published Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

5-at-10: Superman's cape, burning Busch, Braves and Johnny Football in Vegas

Hope you enjoyed the holiday and for the veterans among us, thank you for your sacrifices.

From the "Talks too much" studios, that's Mr. James if you please.

Turning up the Heat

  • photo
    Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) checks the scoreboard in a game against the Brooklyn Nets in this May 10, 2014, file photo in New York.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

After being called out by Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, LeBron James did not return the interview interchange.

Nope, LeBron silenced the chatty Stephenson with his overwhelming 32-point night as the Heat grabbed a 3-1 lead with a 102-90 win Monday.

LeBron was 10-of-12 in the paint, getting to the rim with an unrelenting persistence. He grabbed 10 defensive rebounds and had a game-high five assists. His performance spoke volumes.

James said he did not need any extra motivation, that getting to the Finals was plenty to light his fire. He's right, but there was obviously a little extra in the tank.

As for Stephenson, who drew some ire from his teammates after the pre-Game 4 rant, after three excellent games to start the series, he scored nine points on 3-of-7 shooting.

The lesson here: Don't pull on the cape young fella, especially when at times James has looked only mildly interested. Monday, he was intensely into it.

It's only the most discussed sign of a Pacers team that looks on edge of packing the gear, and the buzzwords coming from the Indiana camp are less-than encouraging.

Star forward Paul George said the Pacers "out-played" the Heat in Game 4 and lost because Miami was able to get to the foul line, where it made 30-of-34 shots. Ummm, Paul, the Heat never trailed and won the turnover battle 14-7.

Then center Roy Hibbert, who put up a doughnut in the points column Monday, said his offensive invisibility was, at least partly, by design. "The game plan really wasn't to utilize me as much; I'm just trying to be effective as I can," Hibbert told reporters after the game. "Would I like a little bit more touches early on? Yeah. But that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes."

Good luck with that in Game 5 fellows.

————

Racing

  • photo
    Kurt Busch (41) drives his car out of Turn 4 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup series Coca-Cola 600 auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., on May 25, 2014.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The end to the Indy 500 was excellent. The Coca-Cola 600 was long.

Somewhere in between, there is a fair case to be made that Kurt Busch is on the short list of the best drivers driving.

Dude went to Indy and finished sixth in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

His bid to be only the second driver to complete the 1,100 mile double-dip on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend (Tony Stewart did it in 2004) ended about 200 miles short because of a blown engine.

Dude is not lacking talent — he's lacking parts. And as we learned many moons ago in this famous Wendy's commercial: Parts is parts.

————

Braves

After winning six of their last eight, your Atlanta Braves appeared to right the ship. Good times.

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward (22) initially beats the tag but slides past the base and is tagged out by Dustin Pedroia (15) during the eighth inning of a baseball game on Monday, May 26, 2014, in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Monday was a painful reminder of how fragile and moody the game can be.

Up by five runs, Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez stuck with starter Erwin Santana in the fifth — in large part to help the struggling right-hander get a win — and David Ortiz drilled a two-out, three-run homer that tied the game at 6 in what became an 8-6 win for Boston, which ended a 10-game losing streak with the victory.

The good: Justin Upton continues to be the biggest homebody in baseball. Dude rakes at Turner Field. He's hitting .381 (37-for-97) with 10 homers and 26 RBIs in the A-T-L. On the road, he's at .195 (15-for-77) with three homers and seven RBIs. He's at a mind-blowing .299 over all, which is hard to believe since he strikes out in more than a third of his at-bats (60 Ks in 174 at-bats).

The bad: Santana's ERA is up to 4.06 after allowing six earned in five innings in Monday's no-decision. He has been rocked of late — giving up 17 earned in his last 17 innings over three starts (all losses) as his ERA has climbed from sub-2.00 to plus-4. He has issued eight of his 17 walks this season in his last three games.

The Uggla: Danny Struggla has not played since an 0-for-3 with three Ks showing against Colorado last Friday night. Nothing.

Side note No. 1: The camo hats that baseball trotted out for Memorial Day were legit. Hey MLB, why not give the extra coin generated by those hat sales to the VA?

Side note, part deux: The Cobb County Commission votes tonight to commit funds for the new stadium near Cumberland Mall, which will make traffic on I-75 right outside of the perimeter even worse and will make the dream of the Smyrna Braves complete.

————

This and that

— Here's a holiday memory that will live in the Gregor family history. Conrad Gregor hot his first professional homer Sunday and his dad, Marty Gregor, snagged it bare-handed. Good times. (Although, Conrad, get your old man better seats, huh?)

