Our story so far: Skeets is still under quarantine in a small room at the Canadian border, and will not return to the NBA Closer until next week. Filling in today is Nancy K. Kopp, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Retirement and Pension Agency.
The San Francisco Zoo remains closed today as authorities investigate the fatal mauling of New York Knicks' coach Isiah Thomas, whom witnesses say was seen taunting a Siberian tiger at the railing of a sealed grotto on Tuesday. The incident ends a sad chapter in Knicks' history, as the large jungle cat finally accomplished what New York protesters could not. Ignoring fans' pleas to fire the embattled coach, Knicks president James Dolan only last week gave his support to Thomas ... plus a complimentary Zoo Pass with coupon good for a free endangered animal ring tone. The Knicks honored their unfortunate coach on Wednesday by charging out and losing to the Orlando Magic, 110-96.
"Siberian tigers tend to become aggressive when exposed to shooting percentages below 35 percent," said wild animal expert Roger Smale, curator of the San Diego Wildlife Park. "Tigers appreciate sound defensive principles and teamwork. Sadly coach Thomas was in the wrong place at the wrong time." The Magic had lost four straight at home before Wednesday's victory, getting 26 points from Hedo Turkoglu and 25 from Rashard Lewis.
• Trouble In River City. Believe it or not, the Celtics hadn't won in Sacramento since 1996; until Wednesday, when Paul Pierce scored 14 of his 16 points during a 33-5 run in the second quarter, leading Boston over the Kings 89-69. And just for the record, there is nothing more fun than driving out to watch the home team put up a big 69. Fun.
• It's All About ME. Every single child in America owns at least one Monta Ellis jersey, and for good reason: The Big ME scored a career-high 35 points to lead Golden State over Minnesota 105-101; the Warriors' fifth straight home victory.
• Motor City Madness. Are you starting to get the feeling that the Pistons are planning a big party at the end of the season? No looting, Pistons' fans! Richard Hamilton scored 22 points as Detroit shot 78 percent in the third quarter, beating the Nets 101-83. It was the Pistons' sixth straight win.