Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday 06/08 A.M. Quickie:
LeBron Gets Schooled, Schilling 1-Hits, More

Dan @ Deadspin this weekend: I'll be guest-blogging at Deadspin this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday. Tips welcome (via my email to the right), and if you're a Deadspin Commenter, be gentle.

NBA Finals: Spurs shut down LeBron. You know what? I'm being too kind to him. He got schooled. He got served. He got roasted.

Guess what? Even LeBron can't save these NBA Finals, which rested on his individual brilliance countering the Spurs' superior team.

But the Spurs stifled LeBron: If the 48-point game against the Pistons was LeBron's career apex (and the highlight of this NBA Playoffs season), then this 14-point brutality was his career's nadir (as well as that of the playoffs, given the outsized expectations for last night's matchup).

The ugliness: 4 of 16 FG shooting. 6 turnovers. And a 9-point loss to the Spurs in San Antonio in Game 1.

The Spurs put on a defensive clinic – and showed that LeBron (or, more accurately, the Cavs as a whole) ain't ready for the Finals.

Maybe it was first-game jitters. But, more likely, it was foreshadowing. LeBron won't have a game that bad again. He's too brilliant not to make adjustments.

But he looked overmatched last night.

UPDATE: Kissing Suzy Kolber has their new commenter draft up, picking graduation speakers you wish you had. It reminded me of my own high school graduation speaker... Anthony Dilweg. He was an alum of my high school and, at the time of my graduation, hanging on with the Packers, coming off the 1990 season when played 9 games, had 8 TDs and 1,200 passing yards. (h/t: Wikipedia) Worst. Graduation Speaker. Ever. (But nice topic, KSK.)

Vick Watch: I keep saying, "Oh, NOW Vick is in trouble," and the story keeps finding ways of getting worse and worse for him. This is the worst moment yet: The Feds are getting involved, including a search of Vick's property yesterday. Yikes (for him).

MLB Stud: Curt Schilling. Can't wait for the blog post about his coming within one out of a no-hitter (he finished with a one-hitter).

MLB Dud: Billy Wagner, Jose Valverde, Dan Wheeler. All three closers blew saves.

MLB Draft: I said it yesterday: David Price is the Devil Rays (or whatever their future name is) version of the Marlins' Dontrelle Willis. A future "Face of Baseball."

Price led the theme of the first round: Left-handed pitching. 7 of the first 30 players taken were leftys, and – unsurprisingly – 17 of the first-round picks were pitchers.

(Interesting trivia: The last college LHP to be the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB draft? Floyd Bannister, back in 1976.)

Clemens Watch: He pitches tomorrow. Expect over-hype.

MLB Steroids: George Mitchell and the MLBPA are negotiating terms that would allow players to interview (or "interview") with Mitchell's investigators. Mitchell has to be content with not getting unfettered access; the MLBPA has to be seen as not being obstructionist.

NBA: Magic officially hire Stan Van Gundy. Orlando had to give the Heat a second-round pick this year, plus the option to swap first-round picks next year (if Orlando isn't in the Lottery).

Donovan Watch: Billy D. finally got that new contract from Florida. Bet both sides wish it happened a week ago. He'll be the highest-paid coach in college basketball...

...and higher-paid than his football counterpart, Urban Meyer, who also got a new six-year deal, worth $3-plus mil a year and makes him the third-highest-paid coach in college football, behind Nick Saban and Charlie Weis.

This won't surprise you: Meyer and Donovan combine to become the highest-paid pair of football-basketball coaches in the country. But sitting on all those titles, is there any doubt they deserve to be?

NFL "Get-Tough": The complaint against the Bengals' Odell Thurman has been withdrawn. Roger Goodell gets to move on to other things.

NBA Rules: There has been no proposal to change the "bench rule," which means that – despite the outrage from the media – the people for whom the NBA matters most (owners/execs) don't want to see it changed.

Belmont: I'm backing the filly, Rags to Riches.

Video Gaming: So Gilbert Arenas' team (Final Boss) is the top-ranked squad at the massive gaming competition happening in the NYC area today. Should I go out to find him?

Hmm: Unusually slow day for a Friday. Given my special guest-blogging this weekend, I hope things pick up a bit for tomorrow and Sunday.

-- D.S.

39 comments:

Sh!tShow said...

I promise to harass you no more or less than MJD, Dan.

CMFost said...

MLB Dud of The Day - Julio Lugo for basically costing Schilling a perfect game. If Lugo makes the play on the Easy grounder hit right at him, Schilling in all probability would of pitched a Perfect Game as Shannon Stewart would of never of come to the plate in the 9th.

Eric said...

Don't forget the showdown of Nadal vs. Federer. I think Federer is up 2 sets - 0 in the semis. This is the key for Federer, if he beats Nadal on Sunday, he's a ridiculously heavy favorite to win the grand slam, and pretty much has the rights to call himself the best tennis player of the open era.

rafael said...

Did anyone think game 1 could have been different? I considered it a sure-win for the Spurs just for the adjustment period. Spurs will win Game 2 as well, but the Cavs will strike in Cleveland.

