Archive for June, 2012

WATERCOOLER CHAT: KINGS WIN STANLEY CUP FIRST TIME EVER, OCHOCINCO TO MIAMI, NBA FINALS BEGIN

HOCKEY

In the NHL, it was Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  The Los Angeles Kings led it 3 games to 2 over the New Jersey Devils and hoped to close out the series in Los Angeles.  But the Devils have been tenacious as of late, and were going to try as hard as possible to win the game and bring it back to New Jersey.  That’s nice, but the Kings have had a glorious Cinderella post-season and had no intention of losing this one.  They came out with a ferocity unseen on the hockey rink in quite a while.  They were a scoring machine out there, putting up 6 goals in the game.  Jeff Carter had 2 goals for the Kings, while their new all-star goalie Jonathan Quick only gave up 1.  It was a slaughter.   And with that slaughter, the Kings bring the first Stanley Cup to LA ever.  The Stanley Cup living in Los Angeles???? Wow, who would have thought.  LA Kings 6, NJ Devils 1.

FOOTBALL

And in the NFL, Chad Ochocinco may have been cut by the New England Patriots after just one unproductive season… but that doesn’t mean he’s done for good.  He still has athletic skills and could be a great offensive weapon or possession receiving option for a team in need.  Chad Ochocinco said that his ideal location would be Miami.  After all, who doesn’t want to play in Miami?  Ochocinco got his wish, and inked a 1-year deal to play with the Dolphins.  He’ll be a nice veteran presence for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill.  But, it’s most likely that Ochocinco wanted to play in Miami because they will be the featured team on HBO’s Hard Knocks.  Ochocinco knows that will put him back into the limelight (a place he’s very comfortable with).

BASKETBALL

And finally, a quick preview of the NBA Finals that kicks off Tuesday night.  It’s very tough to imagine either of these teams losing the series.  The Thunder because they’re playing so well, and the Heat because you they don’t want to suffer the embarrassment of losing two finals in a row.   The series home court advantage goes to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and they are extremely difficult to beat at home.  But, the Thunder likely won’t have a defensive answer for LeBron.  The Thunder have a deeper, more well-rounded team than the Heat, but the Heat can turn up the intensity to an unstoppable level in the 4th quarter.  This is a MUST-SEE Finals match-up because it’s just so difficult to predict the winner.  And it all begins Tuesday!!!

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: THUNDER AND HEAT IN FINALS, CONTROVERSIAL WIN FOR BRADLEY, KINGS LOSE GAME 5

BASKETBALL

On Saturday night, we would finally see the other half of the NBA Championship picture.  The Oklahoma City Thunder already secured their spot in the Finals, but who would come out of Game 7 in the East — the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat?  Everybody thought this might be the end of the Big 3 era in Boston (Pierce, Garnett, Allen), so the guys were hoping to get another shot at winning a title.  And they started out red hot, building a 8 point lead over the Heat.  They kept a pretty decent margin all the way till the end of the 3rd quarter.  Rajon Rondo did his ‘Rondo’ thing nabbing a triple double (22 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds).  But in the 4th quarter, there was absolutely no way LeBron James was going to lose a ticket to the championship on his home court.  He kicked it up a notch, didn’t pass, and finished the night with 31 points, as the Heat rolled in the 4th quarter to eliminate the Celtics and head to a very exciting Finals match-up against the scorching hot OKC Thunder.  Everybody has to watch this.  Miami 101, Boston 88.

 

BOXING

Elsewhere this weekend, in boxing, it was Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley.  This looked to be yet another easy win in Pacquiao’s 7 year unbeaten streak, but Bradley was rather confident himself.  It was a back and forth fight that would need to be settled by a decision.  The judges have to count punches and weigh in with their opinion, and, in the end, it was ruled a split decision.  2 judges thought Bradley won by 2 punches, but one judge thought Pacquiao won by two punches.  It was THAT close and THAT controversial as many thought the judges messed up!!!  But, 2 to 1 is 2 to 1, and Bradley was ruled the winner. In boxing, you might be “declared” a winner, but it’s about fighting, and you better believe that there will be a rematch between these two fighters.  And soon!

