• Mets 10, Cardinals 0: John Maine threw seven innings of one-hit baseball as the Mets capped a one-sided three-game sweep of the Cardinals. This doesn't come close to erasing the disappointment of last season's playoff loss -- only a win in a grudge match would take care of that -- but the wins have gotten the Mets off to a good start. They've also assuaged the fears that the Mets rotation is too old or would be ineffective. The starters have produced three outstanding outings in the first three games.

  • Nets 101, Hawks 86: After meandering through the first quarter and part of the second, the Nets woke up to go on a 20-2 run to close the first half and then enjoyed a cakewalk in the second half. Unlike the Knicks, the Nets have played better as the games have mattered more, and New Jersey now leads Orlando by 1 1/2 games for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. They've played with fire for most of the season, but the playoff spot is theirs to lose.

  • Sixers 92, Knicks 90: Two missed free throws by Kyle Korver, the top foul shooter in the NBA, gave the Knicks a shot at a win, but Stephon Marbury missed a three-pointer at the buzzer and his team lost for the seventh time in eight games. He had 30 points but missed 13 shots, and things have not looked this bleak for the Knicks since well before Coach Isiah Thomas received a contract extension. Maybe the Garden was too hasty on that one?