Archive for February, 2013
In the NFL, a major trade went down yesterday. Alex Smith was selected #1 overall 6 years ago to be the 49ers franchise quarterback. He played well last season, and even had the Niners off to a hot start this past season. But, when he went down with an injury, in came Colin Kaepernick, and the rest was history. That made Smith expendable. Wednesday, the 49ers and the Chiefs agreed to a trade that would send Smith to Kansas City in exchange for a second round draft pick. Smith will now be the man in Kansas City, as the Chiefs are expected to drop quarterback Matt Cassell. With new coach Andy Reid in town, there is a chance that they can turn this ship around. Reid has a way with creating winning quarterbacks, and Smith will be his next project.
And in NFL Draft news, USC quarterback Matt Barkley will become a pro this year. Had he come out last year, it’s likely he would have been a first round pick, but he decided to stay in college primarily because he thought he could go high first round (as those spots were taken in 2012 by Andrew Luck, RG3, and Ryan Tannehill). Plus, this past college season, USC was finally eligible for a BCS birth after a 2-year suspension. So it seemed like the perfect recipe. However, USC had a very disappointing season, and Barkley become somewhat of an after thought in the quarterback conversation. Now, USC head coach Lane Kiffin came to Barkley’s defense, saying that USC’s poor defense was responsible for making Barkley look bad, and hurting his draft stock. This may actually be true, as a quarterback’s game is greatly affected when he has to come from behind. Hopefully, pro scouts will look at his entire body of work, and that Barkley will land on a team that needs him.
In the NBA, the Knicks and the Warriors headlined the night. The Warriors were coming off a game in which they not only lost, but lost their center David Lee to a suspension due to a brawl. This was also the homecoming game for Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, who grew up in New York, went to St. Johns, and played for the Knicks. He wanted the win, and wanted it bad. It turned out this was the career game for Warriors point guard Stephan Curry. He put up an astonishing 54 points, but it still wouldn’t be enough to beat the Knicks. The Warriors will likely still make the playoffs, and will be a very tough first round opponent for one of the West’s top teams. NY Knicks 109, Golden State 105.No comments
In the NBA, the Lakers have been red hot as of late, looking like they’re about to make a second half playoff push. They have been on a long road trip, and would need to grab a win in Denver if they wanted to close it out with a bang. Unfortunately, the Nuggets are one of the toughest teams to beat at home — so this would be a very challenging test for Kobe and the Lakeshow. Kobe had another big game with 29 points, but that wouldn’t be enough to topple the Nuggets. The Lakers take another step backward in the playoff race. Denver 119, LA Lakers 108.
In the NFL, it looks like the Tom Brady era will continue in New England. However, it’s not a huge deal for the future Hall of Fame quarterback. They signed Brady to a 3-year, $24 million extension. Brady is set to make $7 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016, and $9 million in 2017. Brady told the Patriots organization that he wanted to play until he was 40. That’s not inconceivable given his athletic and talent level. But it looks like the Patriots are leaning towards not re-signing Wes Welker, and will look for another speedy receiver in the draft. Welker is Brady’s best friend, and not having that tandem could affect team chemistry.
And in NFL Draft news, Monday was a big day at the NFL combine as linebacker Manti Te’o took the field to run his 40 yard dash. Unfortunately, Te’o ran a disappointing 4.83. There was even a shot of Super Bowl winning coach John Harbaugh in the stands looking unimpressed at Te’o’s performance. Te’o was a Heisman candidate, and many thought he was a guaranteed first round draft pick, which is actually a big factor for financial reasons, as the further you drop, the less money you make. But now, the experts are thinking that Te’o might be a late 2nd, early 3rd round player. Many teams are in need of a solid linebacker in the first round (Bears, Buccaneers, Giants, Ravens), but they could be taking a risk nabbing Te’o.4 comments
WATERCOOLER CHAT: CUBAN WANTS KOBE TO TAKE AMNESTY, JIMMY JOHNSON WINS DAYTONA, DANICA MAKES HISTORY, JONES TO DANCING WITH STARS
In the NBA, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told the media that in order for the Lakers to get better in the future, they should ‘amnesty’ Kobe Bryant. “Amnesty” in the NBA context means releasing a player without suffering the penalty of their contract on your salary cap. Of course, Kobe didn’t like that comment, and looked to seek revenge on Cuban and the Mavericks in Dallas. The Lakers need every win at this point if they want to have a chance at the playoffs, and hoped to pick up a road win against Dallas. It was neck and neck the whole way, but Kobe’s 38 points propelled the Lakers to the win in the end. LA Lakers 103, Dallas 99.
