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SI View The Week in TV Sports



NBA Playoffs
NBC 12:30 PM, 3 PM AND 5:30 PM The Almighty created the heavens
and the earth in six days. Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant wrote the
lyrics to Stairway to Heaven in less than an hour. So how come
the NBA is allotting a Kubrickian 14 days--as opposed to eight
in years past--to complete its five-game, first-round playoff
series (which continue on, variously, NBC, TBS and TNT)? The
Heat, for example, will have three days off on the road should
its series with the Pistons go to Game 4. We can already see
Miami coach Pat Riley's chalkboard message: SWEEP OR 72 HOURS IN


Napa Auto Parts 500
ABC 2 PM If only this California NASCAR event were run through
the vineyards of picturesque Napa instead of around the two-mile
oval in industrialized Fontana. We rather prefer the image of
Robert Mondavi waving the red- and white-zinfandel-checkered
flag while pit-crew sommeliers pop radiator caps to allow the
coolant to breathe. That may be sour grapes, but so far in 2000
no Winston Cup driver is having a vintage year: Nine races this
season have produced nine different victors, including, as
Ernest and Julio Gallo would surely remind us, the brothers Jeff
and Ward Burton.


Real Madrid at Bayern Munich
ESPN2 2:30 PM Bayern Munich must conquer a latter-day Spanish
Armada if it's to redeem itself for last year's devastating loss
to Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final. (Bayern
lost 2-1 after entering stoppage time with a 1-0 lead.) The
Bundeslinga's finest hosts Real Madrid, the 1998 European champ,
in the first match of a home-and-home series. On May 24 the
survivor will face the winner of the all-Spanish semifinal
between FC Barcelona and Valencia CF.

Yankees at Indians
ESPN 7 PM South Bronx Story: What happens when three immigrants
from Puerto Rico, leftfielder Ricky Ledee, catcher Jorge Posada
and centerfielder Bernie Williams, and an equal number of Latin
American pitchers, Orlando Hernandez from Cuba and Ramiro
Mendoza and Mariano Rivera from Panama, share the same New York
turf as a bunch of Yanks? Faster than you can sing, "I like to
be in America," they gang up on the rest of the American League
and race off to a 12-5 record through Sunday. Is it deja vu all
over again? Could be. Who knows?

Don't Miss


Michael Grant vs. Lennox Lewis
TVKO 9 PM (PPV, $44.95) Challenger Grant's first pro bout, six
years ago, ended in a first-round TKO of Ernest English, a name
that sounds like a description of his opponent in tonight's
heavyweight title fight from Madison Square Garden. A Chicago
native who played college football (Mt. San Antonio College in
Walnut, Calif.) and basketball (Fullerton College) and was
talented enough as a pitcher to be offered a tryout by the
Royals, the 27-year-old, 6'7" Grant (31-0) feels no need to look
up to the 34-year-old, 6'5" Lewis (35-1-1). "[Lewis] has a
suspect chin, he has a suspect body, and he has a suspect
hairdo," says Grant (above). We suspect them's fightin' words.



the zapper

Last week, the home page of The Sporting News's Web site
( posed the following question: "Is there
an Elian Gonzalez-type sports story that you just wish would go
away? If so, tell us what it is." Below that, the link for Dave
Kindred's mailbag had as its come-on, "Braves fans write in to
defend their applause of John Rocker."... If there's a budding
Jeremy McGrath in your home, chances are he will rev the remote
when ABC (Sunday, 1 p.m.) and ESPN2 (Tuesday, 1 p.m.) show the
EA Sports Supercross Series and when Fox Sports Net (Sunday,
noon, and Tuesday, 1 p.m.) and Speedvision (Sunday, 8 p.m., and
Tuesday, 2 p.m.) telecast the World Superbike Series.