published Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

5 at 10: Drew Brees, Playoffs and another Vols coach fired

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

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    Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki of Germany shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder's Nick Collison, front, in the second half of Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference finals basketball series Monday, May 23, 2011, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

And then there were three

The 5-at-10 turned off the TV with the Oklahoma City Thunder holding a double-digit lead with less than five minutes left. The Western Conference finals appeared to be heading back to Dallas tied at 2.

Then the wheels fell off. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs rallied from 15 down with 4:48 to play for a 112-105 overtime win that gave Dallas a 3-1 edge and all-but-secured the series.

It played out in shocking fashion, but in truth this unpredictable series now has what could be called a predictable and signature moment. As much fun as this youthful Thunder team -- and the energetic OKC crowd -- has been during this charmed playoff run, no professional sports team ascends to a championship without some pain along the way. And Monday's loss was flush with pain.

OKC had 25 turnovers, including nine by star Kevin Durant.

OKC's offense went stagnant when James Harden fouled out with a little less than five to play in regulation. After Harden was DQ'ed, the Thunder scored six points the rest of the way.

OKC point guard Russell Westbrook has dealt with a lot of second-guessing and criticism for his fourth-quarter decision making. It has been justified for the most part, but where this takes him -- does he embrace the challenge or wilt from it -- will be telling.

Barring a miracle, Dallas and uber-star Nowitzki, who scored 40 in Monday's win, will be in the finals for the second time. And the Mavs deserve to be there.

Side note: Where does Monday's Meltdown rank among postseason implosions? Here's our top 3:

-- Oilers-Bills, AFC playoffs, 1992 -- Bills trailed 28-3 at halftime and 35-3 early in the third quarter; without stars Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas, Buffalo rallied for a 41-38 win in overtime.

-- Red Sox-Mets, Game 6, 1986 World Series (Sorry, BIspy) -- The Bill Buckner game was a complete team collapse.

-- Jean Van de Velde, 1999 British Open -- Dude had a three-shot lead on the tee of the 72nd hole; a triple-bogey later and a playoff loss left Van de Velde searching for answers.

This game does not crack that top three, but know this -- the Thunder's time is coming, and Monday's painful experience likely will quicken that process.

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    New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees answers a question concerning the lockout of NFL football players, at a news conference for a charity golf tournament in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., Wednesday, March 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Best of Preps banquet

It's a busy time aroud the 5-at-10 compound.

The Best of Preps banquet is tonight with featured speaker Drew Brees. This is the 5-at-10's favorite event we do all year, and we're always proud to be a small part of it.

Spring Fling starts today with area schools sending seven tennis teams, four baseball teams, five softball teams, two soccer teams and a handful of tracksters in the decathlon. And that's just one day's schedule.

The smallest 5-at-10er -- baby girl Madeline Ray -- turns 1 on Saturday.

It's a busy time, but as the 5-at-10's Pop always said, "I'd rather be busy than bored."

Amen -- and pass the cornbread.

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    University of Tennessee baseball coach Todd Raleigh

And UT makes a coaching change -- again

University of Tennessee baseball coach Todd Raleigh was fired Monday, and it doesn't take Bobby Cox to see why. Raleigh's team was 7-23 in SEC play this year, and he failed to lead the Vols to the SEC tournament in four years in Knoxville.

UT baseball has become the worst program in the league, and that's hard to fathom for a state school that has the ability to use lottery scholarships to augment the less than 12 scholarships baseball teams have to fill their rosters.

But, as TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer adroitly noted here, this is yet another blemish on UT athletic director Mike Hamilton, who hand-picked Raleigh after firing successful yet stressful Rod Delmonico.

His ability as a fundraiser is undeniable, but Hamilton has now fired-hired-and-been-forced-to-replace head coaches in each of his three biggest sports (remember, UT has a separate women's AD and women's athletic department).

The list of possible replacements range from familiar (Chris Burke) to eye-popping (it's hard to see former UT star and major league manager Phil Garner being an option). So Hamilton heads into his third coaching search in 16 months, and something tells the 5-at-10 that as the critics start to grow in number and volume, this will be a little more closely watched than the average baseball coaching search.

The 5-at-10 says the first call should go to Rick Honeycutt, former area star and UT All-American. Make him say no, then call Garner. Heck call Bobby Cox -- it's not like he's got anything else to do.

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    Harold Camping prepares for a taping of his show "Open Forum" in Oakland, Calif., Monday, May 23, 2011. Camping says his prophecy that the world would end was off by five months because Judgment Day actually will come on October 21. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Rapture on Oct. 21

Harold Camping, the radio host that predicted the rapture for last Saturday, said he was early by five months. Camping now tells his listeners/believers/followers/fellow nutcases that the judgement from our Lord and the end of the world will be Oct. 21.

