Thursday, May 26, 2005

Some Quick Stuff On Heat/Pistons

Not that coaching is a profession based on looks, but Stan Van Gundy replacing Pat Riley is still hysterical. It's like if Colin Farrell dropped out of Miami Vice, and the first choice to replace him was Phillip Seymour Hoffman. OK, it's not much like that at all, but the image came to my head anyway.

Speaking of Miami Vice, is Craig Sager an extra?

Seventy percent of Damon Jones's shots during the season were threes? Yowza.

It's still hard to believe that the Pistons got Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess and Carlos Arroyo without giving up much of anything. Merry Christmas!

It's also hard to believe that Larry Brown has been interviewing with the Cavs during the Conference Finals. Oh wait, no it isn't.

I'd actually think about watching The Closer if it starred Dennis Eckersley, Jeff Reardon and Jose Mesa.

Did Coach K do those AmEx ads to make up for the money he lost out on by not taking the Lakers job?

If Tayshaun Prince were any longer, he would have been written by J.K. Rowling.

I think the TNT crews do an excellent job overall, but we need more shots of Darko on the bench. A LOT more.

Elden Campbell is still alive?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Mockery Draft

I might be unable to control myself and do a "Mockery Draft" later just because I can't stand Chad Ford. Stay tuned.

Now it's 3-2, AC with 55 minutes gone. Two Liverpool goals in two minutes. Well, if anyone needs me, I'll be eating a shoe. Wow. Put on ESPN2 if you've got it.

Champions League Final

Ah, the joys of underemployment. Here I sit on the couch, listening to iTunes, posting here AND watching the Champions League Final on ESPN2. (Yet I still can't get myself to post every day--alas.) AC Milan's up 1-0 at the moment, with 24 minutes gone by, and I can totally see this being the final. At least it's not two Italian teams, though--nothing against Italy as a whole, but football-by-attrition isn't my favorite. Makes the beautiful game a bit less beautiful.

So, uh, about those Suns. Beaten on their own floor at their own game--twice!--by the Spurs. The dream, methinks, is over. Four out of five against the Spurs (who are rolling) might be a little too much to ask. (And is it just me, or does it get increasingly more apparent that TNT's NBA coverage absolutely KILLS ESPN's? The halftime show is a given, but even the game broadcasts are night and day. Bill Walton yesterday suggested it was do-or-die time for the Suns--which it may very well have been after the fact--but this was at the START of the second half! With the Suns LEADING! Jumping the gun a bit, Bill?) On the other side, the Pistons sure did look like champs. I think the Heat take one back tonight, despite the fact that Shaq is probably at D+ level, but the Pistons (sigh) get back to the Finals.

And don't be fooled by those 100-plus games going on out in the West. Ain't gonna be none of that if the Spurs play the Pistons. Breaking 80 may be a cause for celebration--and the style might be one that only AC Milan's supporters can understand.

Well, in the interest of going beyond hoops, I figure I'd share five things with which I'm enamored (jeez, awkward phrasing anyone?). Random, unrelated things.

1. BMX: Yep. I'm 34 years old and I ride a little kid's bike. Still. And I probably won't stop until my limbs literally stop working. Besides being the one thing (OK, along with my broken elevator) that keeps me from weighing 300 pounds, my bike presents a near-daily physical challenge (whether it be jumping onto something higher than I think I can get, or outrunning some overweight and underpaid security guard). And it's fun, dammit. That's never changed, and probably never will. I've met countless friends through riding, and done things I never thought I could do. It's also been my most consistent love. (I partake in virtually all other forms of bike riding as well, but BMX is No. 1.)

2. The iPod: Mentioned it last week, but it bears mention again. I don't leave home without it. I'm on my fourth one--a gold 4 gig Mini (my original 5 gig's battery died, I lost my 3rd gen 20 gig, and the 4th gen 40 gig--well, I explained that)--and like any other fantastic invention, now I can't imagine living without it. (Incidentally, it's 2-0 Milan before the half. Great cross.) Since I've been a Mac user for damn near a decade now, the iPod was the no-brainer MP3 player. The interface is friendly (and intuitive), and the design is a lot more organic than some of the others out there. It's hard to believe that I rode for years with a CD player.

