Archive for April, 2010
Kentucky Derby Weekend
In the NBA, it was do or die in Denver as the Nuggets needed a win to avoid elimination. They’ve had their hands full with a very difficult Utah Jazz team, plus they have been without their head coach George Karl. He’s been battling throat cancer and is currently going through chemo therapy. Well, the Nuggets did what they do best — score a ton of points. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 26 points as the Nuggets got the job done on their home floor. They now trail 3-2 in a series headed back to Utah. Can Utah close it out on their home court? Denver 116, Utah 102.
Elsewhere, the Milwaukee Bucks have held their own in these playoffs despite the loss of center Andrew Bogut. They won both their home games and were hoping to steal Game 5 in Atlanta. Well, thanks to phenom rookie Brandon Jennings, that’s exactly what happened. Jennings had 25 points for the Bucks and led them to a huge upset victory over the Hawks. The Bucks win games the old-fashioned way — with defense. Now, like the Jazz, the Bucks have a chance to close out the series on their home court. Milwaukee 91, Atlanta 87.
And in hockey, the Washington Capitals just don’t seem to have any luck. They have, arguably, the best player in hockey in Alex Ovechkin, but the playoffs simply don’t seem to be their thing. Last year, the Capitals were bounced early from the playoffs by the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins. They entered the playoffs this year as the #1 seed, but Montreal Canadian goalie Jaroslav Halak just wouldn’t give up goals. They played a thriller in Game 7 in DC, but the Canadians just got the job done upsetting the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. This was a huge collapse for the Capitals. To make things worse, the Canadians came back from a 3-1 deficit in the series. Better luck next season, Washington. Montreal 2, Washington 1.No comments
And in some crazy Kentucky Derby news, it looks like the favorite to win the race is, um, out of the race. That’s right, Eskendereya was scratched from the race due to a leg injury. Now, it looks like the odds on favorite is a 3-year old horse named Lookin’ At Lucky. If that sounds good to you, pick ’em to win. The horse’s owner, Mike Pegram said of Lookin’ At Lucky, “The horse is like Mickey Mantle. He’s the kind of horse you like to be around.
In the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers needed a much needed win at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. If they lost, they would head back to Oklahoma City facing an elimination game in front of an ecstatic OKC crowd. Well, if anybody didn’t know already, Kobe Bryant does not lose important games — especially in the first round. The Lakers came to play in a big game, and are 20-0 historically in the first round when the series is tied at 2. Kobe only had 13 points, but he got everybody involved on offense for a balanced scoring attack. And with the win, the Lakers head back to OKC up 3-2. LA Lakers 111, Oklahoma City 87.
Elsewhere in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks were facing elimination against a surging San Antonio team. They needed a win at home in order to stay alive. More importantly, they needed to show their home fan base that being the hottest team in the NBA after the all-star break was not in vain. Well, the man of the night was Caron Butler. He had 35 points for the Mavs, as they absolutely routed San Antonio. The Spurs seriously looked lost out there. They still might be up 3-2 with the series headed back to San Antonio, but they definitely gave Dallas their mojo back. Look for this series to go to 7 games. Dallas 103, San Antonio 81.No comments
In the NBA, the Suns and the Blazers were tied at 2 games a piece. The Suns needed a win badly on their home court if they wanted a chance at winning this series. Well, of course, Suns point-guard Steve Nash came to play. He had 14 points and 10 assists, but it was also Suns center Channing Frye who has come on strong. Last night he had 20 points and 8 rebounds and even hit some clutch 3-pointers (rare for a center). With the effort, the Suns take a 3-2 lead in the series. Phoenix 107, Portland 88.
Elsewhere in the NBA, the Charlotte Bobcats were hoping to stay alive. They were down 3-0 to a very tough Orlando Magic team and needed the best performance possible to stay in this thing. Well, Charlotte star Gerald Wallace did what he could putting up 17 points, but it was the strong team-play of the Magic that got the job done. Vince Carter had 21 points for Orlando in the victory and that was all she wrote for Charlotte’s first ever playoff appearance. Now, Orlando will face the winner of the Atlanta Hawks/Milwaukee Bucks series. Orlando 99, Charlotte 90.
