published Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

5-at-10: Sports headlines on and in court

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    Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) passes around Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) from Republic of Congo during the first half at Game 4 of the NBA finals basketball series, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Don't forget our mailbag Friday

From the "Talks Too Much" studios, here we go...

Heat on the brink

Much-maligned Miami star LeBron James was not on the floor at the end of the Heat's 104-98 Game 4 win Wednesday. The cramps and pain in his legs had left him barely standing on the Miami bench in the final minute.

What he left on the court in his 44 minutes of play was every bit as noticeable and noteworthy as his absence in the end. James was a rebound shy of a triple-double (26 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists) and was the catalyst of a Miami team that rallied from a 17-point deficit to move within one win of the NBA title. Limping late in the fourth quarter before coming out of the game, James hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with less than three minutes to play that gave the Heat a 3-1 lead — a lead that has never been overcome in NBA Finals history.

While James was impressive, he was not the most impressive player in a Miami uniform. Our expectations for James — a three-time NBA MVP — are off the charts, but when Mario "Superintendent" Chalmers does an Andrew Toney impression and scores 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting, well, that's an eye-opener.

And neither Superintendent Chalmers nor James was the best offensive player on the floor Wednesday. That was Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, who simply willed his way to the rim on his way to 43 points. Westbrook, who has entered James territory as a target for criticism, became only the third player in the last 25 years to score 43 or more points and shoot better than 60 percent from the field in a finals game. (Shaq and MJ are the other two.)

And LeBron's leg ailments were not the most painful aspect of Wednesday's Game 4. No that goes to Thunder guard James Harden, the final prong on the OKC trident who has been as dull as your Uncle Ted's story about vacationing in Oak Ridge. Harden was 2-of-10 from the floor and played with such an absence of confidence that Andrew McCartney's movie characters from the '80s were saying, "Wow, he looks pretty tentative."

Grab this stat: In 11 minutes without Harden on the floor, OKC did not commit a turnover and shot 57 percent; in Harden's 37 minutes OKC had 11 turnovers and shot 46 percent. Ouch-Standing.

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    Harvey Updyke arrives with his wife Elva at the Lee County Justice Center in Auburn, Ala., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Jury selection is scheduled to begin in his trial where Updyke is accused of poisoning Toomer's Corner's historic oak trees on the campus of Auburn University. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Need a law degree to work the Auburn beat

So much for the slow time in Auburn. There are some really good dudes and better professionals working the Auburn football beat. We know, we keep up with the Auburn football beat.

There are two professional truths about covering a college football team. August through the end of November, you're going to be working. A LOT. If things fall right, though, you can get a chance to catch your breath in June and the first part of July.

Well, in Auburn right now, the cast and crew from Court TV could set up a satellite office.

Imagine if you're covering the Tigers. In the course of the last two weeks you have been responsible for reporting on a shooting at a party that killed three people, including two former Auburn football players, the sentencing of Antonio Goodwin, the former AU receiver who was sentenced to 15 years for his role in an armed robbery with three other former AU football players, and the jury selection for Harvey Updyke, the accused tree Alabama fan/nut job who reportedly confessed to the Auburn student newspaper about poisoning the trees at Toomer's Corner. And yes, that may be the single longest sentence we've ever written and when you work from the "Talks Too Much" studio, that's saying something.

Cuh-razy.

Side note: As we discussed late Tuesday with Mr. 962, it's fun to image the Voir Dire process at the Updyke trial in Auburn. Let's set the scene... very few smiling faces and let's pretend the air conditioner has stopped working.

Updyke's attorney: "Juror No. 1, do you know my client?"

Juror 1: "Nope, never seen that tree-killing S-O-B before in my life." (As the entire court room nods and three potential jurors shout "War Eagle.")

Updyke's attorney: "Strike Juror No. 1."

Judge: "This is the 13th jury pool we've tried couselor, how picky are you going to get?"

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    Jerry Sandusky arrives the courthouse for the second week of his trial at the Centre County Courthouse, in Bellefonte, Pa., Monday, June 18, 2012. The defense is to begin presenting it's case in Sandusky's trial on 52 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 boys over a period of 15 years on Monday. (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Nabil K. Mark)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Sandusky trial

The prosecution has rested and the defense has called a slew of "character" witness to defend alleged child sex predator Jerry Sandusky.

