Loose Lips Once Sank Ships; Today, It's Playoff Teams

News item: Angry Lakers beat Nuggets by 17 in Game 1. The Lakers credited Denver Coach Doug Moe with an assist. Moe's innocent pre-series comment about the Nuggets' running game was loosely interpreted by the Lakers as disrespectful. It got them fired up.

"They do a lot of talking," Byron Scott said after Game 1. "It's time for them to show what they can do."

News item: Running Nuggets beat Lakers by 22 in Game 2. What do you think, Byron?

Now the Lakers, to get themselves motivated for Game 3, won't have to scour the sports pages for imagined slights.

But what will the Nuggets do to get angry and fired up? Maybe Moe will remind them of the game several years ago when Laker announcer Chick Hearn suffered a rare lapse and, through an entire telecast, referred to the Denver team as the Nougats.

News item: USFL Commissioner Harry Usher delivers a pep talk to L.A. Express players.

Express record since pep talk: 0-2.

The Express doesn't need Knute Rockne right now. They need Dennis Harrah. Or Daddy Warbucks. Or Oral Roberts.

The team, racked with injuries, is playing at least seven men short of a full roster because the league doesn't want to spend money to restock a lame-duck team that may disband any day.

That's life in the big leagues.

News item: Detroit Tigers close down center-field bleachers in Tiger Stadium because of rowdyism, obscene chanting.

Probably the same two or three rotten apples who gave the city a bad name after the World Series by rolling police cars and senior citizens.

News item: Knicks win draft lottery, rights to Patrick Ewing. Doormat Warriors to draft seventh.

Since Ewing is expected to take the Knicks right on up to the NBA penthouse, this is a case of the Knicks getting the elevator, the Warriors getting the shaft.

By the way, was that an NBA draft lottery ceremony I watched on TV last Sunday, or a segment from "Saturday Night Live"?

Will the Knicks take that first draft choice, or trade it for whatever is behind Door No. 3?

News item: Baseball players, union, object to drug-testing on the grounds that it presumes guilt until innocence is proven, and is an invasion of privacy.

These same ballplayers are presumed to be skyjackers until they prove otherwise by passing a metal-detector test every time they make a plane trip.

They are presumed to be smugglers until they pass a baggage test at customs when traveling to and from Canada. Ever had your undershorts waved around in front of a room full of gawking strangers?

Now, which of the following has ruined more baseball careers, reputations and lives: smuggling, skyjacking or drug abuse?

News item: Yankees Don Mattingly, Dale Berra arrested for urinating in public. No, this was not part of a voluntary drug-testing program.

I hear rumors that Mattingly and Berra will plead guilty, with an explanation--Billy Martin has smashed all of the team's urinals.

News item: Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth says America's kids need heroes to look up to. Take Larry Bird, for instance. Who was Bird's idol when he was a kid? Larry's brother Mark told Boston sportswriter Bob Ryan, "The only idol Larry ever had was Cher. That's right, Cher Bono. All he ever talked about was Cher when she and Sonny had that show on TV."

News item: Eric Dickerson switches agents, presses Rams to renegotiate his contract. John Robinson, this is where you came in. When you took over as Ram coach, a rookie named Eric Dickerson was holding out, and you sweated until the kid was signed.

Just relax, coach, and enjoy your vacation. We'll let you know in a few weeks whether or not you'll have an offense next season.

News item: Pacers to draft second. Let's see. The Pacers could use two or three good players and/or high draft picks. The Lakers could use a 7-foot center with great potential, such as Benoit Benjamin, who is expected to be picked No. 2 or No. 3 in the draft.

Time for Jerry Buss to place a friendly call to his pals back in Indianapolis?

News item: Dodger rookie Mariano Duncan has no place to play. Steve Sax's return has moved Duncan out of second base, and team management believes that the kid is not ready for shortstop.

How about his natural position--center field? Who knows, Duncan could turn out to be the next Gary Pettis.

News item: John Candelaria assails Pirate brass for booking team to fly on commercial flights, rather than charters. "(Owner John Galbreath's) horses travel better than we do," Candelaria snorts. They run better than you do, too, Candy Man.

You guys are lucky. If Galbreath's thoroughbreds lost as often as his Pirates do, they would receive one-way tickets to Alpoville.

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