The basketball in the first round of these NBA playoffs was great in the West and subpar in the East.
The drama was superb. From Damien Lillard's epic game-winner for Portland to Paul Pierce's truthful defensive stand to get the Nets by the Raptors in Sunday's 104-103 Game 7.
Here's the next round and when they start:
Nets at Heat — Tuesday, 7 p.m. (TNT)
Wizards at Pacers — Tonight, 7 p.m. (TNT)
Blazers at Spurs — Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
Clippers at Thunder — Monday, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
The questions are clear for each series.
Can the Nets fluster LeBron? (No.)
Are the Pacers fixed after escaping the dreaded Hawks? (No.)
Are the Blazers spunky enough to top the experienced and deep Spurs? (Doubtful.)
Are the Clippers done with Sterling-gate and do they have an answer for Durant? (Most likely and no.)
Ouch. The Braves are reeling, losers of six straight and floundering at the plate.
The Braves scored one run in each of their three losses to the Giants over the weekend. To make matters worse, the Giants did not get a hit with a runner in scoring position and still managed to sweep the Braves.
The good: The pitching has still be pretty solid. The Giants hit a river of solo homers, but the margin of error is so fine and so slim, a solo homer feels like a grand slam against these Braves.
The bad: As bad as the bats have been as a whole, they have been even worse in clutch moments. The Braves are 13-for-102 (.127) with runners in scoring position and two outs — and Freddie Freeman is 5-for-8 in similar situations, so the rest of the bunch is even worse than that.
The Uggla: Wow. Welcome back Danny Struggla, we've missed you. Forget hits, Struggla now has more strikeouts (30) than total bases (28). After getting his average to a non-Struggla point of .232 on April 21, Struggla is 3-for-31 with 12 Ks. All three hits are singles.
OK, the draft is this Thursday.
We love the draft. You know this.
So here's our draft plan: Best picks out there today; worst picks Tuesday, Team needs Wednesday, quarterback breakdown Thursdsay. Deal? Deal.
And before we get rolling, we are doing a Draft a Winning Entry Draft Contest. Send us who you think will be the No. 1 overall pick, who the Falcons will take No. 6, who the Titans will take No. 11, the number of SEC players taken in round 1, and what overall pick will Aaron Murray be.
Five items and you could win a pretty sweet Masters Tervis Tumbler and maybe a hodgepodge of TFP goodies. Deal? Deal.
We'll be back with our top five best picks.
This and that
— Major tip of the visor to J.B. Holmes, who had multiple brain surgeries in 2011, broke his ankle roller blading the following year and completed his career comeback with a win Sunday at Quail Hollow against a major-championship-type field. Good times.
— Denny Hamlin became the eighth NASCAR driver to get a win in 10 events this year by rolling at the end of Sunday's sprint at Talladega. Another comeback story on a comeback Sunday — Hamlin missed most of last season with a broken back.
— Who says boxing's dead? Floyd Mayweather made a reported $32 million Saturday night with his win over some guy from somewhere. That's more than any single salary of any team-sport player in the U.S. this year.
— Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone, and want the perfect example of how 'Co-Colas' make every event better, how about Cinco de Mayo? A generation ago, no one knows what it is. Today, let's celebrate and pass the Dos Equis.
Who won the weekend? Who lost the weekend?
There is a slew of stuff happening — it's all happening.
If we need to go one step further, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, what is your Rushmore of 5s? Can be anything from jersey numbers to Fab Five — Michigan or Fab 5 Freddie who was the first host of Yo MTV! Raps. Go.
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 ...