Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dontcha No!

Monday night Tampa's Matt Garza pitched the 5th no hitter in MLB this year. Of course this was really the 6th No-No of season if you count Detroit's Armando Galarraga's perfect game that wasn't. This seems to be a recurring theme. 2010 has already been declared "The Year of the Pitcher." MLB has basically seen 3* perfect games and we've yet to reach August!

Some are saying the value of a no hitter has diminished. Many are crediting the rising number of no hitters to the end of the steroid era.  Another hypothesis is that today's pitchers are better athletes that throw the ball harder.

First off, the value hasn't decreased. How many of us can say they've witnessed a no hitter in person, or even watched an entire 9 inning game of pitcher throwing one on TV. Yeah, we've seen ESPN cut away to the 9th inning when a pitcher has a chance to make history. I'm sure if anyone actually saw a no hitter in person, they've saved their ticket stub. I guess this year's no hitters have even been more valuable since the average attendance at all 5 have been around 21,000. That can be contributed to the fact 3 of the 5 occurred in Florida.

From 1990-91, their were a total of 11 no hitters. In 1990, there were 6! This is where the steroid era becomes a factor. Many say the steroid era started around 1992 and ended last year. There was also expansion which occurred MLB in 1993 with Colorado and Florida, and again in 1998 with Tampa and Arizona. This may have diluted the talent in the game and now people are saying the playing field is leveling out. But if steroids were a such a huge factor, it wasn't only the batters who were juicing, but also the pitchers. So you would think the pitchers were able to throw harder and be able to last longer into games.

Don't tell me the pitchers being more athletic is the reason for the rise of the no hitter. David Wells pitched a perfect game! And he did this admitting he was hung over!

The fact their have been 5 (6) no hitters so far this season is merely a coincidence. A no hitter involves a lot of luck. Find me the stat at the number of one hitters in the history of baseball. I highly doubt you'll find that stat because there are just way too many. If you look at every no hitter, every one had a number of great plays made by the defense to save the no-no. Recently, we remember Austin Jackson's remarkable play in center field that kept Galarraga's perfect intact. Who can forget last year in Mark Buehrle's perfect game the spectacular catch made by defensive substitution Dewayne Wise at the wall in center field? Even last night, Ben Zobrist made a couple of great plays in right field to save Garza's no hitter.

The point is, a no hitter is still a sacred, rare occurrence which can happen anytime, by any pitcher. And a no hitter is also a "team" accomplishment. Any pitcher that has ever thrown one will first thank his defense playing behind him. We've seen that 5, really 6 times so far this season. As baseball fans, we should feel lucky we've had the opportunity to experience this rarity so many times this year.

Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens, two of the greatest pitchers of our era, never threw no hitters. At the same time, Mark Buehrle has thrown two. Even Hideo Nomo threw 2 no hitters!

Even the once untouchable Ubaldo Jimenez who threw a no hitter earlier this season, has 7.59 ERA in July!

Here's a great stat:

On June 3, 1995, Pedro Martinez, pitching for the Montreal Expos, pitched a perfect game through 9 innings. Pedro never got credited with a no hitter because the game was scoreless after 9. He lost the no hitter in the tenth innning on a Bip Roberts double down the right field line. 40 days later, Pedro's brother, Ramon pitched a no hitter versus the Florida Marlins!

And while we're on the subject of no hitters, along with Joe Dimaggio's 56 game hit streak, Nolan Ryan's 7! career no hitters will never be matched. Sandy Koufax threw 4 career no hitters. The great Cy Young hurled 3.

List of MLB No Hitters

Monday, June 7, 2010

Allen's Record Setting Night Sets The Tone, Series Tied 1-1

After a disappointing Game One, the Boston Celtics leave Los Angeles with what they came for: a split in the first two games. Led by Ray Allen's record setting performance from downtown, the Boston Celtics held off the Lakers 103-94. The Celtics now have the homecourt advantage and we officially have a series.

Allen had a night to remember as he broke the NBA Finals single game record for three pointers with 8. Allen tied the mark with 7 in the first half! Boston seemed to be in control of the game, leading by double digits in the first half, but Kobe Bryant nearly went Reggie Miller in the last 5 seconds of the half. After a Ron Artest miss (there were many of those last night), Shelden Williams threw a lazy pass that was intercepted by Bryant who then drained a three. On Boston's inbounds pass, Bryant again stole the ball and heaved up another three pointer that rattled in and out as time expired.

Despite Ray Allen's shooting clinic, Kobe had cut the lead to six as the teams headed into the locker room.

