5-at-10: LeBron's stinker, Saban's speaker, Open open contest and comedy stars draft board

5-at-10: LeBron's stinker, Saban's speaker, Open open contest and comedy stars draft board

June 12th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sportscolumns

Too much to get to today to waste time with small talk and introductions.

From the "Talks too much" studio, you realize if we played by the rules we'd be in gym right now?

Game 3

Wow, that was disappointing, huh? We were stoked about Game 3 of the NBA Finals. By early into the third quarter, we had long since lost interest - we were not as indifferent or lethargic as the Heat and LeBron James, but we were close.

The Spurs throttled the Heat with a record 16 3-pointers and cruised to a 113-77 win that was not as close as the 36-point spread conveys. It was a major league tail-whipping, that was embarrassing and full and on par with those that your big brother gave you when you were acting like a world-class punk when you were 9.

LeBron James

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

And as great as Spurs role players Danny Green, Gary Neal and Kawhi Leonard - the Spurs' next three who combined for 65 points - were, this game fell in the lap of LeBron James.

Hey, we have banged James' drum for a while now. We think he is the best player in the game (he still is) and has a chance to be among the best - if not the best - ever.

We also think he has been amazingly mediocre in the first three games of this series. And for Shane Battier or Mike Miller, his numbers are fine - he's averaging 16.3 points, 12 boards and seven assists in the series - but he's LeBron James. And he's playing like Rick James.

And he's playing his smallest when it matters most, and that is rarely a description for those who want to be included in the team photo of the best ever.

Tuesday, James was lost at times on the floor. He was indecisive with ball in his hands. He looked confused by the Spurs defense. Lost and indecisive and confused - not exactly the words we are used to hearing or using when the topic is LeBron or the elite of any sport.

And his struggles are both empirical and emphatic. For the numbers: He shot 57 percent from the field during the regular season, 51 percent in the conference finals and is shooting a woeful 39 percent in three Finals games. For the emphasis: He was so listless and unaggressive, James did not attempt a free throw on Tuesday - the first time that has happened in four years.

And now, we're left to wonder if this series will return to Miami?

Was this a performance that was telling or temporary? Was it an apparition or the apparent future? Is this just one game (yes), but is it cause for worry (yes)? We know LeBron has responded in almost every similar dire situation of the last two postseasons, but can he do it against a Spurs team that looks composed and comfortable in their plan against him and the Heatles?

It's hard to know, and whether you are ticked or tickled by LeBron's struggles, if we get more of the same in Game 4 Thursday, we need to make other TV plans.

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Alabama football coach Nick Saban speaks during the annual Athens Area Chamber of Commerce fundraiser in Athens, Tenn., on Tuesday.

Photo by Patrick Smith/Times Free Press.

Saban in Athens

As our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer shared here, Alabama coach Nick Saban delivered speech 1 from his go-to playbook of talks for a sold-out crowd at an event for the Athens Chamber of Commerce.

Good times. Or bad times. Or whatever. (We're just glad that there was no incident.)

We do know this about Saban - where ever he goes and whatever he is doing, dude is supremely well-prepared. In fact, part of his speech was about how the Tide have to guard against complacency. (Side note: As an Auburn grad that writes for a newspaper that serves a large contingent of Johnny Vols Fans, how great would it be to have to worry about complacency? Cue Springsteen... "Glory Days.")

We also know this: As long as Saban is coaching the Tide, Alabama - like them or loathe them - is the team to beat.

Period.

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US Open

There are a ton of storylines at the US Open this weekend.

We love major golf championships for a lot of reasons. Mainly, we enjoy watching the best in the world at their craft deal with the toughest conditions and the grand stage and intense, life-changing pressure of winning majors and fulfilling life-long dreams.

Steven Fox hits out of the sand on the 18th hole during the first round of the Colonial golf tournament in Forth Worth, Texas, in May.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

We know this is another chapter in the prologue of Steve Fox's golf career, as TFP golf ace David Uchiyama tells us here.

It also is another chance for Tiger Woods to get back into the winner's circle at a major. Woods - like LeBron - will be defined by the total number of rings he collects, and in golf, the rings are major championships. It's been five years to the event since Tiger won a major. His game is elite again, and he's ranked No. 1 in the world. We're never going to say "he's back" because no one will ever get to the dominating point Woods was in the early-2000s.

But he's still the best in the world and the clear favorite this weekend. (His Vegas line is 9-2; the next best odds are Mickelson, Adam Scott, Kuchar and Graeme McDowell at 20-to-1.)

We think Tiger contends this week. At least we hope he does. Tiger at a golf tournament has become like your old college buddy who drinks way, Way, WAY too much in that...

A) The lady in your life does not even pretend to like him any more;

B) You have no idea what's going to happen when he's around;

C) Everything is more entertaining and exciting when he's involved.

So, yes, we hope Tiger is in the mix. The game's great stages are even more entertaining when the biggest stars step on them.

Also, we have the Opening act, Open-and-Closed Open Contest. Pick the first-round leader and the overall winner and win some stuff. Don't cost nothin' (and right now we're trying to squeeze out a couple of Best of Preps tickets as the prize if you're interested; for those that are out of the 423, we'll come up with something else).

We'll post the entries we have so far around lunch.

Whatcha' got?

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This and that

- Jared Fogle has been with Subway for 15 years and is worth more than $15 million. Saw that this morning and thought it was interesting. Dude had a plan, marketed it and made a lifetime of coin. Good for Jared.

- Jeronne Maymon passed the eye test at clinic in Cleveland, as TFP all-around ace Gene Henley tells us here.

- EA Sports' College Football 2014 is on the horizon - it normally gets released in late July. But here are the top-15 players as viewed by the game creators, and yes, Jadeveon Clowney is rated as a 99 and Johnny Football is close behind at 97.

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Today's question

There's a slew of stuff to discuss today, so knock yourself silly. And remember Friday's mailbag and the US Open contest.

But, if you need another talking point, let's go here:

We love the draft. You know this. We also enjoy quoting great-to-awful movies (especially comedies) throughout our daily ramblings.

Let's blend the two. We saw this morning that Jim Carrey's struggling career has hit another major snag since Warner Brothers has passed on his offer to make "Dumb and Dumber To." In the age unoriginality in Hollywood, and when every movie that makes a smidge over budget is kicked around about possible sequels, the decision to pass on a what seems like a sure-fire money maker with Carrey, Jeff Daniels and the Farrelly brothers on board seems telling. So, they are not even saying there's a chance.

Actor Will Ferrell, who is receiving the nation's top humor prize, gives a comedic thumbs down to the audience at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

So it goes.

As for blending the two, let's have your comedy movie actors' draft board. Here's our starting point, and we need to complete the lottery (top 15 or so) before the day ends:

1) Mid-to-late 1980s Eddie Murphy - the Michael Jordan of the time (48 Hours to Trading Places to Beverly Hills Cop to Raw to Coming to America... Big time stuff);

2) Jim Carrey in the late 80s-early 90s (Ace to Dumb and Dumber, two big-timers);

3) Early-to-mid 80s Chevy Chase (Caddyshack, Vacation and Fletch);

4) Mid 2000s Will Ferrell (You know this list as well as we do);

5) Early-to-mid 1980s Bill Murray (May be a little low, considering he had Caddyshack, Stripes and Ghostbusters in a stretch that is better than we remembered);

Discuss.