published Thursday, May 17th, 2012

5 at 10: NBA changes, Braves' Minor problem and College football house cleaning

Gang, remember about Friday's mailbag. We have a couple of open spots.

From the "Talk too much Studios" here we go...

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    Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant is shown during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Changing of the guard?

Did that just happen? Did Kevin Durant just make a series of big plays late in a tight playoff game, and outshine the game's top closer to close out a big game?

Yes and yes. Durant was the man in the final quarter of the Thunder's not-always-pretty-but-pretty-doggone-exciting-late 77-75 win over Los Angeles.

Durant, who was described as too unselfish by his coach, finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds. He switched defensively and covered Kobe Bryant, who missed all four of his shots in the final 4:29 with the elongated Durant bothering him.

While LeBron is the best player on the planet, Durant just served notice about a couple things in that hierarchy:

1) The divide is now super narrow;

2) If you have Kobe at No. 2, well, that's your prerogative considering all he's accomplished, know that his time there is dwindling.

(Side note: If LeBron had a final five minutes like Kobe did Wednesday night, there would have been a cosmic shift with all the ensuing hand-wringing. Granted Kobe gets a few mulligans after a career crafted on being a slap killer in the final minutes, but wow. Game 3 is now over the top huge for the Lakers.)

————

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    A two-run home run by Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton gets past Atlanta Braves center fielder Jason Heyward (22) in the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 16, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Braves' 10-foot hurdle

If you're a Braves fan, depending on you age, you have certain nemesis. For some it's the Dodgers, for some it was the Mets, and for the current brood, it's those stinkin' Florida/Miami MArlins. The Braves could be the '27 Yankees and the Marlins could be filled with TFP sportswriters and the Braves would struggle (although, if our curve is working, Uggla's got no chance).

It was true again last night as the Marlins stroked the Braves 8-4. And while we fully embrace the baseball thinking that it's a long season and you have to trust it, it's time to ask some questions about Mike Minor.

Minor became the first big-league pitcher since 2008 to allow at least six earned runs in each of four consecutive starts. Ouch.

In fact, after last night's drubbing, did you know that Minor's ERA (7.09) is more than double that of 138-year-old journeyman reliever Livan Hernandez's (3.09)? We want to believe Minor has a super bright future, but we're certainly coming to a crossroad in which potential needs to meet production.

(Side note: Speaking of production, Martin Prado is killing. Opposing pitchers could be throwing aspirin tablets and Prado would double to right center. Dude is 6-for-his-last-8, 10-for-his-last-16 and has jumped his average from .264 to .314 during his eight-game hitting streak. Awesome in its awesomeness.)

———

Some college football house cleaning

Let's get to it. (And yes, we've missed it as badly as you have.)

— Alabama landed a verbal pledge from Cooper Bateman, a top-five national QB prospect. It seems that Nick Saban is the Honey Badger of recruiting, and he continues to take what he wants.

— Clemson's offseason of turmoil received another jolt of bad news. Running back Mike Bellamy — a true speedster — was ruled academically ineligible and is headed to a junior college. That means Clemson could be without Bellamy and Sammie Watkins, who faces some sort of discipline for his arrest last month, for the season opener against Auburn in the Georgia Dome.

— Notre Dame linebacker Carlo Calabrese has been charged with a misdemeanor count of intimidation for allegedly making threats to a cop after Irish quarterback Tommy Rees was arrested earlier this month. And yes, this would be where you would insert the "That's the first ND linebacker to intimidate anyone since Holtz was on campus," jokes. Although, apparently Calabrese told the cop, "My people will get you," and whether he contacted cousin Luca Brasi or his wife's hot-headed brother Sonny or not is unknown.

— As our ace David Paschall reported during the spring, Georgia sophomore Malcolm Mitchell is going to be an extremely busy Bulldog this fall. Mark Richt said this week that receiver/defensive back Mitchell will be the first true two-way player he's had. And while a big part of that is the challenges facing a suspension-riddled secondary, here's a chicken or the egg question: If a power program in college football is using someone on both sides of the ball does that speak to the supreme talents of that player or the misgivings of recruiting a specific position? Discuss.