3. The New Yorker: If I had to pick a favorite magazine, this would probably be it. No photo-heavy spreads (hardly any photos at all, for that matter), no useless fashion advice (a $35,000 watch would look good with that shirt--oh really)--just lengthy, engaging stories on anything and everything. The magazine edged dangerously close to celebrity-oriented when Tina Brown was in charge, but she's gone now, and everything's OK again. Not interested in a 10,000-word piece on UPS, you say? You'd be surprised. (3-0, Milan at the half. My sincerest apologies.)

4. Nike Dunk SBs: For the record, I only skate (VERY infrequently) as transportation. I've never successfully pulled an ollie, let alone a kickflip. But the Dunk SB may very well be the perfect shoe. Classic design, slim fit (unlike the bulky Air Force 1) and with the Zoom insole, near perfect comfort. And for all the rare styles that sell for beaucoup bucks on eBay, there are others that are plentiful and reasonable. I've even played ball in them, although it's not entirely recommended.

5. : Had to get one website up here. After reading Kunstler's last book, "The Long Emergency," which details the coming end of cheap oil, I decided to seek out some more of his writings, and found his blog (which he updates once a week, Lang). Some might look at him as a paranoid--with his musings on the coming death of the suburbs and American car culture--but I rather think he's onto something. Unfortunately, you and I might get to see first-hand how right (or wrong) he is.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Sorry Lang, had to steal that.

Got a little lost there--between games, riding and eBay listing (username stansbury, if you're curious), I haven't posted in almost a week. As you can tell. Things have been going pretty much as expected in the playoffs, with Reggie riding off into the sunset (more on that later) and the Sonics and Mavs still fighting the good fight. As long as the Finals doesn't end up being Spurs v. Pistons. Not sure if I can deal with that. On another note, I'd like to see Phil Jax wear that robe from the Toyota commercials on the sidelines next season assuming he comes back. Well, assuming there IS a next season (more on that later as well).

Just some short things from the week:

1) My 40 gig iPod up and died this week. The screen was already cracked due to a BMX wreck, and just the other day it started making strange high-pitched buzzing/whirring/whining sounds, and refused to acknowledge having any songs on it. I think it's less than a year old, and thus still technically under warranty, but a) I don't have a receipt, as I wasn't the original owner, and b) it looks like someone hit it with a brick.

Strangely enough, though, it's been somewhat of a blessing in disguise. I bought a gold 4 gig Mini back in June of last year, and had never even opened the box. Now I've got that up and running, and in a lot of ways it's better than the 40. Smaller, lighter, and because I obviously had to be a bit more selective about what I put on it, I really never skip anymore when it's on song shuffle. And if it breaks, at least the Mini will be cheaper to replace. (I'm still using the Bang & Olufsen headphones, though--the white Apple ones are the Mark Of The Beast.)

I suppose I will end up getting a 60 gig eventually (unless they come out with a 100 first), but I won't ride with it. One demolished $400-plus device is enough.

2) If you're in New York City and you're a sneakerhead, you might want to check out Flight Club over on Greene Street between Waverly and Eighth Street. Run by the guys that brought you, it's a Japanese-style (walls covered in shrink-wrapped sneakers) sneaker shop that's like an eBay page brought to life. As it's mostly consignment, prices vary, and sizes and styles are constantly in flux. If there's that one shoe you've been looking for forever--or if you just want to see some shoes in real life that you've only seen on the 'net--stop by. They're open from 12-7 Wednesday through Sunday.

3) Selling stuff is a lot more time-consuming than buying it.

4) Haven't seen the new Star Wars flick yet, and to be honest, I'm in no rush. Opening night was nuts--entire families were walking the streets of the City in costume, lines stretched around blocks, and I can only imagine what the first showings were like. I loved the first three movies, but the later episodes just didn't work for me. Although the latest installment did already provide me with a fair bit of entertainment--Anthony Lane's review in the current edition of The New Yorker. Amazing stuff.

5) Please God, Arsenal over Man U. tomorrow. Please?

6) Is Jason Terry the Mini-Me of Erick Dampier?

7) Free Mark Sabia!

8) My elevator has been out of service since March 28th, so I've spent the last two months living in a 6th-floor walkup. It's not too bad, unless you realize you've forgotten something as you're going out the door. Or carrying your bike up the stairs at 3 a.m. Or doing laundry. It was allegedly going to be a 10-week process to replace the elevator, but I'm not holding my breath.