HOCKEY

And in hockey, the LA Kings were trying to bring the first Stanley Cup Trophy to Los Angeles.  They were leading in the series 3-0, but dropped the 4th game to make it 3-1.  So the series headed back to New Jersey, where the Kings would try to close it out again.  But, the Devils had no intention of going down easily.  42 year old Martin Brodeur brilliantly defended the goal, only allowing 1 goal to the Kings.  That was the defense they needed to get goals from Zach Parise and Bryce Salvador to give the Devils a 2-1 win, and nab Game 5.  Now the series is at 3-2, and the last thing the Kings want to do is lose a super important Game 6.  Because anything can happen in a Game 7, and you better believe that both teams will bring it to an even higher level.  NJ Devils 2, LA Kings 1.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: GAME 7 BACK IN MIAMI, OCHOCINCO DIFFICULTY, JACOBS GETS $3 TO STAY WITH GIANTS

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, it was a key Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.  Boston had a chance to close out the series on their home court, but, made it clear, it would not be easy to put away LeBron, Wade and the Heat.  Plus, the Heat had Chris Bosh back for this game.  If the Celtics were going to take it, they would need to be at the top of their game.  And… that’s the exact opposite of what happened.  The Celtics played horrible basketball in front of their home crowd.  They couldn’t hit a shot, and kept giving up turnovers to the Heat.  And, on top of that, the Heat played absolutely out of their mind — especially LeBron James.  He had a dazzling 45 points and 15 rebounds, and completely hammered the Celts.  The game wasn’t even close at any point.  Just a blowout till the end.  That will force a Game 7 back in Miami with a red hot Heat squad.  It will be a real shocker if the Celts pull off a victory.  Miami 98, Boston 79

FOOTBALL

And, in the NFL, after a one year experiment, the New England Patriots have decided to part ways with veteran and former all-star receiver Chad Ochocinco.  Many people thought that Ochocinco may have been washed up, but sources close to the Patriots said that it wasn’t about his ability, but rather his difficulty in learning the complex Patriots playbook.  That’s why we barely saw Ochocinco last year.  However, it’s still very likely that some team will take a chance on Ochocinco because he could be a real weapon for a team looking for another offensive weapon.  The Seahawks or Raiders could likely make use of having that veteran receiver leadership.
Finally, a touching story in the NFL.  This off-season, running-back Brandon Jacobs decided to leave the Giants and take a better offer to join the San Francisco 49ers.  The Giants had made Ahmad Bradshaw their man, and even drafted a running-back in the first round.  Jacobs likely knew their intention, and bolted for San Francisco.  But one young Giants fan, 6-year old Joseph Armento, mailed Jacobs a letter.  Armento couldn’t understand why Jacobs left considering they just won the Super Bowl. Armento’s mother explained to Joseph that the Giants couldn’t keep Jacobs because they didn’t have enough money to pay him.  So Joseph wrote Jacobs a short letter begging him to come back along with $3.36 to help him out financially.  Jacobs tweeted that he got choked up, and said he’d take Joseph to Chuck-E-Cheese when he came back to New Jersey.  If he does that, we need to see an ESPN crew cover it.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: THUNDER TAKE SERIES, DEVILS AVOID ELIMINATION, COUGHLIN ENIGMATIC

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, it was Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs.  When this series started it looked like the Spurs were going to roll the Thunder, but then, from out of nowhere, the Thunder rallied back to win three games in a row.  Could they close it out on their home court? The Spurs climbed out to a huge lead in the first half, draining 3 after 3 after 3.  They even had a 16 point lead at one point.  But in the second half, it was Kevin Durant time.  He had 34 points and 14 rebounds, and helped the Thunder narrow the lead and then eventually take it.  Old man Derek Fisher was quite clutch as well, hitting some key threes to really drive the dagger into the Spurs.  And with that, the Thunder take the series and head to the Finals.  Will they get the Heat or the Celtics?  OKC 107, San Antonio 99.

