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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Masahiro Tanaka continues red-hot start for Yankees 06.18.14 at 8:13 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Twins at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
MLB: Cubs at Marlins, 12:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at White Sox, 2 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Angels at Indians, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Minor League Baseball: Pawtucket at Rochester, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College baseball: World Series, Texas vs. UC Irvine, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
World Cup soccer: Australia vs. Netherlands, noon (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Spain vs. Chile, 3 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Cameroon vs. Croatia, 6 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is showing no signs of slowing down, as the Japanese right-hander silenced the first-place Blue Jays in leading New York to a 3-1 victory Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Tanaka, who took over the major league lead in wins with 11 (against one loss) and lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.99, allowed one run over six innings and struck out 10 Jays for his fifth double-digit strikeout game of the season.

Toronto’s lone run came on a Jose Reyes homer on the first pitch of the game.

“I think the leadoff homer probably hurt them more than it helped them,” Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said. “It just made him mad, really, and when he gets mad he really battles and he doesn’t give in, doesn’t give them any pitches to hit.”

Tanaka said he didn’t think he pitched that well.

“Overall I think my stuff wasn’t really there tonight,” he said through a translator. “All I was trying to do was to hang in there and try to keep the ball down as much as possible.”

Gardner hit a two-run home run in the third inning to give Tanaka all the offense he needed.

“I told him after his last start that I was going to start leaving my glove in the dugout and just run out to left field,” Gardner said. “All you need to do is get him a couple of runs and we’€™ll get the win, and that’€™s what happened tonight.”

Said manager Joe Girardi: “It’s hard to say that his start isn’t as good as anyone who has pitched.”

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Read More: Brett Gardner, jim mcmahon, LeBron James, Masahiro Tanaka
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Pete Rose, guest manager for Conn. minor league team, still seeks ‘second chance’ 06.17.14 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Twins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
MLB: Royals at Tigers, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Marlins, 7 p.m. (WGN)
College baseball: World Series, Texas Tech vs. Mississippi, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: World Series, TCU vs. Virginia, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
World Cup soccer: Belgium vs. Algeria, noon (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Brazil vs. Mexico, 3 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Russia vs. South Korea, 6 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)

AROUND THE WEB:

Pete Rose served as manager for the day for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League on Monday night — 25 years since he was last involved with Major League Baseball as manager of the Reds — and MLB’s all-time hits leader discussed his gambling-related ban and his desire to get into the Hall of Fame.

“I’ve waited 25 years, but I’ve done so because I was the one who screwed up,” Rose said (via ESPN.com). “And if I were given a second chance, I would be the happiest guy in the world.”

Added Rose (via the Hartford Courant): “I didn’t come here to impress baseball or anybody else. I would never use anybody to try to get me reinstated. You guys have created that more than I have.”

The 73-year-old Rose, who spends 4 1/2 hours per day 20 days a month signing autographs in a store on the Las Vegas strip, generated excitement at the Connecticut ballpark, drawing a crowd of 4,573 for the Bluefish’s 2-0 victory over the Lancaster Barnstormers.

“I know there’s a lot of people who want to give me a second chance because they wouldn’t be stopping and paying for my autograph if they didn’t think so,” Rose said.

The Barnstormers are managed by another man with a checkered past: former Red Sox player and manager Butch Hobson, who voiced support for Rose.

“More than 4,000 hits, who’s going to come close to that? Nobody ever,” Hobson said. “I tried to play like Pete Rose. ‘€¦ Every day, he gave everything he’s got. He had a football mentality, which I love.”

– Even before the Heat got blown out of the NBA Finals by the Spurs, the season was not an enjoyable one — at least according to forward Chris Bosh.

“I don’t think anybody really enjoyed this season like in years past,” Bosh told The Associated Press late Sunday night. “There no, like, genuine joy all the time. It seemed like work. It was a job the whole year. Winning was just a relief. Losing was a cloud over us sometimes, and then we’d break out of it — and then go right back. But we got here. We had a chance. They were just better.”

Added Bosh: “I see why people were saying three-peating is hard. I get it now. I get it. There’s just so many other things you have to fight. The human psyche, the human condition. We’re all human. And it was a long, tough season.”

There has been talk that the Heat will look to reconfigure their lineup, but Bosh said the Big Three of him, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade want to return for a fifth season as teammates.

