There: Do you feel better now? I
LeBron smirked, but you know there had to be a small piece of him -- it HAS to exist, right? -- that felt stung by it. Of course, you wouldn't know it from his on-court demeanor or post-game comments, an opportunity missed to say "I not sorry I left; I'm sorry HOW I left."
But that is not to be LeBron's legacy in Cleveland. Hopefully, Cavs fans can find some solace from the chance to boo their former hero to his face. The rest of us are going to move on...
The game itself was a rout: LeBron scored a ton, the Heat ran the Cavs off the court, as they have been doing with every middling team on their schedule. That's not Miami's problem. Miami's problem is the GOOD teams, who they have yet to prove they can beat consistently.
Qatar 2022: There's this weird thing I have with Qatar. When I was in 7th grade, my social studies class was studying the Middle East. I started calling it, like everyone else, "Ku-TAR." My uncle, a longtime CIA official (and someone who would know), corrected me that it was pronounced "cutter." I have always remembered that -- and corrected people in the excessively rare moments when the country's name came up. Of course, yesterday morning it came up A LOT. So, yes: "Cutter." (And, if you want to be technical about it, the "C" is almost -- but not quite -- a "g" sound. The "c" is more guttural. Or "Qatar"-al, as it were.) Anyway, Qatar stole the 2022 World Cup away from the US. So there's that.
CFB Weekend: This is it. If Auburn beats South Carolina, they are in the national title game. If Oregon beats Oregon State, they are in the national title game.
If either stumble -- and they might -- TCU is in the national title game.
If both stumble -- and it could happen -- then it is a scramble among a couple of 1-loss teams, with Auburn likely winning out if only based on their insanely difficult strength of schedule.
But WILL Auburn and/or Oregon lose? Well, Auburn barely beat South Carolina back in September, and the Gamecocks have gotten MUCH better since then, particularly the past few weeks. They are peaking at precisely the right time to pull an upset.
As for Oregon, it is no gimme that the Ducks can waltz into Corvallis to play their biggest rival in an environment that will make last night in Cleveland seem tame and walk out with a win.
(Remember back in 2006 when all mighty USC had to do was beat mediocre UCLA in this final weekend of the season? Or 2007, when all mighty West Virginia had to do was beat mediocre Pitt (in Morgantown!) in this final weekend of the season? Crazy stuff happens.)
CFB Last Night: No school had a better day in 2010 than Arizona State did yesterday. During the day, ASU researchers announced that they had discovered a new form of alien life. Then last night, ASU went to Tucson and beat rival Arizona in a 2OT thriller, becoming bowl-eligible in the process -- one of the great Arizona State wins of the last decade. Congrats, Sun Devils fans.
(UPDATE: Because ASU has two wins over 1-AA teams, they had to hit 7 wins, rather than the standard. 500 record. But! ASU has appealed to the NCAA for a waiver. And why shouldn't they?)
NFL Week 13: The week's headliner -- Pats-Jets -- isn't until Monday night, so what should you be looking for on Sunday?
*Well, for starters, most fantasy leagues are either in their final regular-season week (5+ team playoffs) or second-to-last week (4-team playoff). If you're in contention, good luck.
*Steelers-Ravens is the best game of the day (or night, as it were), with playoff seeding (and accompanying home-field advantage) in play. Will the Ravens D try to step on Big Ben's foot?
*Otherwise, it's a whole lot of match-ups between would-be playoff teams and non-playoff teams, with the Would-Be's in pretty close to must-win situations: Seahawks and Rams (in the futile NFC West), the Colts (hosting the dangerous Cowboys), the Giants (hosting the Redskins), the Jaguars (in Tennessee) and others.
*Last night: The Mike Vick Show rolled on -- 3 TDs in a Philly win over the Texans -- but I'm not sure how many people watched. If you don't have NFL Network, like me, you couldn't.
College hoops this weekend: Butler vs. Duke in New Jersey. It might inspire nostalgia for the Bulldogs' Tournament run earlier this year. But make no mistake, this will NOT be a rematch of their classic game for the NCAA title last April. Butler isn't nearly as good; Duke is much, much better. This will be a 20-point rout. (If you want a better game, watch Illinois at Gonzaga.)
MLB Hot Stove: Adam Dunn moves to the White Sox for $56M. Unclear how he fits in with the rest of Chicago's lumbering sluggers, but Dunn's productivity is unquestioned: Home runs and walks more than counter-balancing the conventional wisdom that his strikeouts are a problem.
Yankees Contract Watch: Derek Jeter doesn't have a deal, but Mo Rivera reportedly does -- for two more years. The most universally respected Yankee (perhaps of all time) will keep doing what he does, and presumably retire in pinstripes. Will this put some pressure on Jeter to deal?