Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Mike Dunham...
For the time being, everyone can quit piling on LeBron James and the Miami Heat about how James disappears when it comes to closing out games.
It didn't come easy. Tied up 73-73 after three quarters in Game 7 Saturday night, James & Co. went to work on a gutsy Boston Celtics team.
The Heat outscored Boston 28-15 in the final quarter to win the East Division finals and set up a NBA championship series against Oklahoma City.
James hit key shot after shot in the fourth quarter and pulled down crucial defensive rebounds. He finished with 31 points and a dozen rebounds.
The grueling series against Boston will leave Miami having to collect its wits and physical strength to go against a younger, feisty Oklahoma City team that will be rested and ready.
It was not all James Saturday night. Chris Bosh stepped up big in the fourth quarter with some 3-point daggers as he came off the bench for 19 points. And Dwyane Wade was there at crunch time when he teamed with James to keep Boston at bay.
For the Celtics, it begs the question of just where this franchise stands, as its core players are not getting any younger.
But Saturday night belonged to LeBron James, who earned it on the court.
Perhaps former Titans tight end Frank Wychek should consider a comeback attempt.
The Patriots just signed TE Rob Gronkowski to a six-year, $53 million contract, of which $16.5 million is guaranteed.
It marks the richest contract ever for a tight end. Not bad for a player entering his third year, one who is coming off ankle surgery and whose career was in doubt after back surgery in college.
Gronkowski had 17 TD receptions last season with 90 receptions covering 1,327 yards. He was a second round pick in the 2010 draft and is 23 years old.
Gronkowski's father, Gord, told ESPN.com that becoming a multi-millionaire won't affect his son because he is still wearing some of the same jeans and shirts he had in high school.
"The money, it's nice. Don't get me wrong but it will not change him,'' Gord said.
"Rob will always be Rob the goofball.'' Make that Rob the rich goofball.
We can hope Gronkowski manages his stash with better results than former Tennessee running back Jamal Lewis, whose nine-year NFL career ended in 2010.
Lewis filed in April for bankruptcy. He claimed to have $14.5 million in assets and $10.6 million in debts.
A scheduled hearing this week in Georgia was postponed and will be rescheduled. He is claiming losses in investments through the years and the 32-year-old Lewis also has squandered a lot of money on houses, cars and the usual temptations needed to continue the NFL lifestyle.
He joins other NFL players such as Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas, Warren Sapp and Michael Vick (still playing) to have filed for bankruptcy.
While Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker are the subject of debate as they both go through their first OTAs with the Titans, there is a more heated competition going on in Cleveland.
The Browns have had 16 starting QBs since the franchise returned to the NFL in 1999.
Now rookie Brandon Weeden is competing with third-year pro Colt McCoy to gain the starting nod. Weeden is a 28-year-old rookie who was 19-27 as a minor league baseball pitcher.
The former Oklahoma State product hopes to unseat McCoy, a third-round draft pick in 2010. McCoy started in week 6 of his rookie season with mixed results. He didn't benefit from OTAs and an abbreviated preseason schedule due to the lockout last year. McCoy missed part of the regular season with a serious concussion as a result of a violent hit by Steelers headhunter James Harrison, who was suspended for the next game after the helmet to helmet hit out of the pocket.
McCoy said he was told that the quarterbacks would "compete'' for the starting job this season, but the early money is on Weeden.
Good luck to Predators GM David Poile who will try to squeeze something out of another NHL club in exchange for Russian party boy Alexander Radulov.
Poile gambled on taking Radulov with nine games left in the regular season and the Predators weren't the same team with him.
Poile may end up trading Rads for a box of pucks. His new team also needs to buy Rads a watch that automatically changes to the correct time in whichever time zone he is in. He seemed to lose track of time on his night out on the town before a road playoff game in Glendale, Ariz.
I'll Have Another turned into "Make That a Double'' for bettors after the thoroughbred suffered a swollen tendon two days before his attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.
His owner wisely pulled him out of the race and his next stop will be a life of leisure on the farm, producing offspring.
It was a cruel blow not only to the racing crowd, but also to the casual fan that was eager to see how he would do in the Belmont Stakes, the longest of the three races. The racing industry could have received a much-needed boost if I'll Have Another could have pulled off the Triple Crown, but it will have to wait another year, or more.
It appears Phil Jackson has the itch again. Now 66 and coming off knee replacement surgery, Dr. Phil wants to grab a GM spot in the NBA.
Here's the deal the rumor mills cooked up has Jackson going to Orlando. They really do believe in Magic if they give this to Jackson.
He would be exalted grand pooh-bah and be in O-town one day a month. He would also be burdened with six public appearances a month. The rest of the time he could chill in California, go to the mountains of Montana or have some quiet time with Jennie Buss.
For this inconvenience, Jackson would get $10 to $15 million a year.
Oh, yeh. Sam Vincent would be GM. Brian Shaw would be head coach. Scotty Pippen would be first assistant. Maybe Bill Laimbeer could be sergeant at arms.
Larry Bird will be retained as president of the Pacers, provided the team will promote Kevin Pritchard to GM, the position he held at Portland.
Pritchard was a frequent visitor to Nashville as his father was in the music biz. While with Portland, he drafted Greg Oden and passed on Kevin Durant.
Bird likes Pritchard's hoops knowledge. They were teammates when Pritchard was a rookie and Bird would take Pritchard's pittance of pay betting on HORSE games.
And, in the Louisville basketball locker room, you can find UK logos in the urinals.
Now that's real motivation. … for the Cats.
Sports columnists Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford have left the Gannett-owned Louisville Courier-Journal staff to work at a Louisville television station.
Bozich was a former president of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and won a number of awards for his basketball and horse racing columns.
They will write on-line columns, blogs and do videos from events. They reportedly signed three-year contracts.
Their first assignment was the Belmont, which lost much of its luster when heavy favorite I'll Have Another dropped out of the race.
The Los Angeles Kings have displayed arguably the most prolific post-season run of any franchise, any professional sport, in history.
They Kings were the No. 8 seed in the eight-team Stanley Cup playoffs. They ran roughshod over opponents, many times doing so while on the road.
In 10 road games going into Game 5 Saturday night, the Kings had outscored opponents, 34-15. That's dominant.
And what can you say about Kings goalie Jonathan Quick?
The heavy underdogs proved the critics wrong. Unfortunately, the Predators didn't get to test the Kings, losing in the second round to Phoenix, which in turn went belly up against the Kings.
Orlando Sentinel wag Mike Bianchi found it hard to believe what Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin said about his practices when it involves hiring assistant coaches.
You know, that they had to be D-1 material which in coach-speak translates to attractive.