There were several A-list guests on Mad Dog Unleashed this week, including Giants Quarterback Eli Manning. Dog and Eli covered a lot of topics, including the health of Manning’s ankle.

The Giants are an interesting team. Their Super Bowl win three years ago, is actually the team’s only postseason appearance in the last 5 years. Last season was Eli’s worst since his rookie year, but I expect Eli to bounce back. He has too much talent to have two down years in a row. The Giants have made quite a few offseason moves; hopefully Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams fix the running game, taking some pressure off Eli and the passing game.  If the offense returns to its usual top 10 level and the defense remains solid, the Giants will be right back in the mix for the postseason in a division that is impossible to predict.

Johnny Miller joined Doggie this week. He came on to preview the U.S. Open, but Chris also spent some time talking about Johnny’s career and the emotions he expects to feel on Sunday as he broadcasts his final U.S. Open.

I am a casual golf fan. I only really watch the four majors and the Ryder Cup every other year. The one constant I enjoyed was listening to Johnny Miller on the broadcasts. NBC is losing the U.S. Open to Fox, and I’m sure Joe Buck and Greg Norman will do a fine job on the broadcasts, but Miller brought a smooth elegance to the broadcast, explaining the course and accurately describing what each golfer was trying to do. He brought you into the course without talking down to you. He will be missed.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia joined Doggie this week and talked about how well his team is playing this year after a couple of down seasons.

The Angels are also an interesting team. For a team that has consistently enjoyed winning seasons since 2002, they haven’t reached the postseason since 2009 and have endured losing records in two of the last 4 years. Expectations are always high with the likes of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton on the roster, but this year, when Dog and I were in spring training, the Angels were finally flying under the radar; the A’s were the favorites, Texas signed Prince Fielder and the Mariners signed Robinson Cano. Perhaps the lack of pressure on the team had them playing more relaxed, as the Angels are off to an excellent start and Scioscia is poised to lead them back to the playoffs.

Ice Cold Heat

What has transpired the last week in the NBA has really been shocking. I picked the Spurs to win this series in seven games, but I think there was always something sitting in the back of my head where I didn’t really believe my pick. It’s the Miami Heat. It’s LeBron James. The Spurs are old.

Those doubts crept into my head, and even lingered after the Spurs won Game 1. LeBron James was lights out in game 2, but Miami only won the game by two. I heard a lot of pundits say the Spurs were fortunate to be tied 1-1 because of LeBron’s cramps in Game 1, but I looked at the situation and said, “Aren’t the Heat fortunate to be tied 1-1, because LeBron had an incredible game and Miami only defeated the Spurs by two?”

The series shifted back to Miami, and there wasn’t one NBA analyst or writer in the country or around the globe who saw what would happen next. The Heat were run out of their own building. They were embarrassed. They were humiliated. They lost back-to-back games at home by 19 points. They didn’t have an answer for anything offensively or defensively. They were outplayed. They were outcoached. They were out-everythinged. What’s more shocking to me is that the Heat clearly quit in the fourth quarter of Game 4, hardly showing the make-up of a two-time defending champion. If the Heat come back, they will make serious history. No NBA Finals team has ever recovered from a 3-1 deficit, and no Gregg Popovich-coached team has ever blown a 3-1 lead.

The Heat are going to lose the series, and the loss is going to alter LeBron’s legacy. The Jordan conversation is over with three losses in the Finals. James will always be an all-time great, but he will probably never be the greatest. It will also launch us into an interesting off-season. The Heat have a lot of old legs and not much depth. There’s talk that Carmelo Anthony might join the Heat to create a “Big Four” – which would give Miami even less depth than they have now. Perhaps, James might realize that this make-up may not be working, and he may need to look elsewhere. Perhaps going back to Cleveland, or maybe joining Melo and going to LA to play with Kobe. The Heat may just try and hold serve and make one more go of it with this current roster, but after being outscored by 53 points in four games against San Antonio, players will be left doubting the roster, which may be enough to launch this free agency season into another frenzy.