The second half seemed to swing in the Lakers' favor as they quickly took the lead. But Bryant fell into foul trouble picking up his fourth midway through the third quarter. Kobe was forced to sit and Boston kept the game close.

With just under 6 minutes left in the game. Bryant converted an "and 1" three point play to put the Lakers up three. This looked like the Black Mamba's time to break out and take control of the game and give his team control of the series. However it wasn't the game's greatest closer who took over, it was the game's newest star.

Through the first game and three quarters of Game Two, the Lakers were able to contain Rajon Rondo. That seemed to be the success for the Lakers in Game One. No one had been able to hold down Rondo in the Playoffs.

After Kobe had given the Lakers a three point lead, Rondo scored Boston's next six points on easy driving layups. The dagger was Rondo's midrange jumper with under two to play to give Boston a 95-90 lead.

Kobe got uncharacteristically cold down the stretch and couldn't will his team to victory. Everyone was waiting for Bryant to take over, but it never happen.

After two games in Los Angeles where Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce failed to show up last night, the series is somehow tied. Yeah, Rondo was clutch in Game Two, but it was Ray Allen scoring 27 of his 32 points in the first half that gave the Celtics the spark they were so desperately needing.

Rondo finished with his second triple double of this postseason and 5th postseason triple D overall. He had 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. I still don't understand how this guy gets an easy 12 boards? While the bigs are down low fighting for a rebound, Rondo is making a living running just inside the free throw line grabbing loose ball rebounds.

Maybe the biggest question through the first two games has been the officiating. That always seems to come up this time of year. Kevin Garnett was on the floor for 24 minutes last night. Kobe Bryant got into foul trouble early and often and Phil Jackson was forced to sit Kobe more often than usual.

It's the NBA Finals, we don't want to see the stars on the bench. These are supposed to be the best referees the NBA has to offer. These guys should know all about Derek Fisher and Paul Pierce's flopping. At times, they do seem to let the guys play, but the questionable fouls are usually little tick tac, low contact calls.

The Lakers shot 15 more free throws than the Celtics. However, both teams were whistled for 29 fouls each. So in a way, the referees have been consistent with each team, but there's a lot of times where they need to swallow the whistle. At times, players aren't on the floor long enough to find their rhythm

The difference in the game was easily Boston shooting a "redonkulous" 68.8% (11-16) downtown! The Lakers were just 5-22 from behind the arc.

Also, the Celtics got great production off the their bench as Rasheed Wallace had 7 points/ 7 rebounds, Glen Davis put in 8 points/7 rebounds, and Nate Robinson, again!, got off twitter and put in 7 crucial points off the bench when Boston needed to rest Rondo.

As for the Lakers, Ron Artest was Ron-Ron, shooting 1-10! for six points. Lamar Odom played a total of 15 minutes with only 3 points off the bench as he to got into foul trouble.

In a game where Paul Pierce was just 2-11, he already said Boson won't be coming back to LA. Careful Paul, you don't need to wake up a sleeping Mamba. Now the Lakers have to win at least one of three in Boston or else Kobe will have to go back to hearing about how good Shaq was.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tweets of the Week 5/27/2010

It was the week of Lost. After six spectacular seasons, Sunday night we said goodbye to some old lost friends. In a way, I feel like we all got a little bit "played" by the show. We knew in the first season that they had to have died in the plane crash. I mean you're trying to tell me that for six years there was; this magical island, people could time travel, there was a smoke monster, a paralyzed guy could all of the sudden walk, a heroin addict comes upon a crashed plane filled with...heroin, and an obese guy couldn't lose weight while stranded on an island. Really! That fantasy land doesn't exist?

Next thing you're gonna tell me is that Boston will have two professional sports franchises blow 3-0 series leads in the span of a month.

That goes to show you just how great the writing was for this show. They kept you on edge and always coming back for more.

I'm sure you all tweeted across the tweets, but they're all worth retweeting.


FakeJSterling In honor of tonight's Lost finale: Gehrig, Berra, Munson, Ford, Mattingly, Rivera... Gehrig, Berra, Munson, Ford, Mattingly, Rivera...

9:15 AM May 23rd
(I thought the producers were Red Sox fans?)

Justin_Stangel Saw black smoke around my neighbor's house. Thought he was having a Lost party. Turns out his house was on fire.

8:08 PM May 23rd
(And that plane crash on the front page, a hot set.)

