Single page view By Tim Keown
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There's nothing like a good conspiracy theory in the world of sports, but rarely have the planets aligned as perfectly as they have for the NBA Finals.

Mark Cuban
Lynne Sladky/AP Photo
Wouldn't you pay just to see Cuban get the trophy from Stern?

Mark Cuban. David Stern. This alone is enough to have people in tin hats lining up to pledge their allegiance to Area 51 and Art Bell.

This conspiracists' delight is glorious in its simplicity: There's no way Stern will allow himself to be put in the position of handing over the championship trophy to Cuban. How could the commissioner deal with the shame and ignominy of standing by wearing his made-for-TV grin while his arch-enemy held the trophy and said God-knows-what about the league, its officials, its management, its dress code -- you name it.

To keep Stern clean, the league will do what it has to do, right? It'll take care of business one way or another, either through its referees (was Dwyane Wade really fouled at the end of OT in Game 5?) or its iron fist (should Jerry Stackhouse have been suspended?).

Give Cuban credit for his roundabout promotion of this theory. There's a certain backhanded beauty to it. Think of it this way: How can he lose? If the Mavs win, they've overcome both the Heat and the forces that conspire. If they lose, they never had a chance.

How's that for covering all the bases?

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Unlike J.J. Redick, at least this guy's got the timing down: Steelers first-round draft choice Santonio Holmes was arrested on a domestic violence charge early Monday; it's his second arrest since being drafted.

However, still the clubhouse leader … : Bengals receiver Chris Henry has been arrested four times in the past seven months, although the accuracy of this statement cannot be verified since the lag time between filing a story for ESPN.com and its posting on the site might have left time for Henry to chalk up another arrest.

Phil Mickelson, the bright side: It must be somewhat … what's the right word … soothing to know you're an idiot and a choker and yet you still managed to go home with a check for $501,249 after four days' work.

Poor Geoff Ogilvy: Man, that's like winning the World Series on a bases-loaded walk.

OK, OK, we get it -- now stop before our heads explode: The worst of the "Ph"-inspired headlines came from something called CyberGolf National -- "Phalling Phlat -- Phrom a Phestival to a Phuneral in Phorty Minutes."

And no: That's not a joke, unphortunately.

Best moment of Avery Johnson's rant against the … well, against the world: "So now because I'm supposed to be a religious man I'm supposed to come in here today and have a prayer meeting?"

One of the best things about Avery's job: He never has to worry about saying something against the refs that might offend his boss.

Headline: "Members of Giants' coaching staff hear from Mitchell"

What this should tell you about the respective investigations: While the feds are knocking down Jason Grimsley's door and finding his stash of HGH, George Mitchell and the baseball boys are investigating third-base coach Gene Glynn.

Continued...


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