Still...LeBron has only 14 points..and Cavs lose by 9. Isn't that a glimmer of hope? If he puts up 30 (which we know he can)...

and cmfost...its "would have" not "would of". /petpeeve

soxfan2550 said...

biggest loser in this of course is nba...how many of you (like me) was off to baseball tonite (or actually mean gilrs on tbs!) once spurs went up by 9?....i would say that lebron was mugged more often than not even though his decision making was suspect at times. refs (league?) needs to start giving him "jordan calls" and force SA to lay off by getting entire team in foul trouble early.

ndyanksfan05 said...

Honorary stud - Joe Torre - first to notch 2000 wins as a manager and 2000 hits as a player.

pv845 said...

UF made a huge mistake. Things are only going downhill for the college from where it is now and they are going to look like morons in two years with this outlandish contract. Donovan bolts for another college or the NBA and the school paid a lot for 2 years of above-average mediocrity.

The Spurs showed why the Eastern conference is so poor. I understand it was game one, but the final score did not show how far apart these teams are.

Go Spurs Go!

CMFost said...

Actually Ref I thought Game #1 would HAVE been and even bigger blow out. I really thought the Spurs would win by 15-20. Also I think the Final score is a little misleading. I do not think the Cavs at any point had a chance to win that game nor as my predicition yesterday do i think they are going to win a game in the series.

verbal97 said...

the lost no-hitter...reminded me of when Everett busted up Mike Mussina's perfect game at Fenway with two outs in the ninth. Cudos to Schilling (who I absolutely loathe) for keeping his cool and getting the last out. A lot of times if you carry a no-hitter late and gets broken up, the wheels come off.

Josh said...

Nadir of his career? Please. There is a serious adjustment going from Detroit to San Antonio. As the playoffs have progressed, Lebron's opponents have gotten exponentially better. In each series it has taken him time to adjust to the new level of opponent. Let's not rush to dismiss Lebron's ability to adjust. If someone would have told you after game 1 of the Pistons series that Lebron would have had one of the most dominant 4th quarters/OTs of all time in that series, you would have called them nuts.

Federer gets the Tiger slam this weekend.

thistlewarrior said...

Homer Bailey makes his debut tonight. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Dan Mega said...

It was interesting to see that ESPN broke their usual coverage to go to the Boston/Oakland game yesterday to watch Curt's possible no-hitter. Did they break coverage to witness Mark Buerhle's ACTUAL no-hitter? I'll give you one guess and the answer isn't yes. The Eastern Seaboard Propaganda Network shines again.

MLB Stud- The Chicago Whitesox minus their starting pitching. Everything else is just horrid right now. I don't know where to begin.

Dan Mega said...

that meant to say mlb DUD for the whitesox

JmanTU said...

There is no way that the face of baseball will ever play for the Devil Rays of Marlins...they don't even care about them in their home state...The face of baseball will always belong in the AL East with Ortiz and Jeter carrying the torch

verbal97 said...

Right now, right or wrong, agree or disagree, the face of baseball is Barry Bonds oversized one and the giant syringe sticking out of it.

Todd said...

MLB Studs and Duds from yesterday:

Studs:
1. Curt Schilling - W, CG, 0ER, H, 4Ks
2. Rich Hill - W, 8IP, ER, 3H, BB, 11Ks
3. Kyle Lohse - W, 8.1IP, ER, 7H, BB, 2K
4. Alex Gordon - 4/4, 3B, 2B, 2R
5. A-Rod - 2/4, HR, 4RBI

Duds:
1. Kameron Loe - L, 2.2IP, 9ER
2. Dan Wheeler - L, BS, 0.1IP, 3ER, 4H, BB
3. Jonathan Broxton - L, 0.1IP, 5R, 4ER, 5H, 2BB
4. Scott Schoeneweis - L, 0.1IP, 3ER, 2H, BB
5. Julio Lugo, 0/4, E

chitown italian said...

STUD - Rich friggin Hill. Man that curve was breaking some knees last night.

J said...

Biggest Stud!! Shannon Stewart!

Todd said...

Another very good article by the Ombudswoman on ESPN.com.

Link

Jen said...

Of course all of the Lebron critics are going to yap after last night's game, just as they did after Games 1 and 2 of the series against the Pistons. I thought it was a great first half, but there were waaaay too many missed shots by the Cavs. I was glad to see they only lost by 9.

jhawkjjm said...

dan mega-

I remember watching and waiting for them to flip over. However they weren't allowed to flip over because of the company with broadcast rights (I believe Comcast?). That's why they could only talk to a reporter over the phone. I was rather peeved about it to until they said that.

Jingoist said...

What's this...?

219
33
15
11
156
66
3.45
1.301

That's Dontrelle "Face of Baseball" Wilis' stats over the last 3 years averaged.

219 IP
33 GS
15 W
11 L
156 K
66 BB
3.45 ERA
1.301 WHIP

And they are only "that good" because he had an above average season in 2005 (I cannot even call 2005 a great season, merely better than good).

