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Friday, May 5, 2006
Page 2 Quickie: May 5, 2006


 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
MISSION.  IMPOSSIBLE.

Your mission -- should you choose to accept it -- is this:

Try to predict what will happen in Saturday's Game 7 between the Lakers and Suns in Phoenix.

Impossible.

Game 6 proved that.

Suns on the road?
Facing elimination?
Without suspended Raja Bell?


No prob, no prob, no prob: Phoenix kept the game close, let Kobe get his 50, then used a 21-13 blowout in OT to equalize the series.

You want "Impossible?" Try the Lakers' 27-0 record when up 3-1 in a playoff series. Or Phil Jackson's 44-0 record when leading a playoff series. History is on the Lakers' side.

At least it was. That 3-1 series lead is a distant memory; all the mo' is now with the Suns. You'd have to be crazy to pick against Phoenix in Game 7:

They've got the home-court advantage (coming off their best game of the series there in Game 5), an inspired MVP (32 and 15 for Nash in Game 6, his best game of the series), and a deeper bench after the Bell suspension (replacement Leandro Barbosa had 22 points last night).

But maybe Kobe now has the Suns exactly where he wants them. Or maybe he's about to lead the Lakers, even as a 7-seed, to their biggest choke (at least on paper) in franchise history.

Prediction: Impossible.

Inspired by M:I:3's release today, keep reading for more impossible missions.

Cavs-Wiz Game 6
Mission: Defense.

Now that's truly impossible. But why should either team start now? Fans are having way too much fun watching LeBron and Arenas duel (over/under on combined points tonight: 90?)

The best thing that could happen for the NBA would be for the Wiz to win tonight, setting up a classic Game 7 in Cleveland on Sunday, where we'll really see LeBron's mettle. Against no Wiz D, of course.

More Friday: The Spurs have the impossible mission of trying to win at Sacramento, where they haven't yet this series, to close out the Kings. Otherwise, it's back to Texas for Game 7.

Heat, Nets Wrap Up
Mission: If Miami wants to improve on its 1-3 record vs. the Nets in the regular season when they meet in the East semis next week, they'll have to get more nights from Shaq like Thursday.

His 30 points and 20 rebounds were enough to carry injured buddy Dwyane Wade (23 points on 7/12 FG, 6 ast) and to lift the Heat to their first road win of the series.

But it's impossible math:

Heat: "Big 2"
Shaq and Wade.

Nets: "Big 4" (G6 vs. IND):
Jefferson: 30 pts vs. Pacers
Carter: 24 pts, 7 asts
Kidd: 11 asts, 12 reb, 8 pts
Krstic: 17 pts (9 in 4th)

If the Heat had trouble with the Baby Bulls perimeter players, what will they do when they face a team with three All-Star-quality guards and a center with an outside touch?

MLB Wrap
Want to talk "impossible?"

Bonds vs. Philly fans: Aside from fans of the NL West, Barry Bonds won't experience hostility on the road like he will in Philly starting tonight.

Presumably, the city's bid to host the 2016 Olympics will ramp up with its citizens practicing an Olympic-worthy chant of "Ste-roids!"

Blocking Prince Fielder: Brewers catcher Todd Greene was KO'd by "Tons O' Fun" when he tried to block the plate, a stunt even Tom Cruise would be scared to try.

Royals win first road game: Most impossible of all! 0-12 to start the season, KC earned a clutch one with a 1-0 W in Minnesota.

NC State Taps Lowe
Mission: Coach NC State hoops

Agent: Sidney Lowe

Why it's impossible:
• No NCAA coaching experience.
• Was 6th (or worse) choice.
• Duke, UNC and Wake Forest.

Why it's possible:
• Goodwill as '83 NC State champ.
• Cachet of being NBA coach.
• Fertile recruiting base.

Final analysis: Impossible.

Kentucky Derby Pick
Mission: Pick Kentucky Derby winner.

Normally, I'd use a derivation of the "Duane on 'What's Happening' Theory" and pick horses by their best names. Very high tech.

In this case, however, I'm going with Barbaro, because that was the last name of one of my roommates after college (4-1 odds don't hurt either).

Win: Barbaro
Place: Sinister Minister
Show: Lawyer Ron

(Intrigue: Lawyer Ron actually was sold yesterday. Who gets the camera face-time if he wins: The new owner or the family of the late old owner?)

NBA All-Rookie Team
First Team: Chris Paul, Charlie Villanueva, Andrew Bogut, Deron Williams and Channing Frye

Here's my mission: I want to convince you that Ryan Gomes (the 5th player on the 2nd team) should have been on the first team.

My reasoning is mainly that Gomes completed his own impossible mission: The other players were all Top 10 picks on bad teams. Weren't they expected to contribute?

Gomes was a lightly regarded 2nd-round pick; after the All-Star Break, he became a rock for Boston at small forward, routinely putting up double digits in points and rebounds at the most competitive position in the NBA. Defying expectations should be a bigger factor in rookie team voting.

Tribeca Film Festival
Continuing Quickie coverage of the "sports" films being screened at my home-base film festival:

Today: "Wordplay." I'll admit it: I make it through Wednesday's New York Times crossword puzzle before giving up on the much harder puzzles that finish the week.

I can't even imagine trying to compete in a crossword-solving championship, but it makes for a phenomenally thrilling "sports" movie. Don't think crossword comps can be exciting? Wrong: See this movie.

(The movie even lets you play along, with cool on-screen graphics that show the puzzle competitors filling out their sheets. But you won't be able to keep up; their speed is jaw-dropping.)

There's also a direct sports hook: The movie features interviews with celebrity New York Times crossword fanatics, including Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton ... and Mike Mussina!