published Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

5 at 10: In the zone, helmets hierarchy and a Braves comeback

Wow, buckle up. From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...



It's NBA playoff time (zones)

Jumpin' David Hasselhoff and Sizzlin' Sauerkraut, Dirk Nowitzki was unstoppable, unguardable, undeniable and any other UN- word you can think of to describe a guy that scored 48 points on all of 15 field-goal attempts. Yes, 15 shots. Not since Hans Gruber has a German done that much damage around these parts.

In quite possibly the most efficient basketball game in playoff history, Nowitzki, the sweet-shooting 7-footer from Germany, made 12 of his 15 shots and all 24 of his free-throw attempts in The Mavs' 121-112 win over Oklahoma City in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday in what had the feel of an old-school NBA shootout. As good as Dirk was he was only a little bit better than OKC stud Kevin Durant, who led the Thunder in points (40), rebounds (eight), assists (five) and blocks (two). And with all the talk — justifiable talk, mind you — of

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook taking too many shots, that's not as bad as Westbrook not having more assists than Durant.

The Thunder's issues were less about which OKC player was shooting the ball and more about which OKC player was assigned to stop Dirk.

It was awesome to watch — Dirk was in the Kobe zone that it didn't matter who guarded him or where he was on the floor, if he was determined to score, he was going to score. Just for clarity sake here are the 5-at-10's five offensive zones:

Early-Jordan zone: Think the 63-point playoff game in the old Boston Garden. Simply put, he had stretches were he was by himself on the floor and he was still unstoppable.

Kobe zone: The new, no hand-checking rules have made Kobe unguardable when he gets into his comfort zone. Dirk was firmly in this area Tuesday.

Bird's sharp-shooter zone: Normally reserved for late-game scenarios, big spots or man-on-man shootouts (like his showdown with Dominique Wilkins back in the day), Bird's scoring binges were generally shorter in duration and smaller in totals. Reggie Miller was a frequent visitor here.

Championship-Jordan zone: A better shooter in his later years, he still had stretches of domination. It was kind of a blend of the Early-Jordan zone and the Bird zone since Jordan had more help during his championship years.

New Hakeem on the block zone: An unstoppable force on the low block, Hakeem had a ton of post moves. Also he made free throws. So, while young Shaq frequently powered his way into this zone, he could never stay long because he did not make free throws.



More NBA notes and numbers

The 5-at-10 loves the NFL draft. You know this. We are fond of the NBA draft, which had its draft lottery last night. Cleveland won and will have the first pick. Think we should call the time between now and then "The Decision?" And how awesome would it be for the Cavs to walk to the podium and pick LeBron James?

Here are some fun stats and quotes from the NBA playoffs now that each conference finals has a Game 1 in the books:

— Game 1 winners have won 78.6 percent of all best-of-7 series in NBA history.

— As with most stats, take them with a grain of salt. Oklahoma City also lost its opener in the last round, as did the Chicago Bulls.

— Chuck Barkley said the Heat are loaded with stars (duh) but they are a "whiny bunch." It's official, Chuck drinks Sprite and would never touch a 7-Up.

— Tuesday was only the third time playoff teams each had a 40-point scorer in the same game. It was the first since Allen Iverson, who was a regular visitor to the Early-Jordan zone, and Shaq did it in the 2001 NBA Finals.



  • photo
    Atlanta Braves' Brian McCann, center, has dirt thrown on him by teammate Martin Prado, right, after McCann hit a walk off two-run home run as Dan Uggla looks on in the eleventh inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in Atlanta. Atlanta won 3-1. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Braves keep bouncing

Chirpin' Chicos Bail Bonds, these Braves have a little bounce in their step. It's fun to watch.

We talked some earlier this week about how Atlanta seems to have a different hero daily (well-played, Bigbearzzz), and it was Brian McCann in a big way Tuesday.

McCann became the first player in more than 60 years to hit a pinch-hit, game-tying homer in the ninth and then hit a walkoff homer in extra innings (Jeff Heath did it for the Boston Braves in 1949 — thanks Elias Sports Bureau).

