Archive for the 'Basketball' Category

Shots Fired At Raptors Parade, LaMelo Ball To Play In Australian NBL

BASKETBALL

Three people were arrested at the Toronto Raptors celebration on Monday. Four people were shot and wounded at the rally, but no motive was announced, and the investigation is ongoing. The shooting took place at City Hall square where a crowd of thousands gathered to celebrate the Raptors NBA title.

17-year old LaMelo Ball will play in the Australian National Basketball League for a season in hopes of using his “one-and-done season” between high school and the NBA to get drafted high in the NBA next year. The NBL’s Next Stars program and the G League have become training grounds for high school players who choose not to play in College. Ball told ESPN, “They have a really strong league, with excellent coaches and great players, including former and future NBA players, and great strength and conditioning programs. My goal is to be the top pick in next year’s draft, and I feel they can help me reach that goal. Also, the timing of the season works well with the timing of next year’s draft.”

 

 

 

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Legendary Bart Starr, Raptors Defeat Bucks And Face KD-Less Warriors, Infamous Bill Buckner

FOOTBALL

The legendary Green Bay Packers quarterback and coach, Bart Starr, passed away over the weekend at the age of 85. Starr led the Packers to three straight championships (the only quarterback in NFL history to do so) and earned MVP honors at the first two Super Bowls. He also received the NFL’s most valuable player award in 1966. After retiring as a quarterback in 1971, he became Green Bay’s head coach a year later and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

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The Toronto Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night and will face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. The Raptors host game 1 of the best of seven series on Thursday night. Golden State’s Kevin Durant is not scheduled to play in game 1, and Center DeMarcus Cousins has been listed as questionable.

BASEBALL

The infamous Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner died at the age of 69 after battling Lewy Body Dementia. Buckner played for five different Major League Baseball teams over the course of 22 years, although he is most remembered for messing up a play (as a member of the Boston Red Sox) in the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets. His error allowed the winning run to score. The Mets then went on to win Game 7, and Buckner had to endure years of death threats and public humiliation. Eighteen years later when the Red Sox finally won the World Series, fans stopped harassing him. And, when the Red Sox won again in 2007, Buckner even threw out the first pitch the next season and received a four-minute standing ovation.

 

 

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NFL TV Changes, Rajai’s Amazing Day With Mets, Michigan Hires Juwan Howard

FOOTBALL

The NFL made a few changes to their TV schedule heading into the new season. The most significant for anyone living in two-team markets like New York, LA, Bay Area, and Washington/Baltimore, is the modification to what’s called the single-header. The single-header rule previously only allowed these two-team markets to watch their home teams on a Sunday afternoon. With the new rule, there will three Sunday afternoon games (in addition to a Sunday evening game)  in every market.

BASEBALL

In a scene that could be right out of a movie, 38-year-old Rajai Davis was called up from Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday around 5:00 pm to join the NY Mets in the 3rd inning of their game against the Washington Nationals. Davis thought his manager was joking when he got the call, but then realized it was happening and jumped in an Uber which took him 2 hours to get to the stadium. Davis proceeded to hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat to help propel the Mets to a 6-1 win. Davis thanked his Uber driver after the game and said, “Me and Jason, we got to know each other.” According to Mets manager Mickey Callaway, “I think I saw him in the fifth or the sixth for the first time. He got here about the third. He Ubered over, got ready, came out, hit a homer, came inside, didn’t know where the clubhouse was, how to get back in, had to ask some people, ‘Which way do I go to get back in the clubhouse?’ And just slapped high-fives going into the line. Yeah, whirlwind day for Raj; great at-bat.”

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The University of Michigan hired former star Juwan Howard as their new head coach. Howard was part of the 1991 legendary Michigan Fab Five which included Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson. After helping the Wolverines to two national championships, Howard played for 19 seasons in the NBA. In 2013, he joined the Miami Heat as an assistant coach, where he’s been for the past 6 years. Howard replaces John Beilein, who was recently hired as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

 

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Masters First Round, No Cell Phones, Duke’s Reddish And Barrett Enter Draft, No Word On Zion

GOLF

The Masters is underway and after the first round, 25-year old Bryson DeChambeau (ranked #6 in World Golf) and 28-year old Brooks Koepka (ranked #4 in World Golf) lead the pack. It’s the first time two players in their 20’s, and ranked in the top 6, share the leaderboard after any round in one of the Majors. In other Masters news, at 48 years old, Phil Mickelson shot his best first round since 2010 when he won the tournament for the third time, and Tiger Woods shot a steady 70, which is the same score he shot after the first round all three times he won the tournament.