“We want to stay together, man,” Bosh said. “I’ll say that. It’s a great organization, great team and great city. And to have a chance, that’s all you can ask for.”

James, who can opt out of his deal, refused to make any snap decisions following the disappointing ending to the season.

“I will deal with my summer when I get to that point,” James said. “Me and my team will sit down and deal with it. I love Miami. My family loves it. But obviously right now that’s not even what I’m thinking about.”

– An estimated 300,000 fans turned out in Los Angeles on Monday for the Kings’ Stanley Cup championship parade. The convoy of double-decker buses drove to Staples Center, where the team held a rally celebrating its second title in three seasons (after none in its first 43 years of existence).

“I’m honored and ecstatic to add another ring to my finger,” said playoff MVP Justin Williams, who won his third Cup. “And I’m proud to be a part of some guys’ first ones. Now let’s add to it next year.”

Alec Martinez scored the Cup-clinching goal in double overtime of Game 5 on Friday night, after the Kings had played seven-game series in each of the first three rounds.

“It’s been a pretty incredible experience these last few years,” Martinez said. “It’s just as good as the first time. Maybe even better.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 17, 1943, which future Hall of Famer slugged pinch-hit home runs in both games of the Red Sox’ doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I know it’s been 14 shutout innings here at Fenway. Whether he feels the energy here in this ballpark or is comfortable on our mound, that’s clearly the case. When a guy possess that type of arm and that repertoire, as long as he throws strikes, he’s going to have the ability to get some of the best hitters in the game.” — Red Sox manager John Farrell, on Rubby De La Rosa, after the young right-hander pitched seven shutout innings in Monday’s 1-0 victory over the Twins

STAT OF THE DAY: 32 — Seconds it took the United States to score its first goal — by Clint Dempsey — in Monday’s 2-1 victory over Ghana at the World Cup

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain lays out for a catch against the Tigers in Monday’s 11-8 victory, Kansas City’s eighth straight win.

From “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” NBA players read mean tweets about themselves.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Player/manager Joe Cronin

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Barry Manilow was born on this day in 1943.

Read More: Butch Hobson, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Pete Rose
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Dwyane Wade insists Heat ‘have no reason not to be proud’ after being routed out of NBA Finals 06.16.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Twins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
MLB: Mets at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College baseball: World Series, Texas vs. Louisville, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: World Series, UC Irvine vs. Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
World Cup soccer: Ghana vs, United States, 6 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Germany vs. Portugal, noon (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Iran vs. Nigeria, 3 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Heading into Sunday night’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Heat star LeBron James looked at a 3-1 series deficit no team had ever overcome in Finals history and said, “Why not us?”

The answer came swiftly: Because the Heat’s supporting cast was not up to the challenge.

San Antonio roared back from an early 16-point deficit and routed the Heat for the third straight game, 104-87, clinching its fifth title and denying the Heat a three-peat.

“They played exquisite basketball this series and in particular these last three games and they are the better team. There’s no other way to say it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

James recorded 31 points and 10 rebounds, including 17 points in the first quarter. Miami raced out to a 22-6 lead but was trailing by halftime, 47-40.

Ray Allen started in place of the slumping Mario Chalmers and scored five points on 1-of-8 shooting with four turnovers.

Chris Bosh — who before the game insisted, “We’re not going down. We’re going to win this game” — finished with 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting. He was 0-for-5 on 3-pointers.

Dwyane Wade shot 4-for-12 and finished with 11 points and three turnovers. He shot 7-for-25 in the last two games as the Heat’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals ended badly.

“We’d love to be 4-for-4,” Wade said, “but we have no reason not be proud of each other.”

Said James: “We went to four straight Finals in four years. We’€™re not discrediting what we were able to accomplish in these four years. We lost one, we won two, and we lost another one. [We will] take 50 percent in four years in championships any day. Obviously, you want to win all of them, but that’€™s just the nature of the game. You win some,  you lose some. You’€™ve just got to come back the next year and be better as an individual, as a team, and go from there.”

The Spurs, meanwhile, celebrated their first title since 2007 and made amends for last season’s collapse vs. the Heat in the Finals.

“It makes last year OK,” Tim Duncan said.

– Mets starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka tried to play with a “severe upset stomach” Sunday — delaying the start of the game before taking the mound — but he lasted just one inning before leaving the game.

Matsuzaka, who is not aware of what he might have eaten that caused his issues, said he’s hoping to pitch in relief Monday.

