Archive for June, 2013

WATERCOOLER CHAT: TIM TEBOW PICKED UP BY PATRIOTS, GRIZZLIES LET GO OF HOLLINS, CHEEKS SIGNED BY PISTONS

FOOTBALL

The major news out of the sports world yesterday definitely came out of the NFL.  Earlier this off season, the New York Jets parted ways with Tim Tebow.  They just didn’t think he had a future as a quarterback for the team.  Most pretty much determined that this was the end of the line for Tebow’s career.  Arena football teams wanted him only because they knew he would be great for sales given his fervent following.  While that may be true, Tebow still wanted to pursue an NFL career.  On Monday, his wish was granted.  It’s being reported that the New England Patriots have signed Tebow for next season.  He definitely won’t play quarterback with Brady at the helm, but certainly Bill Bellichick can use Tebow in a variety of strategic ways.  After all, Tebow is still a super athlete, and they also have Josh McDaniels on their staff who drafted Tebow when Josh was head coach of the Broncos.  This could be very interesting.

BASKETBALL

And in the NBA, another drastic coaching move.  Just a few days after the Denver Nuggets parted ways with Coach of The Year George Karl, the Memphis Grizzlies have decided to let go of head coach Lionel Hollins.  Hollins was responsible for turning the Memphis Grizzlies franchise into a perennial contender.  And this year, he got the Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals in their best season yet.  You would think they would ink him to a multi-year deal.  But you never know what happens behind closed doors. Hollins, however,  won’t stay unemployed long, as there is already strong interest from the Nets, Clippers, and Karl’s former team the Nuggets.
Finally, in another head coaching move, the Detroit Pistons signed who they believe is the coach of their future, Oklahoma City assistant coach, Maurice Cheeks.  The Pistons have a solid young team and now with Cheeks, the Pistons believe that they can become a playoff team next season.   The NBA is always better when the Pistons are good — they’re a classic team with a notable basketball history that deserves to have a winning squad year in and year out.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: HEAT GO ON RUN, JASON KIDD SEEKING NETS’ COACHING JOB,BRUINS/BLACKHAWKS FINALS

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, it was Game 2 of the Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.  The Heat struggled in Game 1, giving the Spurs a 1-0 advantage in the series.  The Heat were now in a must-win situation as there is no way they could go to San Antonio for 3 games down 2-0.  The first half was just as we expected — a neck and neck battle with the lead changing seemingly every minute.  LeBron didn’t even have many points.  He was practically scoreless in the first quarter, but everybody knows that James saves the fire fuel for the second half, using the first half to get his teammates involved.  The Heat went to the locker room up 5, and would never look back.  In the second half, the Heat absolutely ambushed the Spurs.  The trick to beating the Heat is that you can never let them get a comfortable lead.  When they play without pressure, they take more risks (i.e. 3-point shots, LeBron superdrives, etc…) and can build a big league quick. But if you keep it tight, the Heat will second guess all their moves.  In just about 10 total minutes, the Heat went on a 30-5 run and never looked back.  The series is now even, headed back to San Antonio, where the Spurs are very difficult to beat.  Miami 103, San Antonio 84.

Elsewhere in the NBA, even though he just retired from the New York Knicks, Jason Kidd doesn’t feel like his basketball career is over.  No, he’s not signing with another team, but rather looking into a very desirable coaching position.  Jason Kidd is interviewing for the head coaching job of the Brooklyn Nets later this week.  Sure, Kidd doesn’t have any experience as a coach, but he was definitely a team leader during his playing days.  While many coaches can implement a strategy, only a select few can earn the player’s respect. Kidd is the type of guy who could galvanize a team and get them to buy into a plan right away.  This might be a good fit.

