Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
NBA Finals: Oklahoma City vs. Miami:
Game 4: Tuesday at Miami, 6 p.m., Channel 7
Game 5: Thursday at Miami, 6 p.m.
If necessary: Game 6: Sunday at Oklahoma City, 5 p.m.
This short, weird season is coming closer to the end for Derek Fisher, participating in his eighth NBA Final over the last 16 years. What started with him employed by the Lakers and placed front and center during the NBA lockout as the president of the players’ union became more complicated when he was traded, asked for his release, then signed on with the Thunder — and now he’s two losses away from not being able to grab his sixth title.
“What it would mean to win a championship means enough by itself without adding what has happened before now,” Fisher said. “For me personally, there are a number of things I just won’t choose to reflect on or look into until after this is long done and I can step away from things for a minute.” At least this can take his mind off things still unsettled in the NBA Players Association land. The organization asked him to resign as president in April. He refused, and there won’t be any resolution until this summer. “All in all, for me, these are good problems to have,” Fisher said. “When you think about how tough it is for people every day, this is not hard at all to be able to try to figure out a way to be able to focus on playing basketball. I’m healthy. My family’s healthy. So, at the end of the day, if these are the things that I have to deal with to be called tough days, I’ll take it.” Fisher had nine points and two steals, without an assist, in the Thunder’s 91-85 loss to the Heat in Sunday’s Game 3, meaning Miami can win it by taking the next two at home. Fisher made a 25-footer for 3, and followed with a free throw to give OKC a 10-point lead with 4:33 left in the third quarter, but Miami surged ahead to lead going into the final quarter. Fisher’s jumper with 10:59 left in the game brought the Thunder back to within two.
(Above: Lil Wayne watches the first half at Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, seeming to know the Heat have won two and need two more wins to claim a title. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Home plate umpire Ted Barrett stands at attention as San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain warms up before the ninth inning of Wednesday’s eventual perfect game against Houston last Wednesday.
MLB: Angels vs. San Francisco, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:
How fortunate for the Angels to be on the receiving end of Matt Cain’s follow-up performance to his perfect game against Houston last week. The Giants’ right-hander only struck out 14 in that one. If you notice Ted Barrett behind the plate, the odds are also better that more history could be made. Barrett, who did the balls and strikes for that Cain game last week in San Francisco, also was there in 1999 when the Yankees’ David Cone tossed a perfect game against Montreal — so he’s the only ump to call two perfect games in major-league history. For that matter, Brian Runge, the third-base ump for Cain’s game last week, was behind the plate when six Seattle pitchers combined for a 1-0 no-hit win over the Dodgers last week, and he called Philip Humber’s perfect game for the Chicago White Sox at Seattle on April 21. This series, another flashback to the World Series from 10 years ago, minus almost everyone except Mike Scioscia, continues Tuesday and Wednesday, 7:05 p.m., FSW.
WNBA: Sparks vs. Washington, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.:
A five-game win streak was followed up by back-to-back losses on the road at Atlanta and San Antonio last weekend for the 7-3 Sparks, playing three times in four nights. After this, they’ve got games Saturday at Phoenix (6 p.m., ESPN) and Sunday vs. San Antonio at home (5:30 p.m., KDOC-Channel 56).
“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” 10 p.m., HBO:
An interview runs through it: Phil Jackson tries to explain to reporter Andrea Kremer why he’d prefer to spend his days secluded in Montana rather than on the merry-go-round known as the NBA coaching circle. Just look at the scenery during the piece. You’d want to be there, too. Jackson says about how his career with the Lakers’ ended following the four-game sweep against Dallas in ’11: “It was humbling. Not the way I wanna see my players behave on the court. Andrew (Bynum) particularly, you know, took his jersey off and walked off the court in a way that was, you know, sense of arrogance. The game itself was bad enough as it went. So it — it was kinda like — so this is how it’s gonna end, huh? This is an interesting closure to chapter of basketball.” The 66-year-old Jackson who just had knee replacement admits the New York Knicks “never called” about his interest in coaching the team, but he wouldn’t have taken the job anyway, “that’s for sure … there’s just too much work that has to be done with that team. You know? It’s a little bit of a clumsy team. They don’t fit together well. Stoudemire doesn’t fit together well with Carmelo. Stoudemire’s really good player. But he’s gotta play in a certain system and a way. Carmelo has to be a better passer. And the ball can’t stop every time it hits his hands. They need to have someone come in that can kinda blend that group together.” Kremer responds: “But woudn’t you have been the perfect person to come in and blend all that talent together?” Jackson: “Yeah, well, it didn’t happen.”
Baseball: College World Series: UCLA vs. Florida State, 5 p.m., ESPN:
Dropping a 4-0 decision to Arizona on Sunday sends the No. 2-ranked Bruins into a win-or-go-home mode. Should they survive this one, they play again on Thursday (2 p.m., ESPN2) against the same Wildcats. Win that, and there’s an elimination game between the two again on Friday (2 p.m., ESPN2) for the right to get to the best-of-three championship starting Sunday (5 p.m., ESPN2). South Carolina, the two-time NCAA champion, is back on track for another after winning its opener against Florida and next playing Arkansas on Monday.
