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The Inside Track | Chris Dufresne SECOND THOUGHTS

These Conference Finals Burn Cigar at Both Ends

June 03, 2002|Chris Dufresne

For lease: Cowbells. Tons of them. Ring-a-ding-ding.

News item: Lakers beat Kings in overtime to advance to NBA Finals.

Second thought: It might have been the most riveting series on TV since "The Sopranos." The good thing that comes out of Game 7 is that the Kings have themselves to blame, not the officials.

If the Kings make their free throws, they win.

True story: I ventured out at halftime and saw on the road mostly pizza delivery trucks.

Trend watch: Expect fingernail clipper sales in Los Angeles to fall sharply in the next month because of the fact most have been thoroughly chewed.

It may be time for all of us to take one of those 15-minute Phil Jackson meditation courses: Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Memory lane report: In 1969, the Boston Celtics beat the Lakers in Game 7 at the Forum. Afterward, Boston boss Red Auerbach stuck it in the city's face by lighting up a victory cigar.

Sunday, given his ongoing criticism of Jackson, Auerbach might have choked on his cigar. (More on that in a minute).

News item: Kobe Bryant tells NBC "I'm sure everyone in L.A. was on pins and needles."

Second thought: Would you believe the whole pin cushion?

News item: Sacramento owner Gavin Maloof says, "Eventually, we're going to win the championship."

Second thought: Not unless you wrap Mike Bibby up like a mummy.

News item: King owner Joe Maloof says of Bibby: "We're going to sign him. What else can we say?"

Second thought: Call that checkbook diplomacy.

News item: Lakers face mysterious team from the East in NBA Finals

Second thought: What? You mean there's another round?

News item: A man named Donald Watkins wants to buy Angels.

Second thought: Hey, if that deal goes through, I know a fix-me-upper in Amityville the guy might be interested in.

News item: Major League Baseball facing a steroid crisis.

Second thought: This week's baseball bamboozler: What do steroids and commissioner Bud Selig have in common?

Answer: Both can cause contraction.

News item: Detroit Tiger pitcher Matt Anderson injures arm in octopus-throwing contest.

Second thought: Anderson out to know better: The language in most big league contracts specifically prohibits the hurling of octopus, squid, jelly fish, crustaceans, barnacles, manatees, flotsam, or in general, anything you can pry off a pier pylon.

News item: Montreal Alouettes sign running back Lawrence Phillips.

Second thought: My first two reactions in French were Mon Dieu! and bon chance.

News item: MTV renews "The Osbournes" for another season.

Second thought: Other reality shows I'd like to see:

The Cansecos: Oliver Stone follows the former big league slugger as Canseco searches for conspiracy theories that led to his finishing 38 home runs shy of 500.

The Tillmans: Main character walks away from the NFL to join the Army, returns home on furlough looking like Rambo.

The Cubans: In first episode, camera crew spends entire first week trying to find Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban in his spacious mansion.

The Barkleys: Episode I: Kids beg dad to retell story about that time he tossed a midget through a window.

The Jacksons: Uh oh. The girlfriend's dad is coming over to dinner to discuss extending Robert Horry's contract.

News item: World Cup soccer play begins in Japan and South Korea.

Second thought: We know a lot of Americans are not really clued into jogo bonito, which roughly translates to "the beautiful 1-0, penalty kick-finish game," so it may be time for a mini-primer.

English star David Beckham:

A: Married a Spice Girl.

B: Dated a Spice Rack.

C: Dated Madonna.

Answer: A

The best way to keep up with this month's World Cup action is to:

A: Have a basic knowledge of the game.

B: Faithfully read the Times' coverage.

C: Invite Pele over for dinner.

D: Drink coffee and buy an alarm clock.

Answer: D

Zinedine Zidane is:

A: A new cholesterol-lowering drug not yet on the market.

B: A wart-removing cream.

C: France's star player.

Answer: C

Some African teams try to get the edge over opponents by:

A: Splattering pigeon blood around the dressing room to ward off evil spirits.

B: Burying the remains of animals in the opponents' half of the field.

C: Sacrificing cows, goats and other animals to collect blood for players to bathe in.

D: Slashing players' bodies with razor blades and rubbing "magic dust" into their bloodstream.

Answer: All of the above.

News item: Senegal shocks defending champion France, 1-0, in first game of World Cup.

Second thought: What, you think that witchcraft stuff was bunk?

News item: Carolina Hurricanes reach the Stanley Cup finals.

Second thought: I told friends early on, I said, "Watch out for Carolina," but no one listened.

News item: Golf Digest to distribute 25,000 "Be Nice to Monty" buttons at next week's U.S. Open golf championship.

Second thought: Terrific, now hecklers will have something to throw at Colin Montgomerie.

News item: This year marks the 30th anniversary of Title IX legislation.

Second thought: To celebrate, champions of the cause gathered for a black-tie dinner, gave a toast and cut another men's collegiate wrestling program.

News item: Sprint champion Maurice Greene appears on television show, "Blind Date."

Second thought: It was the perfect date, really: Starter's gun, dinner, a movie and then a random IOC drug test.

News item: Auerbach is not impressed with Jackson's coaching accomplishments.

Second thought: Auerbach told that Jackson "hasn't been faced with having nothing personnel and being forced to develop them into winners."

So true. Other than leading the University of San Francisco to consecutive national championships, what did Bill Russell do until Auerbach got him?

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