by John Walters


Legen—wait for it—dary.

With Kyrie Irving out with a sprained ankle and James Harden at about 50% with a sore hammy, Kevin Durant absolutely took over Game 5 for the Brooklyn Nets. The two-time MVP transformed into The Lord of Flatbush Ave. with a 49-point, 15-rebound, 10-assist masterpiece as the Nets took a 3-2 lead in the series with a 114-108 victory.

Never in the history of the NBA playoffs had a player had a triple-double combo of at least 45 points and at least 15 boards (with 10 assists, by definition). Now one has. Two years after a disastrous exit in Game 5 of the NBA Finals due to a ruptured Achilles, Kevin Durant is back.

Alex Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

By midway through the Olympics (Opening Ceremony is July 23) you will probably be familiar with the name John John Florence. The 28 year-old is the U.S.’ top male medal hopeful in the new Olympic sport of surfing.

But John John’s mom, Alex, may be the more intriguing story. Her tale is a combo of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” and the Beach Boys’ “Surfer Girl.” Alex was born and raised on the Jersey shore, but she grew up dreaming about the Hawaiian surf lifestyle. At age 16 she won a bikini contest, which gave her enough dough to travel to California, where she won another bikini contest, which gave her ample scratch to move to Hawaii. She landed without a place to stay or a soul in the world that knew her, but Alex Florence is not the type who remains a stranger.

She quickly found a shack to move into on Oahu’s famed North Shore—home to the Banzai Pipeline, the greatest break in surfing. She became a surfer and also had a son. Exactly who John John’s dad is not public information… leading to some speculation that it is 11-time surfing world champ Kelly Slater… whom John John beat out for the final spot on the Olympic team.

You’ve got to give the lady credit. A lot of people say, “Baby this town rips the bones from your back” and “we gotta get out while we’re young,” but Bruce lives only a few miles from where he grew up. Alex heeded the call and moved her existence from the Jersey shore to the North Shore… and never looked back.

A Burrito, No Competo

American middle-distance star Shelby Houlihan will not be going to Tokyo. The American record-holder in both the 1,500 and the 5,000 won’t even be headed to this weekend’s U.S. Track & Field Trials in Eugene, even though she lives just two hours north in Portland.

Why not? Houlihan tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid, nandrolone.

Houlihan, who at age 28 is in her absolute prime and who did not win a medal in Rio, claims she is innocent. The 12-time All-American from Arizona State is blaming the bad contents on a pork burrito she purchased from a food truck. “I feel completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed by the sport I love,” Houlihan, who found out last Friday that her appeal had been denied, posted on Instagram. If you read this story, there’s good reason to believe that Houlihan is telling the truth.

The ban lasts four years. Houlihan’s hopes for Tokyo are gone. It’s not as if she’s Russian, after all.

“You’re Drought!”

(With 15 homers and 43 RBI, 3rd baseman Eduardo Escobar is actually having an All-Star season for baseball’s worst team)

After a home win versus the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, May 2nd, the Arizona Diamondbacks had a 15-13 record. Not superb, but at least competitive in baseball’s most talented division: the National League West. Then the bottom fell out.

The D-Backs are 5-35 since then and 2-26 in their last 28. They’ve lost 21 consecutive road games—the MLB record is 22. In this 40-game span the Diamondbacks have had a 13-game and our currently in the midst of a 12-game losing streak.

Quick: name a player on the D-Backs. I can’t, either. That’s likely part of the problem.

A reminder that the 1962 New York Mets, in their inaugural season, own baseball’s worst record in the modern era over a full season (40-120, .250). The D-Backs, at 20-48 (.294) are still north of that.

North By Northeast

Remember that item we ran a month or two ago (of course you do) about how Hitchcock films have so many recurring conceits? Well, we ran that before we ever saw Saboteur, Hitchcock’s 1942 spy thriller. I guess it’s easier to say that almost every Hitchcock film has distinct elements of one or more other Hitchcock films. It’s as if he has a certain number of ingredients and each dish resembles one or three other dishes.

Saboteur is basically North By Northwest headed in the opposite direction (L.A. to the Statue of Liberty), except our hero is on the run from the law for a crime of war sabotage of which he is innocent. It even has a climactic scene, as in North By Northwest, with our hero and the villain grappling on an iconic American landmark with the villain falling to his death (there’s a lot of gravity playing a role in Hitchcock films: these two, Vertigo, Rear Window). This film also resembles other early Hitchcock efforts (Notorious, The Lady Vanishes, The 39 Steps) involving Nazi spies and/or Fascist rings.

And as we noted with Battleground a week or two ago, the notion of fascists and/or authoritarian governments is nothing new. Here’s Hitchcock in 1942, when the Nazis were all over Europe and the U.S. (and Great Britain) were in dire straits, using a scene to fight for truth, freedom and the American way. The dashing villain in this scene is that era’s Mitch McConnell, the Koch brothers, Mike Pompeo and, of course, Donald Trump.

The Kid

….did it again. That’s eight in a row off Portugal’s 3-0 win versus Hungary. He moves to 19-7 and is now up a healthy $1,635.

Tonight he loves that Kawhi Leonard is out for the Clippers so with UTAH being at home, he likes the JAZZ minus-125. Risking $125 to win $100.

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