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From the "Talks too much" studios, let's see than million-dollar arm rook, because we got a real good idea about that 5 cent head of yours.
There were two statement NBA playoff wins last night.
The Miami Heatles destroyed Chicago, winning by 37 and the game was not that close.
There were tempers flaring and technicals flying. There was physical play and mental warfare. It bordered on out of control at times.
It also was just one game. As Steve Kerr said during the final moments of Miami's 115-78 Game 2 win to even the series, the NBA playoffs are not the Tour de France, there is aggregate score. There also is no Lance Armstrong sneaking off for a PED cocktail, but that's another story.
It counts the same as Game 1, when the Bulls' final-minute shocked the Heat. That said, it showed us two things: First, the Heat knew the stakes and responded; second, when LeBron James posts up, he's nearly unstoppable. And when he posts up and passes like he did Wednesday, good night.
The other statement was made by the seventh-seeded Golden State Warriors, who suffered a kick-to-the-crotch, double-overtime Game 1 loss and rebounded with a convincing Game 2 win at San Antonio to even the series. The Warriors now head home — and to a rocking home crowd that provides a real home-court edge — and looks to be the better team.
And we discussed earlier this week, Steph Curry is a way better pro than we expected. He's also a maturing NBA star. He was harassed most of the evening by double teams and scored only 22 points but did not force shots and made sure hot-stroking Klay Thompson got as many looks as possible.
Each of the four conference semifinals is tied at 1-1. Good times indeed.
Celebrating a golden silver anniversary
We started talking in the office earlier this week about Bull Durham celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. We'll get more into this all summer, but doing a little research (scary, huh Spy?), we have determined that 1988 is arguably the single most underrated year for movies ever.
Consider the following evidence:
There were three genre-specific Rushmore-worthy movies in Coming to America (comedy), Die Hard (action) and Bull Durham (sports).
There were a litany of all-time performances from all-time stars. You can make an argument that Coming to America is Eddie Murphy's best and that Rain Man is Dustin Hoffman's best performance and Tom Cruise's best movie. There's no doubt that Bruce Willis' signature role is John McClane and Kevin Costner's is Crash Davis. Heck, the only reason Tom Hanks is not in that discussion is, despite how great Big was, Hanks' signature will be Forrest Gump, and that's all we have to say about that.
And while it's certainly underrated in most circles, the big three of 1988 (Coming to America, Die Hard and Bull Durham) are three of the most quoted movies we know of.
Yes, we know that 1939 had Gone with the Wind and the Wizard of Oz and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
And 1984 is pretty stacked in the modern era with some all-time comedies like Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, Sixteen Candles, Bachelor Party and Revenge of the Nerds, plus action all-timer Terminator, sports all-timer The Natural and classic 1980s throwbacks Red Dawn, Footloose and Karate Kid. Good times.
Where were we?
Davidson makes it official
OK, as our SoCon ace Johnny Frierson/Ned Ryerson has informed us all along, the Southern Conference, she be a changing. Here's today's report http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/may/09/departures-signal-changes-for-the-league-that-is/.
Davidson has officially accepted an invite to the A-10, a big-boy basketball league. In truth, Davidson's move is the most logical of the flurry of departures that include football powers App State and Georgia Southern going to the Worldwide Sun Belt and Charleston going to the Colonial. Davidson, which plays nonscholarship football, moves its high-profile basketball program from the one-bid SoCon to an A-10 league that got five bids last year.
We get that move for Davidson, and think it's a no-brainer really. We understand that App State and GSU are trying to move up; we're not sure it will work though. Charleston, well whatever.
The main issue now is what can the SoCon do to salvage its infrastructure. The names of ETSU, VMI and Mercer have been bandied about, and that's OK. Not terribly exciting, but OK. The next moves need to come quickly, however, or the SoCon runs the risk of being the Big East of the FCS, and if you don't have a chair when the realignment music stops, that's on you.
One other point while we're here, if UTC stays in a SoCon without the aforementioned schools and rivals, then UTC should be expected to be the Florida Gators of the SoCon and be at the top of every sport. At least that's what we think.
This and that
— The UTC men's hoops search is down to three candidates, according to this report by our UTC hoops ace David Uchiyama. The three names are familiar — Alabama assistant John Brannen, VCU assistant Will Wade and former Georgia coach Dennis Felton — to those that have followed the search. And while Wade has been the perceived front-runner for a while now, the longer the process goes, makes this seem to be more of an open question that we may have originally thought.
Tennessee Titans caravan rolls into ChattanoogaThe Tennessee Titans caravan rolled into the Academy Sports + Outdoors in Hixson on Wednesday. Titans wide receiver Marc Mariani and linebackers Colin McCarthy and Zach Brown signed autographs and met with hundreds of fans during the two-hour stop.
— Some Titans were in town Wednesday, as our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer shares here. The voice of the Titans Mike Keith was on with the SportTalk guys on Wednesday, and he sounds super-pumped about the upcoming season. The Titans look improved in a lot of areas — they added two big-time guards and we think second-round pick Justin Hunter was one of the draft's best — but unless quarterback Jake Locker is ready to be Da' Man, the rest of it is background noise and promo tours.
— Ronde Barber is retiring after 16 years with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Wow, 16 years in the NFL. That's pretty awesome in its awesomeness. Question: Is Barber, with his 47 career picks and 215 consecutive starts but only five Pro Bowls, a Hall of Famer? Discuss.
— We love the draft. You know this. Two draft related things: If you have not watched Frank Caliendo's spot-on Mel Kiper impression — "Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd! Todd! Todd! Todd!" — you have our permission to go here and enjoy. Secondly, the real Kiper has come out with his 2014 rankings and there are three Tennessee players — Tiny Richardson, Daniel McCullers and A.J. Johnson — among his top 50. There are 17 SEC players in Kiper's top 50 and six Alabama players. Surprisingly, Aaron Murray is not among the group.
Feel free to discuss any of the above items — and remember the mailbag.
If you need a talking point, feel free to kick around either of the following:
What's your favorite 1980s movie that you're almost embarrassed to tell folks about? C'mon Spy, you know you love Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo?
If you're a Mocs-backer and those are your three finalists for the men's hoops gig, who you backing and why?
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 ...