JPosnanski: Lima's Time.
11:31 PM May 23rd via TweetDeck

jimrome Lima cont. And look at the date on the ball.
10:59 PM May 23rd
(RIP Lima Time)

jimmykimmel for definitive (if that is possible) analysis of the #LOST finale, read @EWDocJensen - always preposterously thorough

12:07 AM May 24th
HuskersGameday Nebraska is the winningest college football program over the last 50 years, both by winning percentage + number of wins.
6:58 AM May 24th
(You like apples?)

jennifersterger Here's a shorter link to the Maxim pics for easier retweeting
11:10 AM May 24th
(Just sit there and look good, girl.)

craigcalcaterra HBT Philly operative saw this t-shirt at CBP on Friday: "We have: 84 home games; Roy Halladay; tasers; your signs." #FullOfWin
7:57 AM May 24th
richarddeitsch Scroll down (to 7.3) to see where Lost ranks among all series finales. Fascinating list.
4:37 PM May 24th via web
(List of the most watched series finales. Pretty cool. I can't believe Alf cracked the top 25!)
digg_2000 "And this is what Disney princesses teach women....(pic)" -
3:48 PM May 24th via API
(Since my daughter is so in love with the Disney Princesses, this is great...and true.)
 si_vault SI Vault Photo (1995): Not to say Dennis Rodman was "ahead of his time" weird, but this was the SI cover 15 years ago:
12:48 PM May 24th 
(And you thought Ron Artest was crazy.)

darrenrovell1 Co-worker @mgreco27 just gave me best naming rts sponsor for Meadowlands Stadium: JetBlue. Genius.

9:19 AM May 26th

dbalke suggests new Meadowlands stadium name sponsor could be Green Giant

9:24 AM May 26th
(Couldn't come up with two better names.)

darrenrovell1 Bodog: Over/Under on kickoff temp at NY/NJ Super Bowl is 34.5 degrees. Will it snow? Yes (6/1), No (1/12)
11:14 AM May 26th
(I'm gonna bet the Unders and no snow.)

STATS_MLB Joakim Soria got his 100th career save today. He is third in #Royals history behind Dan Quisenberry (238) & Jeff Montgomery (304). #MLB
3:39 PM May 26th
(Talk about useless trivia. Very surprised the Quiz isn't at the top and Jeff Montgomery had that many saves...closing games for the Royals. Hey, the Royals really were good at one time.)

darrenrovell1 Strasburg card being auctioned on eBay surpasses the $16K mark
4:24 PM May 26th
(A good sign for the Washington Nationals and the future, if any, for baseball cards.)
StephonJohnson8 Best Photo Caption Ever (via @villagevoice) about Sex And The City 2: "Justin Bieber's grandmother and her friends"
7:30 PM May 26th
(God I hate everything about that show.)
netsfreak205 How many people can say they got two saves in a five hour span? Mariano Rivera can. #yanks
8:52 PM May 26th
(He's washed up!)

stevez33 I been there Big Baby many days rolling into the house like that at 3am
9:43 PM May 26th
(Haven't we all, not just last night.)

JimmyTraina A pissed off Hawk is a fun Hawk. RT @BrianDryfhout Here is audio of Hawk Harrelson's Rant At Joe West
9:48 PM May 26th
craigcalcaterra Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. Nicknamed "Curly-Haired Boyfriend" by Carl Everett. RT @petro03 CHB?
9:52 PM May 26th
(When I see one Dan Shaughnessy, I see one Frank Viola.)

GameDayFootball Won't be the case this season!
May 27
(Hey! College Football without Tim TeBow! Whatever will we talk about this Fall?)

richarddeitsch EW this week features 100 greatest characters of last 20 years: The Top 3? 1. Homer Simpson; 2. Harry Potter; 3. Buffy
May 27
(Buffy number 3? Really? I would definitely say Sam Malone in the top 5, but does he still qualify for the last 20 years? Holy shit! It sucks getting old!)

JimmyTraina Suns coach Alvin Gentry pukes -- WHILE ON THE SUNS BENCH:
May 27

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Running Out Of Magic

Wining just one of two in Orlando wasn't enough for the Boston Celtics.

While most teams would be happy splitting two games on the road in a series, the Celtics smelled blood. And let's face it, Boston is peaking at the perfect time. Other than maybe the Lakers , Boston has the best starting five in the NBA. Now healthy, the Celtics have proven they are one of the best teams in the playoffs.

So far in two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics have come out and controlled both games. In both contests, Boston has tanked in the fourth quarter only to show their resilience by holding on win both games on the road.

