Morning briefing

Times Staff Writer

Defining moment for ref

Referee Joey Crawford's non-call at the end of Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference finals Tuesday night was a hot topic on sports talk radio Wednesday. Just about every conceivable question regarding the Lakers' Derek Fisher colliding with San Antonio's Brent Barry was dealt with, including this one:

What was Crawford thinking at the time?

A listener to Mike Tirico's ESPN Radio show claimed to know the answer. Gary from Orlando sent an e-mail and this was how Tirico read it on the air: "I was watching on my HD TV, and could see Crawford in the corner of the screen. I swear I could see his eyes getting huge and could actually read his mind. He was saying, 'Holy blank, what do I do?' "

Tirico then commented, "I know HD is good but I didn't know it could read minds."

Trivia time

Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated have had the same entity on the cover in the same week seven times. How many can you name?

One other possibility

The Lakers' Lamar Odom, on his improved play from Game 1 to Game 2 in the series, told TNT's Craig Sager: "I changed my sneakers, changed my spandex and my undershirt. I just brought my focus."

"What, no thong?" asked Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times.

Steroids in broadcasting

Jim Nantz and Al Michaels, never before appearing on television together, last week taped a segment for Tuesday night's edition of FSN's "Best Damn Sports Show Period."

Nantz talked about calling the 1997 Masters won by 21-year-old Tiger Woods.

"I landed in Augusta and I had a fight with the pollen there," he said. "I had to go to the Augusta hospital and get steroid injections to get my voice back. I would have failed a drug test at the 1997 Masters."

Said "Best Damn" host John Salley: "So you're really not this good?"

Said Michaels: "Does 'A win for the ages' come with an asterisk?"

Practice makes perfect

Nantz says he admires Michaels' call of the U.S. Olympic hockey team's victory over the Russians at Lake Placid, N.Y., in 1980 -- "Do you believe in miracles?" -- because it was spontaneous.

Nantz's "A win for the ages" was not.

Noting that Woods went into the final round with a nine-shot lead, Nantz said, "You better believe I thought about what I was going to say."

Bad idea

Ben Heller of put together a list of the worst-selling sports videos and it included World Championship Bridge.

Heller wrote: "The premise: Poker games sell well, so why not bridge?

"The problem: Nobody under the age of 50 plays bridge. Nobody over the age of 50 plays video games."

Name game

Steve Schrader of the Detroit Free Press, offering a bit of Web news, lists this unofficial Oregon Ducks blog as his choice of best-named fan site:

Trivia answer

Joe Namath, Reggie Jackson, Secretariat, the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, Mary Lou Retton, O.J. Simpson and the 1999 U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team.

And finally

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that a guy named George Hood set a world record for riding a stationary bike, pedaling eight straight days and the equivalent of 2,016 miles.

"But," Ostler wrote, "he still finished 20 feet behind the rack of dumbbells on the far wall."


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