WATERCOOLER CHAT: NBA REMATCH, CHICAGO & JETS RAMPING UP

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, Sunday featured a Pre-Oscars rematch of last year’s NBA Finals:  The Los Angeles Lakers v. Orlando Magic.  The Magic have been playing great as of late, but the Lakers have struggled mightily.  They lost to the Heat this week, and then later were routed by the Charlotte Bobcats (who seem to be the only team in the NBA with the Lakers number).  Apparently, Kobe Bryant gave the Lakers a pep-talk before the game against the Magic telling them to shape up.  Thing is, even Kobe himself is playing pretty poorly.  Could they pull off the victory and get back on track?

The Lakers Ron Artest came out motivated, dying the word “defense” into his hair in three different languages.  It was pretty funny.  Well, the game was basically ruled by Orlando up until the 4th quarter when the Lakers came surging back.  Then, trailing 95-92, Kobe put up a brilliant 3-point shot to tie the game.  But, wait a minute, his foot was on the line and it was ruled a 2-pointer.  95-94 Orlando.  The Lakers fouled Vince Carter, and he missed a free throw.  96-94 Orlando, and the Lakers had one last shot.  Yep, Kobe got the ball, and he’s the best closer in the game.  This time, however, Kobe couldn’t connect, and the Magic held on for the win.  When are the Lakers going to turn it around?  Orlando 96, LA Lakers 94.

FOOTBALL

Julius PeppersAnd in the NFL, the Chicago Bears had big expectations last season, especially after bringing in big name quarterback Jay Cutler.  Well, they underperformed… big time.  So, this off season, they have been very aggressive in the free agent market to show their fans that they’re Super Bowl minded.  Over the weekend, they roped in Pro Bowler Julius Peppers of the Carolina Panthers.  And, with the uncertain value of current running back Matt Forte, they brought in Chester Taylor, a very efficient running back, from the Vikings.  Now they will have the common multiple RB game, which actually makes their team more versatile.

Elsewhere in the NFL, the NY Jets brought in Pro Bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie from the San Diego Chargers.  Now they will have Darrelle Revis (currently the best cornerback in the NFL) and another strong CB on the other side of the field.  This combo just makes a very tough defense even stronger.  It will be hard for even the best receivers to gain productive yards against the Jets next season.  So, the major question is, can the Jets get back to where they got this season… and take that next step to the Super Bowl?

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