First question: Why does this guy get to choose? Why not the 5-at-10? And if it has to be a radio personality,wouldn't Dr. B have a little more insight -- hey, he's a doctor after all?

That said, here's our thought about Camping's latest prediction -- Uh, no. Oct. 21? Seriously? The Friday before Alabama-Tennessee and LSU-Auburn? (Side bonus: get your SEC football schedule grid here There is no way, No Way, NO WAY, the Good Lord is going to end our days during the middle of college football season.

And that's all we have to say about that.

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    Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (41) of Germany makes an off-balanced shot over Oklahoma City Thunder's Nick Collison, right, in the second half of Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference finals basketball series Monday, May 23, 2011, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

This and that

-- One more NBA playoffs tidbit: We've heard of win-win trades, but how's this for a lose-lose trade. When Boston sent Kedrick Perkins to OKC for Jeff Green, the Celtics were never the same. Well, the Thunder had some success in recent seasons with Jeff Green guarding Dirk Nowitzki, and without Green, Nowitzki has torched the Thunder.

-- The "VAN GUNDY" guy in the "Beans and sports," ESPN commercial that EC referenced Monday continues to entertain. If the 5-at-10 has a voice commercial in our future, we want Sam Elliot to do it. His "Coors, a banquet beer," and those Chevy commercials are awesome. And, if we do a 5-at-10 commercial, there is no way that talking basketball from the NBA playoffs can be involved in any way.

-- Is anyone other than the 5-at-10 perplexed and somewhat pained that the Heisman Trophy will be sponsored by AFLAC? Yes, the AFLAC Duck will have a feather in the Heisman presentation.

-- Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 for his slur at a fan that was caught on camera Sunday night. Sounds about right -- until you realize that that's more than what most of America makes in a year. The 5-at-10's head hurts. "We're in a glass case of emotion. ... Mean man punted Baxter."

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 ...

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.
Eustice_Chase said...

Its SO HOT! Milk was a bad choice...INteresting that the voice-less AFLAC duck will be apart of the Hiesmen Presentation..i just wonder if they will put a decal on the Trophy like they do their Racecar that says "NOW HIRING"...Mike Hamilton..good luck finding a bat and ball coach...Id love to hear to the conversation he has with Rick Honeycutt if he does call him...what would be his sales pitch...The Stable environment at Rocky Top? this should be interesting....Best of Preps tonight..I hope its a Homerun...wish I could be there but the Mrs. has put her foot down...Kind of like Dallas did...but they put their foot on the young throats of OKC...and dirk put up 40( Im a man Im 40)..again!!!

Last night on WWE RAW there was a very nice moment of silence and video tribute to Macho Man Randy Savage...also Nexus Leader CM Punk paid a similar way Rocky Did for Apollo and wore trunks and boots that matched those of the late Macho Man...classy...very classy....Stay Classy San Diego

May 24, 2011 at 10:37 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Did anybody else see the pic of Lacey Walker's (pitcher from Grace) arms?!?! REDICULOUS!! I want my arms that cut!!! Anyway good luck to all the teams representing Chattavegas this week. Didnt see the meltdown last night but The Bear is not a huge basketball fan and yall know this. But as far as the list goes, you are spot on. That bills-oilers game will always be etched in my brain like the 350 pound plumber fixing that leak under my sink....not pretty. But there is also another wonderful meltdown performance that i would like to bring up to the VOl nation...and im not sure on the maybe 07-08...TN just went up on GA, all they had to do was kick it deep and make GA drive the whole length of the field but the kicker totally muffed it and landed us like on the 50. Drove the field and won it on a pass over the middle to the full back...ahhhh...great moments in GA history. What is the greatest college football comeback???

May 24, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

Hamilton can convince Honeycutt that his charm is the best and that "60 percent of the time, it works every time. There are bits of real Panther in there."

And what happens if Oregon Duck LaMichael James wins the AFLAC duck Heisman. Holy Quack Attack that's less than great.

BoP should be great; excited about meeting and talking with Drew Brees in front of the 1,000 or so folks there. Good times.

Glad to see they honored the Macho Man — and if Slim Jim does not come out with some sort of tribute, well, they've got some 'splains to do. Wrestling question for you EC: Last night, the Rock and Steve Austin were doing some sort of Wrestling Apprentice thing. What's up with that?

I love lamp.

