NBA Playoffs, First Round
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY NBC 12:30 PM, 3 PM AND 5:30 PM, TNT 9 PM;
MONDAY-FRIDAY TBS 7 PM AND 9:30 PM, TNT 8 PM AND 10:30 PM
Noah's Ark is an NBC miniseries. With the NBA postseason
beginning, the Peacock and Turner Sports hope that the marquee
best-of-five first-round matchup, pitting the Rockets against
the Lakers, is a maxiseries. (At week's end the teams were
jockeying for fourth seed in the West.) If Lakers owner Jerry
Buss were God, he too might scrap his creation and start over.
"We're in a funk," said Los Angeles's Shaquille O'Neal last week
after a 22-point loss to Houston's Charles Barkley, Hakeem
Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen (far right, shooting over the Lakers'
Kobe Bryant) et al. Shaq's ship must right itself, or May sweeps
will gain a new meaning in Hollywood.
Angels at Red Sox
FX 1 PM
And the Lord said, "Move on, Mo Vaughn!" And thus Mo took wing
and became an Angel. Last November the fearsome first
baseman-designated hitter--and the Hub's most charismatic sports
presence--forsook Boston and signed with Anaheim, thus assuring
that the Curse of the Bambino (named after another emigrant
Boston lefty slugger of note) would continue through the
millennium. Today Vaughn, a native New Englander who at week's
end was hitting .300, continues his return to the old Fenway sod
in the second of a three-game series. Look homeward, Angel.
NHL Conference Semifinals
EVERY NIGHT, SATURDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, ESPN AND/OR ESPN2
SUNDAY FOX 2PM
Only two NHL teams have won a playoff series in each of the last
three postseasons (including this year). One is two-time
defending champion Detroit, and the other has Dominik Hasek in
goal. During the Sabres' opening-round sweep of the Senators,
the Czech bouncer of pucks had a save percentage (.963) that any
evangelist, much less goalie, would sell his soul for. Now, can
Hasek and seventh-seeded Buffalo (which made it to the Eastern
Conference finals last season before losing to the Capitals)
similarly rattle their conference-semifinal-round foes?
NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship
ESPN2 11PM (TAPE-DELAY)
Not-so-great moment in men's volleyball: the scene in Top Gun in
which Maverick (Tom Cruise) plays beach v-ball clad most bogusly
in jeans. Today's NCAA final from UCLA's Pauley Pavilion may
leave you panting, too. As of Sunday the schools favored to meet
in the title match were top-seeded Brigham Young and No. 2 Long
Beach State. When they faced each other on March 19, Long Beach
outside hitter David McKienzie set a Division I single-match
record with 58 kills. Not even Maverick could top that.
ABC 9 PM
Not that anyone needs a reminder of the evil of which teenage
boys are capable, but the Glen Ridge, N.J., rape case (SI, June
23, 1997) is another disturbing example of high crimes in high
school. In this two-hour TV movie, Heather Matarazzo is
heartbreaking as the retarded 17-year-old who in 1989 was
sexually assaulted in a basement by several members of Glen
Ridge High's football team. Less gripping than Bernard
Lefkowitz's 1997 book on which it is based, the film--especially
the unconvincingly hopeful final scene--leaves a slightly
saccharine Afterschool Special aftertaste.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. SOURCE:
NIELSEN SPORTS MARKETING SERVICE.
Preliminary rating for ABC's Kentucky Derby telecast--less than
the 7.7 for 1998's race, whose final rating (6.1) was the event's
second lowest ever.
On April 28 Fox Sports News provided a painful example of
ill-timed flippancy. Commenting that Suns forward Tom Gugliotta
would play the next night in Denver (14 miles from the site of
the Columbine High killings) against the man he replaced,
Antonio McDyess, analyst Marques Johnson said, "I will stake my
life on it that [Gugliotta] will have a huge game. If he
doesn't, you can just shoot me right here on the stage." Anchor
Keith Olbermann may still be grimacing.