published Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

5 at 10: Monster duo, Stumbling Braves and Racing (updated with today's question)

Hope you had a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day

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    Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) is fouled by Indiana Pacers' David West, right, during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, in Miami on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. The Heat defeated the Pacers 115-83. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A monster duo

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are rolling right now at a level we may not have seen before from a pair of NBA teammates. Since halftime of Game 4 against the Pacers, James and Wade have been staggeringly efficient. And overwhelming.

James had 32 points and 13 boards and Wade finished with 22 points as the Heat topped the Celtics 93-79 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday night. Add in the duo's 10 total assists — which is at least 20 points — James and Wade had a direct hand in 74 points.

In LeBron's last five games, he's averaging 30.4 points and shooting 54 percent with 10.8 rebounds and six assists per game. We talked about players exceeding the 40-plateau in combined points, rebounds and assists being special. Well, James is averaging better than 47 in his last five games. That's staggering.

As for historic sidekicks, well in that five-game stretch Wade is averaging 25.2 points and shooting 54.9 percent. And that includes the 2-for-13 stinkbomb Wade posted at Indiana two weeks ago.

Right now, there are few answers for these two.

Do we expect Boston to put up a fight? You bet, if for no other reason than KG won't have it any other way. Still, if James and Wade continue at this pace, it's impossible to see Boston winning this series.

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    Atlanta Braves' Dan Uggla throws his bat down after popping out in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, May 28, 2012, in Atlanta. St. Louis won 8-2. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Braves stumbling

Raise your hand if you're a Braves fan. Keep it up if you're worried about the boys. (Now tell that mean lady in the next cubicle "I'm stretching, OK. Get back to your Star magazing.)

You know our view on baseball, it's a long season and you have to trust it. Four-game streaks — winning, losing, even hitting — come and go like New York City cabs. It happens and you deal.

Well, eight-game losing streaks are a different beast, and the Braves are mired in one. To make matters worse, the paper thin Braves are dealing with some nagging injuries that range from troublesome to inconvenient.

To wit, Freddie Freeman has been in and out of the lineup with tear duct issues. YEs you read that correctly. His eyes are too dry for his contacts. So it goes, and since this started to be an issue, Freeman's average has fallen quicker than Charlie Sheen's image. Dude went from hitting .302 on May 4 to .247 this morning. He's hoping to have some prescription sports goggles as soon as today, and if the rest of clubhouse does not call him Kareem, well, then we'd be disappointed.

And if you think Freeman's place in the middle of the Braves' lineup is not of paramount importance, in the current eight-game losing streak, Freeman has missed four of those games and is 1-for-17 in the other four.

The good news — other than the excitement of seeing Kareem Abdul Freeman playing first in his goggles — is the Braves are two games over .500 despite the skid. And it's still May. And it's a long season and you have to trust it.

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    Indianapolis 500 champion IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti, of Scotland, poses in his car during the traditional winner photo session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Monday, May 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Racing updates

Sunday was an enjoyable day of racing. The Indy 500 was entertaining and the NASCAR boys almost always put on a good show in Charlotte. (Although the talk that Indy Car racing will make a comeback because of Dario Franchitti's thrilling win is a bit overblown. Franchitti has now won three Indy 500s and he's still known as Mr. Ashley Judd. Granted, there's nothing wrong with that, but if Jimmie Johnson was married to say, Katherine Heigl, he'd still be Jimmie Johnson. You know?)

Anyhoo, our Trifecta contest hits this home stretch with a familiar name atop the leaderboard.

Jefe is looking for his third win of the year and has a commanding lead heading into this weekend's Belmont.

