5-at-10: Superman's cape, burning Busch, Braves and Johnny Football in Vegas

5-at-10: Superman's cape, burning Busch, Braves and Johnny Football in Vegas

May 27th, 2014 by Jay Greeson in Sportscolumns

Hope you enjoyed the holiday and for the veterans among us, thank you for your sacrifices.

From the "Talks too much" studios, that's Mr. James if you please.

Turning up the Heat

Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) checks the scoreboard in a game against the Brooklyn Nets in this May 10, 2014, file photo in New York.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

After being called out by Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, LeBron James did not return the interview interchange.

Nope, LeBron silenced the chatty Stephenson with his overwhelming 32-point night as the Heat grabbed a 3-1 lead with a 102-90 win Monday.

LeBron was 10-of-12 in the paint, getting to the rim with an unrelenting persistence. He grabbed 10 defensive rebounds and had a game-high five assists. His performance spoke volumes.

James said he did not need any extra motivation, that getting to the Finals was plenty to light his fire. He's right, but there was obviously a little extra in the tank.

As for Stephenson, who drew some ire from his teammates after the pre-Game 4 rant, after three excellent games to start the series, he scored nine points on 3-of-7 shooting.

The lesson here: Don't pull on the cape young fella, especially when at times James has looked only mildly interested. Monday, he was intensely into it.

It's only the most discussed sign of a Pacers team that looks on edge of packing the gear, and the buzzwords coming from the Indiana camp are less-than encouraging.

Star forward Paul George said the Pacers "out-played" the Heat in Game 4 and lost because Miami was able to get to the foul line, where it made 30-of-34 shots. Ummm, Paul, the Heat never trailed and won the turnover battle 14-7.

Then center Roy Hibbert, who put up a doughnut in the points column Monday, said his offensive invisibility was, at least partly, by design. "The game plan really wasn't to utilize me as much; I'm just trying to be effective as I can," Hibbert told reporters after the game. "Would I like a little bit more touches early on? Yeah. But that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes."

Good luck with that in Game 5 fellows.

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Racing

Kurt Busch (41) drives his car out of Turn 4 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup series Coca-Cola 600 auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., on May 25, 2014.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The end to the Indy 500 was excellent. The Coca-Cola 600 was long.

Somewhere in between, there is a fair case to be made that Kurt Busch is on the short list of the best drivers driving.

Dude went to Indy and finished sixth in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

His bid to be only the second driver to complete the 1,100 mile double-dip on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend (Tony Stewart did it in 2004) ended about 200 miles short because of a blown engine.

Dude is not lacking talent - he's lacking parts. And as we learned many moons ago in this famous Wendy's commercial: Parts is parts.

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Braves

After winning six of their last eight, your Atlanta Braves appeared to right the ship. Good times.

Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward (22) initially beats the tag but slides past the base and is tagged out by Dustin Pedroia (15) during the eighth inning of a baseball game on Monday, May 26, 2014, in Atlanta.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Monday was a painful reminder of how fragile and moody the game can be.

Up by five runs, Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez stuck with starter Erwin Santana in the fifth - in large part to help the struggling right-hander get a win - and David Ortiz drilled a two-out, three-run homer that tied the game at 6 in what became an 8-6 win for Boston, which ended a 10-game losing streak with the victory.

The good: Justin Upton continues to be the biggest homebody in baseball. Dude rakes at Turner Field. He's hitting .381 (37-for-97) with 10 homers and 26 RBIs in the A-T-L. On the road, he's at .195 (15-for-77) with three homers and seven RBIs. He's at a mind-blowing .299 over all, which is hard to believe since he strikes out in more than a third of his at-bats (60 Ks in 174 at-bats).

The bad: Santana's ERA is up to 4.06 after allowing six earned in five innings in Monday's no-decision. He has been rocked of late - giving up 17 earned in his last 17 innings over three starts (all losses) as his ERA has climbed from sub-2.00 to plus-4. He has issued eight of his 17 walks this season in his last three games.

The Uggla: Danny Struggla has not played since an 0-for-3 with three Ks showing against Colorado last Friday night. Nothing.

Side note No. 1: The camo hats that baseball trotted out for Memorial Day were legit. Hey MLB, why not give the extra coin generated by those hat sales to the VA?

Side note, part deux: The Cobb County Commission votes tonight to commit funds for the new stadium near Cumberland Mall, which will make traffic on I-75 right outside of the perimeter even worse and will make the dream of the Smyrna Braves complete.

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This and that

- Here's a holiday memory that will live in the Gregor family history. Conrad Gregor hot his first professional homer Sunday and his dad, Marty Gregor, snagged it bare-handed. Good times. (Although, Conrad, get your old man better seats, huh?)

- More baseball: The Cubs signed Manny Ramierz to be a player-manager for their Class AAA affiliate. The Cubs are clear that this more about the coaching than the playing too. Interesting. Yes, the baggage is everywhere - heck, Manny being Manny became a catch phrase - but dude is clearly a hitting savant. Can that translate? Who knows, but it's the Cubs... how much worse can it get?

- Adam Scott beat Jason Dufner in a playoff that was entertaining. Still feels like golf is whispering without Tiger and with Phil in a funk. Fore.

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Today's question

We'll start with the obvious: Who won the weekend?

Indy car racing can make a claim, considering the end to the Indy 500 was awesome. Still, it's not like we really remember who won or will watch another race because of it.

LeBron James can make a claim, too. So can the Serge Ibaka and the Thunder, who can even their series with the Spurs tonight.

We'll continue with Mr. Johnny Q. Football. As you may have heard, dude spent the holiday weekend in Vegas, where things can happen.

Hey, he's a young, well-financed success story. Vegas is Vegas (and the whole "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" ad campaign took a major lick, huh?)... here's our question:

Is this a big deal? Go.