Speed Read: LeBron’s Heroics Keep Cavs Alive

I guess it just wouldn’t be a Magic-Cavs game in Cleveland if the home team didn’t blow a 20-point first half lead. And not only did their early 34-12 lead vanish, it went away nearly as quickly as it came about. By the time the Magic had finished scoring the first nine points of the second half, they had a 64-56 lead and it looked like Nike was going to have to commission a Hedo Turkoglu puppet.

LeBron and Wally

(The most impressive part is that LeBron literally carried Wally for the entire second half)

But then, LeBron James came alive and put the team on his back like a superstar should in a win-or-go-home game. And (for once this series) he actually got some help from his teammates, who had the courtesy to make the shots he set them up for. When all was said and done, LBJ had a triple-double (37, 14, & 12) and the Cavs had beaten Orlando 112-102, sending things back to Disney World for Game 6.  The odds are still stacked against Cleveland, but this Magic team isn’t exactly full of guys who have been here before.

Stan van Gundy

(Don’t worry Orlando, you still have this very calm, collected man running your team)

ABC counter-programmed against the NBA game with the gripping finals of the National Spelling Bee. Fortunately, they had the good sense this year to keep Mike and Mike away from it, instead going to “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron, who was joined during the proceedings by Brooksfavorite gymnast, Shawn Johnson. The winner was Kayva Shavishankar of Olathe, Kansas, who got bonus points for having a name that was harder to spell than any of the words on the championship list. She spelled “laodicean” right to win the title, taking home the big trophy and $40,000, which will pay for nearly one year of college. This article says she’s a “budding neurosurgeon,” which leads me to believe that she’s actually already done brain surgery. Props to her if that’s the case. The favorite, Sidharth Chand, flubbed “apodyterium” and finished fourth, joining the 292 other spellers who have ultimately just wasted a whole lot of time studying for this. Anyway, this is all just an excuse to post the video of that one girl screaming the last word back in the ’90s again:

The fallout from the Memphis violations scandal continues, with new allegations surfacing about Derrick Rose, who is supposedly the Memphis athlete whose SAT was taken by a stand-in to ensure that he passed. According to the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, Rose was one of four Simeon High School athletes whose transcripts were fraudulently altered in order to help him get accepted to college. Meanwhile, Kentucky officials continue to maintain that they believe that John Calipari is not a risky hire, even though his two previous schools have come under investigation soon after he left.

John Calipari

• The BOSTON HERALD says that Terry Francona got so upset about getting ejected from yesterday’s Red Sox-Twins game that he received medical attention in the clubhouse afterward for elevated blood pressure. Tito’s only 50 years old, but has been a walking heart attack waiting to happen for several years. Let’s hope he lives to see David Ortiz go deep again.

• For years, baseball stat-types have been looking for a way to quantify Derek Jeter’s bad defense. Well, the HARDBALL TIMES’ Colin Wyers came up with a metric that does just that. According to the new SZR (Simple Zone Rating), Brooks Robinson is the best fielder ever (which sounds about right) and Jeter is the second worst (foiled by Eddie Yost).

• Here’s your Stanley Cup preview from USA TODAY. This is the first rematch since the Islanders and Oilers played back-to-back Cup finals in 1983 and 1984. The Isles won in ‘83 (their fourth title in a row) but the Oilers unseated the champs the next year. That means it’s now been 25 years since Gretzky and Messier won their first cup. And what a scene it was when it happened (fans with goofy signs were on the ice before the game ended. They’d be tasered these days):

• Speaking of the Stanley Cup, the first two games will be played on consecutive nights this weekend, the first time since 1955 that Cup games have been played two days in a row. And why? No, it’s not Yanni’s fault this time. It’s actually Conan O’Brien’s fault. DEADSPIN says that NBC wouldn’t air weeknight games because if they go into overtime, they could’ve pre-empted one of O’Brien’s first shows as host of the “Tonight Show.” The finals weren’t orginially supposed to start for another week, by which time the world would’ve forgotten about hockey altogether.

• The World Series of Poker got underway yesterday with a special 40th-anniversary hold ‘em tournament. The buy-in: $40,000. About half of the field of 201 has hit the rail, and this special tourney (a who’s who of pro players) will conclude on Sunday. The $10,000 main event doesn’t start until early July. For now, here’s a picture of Phil Ivey getting an arm massage as he casually leaves a giant wad of $100s just sitting on the floor:

Phil Ivey

• Could Joe Torre have a bigger horseshoe up his butt? Manny gets suspended for 50 games, and somehow Juan Pierre turns into Ty Cobb (uh, except for the racist part). Pierre, who is widely known to be one of the worst offensive players this decade (stealing bases doesn’t make you good), is hitting .440 since becoming the starting left fielder for the Dodgers. L.A. won again last night, 2-1 over the Cubs in Chicago.