Someone please tell me where and when Dontrelle was crowned a "face of baseball" outside of the ol' Quickie from, um, 2005. I think I may have to add Willis' visage to ye ol' Danwagon logo.

Todd said...

I thought last year the Danwagon proclaimed Ryan Howard the "face of baseball", no?

Dontrelle is cool, but his image has faded a bit in the past couple years.

If I may, the top 5, "face[s] of baseball"

1. A-Rod
2. Barry Bonds
3. David Ortiz
4. Derek Jeter
5. Roger Clemens

If you're talking about people who baseball should promote as it's "face", Jose Reyes really should top that list. Who doesn't love Jose Reyes?

pv845 said...

Awesome column by the ESPN Ombudsmen. I understand that ratings do mean a lot, but it is supposed to be a news agency and apparently they follow the cable news method of reporting as opposed to actual journalism and covering more than the biggest rating catcher.

Geoff said...

I'm glad that is the NBA finals everyone wanted, because Pistons/Spurs would have been soooo unwatchable. 76 points... dynamite!

Eric said...

Some if Federer wins on Sunday, is he unquestionably the greatest individual athlete of this generation? 8 Straight GS finals, I believe 13 straight appearences in the GS semis. Simply untouchable.

chipp said...

Honorary Stud: A day off. The M's finally got one after 23 days-in-a-row!

marcomarco said...

Special thanks to the Spurs D for covering 7.5 points and keeping the game under 180.

Beers are on my bookie.

Richard K. said...

Jen,

I'm not sure that it's necessarily the "Lebron critics" that are out in full force today. There's a basic fact about Lebron that was exposed last night:

If he's not hitting shots, he becomes a sub-par player.

That's the difference between him and Duncan. TD gives his team a chance to win a title while Lebron gives his team a chance to win its division (and the chance to win a really shitty conference). Mostly because if TD puts up zero points, hes still one of the 2 best players on the floor.

The same could be said of guys like Nash, Shaq, Kidd, and some others. Their shots dont have to be falling on a given night for them to help their team win.

And TD's supporting cast isn't that much better than Lebron's.

Brian in Oxford said...

Hey, the Mariners need to play every day to make up for that vacation they got back in April in Cleveland!

Matt T said...

It seems odd that the basketball coach at UF would make more than the football coach.

2 titles to 1, I know, but Football is THE revenue sport for most of the SEC (UK, not withstanding) 90,000 + buying tickets brings in more revenue. I'd imagine Urban gets another raise if he has another good/great year.

By asking us to be easy on Deadspin, is just begging us to not be.

Rickey Henderson said...

Dan Shanoff can fondle Rickey's genitals.

Lawdog1214 said...

Richard K,

Lebron is a great player no matter if he is hitting his shots or not. Lebron has raised the level of play of his teammates all season long and especially in the playoffs. He may not be able to score all the time, but his play generates opportunities for his teammates. I don't know how many wide open shots that Cleveland missed last night that would have padded Lebron's assist stat. He is becoming a better defender and he already rebounds well. I don't know how you can say he is a sub-par player if his shots aren't falling.

The fact of the matter is that Tim Duncan has two other players who can pick up the scoring slack if he is having an off night. This is not the case with Lebron.

So saying that TD can lead a team to an NBA championship and Lebron can only lead his team to a conference championship is amazingly near-sighted.

Let's face it TD has always had another player to help him win his championships (David Robinson, Manu Ginobli, Toni Parker, Big Shot Bob, etc..). Lebron has carried this team with not nearly as much help. So in essence Lebron gives his team more of a chance at winning than TD does.

Do you think the TD could take this Cavs team to a championship?

pv845 said...

Actually I think that Tim Duncan would give Cleveland a better chance. Then Cleveland would have two dominant post players and the team would be very similar to the 1999 Spurs championship team.

Lebron is going to be good. He is just not at the level of being "King" yet. He has helped his team, but he still has a ways to go to be the best. Hell he is 22, give him a break.

That all being said, the NBA has put some unfair expectations out there and he is attempting to live up to them. He is not the King of the NBA. He is a good player getting better.

J said...

A judge orders Paris Hilton back to jail, CNN confirms. She was taken from court screaming, The Associated Press reports.

Signal to Noise said...

Dan, we harass at Deadspin because we love.

kway34 said...

A judge orders Paris Hilton back to jail, CNN confirms. She was taken from court screaming, The Associated Press reports.

I might be going to hell for this, but is anyone else enjoying this story as much as I am?

chipp said...

A center as dominant as Timmy is always going to give a team a chance to win the rings. Forcing a double team in the post creates all sorts of problems for teams. Double teaming on the perimeter (see game 1) and the Spurs were still able to rotate toward the shooters and at least get a hand up. Big difference in the game last night: the Spurs' perimeter shots were uncontested and the Cavs' perimeter shots were contested.

If CLE wants LeBron to be a force on offense, he can't be guarding Parker, but they don't have a choice because who else is going to guard him?

Erik said...

Once again the NBA tells us all they care more about their image than about the sport, and once again the NBA gets a little bit closer to being dead to me.