April 26, 2005
Reggie Miller:
28 points leading Pacers to a huge, HCA-eroding W at Boston. (Thought about Yao in this spot for his 33 points on 13/14 FG, but had to go with age.)
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Why in the world would Phil Jackson want to go back to coach the Lakers, as his upcoming meeting with Kobe suggests he might?

Coaching in L.A. without Shaq would be like coaching in Chicago without Michael Jordan.

Phil's full season without MJ in 1993 was arguably the finest coaching job of his career but wasn't exactly fun (and it didn't end with a title).

And "Solo Kobe" is an even bigger headcase than "Solo Pippen" -- and that's saying something.

(Meanwhile, Phil met with Isiah Thomas yesterday in L.A. So little reportedly emerged that the meeting with Kobe is still bigger news.)

So: The team is a trainwreck.
The star player is a mess.
The legacy is at risk.

Why WILL Phil return to L.A.?

Two words: Jeannie. Buss.

Love makes you do crazy things.

Mavs Choke
Nine straight wins for the Rockets, including the last two over the Mavs... in Dallas... in the Playoffs.

T-Mac has his head screwed on right. Yao is playing like a young Shaq. Jeff Van Gundy is coaching circles around playoff rookie Avery Johnson.

You almost have to root for the Rockets sweep when the series goes back to Houston, if only to see what Mark Cuban does to shake up the team.

NBA Tonight
PHI at DET: Hey, if the Tigers can finally record a save in Detroit, then maybe the Sixers can hold a 20-point lead there, too.

NJ at MIA: Who would have thought that the player the Nets MUST stop is... Damon Jones?

SAC at SEA: Forget finding Mike Bibby's shot; the Kings better find a way to solve Sonics' Jerome James (17 pts, 15 reb in G1)

White Sox Roll On
Isn't it refreshing to talk about "the Sox" and not mean Boston?

Shelden Williams: Will return to Duke (1st-team A-A lock)
Troy Percival: Tigers become LAST MLB team to get a save
Fantasy football: ESPN.com will be FREE this fall (yes!!!)
Sheets: Scratched Monday and could miss ANOTHER start
12th CFB game: Knight Commission wants NCAA to nix idea
Sidney Crosby in the NHL: Looking at Sweden, Switz, Russia
Eight straight Ws for Chicago, and P Jon Garland (4-0) likely locked up the "April AL Cy"(awards coming soon!), shutting out the A's.

Results over 20 games is edging pretty close to statistical significance in the W-L columns -- well, at least when a team starts 16-4.

Sox Today: Mark Buehrle (3-1) vs. A's ace Rich Harden, who hasn't been scored on in 15 innings (and probably IS the AL's best pitcher).

Dykstra: Day 2
Take today's poll (right), because I have a theory I'd like to test:

For all the hubbub about steroids, fans care a lot more about gambling-related issues, when it comes to the integrity of their sports.

Frankly, I think fans don't care about either as much as they do about simple, low-effort lollygagging. (Prove me wrong/right!)

NFL Draft UFAs
"Undrafted Free Agents": The NFL's equivalent of "sloppy seconds" -- you're not really a first choice, but you're still getting some. (It sure beats nothing.)

For example: Why should the Dolphins waste their No. 2 overall pick (or ANY of their picks, for that matter) on a QB, when they can get local college washout Brock Berlin to show up for a tryout?

New BCS Poll?
NCAA ADs are floating an entirely new BCS poll made up of "eight constituencies," although details in USA Today were sketchy.

Let's hope "constituencies" mean "special interests." And if you're developing a roster of them, here's my roll call:

Coaches (It's their ego)
Media (It's their job)
ADs (It's their idea)
Players (It's their life)
TV execs (It's their show)
Boosters (It's their money)
Corporate sponsors (Ditto)
Fans (Don't hold your breath)

Hmm: Almost sounds like... a committee. (A 100-person committee, to be sure, but a committee all the same.)

Film Blurb
Caught "Through the Fire" at the Tribeca Film Festival yesterday. The documentary about Sebastian Telfair (from the producer of "Streetball") effectively humanizes the otherwise over-simplified "prep-to-pro" process for high-school hoops players.

Celtic fans:
Taunt Pacers with chants of "Reg-gie! Reg-gie!" I mean, who DIDN'T know what was coming next?
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
Eagles cheerleaders
Stark on Dykstra
NBA Players to Watch Tonight
Damon Jones
30 pts in Game 1 vs. NJ
Mike Bibby
1-16 FG in G1 vs. SEA
Jerome James
17 and 15 in G1 vs. SAC
Rasheed Wallace
29 and 10 in G1 vs. PHI
Chris Webber
Such thing as "quiet" 27?

Speaking of prep-to-pro NBA decisions, Mississippi prep PG Monta Ellis, a Top 5 player in his class, will jump into the NBA Draft.

Looking to NFL Roid Hearings at Congress tomorrow, the key witness could be Steve Courson, the ex-player who used; maybe he'll name names.

Todd Bertuzzi is meeting with NHL commish Gary Bettman today. Is there a more idiotically timed meeting than this one? What'll he be reinstated to?

More MLB Today: Smoltz vs. Pedro. And the Jon Lieber Futility Tour continues; he's 4-0, but pitching for the NL East's lowest-performing team.

Twins announce new stadium for 2009: Hey, just in time for Johan Santana to come visit with the Yankees, isn't it? Johan pitches today.

Good Must-Read today? Kieran Darcy's experience as an Eagles cheerleader tryout judge, as reported to Page 2. See Q It Up.

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