9) The Nike commercial with Dirk and the eagle isn't nearly as good as the LeBron lion or Earl frog. I'm down with the Rasheed flame one, though. Basically anything that gets Rasheed more TV time is great.

10) Can someone PLEASE explain the whole $200-plus jeans thing to me? Because honestly, I just don't get it.

More later. And not five days later, either. Sheesh.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What? No games?

Guess that's what happens when you schedule three games for a Sunday. Just about the only person happy about this scheduling glitch has to be Magic Johnson, who got a big run of Law & Order on TNT. Me? I watched (sort of) the Mets win while sorting out a 4 gig playlist for my iPod Mini. Exciting! Now I've got the Yanks/Mariners on, strictly to have my TV showing sports programming. Pathetic, I know. (I'll know it's REALLY bad when I start imagining what Charles Barkley would be saying about the game between innings. Actually, that would improve the game tremendously.)

Speaking of Sir Charles, I considered picking up his book today. I'm currently between books (just read Adrian Wojnarowski's terrific "The Miracle Of St. Anthony's"), and Charles is always entertaining. Instead, I picked up "Hoop Dreams" on DVD (finally!) and--bowing to the power of self-promotion--"Who Is Mike Jones?" Better yet, it's the allegedly limited-edition double-disc, with a "chopped and screwed" version of the entire record. It's just too bad that DJ Screw didn't live long enough to see this. Although it's probably for the best he can't hear it. MIKE JOOOONES!!!!!

I'm having a weird computer problem lately--I've got a Mac G4 laptop that's roughly a year old, and the letters have worn off about half the keys. And seeing that I never bothered to learn to type correctly, it makes for some entertaining hunt-and-peck sessions. In fact, my typing is much like my bowling. I've pretty much mastered both the beginner way (two-finger typing, straight-on bowling) and I've just never made the leap to the advanced technique. Maybe I should try both at once. Then again, I probably haven't been bowling in over a year. (See what happens when there are no NBA games on? I develop adult-onset ADD/Tourette's. Good thing it's not almost summer. Oh, wait.)

Well, to get back to basketball for a minute, someone asked about the Mavs inability to defend the pick-and-roll. Specifically, I believe, it referred to Erick Dampier, who, according to Erick Dampier, is the second-best center in the NBA. That topic we can tackle later (or, right now--he isn't). The question was, how can someone get this far without learning such a basic fundamental? (Follow-up question being: How would Larry Brown commit suicide if he had to coach Erick Dampier?)

It's easy, to be honest. There are two kinds of players in the NBA, as best that I can tell--those that play to become the best player in the League, and those that play to become the best-PAID player in the League. Obviously, becoming the first inevitably leads to the second. But the person who's playing to become the best doesn't stop improving just because he got a big contract. Look at Kevin Garnett. His combined contracts so far are enough to buy Minnesota, and probably at least one of the Dakotas. Yet he hasn't rested on his laurels. He wants a championship, and is willing to do whatever he has to do to get there. (Don't mind the fact that the Wolves missed the playoffs this season.) He works hard each summer to come back with a new wrinkle, a new level. Those tears during the All-Star weekend interview with John Thompson? Those were real. I've interviewed him on multiple occasions, looked into his eyes. The money is important, yes, but it's the game that drives him. The money--silly as it sounds--is secondary. It's a cliche, but I fully believe that Kevin Garnett would be playing just as hard if he wasn't in the NBA.

Then you have the other half. Guys who are supremely talented, who, for whatever reason, decide to coast on what they have. And why not? In today's NBA, when multi-million dollar deals are given to anyone over 6-9 agile enough to pass a field sobriety test, it's easy money. (Remember when Glenn Robinson got a $60-something million contract as a ROOKIE? I know there are limits now, but that blew my mind. What other profession would give you GUARANTEED millions before you even STARTED work? I knew I should have practiced more.) Some guys manage to develop certain skills (say, scoring or rebounding) and become stars in spite of HUGE shortcomings in other areas. (Like this one point guard that won MVP despite a glaring lack of defensive skills--but I digress.) So who needs to spend two hours a day learning how to defend the pick-and-roll? Sure, you might make $75 million with it, but if you can make $70 million without it, why bother? By the way, this theory also can be used to explain the virtual death of the mid-range jumper, the over reliance on the three-pointer, and Vin Baker.

