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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Lakers Better Pay Attention to Them Tonight

May 05, 2000|EARL GUSTKEY

Michael Wilbon in the Washington Post:

"How 'bout them Sacramento Kings? For the second straight year, they've been the No. 1 hit of the first round of the playoffs. They don't play defense, they throw away passes like nobody's business, they take crazy shots. They've got Vlade Divac flopping, Chris Webber posing, and Jason Williams jumping in the air with nobody to pass the ball to.

"At most points during the game, even in the fourth quarter, it's difficult to tell if a single player on the court knows the score or how much time is left. Clearly, being overcoached isn't an issue.

"I have a really smart friend who makes his living in professional sports who has the perfect line to describe players and teams who are in their own little worlds: 'You can't fool them, 'cause they're not paying any attention.' "

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Trivia time: Who holds the highest one-season fielding average by a catcher who played in 150 or more games?

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Rest easy, Joe: Joe Koizumi, Asia correspondent for the Professional Boxing Update newsletter, reports Joe Louis' long-standing record of 25 consecutive title defenses has been broken--but that no one thinks much of the new record-holder.

Thailand's Samson Toyota-Thailand, who's also fought under the names of Samson Dutchboygym and Samson 3K-Battery, recently made a 30th defense of his World Boxing Federation super-flyweight championship in Bangkok.

Koizumi writes: "The problem is quality of his challengers, as he has beaten many mediocre Filipino challengers. No Asian experts seriously regard him as greater than Khaosai Galaxy, the Thai champion who retired with a 49-1 mark and who was 19-0 in defenses of his 115-pound title."

One other thing, Joe Louis' era wasn't fractured by half a dozen sanctioning bodies.

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Shoeless Danell: Danell Nicholson, the Chicago heavyweight boxer with a 37-3 record, is the same Danell Nicholson who showed up for his first bout at the 1992 Olympics without his boxing shoes.

Boxing in a pair of borrowed gym shoes, he lost.

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Crowd count: Even minor league Arena Football is drawing surprisingly well.

A recent Arena Football2 game, between the Tennessee Valley Vipers and the Arkansas Twisters at Little Rock drew 15,102.

Average Arena Football attendance as of Wednesday was 9,801, while the Arena Football2 average was 8,714.

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Bad numbers: Since Michael Jordan retired, most of the news about the NBA's TV ratings has been dismal.

The numbers were down 21% for the regular season, but there were some happy faces at the NBA offices this week when the first Sunday playoff ratings were revealed.

According to Sports Business Journal, the first Sunday rating was 6.3, up 7% over the first playoff Sunday a year ago.

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Old-timer's day: Don Shula paid a visit to the Miami Dolphins' practice Saturday and received an ovation from the players when introduced by Coach Dave Wannstedt.

"That was nice of them to do that," Shula said. "Probably a lot of them are saying, 'Who's he?' "

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Trivia answer: Randy Hundley of the Chicago Cubs, .996 in 1967. Hundley is the father of Dodger catcher Todd.

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And finally: Ron Borges in the Boston Globe: "Oscar De La Hoya fired trainer Gil Clancy, effectively blaming him for the loss to Felix Trinidad, and then claimed he wanted to keep Clancy, but was outvoted by his corner, 4-1. Since when does the guy writing the checks get outvoted?"

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