This is an article from the March 23, 2009 issue
Sure it's spring training, but 11 wins in 12 games is sweet anytime—and they were doing it without Chipper Jones (off at the WBC and nursing an injury). New ace Derek Lowe (above) is looking sharp, surgically repaired relievers Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano are healthy, and ol' Bobby Cox is smiling as if he just might have a sleeper.
A playoff spot's all but clinched; can a home court seeding be far behind? Five straight wins through Sunday—four against teams with winning records—gave Atlanta a cushion, and that was before a stretch of playing six of seven at home. As forward Josh Smith (right) says, "We're a confident group of guys."
Cut by Tampa Bay, the wide receiver was picked up by New England, and what better place to be? Tom Brady on the passing end, fellow deep threat Randy Moss across the field pulling defenders his way; why, it just might give the 37-year-old Galloway, plagued by foot injures last year, new life.
The 19-year-old from New York whipped the field, including 2006 Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis, in the 1,000 meters to become the youngest winner ever at the speedskating world championships. Trevor to the L.A. Times: "I can't really comprehend this."
Even in spring training a 1-14-2 start is not a good thing. Despite having its regulars in the lineup, Houston wasn't hitting (.219 as a team through Sunday; Kaz Matsui was at .059) or fielding well. Manager Cecil Cooper (above) has had about enough of it. Said he: "We can't go one stinking game without making an error."
Hopes for a division title have disappeared—see ya, Red Wings—and home ice in the playoffs could evaporate, too. Chicago had seven losses in 10 games, including one on Sunday at home to the league-worst Islanders. As Blackhawks winger Dustin Byfuglien says, "We're having a hard time."
The outside linebacker had a subpar year in Seattle (just five sacks for one thing), and then he wouldn't agree to restructure his contract in the off-season. So the Seahawks really showed him, shipping the 30-year-old, five-time Pro Bowl selection off to Detroit.
They don't make Kentucky Derby favorites like they used to. The unbeaten 2--5 choice was well in front coming down the stretch in the 1 1/16 mile Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, when he faded on the off track. And a 56--1 shot, Win Willy, chased him down.
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
Which NBA player's game is bigger than his body?
Allen Iverson, Pistons G 21%
Nate Robinson, Knicks G 20%
Chris Paul, Hornets G 15%
Jason Maxiell, Pistons F 3%
LeBron James, Cavaliers F 3%
Steve Nash, Suns G 3%
The 5'9" Robinson was averaging 18.2 points through Sunday, boosted by an average of 26.4 over 15 games, all after the poll was completed.... At 165 pounds the 6-foot Iverson, who had missed nine games with a back injury, is the lightest All-Star player in the league.
[Based on a survey of 190 NBA players] • For more on the poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/magazine.