You can figure out who fits in which category without my even naming names. And it's not all about talent. There are plenty of guys in the League working day-in, day-out, who simply don't have the innate athletic (and mental) ability to be a Kobe Bryant or Tracy McGrady or Shaquille O'Neal. And there are at least a few quite talented players who probably haven't maximized their skills. But they've maximized their bank accounts.

The solution? There really is none. Shorter contracts would help (the "contract year" phenomenon is real!), but there's nothing out there that will make someone work who just doesn't want to. And the guys who are driven to get better will just do the same things they've been doing anyway.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Sunday (Er, Monday?)

Steve Nash with the highest-scoring game of the playoffs so far? MVP, what?

Was Larry Brown wearing a flannel shirt at the postgame interview table? Did anyone find anything on Dale Davis's mustache? (Actually, I did on the Indy Star just now, and all it talks about is his looking "younger" without the gray-flecked goatee. Didn't anyone ask if it was for Ron-Ron?) Are the Pacers done? How the heck did the Sonics beat the Spurs two games in a row? (Have I finally been guilty of underestimating the Sonics?) Can they beat the Spurs in San Antonio without Vlad Rad AND Rashard Lewis? Will I ever stop asking questions and start answering them? (I doubt it.)

Yep, the second round is interesting, all right. Except for the Wizards, who just had a day pass, everything's going at least six. Which, of course, is the way the Commish and the home teams want it. If the season doesn't end until August, so be it. By the time Shaq plays again, it'll feel like a whole new season.

Where do we go from here? I feel the inevitability of a Heat/Spurs Finals (please oh please oh please, not Spurs/Detroit). Shaq on plenty of rest mixed with an absolutely transcendent Dwyane Wade (can't you argue he's a top-10 guy right now? Maybe even top 5?) is going to be very hard to stop, especially if the Pacers can at least make the Pistons have to work hard the rest of the way. (I just don't see Indy winning that series--sorry, Reggie.) Gonna go Spurs over Sonics out West still (although at full strength it looks as if it could be another story) and Mavs/Suns? I give up. I'll enjoy watching the rest of it, though.

And hey, is it just me, or is there a slightly longer version of that Yao GPS ad now that makes more sense?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Dwyane Wade... the truth. Guess Steve Nash might have been the MVP after all. Fo' fo'...what?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Second Round Gets Interesting?

Is there a more familiar--or annoying--playoff moment than Reggie Miller scurrying over to the scorer's table to powder up before going to the line? Love him or (more likely) hate him, you certainly gotta admit that scrawny No. 31 sure brings some theatrics to the table every night. Sure, he runs through so many screens that opposing coaches must want to put up the storm windows, and the next time he takes someone off the dribble might be his first, and he pushes off EVERY play, but damned if I won't miss him when he hangs them up. Michael Jordan may have said that playing against him is like a chicken fight (or something like that), but Money still hooks him up with his shoes. Respect is there.

And it should be, with the Pacers sitting at 2-1 with another one coming at Conseco (the World's Best Arena, if you ask me). Jermaine O'Neal's still not at full strength, Artest's still, well, somewhere (watching?) and the point guard combo of Jamaal Tinsley and Anthony "Beetlejuice" Johnson isn't exactly Stockton and Magic; but they're right there in it. The biggest question, I guess, is whether Dale Davis's new facial hair look (mustache only) is a tribute to Artest? (I missed the first half, so maybe it was discussed on-air.) And whether Jeff Foster is gonna tear up his contract and clock Croshere money (where the heck IS Austin these days?).

Actually, the biggest question is what business a defending champion has scoring 28 points in a first half. 28? Is this 1947? Can't a team get thrown out of the playoffs for a performance like that? Especially since Amare Stoudemire managed to score 25 for the Suns in the same amount of time. Shouldn't Rasheed and Rip scored that many on their own? Hasn't Ben Wallace been asserting himself on the offensive end?

Seeing that the Heat were able to handle the Wiz--in DC, no less--sans Shaq, he should just take the rest of the second round off. The Wizards may have worn t-shirts to celebrate their arrival at this level, but the Heat (and especially the Diesel) know their job is far from done. D. Wade has things under control, and the Pacers and Pistons can beat each other to death to their heart's content. Not to mention there's NO way the Wiz can take four straight from the Heat, even if Uwe Blab and Rony Seikaly manned the middle. (Can we get a Harold Miner update during the Eastern Conference Finals?)