(Above: UCLA left fielder Cody Keefer chases but cannot catch a foul ball hit by Arizona’s Riley Moore in the fourth inning of Sunday’s College World Series game in Omaha, Neb. AP Photo/Eric Francis)
MLB: Dodgers at Oakland, 7:05 p.m., Channel 9:
This could have been the greatest opportunity for the Athletics to finally call up one Manuel Arstides “Manny” Ramrez Onelcida from Triple-A Sacramento, but he beat them to the punch by asking for, and receiving, his release over the weekend. Brandon McCarthy, the 6-foot-7 and 200-pounder who is among the AL leaders in ERA at 2.79, makes the start tonight for Oakland after missing time with a bad shoulder. The series continues Wednesday (7:05 p.m.) and Thursday (12:35 p.m.), both on Channel 9, the latter when Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 2.86) makes the start.
NHL 2012 Awards Show from Las Vegas, 4 p.m., NBC Sports Network:
Jonathan Quick’s Vezina Trophy candidacy (he’s up for the top goaltender award against the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and the Predators’ Pekka Rinne) reaches a verdict on the two-hour annual event from the Wynn Hotel. Quick is the first goalie in Kings history to finish in the top three in Vezina voting. The best previous finish was Kelly Hrudey’s fourth-place finish in 1991. The NHL Network has a one-hour red carpet special starting at 1 p.m.
MLS: Galaxy at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m., KDOC-Channel 56:
The Galaxy can only hope their 1-0 win against Portland on Sunday provides a lift after a seven-game winless streak is snapped. ”We just have to build on it, simple as that,” said David Beckham. ”Last season we played a lot of games like this where we won 1-nil and we kept the other teams in shutouts. We need more performances like this and were capable of it, so hopefully this will be our springboard.” The Galaxy returns after this one in Utah for a context against Vancover at Home Depot Center on Saturday (7:30 p.m., KDOC-Channel 56).
(Right: Galaxy midfielder David Beckham tackles the ball from Portland Timbers midfielder Franck Songo’o during the first half Sunday’s MLS game at Home Depot Center. AP Photo/Bret Hartman)
MLB: Miami at Boston, 4 p.m., MLB Network:
Zambrano vs. Dice K has some merit.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Don Mattingly, left, and Mike Scioscia discuss things of baseball nature before one of last week’s Dodgers-Angels games at Dodger Stadium.
MLB: Dodgers at Angels, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., Prime, FSW:
Dodgers newest ace reliever Kenley Jansen recorded his 10th save, as well as his first and second losses of the year, when the Angels took two of three at Dodger Stadium last week. The series, which may see the return of Jered Weaver to the Angels’ rotation, continues Saturday (4:15 p.m., Channel 11) and Sunday (12:35 p.m., Channel 9 and FSW).
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, right, wins the women’s 100 meters ahead of Allyson Felix, center, and Carmelita Jeter at the Adidas Grand Prix track and field meet on June 9 in New York.
U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., 8 p.m., Channel 4 (delayed):
Allyson Felix is leaving the decision on which events she’ll run in the upcoming London Games this summer to coach Bob Kersee, but by all indications the former L.A. Baptist High star will give the 100 meters a legitimate shot in Day 2 for this 10-day event that serves as the U.S. Olympic qualifying. In the middle of last month, the 26-year-old Felix ran a 10.92 in the 100 at the Doha Diamond League meet — a personal best, second-best women’s time in the U.S. this year after the 10.81 that Carmelita Jeter posted in Jamicia a week earlier, and third fastest in the world this year. It’s less likely Felix will also run in the 400 meters on Sunday — she tried the 400/200m double at the 2011 World Championships, winning the 400, but was tired for the shorter sprint. The 200 final for the two-time Olympic sliver medalist and three-time world champion at that distance falls on Saturday, June 30. She finished third in the 200 at the recent meet in Daegu, more than a second off her personal best. Also on Sunday, the men’s 100-meter final is the highlight — can Justin Gatlin, who posted a season-best 9.87 last month, run away with it? — not long after the men’s and women’s 400, the men’s long jump and shot put and the women’s pole vault finals. NBC also delays coverage on Channel 4 from 7-8 p.m. Friday’s coverage on NBC Sports Network is live from 6-to-8 p.m.
(Above: Allyson Felix wins the 200-meters on June 2 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore. Carmelita Jeter, left, finished fifth. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Boxing: Victor Ortiz vs. Joseito Lopez, Staples Center, 6 p.m. (delayed on Showtime at 9 p.m.):
The WBC silver welterweight title is on the line with Ventura’s Ortiz takes on Riverside’s Lopez.
Diving: U.S. Olympic qualifying in Seattle, noon, Channel 4:
Three-time Olympian Troy Dumais from Ventura, a U.S. national team member every year since 1996, could be there at the finish for the men’s 3-meter final. The 32-year-old finished fourth in the event earlier this year at the USA Diving Winter National Championships, but was first in the U.S. Olympic trials in ’08 and ’04. The women’s 3- and 10-meter final are on the schedule (the men’s 10-meter final is Saturday).
NASCAR: SaveSmart 350, Sonoma, noon, TNT:
A year ago, Kurt Busch led 76 of 110 laps and beat runner-up Jeff Gordon by 2.685 seconds to win his first race of the season and first on a road course. Tony Stewart, meanwhile, finished 39th, the career-worst road course finish. That was the result of Brian Vickers shoving Stewart into a tire barrier in lap 87, destroying the rear end of his Chevy.