HOCKEY

And in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Los Angeles Kings led 3-0 in the series against the New Jersey Devils. The Kings have been scorching hot this post season, fearless of every single team they’ve faced.  They were just one game away from taking the Stanley Cup as a #8 seed.  But, the Devils had no intention of leaving the playoffs early and were going to do their best with their backs against the wall.  Could they actually steal a win in LA?  Well, they would need a big night from their aging goalie Martin Brodeur.  Fortunately, they got one, as he allowed just one goal, while the Devils offense provided him with a safety 3 goals.  With that, the Devils successfully stave off elimination, avoid the sweep, and start their rally towards the cup.  NJ 3, Los Angeles 1.

FOOTBALL

Finally, in the NFL, coming off a Super Bowl win, the NY Giants are riding high.  And, of course, so is their coach Tom Coughlin.  Coughlin has won 2 Super Bowls for the Giants in the last 4 years.  That’s a pretty impressive resume, and because of that, the Giants organization has decided to extend his contract through 2014.  Coughlin is a controversial character in New York, because there are many times when everybody wants him fired.  And then, all of the sudden, Coughlin makes a big run in the remaining weeks of the season, gets into the playoffs, knocks off the heavy favorite Green Bay Packers, then gets to the Super Bowl where they toppled the AFC favorite New England Patriots.  That makes Coughlin… enigmatic.  And it’s due to his enigma status that the Giants were willing to make sure he stays in his Giants jacket at least 2 more seasons.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: THUNDER STEAL GAME 5, LAKERS ACTIVATE OPTION, BASEBALL DRAFT

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, it was Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. The San Antonio Spurs.  The Thunder have had the Spurs number lately, figuring out a way to strategically defend the Spurs.  But the Spurs are very tough at home.  And, with the series tied at 2, statistics show that the winner of Game 5 wins the whole series 83% of the time.  This game was a back and forth battle, but the Thunder surprised the Spurs showing their true young athletic prowess.  When the Thunder gets hot, there is no stopping them.  Kevin Durant finished the night with 27 points, but the Spurs found themselves with a chance to tie the game at the end.  Manu Ginobili hoisted up a last second 3, but… no good!  And the Thunder steal Game 5 from the Spurs on the road.  Can they close it out at home and head to the finals??!!!  OKC 108, San Antonio 103.

And elsewhere in the NBA, the Lakers put to bed a lot of sports talk radio rumors yesterday.  There was definitely gossip swirling around the organization after the Lakers lost to the Thunder.  Many thought they would get rid of Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol or even both.  Yesterday, the Lakers chose to activate their option on Andrew Bynum for $16.1MM.  This makes it so he is not a free agent.  They still might trade him, but at least they will get some value from Bynum.  However, there is a very good chance that the Lakers keep Bynum as it’s very tough to find such a versatile big man as Bynum.  He’s a young commodity that they need to protect and nurture as he could become the face of the franchise once Kobe decides to hang it up (whenever that is).

BASEBALL

And in baseball, it was time for the annual baseball draft.  A draft that definitely doesn’t get the same publicity as the NBA or NFL drafts, but is growing in popularity nonetheless.  The lack of high profile mostly comes from the fact that these rookies won’t see a major league field for at least 3 or 4 years (if they’re lucky).  Major League Baseball tends to draft right out of high school so they can start developing these players early.  This year the #1 pick belonged to the Houston Astros and they decided to draft short stop and Puerto Rican phenom Carlos Correa with the top pick.  Correa has been celebrated as the best Latino to hit the sport in years.  The Astros see a ton of promise in Correa and they desperately need some help as a franchise.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: WILD WEEKEND IN NBA PLAYOFFS, NOT GOOD START FOR JAGS

BASKETBALL

After coming within one game of tying up the Western Conference Finals, the Thunder were hoping to grab Game 4 on their home turf against an incredibly difficult San Antonio Spurs squad.  It looks like the Thunder may have found some kind of kryptonite for the Spurs — defending them in ways that the Spurs haven’t seen yet.  And on Saturday night, for the Thunder, the first half didn’t belong to Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook, but rather Serge Ibaka!!!!  He just sprang to life and hit 11 of 11 from the field.  He was a huge weapon they needed to step up and he finally did.  Then in the second half, Durant went crazy again, finishing with 36 points to dominate the game.  The Spurs made a semi-run at the end, but it wasn’t enough, and the Thunder pulled even with the Spurs.  Game 5 Monday night.  OKC 109, San Antonio 103.