“I’m fine physically,” he said through his translator (via the New York Daily News). “I’d definitely like to help the bullpen.”

Manager Terry Collins might take the former Red Sox hurler up on that offer.

“We’re going to talk about possibly [Monday] if he’s feeling good,” Collins said. “If he feels all right [Monday] we could use him for a couple of innings.”

– Former Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent, who was convicted of intoxication manslaughter in the death of teammate and friend Jerry Brown, was released from jail Sunday, one month before his six-month sentence was to end.

Brent, 26, had been sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation. He had faced up to 20 years in prison.

Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, asked for leniency for Brent, saying at the trial, “You can’t go on in life holding a grudge.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 16, 1978, which Red Sox player announced he was quitting the team, directing his anger at manager Don Zimmer and general manager Haywood Sullivan, only to return the following day?

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Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Dwyane Wade, Josh Brent, LeBron James
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Heat reportedly have interest in pursuing Carmelo Anthony 06.12.14 at 7:57 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Indians at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Reds, 12:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Pirates, 7 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Brewers at Mets, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA Finals: Spurs at Heat, 9 p.m. (ABC; WEEI-AM)
World Cup Soccer: Brazil vs. Croatia, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
Golf: U.S. Open, 9 a.m. (ESPN), 3 p.m. (NBC), 5 p.m. (ESPN2), 6 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Last week the hot NBA rumor was that the Celtics would make a run at Carmelo Anthony — after landing Kevin Love, of course. Now comes a report from ESPN that the Heat are trying to find a way to fit Anthony while retaining their three superstars.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all can opt out of their contracts this offseason, and the Heat would need them to accept new lesser-paying deals in order to have any chance to absorb Anthony’s salary. Role players Udonis Haslem and Chris Anderson also have player options for next season, putting the Heat in position to free up more than $50 million if everyone buys in to the plan.

James, who reportedly made $30 million from Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats by Dre headphones, would not comment on his future during Wednesday’s off day, telling reporters, “That’s kind of like on the back burner right now. ‘€¦ [Free agency] is the last thing I’m thinking about right now.”

The Heat, who host Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night looking to draw even with the Spurs, can’t contact Anthony until July 1 — and that’s assuming Anthony opts out of the final year of his deal with the Knicks. He reportedly has until June 23 to inform the Knicks of his plan.

James, Wade, Bosh and Anthony all entered the league as part of the 2003 draft class.

– FIFA president Sepp Blatter, speaking in Sao Paulo as the World Cup gets under way, suggested that soccer coaches should be allowed to challenge referee decisions, similar to the NFL and Major League Baseball.

“We could do something more on the field of play,” Blatter said. “Why don’t we give team managers the possibility of two challenges for refereeing during the match? If the manager disagrees with a decision, why should he not ask for an immediate TV review with the referee?”

The 78-year-old Blatter, who previously had voiced support for reviewing goal-line video but now appears comfortable expanding the system, intends to seek re-election for a fifth term next year. That decision was widely criticized, especially following accusations of corruption regarding the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Blatter has dismissed the corruption charges, accusing critics of being racist despite strong evidence of bribery from a Qatar soccer executive.

Landon Donovan was left off the U.S. soccer team roster, but he’s keeping close tabs on the World Cup — and getting paid for it. ESPN introduced Donovan, the U.S.’ career scoring leader, as an analyst during the network’s preview show Wednesday.

Said U.S. midfielder Jozy Altidore: “He’s a smart guy. He knows the game very well. It was always going to happen — right? — him to be a commentator.”

Donovan, working out of ESPN’s Los Angeles studios, questioned U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann‘s assessment that the Americans do not have a team that can challenge for a title this year.

“This will come as a surprise to nobody, but I disagree with Jurgen,” Donovan said.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 12, 1984, the Celtics defeated the Lakers in Game 7, 111-102, to win their 15th NBA title. Which Celtic posted team highs of 24 points and eight assists?

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Landon Donovan, LeBron James, Sepp Blatter
Report: Lakers delay coaching search while waiting on LeBron James 06.11.14 at 10:53 am ET
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Lakers fans could probably feel the sting on Tuesday as they watched former coach Phil Jackson introduce former player Derek Fisher as head coach of the Knicks, all while Los Angeles remains without a coach of its own.

