April 27, 2004
Richie Sexson:
Pulled a "Roy Hobbs," launching a Bank One Ballpark-record HR (503 feet!) into the stadium jumbotron-ish screen, causing cool sparkage.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Before the rumor came out that Carmelo Anthony was dating Christina Aguilera, the Nuggets were down 0-2 to the T'wolves, and Carmelo had struggled, shooting 11 of 28 and averaging 17 points.

But after the rumor surfaced Friday, Carmelo went off, scoring 24 in a Nuggets rout, setting up huge expectations for tonight's Game 4 in Denver.

So why would Carmelo go and do something dumb like debunk such an amazing rumor. "I've never even seen her," he says in today's USA Today.

Is he crazy? That's like talking during a no-hitter. If your performance turns around, and there's the slightest correlation to an outside force (say, the juiciest NBA rumor of the year), you don't mess with it ... you run with it!

Carmelo, before it's too late: Be more coy about it -- even suggestive. Wally Szczerbiak's got some time on his hands now, and -- well, with Christina, you never know -- you wouldn't want that Aguilera mojo going to the other team.

Mavs Miss Mark
Given the way Mark Cuban's Mavs choked versus the Kings last night (13 missed free throws? At home?! Brutal.), it's a good thing he's got that summer reality-TV series to fall back on.

Benefactor? Not for Mavs coach Don Nelson and the rest of the team's underachievers. Heading back to Sacto for Thursday's Game 5 down 3-1, Cuban's season is as good as over (as are several careers in Dallas).

The New Jiggy
Hot goalies are the real stars of the NHL playoffs. Last season, we had Jiggy; this season, the Sharks again enjoy the advantage:

Casual NHL fans, meet Nabby!
Evgeni "Nabby" Nabakov had 33 saves in a 1-0 shutout of the Avs that put San Jose up 3-0 in the series. Nabby has allowed 3 goals in 3 games, and is 7-1 in the playoffs, with a sick 1.30 goals-against average. How can you not be on the Nabby Bandwagon?!

Jarrett Payton: Walter's son signed by Titans as free agent
Big Unit vs. Cubs: Randy Johnson now 12-0 (in 13 starts)
P. Diddy: Broadway stage debut nabs decent reviews
Reds slugger Austin Kearns: Broken arm, another DL year
Ohio St: Literally, "no Mo"; AD says Clarett won't return
Bucks: Now down 3-1, but do you *really* want them to win?
Baseball World Cup
Now that MLB and the union have miraculously approved a drug-testing plan, MLB can go forward with plans for that World Cup next March, the third leg of a trinity that could make this the most compelling 12 months in baseball history (other two: Red Sox-Cubs World Series; Bonds catching Ruth).

One quibble: March is a bad month, what with the NCAA Tournament; February (post-Super Bowl) is as slow a month as there is in sports -- why not schedule the World Cup then?

NFL Movement
Kerry Collins is out of New York ... but J-Lo is in! If only it were really Jennifer Lopez; instead, it's undrafted free-agent QB Jared Lorenzen. But he's better known as "J-Load."

Mini-camp? Anything but! At 6-foot-3, 288 pounds, he was college football's Kentucky Fried QB, with other cruel nicknames like "Pillsbury Throwboy" and "Hefty Lefty." Now that guy would have made for an entertaining "Bachelor." Can you imagine the women's faces?

Boss Speaks Out
George Steinbrenner said Monday that he had "confidence" in both manager Joe Torre and GM Brian Cashman. Should they be as worried as Yankee fans seem to be?

What the Boss said:
"It's in their hands."

What the Boss meant:
"You know who I'm blaming!"

Deng to NBA?
Duke super-frosh Luol Deng is reportedly going to test the NBA draft. It ain't much of a test: he'll be a top 5 pick, which means the best Duke can hope for is a nice big NBA-financed donation to the ol' alma mater. (Hmm: Will Blue Devil PG recruit Shaun Livingston, another top 5 prospect, be next?)

Celtics interim
John Carroll:

Like he ever had a chance! Or deserved one ... Ainge boots him Monday, clearing the way for ... Paul Westphal?
Today on ESPN.com
Page 2: Vote for best female athlete
Gammons: The new Manny
IN: Kiper's Report Card
Must-have rookie jerseys
Roy Williams
Lions are must-have jerseys in '04?
Philip Rivers
Powder-blue No. 17? Nice
Kellen Winslow II
Dislike him; love "Browns 81"
Larry Fitzgerald
Finally makes Cards jersey cool
Robert Gallery
For the husky gentleman ...

4+1? 5+1? Both BCS reform plans, which include a title game *after* the usual bowls, are problematic; full Quickie blitz coming Wed ...

Gary Payton's yap rules: "We ain't coming back to Houston"; sounds like a guarantee to me. Steve Francis, any reply? ...

Can you believe that Ron Artest only made his first All-D team this season? ...

Colorado to make decision about Barnett by end of May. (Why so long? Gauging how the team might perform without him this fall?) ...

Do the Maloofs have Cuban-envy? In addition to their "Restaurant"-style show "Casino," now they're eyeing the "Apprentice"-ish game ...

Only two weeks of "Friends" left, but at least one week of bad p.r. over this sexual harassment lawsuit; seen that complaint? Whew! ...

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