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The only resemblance is the hairline

A GRIP ON SPORTS

On the desk to the right of my computer I have a mouse pad. On it is a cartoon of a yellow man with a couple hairs, sleeping in his chair at work, a pink donut balanced on his stomach. Of course the man is my hero, Homer Simpson. I've had the mouse pad since 1995. Or just before Tim Duncan entered the NBA. Read on.


••••••••••

• Homer hasn't aged a bit (though I don't believe they refer to him anymore as a 1974 graduate of Springfield High, as they used to), but Duncan certainly has. He's not the same guy who came out of Wake Forest and teamed with David Robinson to lead the Spurs to the 1999 NBA title. But his game hasn't changed all that much. He's still steady, solid, dependable. And always reward to sublimate his talents for the good of the team. Such was the case last night. It wasn't Tim Duncan vs. LeBron James, because if it had of been, the Heat would have won going away. It was the Spurs, the collection of guys who play better as a whole than they ever could as individuals, against the Heat, a group made up of the better players. James is the best player in the world. The Spurs are trying to prove they are the best team. The Heat is filled with tough guys. The Spurs are trying to prove they are tougher. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh are exceptional talents. The Spurs are trying to prove they are exceptional at playing together. The Heat are the defending champions. The Spurs are trying to prove they are good enough to be champions. Maybe it's just me, but I'll take the team trying to prove something every time.

•••

• WSU: If you want to participate in one of the Pac-12 blog's polls at ESPN.com, here's your chance Cougar fans. The question is who will lead the conference in tackles. Deon Bucannon is one of the answers. … Guess who the Cougars miss in conference play this season? Yep, rebuilding Colorado. I would say that is a sure win except what happened last year. They also miss UCLA, which is probably a good thing. … Where does WSU rank around the country? How about 80th?

• Gonzaga: When we had Marco Gonzales (pictured) on the radio show this week I had to know one thing. With Gonzales being a junior and eligible to return for his senior year, was their pressure on him to come back to GU? Mainly, was Kelly Olynyk trying to talk him into returning? It was a joke of course and Gonzales, like Olynyk, won't be returning to the Bulldogs after the St. Louis Cardinals selected the left-handed pitcher with the 19th pick of the draft yesterday. Chris Derrick has the story. … BYU won the WCC's Commissioner's Cup this year.

• Idaho: The Vandals' arrival in the Big Sky Conference in a couple years will mean some changes in the league's basketball and volleyball schedules.

• Preps: Chris also has a feature today on a couple of local youth softball coaches who are calling it quits.

• Mariners: Wednesday we had to dedicate about six hours to finding out if the Mariners would win. Thursday it took about one-sixth of that, as Aaron Harang collapsed in the third inning and the Yankees – in Ichiro's first trip back to Safeco since the trade which had him switch clubhouses – went on to a 6-1 victory. At least Blake Beavan, called up earlier in the day, threw well. … The M's offense was in midseason form, with just four hits. … This year is all about the future, anyway, right? So it should come as no surprise the Mariners' first two draft picks were trumpeted as “can't miss” major league prospects. Time will be the judge of that. The M's took D.J. Peterson from New Mexico with their first pick and though he is considered by many to be the best hitter in college baseball, he did play at altitude while at UNM. The second pick was huge (6-foot-5, 245-pound) outfielder Austin Wilson from Stanford. … Jerry Brewer riffs on Jesus Montero.

• Seahawks: Richard Sherman speaks his mind. That's for sure. … Red Bryant spoke out this week about his season. He didn't like it.

• Sounders: The Cascadia Cup competition returns this weekend as the Sounders – with 50,000 folks in the stands – will host Vancouver. … Servando Carrasco is ready. … As is GM Adrian Hanauer.

•••

• It's Friday and we'll finish out our week on the Patchin, Lukens and Osso show, filling in for the vacationing Dennis Patchin. You can listen here starting at 3 p.m. Until then …


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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