IT'S too early to say goodnight to the Phoenix Suns.
After losing (and playing badly) in the first two games of the NBA Finals on their home court, the Suns were in danger of being swept away in four straight games by the Chicago Bulls. To add injury to insult, the Suns' best player, Charles Barkley, went into Game 3 Sunday night hampered by an elbow problem.
But Barkley, getting help this time from strong performances by Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle, produced 24 points and 19 rebounds to lead the Suns to a 129-121 triple-overtime victory. Majerle made six 3-pointers, tying a record, and Johnson rebounded from two poor games with 25 points and nine assists.
"This was the greatest basketball game I ever played in," Barkley said. "I actually didn't care who won or lost."
It was the second triple-overtime game in the NBA Finals. The Suns were also involved in the first one, back in 1976 against the Boston Celtics. But it wasn't the most overtimes in NBA playoff history. Forty years ago Boston and Syracuse played a quadruple overtime playoff game. Is win by Stich a window on Wimbledon?
Britain blooms each spring with several grass-court tennis tournaments. They're used by some of the top pros as warm-ups for the Wimbledon championships, which begin June 21.
Clay-court specialists often skip Wimbledon altogether; this year's French Open champ, Sergi Bruguera, is the latest example. But for those who have just played the slower red clay at the French Open in Paris, and are moving on to Wimbledon, the tune-up tourneys offer a chance to acclimate to the fast, low skidding of tennis balls on grass.
Oddsmakers use the tournaments to see who among the top players is getting his or her grass-court game in shape and who is struggling. They also spot lesser-known players whose playing style on grass may make them tougher than usual.
For what it's worth, Michael Stich, a top-10 player, won the Queen's Club tournament Sunday, defeating South Africa's Wayne Ferreira 6-3, 6-4. Does that make the hard-serving German a Wimbledon favorite? We'll see. Indurain pedals to a `double-double'
The Chicago Bulls are on the verge of a "three-peat" as NBA champs, but fans of European bicycle racing may be more impressed by Miguel Indurain's "double-double."
On Sunday, the Spaniard won the Tour of Italy, a 21-stage cycling race, in a combined time of 98 hours, 9 minutes. Indurain is the defending champion of the Italian race, as well as a two-time winner of the even-more-prestigious Tour de France. Montana-Allen backfield melds two champions
When does 4 + 1 = 1?
When Joe Montana's four Super Bowl rings are added to Marcus Allen's one, it may equal one new Super Bowl championship for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Montana - a longtime superstar with the San Francisco 49ers and arguably the best pro quarterback of all time - signed on with the Chiefs this spring. Last week he was joined by Allen, who also brings glittering credentials, based on an 11-year career as a running back for the Los Angeles Raiders. Allen ranks 12th on the NFL's all-time rushing chart and was the league's MVP in 1985. "Chronologically, I'm 33, but I feel very youthful," he said. "Believe me, there's a lot left. You'll see."
The Chiefs paid megabucks for Montana and Allen in an attempt to turn what has been a very good team into a great team and a Super Bowl winner. The deal brings to mind the Minnesota Vikings' successful effort a few years back to acquire running back Herschel Walker, a football marriage that fizzled. For Mashburn, the shoe already fits
The NBA draft doesn't take place until June 30, but Jamal Mashburn already has a line of basketball shoes named after him. The former University of Kentucky basketball star signed a five-year contract with Fila Sporting Goods worth more than $6 million. It's really not too big a gamble for Fila: Mashburn figures to be one of the first players taken in the pro basketball draft.