Hubie tones down coach talk on TNT


The TV repairman: Back when Hubie Brown was serving as analyst for NBA games on CBS, he used to show up with a ream of paper and several sharpened pencils to keep track of second-shot opportunities, fastbreak points and other statistical bric-a-brac. On cue, he would then launch into long, involved and dreadfully boring monologues on what his numbers proved or disproved.

No more. These days, serving in a like capacity for TNT's coverage, Hubie's commentary is both informative and entertaining. He was on a roll during yesterday's Celtics-Pistons playoff game, played at the odd hour of 1 p.m. and won by Boston, 109-103.

"Oh, Brian, Brian, that shot's OK during the 82-game schedule when you're up by 15, but not now," he scolded Celts guard Brian Shaw after an ill-advised heave.

"Now you take Bill Laimbeer," he continued. "Here's a guy who has averaged 10 rebounds a game for 11 seasons and he can't jump over a piece of paper."

A pigeon flew onto the court, not a strange occurrence at old Goopy Garden. "Look at that," Hubie hollered, "he's setting up for the three-point shot.

"Poor Dee Brown, he's trying to guard his man and Larry Bird's man, too," he continued. Another not-so-strange occurrence in Celtics' games. Behind nearly everything Hubie said, there was not only a smile but meaningful information about the game and its players.

And, yes, at the end there was the ex-coach with his trademark: "Now, if you're Boston . . . now, if you're Detroit . . . now, you're Boston again . . . OK, back to Detroit . . .now, what usually happens in this situation . . ." During one timeout, he covered the goals, moves, counter moves and every conceivable eventuality that might visit the situation and not once did he pause for breath. Stupefying.

* The inaugural pro gymnastics competition, slated for the Patriot Center tomorrow, joins the Pimlico Special on Wide World of Sports (4:30 p.m.). With this on ABC and the NBA playoffs on NBC (12:30 and 3:15 p.m.), CBS figured what's the use and isn't sending along a baseball game.

* Speaking of live events, CBS Sports Sunday will have a fight -- Terrence Alli (46-7) vs. Charles Murray (20-0) -- and a criterium race of the Tour Du Pont from Arlington, Va., at 2 p.m. . . . All during the nine days of the bike race, ESPN is doing half-hour afternoon wrapups.

* How important is it for the WLAF to be a ward of the NFL? Despite constantly diminishing ratings -- ABC got a sorry 1.6 for last Sunday's game -- no fewer than four games are on this weekend: tomorrow, USA Network, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, ABC, 1 p.m.; Monday, USA, 8 p.m.

* Pro hoop fans, be warned, Channel 2 has the Orioles vs. Seattle Sunday (4:30 p.m.), so it won't be aboard for the second game of the NBA doubleheader on NBC pitting the Lakers against Golden State. Tomorrow's double dip (starting at 12:30 p.m.) and the early game Sunday are safe.

Come the final series, local fans catch a break in that just one Orioles game (vs. the Red Sox, May 31) figures to zap the hoopsters.

* Wonder what Mrs. Dennis Rodman thinks about being seen in public with a husband who has "Trilogy '91" shaved on the back of his head? . . . Speaking of heads, what is it that ex-Indiana Pacers coach and sometimes studio analyst Dick Versace, wears atop his, a huge white brillo pad?

* Strange how so many ridiculed the Goodwill Games as strictly a Ted Turner TV show with second-rate performers last summer, only to have 30 U.S. cities submit bids to host the 1998 competition. Repeating what I said after Seattle '90, the Goodwill Games are about 10 times better than the Pan American Games, which go in August in Havana with TNT supplementing ABC's 20 hours of coverage with 27 hours of its own.

* The Alamo Invitational diving meet, currently raging in Florida with world 3-meter champ Kent Ferguson heading the field, will constitute the WTBS "U.S. Olympic Gold" show June 1 . . . ABC (noon) and ESPN (5 p.m.) have Indy 500 time trials tomorrow . . . The Michael Nunn-James Toney and Michael Carbajal-Hector Patri championship fights are on TVKO pay-per-view ($20) tomorrow (10 p.m.), in case you hadn't noticed . . . BET has the mothers of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas and Jerry Rice on talking about their darlings tomorrow (2 p.m.).

* Mark Spitz barely splashed in before they closed the pool in a 100-meter butterfly race in the Canary Islands yesterday, but his coach said he was well satisfied with Spitz's time of four seconds behind the winner. Film at 11.

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