continuing to get back up?

What a surreal moment when he was KO'd from last night's "pivotal" Game 5 against the Bulls in Miami in the 2nd quarter.

The Heat fell into disarray. By the 3rd quarter, the Bulls were eyeing the first road win of the series and a commanding 3-2 lead.

Then Wade re-entered, scoring 15 of his game-high 28 after the injury and catalyzing the Heat's surge to take back the game.

(The only question is what kind of shape Wade will be in for Game 6 in Chicago on Thursday night. Maybe Miami will hold him out, concede the game and save him for Game 7 back in Miami on Saturday.)

Bonds Hits No. 712
Even as half a player, Barry Bonds still manages to do some spectacular things.

Playing on knees that make him resemble 74-year-old Minnie Minoso, Bonds' upper body can still crush the ball like a vintage Mickey Mantle.

After a 6-game HR-free slump, Bonds took a fastball 440 feet to record his 712th HR. He's now only 2 behind Babe heading into a 2-game series at Milwaukee.

What a tweak it would be at Bud Selig if Bonds ties (or even passes) Ruth in Bud's burg.

But of all the hostility he'll face on the road, I'm sure there's a special brand of indignation waiting for him in the one-time home of Hank Aaron, who hit 398 career HRs when the Braves played in Milwaukee.

(Meanwhile, nothing says history like the "live look-in" treatment: If he's batting during an MLB game on ESPN or ESPN2 or "Baseball Tonight," ESPN will cut to the at-bat. C'mon: You know you want to see it.)

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Michelle Wie: Will retry to qualify for men's U.S. Open
Vince Carter: Scores 34 (15 reb) to lead Nets past Pacers
U.S. World Cup roster: 12 from '02 Cup team, 11 newcomers
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Pacers: Missing Foster and Peja to injuries just too much
Matt Rico: D-Rays minor league RHP gets 100-game 'roid ban
John "Hit on 21" Daly: His $50 mil gambling debt ridiculed
 
MLB Tuesday Wrap
How many games into an MLB season is it statistically significant enough to think that a surprising team is having a special year?

Through 27 games last season, the White Sox were 20-7 (of course, the Orioles were 18-9). This season's White Sox might be the Reds, who lead MLB with an unexpected 19-8 record.

Cincy swept the NL Central gold standard Cards yesterday on a walk-off bloop single, one of those wins that makes you think this is One Of Those Years.

Zach Duke Fever: Remember last season's man-crush on Zach Duke? He threw his first MLB complete game yesterday, holding the Cubs to 5 hits in a shutout (1 ER in 25 career IP at Wrigley). But with the Pirates up 8-0, why were they working Duke's arm all the way through 9?

Quote of the Day: Marcus "Cerrano" Giles busted out of an early-season slump (.195) to collect 4 hits. "Well, I sacrificed a live chicken." Giles was kidding. (That's right, Jobu: He did it himself.)

More clever than a hot foot: Adrian Beltre "punk'd" Mariners manager Mike Hargrove on Monday by convincing his Latino teammates to lead Hargrove to believe they would join the national immigration boycott.

Yankees-Red Sox PPD: Mark down Friday, Aug. 18. That's when the Yankees and Red Sox will make up Tuesday night's rainout in Boston; it will become a 5th game in what was scheduled as a 4-game series.

L.A.: Two NFL Teams?
There must be more important things for California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to do besides lobby for not one but two NFL teams in L.A.

Let's get realistic:

L.A. arguably can't even support one. Be honest: Have you missed having an NFL team in L.A. since the Rams and Raiders left town?

There's a reason L.A. is always in the NFL expansion conversation: The city is just so huge. But should population alone dictate worthiness?

There's a reason the old teams left: Sure, other cities offered more lucrative stadium packages, but it's not like NFL fans in L.A. were particularly rabid. (Maybe if the team name was "Lakers" or "Clippers.")

Frankly, based on passion, I'd argue that the NBA fans of the year in Oklahoma City are far more worthy of an NFL team than the "LA-di-da" fans of L.A.

Marcus Vick Watch
Mr. irrelevant* was invited to a tryout with the Dolphins this weekend at their rookie minicamp.

