New blogpost coming later today: Will include Heat-Spurs lookahead, of course, and also my reflection on the infamous "orange jumpsuit" column reference to Lance Stepehenson. Expect to post by late afternoon.
1) It is SUNDAY, JUNE 1. Happy new month, everybody. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with Heat-Pacers. 3) I wonder if Lance Stephenson blew in the pilot's ear on the Pacers' flight home to Indiana. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-Pacers Game 5, Lance Stephenson's buffoonery with blow-in-ear video, Heat playoff MVP standings, top-10 music earners since 1990 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.
Click on The Full Force of a Two-Time Champion for my column from the arena off last night's series-clinching Heat victory.
HEAT-SPURS THE REMATCH: WHAT TEAM DID YOU HOPE MIAMI MET IN NBA FINALS?: It'll be Heat-Spurs in an NBA Finals rematch after last night's San Antonio win. Is that best for the Heat? It was a simple either/or choice offering no easy path to a three-peat for Miami, and a clear contrast in options. Conventional thinking is that San Antonio (a rematch of the 2013 Finals) offers the tougher opponent for the Heat because of the matchup problems it will present. Oklahoma City (which would have been a rematch of the '12 Finals) offered perhaps a more favorable matchup overall but also presented the challenge of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, arguably the only duo in the league that can match or even surpass the LeBron James/Dwyane Wade tandem offensively. The poll question is open to your interpretation. Vote based on which would be the easier opponent for Miami, or vote based on which Finals you'd find more entertaining. Vote either way, and say why.
G6: HEAT 117, INDIANA 92: LEBRON, BOSH COMBINE FOR 50 AS MIAMI REACHES 4TH STRAIGHT NBA FINALS: LeBron James and Chris Bosh with 25 points apiece last night in a complete beatdown that eliminated Indiana for the third straight year and lifts Miami to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season. More antics of course from punky Lance Stephenson -- including a hand on LeBron's face and an open palm raked across Norris Cole's face -- but the result shut him up. Said Pacers coach Frank Vogel afterward: "We're competing against the Michael Jordan of our era, the Chicago Bulls of our era." Click here for my game column. ..... Original post: It has been a nutty buildup to this game. Paul George just scored 37 points including a ridiculous 21 in the fourth.
LeBron James just scored 7 thanks to extreme foul trouble
and 2-for-10 shooting, and passed up the last shot. But instead we were all talking about the fool Lance Stephenson, of the ear-blowing, huddle-invading and body-flopping. Lance is an idiot. Miami's job is to make sure he isn't the idiot whose distracting antics contribute to the Heat blowing this series. (Stephenson and James are pictured in a staredown, which at least is more manly than Lance blowing gently into LeBron's ear). Miami's lead is only 3-2 now entering tonight's Game 6 here, and the Heat must ride two notable streaks to victory. First, the Heat has won 10 straight home playoff games overall. Second, Miami in the Big 3 era is 9-0 at home in potential series-clinching games. Unless those perfect streaks continue, the Heat would face a Game 7 in Indiana putting the hope of a three-peat championship in peril. That's why Chris Bosh rightly referred to tonight as "our Game 7."
Heat Postseason MVP Standings (updated): We name 'Heat 3 Stars' after every playoff game and award points on 3-2-1 basis. Last night: 1. LeBron James, 2. Chris Bosh, 3. Chris Andersen. The standings 15 playoff games, including Friday's series-clincher: LeBron James 34 points, Dwyane Wade 23, Chris Bosh 15, Ray Allen 8, Chris Andersen 3, Rashard Lewis 3, Norris Cole 2, James Jones 2.
MAKE STANTON AN ALL-STAR!: Here is an unapologetic hometown plug for the local guy. Marlins star
Giancarlo Stanton is running fourth among NL outfielders in all-star voting in the first results released, and he unequivocally deserves to be one of the three starters. He is having an MVP-caliber season for a surprise team. My particular quibble is that one of the players Stanton trails is Milwaukee's Ryan "Steroids" Braun. I present their comparative statistics as of today: Braun--.315, 7 homers, 23 RBI, .910 OPS. Stanton--.318, 15 homers, 49 RBI, 1.034 OPS. Only the averages are close. Otherwise across the board Stanton is more deserving -- and that's not even getting into Braun's cheating past. Vote Stanton! Got to the MLB ballot HERE, and make justice happen.
MORE MEDIOCRITY AHEAD FOR DOLPHINS?: Bovada is out with its preseason betting over/unders on NFL win totals, and for the Dolphins it's 8. That's 8-8, .500, the essence of mediocrity, and likely no playoffs. Looking for the glass half full? That's at least second in the AFC East, after the Patriots' 10.5 but ahead of the Jets' 7 and Bills' 6.5.
SCOUT WILLIS MAKES A POINT, OR TWO: Scout Willis, 22-year-old daughter of actors BruceWillis and Demi Moore, was photographed this week walking topless in Manhattan, to protest, she said, Instagram's policy of prohibiting topless photos of females. She posted the photos at right (but without the red stars) on Twitter with the hashtag #FreeTheNipple. It does strike us as weird that it is not illegal to walk topless in New York City but it is on Instagram. We offer the photos here in support of Scout's righteous crusade. That, and because we enjoy occasional gratuitous naughtiness just for the hell of it.
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