The Lakers’ coaching search has been a slow one since Mike D’Antoni resigned on April 30. And with Fisher’s hiring on Tuesday, LA and the Cavaliers are the only two teams left without a head coach.

Why such a delay? One key factor reportedly remains at play: LeBron James.

A source told USA Today on Tuesday that the team’s slow coaching search has been timed deliberately with the league’s upcoming free agency, which begins July 1, in the hopes that luring a superstar such as James or Carmelo Anthony could potentially open up more options.

James and Anthony both have player options for next season, and James has reportedly expressed interest in playing with his friend, Anthony, someday.

The Lakers have already interviewed Mike Dunleavy, Bryon Scott, Kurt Rambis, Lionel Hollins and Alvin Gentry for their coaching vacancy. Rambis, however, will be an assistant under Fisher in New York.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Scott will receive a second interview with the Lakers on Tuesday. He is the first candidate to receive a second meeting with the team. The Times wrote that Scott’s biggest advantages are his friendship with Kobe Bryant and familiarity with the fan base after playing with the Lakers from 1983-93.

Read More: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James attends yoga class before leading Heat to Game 2 win 06.09.14 at 7:44 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Rays, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Reds, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Stanley Cup finals: Kings at Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– The air conditioning was back on in San Antonio, and so was LeBron James, who played 37-plus minutes Sunday night and finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds in a 98-96 victory over the Spurs in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

James, who had to be carried off the court in the closing minutes of Thursday’s Game 1 loss, said he attended a yoga class to help his body be prepared.

“One thing I did do differently [Sunday] morning, I took an 8 a.m. yoga class at our resort that we stayed at, outside,” James said after the game. “Me and three other people and also a little kid, but he didn’t want no parts of it. So that’s probably the only thing that I did differently today.”

James is not new to yoga; he has touted its benefits in past years. And he is not alone. Teammate Dwyane Wade started doing yoga during the lockout in 2011, and the Spurs have team yoga sessions for years.

James started slow Sunday, missing three of his first four shots and turning over the ball three times in the opening quarter. He then hit 11 of his next 14 shots and finished 14-of-22 to put memories of Game 1 behind him.

“What happened on Thursday was Thursday,” he said. “My whole focus was how I was going to try to help this team even this up and just try to make some plays.”

Down the stretch James had a steal of Tony Parker and fed Chris Bosh for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:18 remaining. That came after he scored eight points in less than a minute in the third quarter to rally his team.

“For me, once I get into a good groove, I feel like everything is going to go in,” he said.

– On the heels of last week’s David Ortiz-David Price feud, the American League has a new feud.

During Friday’s Orioles-A’s game in Baltimore, O’s baserunner Manny Machado took exception to what he thought was a hard tag from A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson. Machado lost his balance and threw his helmet toward Donaldson while falling down. Machado then got up and barked at an incredulous Donaldson while the benches emptied.

“I just tried to tag the guy. I was walking over there to go pick his helmet up for him, then he jumps up and starts yelling at me,” said Donaldson, who was hit by a pitch three innings later. “I don’t know what happened on his end, but I’m just trying to do my job and play the game of baseball.”

On Sunday, the A’s appeared to be looking for some revenge, as Machado was nearly hit in the knee by an eighth-inning pitch from reliever Fernando Abad. On the next pitch, Machado pulled a Trot Nixon and “lost the grip” on his bat, sending it flying toward third base. Machado and Abad were ejected.

“The bat slipped out of my hands,” Machado claimed after his team’s 11-1 loss.

Said A’s designated hitter John Jaso: “It got pretty intense there for a while. There is a certain respect you have to have for this game. It’s a blessing for all of us to be where we are. When I feel somebody doesn’t see that and doesn’t respect the game as such, it doesn’t sit well with me.

“I think guys like that need to be taught a lesson because there’s millions of other people that would love to have the spot that he has.”

Pete Rose is banned from Major League Baseball, but that won’t stop him for serving as manager for a day for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League.

“This year is the 25th anniversary of the last time Pete managed,” Bluefish general manager Ken Shepard said (via the Connecticut Post). “So this really is a very special moment. Pete has not managed in professional baseball since the Cincinnati Reds in 1989. And we are just so excited to be able to be the team that hopefully could help in the process of furthering a relationship to see Pete be back in the good graces of Major League Baseball.”

The 73-year-old Reds legend will guide the team for its June 16 game against the Lancaster Barnstormers.