Here is the top 10, and it appears those that have selected Bodemeister need to submit a new horse since the runner-up at the Derby and the Preakness said "Nay" to the Belmont:

Jefe — 6 (Franchetti/Brad Keselowski/I'll Have Another)

Deboman — 12 (Castroneves/Hamlin/Union Rags)

McPell — 13 (Tony Kanaan/Matt Kenseth/Bodemeister)

OTWatcher — 14 (Kanaan/Johnson/Bodemeister)

Weena — 14 (Castroneves/Biffle/Dullahan)

33wannabe — 17 Rahal/Biffle/I'll Have Another

Dawg747 — 18 Castroneves/Harvick/I'll Have Another

Fred — 19 Castroneves/Edwards/Dullahan

StuckinKent —21 Helio Castroneves/Jimmie Johnson/I'll Have Another

Todd962 — 27 Scott Dixon/Tony Stewart/I'll Have Another

(And if you're wondering, the 5-at-10 is dead-flippin' last. You're welcome.)

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This and that

— Zach Johnson survived the pressure and himself to win the PGA Tour's Colonial this weekend. Johnson failed to properly replace his ball on the finishing hole Sunday. The two-shot penalty turned his three-shot win into a one-shot victory and made the final 5-footer the tournament winning putt.AS always boys and girls, it's always smart to play by the rules.

— Huge day for Phillies fans everywhere. Roy Halladay will visit the doctor today yo see about his ailing right arm. If Halladay is shelved, the Phillies are cooked and even could become a seller later this summer considering Cole Hamels is headed to free agency.

— Good luck to the golf Mocs, who head to Riveria for the NCAA tournament this week.

— Sweet buckets of Soul Glo, Lindsay Lohan is in arrears with her neighborhood tanning salon for a delinquent. Seems she owes 40 bucks or something. What? She owes $40,000? To a tanning salon? Yep, it appears Tanning Vegas is after the troubled star for more than $40K of usage from 2007 to 2009. OK, we'll bite. We have no idea what a visit costs or if there's some sort of monthly/yearly membership dues or not, but $40 large over three years is more than $1,100 a month. Heck, let's say it's $50 bucks a visit, that's 800 visits ˜ or about two every three days for a three-year stretch. There's dumb and then there's Dumb. Well now there's Lohan dumb.

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Today's question

Barry Bonds was at Monday's Giants-Daimondbacks game and even spoke to reporters. And sounded somewhat pleasant

Bonds to the AP: "Do I have any regrets? What happened happened. It's there. It is what it is. I live with it. I'm a convicted felon for obstruction of justice, and that's who I am. I live with it."

Please note he did not mention steroids, and he has never been convicted of using PEDs or failed a drug test that we know of.

And Bonds again to the AP: "I gave my life and soul to that game. That's what's heartbreaking. That's the hard part of it. My (reputation) was kind of iffy anyway. I created that guy out there for entertainment only. Whether you hated me or liked me, you were there. And I only wanted you there. I just wanted you to see the show. That was it. All I ever wanted was for people to have a good time and enjoy it. It was fun to come out and people would boo or yay or whatever. They all showed up to see whatever would happen next and it motivated me to play hard."

He talked about possibly joining the Giants in some role, and even made jokes about being J.T. Snow's boss and helping struggling ace Tim Lincecum.

Then down in the story it noted that Bonds last played in 2007, which means his name could be on the upcoming 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. Doing a little research, Bonds will be joined by Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio and Curt Schilling among others on the 2012 ballot.

Wow. Simply wow.

Would you vote for Bonds for the Hall of Fame? Would you ignore his 762 homers and seven MVPs because he allegedly used steroids? Discuss.

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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BIspy4 said...

As much as I loathe Bonds, what he did before his rumored dalliance with steroids and PEDs merits serious Hall of Fame consideration. I did get to see Bonds play in person once and I gotta admit, it was pretty amazing. He hit two absolute bombs, and it was the same game Shea Hillenbrand went 4-for-5 and Andruw Jones (then still a Brave) crushed two homers.

May 29, 2012 at 4:16 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy,

Did you see what Shaunessy said about the argument that Bonds was on his way to the Hall of Fame before PEDs so he should get special consideration compared to the other alleged steroid users?

Something along the lines of, if someone shoots 29 on the front nine and cheats on the back nine, they're still DQed.

You have to ask yourself whether all the steroids users get in or none of them.

— 5-at-10

May 29, 2012 at 4:47 p.m.
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