New Piston Chris helped first-place Detroit (winners of 11 of 12 throughSunday) edge the Bulls with a last-second hoop. He also scored 21 points, histhird game of 18 or more points in two weeks. Said Webber, who spent much ofthe season with the lowly Sixers, "I am just playing like a guy who's happyto be a Piston."
Forget being relegated to the NIT last year. Forget the ho-hum start thisseason. The Cardinals had won five straight, were 21--8, and as for the NCAAs?Says coach Rick Pitino (left), "We're in."
In his first fight in 11 years boxer Tommy (left), who says he's HIV-free,kayoed John Castle to go to 47-3-1. ("I'm satisfied," said the Rocky Vstar.) Blossoming Bobcat rookie Adam averaged 19.0 points as Charlotte wonthree of four.
Down went skeletoners Zach Lund (left) and Katie Uhlaender! Down wentbobsledder Steven Holcomb! In winter sports swift descents rule: Each clincheda World Cup title.
Former Piston Ben's long, headband-controversy-plagued season as a Bull (hemissed the All-Star Game for the first time in five years) might have taken aturn with a win in his old stomping grounds. But the Bulls blew a 16-point lead(they'd lost six of 10 through Sunday), and the much-booed Wallace yelled atsome hecklers, "Shut up!"
Last year's Final Four darlings are 15--14, have lost five of seven and mustwin their conference tournament to make the NCAAs. Can they? Coach JimLarranaga (left): "We're going to be a long shot."
Laker Vladimir Radmanovic (left) revealed he'd separated his right shoulderwhile snowboarding (retracting an "I fell on some ice" story) and facesa club fine. Where was he when he transgressed? Visiting ex-Laker Vlade Divacin Utah.
Top seeds Phil Mickelson (left), Jim Furyk, and, oh, yes, Tiger went down inmatch play, leaving one U.S. player in the final eight—Chad Campbell, who bowedin the semis.
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
Who is the most difficult NBA player to guard?
¬´ Kobe Bryant, Lakers G 26%
Shaquille O'Neal, Heat C 14% ¬ª
Allen Iverson, Nuggets G 11%
LeBron James, Cavs F 8%
FAST FACTS Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki was fifth(6.5%).... Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas (517) and Heat guard Dwyane Wade (506)lead the league in free throw attempts; they tied for sixth in the poll(4.9%).... More than 37% of centers chose Shaq, the lone center among the topeight in the poll.... Former T-Wolves coach Dwane Casey said last year of Shaq,"He's like the old bull and the young bull—he knows how to get the samething done with less effort.... He's the hardest man on the planet toguard."
[Based on a survey of 271 NBA players] • For anexpanded version of the poll go to SI.com/players.
REBECCA COOK/REUTERS (WEBBER)
JOHN BIEVER (WALLACE)
JOHN BIEVER (BRYANT)
JOHN BIEVER (O'NEAL)
JAMES LANG/US PRESSWIRE (LARRANAGA)
GLENN JAMES/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (RADMANOVIC)
ROBERT BECK (MICKELSON)
DANIEL DAL ZENNARO/EPA (LUND)
CHARLES SAUS/MOUNTAINEER RACE TRACK AND GAMING CENTER/AP (MORRISON)
ELSA/GETTY IMAGES (PITINO)