The woman in the bright blue shirt sets her card table up across from the pristine Cathedral of St. Louis, which opened in 1794. She has yet to remove her tarot cards from the bag in which she keeps them. So on this beautiful sunshiny morning she instead reads a customer’s palm. Fortunately, milk punch does not create a line on one’s hand.
Hours before the game began, fans of Davidson and Stephen Curry filled the front rows in sections 113, 114, 115 and 116. In 113 they filled the first nine rows. Fans crowded the rails above the Time Warner Cable Arena tunnel through which Curry would walk.
Tyler Hansbrough has been extra this season. When he plays for the Charlotte Hornets, he usually plays after the outcome has been determined. Before Sunday, he had played only once in the previous 10 games, and that was 2½ minutes at the end of a blowout victory against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Last week was the worst for me and for most of the people I know. Jacksonville won. Houston beat Cincinnati in Cincinnati. Detroit beat Green Bay in Green Bay. Seattle lost at home. Washington beat New Orleans by 33. Philadelphia lost at home to Miami. Denver lost at home by 16 to Kansas City, and starting quarterback Peyton Manning was benched. And Eli Manning’s New York Giants lost in the final seconds.
Martin Truex Jr. is a good underdog this week because he doesn’t resent being called an underdog. He doesn’t loudly announce that he will use manufactured disrespect as motivation. Additional motivation is not required.
I hadn’t seen so many Carolina Panthers jerseys at a road game since I was last in Atlanta. At least a third of the 63,591 fans at Nissan Stadium cheered for Carolina. They had more to cheer and often made more noise. When Luke Kuechly made a tackle (he had a team-high eight) fans filled the air with “Luuuuke!”
I’ve picked the Carolina Panthers every week this season because every week I figure they’ll win. I was going to pick them against Tennessee. But when I was getting on the flight to Nashville late Saturday morning I heard something that almost made me change my mind.
The more the Carolina Panthers win, the more calls and Tweets I receive and see during the game about how officials routinely favor Carolina’s opponent. Yet it’s not only the officials that are out to get the Panthers. It’s the national media.
Welcome to Tom Talks, the sports talk show of the printed page. Long week; I hadn’t been sick, concussion excepted, for about a year and a half, so I figured I had evolved beyond illness and was impervious to the flu. I learned mid-week that I was wrong. But now I’m cured. So let’s go to the phones.
Charlotte Hornets’ coach Steve Clifford says there are two ways he likes to start a game, three if there’s an obvious mismatch. The first is to go to his big man, Al Jefferson. The second is to move the ball around so that everybody touches it.