“I’m doing this because I love baseball,” Rose said in a conference call Saturday. “I love young players because they bring you one thing you need in sports: enthusiasm. These young men are here working their butts off. They don’t have egos — they are hungry. The run hard and they play hard, all the time.”

Added Rose: “I will tell each of the players in the clubhouse a few things before the game. I will look at each of them and say that every one of you guys has more ability right now than I did at 18 years old. I was told that I was too slow, didn’t have a strong arm, and didn’t have power, but I got an opportunity and I worked the rest of it out.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 9, 1982, the Bruins traded defenseman Brad McCrimmon to the Flyers for which goalie who would put together a Vezina-winning season in 1982-83 that included a 31-game unbeaten streak?

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Read More: LeBron James, Manny Machado, Pete Rose,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James, Heat wilt in Game 1 after AC breaks in San Antonio 06.06.14 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Tigers, 7:08 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: NCAA tournament, Stanford at Vanderbilt, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: NCAA tournament, Charleston at Texas Tech, 1 p.m. (ESPNU)
College baseball: NCAA tournament, Houston at Texas, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: NCAA tournament, Pepperdine at TCU, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
College baseball: NCAA tournament, Kennesaw State at Louisville, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College baseball: NCAA tournament, UC Irvine at Oklahoma State, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
WNBA: Minnesota Lynx at Seattle Storm, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Portugal, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLL: Boston Cannons at Ohio Machine, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
Tennis: French Open, 7 a.m. (Tennis Channel), 11 a.m. (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

LeBron James haters are out in force after the Heat star wilted in the San Antonio heat Thursday night and his team faded in the fourth quarter of a 110-95 loss to the Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

After the air conditioning inside San Antonio’s AT&T Center broke, temperatures soared into the low 90s, making it reminiscent of 1980s finals games at the old Boston Garden. James repeatedly asked out of the game in the closing minutes due to cramping, and the Spurs took advantage, ending the game on a 16-3 run.

“After I came out of the game, they kind of took off,” said James, who finished with 25 points in 33 minutes. “And it was frustrating sitting out and not be able to help our team.”

Added James: “It sucks not being out there for your team, especially at this point in the season.”

Said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: “I think it felt like a punch in the gut when you see your leader limping like that back to the bench.”

Spurs guard Danny Green scored 11 of his 13 points in the final period, including a 3-pointer to spark the game-ending run, but he expressed empathy for James.

“You could see the heat was getting to a lot of guys,” Green said. “If I played as many minutes as he did, I’d probably be cramping up, too.”

NBA president Rod Thorn understood Miami’s frustration but insisted there were no safety issues that would give the league a reason to step in.

“LeBron had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with the game still in the balance,” Thorn told ESPN. “He’s such a great player that obviously when a player of that ilk leaves the game, it certainly affects the game.

“But again, both teams were playing under the same conditions. There was nothing wrong with the floor. We’ve played in these conditions before.”

– University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari was rewarded for making three Final Four appearances in the last five years when he received a seven-year, $52.5 million contract, the school announced Thursday.

Calipari’s base salary is $400,000 per year through the 2020-21 season, but he makes millions more in endorsements and retention bonuses.

Calipari, 152-37 in his five years at Kentucky, was rumored to be a target of the Lakers, but since the NBA job opened up he has denied any interest. Meanwhile, he’s again assembled one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.

“With the continued support from our administration and the greatest, craziest fans in college basketball, we have accomplished a lot in our five quick years, but we still have lofty goals for the future,” Calipari said in a statement Thursday night. “We want to continue to help young people and their families reach their dreams, while at the same time maintaining our success on the basketball court, in the classroom and in the community.”

– Colts owner Jim Irsay has his license suspended one year by a court due to his arrest in March for driving while intoxicated, according to court documents (via The Indianapolis Star).

Irsay refused a blood test after he was detained March 16 in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel, which automatically triggers the one-year suspension based on Indiana law. The suspension went into effect May 27.

Irsay is due back in court June 19 for an initial hearing on two misdemeanor counts of impaired driving. He has yet to be punished by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 6, 1977, which pitcher won his 100th game with the Red Sox?