HOCKEY

The Stanley Cup Finals are set.  The Boston Bruins shocked the world by crushing the #1 seed Pittsburgh Penguins.  And a lot of people are saying that it’s not the Penguins that choked, but rather the Bruins are just that good right now.  In the West, the Los Angeles Kings were hoping to get back to their second straight Stanley Cup Finals, but the #1 seed Chicago Blackhawks wouldn’t allow it and beat the Kings rather soundly to advance. We definitely have a fantastic match-up set between the Bruins and the Blackhawks, and while all attention may be on the Heat/Spurs, don’t ignore what should be some marvelous (and ruthless) hockey.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: SPURS WIN GAME ONE, NUGGETS PART WAYS, USAIN BOLT COVERS FACE

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, it was the game we’ve all been waiting for… Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.  Miami has been struggling lately, but they still have the game’s best player in LeBron James.  The Spurs, on the other hand, have plenty of championship experience, as this group has won 3 titles together, and Duncan has won four.  So how would it play out?  It was neck and neck for most of the way, with the Heat having the edge and the Spurs struggling to take the lead.  But late in the 4th quarter, the Spurs did jump ahead.  They led by 2 with just under 10 seconds to play, when Tony Parker got off an amazing last second shot to beat the shot clock and put the Spurs up by 4.  With that clutch shot, the Spurs stole game 1 from Miami on the Heat’s home floor.  Game 2 is on Sunday.  San Antonio 92, Miami 88.

And in some other shocking news in the NBA, a major coaching change.  George Karl has taken the reigns of the Denver Nuggets for the past 7 seasons.  They have been competitive almost every season, and this year they went on an incredible winning streak.  This year the Nuggets landed the #3 seed in the west, and George Karl was named Coach of The Year.  Unfortunately, the Nuggets were bounced by the Warriors in the first round.  Thursday, the Nuggets decided to part ways with Karl.  It was a moved that confused everyone, as not many Coaches of the Year are fired.  But reports were that Karl had one more year on his deal and the Nuggets didn’t want to pay him a long term contract.  The Nuggets have a great young foundation, and it will be interesting to see who replaces Karl.

Finally, to continue the shocking news, there was another surprise out of Rome.  It was the Golden Gala track meet, the latest place for the World’s Fastest Man, Usain Bolt, to strut his stuff.  But USA’s Justin Gatlin was also there, and he definitely wasn’t intimidated by Bolt.  In fact, Gatlin edged Bolt by 0.01 seconds.  After the race, Bolt covered his face with his hands, then collected his breath, shrugged his shoulders and saluted the crowd.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: HEAT AND SPURS IN FINALS THURSDAY NIGHT, NETS LOOKING FOR COACH, RAVENS TRIP TO WHITE HOUSE

BASKETBALL

 

The NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs begins Thursday night.  The Spurs look fantastic, while the Heat haven’t exactly been playing the top level of basketball we are accustomed to seeing.  However, LeBron James said in a press conference that he is tired of losing.  And even though the Spurs beat his Cavs team back in 2007, LeBron said that he will not seek “revenge” per se.   James has a much better supporting cast this time around, and he’s not going to let the Spurs give him a hard time.  LeBron is even more upset that the Spurs got to celebrate on the Cavs home floor.  He said he will never forget that, so look for LeBron to be a complete monster Thursday night against the Spurs.

Elsewhere in the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets are still seeking a coach.  The Nets are now a major market team full of some stars.  They intend to be a top team in the East next year, but they need that strong coach who is going to pull the team together.  Even though the Memphis Grizzlies made the Western Conference Finals, they still haven’t locked up their head coach Lionel Hollins to a contract.  Hollins is one of the best coaches in the league at this point.  He is responsible for galvanizing a Grizzlies team without a major star and turning them into a contender.  The Nets wanted to talk to Hollins, but the Grizzlies have disallowed Hollins from speaking to them (they have that in their contract).  Hollins has even said that he WANTS to coach the Grizzlies — that he loves Memphis.  The Grizzlies better lock him up soon.

FOOTBALL

Finally, in the NFL, Wednesday was the Baltimore Ravens trip to the White House.  This is an annual tradition in football, and one that doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.  As an aside, Anquan Boldin, who was key to the Ravens post-seasons success couldn’t make the trip because he was with his new team:  The San Francisco 49ers.  President Obama even joked with the Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, saying that his MVP timing was fortuitous considering that Flacco was looking for a new big contract.  At the end of the day, head coach John Harbaugh said that the Ravens have plans to be back soon.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: HEAT WILL PLAY SPURS IN FINALS, TWO GREAT CAREERS COME TO AN END, JAY Z’S HOT AGENCY

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, it was the much anticipated Game 7 between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers.  The Pacers won Game 6 convincingly, so people weren’t sure exactly who was going to come out on top in Game 7 — especially since Miami does not look like themselves.  Plus, this was a huge ‘legacy’ game for LeBron.  If he failed to get his team to the Finals, it would seriously impact his reputation and his ongoing campaign to be known as the best player ever.  So how would it pan out?  The Pacers kept it a tight battle at the beginning, but then their poor shooting and turnovers kicked in.  And when you’re playing the defending champions, you have to play perfect basketball.  The Pacers soon found themselves in a 20-point hole.  Then, early in the 4th quarter, their star player Paul George fouled out.  And that was all she wrote.  The Heat advance to the NBA Finals and will take on the San Antonio Spurs.  Miami 99, Indiana 76.