We have a lot of things to add here:

— As Bigbearzz pointed out, his team shares the hero label like a pine tar rag.

— This also shows when this team celebrates — it looks real and almost boyish in its charm. We talked about seeing this early in spring training and it was overwhelming after McCann's second homer Tuesday afternoon.

— What has happened to the Astros? Other than Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence, that's a team full of guys that are hardly household names. For an orgainzation that not that long ago was consistently solid and familiar — Biggio, Bagwell, Ausmus, Oswalt, Wagner, Berkman, et al. — Houston has become the Royals of the National League. Be careful Pittsburgh, Houston is closing in on you quickly.

— What a strange day for former Rhea County High School star Cory Gearrin. The side-winding right-handed reliever got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 11th Tuesday and earned his first major league win after McCann's home run. After the game, Gearrin was sent to the minors to make room for another starting pitcher. The highs and lows of being in a big league bullpen rarely swing as high and as low and as quickly as Gearrin's on Tuesday (read TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's column on Gearrin HERE.)

— The 5-at-10 thinks the term "walkoff" is about done. Seriously, a "walkoff" walk or a "walkoff" sacrifice fly? Yes, the term fits, but fit doesn't seem right or a term to be the same for what McCann did Tuesday and a "walkoff" hit batsman with the bases loaded (like Homer Simpson did in the memorable "Simpsons" with Mr. Burns' softball team). We've heard someone call it a "Go-Homer," and that's better. Any thoughts?



  • photo
    Florida State running back Nick Maddox (20) is stopped by Wake Forest defender Quintin Williams during fourth quarter action on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2001, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State beat Wake Forest, 48-24. (AP Photo/Phil Coale)

Helmets rankings

The SportTalk guys — friends of the show, all — were discussing the NFL helmet rankings Tuesday, and the show was enjoyable as usual.

Naturally, Steelers fan Quake agreed with the ESPN ranking that said Pittsburgh had the best looking helmet. Cowboy Joe liked that his Raiders were ranked No. 3. The 5-at-10 agreed with Dr. B — he's a doctor after all — that the Falcons' helmet was sorely underrated.

That said, the conversation got us thinking: First, there's not a lot of football to discuss right now that does not require a law degree to fully understand; second, why are we wasting time on NFL helmets, when college helmets are so much cooler. Here's the top five college helmets in today's 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10:

FSU — Great design that has become a tradition

Auburn — Strong colors, and interlocking 'AU' may be game's best logo

USC — Figures Lane Kiffin would try to change greatness

Georgia — Strong 'G' and rocking colors

Ohio State — Awesome stickers, unless they get sold or traded for tattoos

  • photo
    In this Sept. 12, 1964 file photo, Minnesota Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew poses for a portrait before a baseball game against the New York Yankees. (AP Photo/Harry Harris, File)

This and that (and yes, the TFP sports section was jammed packed Wednesday)

— If UT offensive coordinator Jim Chaney is comfortable with Tyler Bray's progress, as he says HERE in TFP UT ace Patrick Brown's story, then that's a great, Great, GREAT sign for Johnny Vols Fan. Bray may be among the three most important unknowns in the SEC next fall. We'll discuss this more in the days ahead.

— If one more Georgia offensive lineman departs, gets injured or gets in trouble (A.J. Harmon is transferring, as our UGA ace David Paschall writes HERE incoming freshman running back Isaiah Crowell will have to be Superman to get 4 yards a carry.

— Politics landed at Finley Stadium, which was left out of the mayor's proposed budget for 2012 (David Paschall's story)

— R.I.P. Harmon Killebrew. May all of your fly balls carry and may the curve balls be hangers for the best-ever Chattanooga Lookout player and MLB Hall of Famer who lost his fight with cancer Tuesday. He was 74.

Until tomorrow.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
patrickd said...

In regards to your top 5 college football helmets, let me say this politely, you've missed the mark. First of all, to not have Michigan even make the list is asinine. Second of all, the stickers on an Ohio State helmet are earned, they're NOT a part of the helmet itself. It's a blank gray helmet with a stripe for pete's sake.