— More baseball: The Cubs signed Manny Ramierz to be a player-manager for their Class AAA affiliate. The Cubs are clear that this more about the coaching than the playing too. Interesting. Yes, the baggage is everywhere — heck, Manny being Manny became a catch phrase — but dude is clearly a hitting savant. Can that translate? Who knows, but it's the Cubs... how much worse can it get?

— Adam Scott beat Jason Dufner in a playoff that was entertaining. Still feels like golf is whispering without Tiger and with Phil in a funk. Fore.

————

Today's question

We'll start with the obvious: Who won the weekend?

Indy car racing can make a claim, considering the end to the Indy 500 was awesome. Still, it's not like we really remember who won or will watch another race because of it.

LeBron James can make a claim, too. So can the Serge Ibaka and the Thunder, who can even their series with the Spurs tonight.

We'll continue with Mr. Johnny Q. Football. As you may have heard, dude spent the holiday weekend in Vegas, where things can happen.

Hey, he's a young, well-financed success story. Vegas is Vegas (and the whole "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" ad campaign took a major lick, huh?)... here's our question:

Is this a big deal? Go.

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.
MocTastic said...

There was a time when Manny was playing for Boston that he basically quit on the team. Forgetting his steroid useage, and antics during the games, I cannot find any reason why any team would want a cancer like Manny near their young kids. The saying "just Manny being Manny" can now be translated to "just the Cubs being the Cubs". There is a reason they continue to wallow in mediocrity and Manny is just the latest manifestation.

This is a link that shows Manny cutting off an outfield throw, for no apparent reason. What in the heck are the Cubs doing?

The Johnny Football Goes to Vegas thing is something. Haslam's orders to JF to act like a backup means keep your mouth shut, work hard and stay out of the press. Does it appear that JF is doing that? At this point in his life he should put football first and he will have plenty of time to party in the future. He needs to re-order his priorities in life.

May 27, 2014 at 10:22 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- i just got back from Destin for holiday, As you know the SEC ( the greatest conference that ever lived for all time and ever will be ) is having their spring meetings starting today. Also, you may not know but Dallas Cowboy's owner Jerry Jones has a palatial beach home a few hundred yards down from the Sandestin Hilton, where SEC meeting is going on. Well, on Sunday while walking on the beach in front of Jerry's home, I saw with my own eyes, sitting on his back porch and talking VERY serious was Jerry Jones and Nick Saban, in a private conversation . . . Oh My gosh Bama fans will be lossing their minds . . .Also cant beleive you had the chance to ask Donnie Tyndall if he has ever been confused for Chaz Bono and passed that up ???

May 27, 2014 at 10:24 a.m.
chas9 said...

Indy 500 winner gets $249 million. That's almost 50,000,000 cents per mile, or slightly better than the TFP mileage reimbursement rate on Jay's travel expense allowance. Yes, What's-his-name won the weekend. Of course, his fuel cost is greater than Jay's.

Of 64 baseball teams invited to the NCAA post-season competition, ten are from the dominant SEC: Vandy, Kentucky, LSU, A&M, Bama, Ole Miss, Miss State, South Carolina and Arkansas. No Vols. Whatever you may have heard when The Big Orange Hype Machine blew through town last week, UT sports have fallen off from their glory days, almost across the board.

Bama, LSU and The Gators are the SEC's best hopes to bring home the big trophy, but UK is on a hot streak. Wildcat A. J. Reed is the team's nearly unhittable pitching ace and the league's best hitter. He could be college baseball's POY.

Nice bicycle race. Good for Chattaboogie.

May 27, 2014 at 10:35 a.m.
Buschleague said...

Golf wins the weekend for finally showing a pulse. Monty wins a major, Rory goes low on last day to win, Korda battles Wie (-20)is getting it done, Scott beats Bozo the clown in playoff. Bravos without leadership are circling the drain. James has done it all year and keeps doing it but the real key is Wade playing like a champ. Spurs are too deep though. I'll put a 'tall boy' on the spurs in 7. Racing..naaah.

May 27, 2014 at 10:37 a.m.
MocTastic said...

If you win a major on the senior's tour, does it really count?

May 27, 2014 at 10:42 a.m.
Buschleague said...

MT, I'd say it's big for him first US win and all. Kinda like a college degree, if you don't have one it's meaningless and if you do you don't give it back. Mocs' Robb really showed out too.