— Tennessee's kickoff time for the season opener against N.C. State on Aug. 31 was set at 7:30 p.m. Two quick things: One, there is no way to overstate that game for the Vols and coach Derek Dooley; Two, that will be the single busiest night of the year for the TFP sports department. A full night of high school football compounded with the Vols playing a night game on national TV. Ouch-standing.

— Urban Meyer, THE new coach at THE Ohio State, says leadership brings championship rings. Well, under the Buckeyes Transitive Property of Pryor, in which if A=Bling and Bling=Cash then A=Cash, if leadership means rings, and rings mean money, leadership means money. Got it.

———

This and that

— The shoe company Sketchers was ordered to pay $40 million because of unfounded claims that its Shape-ups shoes would allow folks to lose pounds and shape their tuckus, stomach and leg muscles. What? You mean advertising is not always accurate and can overstate products? Noooooooo. (Although that explains why we couldn't use the Reebok Pump shoe and dunk like Shawn Kemp. Where's our attorney's number...)

— The New York Giants received their Super Bowl rings this week, and they are pretty boss. The 5-at-10 does not wear jewelry, but if we had a championship ring, we would consider altering our view on bling. (Other than a wedding ring, we don't wear any flare. We have no problem with a watch or even a necklace that has some emotional value, but you start getting into multiple rings, a bracelet, etc., well, you are asking for the Mr. T jokes. And if you wear five or more pieces of jewelry, know that even if you can't hear the Mr. T jokes, those jokes are being made.)

— Programming note: We're scheduled to pull a radio two-fer today — chatting with Chris Goforth on 1370 AM at 2 p.m. and swinging by SportTalk to catch up with Quake and Dr. B (he's a doctor after all) around 4ish. Give them a listen... don't cost nothing.

———

Today's question

Free for all Thursday...

What's the best debut album ever? What movie are you stunned there hasn't been a remake? (And if you answer anything other than Red Dawn, well, you fighting for second place.) What TV show are you watching that you're stunned the rest of us aren't?

Sports can be the topic too: Will you watch an NBA playoff game or a replay of an SEC spring game (and not your main team, just another team in the conference)? What should our next contest be?

Bring it with anything whether it's something you think make the 5-at-10 better? Maybe you have a question about the competitive chihuahua races in Panama?

Or maybe some word play, more or less. Would less be more? Would more be less? (Some times you win, some times you lose and some times it rains. Think about that. RayAnn that's a beautiful name...)

It's a free day, and one we can all enjoy, right?

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.
jgreeson said...

From Friend of the show StuckinKent

Show department:

I watch a ton of sports, a lot of movies, but not a ton of TV shows. I watch Person of Interest, How I Met Your Mother, Fringe, and Damages on a regular basis. Person of Interest and How I Met Your Mother are popular enough that I think people are watching them. Fringe is kind of a weird one, I admit, so I don't blame anyone for not watching it. But, I have watched Damages since Season One on FX (it lasted three seasons there), and they are about to begin Season Five (the final season, supposedly) on the DirecTV owned Audience Network. I've never understood why no one watches this show and it gets relegated to the Audience Network. It consistently gets award nominations. Glen Close is brilliant in it. Ted Danson (when he used to be on it) was outstanding. Rose Byrne has been amazing. They always have incredible guest stars for a season. (Last season, John Goodman was incredible.) I've never understood why everyone watches American Idol and stuff like that, but no one will watch a show like this one. I advise everyone to look it up on-line and watch Season One at least to give it a shot. Netflix is there for a reason.

May 17, 2012 at 10:57 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Going into that Lakers game last night I had lost some of the confidence I had in Kobe being able to take off with the game. His call outs of teammates in the last series and what I assume was sarcasm of them not being able to hang with the Thunder's speed or youth didnt sit to well. Maybe the Mamba has lost a bit of his edge and this series is a passing of the torch so to speak with Durant coming up.