1) Michigan

2) Texas

3) Florida State

4) Southern Cal

5) Virginia Tech

Honorable mention: Miami

May 18, 2011 at 10:04 a.m.
patrickd said...

I first want to say your welcome to everyone who is about to click this link. http://www.helmethut.com/colindex.html

May 18, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Dirk was the man last night, I was happy to see this performance, because it will take high scoring games and awesome efforts by the stars to keep most fans interested in the Dallas OKC series....just my story and Im sticking to it. If the Mavs keep playing like they did last night, well Marc Cuban's Mavericks will be wearing some serious bling and Jerry Jones will be chewing nails he will be so mad.

The Draft Lottery was awesome last night and Dan Gilbert's son "whats not to like"...just awesome....The Cavs getting 2 picks in the first 4 picks...thats insane!!! Cant wait for the NBA draft!

Best Helmet in Football....Penn State & Green Bay Packers...no question....honarable mention could got to Notre Dame and The Rams...

I also accept the pay pal btw...

May 18, 2011 at 10:55 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

HELMETS:

OF COURSE IM GONNA SAY GA! PSH...THATS A GIMME, THEN THERES FSU, MICHIGAN, NOTRE DAME, AND I DONT KNOW...THERES SO MUCH TRADITION WITH ALL THE OTHER HELMETS LIKE PSU, OSU, USC, ETC. THAT YOU HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION. I MEAN WHICH ONE IS MOST RECOGNIZABLE, OVER-ALL DESIGN, LOGO USAGE....IM OVER ANALYZING THIS...ARENT I?! DIDNT GET TO SEE DIRK AND THE MAVS LAST NIGHT BUT ONCE AGAIN...NOT REALLY KNOCKING THE WIFE AND KIDS OUTTA THE WAY TO GET TO THE TV TO WATCH EITHER. NOT SAYIN I DONT LOVE THE HYPE, BUT TO BE HONEST...I USUALLY ONLY TUNE IN TO THE LAST 5:00 OF A BASKETBALL GAME WHICH IN REALITY REALLY TAKE OVER 30 MINUTES TO COMPLETE. YEAH IM ALSO THE GUY THAT USUALLY TUNES INTO THE LAST 20 LAPS OF A NASCAR RACE TOO. BUT ILL WATCH BASEBALL AND FOOTBALL (WHICH IS CRAZY CAUSE WATCHING BASEBALL AT TIMES CAN BE AS PAINFUL AS WATCHING PAINT DRY). I WILL SAY THAT I AM STARTING TO GET JUST A TAAAAAAAAAAAD BIT CONCERNED REGARDING MY DAWGS THOUGH. WE CANT KEEP LOSING GUYS LIKE THIS! HELP ME OBI JAY KENOBI...YOU ARE MY ONLY HOPE..WHAT KIND OF DEPTH DO WE HAVE AT OFFENSIVE LINE? I MEAN WE'RE ALREADY HURTING IN THE RUNNING GAME WITH DEPTH, I MEAN HOW MUCH MORE CAN WE TAKE?!??! (YES, THIS ME IN A SLIGHT PANIC ABOUT FOOTBALL FOUR MONTHS AWAY FROM THE SEASON BEGINNING!)

May 18, 2011 at 11:18 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

PS. I LOVE WATCHING THE BRAVES CELEBRATE A WIN LIKE A BUNCH OF 10 YEAR OLDS WHO JUST WON THE DISTRICT ALL STAR SERIES WITH A WALKOFF HOME RUN!!! I HOPE THAT PASSION AND FUN NEVER LEAVES THE GAME FOR THEM! OH AND YES..."WALKOFF" OVER PLAYED, LIKE ME GOING FOR MY GAME WINNING WALKOFF CUP OF COFFEE TO FINISH THIS MORNING UP...

May 18, 2011 at 11:23 a.m.
5_at_10 said...

Oso —

Step away from the CAPSLOCK. Slowly.

We'll be back with more, just wanted to get that out there.

