June 1, 2005
Deep Throat:
Just in time for June's annual "anonymuss" and fuss over the NBA Draft, perhaps sources will be inspired to go on the record sooner than 30 years later.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

"We're a mature team and we know how to handle it."

It's a good thing the Pistons players, like the quoted Tayshaun Prince, have a better handle on maturity than their coach, Larry Brown.

While Brown dabbles with the Cavs and gripes to (and about) the media, his team showed a champion's poise, despite Brown's distractions.

I'm intrigued by the intensity of the Pistons' D. What was the statement they were trying to make:

Was it a rallying response of support behind their embattled coach?

Or was their effort really to spite his embarrassing behavior?

Wade was pressured into poor shooting; Shaq was taken out of the game almost completely (see next item).

It was as if the Pistons players realized that for 48 minutes, they could silence the off-court talk. And they have, for the moment. No thanks to their coach.

Too Many Fouls
Early Shaq foul trouble spiked the Heat's chances. Eight first-half minutes and 25 overall yielded only 12 points on just 9 shots.

What gives? Were the Pistons more aggressive? Have the refs finally found a way to equalize non-calls when Shaq is bullying Detroit on offense?

All fans want is consistency: But without question, if Shaq isn't on the floor because of foul trouble, Miami is a different team.

Suns-Spurs G5
The X-Factor? Joe Johnson. No one been more unpredictable in a mask since Jim Carrey.

His 26 points in Game 4 indicates he's comfortable with his headgear; with his regained assertiveness and accuracy, the Suns played like a different team than Games 1-3.

Rip Hamilton: 28 points leads Pistons' offense resurgence
Carlos Zambrano: Combines with Cubs RP to one-hit Dodgers
D. Beckham: Cool silver kicks! (Owen's 3 goals cool, too)
Pudge Rodriguez: Fractures right hand in 9th; effect TBD
Matt Birk: Vikings PB C could miss 3-4 months (via Len P.)
L. Davenport and M. Sharapova: Bounced from French Open
(Not that it matters: Even if the Suns win tonight to take it to a 6th game, it's too little too late.)

Padres Mania
Finish May with 22 wins, a team record. And the Padres head into the season's third month as the hottest team in the NL.

Even when the NL's most best young pitcher Jake Peavy has a bad game (like yesterday), the suddenly nasty lineup carries the day.

Meanwhile over in the AL, the Rangers keep rolling, winning their 9th straight last night. Kenny Rogers won (again) and lowered his AL-best ERA to 1.65.

Royals Hire Bell
"Right now we are looking for small victories," Bell said. Let's try to figure out what "small victories" means:

Small-Victory Scale:
(From largest to smallest)

Three up, three down!
Scoreless relief!
Fans don't leave early!
Put uniforms on correctly!
Manager retains sanity!
Um: Beating the Yankees?!?!
(I'd say that qualifies...)

Spelling Bee
The most competitive, pressure-packed sports event of the year returns!

I'm even more invested than usual, after participating in a Page 2 Bee Fantasy Draft. I had the first pick. Where was my "Eric Kara-bee-ll?"

Today's the prelims, where they weed out the losers. Tomorrow is the 2nd-day mayhem, as usual televised on ESPN in the a.m. and p.m. A must-see.

By the way, if you're in New York, you should really see Broadway musical sensation "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." It's fantastic.

Juan Gonzalez:
For the 2nd straight day, an aging slugger comes off the DL, only to hurt himself in a game the day he returns. Whatever Big Hurt has, it's catching.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
Daily Dime
Stein on Brown
My Spelling Bee Draft Roster:
Samir Sudhir Patel
No. 238 (Fort Worth Star Telegram)
Marshall Kelly Winchester
No. 172 (Charlotte Observer)
Rajiv Tarigopula
No. 139 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
David J. Ring
No. 104 (Capitol-Gazette, Annapolis)
Heather Elizabeth van Stolk
No. 230 (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

That HR robbery of Brian Jordan vs. D.C. Monday night was enough to convince Braves mgr Bobby Cox that baseball needs limited replay. He's right.

Ex-Ravesn LB Peter Boulware will meet with Romeo's new-look Browns tomorrow, according to ESPN.com's Len P.

Seven ownership groups put in bids to buy the Nats. All any fan wants is owners who are willing to spend to create a winner.

Must-see French Open moments have been few and far between, but you should check out the semifinal Friday between young Nadal and No. 1 Federer.

In what should be an emotional home opener, the Packers will retire the late Reggie White's No. 92 jersey.

Memo to Dan Wheldon's fans: If it wasn't for Danica Patrick, no one would have even HEARD of your guy. So stop with the griping.

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