Well since you mentioned TV shows and Alabama... Did you hear that they were going to attempt to make a spin off of CSI with CSI Alabama? Only problem was every suspect had the same DNA and there were no dental records to be found.

And since we were talking about Alabama, did you hear they found another use for their sheep? Wool.

Free days are awesome.

May 17, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Todd's right...the Mamba is starting to lose his edge. His age is beginning to really show now. Two stupid turnovers near the end by him--throwing the inbounds pass right to Durant and then whiffing on a pass from Blake (that Westbrook almost got to first). His legs weren't there at the end with him bricking decent looks. This isn't the Kobe that we all know and love (or hate). The window is closing very fast in the chase for title #6.

Great look by Artest to a wide open Blake for a possible game winner--he's hit them several times before--but this one just didn't go down.

Just a day or two after saying he "doesn't take charges," Kobe surprisingly tried to take one on a Thunder fast break late in the 3rd quarter. He obviously needs some practice at it as he easily got called for a block on the play for not being set. Maybe Coach K can give him some special instruction during the Olympic practices this summer.

Speaking of special instruction, someone needs to teach Durant how to properly intentionally miss a free throw. Wow.

May 17, 2012 at 11:46 a.m.
jgreeson said...

StuckinKent —

We have a couple of shows like that. Southland on TNT is excellent. Friday Night Lights was outstanding — and while the critical acclaim was ten-fold of the viewership, the fact that it got to end on its own terms is a great thing.

There are a few others that we have been meaning to get into, but just haven't.

As for NetFlix, everyone needs to do some refresher work on the old Dallas shows, because TNT is coming out with a Dallas 2.0 this summer, and you better believe the 5-at-10 will be watching.

(Side note: TNT has become a valuable asset beyond just your Law & Order fix. Chuck Barkley, Southland, Dallas 2.0. Well-played indeed.)

Mr. 962 —

Great point about Kobe getting a little frazzled. And this does feel kind of like a passing the torch moment. And it could be a spring/summer of passing the torch if Durant and Co. beat Kobe, top the Spurs and win a title before LeBron and the Heatles.

And look at you bringing out the zingers Checkie.

As for the CSI Alabama, well, what do you expect? True story: The 5-at-10s were hitched in Alabama, so we went to Fort Payne to get a marriage license. One of the questions was:

Are you and your spouse related? Y/N

If so, how?___

Seriously. So we asked the clerk if we checked yes, did that mean we couldn't get married. She said, no. (Cue the dueling banjos and the Deliverance references.)

Free days are awesome indeed.

May 17, 2012 at 11:48 a.m.
jgreeson said...

They're not booing, they're saying Stewwwwwwww —

Sadly we have to agree that for the first time in recent memory, Kobe looked old.

There are a lot of miles on his legs and the seven-game series in Round 1 coupled with the condensed regular season looks like it's taking a toll.

That said, here's saying that Popovich in San Antonio deserves coach of the year if for no other reason than openly saying forget it and sitting his guys for entire games — including a few in which the Spurs were crushed — to be ready for this. The Spurs are not the youngest chickens in the playoff barn, but they look fresh. And tough.

— 5-at-10

May 17, 2012 at 11:52 a.m.
John_Proctor said...

Person of Interest is one of the most interesting shows on TV today. The scary part is speculating on how much of what Finch does is technically possible today.

I applaud your superior taste in TV viewing.

May 17, 2012 at 12:05 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Free days are awesome...

Jay - As for TV viewing, did you see the PBS documentary on Johnny Carson last week? I watched the Tonight Show almost every evening from my teen years to the end. The show was a don't miss for me. The documentary brought back a lot of good memories. Letterman, Conan, and the others just don't quite hit the mark Johnny set. The documentary reminded me how much he's missed...

May 17, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, I heard down at the club that the Vols have hit next to rock bottom by the fact the Vols v. NCSU was shunting to ESPNU. The downgrade does match the Vols wretched three seasons.

In one of my first posts here, I wrote that Tennesssee fans suffer indignaiton of being religated to ESPN 2. and their not so savory banter and slavish devotion to producer laden story lines.

