Still the king: Jordan's 20 in the first quarter in Wiz win over Magic was classic.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
Let's sum up the big issues in the NFL's
conference-championship games, in the context of
Saturday's Rolling Stones concert on HBO:
"Beast of Burden": Getting this far means nothing to
these particular teams; only Super Bowl trips will
make season worthwhile.
"Gimme Shelter": Home-field crowds in Philly (it's the
Vet's last game) and Oakland (also see "Paint It
Black") will be rowdier than ever.
"Under My Thumb": Titans QB Steve McNair's swollen
right digit is injury situation to watch. Without him
performing near-healthy, his team is sunk.
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction": Will officiating
controversy taint this round of the playoffs as it has
the others? All eyes are on the refs.
(Keep in mind 3-1 "Man vs. Beast" record from earlier
this week ... ) Bucs 16, Eagles 12.: It's
quiet ... too quiet ... Raiders 31, Titans 24:
Oakland fans not as scary as team.
Yao vs. Shaq
With a pregame protest planned by the
Organization of Chinese-Americans serving as a controversial
backdrop, Shaq and Yao finally meet on the floor
tonight in Houston.
It won't be pretty, for two
reasons. First, the physical gap between them is
immense -- Shaq is just too strong for Yao. Second,
Shaq has way too much motivation (including that pesky little issue of trailing Yao in the All-Star voting) -- in that state,
no player can deal with him, let alone Yao.
Shaq will score only 20 on Yao directly ... because the
rookie will sit out most of the first half with foul
trouble trying to keep up; he'll foul out by the end
of the third quarter. O'Neal will finish with 40.
||"ROLLING STONES" EDITION
|CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE IN PLAY:|
1. You Got Me Rocking: Del Rio brings enthusiasm to Jags|
2. Wild Horses: What are Bill Walsh's intentions?
3. Tumbling Dice: "Mohegan Suns" newest WNBA franchise?
|CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE SO OVER:|
1. 19th Nervous Breakdown: Sonics lose sixth straight|
2. Miss You: 49ers fans have already forgotten Mooch
3. Shattered: Not much buzz over Stones TV concert
Here's the sign of the mess Marvin Lewis has
gotten himself into: The Bengals' best defensive
player, Takeo Spikes, said he hasn't talked to the new
coach yet and hopes the team lets him go
as a free agent instead of slapping the "franchise" tag
on him. He claimed that the lack of personnel-management
skills at the top is too severe for a team turnaround.
Winning over Spikes should be Lewis' first
priority, but if the linebacker can't be converted,
let him go; the team needs leaders with a more
Hall of Shame
There's nothing wrong with a little marketing
savvy, but the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame's
attempt to raise its profile by nominating Pete Rose
for induction is absurd. He spent all of 95 games with
the Expos in '84. Who wants a higher profile if it's
going to be a mockery? Then again, there are the
contestants of "Celebrity Mole" ...
Better news for Canada:
Glad the American Baseball Hall of Fame had
more sense than its Canadian counterpart, making Gary
Carter the first Expo to enter the Hall. He may end up the only rep of the team in its
Montreal incarnation (who knows what the franchise
will be called in Charlotte, D.C. or Portland). Also, it's fashion-forward: The hat is all the
MLB All-Star Debate
Putting World Series home-field stakes on the
MLB All-Star Game is fan-friendly, and the argument
against it from players will be muted if owners can
show them the money. However, the superior plan being
tossed around is to give the advantage to the circuit
with the better interleague-play record.
Quietly banned picks-for-coach (i.e., "Gruden") deals. Reasoning: Undermines the draft. Hunh? Not seeing connection.
|NFL playoffs edition ...|
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|NBA: First impressions|
|IN: NBA rumors|
NHL All-Star snubs: Mogilny, Hejduk, Lalime deserved
to be in more than Sundin, Forsberg, Brodeur ...|
If Duke doesn't lose at Maryland this weekend, they
may not until the NCAA Tourney ...
NBA reinstates big ol' Stanley Roberts. 76ers own
rights; is he svelte enough to help? ...
Holmgren-to-Niners rumors are already starting to
MLB Dugout Daycare is over: 14 will be bat-boy minimum
Vince Carter questionable for All-Star Game; no
question: MJ should replace him as starter ...
UConn women dynasty goes for record 55th straight win
Saturday in Hartford vs. G'town ...
Golden Globe-pool advice: The Hours, Chicago on movie
side; Six Feet Under, Friends on TV side ...