As if they needed any extra advantages, the Miami Heat are sitting and resting and waiting for the rest of the Eastern Conference to get done with the slow dance that has become round 1. So, too are the San Antonio Spurs. Each team is the favorite to get to the NBA Finals.
Let's review where the series are, and when they meet again. Deal? Deal.
New York leads Boston 3-2 after the Celtics won Game 5 92-86 in NYC on Wednesday.
Next: Friday at Boston (ESPN, 7)
Indiana leads Atlanta 3-2 after waxing the Hawks 106-83 on Wednesday.
Next: Friday at Atlanta (ESPN2, 7)
Chicago leads Brooklyn 3-2
Next: Game 6 tonight in Chicago (TNT, 8)
OKC leads Houston 3-2 after Houston won 107-100 on Wednesday
Next: Friday at Houston (ESPN, 9:30)
Golden State leads Denver 3-2.
Next: Tonight at Golden State (TNT, 10:30)
Memphis leads the L.A. Clippers 3-2.
Next: Friday at Memphis (ESPN2, 9:30)
Here's what you need to know. There has rarely been this combination of elitism (the Heat) and parity (there's a real chance that the Western Conference finals could be Grizzlies and the Warriors). This is a great combination for the league.
There's also a very real chance that there could be a MON-ster Sunday with four Game 7s. We know our man Downtown Patrick Brown wants the Grizz to finish the Clippers on Friday, but we are so, So, SO rooting for an all-Sunday elimination day. Talk about good times.
Kentucky Derby Contest
We are back trying to give away stuff.
This time it will be some TFP memorabilia. Maybe even a ticket or two to an upcoming event here in the greater Chattanooga area that sounds like "Rest of Reps."
The contest is simple: Pick the horse that you think will win, and the horse that you think will lose — as in dead last. To try to prevent a tie, let's let picking the winner be worth 1.2 points and picking the last-place finisher be worth 1 point. If we still have a tie, we'll break it Monday. Deal? Deal. And it still don't cost nothin' to enter a 5-at-10 contest.
5-at-10 — Verranzano to win; Black Onyx
Mrs. 5-at-10 — Orb to win; Giant Finish
Sportsfan — Orb to win; Fear the Kitten in last
McPell — Goldencents to win; Franc Daddy in last
TrueBeliever — Revolutionary to win; Falling Sky in last
OTWatcher — Goldencents to win; Golden Soul in last
ThatIDoKnow — Verranzano to win; Frac Daddy in last
Joe — Normandy Invasion to win; Oxbow in last
Thinker — Orb to win; Frac Daddy in last
More to come
Scouts Inc. looks at 2014
Todd McShay, the draft guru who is the head of Scouts Inc. and one of the true experts on ESPN, listed his top 32 prospects for the 2014 NFL.
Hey, we love the draft. You know this.
And his list is somewhat similar to the top five lists we posted earlier this week. Here are our position players in order and where McShay had them ranked overall:
1) Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina D-end — 1st
2) Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama left tackle — 3rd
3) Anthony Barr, UCLA defensive end — 5th
4) Marqise Lee, USC receiver — 4th
5) Sammy Watkins, Clemson receiver — 21st
Here is our list of 2014 quarterback prospects and where McShay had them ranked overall:
1) A.J. McCarron, Alabama — 15th
2) Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville — 2nd
3) Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech — Not ranked
4) Tajh Boyd, Clemson — 8th
5) Aaron Murray, Georgia — Not ranked.
This is not about the rankings as much as the trends McShay's ranking show.
Here are three things that stick out:
• Alabama again will have the most talent. McShay ranks five Tide players — Kouandijo (3rd), Adrian Hubbard (10th), C.J. Mosely (12th), McCarron (15th) and Ha-Ha Dix (24th) — among the top 25 NFL prospects in the game.
• The Alabama-Texas A&M game will be the game of the year. We kind of felt this way going in, but with the Tide's upper crust talent, and the nucleus the Aggies have on offense — tackle Jake Matthews is sixth overall, quarterback Johnny Manziel is ninth overall, and receiver Mike Evans is 30th — emphasizes it. Think of it this way, according to early numbers, a projected eight of the best first-round prospects will be on the field.
• The SEC again will rule. After producing a record 12 first-round picks last week, the SEC has 13 players in McShay's 32. That said, want the home run stat for how the SEC dominated the 2013 draft? The SEC East had 32 players picked. The SEC West had 31 players picked. The ACC was next with 30 players picked, followed by the Pac-12 (28), the Big 12 (22) and the Big East (21)
This and that
— Interesting story in Sports Illustrated. No, not about the gay NBA guy. SI reports that a Champions Tour player and a former tournament director named David Eger was the guy that called Augusta National about Tiger Woods' improper drop. And how did he get the information through — it's not like there's a bank of of folks in green jackets answering phones at the Masters? He texted an old friend, Mickey Bradley, a rules official who was working on the Masters.
— Holy Space Odyssey 2017. We're way beyond birthdays now. Check out the proposed details and extravagances of the Falcons new facility. Wow.
— Texas A&M apparently feels right at home in the SEC. Huge first year. Heisman winner. Slew of first-round draft picks. Now they are expanding Kyle Field to seat more than 102,000 folks That's a lot of 12th Men. (Or would that be 12th Mans?)
— Want a sure fire recipe for offensive struggles? Nine Ks, two hits, zero walks. Yep, that was the line for your Braves in a 2-0 loss last night, and one of those hits was by starting pitcher Paul Maholm. There are going to be days like these throughout the long, Braves' summer. But wow, the Dan Struggla update is staggering. He has 37 strikeouts in 86 at-bats. That's a strikeout 43 percent of the time. To extrapolate that further, Uggla would have to hit .500 on the at-bats he actually puts the ball in play to hit .285.
It's a free-for-all Thursday. Do whatcha' like.
If you need a starting point here are but three:
• Country music will mourn the loss of George Jones today. The funeral for Jones, who died at the age of 81 last week, is today in Nashville and country music's royalty is schedule to pay proper respects. In your Mount Rushmore of country music stars, does Jones make it? Maybe it's sentiment, but we have him making the cut with George Strait, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. Discuss. (Side note: His nickname — the Possum — is an all-timer, too.)
• The week of the Kentucky Derby we are always looking for the top 10 rejected horse names. Last year's winner — Glue Stick — is the name to beat at 4-to-1. We also like Alpo Position. Whatcha' got?
• Would you feel more comfortable hitting against the worst pitcher in baseball or pitching to Struggla?
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 ...