Tennesse has not hit rock bottm yet.

I got a buddy whose all WVU through and through, when he gets wound up about their Thursday beat down of Temple, at I always say Tennessee plays on Saturday like a storied program should.

If things don't improve up in K-Town the Vols will play on Thursday night. I imagine the Vol faithful will show in numbers, yet with many forced to take a vacation day to do so.

May 17, 2012 at 1:07 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Fiveski, Did you see our boy Moyer making an even stronger bid in his run for the Baseball Novelty Hall of Fame? He became the oldest player to get a hit last night. Moyer made his major league debut on June 16 1986. Seven years later, his team, the Colorado Rockies were made a MLB franchise. Five years after that, the team he got the hit against, the Arizona Diamondbacks were made a MLB franchise as well. Great googily moogily that guys awesome. He's older than the teams themselves.

What's the difference in an Alabama cheerleader and a catfish? One is smelly and has whiskers, the other is a fish.

May 17, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Mr. Proctor —

Person of Interest has been on the list of ones we need to start watching.

Sportsfan —

Great call. We saw it and loved, Loved, LOVED it. It was so well done, and those memories of Johnny's greatness came flooding back. And the personal-side of Carson was so real and tragic — he gave so much of himself to the show that it cost him a lot in his family.

Great call.

FE to the C —

We don't think UT has hit rock bottom either, but it has next to nothing with TV locales and game nights. In fact, we believe the Vols are going to be markedly better this fall only to lose a lot of juniors to the draft.

And if the Vols do not show signs of improvement this fall, the UT faithful will hit the program where it lives — in the pocket book.

Mr. 962 —

Moyer is going to dominate the oldest guy to.... list in baseball. This is great. Side note: If you are faced with any baseball trivia and the question starts with "In baseball postseason history, which player/pitcher has the most..." the answers are generally Derek Jeter or Bernie Williams/John Smoltz or Mariano Rivera.

Wow, you're unloading the full routine.

Keep them coming... Free days rule.

— 5-at-10

May 17, 2012 at 1:45 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Are Alabama, LSU, Florida State, and USC not storied programs? All of them have played on Thursday nights in the past.

Tennessee playing on ESPNU surprised me. I guess Boise State-Michigan State that night is the bigger deal. Since Michigan State will be preseason Top 15 and UT and NCSU likely be crammed in the "Others Receiving Votes" (though I expect both to be toward the top of that list), I guess it makes sense. I wonder where Boise State will be ranked....they could be Top 25, but they have about six returning starters, if memory serves me correctly. I'm not sure if they really DESERVE Top 25 at this point. We'll see.

And I don't mind ESPN2. The difference between ESPN and ESPN2 is miniscule. The difference between ESPN2 and ESPNU is big.

May 17, 2012 at 1:46 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Best debut album? Guns n Roses "Appetite for Destruction," their first full studio release. Twenty-five years later, it still kicks booty. Van Halen I was righteous in its own right.

Can't believe there has never been a remake of "Stalag 17." Then again, I'm glad there hasn't been. Maybe it's time for a "Can't Buy Me Love" remake. What would a 21st century African Anteater Dance look like, anyway?

Other than "Big Bang Theory" (shut it, 5), "Swamp People" (again, shut it, 5), "Mad Men" and "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," I'm not watching a great deal of TV these days.

May 17, 2012 at 2:10 p.m.
deboman said...

Good shows are hard to find, and with the advent of the reality hogwash, I have to say that I have no problem sitting through live sporting events of teams, and sports to be honest, that I normally would have no reason to care about. Louie is pretty decent in an uncomfortable sort of way. Tried to get into Touch and Awake, but they are slow getting off the ground. Speaking of confusing DNA, I do have to say I am getting scared about how much the little lady is watching that ID channel.

Caught a bit of the basketball last night and the scariest free throw action I saw was in the Philly-Boston game. Philadelphia as a sports fanbase is known to be a little, well different than most. But when a 400lb.(conservative estimate there) man is dancing in the aisle behind the basket with his shirt off grabbing his belly, lines have been crossed.

