Archive for February, 2016
This year’s All-Star Week was one for the ages. Sunday night’s competition was the highest scoring All-Star Game in history, with the East and West scoring a combined 369 points. The game was Kobe Bryant’s final All-Star Game, the 18th time he’s been selected, and the player was honored with multiple video tributes.
Despite all the explosive performers on the court, it was a quiet night for some of the biggest names. Bryant scored only 10 points. LeBron James had 13 points. Kevin Durant had 23, Anthony Davis 24, and Stephen Curry 26. Russell Westbrook came out on top with 31 points, helping to earn him his second consecutive All-Star MVP title. The West won, giving them their fifth All Star victory in the last six years. The competition, held in Toronto, was the first All-Star game played outside the US. Western Conference All-Stars 196, Eastern Conference All-Stars 173.
The weekend kicked off with the NBA Celebrity All Star game. Team Canada was coached by Toronto rapper, Drake, and Team USA was coached by comedian Kevin Hart. Drake’s team won!
The weekend was filled with other All-Star events. Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson beat out his teammate Steph Curry in the 3-point contest. Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns beat Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas in the Skills Challenge, and, in what’s being called the best Slam Dunk contest of all time, Zach LaVine prevailed over Aaron Gordon with an amazing between-the-legs dunk, giving him his second straight Slam Dunk victory.
Vaughn Taylor came up with a surprise victory at Pebble Beach over the weekend. Phil Mickelson, a favorite to win the tournament, was just a few strokes from securing his fifth victory heading into the final round. But he missed a pivotal putt on the 18th hole and Taylor won by one stroke. It’s quite a story. Taylor, ranked #447 in the world up until now, hasn’t had a full PGA tour card in three years. He hasn’t won a PGA title in over ten years. When he came to Pebble Beach this year, it was as an alternate. In fact, Taylor made a point to take only a carry-on bag on the flight as a way to save money. But with the incredible victory, Taylor has earned earned $1.26 million and a ticket to the Masters.No comments
The Houston Rockets are thinking about trading eight-time-All-Star Dwight Howard. The team is currently shopping the veteran around, looking to see if they can strike a deal before the February 18th deadline. The move would make some sense. Howard left the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2013, signing a four-year, $88 million contract with the Rockets, but is expected to soon exercise a clause in his contract that would make him an unrestricted free agent this summer. Trading Howard would help the Rockets squeeze a bit more out of their investment. For Howard, leaving a year early would mean giving up $23.3 million of his contract, but it just might be worth it for the opportunity to play on a more successful team. The Rockets are having a thoroughly disappointing season. Going into their All Star break on Wednesday, the team lost 116-103 to the Portland Trail Blazers, putting them at 27-28 for the season.
The Raiders will stay in Oakland for at least one more year. After being denied a 2016 move to Los Angeles, Raiders owner Mark Davis has been looking into alternatives for where he could move his team, and get a new stadium in the process. Potential sites have included Las Vegas and San Antonio.
The Raiders were one of three teams lobbying to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, alongside the San Diego Chargers and the St. Louis Rams. The Raiders and Chargers both utilize multi-purpose facilities built almost 50 years ago, and neither San Diego or Oakland are willing to build their teams new stadiums. The Chargers and Raiders proposed a joint-stadium project in Carson, roughly 12 miles outside of LA. But in January, league owners only approved the Rams’ stadium proposal. Team owner Stan Kroenke is planning a massive stadium in Inglewood, funded entirely with private money. The Chargers have been given a year to decide whether they want to move to LA and share usage of Kroenke’s new stadium. If the Chargers stay where they are, then and only then will the Raiders have the option to move back to LA. All three teams have called LA home at one time or another. The Raiders started in Oakland, moved to Los Angeles in 1982, then went back to Oakland in 1995, the same year the Rams left LA. The Los Angeles Rams’ stadium in Inglewood is expected to be the world’s most expensive stadium complex ever built. Construction will be completed by 2019.No comments
The Golden State Warriors continued their unbelievable season with a victory against the Phoenix Suns. The final score was surprisingly close, considering the blowout many people were expecting. The Warriors went into the game with 10 straight wins, while the Suns went in with eight straight losses. Not to mention that, in their last two games against each other, the Warriors have won by a combined 44 points. Steph Curry came away with 26 points and 9 assists. The Warriors head into the All Star week break with a record of 48-4, better than any team’s 52-game record in all of NBA history. Warriors 112, Suns 104
In Cleveland, two future hall of famers faced off against each other for one final Cleveland home game. LeBron James and Kobe Bryant went head to head in a much hyped competition. In the final minutes of the first half, Cavs star Kevin Love injured the same shoulder he had surgically repaired last Spring. He was out for the rest of the game, but the team hopes to have him back as soon as All Star Week comes to an end. In Love’s absence, plenty of players stepped up to lead the team to victory. Kyrie Irving scored 35 points, a season high for him, while James had 29 points. Kobe Bryant, who’s set to retire after this season, had only 17 points. In March, the two teams will face each other for one final game in LA. Cavaliers 120, Lakers 111
On February 16th, an unidentified group is planning to protest Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance in front of the NFL headquarters in NY. This group was offended by Beyonce’s apparent reference to the Black Panther Party and to Malcolm X. Many, including former NY Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, were upset and said it was “really outrageous that she used [the Super Bowl] as a platform to attack police officers.” It’s reported there will be a counter protest that day as well.
