published Thursday, May 12th, 2011

5 at 10: The Heat, The Braves and the Fiesta Bowl

We're still looking for mailbag questions. Let's get to it. From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...

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    Miami Heat's LeBron James reacts during the first half of Game 5 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series against the Boston Celtics, Wednesday, May 11, 2011 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Turning up the Heat

LeBron James scored 33 points — including the last 10 of the Miami Heat's 16-0 run to close Wednesday's 97-87 series-clinching win over the Boston Celtics.

The storylines are everywhere.

Was this the definining moment for the Heat? Did the season-long heat on the Heat help get them ready for the playoffs? Are the Celtics cooked? Can anybody stop this Miami team?

Is this the first step for the Heat's first title of what could be a five-peat? If a train leaves Wichita at 6 p.m. going 100 mph... (Sorry, went into question overload.)

Back to the Heat, we'll cover the Celtics in Friday's mailbag, and today is about James and the Heat, anyway. James was simply unstoppable late Wednesday, and the aftermath of the emotional win has been instantly analyzed across the country. From James' tears on the court to his hugs and handshakes with teammates and foes to his postgame apology to Cleveland for how his departure played out last summer.

Think about the last 10 months for James. There was the ill-fated "Decision" that went over about as well as a toot in church. There was the national backlash and the public fued and the concerns about his safety after his break-up with the Cavs. There was the daily intensity about the "Big 3" in Miami. There were the stunning losses and even the tears in the locker room.

And there he was Wednesday — almost a year to the day from James' Game 5 meltdown with the Cavs against these Celtics a season ago — embracing the moment as a player and as a person.

Maybe it was too much, maybe it was over the top. Maybe it means James will never be elected to office in Ohio or never return to his status as the game's most embraceable player like he was 15 months ago. And, if they want, Johnny Cavs Fans have every right to continue their anti-LeBron commitment — and the twist of James' marketing phrase from "Witness" to "Quitness" was super clever.

But LeBron's emotion Wednesday was real and his performance was overwhelming, and that's enough. It's more than enough, in fact.

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    Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, center, goes up for a shot between Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, left, and center Marc Gasol, right, of Spain, in the first quarter of Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 11, 2011. Oklahoma City won 99-72. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

Elsewhere in the NBA

Holy Postseason Power Players, these playoffs continue to impress. There's so much to cover. You know what we need, a 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10 (the soon-to-be-copyrighted top five list in 10 words or less):

— Is there a Thunder storm coming: Wow, Durant and Westbrook may be arriving sooner than expected.

— Will there be a Game 7: The Chicago Derrick Roses can advance in tonight's Game 6.

— Prediction: Joe Johnson's Hawks take the Derrick Roses back to Chicago

— Hard to believe: "Tractor" Traylor, who was traded for Dirk, found dead

— Changing of the guard in the NBA: New faces will be in the finals.

Let's expound on that final entry. How about this stat: At least one of the following five all-timers of Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwan, Shaq O'Neal, Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan was involved in every NBA finals since 1991. That will change this year.

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    Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) follows through on a three-run homer in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Tuesday, May 10, 2011, in Atlanta. Washington won 7-6. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Braves vs. Nationals = trouble; Braves vs. everyone else = OK

Since 1991, the Atlanta Braves have been one of baseball's most impressive and successful franchises.

Since moving from Montreal in 2005, the Washington Nationals have had only one non-losing season. In fact, since 2005, the Braves are 35 games over .500 as of this morning and the Nationals are 147 games under .500.

That said, since the start of the 2008 season, the Nationals are now 33-26 against Atlanta and 172-289 against every other team that puts nine guys on the field. That's right, the Braves have assembled a solid lineup, a strong rotation and a potentially tough bullpen, but when the Nationals come to town they look like a pre-Kelly Leak Chico's Bail Bonds Bad News Bears.

Side note: The bullpen meltdown in Wednesday night's 7-3 loss to Washington was made more painful with the news that Peter Moylan will have back surgery next week. He'll be on the shelf for three months. Ouch.

Side note 2: Liked how the team, especially Eric Hinske, rallied around closer Craig Kimbrel, who allowed two runs in the ninth — his third blown save in his last 10 appearances. Kimbrel throws hard and has Big Boy stuff, and he's going through some growing pains. It happens.

Side note 3: Wonder what Braves reliever Scott Linebrink is going to do after his baseball career? It's about time to find out.

