It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today for my 24th national appearance on the Dan Le Batard Show, 3-7 on 790 & 104.3 The Ticket, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. Ears welcome.
1) It is TUESDAY, JUNE 17. R.I.P., Tony Gwynn, the baseball star, taken by cancer at 54. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with Heat-Spurs. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-Spurs Game 5, Miami done, FUTBOL! World Cup and more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.
DO YOU STILL HAVE FAITH IN DWYANE WADE?: No, we are not putting this Finals loss on Dwyane Wade. San Antonio's 4-1 rout of Miami was too decisive and thorough to place it on any one player or thing. Pat Riley bears his blame. I mean, how much did Greg Oden and Michael Beasley contribute, exactly? Erik Spoelstra bears his blame, too. The thin roster left him struggling for answers and seemingly out of them. Everybody not named LeBron James bears his blame. But Wade is a natural talking point after averaging only 15.2 points in the Finals including 10 and 11 points on 7-for-25 shooting in the last two games. That's not to mention the casual defense immortalized in a viral video. Heat fans have a right to wonder if Wade, at 32 and beset by health issues, is still an able No. 2 scorer capable of lessening the load on LeBron. If he's still an all-star worth a big contract. Where is Wade on his career timeline moving forward? Take a dip in our poll and say why.
DESPITE YOUR HAND-WRINGING, HEAT IS 2015 CHAMPIONSHIP BETTING FAVORITE: Via our friends at Bovada, Heat a 3-1 early betting favorite for the NBA championship, followed by Spurs and Thunder both 6-1, Clippers 9-1 and Bulls and Pacers both 9-1. In NHL, Chicago Blackhawks top a bunched pack for '15 Stanley Cup at 7-1.
Final Heat Postseason MVP Standings: 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. Dwyane Wade. Final standings through 20 playoff games: LeBron James 48 points, Dwyane Wade 26, Chris Bosh 23, Ray Allen 8, Rashard Lewis 7, Chris Andersen 3, James Jones 3, Norris Cole 2.
OUR HEAT-SPURS GAME 5 POSTGAME VIDEO: That'll be me on the right and Heat beat writer Joe Goodman on the left holding the world's tiniest microphone:
FUTBLOG! "U-S-A! U-S-A!" AMERICANS MAKE WINNING WORLD CUP DEBUT: FUTBLOG! is the official World Cup post of this blog, offering continually updated daily news/summaries/miscellanea on the month-long soccer quadrennial in Brazil. (See earlier posts for earlier results and for group-by-group preview).
Day 6 / Today 6-17: Match of the Day: BRAZIL 0, MEXICO 0 (Group A): You know how in American football a tie is pretty much unsatisfying to both teams? not so in futbal. They are celebrating this draw in Mexico. They are mourning it in Brazil.
Belgium 2, Algeria 1 (Group H): Algerians led much of match on a penalty-kick goal but group favorite Belgium continued this Cup's run of comeback wins.
Korea Republic 1, Russia 1 (Group H): A better draw for the South Koreans than for Russia, the seen-as-better side.
Day 5 / 6-16: Match of Day: UNITED STATES 2, GHANA 1 (Group G): Ghana was the nemesis that knocked the Americans out of the past two World Cups, and the U.S. win here for three points is a huge step toward advancing out of group play into the round of 16. I'm a sports fan who gets paid for a living to not cheer, but I made no pretense here. I'm an American, and I was rooting for the U.S. side loudly, and proudly. Team USA scored in the very first minute on a left-footed shot just inside the right post by veteran Clint Dempsey. Ghana equalized late after enjoying the better of play and possession, but the U.S. fought back with a bouncing header goal in the 82nd minute by 21-year-old John Brooks, a substitute. I hate that Jozy Altidore (from Boca Raton) was lost with what seemed like a Cup-ending hamstring strain, but that disappointment was drowned out by by cheering, coast to coast. Thrilling stuff, and a wonderful start to America's World Cup run. "U-S-A!"
Germany 4, Portugal 0 (Group G): The mighty Germans are considered the favorites in the Americans' 'Group of Death' and verified why today.
Iran 0, Nigeria 0: The first draw of the Cup, a better result for Iran than for the Africans.
Click back often. You know we're always updating and adding to these latest blogposts...