IT'S SCARY THE REGULARITY in which professional athletes are in trouble with the law.

Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley was involved in a shooting early yesterday morning in downtown Indianapolis.

It's a familiar scenario. Tinsley and friends got into an argument with people outside of a bar when a crowd gathered around Tinsley's Rolls-Royce and apparently ridiculed the guard about his money.

Tinsley's group, who also were traveling in a Mercedes and a Dodge Charger, left the area but noticed they were being followed. A shootout ensued after the group pulled over.

A person in Tinsley's car, Joey Qatato, was hit in both elbows. Tinsley wasn't hurt; several bullets struck his Rolls and the Charger had five bullet holes.

But here's where the story gets really disturbing. After the shooting, Tinsley's brother, James, was part of a group who chased the shooters,

returning fire at them.

What is this, the Wild, Wild Midwest? Is it just a given that everyone's carrying guns anymore?

Ouch . . . and ouch

So, about 4:05 yesterday afternoon, David

Akers' field-goal attempt to help the Eagles' slim playoff hopes bounced off the right upright,

dropping the Birds to 5-8.

What happened next might have been even worse. Fox switched to the Cowboys-Lions game just as Jason Witten was catching the game-

winner, giving hated Dallas the NFC East title.

Talk about pouring salt into a wound.

Dish, dish, dish . . .

In a Division III basketball game on Saturday, Grinnell (Iowa) College scored a 151-112 win over North Central University of Minnesota.

Grinnell junior David Arseneault set an NCAA record by dealing 34 assists, and he had only two turnovers. By comparison, the Sixers' team high for assists in a game this season is 31. *

- Bob Cooney