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Week Ahead
Sarah Kwak
June 09, 2008
What to watch and watch for
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June 09, 2008

Week Ahead

What to watch and watch for

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NBA Finals, Lakers at Celtics
About this time last year, Kobe Bryant was demanding a trade. But Los Angeles G.M. Mitch Kupchak stuck with Bryant (and placated him by trading for Pau Gasol), and now the Lakers are back in the Finals—against an old foe—for the first time since 2004. "It takes pressure sometimes to make a diamond," Bryant said of the offseason drama.
ABC 9 p.m.

U.S. Gymnastics Championships
Last year belonged to Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, who won every all-around competition she entered. This year is shaping up to be Nastia Liukin's. The 18-year-old from Parker, Texas, who won the all-around at nationals in 2006 but was hurt for much of '07, beat Johnson, 16, in March at the American Cup in New York City. Liukin (right) will try to reclaim the national title in Boston at the last competition before the Olympic trials later this month.
NBC 4 p.m.

Belmont Stakes
Two horses make this race interesting. One, of course, is Big Brown. The other is the Japanese-owned colt Casino Drive. The latter has the bloodlines and the jockey to make things interesting. Casino Drive comes from the same dam, Better Than Honour, as the last two Belmont winners, and jockey Edgar Prado's mounts have upset the last two Triple Crown contenders at Belmont (War Emblem in 2002 and Smarty Jones in '04).
ABC 5 p.m.

Gary Lockett vs. Kelly Pavlik
Pavlik (left) returns to Atlantic City, where he won the WBC and WBO middleweight belts from Jermain Taylor last September in 2007's consensus Fight of the Year. The champ (33--0, 29 KOs) will make his first title defense against Wales's Lockett (30--1, 21 KOs), who is fighting in the U.S. for the first time.
HBO 10:05 p.m.

Phillies at Braves
Second baseman Chase Utley (right) had a hot bat last week, knocking in 15 runs. Utley leads the NL in homers (20) and RBIs (50)—but hold off on the triple crown talk. Though Utley's hitting .312, he is way behind Atlanta's Chipper Jones, who's been above .400 since April 13.
TBS 1:30 p.m.


French Open, Men's Final
Defending champion Rafael Nadal (above) could become the first player since Bjorn Borg to win the clay court Grand Slam event four years in a row. (The Swede did it from 1978 through '81.) Considering that Nadal, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on June 3, has never been beaten at Roland Garros, his chances of making history look pretty good. He'll likely face Australian Open champ Novak Djokovic in the semis on Friday, with Roger Federer—Nadal's victim in the 2006 and '07 French finals—his probable foe on Sunday.
NBC 9 a.m.