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    Tre Lipman, left, and Tony Martinez hang a college football bowl banner on the outside of University of Phoenix Stadium, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2006 in Glendale, Ariz. Boise State will face Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Mark Henle)

BCS embraces tradition/turns a blind eye

Consider the 5-at-10 somewhat stunned that the BCS kept the Fiesta Bowl in its rotation.

With the increasingly bright spotlight on college football's current system to decide a champion, the BCS shrugged its shoulders at the series of misgivings and mistakes by the Fiesta Bowl organizers. Sure the Fiesta Bowl was fined $1 million, but it was allowed to keep its seat at the table.

The Fiesta Bowl is under investigation for apparently illegal campaign contributions and a bevy of lavish expenses, including parties, golf junkets and trips to adult entertainment clubs by the former Fiesta Bowl CEO that approached six figures. Amid those distractions and the allegations and the calls for a playoff from every corner of the nation, including Washington,

D.C., the BCS decided to keep its prodigal bowl in the fold.

"The message is they had cleaned house and addressed their problems, but our group doesn't believe they went far enough," Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS, told the AP.

He also said the $1 million fine was intended to reflect the "serious nature of the matter."

Just stop Bill. The AP reported that the Fiesta Bowl listed more than $15 million in assets in its most recent IRS filing.

Say what you will about the BCS — and most of it can't be reprinted here on the family-oriented-Intertube-based-web sports column — you can't say they're not loyal.

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    Florida's Janoris Jenkins (1) runs for yardage against South Florida during an NCAA football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

This and that

— There are reports that former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins is going to transfer to Division II North Alabama. Jenkins, who was an All-SEC player with the Gators, was dismissed by new coach Will Muschamp after his second violation of team rules (i.e. marijuana). Since arriving in 2009, North Alabama coach Terry Bowden (yes, that Terry Bowden who used to coach Auburn) has welcomed in at least 35 Division I transfers.

— Holy Bromance, how much have they discussed the hug between Cubs GM Jim Hendry and Cards slugger Albert Pujols? Let it go gang — not that there's anything wrong with that.

— The Ringgold Tigers baseball team split with defending state champion Columbus on Wednesday. Read about it here The teams will play a decisive Game 3 today.

— The Big Orange Caravan rolled into town. Read about HERE and HERE. It was interesting to see offensive coordinator Jim Chaney in the house.

Kudos to the UT folks who brought more than they advertised; and kudos to the UT fan base here in town that sold out the event. And that's a sell-out crowd coming on the heels of a 6-7 football season, the firing of the most popular men's basketball coach in history and an all-too-quick end to the Lady Vols season. Chaney called it "Loyalty" and that's well-put.

— Tip of the cap to David Dinger, the longtime Lookout Valley baseball coach who announced he is stepping down. Dinger has always been good to the TFP and by all accounts is a true class guy.

— Last chance to offer up any betting tips/ideas before the 5-at-10 heads to Vegas.

Until tomorrow.

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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Eustice_Chase said...

Perhaps its my love for the Lakers and how I love to watch Kobe do his thing on the hardwood....but I am just not ecited about what the finals could look like....have the playoffs been entertaining? no doubt about it....and last night was no exception with Lebron knocking down long 3's like they were uncontested...he stepped up last night and proved all the nay-sayers wrong... Listened to ya on Sport Talk last night...good show...and as you and Quake talked about Ringgold Highshool. the hairs on my arms were standing...good stuff

May 12, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

I cant offer anything up on Vegas as I have never been to Vegas,so whatever you do out there....well...we wont know unless you bring it back wit ya. You know the ol' sayin...what's done in Vegas, stays in Vegas...unless your wife hires a PI to follow you around then that becomes admissible in a court of law during the messy divorce trial in which she tries to rip you for eve...oh..sry..but i digress. The Heat...lookin pretty good right now, hate to say it. As far as the Bulls go...well, that should be an interesting series. But alas i dont see the Bulls getting past the Heat, period. D. Rose is going to know soon just how Lebron felt all those years in Cleveland with little to no support around him. A solo star will only take you so far, regardless the sport. Not panicing about the Brave's just yet, but give em time...I'm sure they'll give me a reason to panic soon enough. Great topic the other day on Sport Talk...Sport Venue Bucket List..the one place you want to go before you kick the bucket....St. Andrews was one of the places mentioned that sounded mighty good to me! Thoughts?