And in the Eastern Conference Finals, what looked like it was going to be a route by Miami has suddenly become very interesting.  The Celtics took Game 3 easily and would look to repeat that in Game 4.  Fortunately for the Celtics, Rajon Rondo is playing on a whole new level of awesome.  He had 44 points against the Heat the other night, and had no intention of slowing.  In Game 4, the Celtics completely controlled the first half, easily building up a 19 point lead.  This one looked to be a slam dunk for them, but, of course, LeBron and Heat came storming back.  LeBron had 29 points on the night as the Heat came all the way back to tie the game and send it to overtime.  But, in OT, LeBron… fouled out — for the first time in his career.  In OT, the Heat found themselves down two and Wade hoisted a good-look three pointer for the win… and… NO!  Brick!  And with that the Celtics even up the series at two.  Game 5 is Tuesday night in Miami.  Boston 93, Miami 91.

 

FOOTBALL

Finally, in some news out of the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up in April’s draft to nab Oklahoma State superstar receiver Justin Blackmon.  They needed a playmaker for their young QB Blaine Gabbert and bet that Blackmon was that guy.  Well, he might be, but on Saturday night, Blackmon was arrested for a DUI.  That’s never a good start for an athlete you hope becomes the face of your franchise.  Remember, the Jags were planning on putting this guy on billboards across the city.  Now, they may have to reconsider that… at least for his rookie season.  This franchise is in serious need of a turn around and fast.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: SPURS FIRST LOSS, P. DIDDY’S SON GETS FULL RIDE, BOLT READY

BASKETBALL

 

In the NBA, it was Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Up to this point, the Spurs have won 10 straight playoff games, and intending to do their best against OKC in front of their raucous fans in order to have a perfect playoff record heading into the files.  The Spurs seem to have the Thunder’s number right now, but you can’t count out OKC at home.  This time around, they had a strategy, contain and stop Manu Ginobili — take him out of the game.  And it worked.  By making him a mute point, they neutralized San Antonio’s offense.  And on the other end, the whole team went off offensively, playing the game at their pace.  Durant had 22 points for the Thunder as they completely demolished the Spurs.  Spurs head coach Gregg Popavich had to go deep on his bench in a desperate attempt to find a line-up solution, but nothing worked and the Spurs suffered their first playoff loss.  This now looks like it could be a fantastic series. OKC 102, San Antonio 82.

FOOTBALL

And in college football, some controversy at UCLA.  This off-season the Bruins football team brought in a high-profile recruit:  None other than Justin Combs, son of rap superstar Sean “P.Diddy” Combs.  The controversy surrounds the fact that UCLA has offered Combs a full athletic scholarship.  Critics say that since P.Diddy is valued at $550 million net worth by Forbes magazine, that this scholarship should be handed down to someone more deserving and more in need.  However, critics of that ‘criticism’ ask why this sudden outcry starts with Sean Combs.  ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said that rich “white” people have been sending their kids to school on scholarship for years, but nobody ever asked THEM to hand down the money to kids more in need.  Anyway, at the end of the day, UCLA is sticking by their decision to offer Combs a scholarship.

OLYMPICS

And finally, in some pre-Olympics news, Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, disappointed many with his recent poor performance in the Czech Republic.  People wondered if he had been slacking off in his training, even though he publicly dumped his girlfriend, saying he had no time for a relationship and needed to focus on the Olympics.  Bolt started slow, but still won the race. Thursday, at the Golden Gala track event, Bolt was back to top form boasting a fantastic 9.76 in the 100 meters.  This shows that Bolt just had a bad day in the Czech Republic and looks to be fully primed for the Summer Olympics.  Expect him to deliver some amazing results later this summer.

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