The defense has even hinted that Sandusky may testify, comparing the proceedings to a soap opera like "General Hospital" or "All My Children." (Yes, the defense attorney actually used the "All My Children" reference, which is a world-class poor word choice.)

As for the decision of Sandusky to testify or not, and we know the legal factors in that choice because we have seen more than our fair share of "Law&Order," Sandusky's silence may be louder and more damaging than anything he could possibly say. If we were the prosecution and Sandusky does not testify, we'd center a big part of our closing argument on the following questions: "If you were accused of these evil and devilish acts, and were innocent, wouldn't you be fighting through a brick wall to get to the stand to proclaim your innocence? Wouldn't you be looking for the tallest tree from which to shout you didn't do it?"

That said, the bulk of the defense has been deflecting the evidence rather than refuting it. Character witnesses have said there's no way the Sandusky they knew could have done this. Well, of course not — the Sandusky those folks knew was not molesting pre-teen boys. That's as reliable as the neighbors of serial killers saying, "Well he was always quiet and kept to himself."

The closest thing to denying the charges has been the testimony from his wife Dottie Sandusky, who refuted at least one victim's allegations that he was assaulted in the basement of the Sandusky home while Dottie was upstairs. Dottie, who used to live in Sale Creek, said she remembered several of the victims and that some were "clingy" around Sandusky and one was "charming." Dottie said nearly all would spend the night in the Sandusky home and Jerry Sandusky "would tell them good night."

The defense reportedly scored some points by noting that the investigators had shared details with interviewees about other victims and people who had come forward.

At this point, does anyone outside of the Sandusky inner-circle think this guy didn't do this? Seriously?

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This and that

— Saw this morning that the Jacksons are going back on tour without Michael. Uh, OK. There will be at least tens of people excited about this. Who possibly thinks this is a good idea? This is the 1992 Bulls getting together and saying, hey, let's challenge the Heat without Jordan.

— A criminal in North Carolina this week was trying to allude authorities and bit a police dog's ear in an escape attempt. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that would be the famous "Man bites Dog" headline we've heard so much about. Read more here http://www.wbtv.com/story/18824432/police-man-bites-dog-stitches-needed

— Excellent win for your Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. Timmy Hudson delivered and on a comfortable scale from 1-to-10 with 1 being an IRS audit and 10 being your dad's recliner growing up, how comfortable are you with Craig Kimbrel on the mound and a one-run lead? It has to be about 12.5 right now right?

— Les Miles met with a bigwig from Marvel Comics recently and discussed his want (copyright Les Miles) to be included in a comic book. How about a mega-hat-sized, grass-chewing Super Hero who uses crazy schemes and fake field goals to topple his opponents. Uh, Les, you'll forever be a comic book character to us. We need more Les. Period.

— OK, those of you who know the 5-at-10 know we're a pretty luck lot. Well, there's the Mrs. 5-at-10 for starters, and there's also the fact that we have won drawings that have yielded a 1930 Model A Ford and two invites to play Augusta National. Yes, we have a lucky streak. Well, so does Phil Massey apparently. According to prep ace Stephen Hargis' story in today's TFP http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jun/20/canadian-qb-star-enrolling-at-baylor/, Massey, the Baylor School football coach who three years ago welcomed transfer Jacob Huesman (the current UTC quarterback who was an all-state player with the Red Raiders), will welcome in another transfer quarterback. Rising prospect Michael O'Connor, who already has scholarship offers from Michigan State and Mississippi State, is set to enroll next month.

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Today's question

Thursday night the Heat will try to win the title. The championship would mean the world to LeBron James' career and assassinate the 800-pound monkey on his back.

Our question today, who is on the Marino Rushmore of best players of the last 25 years without a title in the big three sports?

We'll take LeBron, Marino, Bonds, Griffey Jr.

Discuss.

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.
chas9 said...

Vacationing in Oak Ridge? Bru-u-u-tal.

Great, great take on the Auburn juror who didn't know about the S.O.B. who poisoned the trees. Picking that jury might be harder than for the tawdry Penn State trial.

Nice try on the longish sentence, but you're no Faulkner. Count No-count could go on for pages before finding the period key on his Underwood.