In game two, Orlando came back from a double digit deficit and actually took a one point lead late in the fourth quarter. Vince Carter showed his inexperience in big time playoff games, as he missed two crucial free throws which could have cut the Boston lead to one point with just over 30 seconds to play.

The Magic hunkered down and played defense one last time and J.J. Redick rebounded a Kevin Garnett miss with about seven seconds remaining. Redick took the rebound and dribbled the ball up court, wasting a few seconds before calling timeout. What was Redick thinking? You really wouldnt' expect that type of play from someone who went to Duke. But maybe Redick thought he was still playing college ball. So instead of the Magic down three and inbounding the ball at halfcourt with seven seconds left, Orlando had to inbound the ball behind halfcourt with just over three left to play.

Redick inbounded the ball about 10 feet behind half court! Why throw the ball so far away from the basketball with barely any time left? Jameer Nelson wasn't able to get a decent shot off and the Celtics won Game Two 95-92.

I don't mean to be hating so hard on Redick , because in his defense, he shouldn't have to be the second leading scorer for the Magic.

Orlando needs to wake up! In the first two games they haven't played with a sense of urgency until the fourth quarter when it's been basically too late.

The reason the Magic find themselves down 0-2 falls all on Rashard Lewis. Lewis is a guy making over $100 million! He was so key to Orlando's run to the finals last year.

Through two games, Lewis is 4-16 from the field, 1-9 from downtown for a total of 11 points! Through two games! This coming from a guy who in his career, averages nearly 17 points a game and shoots almost 40 percent from downtown !

That's the reason why the Magic are down 0-2.

Yes, Jameer Nelson being a no show in game two doesn't help. But what's even worse, the Celtics were able to win on the road with Ray Allen only scoring only six points and Garnett with only 10!

Rajon Rondo again is proving he just might be the best player in the NBA. No one has been able to stop him. What makes Rondo so great is how well the Celtics move without the ball. We know Boston can play defense, but on the offensive side, the team moves so well without the ball.

Paul Pierce told the Orlando crowd, "See you next year," as he was leaving the court. Pierce also tweeted something about getting the brooms out. Not only is Boston healthy, they're experienced and confident.

Rajon Rondo is the key to not only the Boston Celtics, but the entire playoffs. You can't stop the guy. If you try to stop him, the Big Three are gonna kill you. The guy can score now, too. If he drives to the basket, he's gonna draw attention which is gonna leave to wide open shots for other players. What ever happened to LeBron going to step up and defend Rondo? What happened there?

I can't wait to see until Derek Fisher and the Lakers try to contain Rondo! Better yet, what will Phil Jackson say to attempt to get into Rondo's head? And you know any day now Phil is already plotting about the inevitable NBA Finals of Celtics/Lakers that he'll make a premature comment.

One person who feels a lot better about himself is LeBron James. Boston has been the best team in the playoffs, and hey, Cleveland beat them twice.

Another Celtics/Lakers series is pretty much a for sure thing and the one thing that will not only save these lackluster playoffs, but maybe draw some attention from the "Summer of LeBron ."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

LeBron Loses His NBA Crown

In just one game, LeBron James' legacy took a monstrous fall.

It may have only been one game, but it was the biggest game of the season for Cleveland, and maybe the biggest game of LeBron's career. However, LeBron was a total no show! I'm still convinced that was not LeBron James wearing number 23 for the Cleveland Cavaliers last night.

That guy wearing number 23 last night was not aggressive, showed no emotion, and no intensity. The guy looked lost, like he had never been on a basketball court before. The guy was dribbling the ball off his feet! We know the elbow is just fine; he proved that in Game Three.

So what was LeBron's problem?

Yes, we have to give the Celtics a lot of credit. They did a great job of defending James and closing the inside.

With that said, this is LeBron we are talking about.

His jump shot last night was just God awful. He had many great looks, but he wasn't even close on most of his shots. James didn't score his first field goal until halfway through the third quarter, and that was on a break away dunk. He finished just 3-14 for 15 points! LeBron shot the ball just 14 times in the biggest game of the series? Two of the three field goals were lay ins!

Cleveland started out strong. They led 23-20 at the end of one. They jumped up to a 29-21 lead early in the second quarter. The Cavs had Boston's back against the wall at home. Instead of maybe LeBron taking over, Boston went on a 16-0 run on the road at Quicken Loans Arena! That is just totally unacceptable!

LeBron looked to be just trying to get his teammates involved. That's great, but only to a certain point. There was a time when the two time MVP should have taken over, but it never happened.