The one thing you won’t see at the Masters is a cell phone. Fans caught with a cell phone will receive a lifetime ban from the event. That means no tweeting, no selfies, just quiet time to walk around and have conversations with other golf enthusiasts (think, opposite of Happy Gilmore).

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Duke freshman Cam Reddish officially announced he will enter the 2019 NBA draft. Reddish and teammate R.J. Barrett (who also announced he was entering the draft) are both considered top picks. Duke’s superstar, Zion Williamson, hasn’t officially declared he’ll enter the draft yet, but he’s widely expected to be the #1 pick.

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Virginia Overcomes A Year Of Heartbreak To Become National Champions, Trump Rescinds Cuba Deal

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With an 85-77 overtime win over Texas Tech, Virginia becomes the NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion. The win marks a year of redemption for the Cavaliers after last seasons embarrassing loss to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (the first time a #1 seed lost to a #16 seed). After last season’s loss, the team received death threats, and according to UVA’s Kyle Guy, “It was humiliation, embarrassment for ourselves and our families and the program. To be able to redeem all that and get this program something that’s never happened before is all that I could ever want.” Monday’s final started off slowly, but then the teams came alive and battled it out forcing overtime where Virginia surged ahead for the win. Congrats to Virginia for winning their first national championship in school history.

BASEBALL

The Trump administration is rescinding a deal made during the Obama administration allowing Major League Baseball to sign Cuban players without having them defect first (which made them targets for human traffickers). The deal had separated Cuba’s baseball league from the Cuban government, making an agreement with MLB and the Cuban Baseball Federation much easier. According to the Treasury Department, “A payment to the Cuban Baseball Federation is a payment to the Cuban government.”

 

 

 

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Baylor Beat Notre Dame For Women’s Championship, Guy Hits 3 Clutch Shots Amid Controversy,Virginia Vs Texas Tech, Auburn Coach Running For Senate

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It was an exciting weekend of college basketball with Baylor beating Notre Dame to win its third NCAA women’s basketball championship under current coach Kim Mulkey. With the win, Mulkey joins UConn’s Geno Auriemma (with 11 wins) and Tennessee’s Pat Summitt (with 8 wins) to become the third head coach to win more than two national titles. Baylor 82, Notre Dame 81.

In the men’s division, March Madness is almost over with Monday night featuring Virginia vs Texas Tech in the finals. There was a big controversy over the weekend, however, with Virginia’s win over Auburn. With .6 seconds left in the game and Auburn up by 2, the refs called a foul on Auburn’s Samir Doughty. Kyle Guy went to the line and, under immense pressure, made three free throws to win the game 63-62. In addition to the controversial last-second foul, there was also a missed double-dribble violation on Virginia’s Ty Jerome in the last few seconds which would have prevented Guy from going to the foul line. After the game, Guy reflected on the pressure he felt to make the shots and said, “I just literally told myself that we dream of these moments, and to be able to make one happen was special.” He went on to say, “This is the stuff that kids dream of, and I’m just very thankful to be here.”

Virginia will compete with Texas Tech Monday night at 9:20 pm for the National Championship. Neither team has ever won a National Championship, so Monday’s winner will make history.

In other Auburn news, former head coach Tommy Tuberville tweeted he will be running for the US Senate in Alabama against Democratic Senator Doug Jones. Jones won a special election in 2017 and will be running for a full term next year.

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Antetokounmpo Leads Bucks To Best Record, Curry’s Behind Back Pass, KD & LeBron Whisper, Final Four Weekend Lineup

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In a hard fought game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo led the team to victory with an impressive 45 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks (four of which were on the Sixers big man Joel Embiid) and 0 turnover performance. With the win, the Bucks clinch the best record, (59-20), in the NBA for the third time in franchise history. Bucks 128, Sixers 122

In a 108-90 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the mighty Steph Curry put on a show at Staples Center with his acrobatic behind the back pass to Kevin Durant. The most intriguing part of the game, occurred at the end of the second quarter when Durant and LeBron huddled together whispering behind towels so no one could lip read what they were saying. Many were wondering if LeBron was trying to convince KD to opt out of his contract and join the Lakers at the end of the season. Durant told reporters, “Everybody wants to know what we’re talking about. It wasn’t even that serious. Just laughing and joking and catching up.”