— 5-at-10

May 18, 2011 at 11:26 a.m.
5_at_10 said...

P-Davi

We see the love for Michigan — cool helmet, even if that logo was first used by Princeton in the 1930s and the then-Princeton coach brought it with him when Michigan hired him.

It's a top-10 helmet, and some of the others that were close were Iowa, Michigan State, West Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee.

Like your list with the possible exception of Texas, which does little for the 5-at-10. And great link by the way.

EC —

Great point, that if Cuban gets a ring, Jerry Jones will have a meltdown, get enough votes to end the NFL salary cap and then spend all his money putting together an all-star team that will still not win a Super Bowl until they get a legit quarterback.

Where do you rank Dirk's game on the all-time postseason super-duper efforts? Certainly behind Jordan's 63 (in a loss) at the Boston Garden and Magic's triple-double in Game 6 of the finals his rookie year, but it's up there with almost all the others.

The lottery was cool, and nice helmet picks (we see you like the traditional approach) and really good call on the Rams' helmet (although the old-school blue and yellow and even the blue and white, were better than the current color scheme).

Oso —

WHY ARE YOU YELLING AND HOW MANY CUPS OF COFFEE HAVE YOU HAD?

Seriously, if the Bulldogs don't find some answers (and no, we don't think converted nose guard Justin Anderson is the solution at offensive tackle) on the line, Aaron Murray better get really comfortable throwing from the shotgun and delivering the ball quickly. Not saying its time to panic mind you, but O-Line questions that go unanswered can stop a team in its tracks.

There will be a lot hand-wringing — A LOT — this summer about UGA football, and we've discussed it before that the first eight days of the season could be everything for the Mark Richt era in Athens. Here's saying that finding five O-Linemen on that roster has become job No. 1.

Great comparison to the Braves and the district all-stars — with that emotion, the 5-at-10 likes their chances.

— 5-at-10

May 18, 2011 at 11:39 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

SORRY....JUST FOR CLARIFICATION LET ME EXPLAIN THE ALL CAPS: IN MY JOB OUR SYSTEM IS CAPS SENSITIVE SO I JUST LEAVE THE ALL CAPS ON WHILE IM WORKING..I JUST FORGET TO...OH...SORRY...Ok I'm just too lazy to reach over and hit the Caps button...that's alot of work for one lil pinky finger...if were talkin old skool how could you not like the ol skool Bucs helmets from the 70's?!?! i mean conjuction junction whats you function! Those puppies rocked! But while were at it....what were are the ugliest ones????

May 18, 2011 at 11:47 a.m.
patrickd said...

5_at_10 wrote:

P-Davi

We see the love for Michigan — cool helmet, even if that logo was first used by Princeton in the 1930s.


You're exactly right, 5_at_10, and while seeing the error of my ways I also see I neglected to put Georgia on my list which found it's way to No. 4 on yours.

Seriously, how can you not love the Georgia helmet? This thing is awesome. http://bit.ly/jFhSga

May 18, 2011 at 11:48 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Poor Dirk doesnt make it on the top ten of all time playoff performances...sorry Germany, that list is reserved for Champions or Gutsy Willis Reed/ Rajon Rondo injury type performances....if Dirk puts up 50 in Game 2 like he did vs the Heat in 2006....well that could be really good and really bad...because we all know what happened in 2006....but another 50 pt night for the German could put him in elite company....Who is the next probable 300 game winner in MLB ? any guesses??

May 18, 2011 at 1:19 p.m.
5_at_10 said...

Oso —

No harm, NO FOUL. Great question on the ugliest helmets. Let's go Cleveland Browns and New York Giants in the NFL and LSU and Colorado State in college.

Pdavi —

Agreed on each count.

EC —

Agreed that great performances in the finals are better than greater performances in the conference finals. If Dirk goes for 50 in Game 2, well all bets are off. Dude is feeling it right now.