Elsewhere in the NBA, it was the joint end of an era.  Two of the NBA’s most celebrated players throughout the 90s and previous decade have decided to call it quits after 19 seasons.  After an illustrious career at Duke, and an all-star campaign in Detroit, Grant Hill succumbed to injuries.  But then he bounced back and became a fantastic role player for the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Clippers.  Now he is hanging up his shoes.  Jason Kidd will be considered one of the best point guards ever to play the game.   He led the Nets to two NBA Finals, and then went on to be a role player on the Dallas Mavericks, even winning a championship in 2011.  He had a strong year for the Knicks this season, but he felt that his best playing days were behind him, and is calling it quits.  Two great careers come to an end.

FOOTBALL

Finally, in the NFL, the Eagles DeSean Jackson is reportedly firing his agent.  And it’s rumored that the hot new sports agency, Jay Z’s Roc Nation, may be stepping in.  This is the first time that there has been a sports agency run by a hip hop icon.  Athletes in all major sports consider even an association with Jay-Z to be a tremendous honor.  It’s very likely that Jay-Z could have one of the biggest sports agencies, if not the biggest, in just a few years.  It’s highly conceivable that every young talent will want to be with him.  So he could have the next LeBron James, Robert Griffin III, or Tiger Woods in every major sport.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: PACERS FORCE GAME 7, HIBBERT FINED, NOTRE DAME CONTROVERSY, LOOKING UP FOR TEAM USA

BASKETBALL

This weekend, it was Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers.  The Heat led the series 3-2 and hoped to close it out in Indy.  However, even though LeBron is putting on a basketball clinic right now, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade are not playing up to their all-star levels.  Some thought that it was misguided of head coach Erik Spoelstra to play Wade at times.  The Heat did look quite discombobulated in Game 6, and Pacers big men Roy Hibbert and David West gave them headaches.  The Pacers cruised to a victory and forced a Game 7 in Miami Monday night.  Indiana 91, Miami 77.

On top of this, Pacers 7’2 center Roy Hibbert was rather brazen in his post game conference.  One of the media reporters effectively implied that Hibbert’s strong play was a surprise and that they hadn’t really heard about him all season.  Hibbert took offense, and casually responded ‘Y’all motherf****** don’t watch us play all year”, questioning how they would know.  Then, on top of this, Hibbert said that LeBron “stretched me out so much—no homo.”.  Saying ‘homo’ in a derogatory fashion drew the ire of the media and Jason Collins, who recently came out as the first active professional athlete in a major sports league.  Collins tweeted at Hibbert asking for him to tweet him so they can talk about the issue.  Hibbert of course put out a long apology, which commissioner David Stern said he thought was sincere, but Hibbert was still fined $75k for his outburst.

FOOTBALL

And in college football, Ohio State’s athletic director is in deep trouble for saying that Notre Dame shouldn’t play in the Big 10.  He didn’t give sound logic, either, but rather he was caught on audio for using some heinous language.  He said that Notre Dame shouldn’t be in the Big 10 because you can’t trust those “Damn Catholics”.  He has since apologized, but unlike Roy Hibbert’s spur of the moment outburst, this one feels like a deep rooted belief.

SOCCER

Things are looking up for Team USA.  USA is constantly trying to gain respect from the soccer world.  They have an up-and-coming team, but are not considered a significant threat on the world stage.  Sunday, in a huge shocker, USA crushed Germany in a friendly.  Germany is one of the best soccer countries in the world, and at one point in the game the US was up 4-1.  Germany scored two more goals on them, but still to come out on top against Germany is an amazing feat for the U.S.  Hopefully they qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  USA 4, Germany 3.

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