Guys, there’s a bunch to get to after a busy weekend.
From the “Talks too much” studios, let’s make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Tied at 1
The Miami Heatles delivered in a must-win Game 2 Sunday night with an inspired effort and improved balance.
It also helped that LeBron James got ticked off late in the third quarter and took over the game.
After a lackluster showing through the first two-plus quarters, James hit a nadir when he practically air-balled a post move and had a two possession exchange when he got snuffed in the open floor by Danny Green, who the took James to the rack on the offensive end.
Then, after smacking his head, James flipped the switch.
He went on a splurge with an assist to Mike Miller for a 3, a monster block and an assist to Ray Allen for another 3, a steal and dunk and a game-sealing 3 that stretched the lead to 27. It got so bad that we had a Tracy McGrady sighting for the final five minutes.
And, if the Heatles go on to win this series, James’ overpowering block at the rim that jump started the 33-5 run that turned this from an exciting game to a channel surfing exercise will be the image of this series. With a Miami win, that clip could live in the second-flight of the highlight Hall of Finals moments like Dr. J’s up and under, MJ shrugging his shoulders after hitting a billion 3s against Portland and a few others.
(The penthouse of those imagines: Jordan’s push-off on Bryon Russell, Dr. J’s windmill dunk on Michael Cooper’s head, Magic’s baby hook, Havlicek diving for the loose ball against the Suns, Willis Reed hobbling on to the MSG floor for Game 7, is a whole other level.)
Still, the Spurs have the edge, and the onus is on James to deliver — and the only way to deliver success is to win the whole flipping' thing.
(Side note: Did you notice right after the game when they started lining up interviews, LeBron said, "Mario should go first." Nice touch.)
(Side note II: It’s time for Joey Crawford to hang up the whistle. Fear the turtle.)
Major congrats to Baylor School grad Harris English, who claimed his first PGA title Sunday.
His life has forever changed, and it is more than the $1 million paycheck. A PGA Tour win means the Masters. It means acceptance. It means the arrival of another future star -- in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of Harris English.
It means that when you go to places of uncertainty and fear on the back nine on Sundays, Harris knows now that he has done it.
English has always had big-time talent. But a win like this means he has arrived; and most importantly, he knows he can win at that level.
Think of it this way — English was battling his nerves and the situation with a one-shot lead over Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson. Then English makes birdie on Nos. 16 and 17 to make the lead two and made par on 18. As they said in Major League II, "Marbles."
College football craziness
Where to start? OK, let’s go here:
Tennessee coach Butch Jones speaks in ClevelandUniversity of Tennessee football coach Butch Jones spoke to a packed crowd of about 700 people at Bradley Central High School on Friday. Throughout the speech Jones stressed that Tennessee was on a path to becoming a "championship" football team and that they would be "relentless" in their pursuit to win a NCAA title.
• Butch Jones played to a nice crowd in Cleveland on Friday, and as TFP aces Mark Wiedmer and Downtown Patrick Brown told us, the stories were nice and newsworthy, since Marlin Lane is now back with the Vols.
Question for Johnny Vols Fans out there: Where does Lane rank on the “need him to deliver” scale? We say he is pretty high up there considering it would be tough to put one of the question-mark QBs there or a freshman wide our like MarQuez North on that list. (Side note: If our first name had two syllables we would so, So, SO look into that second capitalized letter. We’re a fan. Maybe we’ll go by 5-aT-10 for the rest of the week. Thoughts?)
• OK, there art now two eighth-graders with football scholarship offers from major college power programs. First there was Dylan Moses, a 6-1, 213-pound linebacker from University Lab High School in Louisiana who has offers from Alabama, LSU, Texas, Florida and the rest of the upper crust of the college football world. (Side note: If you are a 6-1, 213-pound middle school linebacker who ran a clocked 4.5 40, then you should go to a school named University Lab, because you are a science experiment. Beast mode.)
Now Lane Kiffin and his guardians of dignity have offered Nathan Tilford, a 6-2, 190-pound receiver who also just finished the eighth-grade.
• Harvey Updyke is set to be release from jail today after serving six months assassinating the oaks at Toomer’s Corner. He will remain on five years of supervised probation, which includes a 7 p.m. curfew, not talking to the media, not going on Auburn’s campus, not attending any collegiate sporting event and playing the lead role as Johnny Appleseed in the Opelika community theater. OK, we made that last one up, but so it goes.
This and that
— The Atlanta Braves salvaged a split against the Los Angeles Puigs with an 8-2 win Sunday. These Braves can slap pitch. in fact, Mike Minor is 8-2 and looks the part of a potential All-Star game starter. Nevermind the fact the Braves starting pitchers have not allowed more than two earned runs in any of the last nine games. It’s the longest stretch since a 10-game string of excellence in 2001 when guys named Maddux and Glavine were stalwarts in the rotation.
— Who is doing it better than Louisville right now? Won the Sugar Bowl and will be preseason top 10 in 2013 in football, won the NCAA hoops tourney, and now headed to the College World Series in baseball.
— More Heat: The Heatles are now 11-0 after their last 11 losses. They are 5-0 after a loss in these playoffs, and each of those wins have been by double digits.
— Congrats to Jimmie Johnson for winning at Pocono. He was dominant. He did not get bonus points for leading with a unibrow, though.
We talked about Jason Kidd's place in the pantheon of NBA point guards last week after he announced his retirement.
Now comes word that Kidd is trying to get back into the game as the New Jersey Nets' coach. You have to be very careful hiring former Hall of Fame players to be coaches, and other than Larry Bird, it's hard to remember a true elite player having much success at all as a head coach.
The reasoning of that is pretty simple: Guys with elite talent produced elite results and have elite expectations, whether they had elite knowledge of the game or not. Sure they understand the game and can execute at extreme levels, but it seems they struggle to share those traits and with the results that are less than excellent.
So we ask you this: What great/Hall of Fame player in sports today would be a very good coach? We'll start with Peyton Manning, because like Bird, his level of excellence is based more in preparation and perfectionism than physical dominance.
We think Derek Jeter could be excellent, too.
Who else is out there?
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 ...