A 28-point performance against Atlanta on Sunday raised his average to 19.1, but the fourth-year Mavs forward is making more noise at the other end of the floor. Dallas coach Avery Johnson is campaigning to get Howard (above) on the NBA's All-Defensive team. "I pride myself on defense," said Howard. "Coming into the league, that's the only thing I could do to get on the court."
Needing a good finish at the CA Championship to make the Masters, Mark Calcavecchia made a quadruple bogey 8 on the final hole—but still made $63,000, barely enough to make it to Augusta. "This is the best I've ever felt after an 8 in my life," he said.
Yanks in Pinstripes
Lookin' good! Decked out in new striped duds, the U.S. hammered Ecuador 3--1 on Sunday. Landon Donovan (left) had a hat trick, including a goal 35 seconds into the game.
The Englishman (right)—who lost the 2006 IRL title on a tiebreaker—won the season opener at Homestead for the third year in a row. He's got his eyes on a bigger prize: "This is all preparation for the Indianapolis 500," he said.
The Phillies' phenom has had a horrid spring, with just two homers, nine RBI—and 18 strikeouts. Apparently it's wearing on the big fella. Before Sunday's game the friendly first baseman (above) snapped at a writer before declaring that he wouldn't be talking. "He'll be all right," said manager Charlie Manuel. "I can tell he hadn't been swinging real good."
Tying for third-place at the CA wasn't bad for García. But spitting into the cup after bogeying the 13th hole on Saturday? When asked about it, Sergio's response was below expectorations: "You didn't have anything better to ask me?" he barked.
Yanks in Pinstripes
With Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang (right) nursing injuries, the Bombers' likely Opening Day starter is injury-prone Carl Pavano, who hasn't pitched for real in 20 months.
Kahne had his best finish since February on Sunday at Bristol, (page 81). Alas, it was a 19th-place finish—after starting second. A preseason favorite to make the Chase, Kahne is languishing in 34th place.
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
Who is the best ball handler in the NBA?
Steve Nash, Suns G 41%
Chris Paul, Hornets PG 14%
Allen Iverson, Nuggets G 12%
Rafer Alston, Rockets G 10%
Who is the worst?
Shaquille O'Neal, Heat C 14%
Dikembe Mutombo, Rockets C 14%
Yao Ming, Rockets C 13%
Ben Wallace, Bulls C 7%
Cavs point guard Damon Jones was the only guard to draw multiple votes as "worst" (eighth, 2.3%).... The only nonguard among 24 players who got at least one "best" vote was Nuggets forward Reggie Evans, who famously grabbed Clippers center Chris Kaman's groin in last year's playoffs.... Mutombo has 13 assists in 66 games this season.... Nash leads the NBA in assists per game (11.6) but is second in total turnovers (244).
[Based on a survey of 271 NBA players] • For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.