Jan. 16, 2006
Jan. 16, 2006

Table of Contents
Jan. 16, 2006

SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
Pro Basketball
NFL Playoffs
College Basketball
NHL Midseason Report


JANUARY 16, 2006
VOLUME 104, NO. 2

This is an article from the Jan. 16, 2006 issue

34 Launch Party
Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson are waging a historic scoring duel
by Jack McCallum


40 Next Stop, Indy!
The Steelers hope to avenge their loss to the Colts
by Jeffri Chadiha
• The Patriots are peaking for Denver

44 Picking Up Speed
Carolina is making it look like 2003 all over again
by Michael Silver
• Clinton Portis propels the Redskins

48 The Other Dukies
The high-scoring Blue Devils women's team has its eye on a title
by Kelli Anderson

50 Lucky Loser
Jason Gore finished last in the PGA opener, but he could grin like a winner
by Alan Shipnuck

54 Shootout!
Derided at first, the tiebreaker has been a shot in the arm for the NHL
by Michael Farber

American Original
Born in the U.S.A., the free-spirited sport of snowboarding will soar in Turin. So will U.S. riders
By Chris Ballard


6 Leading Off
12 Letters

15 Air and Space
Match the plates--QB KILLA, IHOP--with the pros
by Steve Rushin

16 Scorecard
• World Baseball Classic questions
• Marcus Vick's cloudy future
• Jock-casting: athletes' TV cameos

26 Faces in the Crowd
28 Players

72 Life of Reilly
It's suiter than you thought for NBA stars who visit Vegas
by Rick Reilly

Inside ...

68 College Basketball
• Bonanza for the Big East

70 Olympic Sports
• A speedskater takes on the world

71 The NBA
• Denver tries to swing a big deal

INSET PHOTOS: Robert Beck (Bryant); John Biever (Manning, Urlacher); Peter Read Miller (Alexander, Iverson); Damian Strohmeyer (Brady)

SI Extra
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• Twelve years ago Michelle Kwan (left) lost her spot on the U.S. Olympic team to an injured Nancy Kerrigan, who had been given a medical exemption by the U.S. Figure Skating Association. This weekend a committee will decide whether Kwan, who has a right groin injury, deserves an exemption herself for the Turin Games. Get analysis of the vote and the results of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at

• At $3 million a year, Robert Horry delivers great value for the Spurs; at $5 million a year Jerome James does not for the Knicks. Jack McCallum examines the league's best and worst bargains at

• For anyone who thought that West Virginia's trip to the regional finals last March was a fluke, note that Kevin Pittsnogle (left) & Co. have won by 24 at No. 7 Oklahoma and by four at No. 3 Villanova, and lost by one to No. 2 Texas. Get the scoop on West Virginia and Luke Winn's Power Rankings at

• Peyton Manning (left) may be the best active player in the NFL never to have won a Super Bowl, and Indy's Tony Dungy the best active coach never to have won the title. Is this the season the two finally get over the hump? Follow the NFL playoffs and read Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback at

• With the Daytona 500 only five weeks away and teams already testing in Florida, what are the five most pressing questions in NASCAR? Find out at

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SIXTEEN PHOTOSROBERT BECK (5); JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (6); PETER READ MILLER (5) SHOOT 'EM UP - Waging their battle for the scoring title in person last Friday in Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant (8) poured in 48 points and Allen Iverson 31 in the Lakers' 119-93 victory. PAGE 34 PHOTONANCI BATTAGLIA (SNOWBOARD)PHOTODOUGLAS C. PIZAC/AP (HEDRICK) 70 ICE FLOW - Chad Hedrick, the world record holder in the men's 10,000 meters, is part of a power-packed U.S. speedskating team. PHOTOCARL YARBROUGH (KWAN)PHOTOJOHN MCDONOUGH (PITTSNOGLE)PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (MANNING)