Enjoy the weekend of NCAA Final Four games

In the women’s bracket, watch Baylor vs Oregon at 7:00 pm and Notre Dame vs UConn at 9:00 pm, Friday, April 5th, with the winners playing for the championship on Sunday, April 7th at 6:00 pm.  And, in the men’s bracket, watch Auburn vs Virginia at 6:09 pm and Texas Tech vs Michigan State at 8:49 pm on Saturday, April 6th. The winners will play for the National Championship on Monday, April 8th at 9:00 pm.

 

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Harpers Memorable Return To DC, Lonzo Ball Suing BBB Co-Founder, AAF Folding

BASEBALL

Bryce Harper had a memorable return to Washington on Tuesday night. Harper played for the Washington Nationals his whole career (selected in 2010) until he signed a whopping $330 million 13-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018. The Nationals fans booed him throughout the game, but after two early strikeouts, he came back with vengeance. After a couple of hits beginning in the 5th inning, Harper made his big statement in the 8th with a massive 458 ft home-run (and cool looking bat flip). After the game, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said, “It was pretty powerful, for him to do what he did tonight. In the dugout, (the booing) made us all want to step up and support Bryce.” Phillies 8, Nationals 2

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LA Lakers guard Lonzo Ball is suing his Big Baller Brand (BBB) co-founder Alan Foster for conspiring to embezzle money and divert funds for his personal use. According to ESPN, Ball and his family did not know Foster had a criminal past, and when he was released from prison, he “embarked on his plan to target Ball and his family and fleece them of millions of dollars.”

FOOTBALL

Well, that didn’t last long. The Alliance of American Football (AAF) has folded with two weeks left in the regular season. The AAF was founded last year with the goal of becoming a feeder league for the NFL.  According to reports, when the NFL Players Association announced that sending their young players to the AAF would violate terms of their collective bargaining agreement, the AAF decided to suspend operations.

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UConn, Notre Dame, Baylor & Oregon In Women’s Final Four, Calipari Signs Lifetime Contract, Murray Dines With Raiders

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The Women’s Final Four is set, and to no one’s surprise, UConn made the semis for the 20th time. In fact, UConn has been in the Final Four for the past 12 years in a row. Making their ninth trip to the semis, Notre Dame will face their rival UConn. UConn and Notre Dame have played each other 50 times with UConn leading 37-12.  Notre Dame, however, holds bragging rights in Final Four wins at 4-3.  The other matchup features Baylor (4th trip to the semis) taking on Oregon who is playing in the Final Four for the first time.

Tune in Friday, April 5th, 7:00 pm Baylor vs Oregon, 9:00 pm UConn vs Notre Dame on ESPN2

In other NCAA news, Kentucky’s longtime coach John Calipari signed a contract extension to stay with the school for the remainder of his career. According to reports, UCLA was interested in speaking with Calipari for its head coaching position, but Kentucky offered a financial extension and a promise to “serve as an ambassador for the university after his retirement”. At $9.2 million, Calipari is listed as the highest-paid coach in the country.

FOOTBALL

Top quarterback prospect for the NFL draft, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, had a workout and dinner with the Oakland Raiders on Monday, raising eyebrows on whether they would trade up from their 4th pick to take him.  Their interest in Murray could also be part of a ploy to make sure other talent is available for their pick. Expect some interesting maneuvers in the next few weeks in anticipation of the April 25th NFL draft.

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Michigan State Ousts Duke, Auburn OT Victory Over Kentucky, Texas Tech & Virginia Round Out Final Four, Luck Marries College Sweetheart

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An exciting weekend and some big upsets in the NCAA tournament.  Michigan State beat #1 seed Duke and advanced to its first Final Four appearance since 2015 (their 10th all-time).  Michigan State’s Kenny Goins, a redshirt senior who was a walk-on, shot the three-pointer that sealed the win. According to NBA Legend and Michigan State alum, Magic Johnson, “College basketball won today. You see the team that’s been together for a long time win, and maybe that will help guys to say ‘well, I’m OK to stay, maybe I’ve got to work on my talent and my game.’ Because Michigan State (has) got a team full of those guys, and they did OK today.” Michigan State 68, Duke 67

In other NCAA Final Four news, #5 Auburn overcame #2 Kentucky 77-71 in a thrilling overtime victory, clinching its first final four berth in school history.

Rounding out the semis is Texas Tech and Virginia.

On Saturday, April 6th In Minneapolis, Virginia will face Auburn at 6:09 pm EST and Michigan State vs Texas Tech at 8:49 pm. EST.

FOOTBALL

Over the weekend in Prague, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck married his longtime girlfriend Nicole Pechanec. Luck and Pechanec were both elite athletes and classmates at Stanford University. Pechanec was captain of the gymnastics team and represented the Czech national team in the World Games and European Championships.

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