Boston was only up by six points at half, even with James failing to hit from the floor. Cleveland was far from out of it.

Unfortunately, the second half was ugly. Boston outscored Cleveland 70-44 in the second half.

I think it's safe to say now: LeBron is not who we thought he was. He's no longer the "King". He's not the savior or the next Michael Jordan. After last night's performance, LeBron should be stripped of his MVP award.

Last night was just unacceptable for LeBron or any MVP. If the award can't be taken away, James should have just came out and gave it Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard or Kobe Bryant.

It's ridiculous to think that LeBron could win a championship simply by himself, but he's come close. In 2007 he single handily took the Cavs to the NBA Finals, highlighted by his 25 consecutive points in Game 5 vs. Detroit. After that round, Cleveland then went on to get swept by San Antonio.

In 2008, LeBron was a couple of shots away from upsetting these same Boston Celtics in a Game 7 at Boston.

Of course last year, LeBron and the Cavs seemingly ran into a brick wall when they were ousted by the Orlando Magic.

But this season LeBron had the best supporting cast of his career. It's easy to say now that the Celtics are just a better team than Cleveland, but by a 32 point margin on Cleveland's home court? Boston just might be better now than in 2008. They're healthy and Rondo is far and away the most improved player in the game, probably even one of the top five best players in the NBA.

I've said it before, give Doc Rivers a lot of credit. His team faced many injuries and struggled throughout the season. He kept the team just above water, knowing all they had to do was play .500 basketball and they'd be in the playoffs. Now they're peaking at the perfect time.

We measure greatness by championships. Last night showed us that LeBron James does not have the determination, the willingness, or the killer instinct to be a champion. We saw Jordan, Olajuwon, Kobe, Shaq, Duncan, and Wade take their teams and the pressure on their backs and will them to victory.

After this season, James will still be ringless. A ring may seem farther away from LeBron now than ever.

As of now, LeBron fits in the same category as Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, Chris Webber, Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash. All remarkable NBA players, but just not champions.

Dare I say it, but LeBron's not much different than what a healthy Tracy McGrady could have become.

Just how bad was LeBron's performance last night?

Nobody is giving Cleveland any kind of chance of winning Game Six on the road. LeBron has one final chance to win back respect, but nobody sees it happening. Where LeBron will play next year is already the most popular question today, not "Can Cleveland win Game Six?"

Now the misery continues for the city Cleveland. LeBron will most likely be out and Head Coach Mike Brown is done. The franchise is dead, and they still have a Game Six to play on Thursday. Even by some miracle (yes, it's come to that) the Cavs are able to come back and win this series, there's no way Cleveland is getting by Orlando.

Last night could have even cost LeBron a lot of money. Do you think the Knicks and Bulls might be a little skeptical of LeBron's capabilities? They might both be gunning for Dwayne Wade now.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Jekyll and Hyde:Cavs Show True Colors By Destroying Celtics

After Boston had outplayed Cleveland for the better part of Games One and Two, it looked like the Cavaliers and LeBron's elbow were in serious trouble. A game later, the Cavaliers are back in the driver's seat and are once again a force to be reckon with.

In last night's Game Three, Cleveland gave Boston it's worst home playoff defeat, crushing the Celtics 124-95. After Boston's near-perfect Game Two in Cleveland, the Cavaliers brought out their maroon and gold uniforms and made a statement on the Celtics home court.

Cleveland jumped all over Boston and led 36-17 after the first quarter, and never looked back. LeBron showed his elbow would not be a factor as he single-handily outscored the Celtics 21-17. The Cavs led 65-43 at halftime and continued their dominance in the second half, outscoring Boston in every quarter.
After Game Two, Cleveland coach Mike Brown said his team would have to go out after it, nothing would be given to them. His team responded by doing just that and making the game look like Boston gave it to them.

LeBron was unstoppable, hitting from all areas as he shot nearly 64 percent from the field, including 2-for-3 from downtown. When James is hitting his jumpshot, he becomes even more lethal as the inside game opens up allowing LeBron to take the ball to the hoop.

LeBron finished with 38 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. If his elbow was in pain, it didn't show from the free throw line where James was 8-for-9.

But of course James is only good as his supporting cast. In Game Three, they were excellent. Along with James, Cleveland had a total of six players in double figures. Antwan Jamison was huge with 20 points and 12 boards. Shaquille O'Neal put in 12 points and nine rebounds. Anthony Parker finally showed up with 11 points, hitting 3-of-3 from downtown. Mo Williams was himself again, scoring 12 and handing out seven dimes. And Delonte West contributed 14 off the bench.

