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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Weakest Link? This Team Has the Role Down Pat

April 26, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald commenting passionately on the Heat's 0-2 series deficit to the Charlotte Hornets after being routed, 102-76, Monday night:

"A Pat Riley team has never looked this lost, this leaderless, this soft-hearted, this fragile, this defenseless, this broken, this weak, this awful--not in two decades of coaching.

"Here was this season of big expectations seemingly swirling down the toilet, dragging Riley's fantasy championship parade into the sewage with it, and you know how Miami's players reacted?

"They kept taking jump shots . . . Things got hard and Miami went completely soft. Impotent."

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Trivia time: Who holds the Laker rookie record for most points in a game?

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China chin: Wallace Mathews of the New York Post, ridiculing the notion that Lennox Lewis got knocked out by Hasim Rahman because he spent more time filming "Ocean's Eleven" than he did training for the fight:

"That's even funnier, because it wouldn't have mattered if Lennox Lewis had trained for three months at the top of Mt. Everest. You can't turn a glass into granite, no matter how hard you try.

"Lewis' first name should really have been spelled Lenox, as in china."

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Serious discussion: "What type of small talk do you figure occurs between NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and players when they come up for that photo op after being selected [in the draft]?" asks Norman Chad in his column for America Online.

"Tagliabue: 'Congratulations. Shake my hand and smile.' Player: 'Do you validate parking?' "

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A really tight ship: Boston Red Sox General Manger Dan Duquette requires any minor league player, manager or executive in the organization to get permission from him before talking to the media.

Says Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe: "It is widely assumed that the CIA made periodic trips to Fenway Park to pick up pointers."

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FYI: Some playoff stats from the Portland Oregonian: "In the history of the NBA's best-of-five series, teams that win the opening game have gone on to win 138 of 164 series.

"The home-court advantage has proved to be valuable in five-game series, with the teams holding the advantage having won 120 of 164."

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Looking back: On this day in 1905, Jack McCarthy of the Chicago Cubs became the only player in major-league history to throw out three runners at the plate, each of whom became the second out of a double play. The victims were the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 2-1 loss.

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Trivia answer: Elgin Baylor, 55, while playing against Cincinnati in 1959 when the franchise was in Minneapolis.

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And finally: Scott Ostler on MSNBC.com: "Trading the rights away to Michael Vick just because you had a bad time with Ryan Leaf is like turning down a date with Anna Kournikova because you got slapped around a bit by Tonya Harding."

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