And in Nascar, after a horrible accident on Saturday, which injured 28 fans when car crashed into fence causing debris to fly everywhere, fans still gathered to watch the always exciting Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked to take home the championship, but in the end, Jimmie Johnson made a late surge to win his second Daytona 500. That is a remarkable feat that other drivers can only hope to achieve. More eyes were pealed to the race this year as Danica Patrick made history by winning the pole last week. She had a solid race coming in 8th place and leading for a lap (a first by a woman). What makes Danica so special though, is how she handled the press. She said, she was taught to be the fastest driver not the fastest woman.
And in some NFL news, Jacoby Jones from the Baltimore Ravens, has an interesting history. Jacoby Jones was cut by the Houston Texans last season, and was fortunate enough to get a second chance with the Baltimore Ravens. He was the hero who caught the miracle touchdown against the Broncos to send the game to overtime, and he caught a touchdown in the Super Bowl, and had that amazing kickoff return in the second half to give the Ravens a big lead. Now, the guy who was a free agent just a year ago has earned a coveted spot on Dancing With The Stars (Brooke Burke host). He’s gone from nobody to potential celebrity, which could help him secure a broadcasting gig after his NFL career. Pretty cool stuff.No comments
In the NBA, it was the trade deadline.
The big name in the mix was Atlanta’s Josh Smith. Many teams were hoping that he would come their way, but at the end of the day, Josh Smith wound up staying put in Atlanta. The Bucks were hoping to land both Smith AND J.J. Reddick from Orlando, but they still wound up with a sharpshooter in Reddick. The Bucks are a team on the rise, and will only continue adding valuable pieces.
Boston and Washington did a swap as well, with the Wizards sending their back-up shooting guard Jordan Crawford to the Celtics in exchange for Leondro Barbosa. Barbosa is out for the year, but the Wizards did this to get the expiring contracts of Barbosa and Jason Collins in order to clear cap space for next year. Clearly, the Wizards are positioning themselves to make some major moves in the off-season, potentially packaging their high lottery pick and some expiring contracts for a big name star.
The red hot Rockets acquired the #5 overall pick Thomas Robinson from the Sacramento Kings. That’s pretty risky, parting with a draft pick that has a lot of upside, but the Kings are being sold, and trying to shave as much money as possible and pretty much just start from scratch. And the Kings received Toney Douglas, a guy who was just starting to find his groove in Houston. Douglas was once touted as a possible star in this league, but has since become a journeyman. Perhaps he will be the perfect ingredient when the Kings move to Seattle.
And finally, a lot of the experts think that the Los Angeles Lakers were possibly the biggest winners at the trade deadline. They didn’t make any moves, but at least they now know exactly where they stand as a team. Pau Gasol desn’t have to worry about getting traded anymore, Dwight will be staying put, and now it’s just about figuring out how to play team ball and get things done. Plus, it’s being reported that Kobe Bryant guaranteed the Lakers will make the playoffs. They are 4 games out of the #8 spot, chasing Houston and Portland, but you can’t deny that the Lakers are star-studded and aware of their exact team right now. If they can gel, perhaps they can do it.No comments
In college basketball, the Indiana Hoosiers are having their best year in ages. They used to sit atop the college basketball rankings under Bobby Knight in the 70s and 80s, but then lost steam for the past 20 years. Now, they are back on top in the #1 spot. However, they had to take on Michigan State IN Michigan State where they haven’t won since 1991. That all changed last night, as a late second half comeback and big game from their star Cody Zeller gave the Hoosiers the victory. March Madness is still anybody’s game (especially this year with all the parity in college hoops), but Indiana will likely be a #1 seed and tough come tournament time. Indiana 72, Michigan State 68.
In college football, with the season over, all eyes are on the NFL Draft. One of the biggest names in the Miami scouting combine is Notre Dame star and Heisman candidate Manti Te’o. Everybody had Te’o locked up as a first round pick, but after his latest drama, in which he was duped into thinking he was dating a girl that didn’t exist, he has been tabloid fare for the past two months. Te’o appeared on many major talk shows and did interviews with many people outside the sporting community — so much so, that it’s a little tough to remember that this guy is actually a football star. Now, in Miami, Te’o must still talk with the media, but also get their mind off of his tabloid drama and onto his athletic skills. This is a difficult transition in this day and age.
