Wow, now that's starting the week with a flurry. Nice job yesterday gang.
From the "Talks too much" studios, who's got questions?
Heat get hot, get by
Experience is a funny thing. You can't get it until you suffer through the process of getting it, and when you need it most is when you are going through the process of acquiring it.
That was the fate of the Indiana Pacers, a young roster of players that have introduced themselves to the country on a national stage with a fiery defense and two young stars in Roy Hibbert and Paul George. It also is a roster of guys that had not been in this moment — a Game 7 on the road against the best team in basketball.
So when the Heat and LeBron James started swinging haymakers in the second quarter, the Pacers took a couple on the chin and quickly went from dazed and confused ("It'd be a lot cooler if you did.") to out cold.
James continued his excellence — he scored 32, was the aggressor and the engine all night, and took the challenge of completely silencing Paul George, the Pacers best perimeter player who fouled out with seven points. James' 33.8 career points per game average in four Game 7s is the highest in NBA history of anyone who has ever played more than one.
And he was a beast in all phases.
But the difference between this game and the previous games in this series that were supremely competitive and split 3-3, was Dwyane Wade looking like Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen hitting 3s. We'll get more into the Finals preview later this week; today is about praising the energy and composure with which the Heat played.
Still, if the Pacers keep this bunch together — David West is a free agent; and they will get another valuable addition with Danny Granger, who missed most of this season with an injury — they have a shot to be back for the foreseeable future. That's a good thing for basketball.
(Side note: And for Stewwie and the rest, and because we have enjoyed all of your views on this topic, we felt the officiating was still puzzling at best last night. LeBron and the Heat were more aggressive, especially with the ball, so that leads to some of the unevenness. But the "make-up" calls lead to inconsistencies that make it tough for players — especially shot-blocking centers like Roy Hibbert — to stay out of foul trouble. Again, we don't think the officials decided any of the games in this series, we just thought the level of play was markedly better than the level of officiating.)
Best of Preps
Kudos to marketing whiz Lyndsi Lane and TFP head honcho Jason Taylor and the rest of the folks that had a hand in landing yet another whopper of a speaker for the Best of Preps banquet June 17.
Chipper Jones will be at our annual event that honors the best high school athletes from our area in the last school year.
Getting a speaker can be a nerve-wracking process, but the result has been eye-popping the last few years. From Michael Phelps to the Williams sisters to Super Bowl MVPs Drew Brees and Eli Manning, it has become a who's who in the sports world.
Of course, in the newspaper BID-ness, like most other places, as soon as the deal was secured, the question was, "Who will we get next year?"
Tennessee drops marathon
If you made it to the end of the Tennessee-Oklahoma Women's College World Series softball game, well, good for you. (And you are probably reading this with bloodshot eyes, since the extra-inning affair went 12 innings and well into the morning.)
Oklahoma slugger Lauren Chamberlain hit a two-run homer into the night for a 5-3 walk-off win for the Sooners. Tennessee scored three in the top of the 11th; Oklahoma answered, using a misplayed pop-up and two two-out hits to tie it.
It was the first of the Best-of-3 series, and afterward Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said: "I don't even know what to say, except I think that was the greatest game I've ever been a part of."
UT co-head coach Ralph Weekly said it was just one game, and "we're ready to move on to tomorrow."
Amazing how the perspective changes from one dugout to the other depending on who's doing the screaming. And that's how it should be. Game 2 is tonight, starting around 8 and likely ending around 1:15 a.m.
This and that
— One more tidbit from Game 7 last night, two megastars were sitting courtside. Justin Bieber was there in his wanna-be-a gangster starter kit. David Beckham was there in jeans and a T-shirt. And you want to know when cool recognizes cool? After leaving the court to a standing O, LeBron James shook hands with Beckham. Two of the all-timers in their respective field. As for Beebs, not so much.
— The Braves' way. Want to know how a team hitting .246 (only 19th best in the 30-team MLB) is 13 games over .500 with the largest divisional lead in baseball? Atlanta has hit three or more homers in the same game an MLB-best 13 times this season. And one of those three homers in last night's win over Pittsburgh was by the slugger formerly known as Jason Heyward. (Rest easy though, Danny Struggla managed to locate a strikeout in his four plate apperances, so he has at least one K in 10 consecutive games.)
— And combining the previous two 'This and thats' — Kris Medlen got the win with his extreme flat-bill. Beebs also sported the flat-bill cap (you know with the horizontal bill that looks like it just came out of the box). We are ready for the flat-bill era to go away, and we believe seeing a few more Justin Bieber shots like last night will expedite that process.
— Recently saw a TV commercial for Teen Wolf the TV show. Yeah, it's probably been a round a while, but since it's on MTV and we haven't watched MTV since they quit showing videos, well, there you go. Anyhoo, thinking back to Teen Wolf the movie, if you all of the movie basketball characters declared for the NBA, what is the draft board for the lottery? We'll set the top seven as follows (heights are movie listing of course):
1) Neon Boudeaux, the 7-foot-4 center in Blue Chips (yes, played by Shaq)
2) The 7-footer center in "Air Up There" (which was a dreadful Kevin Bacon movie in the early 1990s)
3) Teen Wolf, but only as the wolf; if he plays as Scottie Howard, then he's going to walk-on for a year and be an intramural terror at a Pac-12 college
4) Jesus Shuttlesworth
5) Hustler (played by Bernard King in the Gabe Kaplan classic "Fast Break")
6) Jimmy Chitwood
7) Penny Hardaway's character in Blue Chips
How's that for a top seven?
— Rest in peace to Deacon Jones, the Hall of Fame defensive end who is credited with coining the term "sacking the quarterback." If Deacon had been a generation or two later, he would have been an icon with today's media coverage and his embracement of a sound bite. As longtime show regular Eustice_Chase asked on the Twitter this morning, where is Deacon Jones' place on the all-time defense or the Rushmore of Defensive Ends? (We say Deacon is second-team on the all-time defensive with Reggie White and Bruce Smith as the first-teamers — and that has LT as a linebacker rather than a DE; if LT is a DE, then it's Reggie and LT on the first team with Deacon and Bruce on the second team. Either way, that puts Deacon on the Rushmore of Defensive Ends in NFL history.)
Jason Kidd and Grant Hill each retired in the last week.
Hill was on his way to being one of the game's best all-around players before injuries sidetracked his career. He still was a very good pro, just not the year-in, year-ou All-Pro player his first five years portrayed.
As for Kidd, his career is pretty well established. In fact, if we ask for the all-time point guard Rushmore, Kidd deserves consideration.
So today's question is who is on your Rushmore of NBA point guards?
Extra bonus: We love the draft. You know this. Hill and Kidd were part of the 1994 draft, which amazingly only produced five players who made an NBA all-star game. Glenn Robinson (1st overall), Kidd (2nd), Hill (3rd), Juwan Howard (5th) and Eddie Jones (10th) were the only players to make an all-star team, which could make the 1994 draft one of the worst ever.
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 ...