As a team, Cleveland shot nearly 60 percent for the game, 41.7 percent from downtown, and 91.2 percent from the line.

The Cavs were finally able to contain Boston's Rajon Rondo. Rondo had been so effective in Cleveland creating easy shots for his team, but finished with only eight assists in Game Three.
Paul Pierce has been struggling in all three games so far, and last night was his most dismal performance. The truth is, Pierce shot just 4-15 from the field with 11 points.

Ray Allen also struggled, shooting 2-7 for seven points.

Cleveland has regained home court advantage and control of the series. If they can keep up this play in Game Four, the Cavs may not have to go return to Boston for a Game Six.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Celtics Dominating Third Quarter The Key-Series Now Even 1-1

After last night's 104-86 beat-down victory by the Celtics, Boston and Cleveland are tied 1-1. As the series now heads to Beantown, the Cavaliers are lucky that they're not down 2-0.

With the first two games of the series in the books, the Celtics have outplayed the Cavs 6 of 8 quarters. In Game Two, Boston put up a near-perfect performance, with the exclamation point coming in the third quarter, as they outscored Cleveland 31-12.

Boston shot 51 percent from the field and was 9-19 from downtown! By shooting the ball that well, Cleveland was not able to get their transition game going to create easy shots.

And the best player on the court during these two games may not be MVP Lebron James, but Boston's Rajon Rondo. Yet again, Rondo had his way with Cleveland's defense— getting to the basket and creating easy shots for his teammates.

Last night, Rondo tied the franchise playoff assist record with 19. Through two games, he has 31 dimes.

Physically, Lebron seemed just fine, with no sign of his infamous elbow slowing him down. James had a somewhat typical night— 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists shooting just under 50 percent from the field.

At times, the newest two-time MVP tried to become a jump shooter and not attack the rim. He made a lot of careless passes and once again received little help from his teammates.

Cleveland's X-factor in Game One, Mo Williams, was just 1-9 from the field with only 4 points. Lebron's biggest help came from Antawn Jamison ( 1 6 points) and J.J. Hickson (13 points off the bench).

Zydrunas Ilgauskas has gone missing this series. He played about five minutes in Game One and did not play at all last night. He's only attempted one shot in the two games. Cleveland needs Ilgauskas's outside jump shot to bring defenders out, opening up the inside for Cleveland's smaller lineup.

If there was an X-factor this game, it was Boston's Rasheed Wallace. 'Sheed finally showed up for the playoffs, coming off the bench with 17 points, with 7-8 from the field including 3-4 from downtown.

That's the Rasheed Wallace we've seen many times in the playoffs before. He's just had a very quiet and forgettable season this year with the Celtics. If Boston can continue to get that kind of input from Wallace, then they could easily be champions yet again.

You really have to give Boston head coach Doc Rivers a lot of credit. We all knew the Celtics had a very talented, if not old and injury-prone, team. Throughout the season, Rivers rested his veterans as the team did not dominate the Eastern Conference and finished as a No. 4 seed.

During the season, all the Celtics had to do was stay above .500 and they'd make the playoffs. That strategy seems to have paid off.

As for Cleveland, it's Lebron versus everyone else. The team has once again failed to give the guy any real help. Their biggest acquisitions this year have been a washed up Shaquille O'Neal and a decent (at best) Antawn Jamison.

O'Neal looks out of shape and is a far cry from the dominating center he once was.

The first two games of this series have felt very similar to last year's Eastern Conference Finals, when Cleveland struggled against Orlando. Like Orlando last year, Boston just seems to be a lot better team than Cleveland. Both teams have exploited Lebron's sub-par supporting cast.

Now if Cleveland wants to get back in this series, that supporting cast needs to step it up consistently.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What Dez Says

Remember the good old days when at a job interview you might have got thrown a curve ball question like, "If you were a flavor of ice cream, what flavor would you be?"

One of the biggest stories last week was the news that Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland asked 1st round draft prospect Dez Bryant, "Was your Mom a prostitute?"

That interview question heard around the world immediately cast a shadow of not only Ireland's career, but the Miami Dolphins' organization. Ireland apologized the next day, which was the right thing to do.

Later in the week, the Dolphins gave their side of the story. According to Dan LeBatard's tweet, here is something how the interview process went according to the Dolphins:

Dez Bryant denied any of this ever happened.