Finally, in college football, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has joined the echelon of superstar-famous college athletes. Other inductees in year’s past are Matt Leinart and Tim Tebow — guys so popular that it’s hard for them just to be regular students. So, in Manziel’s case, he is essentially no longer able to walk thru campus without being mobbed by students or hounded by photographers. Manziel said he first noticed this in an English class with 20 people, when nobody could concentrate on the class and just kept talking and staring at him. So now Manziel will take all his classes online. With that said, his parents are checking and double-checking that this ensures he remains a student at the university as to not break any NCAA rule violations. The NCAA is sensitive about academics, and the university definitely doesn’t want Manziel suspended for foolish reasons. He’s their meal ticket to a National Championship, and he’s certainly making them a lot of money.No comments
In the NBA, some sad news out of the Lakers organization. At the age of 80, Lakers owner Jerry Buss has died from cancer. He was admitted to the hospital on Thursday of last week, and passed away with his family yesterday. Jerry Buss was one of the most fascinating owners in sports. He created a real estate empire with just a $1000 investment in an apartment complex. He bought the Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Forum (where they play) for just $67 million in 1979. They are now worth more than 30 times that amount.
Jerry Buss was responsible for associating the Lakers with LA in the eyes of the country. His goal was that anytime someone thought of Los Angeles and everything it means, they also think of the Lakers — just how you immediately think of the Yankees when you think of New York culture. Jerry Buss understood that star power was what mattered and that the games were entertainment for fans more than anything else. He came up with the idea of the ‘Showtime’ Lakers (Magic Johnson, Abdul-Jabar, James Worthy, etc…), which was must see entertainment around the country. The Lakers were flashy, and perfect for the highlight reel, and Buss also came up with the concept of in-game entertainment for the fans (e.g. The Laker girls and halftime spectacles), which is now commonplace in sports worldwide. He will be sorely missed in the sports community.
This now begs a very interesting question in the Lakers organization, which is who will run the team. Buss essentially left the team to his kids Jim and Jeanie Buss, and it’s uncertain who will have the final say when it comes to the purse strings. It’s reported that Jim Buss will handle basketball operations and Jeanie Buss will handle business operations, but even then, it’s hard to determine who will give the final say on big, blockbuster trades. Plus, the Lakers are in peril right now, and need to make some serious moves. Jerry Buss always knew which moves to make, which is why the Lakers won so many championships under him. Now, the future of the organization is uncertain.No comments
In the NBA, it was all-star weekend. This game has gotten lackluster in year’s past, namely because there is absolutely no emphasis on defense. Teams don’t really have any incentive to play hard, but… it’s still an entertaining spectacle.
The much-anticipated event of the weekend was the slam dunk contest. This year there were 6 participants (3 from the West and 3 from the East). And they did a good job of getting some spectacular dunkers this year. Gerald Green, James White, and Terrance Ross from the East, and Kenneth Faried, Eric Bledsoe, and Jeremy Evans (last year’s winner) from the West. Before the event, TNT’s Kenny Smith predicted this would be in the Top 10 best slam dunk contests ever. However, once the event started, the dunks weren’t that amazing, and you could tell the crowd was bored. Terrance Ross and Jeremy Evans advanced to the final match-up, but neither of them did something that impressive. Evans dunked over a picture of himself. It was cool, but not enough to win the competition, and Terrance Ross took home the trophy.
There was been a lot of complaining that the Dunk Contest needs to get back to where it was in Jordan’s years, when stars would actually compete. Jordan used to square off against Dominique Wilkins in very memorable battles. Next year is commissioner David Stern’s last year, and he should convince stars like LeBron and Blake Griffin to get back into the contest.
As for the actual all-star game, that was a good time, full of high flying dunks, acrobatic alley-oops, and absolutely no defense. The West had the advantage heading into halftime, but it definitely became a game in the second half. It was rather close in the closing minutes, but Chris Paul hit some clutch 3-pointers to secure the victory and take home All-Start Game MVP. Aside from winning rookie of the year, this is the only other individual award Paul has won. But it won’t be the last. West 143, East 138.
A huge milestone in women’s sports, as Danica Patrick made history. Patrick almost always makes headlines for her gender (a woman in a man’s world) or some tabloid stuff like who she’s dating, etc… But now, Danica has become the first woman to win the Daytona 500 pole. This is a monumental achievement, and will certainly make spectators look at the sport differently. Hopefully, other girls out there will be encouraged to get behind the 200mph wheel and drive into the sport. Congratulations, Danica!!No comments
In the NBA, there were two major match-ups on the docket. Two more games before all the teams break for all-star weekend in Houston.
First up, it was the much anticipated rematch between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. But this time, it was on OKC’s turf. Would they be able to stop LeBron? He is playing like a mad man right now. Then, again the Thunder do have Durant and Westbrook, but this year’s campaign is without James Harden, a guy they sorely missed Thursday night, as the Heat dominated the Thunder in the first half. LeBron had 39 points on the night, and the Thunder were just nowhere close at any point in the game. People thought the Thunder were arguably the league’s best team, and the Heat made beating them look easy. Should the Thunder make a move before the trade deadline? Miami 110, OKC 100.