May 12, 2011 at 11:28 a.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

Thanks my man. Love doing SportTalk when I get the chance — great guys and it's always fun to talk sports. Same with the folks at the Chris Goforth show on 1310 AM (which do on Thursdays at 2ish).

There is something to the fact that without Kobe/Lakers or the Celtics, there is a void in the NBA playoffs. Same with the Steelers/Cowboys in the NFL or even the Yankees/Red Sox (and used to be Dodgers) in baseball. Those big-name, glitzy teams that even the casual fan can embrace or root against.

That said, the Heat can join that mix in the coming years. And we've been wrong before, but something tells us that LeBron James made the leap last night — like when Jordan beat the Pistons and the Pistons beat the Celtics, et al. — from great player to champion. That was a final flurry that even Jordan would have been proud of (yes, we said it, so what).

The only thing that could have made what seems to be this apparent coronation of King James and the Heatles is them facing Kobe and Phil and the Lakers in the finals. We blame Pau Gasol to be honest about. Stupid Pau.

Oso —

The Mrs. 5-at-10 is coming with to Vegas — and it's safe to say we're stoked. The 5-at-10 tots (great wonderful kids each) are staying with grandparents and we're headed West (and hoping not to blow Jr.'s college fund — so it goes).

You bring up a great point about the Chicago Derrick Roses, and what will happen in a few years when his deal is up and he's got a couple of MVPs and no rings because of the Big 3 in Miami and the NYC trio (we all know they will add a point guard to Carmelo and Amar'e) and the Kobe-Dwight tandem that's coming to LA. What will Rose do then?

And you're spot on about the Bucket List that SportTalk did earlier this week — great topic. In fact add that to the list we can discuss this summer, and we'll properly credit the SportTalk guys.

St. Andrews is good. And I need to get to Yankee Stadium and Cameron. My first thought on the sports Bucket List is the Indy 500, but we're definitely holding the right to change our mind.

— 5-at-10

May 12, 2011 at 11:30 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

I think tomorrow or sometime soon we need to have "Obscure Word Mailbag Day"...where you take the ending of one sentence and the beginning of another sentence to make a word, like for example: Today at the store they are having a deal on cokes and snacks. The hidden word "sand" between cokes and snacks...what?! I get bored easily at work.... Jus sayin....

May 12, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

I have to say am both scared and excited about what the NBA will look like in the coming could literally look like 5 or 6 All-Star teams vs... developemnt teams...I am keeping my fingers crossed that it doesnt happen this way...but Similar to the way Kate Middleton walked the isle to become royalty...LeBron did the same last night and is basically just waiting to say "I Do"

Enjoy Vegas...stay away from the Jello Shooter/Crab Cake Combo...could make for a bad night...seems like the Grizz went into Hibernation last night....Did Pau give Mark some advice? 15 pts really? and 9pts for Randolph?? sheesh..that Perkins trade sure is working out fot OKC huh?

Oso- Im not sure where you are going with this...

Pujols is apparently a lover, not a fighter...and enjoys embracing in hugs...but i doubt he will be hugging Matt Garza...I wonder if Ryne Sandberg would have hugged Ozzie Smith before a game? or Vince Coleman and Mark Grace? did those guys hug???

May 12, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.
eljefe said...

A finals without the Lakers or the Celtics, say it isn't so Joe! The real question is with all of this upheaval in this year's NBA Finals how much money is D-Howard going to make next year? Part 2: Who else wins cash and fabulous prizes in the Popovich/Rivers/Coach to be named later Panic Sweepstakes? My Vegas suggestion is FSU wins the BCS Championship. The ACC is weak, FSU has a strong young team with a monster recruiting class. They are going to be in the title game. The odds are +1200 (which I do not understand because betting is immoral and wrong. I simply found those odds on a not-family-based intertubes web-deal). Lay it down.

May 12, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Oso —

As for the word game, heck we'll give anything a try. How about this: "Thursday morning, our man Oso was drinking some pretty strong shots till his boss came over." We have the "king" from drinking and the "s" from some for K-I-N-G-S or add the "s" from shots to the word till and you have S-T-I-L-L. Hope that works, we're kind of confused.