Oso —

Are you talking about the Verron Hayes game in David Greene's freshman year? I think that was like 2001. As far as great college football comebacks, here's a new element: The comment section 3-in-10 by the 5-at-10: 1. 2010 Iron Bowl: Auburn wins 28-27 after being down 24-0 at Alabama 2. Florida-FSU in 1994: FSU rallies from 31-3 with 14:00 left to tie 3. Maryland Miracle in Miami in 1984: Frank Reich, Terps turn 31-0 hole into 42-40 win.

Special note to the big-time, snatch-victory-from-the-jaws-of-defeat, last-second comebacks like Stanford over Cal in the band play, and Flutie's Hail Mary and Kordell Stewart's Hail Mary, and about any other Hail Mary.

— 5-at-10

May 24, 2011 at 11:44 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

You must be referring to..Tough Enough...its a reality show they started years ago on MTV..they did a couples seasons of it and realized that it takes a lot longer than 6-12 months to get guys ready for WWE stardom so they canceled the show ...season 1 winner..Maven..was a crash and burn...Season 3 winner John Morrison..well lets just say he took his time getting out of the developmental territory...and then Mike aka the MIZ of Real World/Road Rules MTV stardom won season 4 and now hes a WWE superstar along with John anyways..the powers that be in the WWE decided to bring it back...and to say its been a success as far as ratings go is an under statement...Stone Cold is Money in the Bank....and any time The Rock makes a guest appearance on anything well...its Golden Pony Boy..Golden...

May 24, 2011 at 12:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

You're a wealth of knowledge, especially in the fields of MMA, pro wrestling and movies that all guys should know.

Question: If there was a character battle royale between Dalton from "Roadhouse," ThunderLips from "Rocky III," Dallas from ""The Outsiders" and John McLain from "Die Hard," who is the last man standing?

— 5-at-10

May 24, 2011 at 2:20 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5 at 10 Pop is and remains one good man. Never forget that Calvin "Deer in Headlights" Schiraldi had an 0-2 count with two outs and nobody on before the meltdown. And, the Sox led 3-0 in the fifth inning of Game 7 before going up in flames. And Grady left Pedro in ... and Bucky F Dent used a corked bat .... In a character battle royale, I'll take John Matrix from "Commando." So much better than Bennett. ("Let off some steam, Bennett.") My favorite college football comeback is 1985, down 28-6 to Furman in the national championship game before Tracy hits Frankie Johnson with 10 seconds left on 360 stretch for a 44-42 win. And Georgia Southern is about to be really, really, really good again, say by 2012. Glad 5 at 10 mentioned the FSU rally to tie Florida (seriously, how many future NFLers played in that game) and of course, Mr. Comeback, Frank Reich, beating a star-studded Miami team ... in the Urnge Bowl.

May 24, 2011 at 2:51 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Wow what a question...Thunderlips...the Ultimate Male versus...the ultimate meatball..

Well The height immediately goes to well as strength...Speed has to go to Dalton with Knowledge going to John McClain..and Dallas..well he gets all the street cred in the world...the oddmakers would make him a favorite for this reason alone....

Thunderlips would draw a 3-0n-1 situation because of his size making him the first to go....While Dalton and McClain throw awesome one-liners at each other Dalls would slip under the ropes to hide underneath the ring...Noticing that only two are left Dalton would use his philospohy degree from NYU to encourage McClain on to the top rope where his speed would result in a drop kick causing McClain to fall to the outside of the Dalton celebrates in the center Dalls climbs in the ring and lifts Dalton over the top with the victory going to Dallas...not to be out done...Thunderlips comes back out to the ring demanding an instant replay...the replay would be denied by Brick Tamland...who stands at the Hot Coco stand with his Trident..Thunderlips walks away in disgust...Dallas Wins....(jerry jones is immediately the breaking news)

May 24, 2011 at 2:59 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BIspy4 —

Something told us you were going to reach back into the files of GSU history and pull out a winner. And we could have an entire Red Sox list on collapses, but we did not want to ruin your day so early in the a.m.

And those 1990s FSU, Miami and Florida teams went through some NFL talent. Wow.

EC —

That's is out-of-the-park good. And, yes, the Google on Jerry Jones's computer just erupted with the words "Dallas" and "wins" connected.

Hard to argue with any of that breakdown — and if you ever need a reference to replace Joe Rogan, consider the 5-at-10 in your corner. One addition, Dalton has to rip out Thunderlips' throat — that's his go-to move. Then Ron Burgandy looks at the group and says, "Man, that escalated in a hurry... Dalton killed a guy."

May 24, 2011 at 3:24 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

agreed that Dalton's go to move is something that Sam Elliot taught him...yeah we just went full circle...(because you mention the Coor's commercial earlier in the show) was hard for me to see Dalton winning a one on one with someone who ate...202lbs of food...-according to Mick.....

May 24, 2011 at 3:40 p.m.
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