Heat go up 3-1, MLB Diamond Dust, the Auburn Tree Poisoner + Free Plays for Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Westbrook’s 43 not enough for the Thunder

The fat lady hasn’t sung but she’s getting warmed up fast. The Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-98 in Game IV of the NBA finals to take a virtually insurmountable 3-1 lead in the championship series. Insurmountable ??? Teams that go down 3-1 in the NBA Finals have never (0-30) come back to win.

The Thunder came out ready to play jumping out to a 33-16 lead just before the end of the first quarter but the Heat responded with a 16-0 run of their own and it was a game the rest of the way. Lebron, who sat out the final minute with cramps, was one rebound short of a triple-double with 26/9/12, Dwayne Wade had 25/5/3 and two key blocks down the stretch, but it was Mario Chalmers playing the role of Thunder killer with 25 points on 9-15 shooting that was key for Miami.

Russell Westbrook had a huge Rondo-esque game with 43 points on 20-32 shooting but a mental error and turnover in the final minute sealed OKC’s fate. Kevin Durant had 28 points but just two boards for the Thunder who face elimination Thursday night. The Heat opened as three point favorites for Game V with the total 193 1/2. Both numbers are unchanged as of this writing.

Thunder/Heat Game IV Highlights

Yanks win streak snapped at 10

Four Atlanta relievers pitched four innings of scoreless one-hit ball as the Braves beat the Yankees 4-3 snapping the Bombers 10-game win streak. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons did the damage with the bat with two hits and two RBIs. Craig Kimbrel recorded his 20 save with a nine-pitch two-K ninth.

At age 38 and with his best years behind him, Ichiro Suzuki is showing that he can still swing the bat. Ichiro picked up his 2500th MLB hit in going 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored in a 12-9 win over the DBacks. It often gets overlooked that Ichiro also had 1300 hits in the Japanese league before coming to Mariners and getting buried on some awful Seattle teams over the past 12 years. This is truly one of the great hitters ever and one of the most underrated to ever play the game.

The Reds saw their six-game winning streak come to an end with a 3-2 loss at Cleveland. Tied 1-1 going into the 10th inning, Cincinnati scratched out a run when Chris Heisy scored on a wild pitch. In the bottom of the inning, Asdrubal Cabrerra hit a two-run homer off fireballing Aroldis Chapman to get the walk-off win for the Tribe.

England and France advance to Euro 2012 quarterfinals

France and England both advanced to the quarterfinals of Euro 2012. England won Group D with a 1-0 win over the Ukraine while the French backed in after a 2-0 loss to Sweden. The Brits made an early second half goal by Wayne Rooney stand up but it was a “ghost” goal denied the co-hosts that was the talk of the match. In the 62nd minute, Brit goalie Joe Hart made a stop that deflected towards the England goal but cleared off the line by John Terry. At certain instant replay angles, the ball appeared to completely cross the goal-line constituting a goal but the Hungarian line judge ruled “play on”. Is it time for goal technology in soccer ??? You make the call. In the other group game, France saw their 23-game unbeaten streak come to an end at the hands of a determined Swede outfit. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the goal of the tournament on a beautiful scissor-kick from just inside the top of the box. Sebastian Larrson added and insurance marker a minute into final injury time.

So the Euro 2012 quarterfinals are set. On Thursday, Portugal is a full goal (+130) favorite over the Czech Republic (+1, -160) with the total 2.5, the Under -140. On Friday, Germany is a goal-and-a-half (even) favorite over the feisty Greeks (+1.5, -160), tho total 2.5 with the high and low -110. Saturday, Spain is pick -330 over France (+250), the total 2.5 with the Under -185 and the Over +155. Sunday’s quarterfinal finale features England (even) and Italy (-125) with the Italians slight favorites. The total is two flat with the Under -140. All games start at 2:45 PM EST and great Euro 2012 bonuses are still available at SP3 sponsors.

Dead man’s bet on Federer could net charity 160K

In 2003, Brit gambler Nick Newlife wagered £1,520 at 66-to-1 odds that Federer would finish his career with at least seven Wimbledon singles championships, a bet that would pay off at £101,840, or nearly $160,000. Unfortunately, Newlife died in early 2009, just a few months before Federer claimed title No.6 but his bet lives on, thanks to his having willed it on to charity Oxfam International, based out of Newlife’s hometown of Oxford. Sadly, the odds are against Newlife and Oxfam with Federer now age 30 and on the downside of his career. The legendary Swiss star is the 7/2 third choice at Wimbledon behind Novak Djokovic 7/4 and Raphael Nadal 2/1.

Auburn tree poisoner update

Alleged Auburn tree-poisoner Harvey Updyke has reportedly confessed to poisoning the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner. Updyke allegedly spiked the ground around the trees with an industrial herbicide after the Cam Newton led Auburn team (down 24-0 in the second quarter) beat Alabama 28-27 in the 2010 Iron Bowl. Updyke, whose children are named Crimson and Bear, is a devote Tide fan.

The Plainsman reported Tuesday that when asked about his alleged crime outside an elevator at the Lee County Justice Center, Updyke readily admitted to having poisoned the famous Auburn landmark.

“Did I do it? Yes,” Updyke reportedly said.

“They’re going to find me guilty… it’s a done deal,” he added. “I don’t think I’m going to get a fair trial.”

The Plainsman and story writer Andrew Yawn insisted that Updyke was aware Yawn was a reporter when making his comments.

Jury selection for Updyke’s trial started Tuesday. He’s charged with one count of criminal mischief, a class C felony in Alabama. If convicted, Updyke faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Free Plays

(MLB) Atlanta (Hudson)/NY Yankees (Hughes) Under 9 +120 1:15 PM EST

(MLB) Texas (Darvish)/San Diego (Bass) Over 7.5 -120 6:35 PM EST

(MLB) Tampa Bay (Archer)/Washington (Straberg) Under 7 +115

(MLB) Oakland (Cahill) -106 over LA Dodgers (Eovoldi)