EC —

Pujols was crazy like a fox — dude's going to be a free agent and if there's any way to get the Cards GM to get hoppin' with an offer it's to give Hendry a man-brace or a brug or whatever silly Ben-ifer/Brad-gelina sissified name people call it. Oh, don't get me started about the pregame and postgame hugs — hey all the players know each other from previous teams and postseason get toegthers, and that's all well and good. But the fans who bleed your colors don't want to see Albert slappin' Soriano on the backside and giggling (in fact, no one really wants to see that — not that there's anything wrong with it). Fans want to believe the players hate the other teams — especially rivals live the Cards and Cubs — as much as the fans do. Of course they don't, but the fans want to believe it. And if you think that's irrational, well, here's a tip for you — that's what being a fan is about.

We may need a ruling on this from the committee, but we think the advice to "stay away from the Jello Shooter/Crab Cake Combo" is sound words of wisdom regardless of the locale. In fact, if the 5-at-10 ever has another fantasy baseball/football team, our name is going to be Jello Shooter/Crab Cake Combo. Or Ed's Tire and Cheese Wholesalers.

LeBron made the leap, and your description of the future of the NBA is a very real possiblity. It's one of the many reasons why the the NBA's labor issues are so muddled. If the NFL's labor puzzle is a first-grader's word search, the NBA labor issues are level-10, master black-belt sudoku.

Eljefe —

Money, my man. D-Howard will be able to skip his summer working as a camp counselor to make the ends meet, that's for sure. Coaches carousel predictions: Pop stays one more year and he's done for good (like the rest of the Spurs), Doc comes back for the Celts swan song, and then he heads to TV (until he gets the Knicks job or the job coaching his son Austin in the next handful of years).

Love the FSU pick — mainly for the reasons you mentioned. And it's also year 2 for Jimbo Fisher (and to be fair, we asked earlier this week when do men drop the "y" from Joey or the "ie" from Dougie, et al., well, add Jimbo to that discussion, too — anyhoo). Back to the year 2 stuff: Chizik won it all in Year 2, so did Saban and Meyer. Nice pick.

As for all that other gambling mumbo-jumbo, well you've lost us (wink-wink, non-nod).

We like the direction of the show today gang. Who's next?

— 5-at-10

May 12, 2011 at 12:43 p.m.
bigbearzzz said... not sure where im goin...but i sure know where I've been...and old coat for a pillow...the earth as my bed...Great on taking the wife, cinco. I dont go anywhere without mine, and for the record, i wouldnt. She my buddy and my life long companion...going on 18 years strong. On a non-sports related rabbit trail (like we never go down them?!) My daughter went and past her driving test. Any more nerve racking moment then your 16 year old driving herself to school for the first time!??! I feel like im on the foul line with 0:00 on the clock and out team down by one in the state finals and i just got awarded a 2fer for trying to drive the lane again dwight howard....speaking of which...its like the passing of one torch to another...Shaq leaving us and Howard about to progress to the next chapter in his'e crazy wierd...As far as the betting goes...never had the canucks to do it, plus I'm naturally a big chicken and as you have seen...i sure know how to pick the 2nd and third place winners.

May 12, 2011 at 12:55 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Also when does the cinco a las diez start covering summer know like womens beach volleyball..i cant think of another summer sport right now to cover other than that one..also im rocking it out to some serious 80's tunes at work today, for example Martika's "Toy Soldier" is on right was preceded by "Nothing Compares to You" from Sinead O'Connor...feel like i should be a junior high homecoming dance right now. OH, and also i'm working on my fourth cup O joe and could possibly start rambling about anything and everything....sorry...

May 12, 2011 at 1:04 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

being a person of sound mind and body and 13 year Cardinal can hug anyone...its true...but not a Brave hugs a Met or a Phillie and no Yankee hugs a Redsock..or vice versa...was it strong move on the part of bet it was...Albert has a lot invested into downtown St.Louis and is the anchor of that team....but c'mon there are just somethings you do not do!!! Would Jeter have ever hugged Theo Epstein? Tiger out of the Players...say it aint so.....

May 12, 2011 at 1:15 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Tiger is out period...he's done. As far as the hug goes...i have to agree...i cant see Jeter like walking up to Big Pappi and throwin down the hugs and high fives: Tony Stewart hugging one of the Bush Brothers: Ray Lewis hugging...well..anybody...also random rambling moment from Bigbear...At work we started a walking works competition, ten people per team. Just got the results from the first week: Our team is like in 44th with just over 40000 points (steps)....first place team..has logged over A MILLION steps in one week!! Anybody got any advice on overcoming a 60,000 point deficit?!?

