That sixth-placedebacle at the 2002 world championships? A fading memory. Coach K's guys beatPuerto Rico 111-100 in Sapporo, then hammered China 121-90, behind 26 fromDwyane Wade (left). Their motto: Share the wealth. Said LeBron James, whoaveraged 13 points in the wins: "The dimensions we have on our team, Idon't need to score at all."
The third QB takenin 2006 draft is looking like the best. In two preseason games Cutler (right)is 22 of 34 for 291 yards and two TDs. Those scores came last Saturday, when healso led forays deep into Titans territory on his two other drives.
Junior, Nextel Cupdriver
At MichiganInternational Speedway-where he's struggled in the past-Dale Earnhardt Jr.finished sixth in GFS Marketplace 400, solidifying hold on final spot in Chasefor the Nextel Cup.
For his nexttrick, surgeon who got Kentucky Derby champ Barbaro (left) on feet operates onAlcor, polar bear at Erie (Pa.) Zoo with broken leg.
Seattle was sweptby Angels over the weekend, running Mariners' losing streak versus divisionrivals to 20. (That ties the MLB record for most consecutive losses against adivision, set by the Montreal Expos against the NL West in 1969.) Asked todescribe the skid, manager Mike Hargrove (right) said, "Miserable comes tomind. The others you can't print."
Top overall pickin 2005 draft continues to struggle. After O.K. preseason opener, Niners QBfailed to put a point on the board in six drives against Raiders. "I canprobably count five plays that I'd like to redo right now," Smith (right)said. His passer rating in the game: a sad 32.3.
After bumpingleader Carl Edwards out of the way with two laps to go in last Saturday'sCarfax 250, Lil' E took the checkered flag and celebrated in Victory Lane-to achorus of boos.
Amazin's lostPedro Martinez to DL with a strained calf; now Tom Glavine (right) takes testsfor blood clot in pitching shoulder. His season and career could be injeopardy.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
Who is the best manager in baseball?
Bobby Cox, Braves ... 30%
Jim Leyland, Tigers ... 18%
Joe Torre, Yankees ... 12%
Tony La Russa, Cards ... 10%
Frank Robinson, Nationals ... 17%
Buck Showalter, Rangers ... 15%
Mike Hargrove, Mariners ... 8%
Clint Hurdle, Rockies ... 7%
FAST FACTS The White Sox' Ozzie Guillen, 2005's ALManager of the Year, was fifth in the best vote (7.5%) and seventh in the worstvote (4.8%).... Robinson, the only current skipper in the Hall of Fame, got37.7% of the worst vote among NL East players.... Cox led the best vote in lastyear's SI PLAYERS poll with 37%.... Robinson and Showalter topped last year'sworst list, followed by Lloyd McClendon (Pirates), Larry Bowa (Phillies), LouPiniella (Devil Rays) and Tony Pe√±a (Royals)-none of whom are still managing inthe majors.
[ Based on a survey of 470 MLB players ]
For an expanded version of the poll, go toSI.com/players.
TED S. WARREN/AP (HARGROVE); JOHN MEDINA/WIREIMAGE.COM (SMITH); JEFF ZELEVANSKY/ICON SMI (GLAVINE); GREG FIUME/NEWSPORT (ROBINSON); ED REINKE/AP (COX); SABINA LOUISE PIERCE/AP (RICHARDSON); BRIAN BAHR/GETTY IMAGES (EARNHARDT); KEVIN TERRELL/WIREIMAGE.COM (CUTLER); ALES FEVZER/GRAZIA NERI/ICON SMI (WADE)