And in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies have had a beautiful resurgence in the past few years. Well, one of their superstars, Ryan Howard, was about to become a free agent. Reportedly, Howard wanted A-Rod money (Alex Rodriguez currently holds the biggest contract in baseball). There were rumors of a Ryan Howard / Albert Pujols straight-up trade. Yesterday, however, all that was put to rest as the Phillies locked up Ryan Howard for a $125 Million, 5-year contract extension until the year 2016. With this signing, the Phillies have shown their fans that they are serious about winning this decade. And that’s something you can’t take for granted.No comments
In the NBA, the playoffs were in full swing this weekend.
On Saturday Kobe and the Lakers were up 2 games to one over the young Oklahoma City Thunder team, and were hoping to go up 3-1 and then close it out back in LA. Well, didn’t happen. Kevin Durant had a terrific night with 22 points as the Thunder pummeled the Lakers. Now, the series is tied at two a piece and anything can happen in a theoretical 3 game series. Game 5 is absolutely crucial. A Laker loss could send them packing after just one round. Oklahoma City 110, LA Lakers 89.
And on Sunday, there were two more surprises. The Dallas Mavericks were the NBA’s hottest team after the trade deadline. They acquired Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler from the Washington Wizards, went on a long winning-streak, and looked unbeatable. They were a #2 seed headed into the playoffs, and many thought they would represent the West in the Championship game as opposed to the Lakers. Well, they never thought they would be facing such a fierce San Antonio opponent in the first round. Headed into Sunday, they were down 2-1, and the Spurs had no intention of losing on their home floor. The typical Spurs stars (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili) had an off night, but second-year point guard George Hill picked up the slack. He had 29 points on the night as the Spurs edged the Mavs to take a 3-1 lead in the series. Now the Mavs are one game away from getting bounced from the playoffs. Dallas 92, San Antonio 89.
And in Chicago, the Bulls got a win on Friday night on their home court. This gained them some confidence, and they were hoping to pull even in the series Sunday night. Nope, nope, nope — not going to happen. When you upset LeBron James, he comes back like a force of nature. He put up a TRIPLE-DOUBLE with 37 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds. When the Cavs NEED a win, LeBron simply takes over. And when that happens, there is NO stopping him. With the win, the Cavs take a 3-1 lead in the series heading back to Cleveland. And that should pretty much do it. Cleveland 121, Chicago 98.
Finally, the NFL Draft is now in the history books. The Carolina Panthers are rebuilding at the quarterback position after shipping their veteran QB Jake Delhomme to Cleveland this off-season. They not only drafted the highly sought after Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame, but also Univ. of Cincinnati’s QB Tony Pike, who led the Bearcats to an undefeated season (save for a Bowl loss to Florida). This gives them an instant QB competition, but also plenty of options to improve. Colt McCoy, the beloved Texas QB, was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the third round. Their GM, the genius Mike Holmgren, said that McCoy won’t play his rookie season. They’re investing in him long term.No comments
In the NBA, the Chicago Bulls were looking for revenge against LeBron James and the #1 Cleveland Cavaliers. Many thought LeBron and company would just steamroll the Bulls in Chicago. Well, that was half-true, as LeBron went crazy for 39 points, but… the Bulls came to play. They were just jelling for all cylinders. Derrick Rose, Kirk Heinrich and Luol Deng all had terrific scoring nights with Rose leading the way with 31 points. After last night’s game, you would have thought the Cavs were a 3 or 4 seed, not the best team in the NBA. Congrats to the Bulls for a strong showing. Chicago 108, Cleveland 106.
And last night was the first round of the NFL Draft. This year, for ratings purposes, the NFL decided to air the first round and ONLY the first round on Thursday night. Even after 2 billion mock-drafts from experts, there were a plethora of surprises. First, the Rams took Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford. Not exactly a big surprise, but his name was nowhere near the #1 spot until just a couple weeks ago.