Not exactly the heralded treatment he probably expected before last weekend ... but he went undrafted.

If he really wants to prove his many doubters wrong, it starts this weekend; he better bring his A-game (and no attitude).

Otherwise, the next call he gets might be from the CFL to pair with Ricky Williams in Toronto. Or maybe from the Arena League.

(Ricky is open to playing in the CFL and will open talks with the Argos, the Miami Herald is reporting.)

* Yes, that's a small "i"; you only get the uppercase "I" if you are actually drafted (with the last pick)

Baseball Card Snafu
Royals prospect Alex Gordon may never have an MLB career, but he's already a legend in the baseball card industry.

His card, which is only available in a tiny supply due to a printing error, is selling for more than $2,000. (You've got to check out Darren Rovell's story about it.)

(The story takes me back to my particularly dorky teens: Billy Ripken's 1989 Fleer card became the stuff of legend when it was discovered that a prankster scrawled an obscenity on the knob of his bat in the photo.)

Meanwhile, what does it say about the Royals that the most exciting thing about the team this season is that a minor league player's baseball card is generating the most interest?

KC is still winless on the road this season after Tuesday night's loss at Detroit. Maybe the Royals should offer "Alex Gordon Baseball Card" giveaway night to spark interest.

More Royals Mania
One fan K.C. won't interest is Chad Carroll, who auctioned off his 25-year loyalty to the Royals on eBay yesterday for $278.47.

A group of his friends outbid the minor league Kansas City T-Bones and Yahoo at the last second for the rights to Carroll's sports allegiance. The winning bidder gets to pick Carroll's new favorite team.

It made me wonder: How much would a team or fan base pay for the rights to, say, Bill Simmons' fandom?

I know he picked up the Clippers because he moved to L.A., but what if -- at the end of this season -- he became a free agent? $1,000? $10,000? $100,000?

I don't expect Carroll to spark a national fad for fans auctioning off team loyalties, but it sure makes a statement about the sad condition of the Royals -- and the empowerment of fans through new technology.

Tribeca Film Festival
Continuing Quickie coverage of the "sports" films being screened in my hometown:

Today: "Once in a Lifetime." World Cup Mania is coming in a month, but as good as the U.S. team might be, they can't compare to the wild show that was the New York Cosmos in the late 1970s.

Dishing out megadollars for megastars like Pele and Beckenbauer, for a brief moment the Cosmos were the toast of a "Studio 54"-era New York City and the sports world. This documentary captures that team and its era.

Reading Tonight
For all of you in the NYC area, I'll be hosting a new sportswriting reading series tonight at Happy Ending Bar. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Authors include Jeff Pearlman, David Margolick and Mark Lamster. Consider yourself invited! (And it's free!)

Serena Williams:
The most telegenic player in women's tennis likely will miss both the French Open and Wimbledon with lingering injuries to her knee and ankle.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
NBA Daily Dime
Page 2 Index
 
Ranking Remaining NBA 1st-Round Series
Suns-Lakers
Drama ratchets each game
 
Cavs-Wizards
Wild mano a mano duel
 
Spurs-Kings
Surprisingly even
 
Heat-Bulls
Home court rules
 
Nets-Pacers
Heading for 7?
 

NHL: Nothing beats an NHL playoff Game 7. Keep an eye on Anaheim at Calgary tonight. Meanwhile, the Sabres and Canes advanced to the East semis.

NBA Tonight: LeBron vs. Arenas, Part 5. Over/under on their combined scoring? How about 75? Meanwhile, the Pistons should close out the Bucks.

The gem of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge schedule released yesterday was Ohio St. (featuring frosh "Thad 5") vs. UNC and super soph Tyler Hansbrough.

Army named assistant Dave Magarity to replace the late Maggie Dixon as women's basketball coach.

Adding insult to insult, NFL draft snubbee Matt Leinart will give up his jersey No. 11 for No. 7 (Larry Fitzgerald wears No. 11 on the Cards).

Yesterday, when I listed several sports names in this year's Time 100, I missed Bill James. No offense intended: Quickie readers know I'm a huge fan.

If you want to know the obscenity on the infamous Billy Ripken baseball card, it's a short two-word alliterative phrase that ends in "Face."



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