June 7, 2005
Rasheed Wallace:
Playing with five fouls, Sheed and his clutch baskets late in the 4th quarter (along with Billups' FTs) won the game and series for the defending champs.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Spurs-Pistons NBA Finals.

Call it the Anti-Bandwagon: The hot trend today is to proclaim how uninterested you are in an NBA Finals between Detroit and San Antonio.

(In fact, I believe it was this column at the start of the conference finals that said that Spurs-Pistons would be the worst NBA Finals ever.)

Finals? No, it's "Whine-als."

Everyone is so quick to love the Patriots, yet here are the two NBA teams who most resemble the Pats (teamwork, fundamentals, clutch, smart), and just because it ain't sexy, there's no love.

That's so wrong.

Hate is such a wasted effort. Why bother? You're going to watch anyway, so why not embrace the pain and enjoy yourself?

It's like Darth Vader: You think it's all evil, but like Natalie Portman says, "There's some good left in there somewhere."

It's easy to gripe. It's harder to find the good things about this Finals series. But it'll be way more rewarding (and fun) to watch if you do.

(See Big 5 for some ideas.)

Heat: What Next?
The Dwyeam is over. Wade was a riveting 5/6 FG in the 3rd quarter, but then faded in the 4th (0-6 FG). Yes, it was the injury.

The 2005 Playoffs were Wade's breakout into the NBA's Top 5 most popular players, but that rib will always have Heat fans saying "What if?"

What about Shaq? Despite a personal series-high 27 points, Shaq was foiled by the Pistons for a second straight June.

Let's hope he's ticked off enough to demand offseason personnel moves that will nudge the Miami past Detroit.

MLB Draft
Why don't regular fans care? Perhaps the delayed gratification. If NFL draftees spent four years in the minors, the NFL Draft would suck, too.

Meanwhile, the most interesting thing I read this weekend was a story in the NY Times about how the conventional (Moneyball) wisdom that college players are better draft bets than high schoolers is off-base.

Randy Mueller: New Fins GM; don't forget ESPN.com pals!
Chicago NBA Pre-Draft Camp: Hot name? Trainer Tim Grover
Coldplay: Lot of haters right now, but I like the new CD
NYC 2012: No stadium and IOC likes Paris more anyway...
Randy Johnson: Drops to 5-5 as Yankees lose to Brewers
StL Cards: Beat Red Sox (they couldn't do it in October?)
Best indicator? Prep sensation Justin Upton (brother of star D-Rays prospect B.J.) is in the mix for the D'backs' No. 1 overall pick, along with three college pitchers.

More Interleague
Continuing yesterday's hot office game: Who can make the least tenuous connection within these so-called interleague "rivalries":

D.C. playing real Moneyball

Furthest rivalry ever?


For more, see Odds and Ends.

Law/Order: Sports
Rejected! Supreme Court refuses to hear a Title IX-related lawsuit from bitter guy wresters.

"Legal analysis": Sorry, guys, but don't hate on the women just because you chose the wrong sport.

Settled! Clinton Portis will pay ex-teammate Ifeanyi Ohalete $18K to settle a lawsuit that Portis owed money over a jersey number.

"Legal analysis": Old wisdom was that jersey numbers are precious. New wisdom: Changing jersey numbers increases marketability!

Nats Reax
Interesting topic in Monday's Morning Quickie chat (9-10 a.m. ET, SportsNation):

How much of the Nats unlikely first-place success can be attributed to players performing better because of newfound fan support?

SABR folks have long tracked "Ballpark Effect," but "Fan Effect" is totally unquantifiable, but a decent workplace argument.

Could players be so fragile that a few more fans cheering make them play better -- or even win more? I'm hopeful, but dubious.

SN: Rosenhaus Chat
It's no Morning Quickie, but be sure to stop by for today's chat with Drew Rosenhaus, where the best question might be:

"Do you care that people think you're a source of all evil?"

Queer Eye: Red Sox
As if the Red Sox haven't already become the most nauseating post-championship collection in sports, here comes Queer Eye!

Red Sox Nation must be bursting with Fever Pitch-like pride that their heroes are starring on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy tonight.

By now, mainstream fans nationally have come to loathe the Red Sox even more than the Yankees. For their part, the Sox have made it too easy.

It's only Red Sox Nation's unshakeable depths of continued self-loathing that keeps them from looking in the mirror and hating themselves.

Clint Barmes:
Rookie sensations aren't supposed to carry their own groceries. Isn't that part of the deal? Can you win NL Rookie of the Year off a good April and May?
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
Stein: Spurs in 6
Clayton on Mueller
Reasons to Love the NBA Finals:
Dynasty Watch
Winner is an NBA dynasty.
Duncan vs. 'Sheed
Contrast of styles
Brown's complaining
Esp. about Ginobili's flops
Bowen vs. Hamilton
Textbook D vs. textbook O
The Darko Watch
You know you love it.

More MLB Interleague, Round 2:

Rangers-Phillies: Two scorching clubs.

Rays-Reds: Battle of Traditions! (None vs. Some)

Twins-D'backs: 'Zona more interested in today's draft?

Indians-Padres: Friars the new Tribe? San Diego is 2005's trendiest pick.

That's right: It's June 7 and the Yankees are one game under .500. For fans who loathe both the Yanks and Red Sox, today is one of the good days.

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