May 27, 2014 at 11:32 a.m.
fechancellor said...

MocTastic, if you can hear the sound of one hand clapping, that's the pulse of the Senior Tour. The LPGA is more fun to follow.

As long as Johnny Football is not in town to steal back his Heisman from his bookie at gun point, things shouldn't get too far out of hand. Maybe Mickelson is introducing to the finer points of gambling.

May 27, 2014 at 1:16 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

You know, that Rory McIlroy had a pretty good weekend after a pretty lousy week, of his own doing.

As dumb as leaving Santana in to face Big Papi was (and The Spy has a ticket for tonight's game ... if he can make it), coughing up a two-run single to Pedroia on an 0-2 pitch the prior at-bat was a pretty bad thing, too.

Going back to yesterday's 5@10, Jack Lummus was an all-American receiver at Baylor and an all-Southwest Conference center fielder there, too, before playing for the New York football Giants. For his actions on Iwo Jima, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Posthumously.

George Patton, before becoming one of America's all time great commanders in the field, was a member of the 1912 U.S. Olympic team for the Stockholm Summer Games. He finished fifth in the pentathlon.

Could not care less if Johnny Football has a good time in Vegas. I mean, what happens there is supposed to stay there, no?

May 27, 2014 at 1:16 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Bispy4, ever hear the story of Patton claiming he was robbed in the pentathlon? They said he completely missed the target on one shot, he claimed to his death that he never missed, but that one shot went thru the exact same hole as another shot.

May 27, 2014 at 1:25 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Paul George is completely wrong about outplaying the Heat. Worse than thinking it is saying it. The Heat won with a great performance by their guys not unlike the way the Pacers won Game 1. But Games 2 and 3 were won by the Heat only because the Pacers let them slip away. With Games 5 and 7 at home, it's not unreasonable to think the Pacers can beat the Heat 3 straight times to take this series. But Hibbert needs to show up and Stephenson needs to shut up.

Were the Heat playing some Chaos D last night? Some full court pressure with LeBron trapping just before the Pacers crossed half-court? Somewhere Will Wade smiled.

Ibaka won the weekend. That dude's presence and performance keeps the Thunder's hopes alive in that series.

May 27, 2014 at 1:45 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stewwie —

Ibaka is a nice mention.

Although we have to ask that if KD is the league MVP, why does it look like Ibaka means every bit as much?

Spy —

Nice additions.

FE to the C —

If Philly Mick is talking gambling, we'd give it a listen. Kid's a player.

Buschleague —

Rory's play was nice and Moobs getting a win on US soil was fun to follow. Ahhhh, Winged Foot. Bless us.

9er —

Yes, that's a touch higher than the TFP travel budget. A smudge.

And there was a bike race around here? Was it the 3 state, 3 mountain?

Jomo —

That would launch a 1000 internet conspiracies. Wow.

And no we did not ask Donnie Knoxville about that... C'mon man.

MT —

Kind of agree about Johnny. Owner of $1 billion company takes a chance and makes you worth eight-figures and asks you to act like a back-up. Keep a low profile, at least before the first mini-camp for crying out loud.

Still, it's not like this should be a shock to the Brownies. He's Johnny Football for a reason, you know?

May 27, 2014 at 1:58 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

C-Niner: 1st place prize money at Indy is $2,500,000. My Barger + Brainerd Jr math tells me that is $5,000 per mile or 500,000 cents per mile. Time for a new calculator or too much bourbon over the weekend? And Jay-G would certainly accept that level of reimbursement.

Billy-In-Brainerd

May 27, 2014 at 2:02 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[Although we have to ask that if KD is the league MVP, why does it look like Ibaka means every bit as much?]

Ibaka doesn't mean every bit as much, but maybe he has simply been underrated to this point...he's their 3rd best player and a strong presence at the rim. But he's usually overshadowed by KD and RW. Having him out made a big difference...and KD had to play out of position on D at times because of it.

Speaking of KD, I'm getting tired of seeing the commercial for the Sprint Framily Plan during nearly break. I'm most annoyed at what appears to be a horrific fake Southern accent from the boy in the commercial.

May 27, 2014 at 2:21 p.m.
fechancellor said...

MocTastic, a favored Patton biographer, Carlo D'Estes, writes, "The tale of the so called 'lost round' is apocryphal. In reality, not one but two of Patton's rounds missed the target, thus making it impossible for him to have won or even placed in the pistol competition."

May 27, 2014 at 5:47 p.m.
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