Next up, it was another rematch between two NEW rivals — the Lakers and Clippers. This game used to be an afterthought for the Lakers, but now the Clippers are ruling Los Angeles, and the Lakers are struggling to make the playoffs. (Note, however, that all the local LA radio stations still only talk about the Lakers). The Clippers were coming off a slaying of the Houston Rockets, but the Lakers were also coming off a win, and this was their chance to show they have their mojo back. But, that was futlile, as the Clippers crushed the Lakers in front of a Laker fan base. It was whisper quiet in there, and the Lakers really showed their old age in this game. LA Clippers 125, LA Lakers 101.
And in the most disturbing news of the day, former Olympic hero and inspiration Oscar Pistorius made negative headlines yesterday. Pistorius was everyone’s favorite Olympian this past summer, as he became the first double amputee to run in the Olympics, earning the nickname ‘bladerunner’. He was a role model to believe in your dreams and never give up. However, everyone has a dark side, and he had a huge one, as he was arrested for murdering his model girlfriend. It hasn’t been proven, but she was killed and he is the only suspect at this time. Just an awful story. His girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was an advocate against rape and domestic violence.No comments
In college basketball, it is that time of the year — the UNC/Duke rivalry game. This one goes way back. This game even has pre-game traditions. Before the match-up, all the managers and assistant coaching staff from each team play each other. That’s pretty crazy. This time, UNC was un-ranked, taking on #2 Duke, and this exact situation hasn’t happened since 1995, except UNC was the highly ranked team led by Jerry Stackhouse. However, UNC held the lead for a while, but with about 10 minutes left in the second half, Duke pulled away and snagged the victory. If you watch this game, it’s such an electric environment, with the Duke fans going crazy after every basket. You don’t necessarily see that in the NBA. Duke 73, UNC 68.
And in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls are having a pretty decent season without their leader Derrick Rose. Rose got hurt in the first game of last year’s playoffs with a torn ACL. That put him out for 8 months, but he was expecting to make a comeback soon. A torn ACL is a very serious injury, and Rose doesn’t want to rush back to the court if he’s not at 100%. With Rose in the line-up, the Bulls become a very different team and a very serious threat to do some damage in the playoffs. Wednesday, Rose said that he “wouldn’t mind sitting out the season”. That pulled the rug from under Bulls fans. Without Rose, they’re almost a guaranteed first round exit. It’s not certain what Rose will do, but he doesn’t intend to take a risk with his injury.
Finally, if you’re looking for some alternative entertainment on Valentine’s Day, look no further than TNT. TNT has decided to air one of the best games of the year on (according to Hallmark), the most romantic night of the year. It’s a rematch of the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both teams are scorching hot right now, and LeBron is playing on an entirely different level than anybody ever has. It’s a certainty that he will bring something special against the Thunder, but it is Valentine’s Day so wonder how many people will tune in.No comments
WATERCOOLER CHAT: LEBRON LEGEND IN MAKING, MICHAEL JORDON TURNING 50, NERLENS NOEL OUT IN WHEELCHAIR
In the NBA, we all knew that LeBron James is greater than great, but he is playing at such an absurdly amazing level right now, that you simply are missing out if you don’t watch his games. Tuesday night against the Blazers, LeBron put up his 6th straight game with over 30 points and over 60% from the floor shooting. LeBron has figured out how to always take advantage of a mismatch, and even avoid taking the shots that the defense WANTS him to take. He’s playing super intelligent basketball, and has become basically unstoppable. If he is ever on TV, you have to watch him. It’s a legend in the making. Miami 117, Portland 104.
And speaking of Legends, the great Michael Jordan turns 50 on Sunday. And that leaves a lot of people wondering if Jordan could still play at the age of 50. Antawn Jamison still thinks so, saying that Jordan would fit in well as a roll player, possibly coming off the bench for a few minutes for a few points. He’s not exactly human, so this makes sense. And after all, Jordan did play for the Wizards at 40 and was their best player. Grant Hill is still out there on the court at 40, so you have to believe that the ‘great one’ could still hack it just 10 years later.
And in college basketball, the Kentucky Wildcats certainly don’t look like the juggernaut championship team they were last year, but, at the same time, they still have some major talent. Namely that of Nerlens Noel, one of the top recruits out of High School, and the projected #1 pick in the NBA Draft. And when you have a talent like that, you never know how far a team can go in March Madness. However, Tuesday night against the Florida Gators, Noel suffered a knee injury that had Kentucky coaches asking for a wheelchair. It’s uncertain how long Noel will be out, but if he does miss the rest of the season, that’s pretty much it for Kentucky’s championship hopes, and also might cause Noel’s draft stock to drop significantly. Florida 69, Kentucky 52.1 comment