Great question about the 300-game winner. We think there are really only two active guys that have a chance — CC Sabathia and Roy Halladay. Heck, Sandy Koufax won 165 games (shocking, right?) and there are only three active pitchers with more than that — Halladay (174), Tim Hudson (169) and Livian Hernandez (169). Hudson and Hernandez are a little long in the tooth to get to 300. CC is still in his 20s and if stays with the Yankees has a chance to win 20 per year for the next decade. That said, we may never see another 300-game winner.

Also, looking at the career wins leaders list is amazing. Greg Maddux is 8th all-time with 355. Eighth. Jamie Moyer (267) won more games than Bob Feller (266), Bob Gibson (251), Whitey Ford (236), Catfish Hunter (224) and John Smoltz (213).

Great, great question, EC.

— 5-at-10

May 18, 2011 at 1:49 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

That was a good question. I was leaning toward Hudson and Halladay. I don't think CC (the pitcher, not the guitarist) will hit 300 where he is right now. He has to get away from the Yankees in order to accomplish that. I say that because I see a great down-fall taking place in the pinstripe domain. I mean that team is seriously sucking it up right now. And they are going to have to do something in the catcher spot...jus sayin. But being a Braves Fan...i really dont care what the Yanks do! Just as long as they keep stinkin it up!

May 18, 2011 at 1:56 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

well to win 300 games says alot about a pitcher and their career because you can average 15 wins per year for 15 years and you still need 75 to get to 300...but i agree that we may never see another 300 game winner...I know you say Hernandez and Hudson are long in the tooth, but Halladay is no Spring Chicken....who knows in a few years 250 may be the number that punches your ticket into the Hall of Fame....

May 18, 2011 at 2:07 p.m.
5_at_10 said...

Oso —

You're right that the Yankees are in a free fall, but there's no way you build that billion-dollar palace and put a stinker on the field. They'll go buy new talent and reload. You know it, EC knows it, PDavi knows, even BIspy4 knows (although he dopes not want to admit it).

EC —

Absolutely spot on about the magnitude of 300 wins. Here's another for you (and this puts to rest Cy Young's 511 wins as the most untouchable mark of all time for us): If a pitcher averages 15 wins a year for 15 years, he's 75 short of 300; if the same pitcher wins 15 a year for 30 years, he's still 60-plus short of Cy Young.

There once was a time that 400 homers was a sure-fire ticket to the Hall. That number has gone up to 500 and may go to 600. The new wins total will assuredly go down. Case in point: Is Pedro Martinez a Hall of Famer? He won 219 games. (Side note: The 5-at-10 believes Pedro is a Hall of Famer.)

— 5-at-10

May 18, 2011 at 2:15 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

I will say this about Pedro...hes Cooperstown bound...but it wont be on the first try...and here is why...The Image of Perdo in Redsox Uniform tossing a Senior Citizen Don Zimmer to the ground...which gets played over and over and over...that image wont stop him from getting to the hall but it will delay his arrival....and I agree 511 wins will never and i mean EVER!!!! be touched.... the elite pitchers in the modern era will barely reach half of that total!

May 18, 2011 at 2:37 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Concur with the hook em horns helmet. Gotta love the stark plainness but shiny golden goodness of the Golden Domers and the Midshipmen from the Naval Academy. When the sun tis shining on those Irish lads, sure and begorrah their helmets are a sight to see. (I put the over/under on Irishmen on the Notre Dame roster at 4 percent. I put the over/under on Catholics on the roster at 25 percent. They had a guy named Raghib Ismail once. Where'd he go to Mass, Our Lady of Mecca?) And, on the smaller school level, I love love love love the plain blue helmets with the white numbers on the side. Was just talking about Erk again this morning with somebody. It getting dusty in here again? Dangit. And should I get worked up over a 7 foot dude going 12 of 15 from the field? Well, since it's almost all jumpshots, yeah, a little. But you're 7 feet tall. When should you ever miss from in close. Plus, half his point total came with nobody doing anything except standing there (unless most possessions when maybe one person is moving). Yup. A free throw shooting exhibition can be exciting. Unless it's two freebies to send a game into OT with no time left on the clock.

May 18, 2011 at 3:19 p.m.
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