February 24, 2003
Mike Weir:
Started Nissan Open final round seven back of Charles Howell, but won in playoff. (Tiger tied for fifth, case you're wondering.)
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
STILL.  KOBE.

Kobe Bryant got his points last night, extending his 40-plus scoring streak to nine games with 41 in a closer-than-it-should-have-been 106-101 win over Seattle. But people might get the idea that Kobe cares a little more about the stat sheet than the result.

From his actions: 4-of-19 second-half shooting, including a selfish 0 for 6 in the game's last five minutes trying to get his points, a drought that let the Sonics back in the game.

From his words: "I really took us out of our system, but [hitting 40] was a tough challenge to back down from."

Though the Lakers have rocketed to the seventh playoff spot in the West, at some point he'll have to choose between his points and a critical win for the team. And right now, I'm not quite sure which way he'd go. Shaq's postgame quote has ominous undertones: "When you win, nothing's a problem."

This Week: Kobe will definitely get his 40 over the hapless Clippers on Tuesday, but look out for the "Kobe Rules" when the Lakers host the Pistons on Thursday; the streak ends then. He'll be back on track in Seattle on Friday.

Tyson's KO
As Mike Tyson put it, "Rhinos don't dance." Neither do tomato cans. Lost in all the post-fight commentary about Tyson's nasty vintage right to knock out Clifford "Campbell's" Etienne, there's not much outrage that Etienne seemed to take that one punch, hit the deck, then say thank you very much for your time, attention and, oh, $1 million.

The smoking mouthpiece: Sure, Etienne took a punch flush to his jaw, but he had the wherewithal to take out his mouthpiece upon hitting the canvas -- and it sure didn't take him long to pop up after the 10 count.

But Tyson is no fool: He knows this fight was about a payday, not some evaluation of his fitness for a rematch with Lennox Lewis, which even he says would be unwise in the near future. But he needs some real challenges before a Lewis fight, not more stiffs like Etienne.

49 Seconds
What lasts longer than 49 seconds? Tyson's swagger into

"LOOKING AHEAD THIS WEEK" EDITION
CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE IN PLAY:
1. Kobe might stay hot -- but will the Lakers still win?
2. "At Large": Let the real college-hoops jostling begin
3. Glove Fits? Keeping our eye on Payton in Milwaukee
CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE SO OVER:
1. Swimsuit Mania: No space for bikinis, just brackets
2. Barry Sanders: At some point, we'll stop begging
3. Reality match-making: No Bachelorette, no Joe
 
the ring, my hustle from couch to refrigerator for snacks and back to couch, the fighter introductions, half a song in the pre-fight Jay-Z concert, Tyson's in-ring post-fight interview, Etienne's post-fight walk of shame.

What doesn't last longer than 49 seconds? Muttering: "Can you believe this sham?"; shaking your head at the shame of it all; then flipping the channel.

Don't Forget T-Mac
Joining Kobe as a "must-see" attraction, Tracy McGrady had a sick triple-double Sunday: 46 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in a win over the Nets -- following his 52-point outburst on Friday.

Meanwhile, if T-Mac's motivation is the Magic trading away Mike Miller, his best friend on the team, then Orlando should have shipped Miller out months ago.

Coming up: An awesome matchup with no-D-in-Dallas on Tuesday.

Payton-Allen Update
After a game for each player, how about a premature analysis of the Gary Payton-Ray Allen trade. In short, everybody wins.

Bucks: Got what they wanted -- a gritty leader with a win-now mentality. Payton notched 22 points and nine assists in a tough 93-90 W at Portland on Saturday.

Sonics: Got what they wanted -- an all-around performer for a team that just wants to compete (if not win now). Allen nearly posted a triple-double, with 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in Seattle's 106-101 loss to the Lakers.

Celebrate LeBron
His jersey retirement is back on. After the weather-related cancellation of his team's final regular-season game, St. Vincent/St. Mary found a replacement game -- less important for the ceremony than to allow LeBron to complete his two-game suspension before the playoffs start.

Picks: The 'Fess-Up
If you took your shekels and rolled with the Quickie picks for this past weekend, here's how things netted out:

On Target: Tyson wins ... Tiger doesn't ... Creighton W highlights Bracket Buster ... Norah Jones the big Grammy winner.

Mea Culpa: Didn't believe Kobe could keep up his 40+ streak. (But you have to admit he's straining ...)

Clifford Etienne
DQ'ed? How about "KO'ed"? Like "Glass Joe" from "Punch-Out" come to life.
 
 
Kobe: Forcing forty?
Vote at SportsNation

Today on ESPN.com
P2: Swimsuit issue
IN: NFL Draft
NFL: Combine
 

Kansas closed a 32-point deficit to five in a second-half rally at Oklahoma, but the Sooners held on. Says better things about KU than OU ...

Kobe and T-Mac are impressive, but MJ (30 pts, 9 reb., 52 min. vs. Mavs Sunday) has elevated his game more, relative to age ...

Was Louisville overrated or just overconfident? Cards have dropped 3 of 4, including weekend thumping at Cincy ...

No bumbled execution here: Giants punter Matt Allen -- part of the team's playoff-kick snafu -- waived ...

Lions should offer Barry Sanders for a conditional draft pick to any team that can convince him to unretire ...

Spring-training watch: Hideki Matsui starts in LF today for Yankees' intrasquad game. Says here he hits a homer ...

Pete Rose doesn't make Canadian Baseball H.O.F.: Our Northern brothers deftly sidestep laughingstock status.

UConn won its 65th straight women's hoops game ...

Another thing that would take less than 49 seconds: Have you told your friends and co-workers about the Quickie? ...


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