HOT: JOZY: NO PUSSYCAT
Overseas, Clint Dempsey is the buzzed-about American striker (page 31), but it's hard to ignore Jozy Altidore, who last Saturday scored his fifth goal in five games (19 overall) to keep AZ Alkmaar in second place in the Dutch first division and in reach of a Champions League spot.
NOT: HARD KNOCKS LIFE
HBO can't win. First, Jets coach Rex Ryan spurned a second season of the NFL reality show; then, last week, the Falcons nixed the idea of cameras in their training camp. Others on the radar: Jacksonville (snooze) or a reported combo of the Ravens and the 49ers, showcasing the brothers Harbaugh.
HOT: RAFA RELIEF
Finally. No. 2 Rafael Nadal beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic, 6--3, 6--1 at the Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday, his first win over the Serb in his last eight tries. Nadal's eighth straight Monaco win was also his 20th at a Masters 1000 event, breaking a tie with Roger Federer for the alltime record.
NOT: BEARING DOWN
Theo Epstein wasn't going to fix the Cubs overnight, but how have things gotten this bad? Chicago had lost seven of eight through the weekend, with an MLB-low five HRs. (Ten big league players have at least that many.) Cubs fans don't seem to mind: Attendance is up 10%.
HOT: BEARING UP
Mike Conley's Grizzlies had won four straight through the weekend and locked up their second straight postseason, where they'll likely meet the Clippers. The only loser here: NBA fans who, regardless of the outcome, will see one of the league's top young teams headed home after only one round.
SPRUCE DERDEN/US PRESSWIRE (CONLEY)
HEINZ KLUETMEIER (RYAN)
SEBASTIAN NOGIER/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (NADAL)
WINSLOW TOWNSON (EPSTEIN)
VI-IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES (ALTIDORE)