The Golden State Warriors had another great game against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. The Rockets refused to lie down, making Steph Curry and company fight for every point in the relatively close victory. Curry finished the game with 35 points, nine assists and six rebounds. By the start of the third quarter, the Warriors and Rockets were tied at 93, but that all changed with two consecutive 3-pointers from Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes. This was the 42nd straight home game victory for the Warriors, putting them on track to tie or surpass the home winning streak record set by the ’95-96 Chicago Bulls. The Warriors are 47-4 this season. Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are all set to play in the All Star Game this Sunday. But first, the Warriors head to Phoenix to take on the Suns. Phoenix has a dismal 14-39 record on the season. Warriors 123, Rockets 110
It seems that the Sacramento Kings have decided not to fire coach George Karl after all. The reversal followed a meeting where Karl promised his employers he would make a number of changes to address issues he’s had with both players and the front office. The reversal might be beneficial for the Kings, seeing as Karl still has $10 million guaranteed on his original contract. If you’re going to pay someone that much money, you might as well make them work for it.
The coaching changes in New York, meanwhile, didn’t seem to do much good for the Knicks in their matchup against the Washington Wizards. Coach Derek Fisher was fired Monday in an attempt to get the Knicks out of their rut (1-9 in their last 10). But even with interim head coach Kurt Rambis at the helm, the Knicks couldn’t walk away with a win.1 comment
The Sacramento Kings suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. The loss not only hurts their dwindling postseason chances, but it might cost their head coach his job. Sources indicate the Kings are preparing to release George Karl after only one year coaching the team. The Kings are 21-31 this season. Cleveland Cavaliers 120, Sacramento Kings 100.
Karl isn’t the only NBA coach in hot water. After less than two seasons with the New York Knicks, head coach Derek Fisher got the axe on Monday. The Knicks have been in a bit of a rut lately, losing 9 of their last 10 games, including a 5-game losing streak they’re hoping to break Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards. Veteran assistant coach Kurt Rambis will serve as the team’s interim coach until further notice. The Knicks are 23-31 for the season.
With the Super Bowl fresh in the books, there’s not a lot of good news coming out of the National Football League. Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is under investigation for his involvement in an altercation with two off-duty police officers. The injuries sustained by the officers were serious enough to warrant hospital treatment for one of them. The incident occurred at a nightclub in Philadelphia (McCoy played for six years in Philly after being drafted in the first round of 2009). He was traded to Buffalo last year.
Speaking of Philly, the change-ups continue. The Eagles just released wide receiver Riley Cooper. Cooper was a favorite of former head coach Chip Kelly. Kelly was fired by the team six weeks ago, before the end of the 2015 season. Kelly has since been hired as the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.No comments
SUPER BOWL 50
The NFL Post Season is over. The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, giving Peyton Manning his second Super Bowl ring and the opportunity to end his career on the highest of notes. Asked about his retirement plans immediately following the victory, Manning demurred. Manning said he would take the advice of his former coach Tony Dungy and refrain from making an emotional decision. Instead, he told reporters, he’d take some time to reflect, kiss his wife, and drink a lot of beer. If he does retire, Manning will be in good company. Former Bronco’s quarterback and current General Manager John Elway famously retired after winning Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999.
Lombardi trophies aside, it wasn’t a spectacular day for Manning. He completed 13 of 23 passes, fumbled twice, threw one interception and had zero touchdowns. It was indisputably a defensive victory for Denver. Their sole touchdown came from the secondary, after linebacker Von Miller strip sacked Cam Newton. Miller was named MVP of the game. He had 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and six total tackles.
On the other side of the game, newly crowned NFL MVP Cam Newton had a pretty rough day. Just 24 hours after being voted the league’s Most Valuable Player, Newton was ravaged by the AFC’s number one defense. The Broncos came after Newton again and again, sacking him a total of seven times, forcing two fumbles and one interception. The frustrated quarterback was curt with reporters after the game, ultimately walking out in the middle of the press conference. Luckily for Newton, it was no fluke that the Panthers made it to the Super Bowl this year. The team went 15-1 in the regular season and dominated in the playoffs. They look primed to roar back to life next September and have another go at winning the franchise its first Super Bowl title. Denver Broncos 24, Carolina Panthers 10
In other news, Marshawn Lynch looks to be hanging up his cleats. The 29 year old Seattle Seahawks running back hinted at retirement on Twitter this Sunday when he posted a picture of cleats hanging from a telephone wire. His teammates seemed to confirm the retirement, responding with messages of their own praising the running back and wishing him well. Sunday was the first time in the last three years Marshawn Lynch and his fellow Seahawks were not in the Super Bowl.No comments
Super Bowl 50 is finally here. Sunday at 6:30 pm on CBS, tune in for the big game featuring the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers! Btw, kudos to the NFL for advertising it as Super Bowl 50 instead of Super Bowl L (the Roman number for 50). Apparently the NFL will go back to using Roman numerals next year, but personally I’m happy with this year’s change.