First off, under no circumstances Ireland should have asked if Bryant's Mom was a prostitute. If Bryant said his Dad was a pimp and his Mom worked for his Dad, that would be enough information.

Second, if Bryant is lying, stating this was not how the conversation played out, then the Dolphins made the right move by not drafting him. I bet in just about every interview process, no matter the type of occupation, the potential candidate's honesty is probably one of the main attributes they look for in a person.

If Bryant would lie about this conversation, he would more likely lie to his organization at some point in the future.

I'm not saying Bryant lied. I think the Dolphins were really considering drafting Bryant with their first pick. Miami had recently traded Ted Ginn, a former first round pick from a few years ago. So Miami was in the market for a stud wide receiver. The Dolphins, like just "about" every other professional sports organization wanted to be 100% sure who exactly they would be investing millions of dollars in.

I wonder if Miami had this interview with Bryant before or after they traded Ginn. If the interview happened after, Miami may be regretting getting rid of Ginn.

At the same time, how a person was raised, what kind of neighborhood they grew up in, doesn't always reflect an individual. And hey, an NFL team basically wants a receiver for one thing, to catch the football. But the NFL is ruled with the iron fist of Roger Goodell and his strong zero tolerance policy. Dez Bryant has already had character issues in his young life, so you have to look at Bryant as a possible risk for your organization. What if he screwed up and was suspended? You can't catch touchdowns if you're not on the field. Maybe the Dallas Cowboys are regretting their first round pick now?

Look at Joba Chamberlain for the NY Yankees. He grew up in Lincoln, NE. Not a place known for rough neighborhoods. But in the past two years, Joba was cited for DUI and just recently his mother was thrown in jail for meth. But all of this doesn't make Joba a bad guy and probably doesn't really affect his performance on the field. But you'd have to wonder if these two incidents occurred before Joba was drafted, it really would have hurt his stock.

Even though he'll be playing for the Dallas Cowboys, I hope Dez Bryant has a brilliant career. But even now more than ever, you have to question his character.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lebron, Cavs Come From Behind To Take Game 1

The elbow is just fine. Maybe to the average person, a slight elbow injury would affect one's performance. But remember, Lebron is anything but average.

Lebron James put on another usual and solid performance as the Cleveland Cavaliers came from behind to take Game 1. The Cavs were down most of the game, even double digits in the third quarter. Lebron was himself, but it was Mo Williams who provided the spark Cleveland needed.

Ray Allen drained a 3 to put Boston up 69-58 with about 6 minutes left in the third quarter. You were starting to get the feeling that the Celtics were now healthy and peaking at the right time. With Lebron on the bench, Mo Williams scored the next 10 points for the Cavs to cut the Boston lead down to 5. Williams finished the game with 20 points, 6 dimes and 5 boards.

Lebron hit a layup at the end of the third to give Cleveland a 79-78 lead as the Cavs closed out the quarter on a 21-9 run.

You started to contemplate thas this was for sure Lebron's last hurrah in Cleveland. If they don't win it all, why would the guy stay. The team really hasn't given him anything. What, a washed up Shaq? Antawn Jamison? Yeah, how did all those players the Wizards departed with end up? Coren Butler and Brendan Haywood were suppose to get the Mavericks over the hump.

With the crowd back into the game, Cleveland held on to win the game. Lebron's 3 sealed the game with 23 seconds left as the Cavs won 101-93.

James shot 50% from the field for 35 points and added 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals.

For Boston, Rajon Rondo nearly willed the Celtics to a Game 1 road win single handily. For much of the game, Rondo was the best player on the court for the Celtics, putting up 27 points, 12 assists and 6 boards. However, Rondo scored only 3 points in the crucial fourth quarter (all from the line).

The "Big 3" for Boston? Kevin Garnett was consistent with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Paul Pierce was all over the place shooting 5-17 for 13 points. Ray Allen had 14 points.

Probably the biggest factor for the Celtics' loss, and what's hurt them all year, is their bench. Cleveland outscored Boston 26-12 in bench points. Yeah, Delonte West comes off the bench for Cleveland, but might as well start over Anthony Parker. The Cavs got 11 points from J.J. Hickson in just under 12 minutes off the bench.

But when you rely on Rasheed Wallace, Tony Allen, Glen Davis and Michael Finley (that's right, Michael freakin Finley!) off your bench, you're in a lot of trouble. "Big Baby" Davis is decent. But that's no Leon Powe or Eddie House who were crucial in Boston's championship run two years ago. How come Doc Rivers never plays Nate Robinson? Robinson is very inconsistent but at times could provide some quality play off your bench. Why did you ever bring the guy to your team then? Is he hurt? Is he too busy on Twitter? Why don't you just suit up Brian Scalabrine?