World Cup Underway

So it began this week: The 2014 World Cup from Brazil. I know this makes me a cliché, but I just can’t get into it. Maybe if the United States make some miracle run to the semifinals I would get caught up in it, but if Jurgen Klinsmann doesn’t think it’s possible, why should I?

I have tried to give soccer a go multiples times, but it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Soccer fans will read this and be irate, but there are certain things that I can’t get past. The first is shots on goal. I’ve been asked, “How can I like hockey but not like soccer?” The simple reason is shots on goal. In hockey, the score may only be 3-2, but there are probably 60 shots on goal taken during the game; soccer has about one-quarter of that in 30 extra minutes of play. I want to see constant action at the net, and soccer has such a large percentage of play in the middle of the field.

Secondly, any sport where a two-score lead is practically insurmountable leads me to believe that scoring is at too much of a premium. I understand that recovering and winning after being trailing by 2 goals does happen from time to time, but it’s news when it does. We’ve seen the LA Kings come back from two-goal deficits constantly this postseason, and a two-run deficit in baseball gets wiped out on a nightly basis. If coming back from two scores down is news, than there isn’t enough offense for me.

Finally, referee impact on games really bothers me. I watched the opener of Brazil and Croatia and I saw the flop by Fred (great name by the way – we need more athletes that go by “Bob” or “Joe.”) that might have cost Croatia the game. It was embarrassing. The NBA gets a bad wrap for flopping, but it’s nothing compared to what happens in soccer.

I know soccer fans, you’ll tell me about the beautiful game and how I miss so much that’s going on and that I’m ignorant. And that may be the case. But remember, ignorance is bliss.

Stream of Consciousness

Last week, I said I was glad the Donald Sterling story had ended. I spoke too soon. *Sigh* …  I know Roberto Clemente had the greatest throwing arm in MLB history, but Yoenis Cespedes might be a close second …  I’ve never seen a transportation situation first-hand as horrible as leaving last week’s Belmont. It was equivalent to fleeing a zombie apocalypse … How are the A’s ignoring Derek Jeter’s flip play when they honor his career on Sunday? … How is Mr. Brownstone not on GNR’s Greatest Hits? … I always joke that TMZ’s never wrong, but they really missed the boat on the Colin Kaepernick story …  As of Friday, 24 baseball teams are within five games of the postseason. That could make for a wild September … I might be in the minority, but Daniel Snyder should not be forced to change the name of the Washington Redskins … Seeing Martin Broduer in another uniform next year won’t feel right … I think Derek Fisher will be a good NBA coach, and is an excellent choice for Phil Jackson’s Knicks. Unfortunately for Fisher, his results will only be as good as his players … Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall had four extra-base hits (including three home runs) and nine RBIs in a game. Meanwhile, Derek Jeter has eight extra base hits (one home run) and 14 RBIs for the season … I’m late to the party, but I love ABC’s Goldbergs … It’s not even worth commenting on the New York Rangers … Max Scherzer threw his first complete game in 179 career starts. To show how pitching has changed, Steve Carlton, in roughly the same amount of games to start his career, threw 96 complete games

Tweet of the Week

Good or bad, positive or negative, we provide you with the best tweet sent to @MadDogUnleashed …

True story?

Video of the Week

Ever wonder why professional athletes have the image of being overgrown children? Probably because many of them are. Regardless, I’m on board with this plan.

Mad Dog Underground

Introducing a new MDSR Podcast, Mad Dog Underground, featuring myself and Evan & Phillips sidekick Mike Babchik. We go behind the scenes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and let you know about what you don’t hear on the radio. Here is the debut.

Next Week on MDU

We will start off busy on Monday. Heat face a win-or-go-home game Sunday in San Antonio. Some have argued it’s a career-defining game for LeBron James. We will discuss the NBA Finals, and of course react to the U.S. Open. Plenty of World Cup next week, including the first game for the United States Monday night against Ghana. As always, we’ll be on top of the latest baseball news with our weekly spot with our own Steve Phillips, Wednesday at 5 pm ET.

You can follow Bill ZimmermanMad Dog Unleashed and Mad Dog Sports Radio on twitter, or follow along on Facebook.

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