May 12, 2011 at 1:28 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

You might want to find out what kind of "steps" they are logging...we did a very similar thing here where I work and some ppl would count walking to bathroom and etc ...yeah its walking...but you are not getting your heart rate up...and thats the point in the program....we also caught guy putting his Pedometer (step counter) on 18v Battery Drill....very innovative to say the least...cheating none the less....good luck Oso Grande!

May 12, 2011 at 1:44 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Wow, the 5-at-10 needs a seat belt. Ok, let's go rapid-fire style because we're going on the Goforth Show here in a minute.

— Oso, the teenage driving thing... Wow... Got nothing for you. Our son is 3 1/2 and our daughter will be 1 in two weeks, so we can't fathom having one slide behind the wheel of the car (Side note: How bad do you tear up at that car commercial where the little girl is sitting in the driver's seat and asking for the keys and then you see her as a teenager? It gets to us, and our daughter is not a year old.) Good luck, and if you need some support, we're here. The 5-at-10 support group — somebody get Dr. Phil (Mickelson) on the horn.

— Oso, that teenage driving thing also explains your quick-fire, out-of-left-field style today. Yes, Ray Lewis is never hugging anyone. And as far as your step-a-thon goes, well, unless you left off a zero, it looks like Team Walking Bear (or Team Hibernating Bear maybe) is 960,000 steps off the pace. And if that's the case, well, TWB better juggle its goals a bit. Maybe try for the Wildcard?

— Sweet Black-and-Double-Decker. WE've had steroids and scandal and recruiting hubbu, but now we can't even run a walk-a-thon without somebody cutting corners (granted, that's some Eidson-type of cleverness there). Hey, the entire world has embrace the NASCAR "If you ain't cheatin,' you ain't tryin.' May God have mercy on us.

— Oso, funny you mention 1980s music. First off, we're big fans. Second, the Mrs. 5-at-10 and the Vegas crew are considering going to a concert Friday in Vegas. Want to know who... wait for it... Bret Michaels. Yes, that Bret Michaels. Side note: There is the scary thought of Bret Michael uttering the six dreaded words for bar concerts — "Now something from the new album." Third, this week's mailbag question that we spent entirely too much time on has some 1980s music involved.

— EC, you're spot on about the Huggapalooza that has invaded sports. It stinks.

— Wow, Tiger shoots 44 and limps off the course for a WD. Injuries aside, did you think is was at all possible two years ago that we'd all think Tiger Woods no is a longshot to catch Nicklaus' majors record. Wow. Just wow.

May 12, 2011 at 1:46 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...


May 12, 2011 at 1:51 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

If Bret Michaels sings anything other than...Upskinny Bob" "Something to Believe in"-"Every Rose Has its Thorn"-"Look what the Cat Dragged In"- or "Talk Dirty to Me" well then its not looking good...CeCe Pick up the guitar and uhh talk to me!!!!!

May 12, 2011 at 2:01 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Question for the group:

Can the rather buttoned-down 5-at-10 (let's just say we have a full collection of khaki pants) show up at the Bret Michael show in anything other than acid-washed jeans, ripped T-short and a bandana?

— 5-at-10

May 12, 2011 at 2:07 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Absolutely not....they are actually a Pre-requisite for any Poison/ Bret Michaels/ Twisted Sister/Dee Snyder concert/ show/ book aint getting in the doors without em!

May 12, 2011 at 2:12 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Heck Nah!!! I'm sure there will be men posted at all doors with bandana's and willing to throw ya to the curb to rip the jeans n shirt if need be...That's like showing up to a Yankees game in a Red Sox hat! Or a Cubs game in a Cards hat...

May 12, 2011 at 2:20 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

There will come a time when the Shaquille O’Neal in green and white days will take on the vestige of the Pete Maravich era as a Celtic, when old men sit around and go, “He was a Celtic? Really? When? I … I … don’t even remember him suiting up on the parquet floor.” Alas, Jim Ard and Steve Kuberski will have a longer lasting legacy as the sons of Auerbach than the Big Diesel. And with my tangential affections for the Celtics (I turned my back on the NBA the day Rick Pitino walked through that door to coach the Cs) and the Celtics now headed for vacation spots, I turn my very short attention span away from the NBA and to other pursuits. Now look at me … gardening. (Actually I won’t be. Can’t grow no garden in the swamp. Just wanted a Cam Neely throwback in there. And the whole Seabass line, well, this is a family interblog.)

May 12, 2011 at 5:05 p.m.
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