Starting Five

1. Homers

Eight NBA first-round openers, and eight home teams hold serve. Average margin of victory: 16.36 points. Only two games were decided by fewer than 10 points: Knicks 85, Celtics 78 and Denver 97, Golden State 95. The Warriors lost (insert adjective “rugged”) forward David Lee to a hip flexor for the remainder of the playoffs, which likely just became a briefer journey for them. Top scorer of the openers? Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks, with 36 points. Top performer– I mean, besides Kobe Bryant’s performance on Twitter? Paul George of the Indiana Pacers. The Half-Beatles (or should we go with “The Fab 24?”) had a triple-double in Indiana’s defeat of the terminally uninteresting Hawks with 23 points, 11 boards and 12 assists.



2. Colorado Small “a” avalanche

The Rocky Mountain state suffers its deadliest avalanche in 51 years, as four snowboarders and one skier perish beneath a 200-yard wide sliding wall of snow near Loveland Pass (Elev: 11,990 feet). All five victims were males in their 30s and all were equipped with avalanche beacons. Ironically, they were participating in an event, organized by one of the victims, Joseph Timlin, to raise money for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. A sixth member of their party, Jerome Boulay, was also buried but he survived. And will probably be speaking to Jon Krakauer at length before too long.

The aftermath

Worth noting: the avalanche, which traveled about 1,000 feet, did not occur on the face of a steep mountain as you might expect but rather a modest incline known as Sheep Creek…one victim was found 15 feet beneath the surface. Unrelated, but 17 skiers and snowboarders have died at Colorado ski resorts this season.

3. Boston Bombing Update: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is, according to multiple reports (but we now know how much that is worth), awake and answering questions posed to him by federal authorities at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. Tsarnaev, who apparently suffered a gunshot wound to the throat, cannot speak and is communicating through writing.

Also, it’s worth saying that this communicator is as guilty as anyone for succumbing to speculation on Twitter last week. Rushing to judgment and providing information on persons of interest may be two vastly different things, but in the world of social media I doubt any one of us wants to find themselves on the cover of the New York Post when we are innocent. So, an apology from me. Lesson learned. David Carr of The New York Times wrote a terrific essay on the media’s handling of the five days in Boston.

4. Boom! Goes The Dynamite… in North Dakota

These were anchor A.J. Clemente’s first moments on air. They may be his last. Dear NBC North Dakota: Call me.

5. “Broadway Joe…On Broadway!” That’s brilliant, Harry. For the second consecutive season on Mad Men, Roger Sterling hands Harry Crane a sizeable check in his office and Harry departs said office minus his gruntle. Interesting. Meanwhile, for those of you who are too young, Joey Heatherton was a fabulous babe who made the rounds on all the variety shows back when variety shows were a television staple (Laugh-In, The Smothers Brothers, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Carol Burnett, Flip Wilson, Sonny & Cher and Donny & Marie all had them).

Joey Heatherton and Perry Como. There’s a stocking stuffer joke here that we have too much class to make.



Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III, alias “Irish Chocolate”, alias “Chocolate Thunder”, earns an opportunity to take a shotgun snap from center in the Blue-Gold Game and takes advantage (proceed to the 5:00 mark here). Coach Brian Kelly had promised Nix he could do this if he earned good grades. Nix is listed at six-foot-three, 326 pounds on the roster but may be heavier. If you want to feel old, Nix was born about six years after William “The Refrigerator” Perry gained fame as a rotund defensive lineman who masqueraded as a fullback in goal-line situations.

Nix pulling a Peyton Manning before taking the snap.


For the Irish, by the way, the fun-loving and irreverent Nix, who will probably be a preseason first-team All-American on many lists, is the perfect antidote to the Manti Te’o melodrama.


It was 4/20 weekend, so perhaps this shot by @Earth_Pics of U.S. Army paratroopers landing in a marijuana field is appropriate.

Also on 4/20, a man who wore No. 42 and who died in Afghanistan was commemorated, as he is every April, via Pat’s Run in Tempe, Arizona. More than 28,000 runners, including SI’s Peter King, participated in the 9th annual staging of the 4.2-mile run that ends where Tillman first earned glory, inside Sun Devil Stadium.

The finish line is the 42-yard line. A bucket list event for runners… of all abilities.


One week after Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera went to a second playoff hole in Augusta, the European Tour does them seven holes better. At the Spanish Open in Valencia, Raphael Jacquelin of France and Maximilian Kieffer of Germany played the 18th hole nine more times before the Frenchman finally prevailed. The 81-hole event tied a record.

NBC’s Al Michaels is busted for DUI.
The final rolling of Toomer’s Corner, after Auburn’s spring game. Yes, a beloved college football tradition in the Loveliest Village on the Plain, but it is also the flora version of draping bacon over the back of a pig.

Alabama: Roll Tide. Auburn: Roll Toomer’s.






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