Ray Allen v. Bruce Bowen--steel cage match after the series? Doesn't Ray realize that all his quotes and time spent thinking about Bruce is EXACTLY what Bruce wants? The Sonics may have taken a game, but the Spurs already had the series. Now we get to see if Ray Ray stays in Seattle when this is all over. Maybe go East and only play Bowen twice a year?

I know this has nothing to do with the playoffs, but I'm up for Phil Jackson to take any job out there if it stops him from doing Toyota commercials. I can't imagine why he'd take the Knicks job except for a check with LOTS of zeroes (I think he'll find living in NY quite different than it was in the freewheeling '60s--not that he'll live in the City anyway), and the thought of him back in L.A. with Kobe is kind of like the thought of Halle Berry remarrying David Justice. But the Zen Master does what he wants, I guess, and if he wants to come to NYC and coach the uncoachable (it's Tim Thomas, baby) that's his problem.

You know, while I love all these games all the time, sometimes I miss the dead bodies.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


So, on Sunday, Suns point guard Steve Nash was named NBA MVP. The same day, Miami Herald sports columnist Dan Le Batard made the case--well, sort of said that someone might be able to make the case maybe--that the decision wasn't entirely based on talent and it may have had a little to do with race. Shortly after that, Peter Vecsey wrote his own column in the New York Post blasting Le Batard and the whole concept.

Sure, race played some role. Subconsciously? Of course. And how can you even argue about whether something occurred subconsciously or not? But in a race this close, with players this talented, did it even bear mention? There were 300-something voters, I think. OK, so let's see the list of voters--broken down by race, and who they voted for. Gonna tell me no black sportswriters voted for Shaq simply because he's black and Nash isn't? I'm in no way implying that happened--just like Le Batard, just raising an issue--and pointing out how pointless this argument is.

It was a super-close vote. If the numbers had gone the other way, wouldn't some of the same people have asked why NASH didn't win? Pointing out that Shaq had (for him) a somewhat middle-of-the-road season, that he coasted towards the end, that maybe he wasn't even the MVP of his own team? Pointing out that the Suns looked completely different when Nash was injured, and their incrdible improvement over last season? (Why didn't Jason Kidd win the MVP his first year with the Nets, when he did basically the same thing? I don't know.)

As it stands right now, O'Neal--the L's most dominant player since MJ retired (the second time) has only won one MVP. The same number as Nash. O'Neal is a beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt first ballot Hall of Famer. Nash? He has a long way to go. If Shaq never wins another MVP, that won't change. (Incidentally, John Stockton, the whitest player in the history of the universe--and possibly the best pure point guard ever--won exactly zero MVP awards.)

And, for God's sake, is there anything sillier than an award DETERMINED by the media getting ARGUED about in the same media? Talk about self-serving. (No, I don't have a vote. If I did, I would have voted for Shaq. I think. And I'm white.) This isn't Michael Jordan losing to Fred Hoiberg, here. This was a case of two super-talented players in a close race (no pun intended), where whatever the result, someone was going to have to rationalize why one won and the other lost. And when things are this hard to decide, they're almost never black or white.

Commercial Break

OK, just a few other words while they're fresh. Since it is playoff time, there are of course more commercials than usual featuring NBA players. And obviously they air 25 times each during the TNT and ESPN broadcasts. I'd just like to briefly mention two of them, from opposite ends of the spectrum.

EARL BOYKINS / NIKE: Freaking brilliant. I mean, straight-up amazing. The understated Forest Whitaker voiceover? The frog morphing into Li'l Earl? The black and white background for both the frog and Earl? The elephant-killer line? The fact that Earl Boykins is in a commercial? Nike always brings it with their commercials, but this one is just other. I'm glad they carried over the voiceover series from the NCAAs. The LeBron ad is good, too, but hell, we're gonna be seeing LeBron commercials for the rest of our lives. Earl rules.

YAO MING /GARMIN: Freaking awful. I mean, straight-up bad. Why the heck couldn't a 7-6 Chinese guy grow up in the country? If he stops to fill his tank (that's what it looks like he's doing), why does it take all of five seconds for him to fill up that land yacht? When does he put the pump handle back? When does he pay? Does he write check? And what the heck is he even advertising? (I had to Google "Yao Ming GPS" to find the name of the company even though I've seen the commercial at least a dozen times.) It's nice to have the celebrity endorsement and all, but at least put together an ad that makes SOME sort of sense. The best thing in the commercial is the car.