This series still has the potential to go 6 or 7 games, and should be fun to watch Lebron take on the entire Celtics team by himself. But I really doubt any of these two teams can get by the Orlando Magic who should be well rested by the time the winner of this series advances.

If anything, tonight Lebron seemed to overcome the growing pains that come with winning in the NBA. For Cleveland, lets just hope the rest team can continue to come through.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hey, A Jimmy Sighting

Oh Jimmy!

Let's not forget Jim Goldstein. You remember him, right. The guy who has made millions in real estate in Los Angeles. But yet, gets front row tickets and dresses like in the same leather clothes year after year.

He always seems to show up come NBA playoff time. I finally got a picture of him sitting about 2 seats down from Phil Jackson at last nights Lakers/Thunder game in Oklahoma City.

From what I've heard, he's a great guy who loves basketball. He must, cause he has season tickets to the Clippers.

But it's always spooky when you noticed the guy lurking in the background of a great NBA Playoff game. I've always said he reminds me of the evil character in the crappy horror movie "Jeepers Creepers." Yeah, I've seen that movie. Fuck, I've even seen the sequel.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Morality Wins The Masters?

It was Tiger's party, and who else but Phil Mickelson would crash it.

In what was maybe the most anticipated PGA Tournament ever, Tiger Woods' received outstanding applause throughout the entire course at Augusta. In the first two rounds, Tiger showed very little rust in his first competitive appearance after one of the most bizarre absences of any professional athlete.

Tiger was lurking, in the hunt, seemed poised to make one of his patented moves to take over a Major PGA Tournament.

In the end, it was his Phil Mickelson, a man the media had always proclaimed as Tiger's only true rival, who put on the Green Jacket.

Mickelson took control on Saturday when he had consecutive Eagles and just missed a trifecta by a couple of feet. On Sunday, Mickelson only grew stronger as he played a bogey free final round of golf at perhaps one of the toughest courses in the world.

Mickelson was always seen as the choke artist. The Buffalo Bills and city of Cleveland rolled into one. As usual, Phil had his choke opportunity on 13. He's been labeled as "reckless" and a "gambler." 90 percent of the time, Phil would choke. But on Sunday, Mickelson hit a ball through the trees, barley making the green. The shot will probably be the shot that defines his career. If he comes up a couple feet short, the ball falls into the water and the legend of the greatest choke artist continues.

A week earlier, Mickelson had said he wanted to be paired with Tiger in the opening round of The Masters. Maybe Phil needed Tiger more than Tiger needed golf.

When it was all said and done, Mickelson walked off 18 to a roaring applause to be greeted by his family. We know the story his family has endured this past year. Before Phil had even won, the story had already been written.

Good prevails over evil. Truth over cheat. Morality wins the weekend.

Ahh, the feel good story of the year.

The funny thing is, all these people who were praising Mickelson and demonizing Woods, were the same people praising Woods two years ago at the 2008 US Open.

How soon we forget. Tiger had just come off knee surgery and basically limped his way to an 18 hole playoff victory. Tiger was greeted by his wife and daughter on the 18th. It was a picture perfect moment. A Kodak moment. A Hallmark moment. Tiger was perfect. A family man. He had won this moment for his family, a day after Father's Day.

Now, two years later, we're saying the same about Phil Mickelson, at the same time creating the same Tiger Woods as a villain. Is that fair? No, life isn't fair. Yes, Tiger cheated on his family and commited adultery. But do any of us really know Tiger and Phil? Can we really label one as a true hero and the other a villain?

That's the easy way out. That's what the world wants to hear. The good guy won. Would we say the same if K.J. Choi or Lee Westwood had won?

What happened this past week was Phil Mickelson played the best 4 rounds of golf at The Masters.

We all cheered when Mark McGwire broke the homerun record with his son at his side and embraced the Maris family. We cheered when Kobe Bryant won three NBA Championships. Only later did we find out that these guys cheated in different ways.

All I'm saying is that we should not judge people we don't know. Because sometime down the road we'll realize we're wrong. You can google Phil Mickelson right now, and one of the first things that comes up is "affair." Yeah, it's all rumors, but so were Tiger's affairs at one point.

Let's just take it for what it is, Phil Mickelson playing four brilliant rounds of golf at one of the greatest courses in the game.

If Tiger had won, would the headlines scream, "Sympathy for the Devil?"