Today's Hot Names: Verlander. Earnhardt. LeBron.
Spurs up 3-0 on Cavs: Here's how we all know, once and for all, there is no "conspiracy" in the NBA: There was no foul call against Bruce Bowen while LeBron was shooting what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer.
Instead, the ref swallowed his whistle: Did Bowen foul LeBron? Obviously. The Spurs had one to give. The question of the morning: Did Bowen foul LeBron in the act of shooting that 3?
Yes. On its face, it doesn't look like it. It looked like Bowen grabbed him before the shot. But in the NBA, where "continuation" is interpreted as liberally as possible, he did foul LeBron while LeBron was in "the act" of shooting.
Consider: The league's biggest star... On his home court... In the franchise's first-ever Finals game in
So save your conspiracy theories, because it delivered a worst-case scenario for the NBA:
Not only does the game end controversially, but – far worse – the series goes 3-0 to the Spurs, making
(By the way, if you thought things couldn't get worse for the NBA after Games 1 and 2, tying the record for the second-lowest scoring Finals game of all time doesn't help things at all.)
Verlander's No-Hitter: How about this: MLB Stud Single-Game Performance of the Year (So Far)... Justin Verlander, for his no-hitter against the Brewers last night (with 12 Ks, too). Hitting 100-plus on the gun in the 9th? That's sick.
I'm still saying that Dan Haren has been the best pitcher in the AL this season, but don't be surprised if AL All-Star manager Jim Leyland doesn't use JV's no-no to vault him as the AL All-Star starter.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. to sign with Hendrick Motorsports: As with Junior declaring his free agency, there really is no analogue in other sports. This is the most marketable name in the sport joining the most successful team in the sport.
(As drivers are universally associated with their numbers, Junior's switch from his iconic No. 8 to either No. 5 or No. 25 is a merchandise marketer's dream. If
ESPN.com has its new Editor in Chief: It's Rob King, who I don't know. It's a very interesting choice, because he doesn't have a dot-com background. However, as I've said for 10 years, EIC of ESPN.com is the most powerful editorial role in sports media, so congrats to Rob and all best. (Kudos to SportsByBrooks for breaking the story on blogs, via Sports Biz Daily.)
NCAA CFB: Was
MLB All-Star Voting: THE drama is whether fans will vote Bonds into the NL starting lineup. He dropped to fourth in the latest released vote totals. And NL All-Star manager Tony LaRussa isn't saying whether he'd name Bonds to the team as a reserve.
(Personally, I think Bonds should be in there. Come on, people. Don't you want some drama with your All-Star Game? Bonds is 42,000 behind Alfonso Soriano for the third spot in the outfield behind Carlos Beltran and Ken Griffey Jr.)
MLB Dud: AJ Burnett, who left last night's game with a shoulder injury. Cue ominous music.
More Cubs dugout drama involving Michael Barrett: This time, he mixed it up with pitcher Rich Hill. No punches were thrown, though, so that's obviously a big win for Barrett. Seriously: How many more incidents will there be before he loses the pitching staff entirely?
I love this story about White Sox players offending the sensibilities of Patti LaBelle at a restaurant on Sunday night, with Jim Thome needed to intercede on the team's behalf, because the players were so loud and offensive to the other diners.
NFL: Pacman Jones won't appeal his season-long suspension. If he was smart, he'd spend the season working out, doing community service and rehabilitating his image by being on TV and online. Does he want to keep a blog about the experience? I'm happy to ghost-blog it...
More NFL: Classic Deadspin "someone-sent-me-awesome-photos" post about Jeff Reed, who is no stranger to Deadspn "someone-sent-me-awesome-photos" posts.
NBA Rumors: Why are there legs to this idea Kobe can be traded to the Knicks? The already-crappy team will be gutted of its remaining talent and Kobe -- even in the weak East -- would have a tough time. Kobe needs to be traded to a team that won't lose all of its decent parts to get him. What was so wrong with my idea to trade him to the Bobcats for a re-signed Gerald Wallace and Adam Morrison, plus the Bobcats' No. 1 picks this year and next year? With that No. 8 pick, the Lakers could grab one of the talented big men to play alongside Andrew Bynum.
NBA Draft: Believe it or not, I don't like Joakim Noah as much as I like the other four players in
But you have to give him credit – not scorn – for playing the game the right way: At a minimum, with passion and hustle and with little regard for his own personal stats and entire regard for the concept of "team."
His recent criticism of players who won't go head-to-head against him in draft workouts (cough-Brandan Wright-cough) is totally consistent with his competitive attitude. And that will be an asset for any NBA team.
I was asked to write a preview of Noah for the Atlanta Hawks blog, and here's a link. Here's the takeaway: If a team wants him to be the first, second or even third option on offense, they will be disappointed. But if David Lee can average a double-double off the bench for the Knicks, Noah sure as hell can do the same thing for another team, with a fair number of blocks, steals and assists thrown in.
Karma: Duke LAX prosecutor Mike Nifong himself facing ethics charges.
Sports and Pop Culture: Watching Daily Shows the next night after they are originally on is terrible for my ability to pick out must-see clips. But John Hodgman's "Resident Expert" segment about MMA was totally amazing. Go to ComedyCentral.com to find it. It's worth it.
Blog Industry: Congrats to TVNewser's Brian Stelter, who has parlayed his blog into a bonafide job with the New York Times... and he's all of a few weeks out of college. I haven't seen this written elsewhere, but I'll say it: He is now officially, inarguably, the biggest success story of the blogosphere. And damn likeable too, damn him. You REALLY want to hate a guy like that...
Condolences to family, friends and fans of "Mr. Wizard," Don Herbert, who probably did more to advance an interest in science in this country than anyone else in history.