• I have to admit that I never thought I’d see the day when John Salley and Patti Blagojevich would be interviewed together, but GOOD DAY L.A. had them yesterday morning as they promoted their new TV show about getting stranded in the jungle. And YOU BEEN BLINDED has the video, which includes Steve Edwards asking the married Salley about his “girlfriends,” which didn’t amuse John at all. Salley also defends Patti by calling our country “communist.” Good times all around.

John Salley and Patti Blagojevich

• Is Twitter over yet? Now the LPGA is saying they would “love” to have players tweeting mid-round. Yeah, let’s slow golf down even more.

• BLOOMBERG has a good look at Sonia Sotomayor’s influence in ending the baseball strike nearly 15 years ago. Sotomayor grew up just a couple of miles from Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx, which also happens to be the country’s poorest congressional district. But hey, at least they have a shiny new stadium with $2,500 tickets!

• Now that Shea Stadium has been blow’d up, Tom Glavine has decided it’s safe to pitch again. He threw five scoreless innings in a AAA rehab start last night, and may pitch for the Braves next week. Still, expect something to “flare up” if Glavine’s turn in the rotation comes up when the Braves are in New York.

Which sports figure would you most like to send to the jungle for a month?

View Results

Blog Roll: Chelsea Jammin’ With Jenna Jameson

• WITH LEATHER finds Chelsea trading the pitch for porn stars, as the English soccer team parties with Jenna Jameson.

Jenna Jameson Preying Mantis Lingerie Bowl

• BABES LOVE BASEBALL apply their Voodoo Sabermetrics to Nationals center fielder Lastings Milledge.

• Michael David Smith of AOL FANHOUSE wonders why the mainstream media is virtually ignoring Karl Malone’s possible statutory rape allegations.

• DEADSPIN wants to know if you approve of John Salley’s media work.

Read more…

Amanda Beard, John Salley Behind Mr. Buttwasher

We’ve uncovered some interesting photos of sports celebrities holding a toilet contraption being marketed by some site called MR. BUTTWASHER. The apparent endorsers include Olympic swimmer-turned-nudie model Amanda Beard:

Amanda Beard Buttwasher

(Makeup!)

John Salley and Rodney Peete also posed for piccies with the buttwashing mechanism, which is also called the “miracle toilet faucet.” Read more…

Salley Satisfied w/Daytona Over NBA All-Star Game

While LeBron James was earning kudos for his All-Star skills, SCOTT VAN PELT STYLE (via ESPN) finds one ex-NBA star dodging the dunks in New Orleans for the doings at Daytona.

John Salley Tom Cruise

John Salley spent his All-Star Weekend down in Florida, covering the 500 for Fox Sports’ “Best Damn Sports Show Period”. And it sounds like he’s happier at the racetrack than he would be hanging in the Big Easy: Read more…

Pacman Jones To Enter No Contest Plea in Vegas Strip Club Shootings

PACMAN TO ENTER NO CONTEST PLEA IN VEGAS SHOOTING: If Pacman can’t win a free game, he’s willing to take a get-out-of-jail card.

Pacman Jones Allegedly Bites Bouncer At Las Vegas Strip Club

BLOOMBERG reports that the troubled Tennessee Titan plans on entering a plea of “no contest” to charges stemming from last year’s Vegas strip-club shooting.In return, Jones will receive a one-year suspended sentence, meaning no time spent in the Clark County slammer. He’s scheduled to enter his plea this Friday.

As Pacman reflects on the events at the Minxx Gentlemen’s Club on NBA All-Star Weekend, USA TODAY has an in-depth look inside strips clubs.

Strip Club

Oh, and the athletes that visit them.New York-based Scores said that sports stars like Jeremy Shockey, Oscar De La Hoya and Dennis Rodman have frequented their establishments. When asked about their visits, all three declined comment.

Some dancers refer to athletes as “ATM’s”, for their penchant to spend, spend, spend. Jose Canseco claims to have seen players spend “more than $10,000 a night on lap dances, private rooms, champagne toasts and tequila.”

ATM machine

Maybe he speaks from personal experience - and personal financial losses.Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma warns about dangerous situations that can occur at such establishments: “You’ve got drunk guys, drunk girls, crowded areas. Things occur.”

But ex-Piston and “Best Damn Sports Show” host John Salley points out how athletes with money are drawn to strips clubs: “Where do you take warriors? To church? No, you take them around a bunch of scantily dressed women who make them feel like stars.”