Proud of all his trophies, Fowler angry at being ‘overrated’
Ricky Fowler seethed over a recent Sports Illustrated poll of peers that had him tied with Ian Poulter as the “most overrated” golfers on the tour. Fowler’s coach, Butch Harmon, said he used that poll as motivation to win the TPC Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. It was his first win in three years, which is why he’s considered overrated at 26. He showed how brilliant he can be when he finished birdie-eagle-birdie Sunday to force a playoff with Kevin Kisner and Sergio Garcia. After winning for the second time in 13 PGA events, Fowler was asked about the offensive poll. “If there was any question, I think this right here tells you everything you need to know.” He’s popular with the one who counts the most. He celebrated on the 18th green with a passionate embrace of bikini-model Alexis Randock (this time wearing a mini-dress appropriate for the balmy weather). They combined for the reality-TV hit of the year. She said the stress of the tournament had her “nauseous” for the final two rounds, but she “couldn’t ask for a better relationship or better boyfriend.”
LeBron vetoes coach on inbounding, hits game-winner
With 1.5 seconds left in regulation and the Cleveland Cavaliers tied with the Chicago Bulls in Sunday’s playoff game, Cavs coach David Blatt called for four-time MVP LeBron James to inbound the ball. Blatt didn’t want him shooting because he was an injury-hampered 9-for-29 in the game. But James overruled his coach, as he’s been known to do. “The play that was drawn up, I scratched it,” James said. “I told Coach: ‘There’s no way I’m taking the ball out, unless I can shoot it over the backboard and it’ll go in.’ I told him to have somebody else take the ball out, give me the ball and everybody get out of the way.” So Blatt gave in, and James jumped to catch the ball in front of the Bulls’ bench, and in the same motion launched a perfect 21-foot buzzer-beater, over Jimmy Butler’s outstretched hand, to win the game 86-84. That evened the Eastern Conference semifinals at 2-2. Eight seconds before that, Blatt called a timeout when he had none available to call. Fortunately, assistant coach Tyronn Lue pulled him back before the refs noticed his error, thus saving the Cavs from a technical foul. The Bulls would have had a free throw, plus possession that would have prevented the Cavs’ final shot. “Yeah, I almost blew it, to be honest with you,” Blatt said.
Rockets give Jordan 34 freebies, still get blown out
Hoping to disrupt the fast-break offense of the Los Angeles Clippers, the Houston Rockets fouled center DeAndre Jordan whenever they could, giving him 28 free throws in the 84-minute first half of Sunday’s playoff game. “There was no basketball going on,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. Jordan ended up with 34 free throws for the game and made only 14, but the Clippers still won 128-95. Rockets coach Kevin McHale said he felt the need to “muck it up” because his own center, Dwight Howard, was in foul trouble. Houston’s James Harden, who was runner-up to Steph Curry for MVP, said of McHale’s strategy: “Personally, I don’t like it. But I guess different coaches have their different philosophies of the game.”
Clippers’ Barnes apologizes to Harden’s mother
We don’t often see an NBA player apologizing to the mother of another player. But Matt Barnes, forward of the LA Clippers, apologized to Monja Willis, mother of the Houston Rockets’ James Harden, for screaming a vulgarity at her in response to a comment she made during Game 3 of the West semis. Barnes was fined $50,000 by the league office for his obscenity. Willis told TMZ that Harden’s older brother approached Barnes after the game to ask him to apologize to his mother, and Barnes did. She said the player “told me he would never want to disrespect someone’s mother because his mother had passed from cancer.”
Wittman erupts over story of Wall’s conflict with doc
Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman created drama at a media conference following practice for the NBA Playoffs. Wittman berated the Washington Post’s Michael Lee for reporting that point guard John Wall argued with team medical staff about a wrist injury. Wittman said, loudly, that Lee’s story of the clash “is so far from the truth.” Lewis quoted Wall saying he knew bones were fractured as soon as his hand hit the floor during a Game 1 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The team initially reported the injury as a “sprain.”
Sandy Alderson biography rips his manager, Collins
A recently published biography of New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is not kind to his manager, Terry Collins. It said, among other things, that last August Collins had only a 51 percent chance of keeping his job another season. “For me, that percentage has been eroding,” Alderson says in Baseball Maverick, written by Steve Kettman. Collins insisted, “For me, it’s not an issue. You just gotta go play.” Collins is now depicted by some New York media as being “on the hot seat,” even though he seems likely to win a playoff berth for the first time in 12 years as a big-league manager. The Mets have been one of the surprise teams of major league baseball, holding first place in the National League East.
Former Green Beret, 34, joins Seahawks
Mike Boyer, a former Green Beret who walked onto the Texas Longhorns and became their long snapper, is now practicing with the Seattle Seahawks at their rookie camp. He’s 34, after spending three seasons as the Longhorn’s long snapper following his tour of duty with the U.S. Army Special Forces. As soon as the recent NFL Draft ended, the Seahawks offered Boyer an undrafted-player’s contract. “I’m a huge daydreamer,” Boyer said, “but I think I can do it. What I have learned and what was instilled in the military is how to work toward that and what you have to sacrifice.”
Red Wings’ Franzen hopes to return after 10th concussion
Johan Franzen missed the Detroit Red Wings’ last 22 games of the season as he tried to recover from what is at least his 10th concussion. Still suffering frequent migraines, he’s able to engage in only the most limited of activities. Doctors do not even want him playing with his kids for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Franzen, 35, said he’s “getting better,” but “has no clue” when he will be able to play again. Many are urging him to retire.