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Leading Off

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PHOTOGRAPH BY GREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

Gray Matters Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez failed to make an easy basket last Friday in Dallas—thanks to the prudent positioning of Mavericks guard Monta Ellis (11) and forward Dirk Nowitzki—but the missed opportunity wasn't unusual: With 10:18 left in the first half Portland had just 10 points and trailed by 30. The Blazers erased that deficit and led by as many as seven in the fourth quarter before falling 103--98. Nowitzki led the Mavs with 22 points.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN W. MCDONOUGH SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

Fisher, King San Diego State coach Steve Fisher cut a fine figure for the fired-up fans at Viejas Arena after the 10th-ranked Aztecs used a late 19--1 run to defeat New Mexico 51--48 last Saturday and win their third Mountain West Conference regular-season title in four years. San Diego State finished 27--3, including 15--1 at home, and will be heading to the NCAA tournament on the 25th anniversary of Fisher's march to the championship as coach at Michigan.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY BEN NELMS REUTERS

Bad Habits A couple of curling fans succumbed to temptation last Saturday during a semifinal game between Quebec and Manitoba at the Tim Hortons Brier championships in Kamloops, B.C. Quebec won 7--6.