Archive for June, 2010
WATERCOOLER CHAT: BRAZIL LOOKS DOMINATING, NETHERLANDS QUIET EXCELLENCE, LEBRON, WADE AND BOSH SECRET MEETING
In the World Cup, Brazil looked to continue their dominating run. But, Chile has had their own surprisingly fantastic run in this tournament as well and had full confidence they could upset the Brazilians. Well, this did not happen, as Brazil brought their game to a whole new level. They got beautiful goals from Juan, Luis Fabiano, and Robinho. These guys truly look incredible right now and poised to win this thing. Brazil 3, Chile 0.
And in another World Cup game, it was Netherlands vs. Slovakia. The Netherlands have been quietly excellent in this tournament (meaning they are a very tough team, but have not been bragged about as much throughout the Cup thus far). The Netherlands got up early in this game with a goal at the 18-minute mark from Arjen Robben. But, unlike the Brazil game, this was not a blowout. The Slovakians got some amazing goal opportunities, but just couldn’t finish. Then, in the 84th minute, the Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder booted another goal to close this thing out. Slovakia scored a penalty goal at the end of the match, but it just wasn’t enough. Next up for the Netherlands… Brazil — in a match that will be one to remember. Netherlands 2, Slovakia 1.
In the NBA, something very interesting took place. It appears that the superstar free agents — LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh all met in private to discuss their futures. There is speculation that Bosh and LeBron will join Wade in Miami to form a superstar team — a team that’s built to win championship after championship after championship. Of course, there’s the money situation that needs to be worked out, and it’s still not decided that LeBron will leave his native Cleveland, but this dream scenario is truly mesmerizing. Of course, this is all speculation, but it would be fantastic to watch this happen. And remember, all of these players were from the 2003 draft. What a draft class!!!
ON VACATION! NEXT WATERCOOLER JULY 7TH
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!No comments
In the World Cup, the United States hoped to continue their miracle run. They had a favorable match-up with Ghana, although Ghana was the team that ousted the U.S. in 2006. Well, in their typical fashion, the U.S. gave up an early goal to Ghana. At this point, the U.S. is accustomed to playing from behind, but it still changes your mindset and overall strategy of the game. Early in the second half, Landon Donovan had a penalty shot, and it bounced off the goal-post and IN for the equalizing goal. The game would even require overtime, but, unfortunately, Ghana scored a quick goal in the overtime period, forcing a tired United States to try and score another goal. And it just didn’t happen. Sadly, the United States made their exit from the World Cup on Saturday — but they still put themselves on the international map of soccer. They certainly have the world’s respect. Ghana 2, United States 1.
And on Sunday, the highly anticipated game between two soccer juggernauts — Germany and England. England has had a lackluster Cup so far, but perhaps they could pull it together when it counted. Well, not exactly. Germany simply had their way with England, scoring goal after goal after goal. The expectations were high for England entering this Cup, with some thinking they could win it all, but England just didn’t come to play in this year’s tournament, and because of that, they, like the U.S., boarded a plane back home. Germany 4, England 1.
In the second anticipated match on Sunday, it was a battle between two great soccer nations: Argentina and Mexico. In these countries, life ceases to exist during the World Cup — the company shuts down and turns their TVs on. Argentina has been on fire so far, winning all of their games. Their head coach is former soccer great Maradona, and he was criticized by Argentina soccer enthusiasts as picking an inferior team. Well, it looks like he knows what he’s doing, as the Argentines are surging. And Mexico certainly wouldn’t stand in their way. Argentina’s Carlos Tevez had two clutch goals to put Argentina up early. It would stay that way, and now Argentina cruises into the second round, setting up an incredible match between Argentina and Germany. Argentina 3, Mexico 1.
And in the NBA, the LeBron mystery continues, but in the meantime the New Jersey Nets intend to court Dwayne Wade. The rumor mill has LeBron going to Chicago, Miami, or staying in Cleveland, and it looks like the Nets are hedging their bets a bit. If they can’t get LeBron, nabbing Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh as a consolation prize is a fantastic parting gift. Of course, at this point, it’s all speculation, but it’s interesting to see these teams execute their free agent ‘wooing’ strategy.No comments
It was draft night in the NBA — a night that had big implications in this year’s big off-season free agency market. Teams were practically giving away players and draft picks in order to make cap room for some of the big names out there (e.g. Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh, and of course LeBron James).
For example, at the last minute, the Chicago Bulls essentially gave point-guard Kirk Heinrich to the Washington Wizards. The reason: This gave them enough cap space to theoretically sign LeBron James AND another big name free agent — maybe Chris Bosh or Amar’e Stoudemire. This is very bad news for the New York Knicks as they were previously the only team that had enough room to sign LeBron and give him his choice of whom he wanted to play with. In fact, it looks like there are only 3 likely destinations for LeBron now: Cleveland, Chicago, or Miami (if he wants to play with Dwayne Wade).
