This is an article from the Nov. 16, 2009 issue
Hawks at Celtics
Before the season had even started, forward Rasheed Wallace crowed that the Celtics could surpass the 1995--96 Bulls' NBA season record of 72 wins. So far, 'Sheed looks like a prophet. Boston got off to a 6--0 start, was 7--1 through Sunday and had the league's tightest D (84.4 points per game). Atlanta, off to a 5--2 start, comes to town on Friday (ESPN).
Ravens vs. Browns
It's getting ugly in Cleveland: The Browns are 1--7, they fired their G.M. on Nov. 2, and the locals are fed up. Last week owner Randy Lerner met with two diehards who are organizing a fan protest at this Monday night game (ESPN). Want more tension? The Ravens, the original Browns franchise before it was moved, are always welcomed with open arms in Cleveland.
Jersey's road warriors
The Devils will be seen this week on the NHL Network (Thursday, at the Penguins) and Versus (Nov. 16, at the Flyers), but the Travel Channel might want to buy up their rights. New Jersey won its first eight road games of the season, two short of the NHL record set by the Sabres in 2006. The Devils can tie the mark by beating these two Eastern Conference rivals.
Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
Jimmie Johnson had done his best to drain the drama out of the Chase for the Sprint Cup—until Sunday, when he crashed and finished 38th at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson's points lead was cut to 73, but he can pretty much wrap up the Cup at the penultimate race, this week in Phoenix. He'd be the first NASCAR driver to win four straight titles.
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SPORT: Iooss & Leifer
Two photojournalism giants—longtime SI shooters Walter Iooss Jr. and Neil Leifer—team up for a joint exhibition at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. The exhibit, which opens Friday, showcases candid and posed portraits of Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams and dozens of other sports stars. Get info and see slides at annenbergspaceforphotography.org.
England vs. Brazil
While other countries fight for the nine remaining World Cup spots (page 29), two soccer powerhouses with their berths secure play a friendly in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday (Fox Soccer Channel). David Beckham will skip the match, but England coach Fabio Capello is taking the game seriously: "[Brazil] will pose the sort of problems we will have to face at the World Cup."
The Pop Culture Grid
|Athletes in the mix||Lady Gaga or Madonna||Number of texts you sent today||_____ is the bane of my existence||If I could win an award it would be ...||I really miss my ____ right now|
|MIKE WALLACE Steelers WR||Lady Gaga||25||Teammate Keenan Lewis||MVP||Gumbo|
|JAMES RILEY Sounders D||Madonna||5||Complainers||Nobel Peace Prize||Mom's Korean food|
|JARED ALLEN Vikings DE||Madonna||Today 20. Usually it's 50 to 100||Rap music||Nobel Peace Prize||Blanky|
|JOHN THORRINGTON Fire M||Neither, they both scare me||25||Losing||Jeopardy champion||In-N-Out Burger|
Inside the Grid
Wallace, who's from New Orleans, isn't impressed with the version of Cajun stew he gets in Pittsburgh: "It's nothing like what I get at home." As for Allen, 27, he looks like a tough guy, but don't let the tattoos and two Pro Bowl trips fool you—he needs his security blanket. "I've had this one since I was 13," he says.