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Who's Hot Who's Not

April 04, 2011
April 04, 2011

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April 4, 2011

LEADING OFF
BASEBALL PREVIEW
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Who's Hot Who's Not

Who's Hot

This is an article from the April 4, 2011 issue

MY HEART WILL GO ON

Three cheers for 76-year-old A.J. Foyt. The seemingly snakebitten racing legend has survived, for starters, a plane crash and an attack by some 200 bees. Last week he was visiting his hospitalized wife when he learned he needed a stent. Foyt survived the scare and was at home on Sunday.

MOTOR CITY

After a tumultuous start (see: Cabrera, DUI), the Tigers were tops in the AL this spring through Sunday with a 20--12 record and 2.76 ERA, including a promising start for Justin Verlander (right). And the Red Wings? They're sitting at No. 2 in the West at 44-22-9.

MOCK SANTAS

Ho-ho-holy hairy chins! Grizzlies and Magic players have pledged not to shave until after they've clinched a playoff spot (Memphis) or till season's end (Orlando). Does it work? Just ask Brian Wilson. Or check the standings. Those two are 11--5 since shunning shaving.

NUGGETS

Since sending He-who-must-not-be-named 2,000 miles east, Denver is 12--4, poised for the West's No. 5 playoff spot, and tops in scoring (107.7 ppg). Thanks to N.Y., they're deep, too. Three bench players each scored at least 18 points in a win over the Spurs last week.

Who's Not

ALL BY MY SELF

Kansas fell to a far worse seed, No. 11 VCU, for the second straight year. And while the stat line shows Markieff Morris's eight turnovers, Thomas Robinson's foul trouble and Tyrel Reed's 1-for-7 three-pointers, Bill Self (left) still gets most of the blame. In six career Elite Eight appearances he's just 1--5.

WINDY CITY

The Cubs and the Sox were a combined 25--37 through Monday, while Carlos Silva's dismissal from the Cubs was the biggest spring story. To boot: the two teams' payrolls ($134 million and $125 million) top their divisions, yet neither has much hope for the playoffs.

NOTLANTAS

The Hawks are 42--32 and playoff-bound, but no one in Atlanta seems to notice. Or care. Ranked 22nd in attendance, Hawks fans fell in the bottom five of NBA teams in a Sports Loyalty Index survey last week. And the Thrashers (32-31-12) rated dead last in a similar NHL survey.

KNICKS

Fans weren't expecting a title from Melo immediately, but they didn't expect this. The shell-shocked Knicks had lost nine of 10 through Sunday, including six L's to teams with losing records. Even worse, opposing players have scored 30 points on the Knicks an NBA-high 24 times.

SI PLAYERS NBA POLL

WHO IS THE BEST FLOPPER IN THE GAME?

Anderson Varejao, Cavs C 22%

Manu Ginobili, Spurs G 18%

Luis Scola, Rockets F 7%

Derek Fisher, Lakers G 6%

Kevin Martin, Rockets G 5%

FAST FACTS

Five of the top 10 vote-getters (and 12 of the 32 named) played professional basketball outside of the U.S. before joining the NBA.!.!.!. Through Sunday, Phoenix forward Grant Hill—who did not receive a single vote—had drawn a league-leading 55 offensive fouls, followed by Dallas guard J.J. Barea (51 fouls; 3% of the vote), Boston center Glen Davis (50; 1%); and Utah guard Devin Harris (49; 1%).

Based on 152 players who responded to SI's survey

PHOTOMIKE STONE/REUTERS (SELF)PHOTOMARK CUNNINGHAM/MLB PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES (VERLANDER)PHOTOCHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP (MARC GASOL)PHOTOJUSTIN LANE/EPA (LANDRY FIELDS)PHOTOJOHN G. MABANGLO/EPA (FISHER)PHOTOMICHAEL PEREZ/AP (VAREJAO)