Yesterday you said it's always college football season around here, so here's a query. Did the betting guru whose lines you shared last week from the tropical climes list the odds on The Vols losing this season to a Kentucky team playing a wide receiver at QB?

Yep, that was quite a show put on by Mr. Westbrook. Maybe he was on one of them substances Roger and Lance have never used.

June 20, 2012 at 10:28 a.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - SEC football is right around the corner, so for the Friday mailbag...If Dooley goes 6-6 (or worse), can you give me 5 good reasons that Hart would keep him at least one more season?

June 20, 2012 at 10:36 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Spot on about the Finals. The Heat have not lost their drive for the championship. Harden has been a disappointment this entire series. He's gotten good looks but he is in an all-around funk. If his O doesn't improve, Sefolosha should stay on the floor more for D. LeBron licks his chops when he sees Harden guarding him. Westbrook played lights-out until his bone-headed foul after the jump ball near the end.

Great list for the Marino Rushmore. However, just for fun, I'm going to disqualify Bonds for using PEDs. In his place, I'll put Barry Sanders who, in my opinion, is the second-best RB of all time.

If LeBron can wrap things up on Thursday (or Sunday, or Tuesday), then put KD in his place on the list. He's only 23, but he's already got 3 scoring titles. He's easily the best player in the NBA without a title if/when LeBron gets his ring.

June 20, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

If there's a recent sports phrase that you would have on your tombstone, we believe "UK beat the Vols with a WR playing quarterback," would be atop Kiper's draft board.

Side note: We have some make-up work to do on the NBA draft, which is next week. Who's up for a draft contest? We love the draft, but you should know this.

Fan —

You're in for Friday.

Stew —

Sanders is a great call. And he's right there waiting if LBJ falls off.

What about active players on that Rushmore?

LeBron, Randy Moss, Ichiro, Chris Paul or Durant?

Harden has cost himself some serious coin since he's looking for a contract extension.

— 5-at-10

June 20, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.
Stewwie said...

I like the active list but gimme D-Rose over Paul.

I'd be up for an NBA draft contest. I'm already thinking about how to answer these:

First player picked. First SEC player picked. First freshman picked. First player picked with a monster eyebrow.

June 20, 2012 at noon
BIspy4 said...

At least that long sentence did not include a speaking of or a by the way, irregardless of what else you used.

June 20, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.
chas9 said...

Moss is active? In his dreams.

Mr. Stew's questions are great, but you'll need a tiebreaker.

June 20, 2012 at 12:40 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stew-bert

D-Rose is a tough one since, a) dude has been injured, b) if he had been healthy this year, they would likely be the one that's up 3-1 right now and we'd be neck deep in LeBron's a gagger story for the last three weeks.

And, as for your categories, we'll take Anthony Davis to block. (Pun was intended 9er.)

Spy —

That made us laugh. Wicked hard.

9er —

Moss is signed with the 49ers. And if dude is 60 percent of what he once was, the 49ers instantly have a pretty credible receiving corps with Moss, Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis. Of course they have Alex Smith throwing it to them. Good thing Jim Harbaugh never seriously considered adding Peyton Manning... (Big-time eye roll...)

— 5-at-10

June 20, 2012 at 12:46 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Look- I'm always willing to go "innocent until proven guilty" in a court case. You're reading one of the few people that said that we needed to wait it out on Casey Anthony, and actually defended the jury, saying that the prosecution's mistake was going for too much, because I could not convict of first degree murder in the case. Anyway, that's off topic. The Jerry Sandusky trial has been sickening. There are excuses (the "in the past, coaches always showered with the kids" argument, which I think would be OK, if that was all he was accused of doing, and so it proves nothing to have a witness say that), and then there is the "evidence" (the wife not hearing anything and saying the basement is not soundproof, along with the claim that she saw two fully clothed people on the infamous bowl trip, along with the argument that one of the victims is prone to making up stories, and you may be able to argue that the police gave some information around the edges, and that he may have some disorder). So there is SOME wiggle room on this. Still, I find it next to impossible not to call him guilty on most of these charges. All 51 (I don't know the specific charges in all 51 counts- thank God! I've read too much as it is....) I am not completely convinced of, though I do think that it would be fair to find him guilty on all 51 counts because there are probably more we do not know about that he is not charged with.