Could be worse, I guess--there could be an NBA player in that beer commercial with the tiny cans and bottles.

Day One


So yeah, anyway, my name's Russ, I used to be editor in chief of SLAM magazine (national basketball rag, you may have heard of it), and I'm currently floating in limbo, doing a little writing, enjoying the NYC spring and waiting to figure out what exactly to do with the rest of my life until either divine inspiration strikes or the money runs out. I mean, hey, how many times in your adult life do you NOT have a full-time gig? And I figured the worst that happens with this is I get hired by Gawker or something.

But that's probably too much information. I kind of just figured since I'm still pretty obsessed with the NBA, and I'm still stuck to the TV for the playoffs, and I still feel the need to write about them, I might as well do it where a few people might actually read it. Because, let's face it, when Jeff Van Gundy accuses a maybe-imaginary NBA official of telling him about a vast plot to clamp down on the soft-as-tofu Yao Ming, I need some sort of an outlet. This'll work for now.

The web address: twentythreenine = 23'9", the NBA three-point line. Simple enough. I wanted to call it "uwe.blogspot" but that had already been taken. Damn internet.

I can't promise I'll have any real scoops here, but that doesn't seem to stop any other so-called NBA writers (none named to avoid libel--or at least embarassment to them). I just figure as I sit here and watch games and have thoughts, I may as well share them with the three people who end up reading this.

I didn't really put any thought on how I'm going to do this--the whole NOYZ format is not only entrenched in SLAM, but I didn't even start it, so I won't go back to that. I probably won't interview people for this (it's not like I'm getting paid) or do any more than peremptory research (I'm not John Hollinger). I will, however, spell nearly everything correctly, make various obscure pop culture references, and use no more than one parenthetical reference per sentence (it's something I need to work on). Feel free to link to me, Lang--but only if you really want to.

What qualifies me to talk about basketball in the first place? Glad you asked. I was an editor at SLAM for almost 10 years (the editor for four), and followed ball for a while before that. I grew up a lonely Bulls fan on Long Island in the '80s (thank you, Michael Jordan), a loyalty that was rewarded with six championships, and punished by some of the worst seasons in NBA history. The Bulls are something I'll get back to quite often, I'm sure.

But for the first day I figured I'd just briefly break down the four series that are going on now:


SPURS vs. SONICS: I'm not even sure why I'm watching this, except for the TNT halftime show. Well, and Manu Ginobili, who appears to be completely insane half the time. Tim Duncan and Ray Allen are terrific players, but they're almost TOO fundamentally sound to enjoy. Not to mention the fact that the outcome is inevitable. Sorry, Seattle.

SUNS vs. MAVERICKS: Now this one should be more interesting. Besides the whole Dirk vs. Steve sub-story, you've got two teams that are willing to push the scoreboard to its limit (I know you're preachin' D Avery, but still). Amare Stoudemire will get his five earth-shattering dunks per game, and there's always the comedic possibility of a "Keith Van Horn playing defense when it matters" moment. Not to mention Quentin Richardson jacking threes, Nash throwing up absolute trash that falls straight through the net somehow, and the sartorial splendor of Mark Cuban. Good times--and maybe it won't be a sweep!


HEAT vs. WIZARDS: A team that hadn't won a playoff series in--well, a long time--against a squad with Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade. Gilbert Arenas is a heck of a wild card, Larry Hughes plays the passing lanes like a skinnier Scottie Pippen, and Shaq certainly isn't 100 percent. But then again, Antawn Jamison's gimpy knee and Kwame Brown's continuing Kwameness probably means the Heat only have two more games until they get a break before the Eastern Conference Finals.

PISTONS vs. PACERS: No, I don't think there's any way the Pacers can beat the Pistons in a best of seven. Not with Ron Artest in the recording studio and Jermaine O'Neal at less than 80 percent. But it's gonna be fun to watch anyway. Reggie Miller in his last games, Ben Wallace with the blowout (and a newfound scoring touch), Rasheed Wallace just being there. Shaq's not the only one hoping this goes seven.

That's it for now. If anyone DOES read this in the Baltimore area, I'll be on WNST at 7:30 on Wednesday (tomorrow) night. Listen up.