Many thought the star running-back C.J. Spiller would head to the Seahawks, who need a stud runner. But nope, he surprisingly went to the Buffalo Bills. And when you think about it, that makes sense. Their current running back, Marshawn Lynch, is consistently in legal troubles, and because of the cold weather the Bills will be running a ton. Smart and great pick by Buffalo.
Then, most thought the Denver Broncos would take the hottest receiver on the board in Dez Bryant. Bryant was the talk of college football heading into last season, but he received a 10-game suspension, so there was no real evidence of his greatness. Well, the Broncos oddly passed on him, even though they just traded their star wide-out Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins. Instead, Dez Bryant slipped into the hands of none other than the Dallas Cowboys. Now with Miles Austin and Jason Witten, that passing attack is going to be fierce next season.
Finally, the biggest surprise of the night came at the QB position. Many wondered where Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen was going to fall. Maybe Buffalo, maybe Oakland. He was the projected #2 QB in the draft and was expected to go mid first-round. However, the only other QB selected in the first round was Florida’s star quarterback Tim Tebow. Tebow wasn’t expected to be selected until… maybe the 3rd round. But apparently Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels really sees something special in TeBow and wants to turn him into the future QB in Denver. Congrats to Tebow for working hard and earning his way.No comments
In the NBA playoffs, it was Game 2 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls. Cleveland handled Chicago in Game 1, but not by much, and most thought that LeBron was taking it easy. Would Game 2 be a blowout, or would the Bulls rally and even up the series? Well, the Bulls came to play and the game was neck and neck up until the 4th quarter. Chicago’s Joakim Noah had an amazing night with 25 points and 13 rebounds. But, in the 4th quarter, LeBron simply TOOK OVER. When he turns it on, he’s impossible to stop. He finished up the night with 40 points, as the series heads to Chicago for Game 3. Cleveland 112, Chicago 102.
And in the second match-up of the night it was the Utah Jazz against the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets easily took Game 1, because the Utah Jazz tried to turn the game into an offensive battle. But that was never the Jazz’ style. They always used to be a defense-first team, and trying to go bucket-for-bucket with the high-scoring Nuggets is a dangerous proposition. Plus, the Jazz are short-staffed right now, as Mehmet Okur is out with an injury. With all that said, the Jazz played brilliantly last night. Even their bench was outstanding. Their point guard, Deron Williams, led the way with 33 points and 14 assists, as the Jazz stole a game in Denver. Now the series heads to Utah for Game 3, which is an incredibly tough place to play. Utah 114, Denver 111.
Finally, in college basketball, most of the star names from this past March Madness tourney are headed to the NBA. However, one stand-out name is headed back to school. It looks like Duke’s Kyle Singler, voted most valuable player in the Final Four, is headed back to school for his senior season. Singler wouldn’t have necessarily been high on NBA Draft boards, so it’s in his best interest to go back and enjoy the fame with the Blue Devils for one more season. Can he help them repeat?No comments
The NBA Playoffs are underway.
First up, LeBron James looked to win his first playoff game en route to a championship. They would take on the Chicago Bulls, the team that gave the Boston Celtics all they could handle in last year’s memorable first round series. Well, Derrick Rose had a big game for the Bulls with 28 points, but LeBron and the Cavs were simply too much. LeBron had a modest game with 24 points, but the Cavs really look like they are jelling at just the right time. Cleveland 96, Chicago 83.
And yesterday, it was the first round match-up that most think could be a fantastic showdown. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers vs. the up-and-coming superstar Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers didn’t close out the last month of their regular season well, and seemed to have chinks in the armor. The Thunder had a fantastic season, and a first round match-up vs. the Lakers gets them some much deserved National TV time to really show what they can do. Well, Durant did have 24 points in the game, but it took him 24 shots to get it. Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest essentially shut him down and took him out of the game. That was the strategy — shut down Durant, and make the rest of the team beat you. For the Lakers, the off-season acquisition of Artest is now put in the spotlight. His defense is what the Lakers truly need to win another championship. LA Lakers 87, Oklahoma City 79.