John Wall went #1 overall to the Washington Wizards. This gives the Wizards a big-name franchise player to build around. The Sixers grabbed Ohio State’s Evan Turner at #2, giving them a versatile athlete who can play 3 positions. And the New Jersey Nets nabbed Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors with the #3 pick. It’s unclear how good Favors will be in the NBA, but the Nets fell in love with his “upside” — a term used more at the NBA draft than any other time of the year.
And in the World Cup, Italy, the 2006 Defending Champions, were ousted from the tournament by an extremely pesky Slovokia team. Slovakia was up 2-0, Italy rallied back, but Slovokia had that 1 goal advantage to propel them to the second round. Slovakia 3, Italy 2.
In tennis, the longest game ever in tennis history finally came to an end today. The match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut lasted 10 hours on Wednesday, and was postponed till Thursday due to darkness. In tennis, you need to win your final set by two games — these guys were tied at 58. Well, they played for a while longer, but finally the America John Isner hit a great shot to take the win. Of course, he collapsed when it happened. At the end of the match, each player received a special award for their determination and stamina in this historic match. Congratulations!
Tuesday was a monumental day in U.S. soccer history. The game between United States and Algeria was an instant classic. Here’s the story: The United States controlled their own destiny going into the game — beat Algeria and they’re through to the next round. They could also advance with an England/Slovenia tie, but winning was the way to go because England is a very strong team and since England was playing at the same time as the US, the players had no way of knowing if England was winning, losing or in a tie. Well, England easily won their game, so it was up to the US to win to move to the next round.
The U.S./Algeria game was tied 0-0 throughout. The U.S. even kicked a goal, but it was ruled off-sides (even though a replay clearly shows that it WASN’T off-sides and should have been a goal). Then, mid-way through the second half, Clint Dempsey missed an easy put-back that would have given the U.S. the victory. Unfortunately, time was ticking away, and U.S. fans were losing hope. It looked as if they weren’t going to score a goal and would be going home. All the United States soccer hype would quickly be extinguished. Then, it hit the 90-minute mark, and the refs awarded 4-minutes of extra stoppage time. These minutes are usually meaningless, but then an odd twist of fate happened. Jozy Altidore burst down the field and passed for a shot on goal. The goalie deflected it, but then U.S. captain and hero, Landon Donovan, swarmed in from behind and put the ball in. GOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!! It was purely a miracle — a miracle that keeps the U.S. in the Cup. In fact, they won their group outright and will face Ghana in the first round of the Knockout Stage (meaning it’s all win or go-home now). Ghana is a winnable game, and if they win, they would take on the winner of Uruguay and South Korea (also beatable teams). The U.S. has a relatively easy path to the Final Four of the World Cup, which would be unprecedented in U.S. soccer. This is beyond exciting!!! United States 1, Algeria 0.
In Wimbledon, history is also being made. A match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut set the record for the longest match in tennis history. Most matches last between 2 and 3 hours. This match is at 10 hours — and it’s still going!!!! In tennis, you have to win your final set by two games. Well, they are currently tied at 59-59, and had to be postponed because of darkness. The match will continue Thursday. This is absolutely insane! They’re just going and going and going and nobody can get ahead. If you have a chance, watch some highlights from the match. These two players are giving it their all…sliding across the court, running at full speed. It’s incredible to see such determination and stamina. It all continues Thursday, and who knows how long this thing will go on.No comments
In the World Cup, France was practically eliminated, but there was still hope given some fortunate circumstance. France was the runner-up of the 2006 World Cup, but they have been plagued by poor chemistry this year. One player, Nicolas Anelka, even had to be sent home after a dispute with the coach. That was an embarrassment for the nation. Well, they had one last chance to nab a win, but they would have to do it against another team battling for pride: The Home Nation — South Africa. The game was a hard fought battle, but two first half goals were all South Africa would need to secure the victory. Unfortunately for both nations, the other two teams in the group, Mexico and Uruguay, advanced. South Africa 2, France 1.
Elsewhere, Argentina looked to continue their hot streak. They won their first two games, and hoped to make it perfect against a Greece team fighting to stay alive. Argentina is home to what some say is the best player in the World Cup, Lionel Messi. With him, they have been flying high, and show no signs of slowing down. Well, the game was tied heading into the half, but two amazing second half goals from Martin Demichellis and Martin Palermo sealed the deal for the Argentines. They easily advance to the Knockout Round. Argentina 2, Greece 0.
