BOZICH and CRAWFORD: Weekend Wrap -- NBA, U.S.Open, Reds - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH and CRAWFORD: Weekend Wrap -- NBA, U.S.Open, Reds

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Each Monday, WDRB's Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford will take a look back at the previous weekend's sports and weigh in on three topics. Let the back-and-forth begin.

1. Who is Webb Simpson, and is it good for golf that he made it nine straight first-time major winners by taking the U.S. Open Sunday night.

I've got to confess, I'd never heard of World Wide Webb until Jim Furyk started spraying the ball off the Golden Gate Bridge Sunday. Simpson follows Bubba Watson (Masters), who followed Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA) and I'll stop there before we lose more readers.

No, it's not good for golf. It's awful. Nothing against these players. They're obviously very talented. Can't knock a major winner -- other than Mark Brooks. But having a villain or a hero or a target or somebody known outside subscribers to the Golf Channel is essential to the game's popularity.

Tiger, Phil, Rory. Somebody needs to save us from a dismal summer.

CRAWFORD: Good for golf, bad for golf, does it matter? If a tree falls on the back nine of a major and Tiger Woods isn't in contention, does it make a sound? I like Webb Simpson. He seems like a good guy, and he certainly deserved to win the U.S. Open. He had the worst 36-hole total of any winner in U.S. Open HISTORY after two days, and persevered.

But look, they can have nine more different first-time winners over the next nine majors, and the focus in golf is still going to be on one guy.

Tiger Woods did more to boost NBA playoff ratings with his sputtering final-round start on Sunday than anything David Stern has ever done. When Woods won the Memorial, golf had its spotlight back. When he went 5-over on the first five holes on the final day at the U.S. Open, the lights went off, switch was flipped and America went to get a sandwich before watching the Heat and the Thunder.

Hard-core golf fans won't feel that way. Many of them, I'm sure, like the variety. Shoot, I don't mind the variety. And I was still switching back and forth between NBA and golf like crazy. In fact, I'm pretty sure Jim Furyk got fouled on his chip at No. 16. But golf isn't going to get back to the kind of must-see theater that the sport craves until Woods resumes his chase of history, which now doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon.

2. Are the Miami Heat winning these NBA Finals or are the Oklahoma City Thunder losing them?

I picked the Miami Heat from the start. But I've been nervous in this series. Oklahoma City was a bad call on Kevin Durant and two stupid fouls on three-point shots from winning Game 3 in Miami. While the Heat were dominant in Game 2 in Oklahoma City, you almost knew they would be. They were anything but brilliant on Sunday night and were fortunate to get a stretch with Durant on the bench, and get some critical mistakes from the Thunder late.

But for the first time in a while, I thought Oklahoma City looked like the young team that it is. The beautiful offense disappeared and one-on-one play replaced it. The Finals are a different animal. I think Oklahoma City, not Miami, is the team of the future. But I think this series is the one that steels them for future accomplishment.

I think the Heat wins the championship because OKC feels the pressure of the moment. The Thunder will win one of these in Miami, but the Heat, with Chris Bosh back and playing solid basketball and Lebron James being the best player on the court, will finish this one off.

Miami better get them now, because I think Oklahoma City is gearing up for its own run of championships.

BOZICH: They've played three games and the two teams are separated by one point so I'm not going to budge from my prediction of a seven-game series with Oklahoma City winning it. The Thunder shot the ball like me and you Sunday -- 43 percent from the field, 62.5 from the free-throw line -- and still almost won the game.

James Harden played so poorly, I'd recommend that he shave that Abe Lincoln beard so nobody, including Mrs. Lincoln, will heckle him on South Beach the rest of the week in Miami. If anybody has Harden's e-mail address, please pass this message along: If the three-pointer isn't falling, take the ball to the basket

And another thing: If you're going to make a silly foul on a final possession, do it early in the shot clock. Works out better that way.

Kevin Durant has been getting too many whistles on the defensive end. I expect Scott Brooks to channel Phil Jackson and get the refs thinking they need to stop taking OKC's best player out of the game.

And they do.

3. The Cincinnati Reds have moved to a four-game lead in the National League Central. If you could add one piece to the Reds, what would it be? Or have you sent in your order for playoff tickets?

The Reds rank in the top half of the major leagues in quality starts and earned run average, so I like their arms, especially considering Mat Latos and Mike Leake have yet to pitch their best baseball. They will improve. At least they'd better improve.

I look at the Reds as a team that will either A) win the Central or B) a wildcard spot. So Walt Jocketty needs to make a move that will have impact in October. In my mind, that's a bat.

The Reds are only in the middle of the pack in batting average (15th), runs scored (18th) and on-base percentage (17th) in all of major-league baseball, not only the National League.

So somebody like Kevin Youkilis (third base), Carlos Quentin (left field) or Josh Willingham (left field) look like pieces worth considering.

CRAWFORD: Rather than add a piece, I'd like to see one piece fixed. I think that Drew Stubbs can be the player the Reds have always thought he would be, the player he looked like he was going to be in his rookie season. But he hasn't been that guy for most of this season, and if he doesn't come back from this latest stint on the DL and produce pretty quickly, the Reds are going to have to move to shore up the outfield, whether it be in center field or left.

You can always use one more starting pitcher, it seems, and the Reds are no different from anyone in that regard. But the bigger issue to me is that they need more offensive production from the left field and center field spots. At least one of those will need to be addressed if this team wants to get over the top, though as it looks right now, I still like their chances against St. Louis and/or Pittsburgh.

Especially if Joey Votto continues to play like a guy with super baseball powers.

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