Atlanta has some really nice opening weekend games. The loss of Bellamy, and potentially Watkins, from the Tigers v Tigers game could be big. More so the loss of Watkins, I believe that Bellamy was still #3 on the depth chart, but both are speed merchants that can change a game with one play. Dabo’s got some decision making to do on this one. Next two games are against Furman and Ball State, both winnable without Sammie.

Agree that Appetite was a doozy of a debut. G n R never quite matched the energy in that one. Would also say that Nirvana's 'Nevermind' was pretty darn good too.

May 17, 2012 at 2:21 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Excellent choice by the Spy man. Guns n Roses definitely came out of the gate strong with that one.

Two others that come to mind are from artists that died far too young. The Jimi Hendrix Experience's first album, Are You Experienced, brought Foxy Lady, Manic Depression, Fire, and Red House. Jimi was in the music scene as a front man for only four years before his death and still left us with some of the tastiest jams. True face melters.

The Doors self titled album was equally spectacular. Break on Through, Light My Fire, Crystal Ship, 20th Century Fox, and The End. Despite Jim Morrison being a complete nutjob, they also turned out some unique jams.

Most of my jokes are not 5@10 friendly. They are usually told over a few beers after surveying the room for clearence of easily offendable characters.

Did you catch my mailbag suggestion late Tuesday? Cause I have a list of five people in mind as we speak.

May 17, 2012 at 2:31 p.m.
jgreeson said...

StuckinKent —

Fair point, and in truth, SEC ace David Paschall will be helping the TFP effort on the UT-NCSt, and he was glad for the gig since he does not get ESPNU on his cable package. And here's saying the area sports bars are loving that decision.

Spy —

You so nailed our choice of No. 1 with GnR. Here's our top 5 debut albums:

1) Appetite for Destruction

2) Guitars and Cadillacs, Dwight Yoakam

3) The Chronic, Dr. Dre

4) Greeting from Ashbury Park, Springsteen

5) The Foundation, Zac Brown Band

And we're in for Can't Buy Me Love 2.0 (and why do you watch Big Bang Theory? Don't you live the Big Bang Theory? We kid, we kid.)

Deboman —

It will be interesting to see what Dabo does with Mr. Sammie "The man you know better as Joe the policeman from the 'What's Going Down' episode of 'That's My Mama'" Watkins. Real interesting.

Nirvana had a great debut album, but we never got the grunge bug. We missed Philly's dancing bear, and if your description is accurate, we're pretty happy we missed it.

Mr. 962 —

Jimi is a strong choice. And we appreciate your restraint on this family-oriented, interweb-based sports column.

Got your question, and your in. We are going to answer it with famous folks though, and are not going to step on any toes... Best not to swing where you eat if you know what we're saying.

— 5-at-10

May 17, 2012 at 3:15 p.m.
eastridge8 said...

First of all, thanks for the LOLs! todd962...veeeeery funny!

Too old to answer on the albums question...don't listen anymore, although the Jimi Hendrix reference was correct.

The TV series that could/should be a movie? "The Killing".

I feel like I AM watching a movie when I watch "Southland"...it's THAT good.

May 17, 2012 at 3:59 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I submit that you could be anywhere in the world, with another fella who might be a complete stranger between the ages of 30 and late 40s, and if you went, "Give it up for ... Randy ... Watson!" he would immediately reply ..."that boy good!"

Though I'm not that big a Pearl Jam fan, "10" was pretty strong for a first effort out of the box. Nirvana had done "Bleach" before "Nevermind" hit, so that's out.

I also will offer up the Allman Brothers' first album. Especially when you finish up with "Dreams" and "Whippin' Post." Yowzah. Or should I say ... bazinga!

Had to speak to the local Rotary Club today (yes, they were out of programs and settled for me) and had to recount the story of how my current boss tracked me down while I was playing golf with my former boss.

May 17, 2012 at 4:10 p.m.
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