And Wednesday, don’t miss the United States final first round game against Algeria at 10:00am ET. If the United States wins, they advance to second round. If they tie, they still advance if Slovenia beats England. There are a few more circumstances, as this group is wide open, but the best case scenario is the U.S. controls its own fate and wins outright. Making it to the Knockout Stage (i.e. tournament) portion of the World Cup is a tremendous achievement given the high-level of play involved. Remember, these 32 teams weren’t randomly selected — they have had to win regional tournaments for the past year. Thus making it to the Final 16 is remarkable.2 comments
In World Cup action, Spain, one of the best teams in the world, was hoping to rebound after a surprising first game loss to Switzerland. Well, they got that revenge at the mercy of Honduras. Spain was out in full form yesterday, and their hero was David Villa who scored both of their goals. With the win, Spain puts themselves in good position to advance to the next round, but they won’t have an easy match against a surprisingly good Chile team. That should be a fantastic match-up. Spain 2, Honduras 0.
Elsewhere in the World Cup, some extreme controversy is brewing after Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal took on North Korea. North Korea held their own against Brazil in the first game, keeping them scoreless in the first half, but it appears all their luck ran out when it came time to play Portugal. Portugal scored an electrifying 7 goals against them, and the North Koreans didn’t put in any goals. North Korea has an oppressive and dangerous government, and there is a lot of talk concerning what punishment will be hoisted upon the players for such an embarrassing beating. Portugal 7, North Korea 0.
And in the NFL, Carolina Panthers star wide-receiver, Steve Smith, suffered an unfortunate injury yesterday. He broke his arm, not in training camp, but in a pick-up game of flag football. He will be out of training camp almost until the regular season if not longer. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Panthers are very thin at wide-receiver, and that isn’t good news for their newly drafted phenom quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Who is he going to throw to? This actually might be good news for free agent, Terrell Owens, who is still teamless at the moment. He’s a headcase, sure, but the Panthers are desperate at this point.No comments
This weekend, it was the 110th annual U.S. open in golf. Everybody turned out to see if Tiger Woods could once again regain his dominance. Well, that didn’t happen exactly, but there was another tremendous achievement. Graeme McDowell became the first European golfer to win the U.S. Open in 40 years. For everyone else, however, the Open was a practical disaster. Players just couldn’t get it together on this tough course, and it paved the way for McDowell to take the lead and take the trophy. Congrats to McDowell.
In the World Cup, the defending champions Italy (who won in 2006) took the field for their second match of the cup. They were stunned in their first game by Paraguay who drew them for a tie. Italy was heavily favored to beat New Zealand in their second game. After all, New Zealand was the lowest ranked team out of all 32 countries in competition. Vegas had them at 2000 to 1 odds to win the whole Cup. Well, New Zealand came to play and forced Italy to yet another draw. It’s now possible that (A) New Zealand could advance to the round of 16, (B) one of the top teams, Italy, will not advance. That would be a stunner. Italy 1, New Zealand 1.
Elsewhere in the World Cup, it was time for the #1 ranked Brazil to take the field again. They are in the division dubbed, “Group of Death”, as it has 3 power house teams (Brazil, Ivory Coast, and Ronaldo’s Portugal). But Brazil won a tough game against North Korea in their first match, and hoped to edge Didier Drogba’s Ivory Coast in the second game. Well, whatever woes Brazil had in their first match were long forgotten. They brought their A game and got two beautiful goals from Luis Fabiano and one from Elano. Now, Brazil has advanced to the second round, but still has a very compelling match against rival Portugal — home to the best and most famous player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. Brazil 3, Ivory Coast 1.
This weekend marked the first time that LA Dodger’s slugger Manny Ramirez would return to his old team: The Boston Red Sox, a team he helped earn their first World Series trophy ever. Well, there were certainly boos, and the Dodgers just couldn’t get it done all weekend against the Red Sox. Yesterday, Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz kept the Dodgers scoreless and sent Los Angeles home winless in the series. Tough break for Manny, although it’s quite possible he really didn’t care. Boston 2, Los Angeles 0.No comments
In the NBA, it was Game 4 of the Finals between the Lakers and Celtics. The Lakers led 2-1 coming into this game, so Celtics needed a win to put the pressure on the Lakeshow. Well, interestingly enough, this game didn’t belong to the superstar starters. Kobe had 33 points, but the Celtics didn’t get high-caliber production out of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo. The MVPs: The Celtics bench with 36 points. The primary heroes were Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Nate Robinson. Davis had some incredibly clutch shots and finished the night with 18 points as the Celtics salvage a victory to even the series. One thing we now know for sure — the series will end in LA. Boston 96, LA Lakers 89.