Personally, I hope that in jail, the prison mates find a way for him to fix that disorder. Maybe he can send some of them love letters......

June 20, 2012 at 12:48 p.m.
chas9 said...

Moss is signed, but his recent stats suggest he won't stick. Or thrive. But you're right that a 60% Moss is still good.

June 20, 2012 at 2:01 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Oak Ridge slam! Wow. Hey man, they've got the National Science Museum and a...uh... I think I remember seeing an Arby's or something...

Andrew McCarthy? Was that a Mannequin and Bernie reference in the same sentence? Genius. That guy had to co star with some real lifeless characters. He was like Lebron with the Cavs before there was a such a thing.

And this Sandusky thing is ridiculous. They are attempting to discredit people opposed to providing facts of innocence. Would you really want Sandusky to have taken the stand though? Was he going to clarify that he was holding his hand out and the boy unintentionally but repetitively ran into it. Its just sad that in his head he probably thinks he is innocent of any wrong doing. Hes got some deep issues. What I fear though is that while some of the accusers are legimate, the false accusers are going to open a door for him to weasel out of some of the charges.

June 20, 2012 at 2:11 p.m.
Todd962 said...

And is this a full size Model A that you won? Like a whole car? Working condition? Did you sneak into a Georgia Tech raffle one weekend? Cause Rambling Wreck of 5-at-10 does not give the same ring. I must know more.

June 20, 2012 at 2:16 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

What say you about the draft contest?

Mr. 962 —

It's sad indeed that McCarthey was in movies with an actual mannequin and an actor playing dead — and McCartney was the lesser actor in each instance (and he was actually third behind the black guy form Designing Women and Jonathan Silverman).

And yes the Sandusky thing is DIS-gusting, and of course as his attorney you could never let him on the stand. But we'd still use it against him in our closing argument if we were the Jack McCoy of this case. And you're right, Sandusky is so cracked he properly believes he didn't do anything wrong. And we stand by our statement that if his attorney gets Sandusky cleared he has to let Sandusky baby-sit his kids.

— 5-at-10

June 20, 2012 at 2:23 p.m.
jgreeson said...

962 —

Let's set the scene.

5-at-10 and Mrs. 5-at-10 went to the Chattanooga Market in summer 2003. We were unhitched at that juncture but had discussed the marriage thing. We enter a Make-a-Wish drawing at the pavilion and tell the guy to keep the $20 and not worry about the ticket because, and we quote, "Where would we keep a 1930 Model A Ford." Flash-forward to November of 2003, riding home from Athens, Ga., after watching UGA thump Auburn — Mrs. 5-at-10 is a UGA grad, so one of us was really happy, one much less so — phone rings.

We win the full-sized, fully working 1930 Model A Ford. We sell it to a nice elderly couple on Lookout Mountain and use it as a chunk of the down payment of our first house.

So it goes.

— 5-at-10

June 20, 2012 at 2:35 p.m.
Todd962 said...

You could have a Marino Rushmore with just NBA players that have the Scooby Doo defense. "We were there, and we would have gotten away with it too if it wasnt for those pesky Bulls!" Malone, Stockton, Barkley, Ewing, and Reggie Miller. Jordan used to be a dream killer, and if you ask Bobcat fans, some things never change.

June 20, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.
chas9 said...

I will say this for Moss: At least he's not T.O. Question for the bag: Is there any position in any sport more likely to produce Difficult Player Disorder than wide receiver?

Draft contest sounds great. How about guessing the top five conferences (in order) for number of players taken in the first round? For purposes of the contest, Kentucky counts as its own conference. A variation could give double credit for lottery picks.

June 20, 2012 at 2:48 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Two things I can't to end. The NBA finals and the Sandusky trial.

And that was the first time I heard the Model A story. That is not a clown story, bro. Not at all.

June 20, 2012 at 4:48 p.m.
fechancellor said...

How about Karl Malone, Dominique Wilkins, Todd Helton and Chris Carter? Bonus, Charles Barkley and just on the edge of age, Earl Campbell.

The above said, no one can match Marino in this catagory.

June 20, 2012 at 5:24 p.m.
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