And later it was the Orlando Magic vs. the red-hot Charlotte Bobcats. This is the Bobcats first post-season appearance as a franchise. They have been a spectacular defensive team, captained by a coach who knows how to win in the playoffs: Larry Brown. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they drew one of the toughest teams in the NBA in the first round. If anybody has a chance to stop LeBron and the Cavs, it’s the Orlando Magic. If the Bobcats would have drawn, maybe, the Celtics or Hawks in the first round, they might be able to pull an upset, but the Magic will be very tough to conquer in a 7-game series. Gerald Wallace had a solid game for Charlotte with 25 points, but the hero of the night was Magic point-guard Jameer Nelson. He had 32 points and 6 assists, as the Magic took Game 1. Orlando 98, Charlotte 89.No comments
In the NBA, the Chicago Bulls took on the Boston Celtics. The regular season may be ending, but the Bulls need every win they can get to make the playoffs. Well the Bulls came to play against the Celtics. Derrick Rose had an amazing night with 39 points and proved that he could be in the league’s Top 5 in the next few seasons. With the win, the Bulls should make the playoffs in the #8 spot. For the Celtics, however, this loss locks them into the #4 seed, meaning they would most likely play a very tough Miami Heat team in the first round. More importantly, if they get by the Heat they would face LeBron and the Cavs in the semi-finals, which is pretty much a guaranteed exit for the Celtics. This probably isn’t their year. Chicago 101, Boston 93.
Elsewhere in the NBA, the winner of Rookie Of The Year is approaching. This year’s Top 3 candidates are Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans (#4 pick overall), Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings (#10 pick overall), and Stephen Curry (#7 pick overall). Well, Stephen Curry’s father, former NBA athlete Dell Curry, is on the voting committee. But the NBA won’t be giving him a vote this year. They’re concerned about the nepotism, and have opted to not allow Curry to vote for his son. Not a big deal, really, but an interesting precedent in this voting process.
Finally in the NBA, Don Nelson, coach of the Golden State Warriors, says he will return to coaching next year. Here’s why this is a big deal: He’s almost 70 years old. Ironically, this old man basically invented the up-tempo form of basketball the Warriors play. It’s called Nelly-ball, and is based on running down the court quickly and getting a shot off in 7 seconds or less. The strategy is to outscore the other team, as opposed to playing strong defense. Don Nelson’s return is quite exciting because the Warriors, injury-plagued this season, are poised to be fantastic next season. They should definitely make the playoffs, and Don Nelson will mastermind this effort.No comments
In the NBA, the hot story is oddly the #8 seed in the West: The Portland Trailblazers. Heading into the season, the Blazers were projected to be a Top 4 team in the West. They struggled throughout the season, and lost their big man Greg Oden to injury. Because of this, they brought in Marcus Camby from the Clippers. It took them awhile, but they are finally starting to jell at the right time. Recently, they beat the Lakers, and last night they took on the Oklahoma City Thunder in a battle for the last playoff spot in the West. The Blazers cruised through the game and took care of the Thunder handily. Portland 103, Oklahoma City 95.
With that Blazers win, the Blazers actually move up the #7 spot and will await an opponent. And with the Thunder loss, we get a hugely exciting first round matchup: The up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder with Kevin Durant vs. Kobe Bryant and the defending National Champions: The Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers want no part of the Thunder, especially since in their last meeting, the Thunder absolutely destroyed them. This is a first round battle to look forward to.
And in college basketball, much of Syracuse’s success this season was attributed to Wesley Johnson. Well, it looks like Johnson will be leaving the Orange and heading to the NBA. He can most likely expect to be a Top 5 pick in the draft, and could seriously help a team in need right away.
Finally, in baseball the Minnesota Twins unveiled their new ballpark yesterday in a home debut against the Boston Red Sox. Here is the crazy thing about this stadium: It’s in Minnesota… and it’s OUTDOORS!!! There’s a reason they played in a dome forever — it’s freezing outside in the winter months. And this stadium doesn’t have a retractable roof to open and close based on the weather. No, it’s just out there for frost bite conditions. No reason to worry about this now, of course. But come September, we’ll see if ‘Sota fans like their new ballpark.