76ers at Pistons
NBC 4 PM During an appearance on The Chris Rock Show a few weeks
ago, Philadelphia points guard Allen Iverson said, "I've got
white friends...my lawyers." Leave the kid alone; it was funny.
So popular is Iverson, whose 31.3 points per game led the NBA
through Sunday, that the Philly powers that be considered
renaming the city Allentown--but Pennsylvania already had one.
Should Detroit points forward Grant Hill, third in the scoring
race (27.3 average), bolt as a free agent next summer for his
hometown Wizards? If he does, we recommend that his nickname be
Capitol (or, considering the lucre he'll reap, Capital).
Devils at Red Wings
ESPN2 7:30 PM "Devils! De-vuuuuls!" We can still hear Elaine
Benes's face-painting boyfriend David Puddy, who worshiped the
New Jersey club and Christian Rock music, shepherding a lunatic
hockey flock in a Seinfeld episode. These days Devils advocate
Puddy would have plenty to bellow about. Through Sunday, New
Jersey led the NHL in points (68) and was unbeaten in its last
seven road games (5-0-2). All-Star center Scott Gomez, with 13
goals and 31 assists, topped all rookies in points scored (44).
Mike Tyson vs. Julius Francis
SHOWTIME 10 PM (TAPE DELAY) Francis, the 35-year-old British
heavyweight champion (21-7, 11 KOs), plans to have himself
hypnotized before entering the ring in Manchester. Good idea.
With British bookmakers posting odds of 9 to 2 that Francis will
be knocked out in Round 1, why would he want to recall any of it
later? Tyson (46-3, 1 NC, 40 KOs) is battling the wrong
Brit--Lennox Lewis should be tonight's foe--but it's hard to
begrudge Iron Mike his $12 million payday. Unexpectedly, he may
be the fan favorite tonight. In Brixton last week the crush of
admirers was so fierce that Tyson had to take refuge in a police
Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
USA THURSDAY AND FRIDAY 3 PM; CBS 12:35 AM Hey, who's that guy
with Tiger Woods? At week's end it appeared that the newly
crowned Wizard of Arghs, Michael Jordan, would be paired with
Woods, who has put the PGA Tour into a near half Nelson. Having
won the last five events that he has entered, Tiger is almost
halfway to Byron Nelson's seemingly untouchable record-winning
streak of 11, set in 1945. Other celebs competing today and
tomorrow include Kevin Costner and Michael Douglas but not,
alas, Douglas's fiancee, Catherine Zeta-Jones. The tournament
concludes over the weekend on CBS (3 p.m. each day).
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Super Bowl XXXIV
ABC KICKOFF 6:18 PM Welcome to the Goodwill Game. After all, how
can you root against NFL MVP Kurt Warner, the Rams'
stock-boy-to-star quarterback, and his fleet of fleet receivers,
including Isaac Bruce (above)? Or their 63-year-old coach, Dick
Vermeil, who--19 years after his only previous Super Bowl
appearance--had a bawl leading his team to the championship
game? Or St. Louis's rivals, the Titans, who can boast of their
miracle comeback against the Bills and their Defensive Rookie of
the Year, end Jevon Kearse? Tennessee beat St. Louis 24-21 on
Halloween when most of us believed both teams were only
masquerading as Super Bowl contenders. We were wrong.
Fox choked--big time--after Sunday's NFC Championship Game.
Given approximately 30 minutes to dissect the Rams' 11-6
victory, not one of the seven Fox commentators mentioned the
controversial instant replay call from the press box that
overturned Bucs wideout Bert Emanuel's 11-yard reception with 47
seconds remaining. Sideline reporter D.J. Johnson, after
interviewing Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy in the locker room
without broaching the travesty--he asked four innocuous
questions--noted that "as a former player, I feel your
disappointment." Maybe Johnson will feel our disappointment that
he and his jock-ular Fox fellows behaved like former players and
not like journalists.
COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER