Archive for February, 2010

WATERCOOLER CHAT: CAVS TEAM TO BEAT, NEW ORLEANS PARADE TIME

BASKETBALL

Glen DavisWith the NBA trade deadline looming it looks like the Boston Celtics are shopping a crowd favorite. There is a rumor that would send Glen “Big Baby” Davis to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for point-guard D.J. Augustin. Davis has been a serviceable back up power forward for the Celtics, but they need a point guard to back up Rondo. It’s also rumored that Rondo might be shipped out of town during the off-season because of disputes with team General Manager Danny Ainge. This is the first of many trade rumors that are circulating. More to come. Elsewhere in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping to continue their season long 11 game win streak last night. They played host to the NBA’s worst team: The New Jersey Nets (who could be LeBron’s new home in 2010). Well, of course, the Cavs didn’t have much trouble with the nets. LeBron put on a super dunk show, and finished the night with 32 points and 11 assists. With the win, the Cavs extend their streak to 12 — currently the longest winning streak of the season. Right now… the Cavs are the team to beat. Cleveland 104, New Jersey 97.

FOOTBALL

And in the NFL, it was celebration day in New Orleans (well, they’ve been celebrating since they won). That’s right, it was parade day for the Saints as they went through downtown New Orleans. The thing that makes this special is New Orleans is probably the last city in America where parades are routine and embraced. Any tourist can catch one. Now they have their beloved Saints as Super Bowl Champions, and the city intends to merge these celebrations with the upcoming Mardi Gras festivities. New Orleans is going to be one big party for the next 2 weeks.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: COLLEGE BBALL, STALLWORTH CUT BY BROWNS

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Last night in college basketball, it was #1 Kansas v. #14 Texas. What was supposed to be a marquee Big 12 match-up at the beginning of the season now looked like it would definitely be a Kansas win.  The Texas Longhorns were #1 and undefeated for a while, but they’ve lost 4 of their last 6 games.  Texas has tremendous talent, but they’re just not clicking.

Well, this slide wouldn’t end last night.  Texas just couldn’t get it together, and Kansas just kept racking up the points.  In fact, the Jayhawks went on a 22-0 run in the first half.  In the second, Texas had a little firepower, but not nearly enough to take out Kansas.  Marcus Morris led the way for Kansas with 18 points.  However, their whole team is terrific, and if the tournament started today, they would be the odds-on favorite.  Texas on the other hand looks like a #4 seed that would get bounced by a mid-major.  Kansas 80, Texas 68.

FOOTBALL

The Super Bowl may be over, but that doesn’t keep Vegas from releasing next year’s odds on a Super Bowl winner.  In fact, even though the Colts lost, they are still the odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl in 2011 at 7-1 odds.  Next on the list:  The Chargers at 8-1, the defending Super Bowl Champs New Orleans Saints at 9-1, and then the New England Patriots at 10-1.  The putrid St. Louis Rams bring up the rear at 150-1.

Donte Stallworth.jpgFinally, a little more news out of the football world.  Before the season started, Cleveland’s Donte Stallworth killed a pedestrian in Miami while drunk-driving.  Stallworth was also drunk and received a DUI for the incident.  However, via some legal loopholes, and reaching a settlement with the victim’s family, Stallworth stayed out of a long-term jail sentence.  His consequence was merely a year long suspension by the NFL.  Well, he was reinstated yesterday, and was immediately cut by the Cleveland Browns.  Apparently, they want to wash their hands of him and the situation — even though Stallworth said he’s in “a better place than he was”.  Will any team pick him up or are his football days completely over?

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: SUPER SUPER BOWL

FOOTBALL

Super Bowl Sunday — the day everyone has been waiting for.  The ultimate contest between the best two teams of the season:  Indianapolis v. New Orleans.  Honestly, this was the match most wanted to see at mid-season.  Both teams were undefeated up until Week 13, and you couldn’t help but imagine what a showdown might look like.  Last night… we got our chance.

Peyton ManningOn the line for Peyton Manning, the beginnings of the “best quarterback ever” conversations.  Peyton Manning had a tremendous year, was named MVP, and concretely established himself as the most prepared quarterback in the NFL.  It’s said he watches game film for hours after practice, treating each game like a sophisticated chess match, and making each play count.  For the Saints, they were carrying the spirit of the devastated city of New Orleans.  A win for the Saints meant an announced “comeback” ‘Nawlins citizens.

Pierre GarconThe game got off favoring the Colts.  They got a field goal mid-way through the first quarter, but the Saints couldn’t really answer, and their offense was stalling.  Then, with under a minute in the 1st quarter, Peyton Manning showed the world what he’s good at, as he threw a beautiful lob pass to Pierre Garcon for a touchdown.  10-0 Colts.  In the second quarter, it was the team defenses that stepped up, as both Drew Brees and Peyton Manning struggled.  The Colts even stopped New Orleans at the goal line twice.  The explosive Saints offense we saw all season was dormant.  All they got was 2 field goals from their new kicker Garrett Hartley.  And heading into halftime, it was 10-6 Colts.  Were we in for a lackluster game?

The answer:  No way.  The Saints came out of the gate in the second half with an extremely risky play:  an onside kick that NOBODY saw coming.  And they RECOVERED IT!!!  That was the first ever on-side kick before the 4th quarter in Super Bowl history.  It’s one of those plays that everybody talks about, but nobody does.  Well, the Saints did it.  And they used that drive to march down the field.  It was capped off with a touchdown — product of some amazing maneuvering from Saints running-back Pierre Thomas.  13-10 Saints.

But watch out, the Colts are where they are for a reason, and they stormed right back down the field.  Colts running-back Joseph Addai finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown.  17-13 Colts.  The Saints put up another field goal, and headed into the 4th quarter, the Colts were up 17-16.  Could they hold on?

Drew BreesWell, Drew Brees did what he’s been doing all season, and led the Saints down the field with some beautiful passes. He finished things off hitting newly acquired tight-end Jeremy Shockey for the go-ahead touchdown.  With the 2-pt conversion, it was 24-17 Saints.  Manning’s turn.  And this is where he shines… when he needs a touchdown to win.  Were we headed for Super Bowl sudden death?

Tracy PorterThe answer:  No way.  With just over 3 minutes left in the game, Manning tried to hit his receiver for a routine pass, and it was picked off by New Orleans’ Tracy Porter.  He nabbed it, and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown.  And suddenly, the historically terrible New Orleans Saints found themselves up 31-17 with just 3 minutes left in the Super Bowl.  Amazing!  Peyton Manning had one last chance, and he did well, but he couldn’t get a touchdown.  And with that, the New Orleans Saints are your Super Bowl Champions!!!  Remember this is a team whose fans used to wear paper bags over their heads.  You can bet they will never wear those bags again.  New Orleans is BACK!!!  New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: BETSY ON TODAY SHOW, TOMLINSON MOVING ON, USC RECRUITS 13 YEAR OLD

Watch Betsy on The Today Show Friday at 8:00 am est

FOOTBALL

LaDainian TomlinsonWith the Super Bowl upon us, it represents the era of what could be a Indianapolis Colts dynasty.  It’s possible that Peyton Manning could win 2 or even 3 more Super Bowls over the next couple years.  However, another dynasty has most likely come to end.  It looks like LaDainian Tomlinson will move on from the San Diego Chargers organization next year.  Tomlinson was easily the most dominant running back in the league during this decade, and his moving on is a signal that his career is nearing an end.   He’s been plagued by injuries the past two seasons, and the Chargers will have a tough time replacing him.  We’ll see what team takes a chance on LT.

And in college football, some very weird news.  It looks like USC has received a verbal commitment from an extremely talented blue-chip recruit.  The catch… he’s 13 years old.  That’s right, David Sills was recruited by new coach Lane Kiffin, and he’s already looking ahead to the class of 2015.  Supposedly though, there’s validity here.  According to a USC expert coach who’s worked with many of the top QBs, this kid is incredible.  LeBron James was touted at this young an age, and clearly, the experts were right on that one.  So if the Trojans are correct, we can expect a fantastic season from them… in 5 years.

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy has stepped down from the captain position.  Sure, the concept of “stepping down” isn’t exactly correct (he was most likely asked to leave), but according to Dunleavy he was asked to pick between coaching and general manager.  Dunleavy opted to remain as the team’s GM, but “step down” as head coach.  The Clips have been below average this year, and, honestly, they needed a coaching change.  However, the Clippers have a strong young team with Blake Griffin joining the squad next year, as well as some other young, exciting draft picks. Farewell to the Dunleavy era in LA.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: BETSY ON TODAY SHOW, PEYTON COULD GET BIG PAY DAY,

Watch the Today Show at 10:30 am est to see Betsy talk Super Bowl “Who Knew”

FOOTBALL

Peyton Manning1In the NFL, Peyton Manning must be excited to be playing in his 2nd Super Bowl, but he is definitely thrilled about the Colts public intent to keep him a Colt for the remainder of his career.  There are speculations that, after the Super Bowl, Manning will receive the highest paid contract in NFL history.  Is he worth it?  Absolutely.  Without question, there is no player in the league more valuable than Peyton Manning.  He plays a position that requires extreme intellect, and he absolutely dominates it.  Essentially, he is their offensive coordinator, and everything is a chess game to him.  He may be getting older, but after this phenomenal year, you can assume he has at least 3 more years of his prime left.  That could equate to three more Super Bowl wins.
In the college football world, Wednesday is signing day.  This is when the top High School recruits in the country commit to one of the many schools that have been courting them.  There is a lot of drama and a lot of money wrapped up in this, for getting a #20 talent can instantly improve a team, get them TV time, and thus a lot of money.  The top prize this year is an Offensive Tackle from Minnesota, Seantrel Henderson.  Apparently 6 schools are after him, but most experts think he will opt to play at Ohio State.  We shall see.

BASKETBALL

In college basketball, the #4 Syracuse Orange are off to their best start ever.  They play extremely well as a team, are well coached, and are dominating a major conference right now (The Big East).  Last night they played host to Providence and absolutely destroyed them.  Arinze Onuaku led the Orange with 20 points.  This team could sneak into the championship in the tourney and perhaps win the whole thing.  Syracuse 85, Providence 68.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: KOBE BREAKS RECORD, CUTLER GETS NEW OC

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The big story out of the NBA was the potential to break the All-Time Los Angeles Laker scoring record currently held by “The Logo”, Jerry West (for those that don’t know, the NBA Logo silhouette is etched from a photo of Jerry West).  Kobe needed just 29 points to nab the record, and he would try to do it, coincidentally, against the team that Jerry West currently owns, the Memphis Grizzlies.  Well, Kobe wouldn’t just break the record last night, he would shatter it.  Kobe had 42 points, and then, with an open court, he slammed it home for his 44th point.  And with that Kobe has 25,208 and is the new leading scorer in Laker franchise history.  He’s got more than West, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Elgin Baylor, and Magic Johnson.  That’s incredible!

Oddly, however, the more notable stat of the night was that the Lakers lost the game.  That’s right, a game that used to be an easy win (Memphis) was a genuine struggle.  Don’t look now, but Memphis is really good.  They have a winning record in a tough division, and are staffed by a young team afraid of no one.  Rudy Gay is a potential superstar, and O.J. Mayo has truly turned into the player that everybody thought he was.  Even Marc Gasol (Pau Gasol’s brother) is a substantial force in the middle.  Come playoff time, nobody will want to play these guys.  If they can beat a strong Lakers team, they can beat anybody.  Memphis 95, LA Lakers 93.

In the latest from the Gilbert Arenas saga, Gilbert has publicly stated that he hopes to turn this situation into a positive by rebuilding his relationship with the youth of D.C.  Arenas said he thought it was important to promote non-violence to kids, especially in a troubled area like D.C., and he will spend his time and energy spreading this message.  We’ll see how specifically goes about this.  Let’s hope it’s something inspiring and significant.

FOOTBALL

Jay CutlerAnd in the NFL, a struggling team has landed a solid offensive coordinator.  The Chicago Bears have been searching for an OC for a while now, but, apparently, nobody wants to work with their new quarterback Jay Cutler.  He’s described as, um, difficult.  Well, their search ended today, as they will bring in the man responsible for the explosive Rams offense earlier this decade.  Yes, Mike Martz will hopefully bring some offensive firepower to the Bears.  First, however, they will need some real wide receivers.  The draft should bring some nice prospects.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: LAKERS VS CELTICS, FEDERER WINS 16TH

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In the NBA, the featured match-up of the night was the always thrilling Lakers v. Celtics.  At the beginning of the season, these teams were expected to face-off in the Finals again.  They’re both strong, yet shaky at times, so these previews can really give us an insight into what kind of action we could expect in June.  And from an action perspective, LA and Boston did not disappoint.


Both teams looked great coming out of the gate.  The hero for the Celtics was their young point-guard Rajon Rondo.  He finished the night with 21 points and 9 assists.  The Celtics began to run away, but the Lakers came back.  Towards the end of the game, the Celtics had the lead 89-88, but then Paul Pierce was whistled for a clumsy offensive foul.  Lakers ball.  And whom do you think the rock went to?  That’s right, Kobe Bryant.  He dribbled to the free throw line, did a couple fakes, and launched up a line-drive fade-away.  GOOD!!!  The Lakers take the lead.  The Celtics had one last chance, and they hurled into their 3-point marksman, Ray Allen.  He put it up, and it clanged against the rim.  Big win for the Lakers, and Kobe adds yet another game-winning shot to his resume.  LA Lakers 90, Boston 89.

Elsewhere in the NBA, LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers.  But it was as if the Clippers didn’t even show up.  In the first quarter alone, the Cavs put up, count ’em, 46 points.  LeBron finished the night with 32 points and 11 assists as the Cavs continue to be dominant.  Right now, they are the favorite to come out of the East.  If LeBron wants to play in a bigger market, it’s hard to think that he won’t do everything in his power to finally win a title for Cleveland.  Cleveland 114, LA Clippers 89.

TENNIS

Roger FedererIn tennis, it was the final of the Australian open between the incredible #1 seed Roger Federer and the British #5 seed Andy Murray.  Murray had no interest in losing and the match had to go into a playoff period.  The rule is a player has to win by two.  And these guys went back and forth for 11 points before Federer got the job done and won his 16th Grand Slam Title.  That is an incredible achievement.  Congrats to Roger.

FOOTBALL

Aaron RodgersFinally, the NFL tried an experiment this year and scheduled the Pro Bowl the weekend before the Super Bowl in Miami.  Typically, it’s after the Super Bowl (in Hawaii), but few watch it.  Perhaps while America still has football, you should serve them as much as possible?  Well, like it always is, the Pro Bowl was an offensive shootout.  This is because the defensive players don’t want to risk their career killing themselves in an exhibition game.  It was a back-and-forth battle with touchdown passes coming from favorites Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tony Romo, but the winning touchdown belonged to the league’s best running-back this season, the Titans Chris Johnson.  The AFC locked up the Pro Bowl, but can the Colts continue the AFC dominance and win the Super Bowl?  AFC 41, NFC 34.

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