? NBA Playoffs
NBC 12:30 PM, 3 PM AND 5:30 PM
The Almighty created the heavens and the earth in six days. Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant wrote the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven in less than an hour. So how come the NBA is allotting a Kubrickian 14 days—as opposed to eight in years past—to complete its five-game, first-round playoff series (which continue on, variously, NBC, TBS and TNT)? The Heat, for example, will have three days off on the road should its series with the Pistons go to Game 4. We can already see Miami coach Pat Riley's chalkboard message: SWEEP OR 72 HOURS IN DETROIT—IT'S UP TO YOU.
? Napa Auto Parts 500
ABC 2 PM
If only this California NASCAR event were run through the vineyards of picturesque Napa instead of around the two-mile oval in industrialized Fontana. We rather prefer the image of Robert Mondavi waving the red- and white-zinfandel-checkered flag while pit-crew sommeliers pop radiator caps to allow the coolant to breathe. That may be sour grapes, but so far in 2000 no Winston Cup driver is having a vintage year: Nine races this season have produced nine different victors, including, as Ernest and Julio Gallo would surely remind us, the brothers Jeff and Ward Burton.
? Real Madrid at Bayern Munich
ESPN2 2:30 PM
Bayern Munich must conquer a latter-day Spanish Armada if it's to redeem itself for last year's devastating loss to Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final. (Bayern lost 2-1 after entering stoppage time with a 1-0 lead.) The Bundeslinga's finest hosts Real Madrid, the 1998 European champ, in the first match of a home-and-home series. On May 24 the survivor will face the winner of the all-Spanish semifinal between FC Barcelona and Valencia CF.
? Yankees at Indians
ESPN 7 PM
South Bronx Story: What happens when three immigrants from Puerto Rico, leftfielder Ricky Ledee, catcher Jorge Posada and centerfielder Bernie Williams, and an equal number of Latin American pitchers, Orlando Hernandez from Cuba and Ramiro Mendoza and Mariano Rivera from Panama, share the same New York turf as a bunch of Yanks? Faster than you can sing, "I like to be in America," they gang up on the rest of the American League and race off to a 12-5 record through Sunday. Is it d�j� vu all over again? Could be. Who knows?