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Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Updated: May 17, 8:22 AM ET
Page 2 Quickie: May 16, 2006

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

While all the talk on Tuesday will be about Rasheed Wallace's failed guarantee, the talk should be about how they lost.

LeBron had his usual "stellar" line (8-23, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 8 TO) but that's hardly why the Pistons lost.

How about:
• 33.3% from the field
• 13 points in the 4th quarter (outscored by 8)
• 14 turnovers

Do these look like the stats from a team that history was supposed to consider elite?

Check out the record of some of the past elite teams in the first two rounds of the playoffs:

'02 Lakers: 7-1
'01 Lakers: 7-0
'00 Lakers: 7-3
'98 Bulls: 7-1
'97 Bulls: 7-1
'96 Bulls: 7-1

There's a big difference between 3-1 and 2-2. The Pistons were one quarter away (actually, one layup away) from potentially having a stranglehold on the series ... and now it's the best out of three.

Oh, and don't worry about your pride, 'Sheed. Unfulfilled guarantees only make you stronger ... right Patrick Ewing?

Brown Gone? Count On It

Welcome to "Biography: Larry Brown" narrated by his longtime agent Joe Glass:

"Larry Brown is a coach, and he wants to coach. All things being equal, I expect him to be the coach of the Pistons for the next couple of years." -- Joe Glass (7/3/05)

"As far as we're concerned, he's coach of the Knicks and he's going to remain the coach of the Knicks unless we're told otherwise." -- Joe Glass (5/16/06)

Confused? (The Knicks usually are.) Here's a quick translation for you:

You owe Larry $40 million. If you want him out of here, that's fine. Just cut him a check for $40 million and he'll gladly pack his bags.

Fins Sign Vick

Wait, isn't the future success of anyone in the NFL based solely on character and his Wonderlic score?

Then what are the Dolphins doing signing Marcus Vick?

Wait, maybe Nick Saban uses a different formula than the one we're constantly being fed.

Conventional wisdom:
Player + bad character = poor performance

Saban's wisdom:
Player + multiple arrests x Michael Vick's brother = Welcome to Miami

So potential based on on-field play is what Saban uses?


MLB Roundup
Happy Birthday, Josh: Why is Josh Beckett a good pick for Cy Young? He's 5-1 and just had his first really good start of the year. Look for that 4.24 ERA to continue to go down.

Garcia wins again: Freddy Garcia won his sixth straight start for the White Sox (6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R vs. Twins).

Twins promote Liriano:Highly touted lefty Francisco Liriano replaces struggling Carlos Silva in Twins rotation. In 22 innings of relief, he has 32/4 K/BB ratio; yes, he and Johan could be best lefty 1-2 punch since Glavine and Avery (no, we didn't forget Wells and Pettitte).

Bright spot in Atlanta: The Braves beat the Marlins 11-8 but are still 2 games under .500. Oh, and the best second-year player in Atlanta is not Jeff Francoeur. It's catcher Brian McCann, who is hitting .352/.397/.574 with 5 HRs and 19 RBI. Francoeur has 32 RBI but has been a negative offensively due to his awful 28/1 K/BB ratio. Yes, that's one walk, leading to a terrible .267 on-base percentage.

Bonds doesn't homer: He does double and walks in 10-1 rout of Astros. "This thing, it's like chasing two ghosts, you know?" Bonds said before the game. "Babe Ruth, I think he just kind of hovers over people a lot."

Mavs win in OT
Admit it. We are all praying for anything but a Pistons vs. Spurs final. So, count Page 2 among those who jumped off their couch when Jason Terry hit two big jumpers in OT to secure the Mavs' victory.

Oh, and while MVP Steve Nash is struggling against the Clippers, Terry -- who replaced Nash as the Mavs' point guard -- played 51 minutes, scored 32 points and committed just one turnover. In fact, with Nash and Chauncey Billups both inconsistent on the offensive end, Terry and Tony Parker are the best point guards in the playoffs right now.

Nets at Heat, 8 p.m. ET (TNT): Miami looks to close out New Jersey in Game 5. With three straight double-digit wins, expect Heat to roll once again. If Jason Kidd is actually 1st-team all-D, shouldn't he figure out how to hold D-Wade under 29 points per game?

Clippers at Suns, 10:30 p.m. ET (TNT): Prediction: Nobody will play defense, Cassell will bark at the refs for 48 minutes, the Suns will fire up 3-pointers and Chris Kaman will not get a haircut.

Obvious keys: After scoring 31 in the series opener, Nash has scored 14, 12 and 8 and Suns lost 2 of 3. Other key: Will Kaman play despite his injured shoulder (and do the Clips even need him?)