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Read More: Jim Irsay, John Calipari, LeBron James,
Pacers’ Paul George unhappy with officiating: Heat ‘won this game at the free throw line’ 05.27.14 at 9:10 am ET
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The Heat are one win away from their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance after a 102-90 Game 4 win over the Pacers on Monday gave them a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Miami never trailed in the contest and was seemingly in control throughout. However, Indiana guard Paul George wouldn’t attribute it to poor play from the Pacers, or even strong play from the Heat.

Instead, George was pointing his finger at the officiating.

“We outplayed them,” George said after the game. “They won this game at the free throw line.”

George’s case: the Heat had 34 free-throw attempts while Indiana had just 17. The Pacers hit just 11 of those 17 attempts from the line.

“You can’t tell me we don’t attack the basket as much as they attack the basket,” George said. “You can’t tell me we’re not aggressive. Maybe we’re too aggressive. But I feel like we’re just as aggressive as they are attacking the basket and making plays at the rim. Maybe this was just home cooking.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Indiana Pacers, Lance Stephenson, LeBron James, Miami Heat
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Pacers’ Lance Stephenson convinced he’s in LeBron James’ head 05.26.14 at 8:21 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Braves, 1:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Cardinals, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Cubs at Giants, 4 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Tigers at Athletics, 4 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
MLB: Reds at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Heat, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
WNBA: Minnesota at Chicago, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Kings, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College lacrosse: NCAA championship, Duke vs. Notre Dame, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: French Open, 10 a.m. (Tennis Channel), noon (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

– The Pacers are down 2-1 to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals heading into Monday night’s Game 4, but Indiana guard Lance Stephenson is confident that he’s in LeBron James‘ head.

Stephenson said Sunday that James does not usually engage in trash talk during the game, as he did in the first half of Saturday’s Game 3.

“To me, it’s a sign of weakness,” Stephenson said. “[People] used to say that to me. I’m going to do something to get you mad. Now he’s trying to do it to me. I feel like there’s a weakness and I feel like I’m doing something right to get underneath his skin.”

Stephenson conveniently ignored the fact that James and the Heat overcame a 15-point first-half deficit to win Game 3 by 12 points, 99-87.

James, who traded barbs after Stephenson drew a charge on him, said he’ll only get involved in trash talk if the other player starts it, as Stephenson did in this case.

“I’m not much of a talker, but I can,” James said. “I don’t ever start it, but I can get involved in it and still keep my head. Winning the game is more important. I understand what the main goal is.”

Stephenson, who drew criticism for making a “choke” sign toward James after a missed free throw when the teams met in the 2012 playoffs, is averring 17.3 points and 6.7 assists through three games, as compared to James’ 24.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists.

“I’ll never back down,” Stephenson said. “He’s the best player in the league. I will refuse to back down to him.”

– Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, whose popularity continues to dip, had a confrontation with veteran Philadelphia radio talk-show host Howard Eskin before Saturday’s game.

It’s believed that Papelbon was upset with Eskin claiming Papelbon was out late the night before a recent game against the Mets in New York. Papelbon said he was not available to pitch in the Sunday game — which would have been his third consecutive appearance — and Eskin implied the closer’s partying the night before might have had something to do with it.

Eskin, never one to shy away from controversy, then engaged in a Twitter back and forth with Papelbon’s wife, Ashley, who denied Eskin’s claim. Eskin had reported that the Papelbons were out partying with Jacoby Ellsbury‘s family, but Ashley noted that the Ellsburys were out of town (the Yankees were playing in Milwaukee) and explained that Eskin was “misinformed.” Eskin stood by his story.

– In a Friday press conference, Ravens running back Ray Rice admitted he “failed miserably” and apologized for his actions that led to assault charges following an incident with his wife in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City where she appeared to be knocked out. However, it was a comment from his wife that got the most attention.

“I do deeply regret the role I played in the incident that night,” Janay Rice said. “But I can say that I am happy that we continue to work through it together. I love Ray, and I know that he will continue to prove himself not only to you all, but to the community, and I know he will gain your respect back in due time.”

The Ravens Twitter account was bombarded with criticism after tweeting the first part of Janay’s comment, as fans accused the team of insensitivity toward the victim.

Rice’s lawyer then appeared on the radio and implied that Rice was “getting repeatedly hit” before hitting back, and that he could have won a court case but decided to accept a pretrial diversionary program for the benefit of all involved (he’s still expected to receive a suspension from commissioner Roger Goodell).

