One Great Season
+ Is it just me, or do the NBA Playoffs feel like the NCAA Tournament? Upsets, huge individual performances, big shots and late drama were the norm for the second straight day. After fighting back to take the lead on a pair of Matt Bonner three-pointers, the Spurs gave the cushion right back to visiting No. 8 seed Memphis, which held on for the nailbiting victory. I was hoping for one more three from the Spurs' ginger-topped sharpshooter so I could use a "Mad Bonner" headline somewhere, but to no avail. New Orleans, a seventh-seeded road underdog, got a huge effort from Chris Paul and stole game one from the Lakers, who continue their half-hearted play even at home. I wouldn't call myself a Knicks fan, but I'm not afraid to root for the home team. Would have been neat to see the fellas get that win at Boston, but if I'm going to root for the Heat to get iced in the second round, it would have to be at the hands of the playoff-savvy Celtics, not the Knicks. Ray Allen is cold-blooded, and I hope he keeps a few bullets in the holster for that semifinal showdown with Miami. I would gladly commit to being an Oklahoma City fan for 10 years if its many talented young players would commit to staying there that long. The Thunder could be fun to watch if Durant, Westbrook and Co. stick together. Those guys were huge in a thrilling defeat of Denver, a series that promises to be among the best in this early round.
+ First it was Uncle Mo, and now it's The Factor. Each was the Kentucky Derby favorite before running his final prep race. Last week, heavily favored Uncle Mo finished a listless third in the Wood Memorial. And just Saturday, days after being proclaimed the new fave by Mike Battaglia, The Factor ran no better than third and lagged to a seventh-place finish at the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby, leaving already puzzled race fans wondering whether he can cover the 1 1/4 miles at Churchill Downs on May 7. And I guess it's appropriate that this year, a horse so wrongfully called Brilliant Speed can assert himself as a stylish Derby pick by upsetting in the Blue Grass Stakes. Favorite Santiva's ninth-place finish there was more unlucky than anything, and I'm surprised to hear talk of him skipping the Run For The Roses. He's already won at Churchill, and his ride on Saturday could have been profitable had the race required another furlong. Jockey Julien Leparoux said he had plenty of horse left; they just got stuck in the pack with no room the entire trip.
+ Cleveland Indians fans on Sunday celebrated the return of Grady Sizemore, who celebrated his first game action in 11 months by belting a home run in the Tribe's 4-2 defeat of Baltimore. The Indians are 11-4 and own the best record in the American League, second best in baseball. I know it's still early in the season, but I definitely didn't think even in April that I'd be calling Cleveland's series that begins Monday night in Kansas City a battle between Central Division leaders. The Royals are 10-5.