Here’s what you need to know for Sunday!
Peyton Manning at 39 years old is the oldest QB to play in a Super Bowl. This could be Manning’s last game so his fans desperately want him to win one more before his certain future induction in the Hall of Fame. If the Panthers win, Cam Newton, could become the first quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, College Football National Title, the NFL MVP, and the Super Bowl. He’s also all over the news with his famous “Dab” celebration.
Make sure you also check out Newton’s offensive line. Left side tackle is Michael Oher (player featured in the great book and movie, Blindside).
Even if you’re not a big football fan, tune in for the advertisements. This year, ads cost $5 mill per 30 seconds. Look for T-Mobile making fun of Drake’s Hot Line Bling, Bowie’s Starman and Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen’s Bud Light Party.No comments
Steph Curry continues to wow. He scored 51 points including 11 three pointers in Wednesday night’s game against the Washington Wizards. He’s the only player in NBA history to shoot 11 three pointers in multiple games and the only player this season to record multiple 50 point games. To cap off the week, the Warriors are heading to the White House to celebrate last season’s NBA title.
Wednesday marked National Signing Day for the most highly sought after high school football recruits. According to Scout.com, the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide signed the top ranked class with 25 of the most elite players in the country. According to ESPN, the Florida State Seminoles recruited the top class (with Alabama ranked at #3). Coach Jim Harbaugh was feeling pretty good as his Michigan Wolverines secured the #1 recruit defensive tackle, Rashan Gary. Many players try to creatively announce their decisions, but this year’s Deontay Anderson took the prize by announcing his commitment to Ole Miss while jumping out of a plane! Check it out!No comments
Johnny Manziel, AKA Johnny Football, has worn out his welcome in Cleveland. The Browns, who traded up to get Manziel in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, are reportedly cutting ties with the troubled quarterback after his most recent transgression. Police were called last weekend in Fort Worth, Texas to investigate an altercation between Manziel and an ex-girlfriend. This was not his first run-in with police. Not by a long shot. In some ways, his rap sheet is far more impressive than his stat sheet. Manziel has started in only 8 games over the last two seasons, spending most of his time playing second fiddle to the quieter, more consistent quarterback Josh McCown. Browns’ EVP of Football Operations Sashi Brown released a statement condemning Manziel’s behavior, but declined to comment further. Due to salary cap considerations, the Browns will need to wait until March to officially cut Manziel from the team.
Johnny isn’t the only one getting sent packing. Denver Bronco’s rookie safety Ryan Murphy and his brother were detained by police yesterday during a prostitution sting in San Jose. His brother was cited for solicitation, according to several sources. The Broncos have determined that these are precisely the kind of distractions they don’t need in the days leading up to Super Bowl 50. Murphy isn’t being cut from the team, but he was sent back to Denver. Strangely enough, Murphy isn’t the first NFL safety to find himself in this position. Atlanta Falcons safety Eugene Robinson was arrested for soliciting a prostitute the night before Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999. Those were different times though, as evidenced by the fact that Murphy played in the Super Bowl the next day against the Denver Broncos. He probably shouldn’t have though. He botched coverage on an 80-yard touchdown pass from John Elway. The Broncos won 34-19.
In other Super Bowl news, Lady Gaga will sing the National Anthem in Super Bowl 50!
The NFL is expanding Thursday Night Football, increasing the number of Thursday games to ten from last season’s eight. The games will be split between CBS, NBC and the NFL Network. Thursday Night Football started as a programming exclusive to the NFL Network, but CBS has produced and aired numerous Thursday night games for the last few seasons. Combined, CBS and NBC are paying approximately $500 million to air five Thursday Night games each in the 2016 season.
In San Jose, California, Monday was the kickoff to “Super Bowl Week,” also known as Media Day, or the day when Cam Newton and Peyton Manning get asked the same questions hundreds of times by different reporters. In the coming week, expect to hear a lot more noncommittal soundbites from Manning about his possible retirement and to read plenty of think-pieces on Cam Newton’s recent, racially-charged comments.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been on a tear since head coach David Blatt was fired late last month. But the change in leadership wasn’t the only thing that reinvigorated the team. New reports reveal that an extended players-only meeting was held shortly after the shake up. Stars Lebron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were all in attendance as teammates spoke their minds to one another. A prominent topic of discussion was ‘accountability,’ including the perception that some members of the team were playing by a different set of rules than the others. The cathartic, at times contentious meeting seemed to do the trick in rallying the troops together. Despite a disappointing loss to the Chicago Bulls shortly thereafter, the Cavs have gone on to five straight wins, including Monday night’s OT victory over the Indiana Pacers.No comments