“I think it puts this matter behind him not only for his NFL career, but it was the right choice for his family as well,” attorney Michael Diamondstein told New Jersey’s ESPN Radio 97.3-FM (via The Baltimore Sun).

Diamondstein could not explain why Rice’s wife appeared at the press conference, noting: “That press conference is something that was done with Ray and Janay and the Ravens. I wasn’t a part of that.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 26, 1987, in the Celtics‘ 108-107 victory over the Pistons in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Larry Bird stole Isiah Thomas‘ inbounds pass and fed which player for the game-winning layup with one second remaining?

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Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, Lance Stephenson, LeBron James, Ray Rice
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Donald Sterling’s lawyer reportedly tells NBA ‘no punishment is warranted’ 05.16.14 at 8:00 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Tigers at Red Sox, 7 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Brewers at Cubs, 2 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Pirates at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Kings at Ducks, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
Hockey: IIHF World Championships, United States vs. Kazakhstan, 9:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Draft combine, 10 a.m. (ESPNU), 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
Softball: NCAA tournament, Boston University at Arizona, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

– National legal experts weighed in this week and said the NBA appears to be positioned to win its fight against Donald Sterling, but the suspended Clippers owner reportedly made it official: He’s not going away quietly.

According to a Sports Illustrated story by legal analyst Michael McCann, prominent antitrust litigator Maxwell Blecher informed the league that Sterling would not pay the $2.5 million fine commissioner Adam Silver imposed (and is past due). The letter asserts that “no punishment is warranted” for Sterling despite the racist comments he made on a secretly recorded tape that was made public by TMZ.

“We reject your demand for payment,” the letter to NBA executive vice president and general counsel Rick Buchanan reportedly reads.

Despite Sterling’s admission in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper earlier this week that he “made a terrible, terrible mistake,” Blecher apparently insists that the longtime owner has done nothing wrong and is prepared to sue the NBA if it persists in violating his “due process rights” and banning him.

If Sterling attempts to fight the league it might lead to a player boycott next season. Players union vice president Roger Mason Jr. said earlier this week that Heat star LeBron James indicated he’s prepared to lead such a protest, although Mason later backtracked and James publicly reaffirmed his support for the commissioner and his handling of the situation.

– In other Clippers news, coach Doc Rivers was fined $25,000 on Thursday for criticizing the officiating after Tuesday’s 105-104 loss to the Thunder, and Rivers acknowledged, “I thought it was deserved.”

After the game, in which some key calls went against Los Angeles in the closing minutes, Rivers said his team was “robbed.” On one play, Clippers forward Matt Barnes slapped the ball out of Reggie Jackson‘s hand as the Thunder guard was going in for a layup with 11 seconds remaining, and the officials awarded the ball to Oklahoma City. Rivers was sure the ball went off Jackson’s hand, but after a video review the ruling stood as initially called.

“In order to reverse the call made on the court, there has to be ‘clear and conclusive’ evidence,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said. “Since no replay provided such evidence, the play correctly stood as called with the Thunder retraining possession.”

The Clippers were eliminated by the Thunder in Game 6 on Thursday night, 104-98. As the Thunder took control in the fourth quarter , fans showed their frustration, with a couple of them throwing drinks at referee Ed Malloy after an offensive foul on Blake Griffin with just over three minutes remaining.

“We’ve gone through a lot of stuff over the last three or four weeks,” Rivers said. “I don’t think that was why we didn’t win. I don’t think we should use that as an excuse. We’re a team in process. I believe we were good enough to win it this year. Oklahoma City told us we were not.”

– UConn coach Kevin Ollie, rumored to be a candidate for some NBA openings, acknowledged that he is willing to listen to job offers, but he insists he has no desire to leave Storrs after leading the Huskies to the national championship last month.

“I love this university,” Ollie said at an event in New York City. “I am not looking for another job. Of course, you listen to different things. I’ve got two ears, I’m going to listen, but I’m not running out there soliciting any other job. I want to be here at the University of Connecticut.”

Ollie is signed through the 2017-18 season, and he said he’s talking to athletic director Warde Manuel about a new deal. He made $1.6 million last season, including bonuses for the team’s postseason success.

“We are talking and hopefully we can get together once all this quiets down,” he said. “Have a nice talk and hopefully get everything situated.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 16, 1989, Mike Milbury was hired as Bruins coach, replacing which former teammate?

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Read More: doc rivers, Donald Sterling, Kevin Ollie, LeBron James