Pacers at Lakers
NBC 5:30 PM
Our NBA alltime All-Valentine's Day squad, based on Darryl
Dawkins's planet, Lovetron: at guard, Darnell Valentine and Todd
Day; at forward, Jalen Rose and Bob Love; and at center, that
ladies' man, Wilt Chamberlain. Another L.A. pivot man, Shaquille
O'Neal, will be working toward becoming the first player since
Wilt to lead the league in scoring and rebounding in the same
season, something the Lakers may need if they're to live up to
predictions that they and Indiana will next battle in the
Finals. The Pacers spent the lockout training under guards Mark
Jackson and Reggie Miller. Like Los Angeles counterpart and
fellow 1998 All-Star Eddie Jones (right, 6, guarding Miller),
ringless Reggie has feelings of cupidity for a title.
February 15, 1999
U.S. Figure Skating Championships
ABC 9 PM
Salt Lake City, a.k.a. the Checkbook Republic, gladly turns its
attention from the IOC to the i-c-e. Reigning U.S. amateur and
world professional champion Michelle Kwan has been practicing at
a California rink called Easy Street Arena. With her chief
competition, Nicole Bobek, having withdrawn because of
endometriosis, Kwan, the Olympic silver medalist, should
experience no hard road in tonight's ladies' free skate. Expect
Kwan to perform a sizzling routine from Disney's The Little
Mermaid that may just melt the Delta Center ice. But that's O.K.
Someone will just dip into the slush fund.
Oscar De La Hoya vs. Ike Quartey
PPV 9 PM ($39.95)
He's from faraway Ghana, but he's far from a goner. The
challenger for the WBC welterweight crown, punishing puncher
Quartey (34-0-1, 29 KOs), figures to give the also unbeaten De
La Hoya (29-0, 24 KOs) the toughest challenge of his career. In
a match on the undercard, former Playboy model Mia (the
Knockout) St. John (9-0, six KOs) battles Amanda Skelton (4-0,
one KO). Presumably a St. John turnoff is people who bring her
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is the grand marshal for
NASCAR's inaugural event of the Winston Cup season. (What, you
thought His Honor would work the Coca-Cola 600?) Wheel people
will keep an eye on Rusty Wallace's Ford Taurus, which boasted
the fastest speed (193.1 mph) during January testing on the 2
1/2-mile oval. Wallace, who has never won stock car racing's
most prestigious event, finished fifth here last year. Defending
champ Dale Earnhardt, 47, may trade paint with his kid, Dale
Jr., 24. Jeff Gordon, who took the checkered flag in 1997 and
will be on the pole today, begins his pursuit of a third
consecutive Winston Cup title.
Flyers at Avalanche
FOX 3 PM
The Beezer is no geezer. Philadelphia's new man in goal this
season is 16-year veteran John Vanbiesbrouck, most recently with
the Panthers. With him between the pipes, the Atlantic
Division-leading Flyers recently had four consecutive shutouts
in the midst of a 24-game span in which they lost just once. It
helps that the NHL's two leading goal scorers, John LeClair (33
goals through Sunday) and Eric Lindros (29), are on his side.
The Avalanche, whose recent franchise-record nine-game winning
streak put it atop the Northwest Division, remembers the Beezer
fondly. He was Florida's goalie in '96 when Colorado swept the
Panthers to win the Stanley Cup.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. SOURCE:
NIELSEN SPORTS MARKETING SERVICE.
Preliminary rating for Sunday's Jazz-Lakers telecast on NBC, the
network's national NBA season opener. NBC's average NBA rating in
1997-98 was 4.6.
The Pro Bowl marked the ABC swan song--make that Lynn Swann
song--of analyst Dan Dierdorf. Following in the footsteps of
fellow former NFL All-Pro Swann, Dierdorf was dropped from
Monday Night Football, after 12 years. Though astute and
opinionated, Dierdorf was difficult to warm up to. Or maybe he
just wasn't rowdy enough. An off-the-backboard idea for ABC:
Replace Dierdorf with the Nets' Jayson Williams, who shone on
the NBA on TNT set last Friday.