In college football, the USC Trojans are in some serious trouble. It looks like their megastar from 2004 – 2006, Reggie Bush, received some illegal benefits to play at USC. That can come in the form of cash, vehicles, or even payments made to families. But, bottom line, there isn’t supposed to be any compensation involved for players — they’re “students”. Well, as punishment, the NCAA has issued a 2-year ban on their post-season play — and that is a damaging blow both financially and reputation wise. The top High School recruits want to play where the lights shine (that’s how they get drafted) and if USC isn’t in the big bowl games — they will lose coveted recruits.
Finally, with the World Cup kicking off tomorrow, it looks like one of the best player’s in the tournament will be back: Ivory Coast’s Pierre Drogba. Drogba broke his arm in exhibition play, but appears to have had a successful surgery. Now it looks like Drogba could play in his opening match. This is fantastic news considering the soccer world wanted the best African player to be present with the World Cup actually in the continent. They may not win it all… but they will give their all.No comments
It was Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers. Chicago led the series 3-2 and needed just one win to grab their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. Could they win on Philly’s home ice? Not an exactly an easy place to play.
Well, the game started in a dead heat at 1-1. Then, Philly grabbed the lead causing the stadium to go crazy. Patrick Sharp tied it up for the Blackhawks at 2 to quiet the crowd. The game was tied at 3 at the end of the third period and would require a sudden death overtime — always a very intimidating time for goalies in hockey. Well, unfortunately for Flyers fans, the overtime was essentially over before it began. Chicago’s Patrick Kane slid a beautiful shot past Philadelphia goalie Michael Leighton. Experts argue that Leighton should have made this easy save, but he is human and he simply didn’t. With that, the Chicago Blackhawks return to hockey’s top spot. Chicago 4, Philadelphia 3.
In the NBA, it looks like the re-born New Jersey Nets have a new coach: former Mavericks coach and NBA on-screen analyst Avery Johnson. Johnson coached the Mavericks to their best season ever only to lose in the first round of the playoffs in 2007. Now he gets another chance to take the reigns of a big-market team with a lot of young talent (Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, Terrence Williams) and most likely a high-class free agent (possibly Chris Bosh or Carlos Boozer). New Jersey was horrendous this year, but once they get healthy next season and with Johnson’s guidance, they might just sneak into the playoffs.
In other NBA coaching news, there are reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers are heavily interested in Byron Scott. Scott has a good coaching track record, posting strong seasons with the New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets. He just might be the guy who can help the Cavaliers get over the hump. But, if they lose LeBron, Scott will be coaching a NBA Draft Lottery team.No comments
In the NBA, it was Game 3 of the Finals between the Lakers and Celtics. Many felt this game would sway the series. A Celtics win would give them a 2-game winning streak momentum, and a Lakers win would gain back home-court advantage in the series. How would it all play out?
Well, the Lakers got up early, and maintained the lead until the end of the first half. Kobe was playing well and the Lakers were clicking. But, in true Boston fashion, the Celtics crept back into the game in the third quarter. They got a fantastic night out of Kevin Garnett (25 points, 6 rebounds). And in the 4th quarter, the Celtics found themselves down only by 1. More importantly, Kobe went cold in the 4th — who was going to step up? The answer: the other 4-time Laker champion Derek Fisher. He hit some amazing clutch shots down the stretch, including a lay-up AND THE FOUL with 3 Celtics trying to stop him. And with the late surge, the Lakers nabbed the road win and now lead 2-1 in the Finals. LA Lakers 91, Boston 84.
Yesterday marked the debut of Washington Nationals much hyped #1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg. The stadium was completely sold out, and you would think it was a holiday in the baseball world. This seemingly meaningless game between the Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates received heavy analysis on TV and was shown as the prime time game. Fortunately, Strasburg WOULD NOT disappoint. He was scary amazing, throwing 14 strikeouts in his major league debut. This kid is the real deal and should quickly become the best pitcher in the league. It was simply a WOW! moment. Plus, the Nationals offense got him the win. You can bet it will be a packed house for the next Strasburg outing. Washington 5, Pittsburgh 2.
Finally, in some funny news, one of the Seattle Seahawks top draft picks, Notre Dame wide-receiver, Golden Tate, has an addiction to maple bars. So much so that he snuck in after hours to the Top Pot Donuts store at the bottom of his apartment complex, and took a few of them. The door was open because some employees were there late, but Tate figured he could go in there and just help himself. Obviously, this is very embarrassing for Tate. He received a warning, but did say “If you want great maple bars — Top Pot is the place to go”. Now that’s good local publicity.No comments