Thursday, February 26, 2009

And Boom goes the dynamite

One last thing on the Rihanna-Chris Brown situation and I’m done. Radio stations across the country have stopped playing Chris Brown’s music even though no charges have been filed. I’ve also heard word that stations have threatened to stop playing Rihanna’s music if she takes Chris Brown back after this is all over because it sets a bad example for young women. I think these ideas are ridiculous. If you are going to boycott the music of every musician who has ever allegedly been involved in some illegal activity, who is left? I mean I bought James Blunt’s album just like you did, but I don’t want to hear him all the time. Second, how can you boycott the music of a woman trying to go on with her life? If she goes back to Chris Brown, that’s her decision. Your thoughts?

Marion’s days of getting a big deal are over and if I’m Cleveland, I want no part of him. He’s proved he needs an up-tempo pace to succeed. Case in point: In 4 games with the Raptors, Marion has two double doubles. You’d have to go back to the middle of January to find his last two double doubles with the Heat. He didn’t get to run in Miami and he won’t get to run in Cleveland. Both teams play a “half court, watch our star operate and get out of the way” type of game. I think he’d be a good fit in a place like New Orleans. Chris Paul will get him some easy buckets in transition and even a few of those hideous three’s he has a thing for. Plus, he’s pretty much made it know that he’d rather be the star on a bad team than be a part of a great team. I can’t see too many teams throwing a lot of money at a guy built for one system, who can’t get his own shot, and is on the wrong side of 30. Not a good thing when his game is dependent on his athleticism.

Cleveland might have enough as it is to do some damage in the playoffs. They are in the two spot right now and could make up some ground with KG out for 2-3 weeks. If they can get the #1 seed, they are pretty much locked into the Finals because they’ve lost only one home game all season. Did you see LeBron the other night? During his 55 point game against Milwaukee he had a stretch where he scored 16 points in a little over two minutes.

I think the announcer wet himself. If he gets on like that, they won’t need anyone else.

You follow the NFL Draft/Combine talk much?

I caught a Youtube video of Siciliano’s “best” hits. Just dreadful stuff and if you ever want to jump him or anything, count me in. He kind of reminds me of this guy for some reason. I couldn’t find any video of Sargent other than her “incident” at ESPN. I will keep my eyes out for her, but I can’t understand why people get fired for saying obscenities on TV anymore. Racial slurs? Sure, but profanity? It was on ESPN News so who was offended? Dozens?

Speaking of ESPN, are you a fan of Rick Reilly?

UK was thrashed last night. South Carolina absolutely manhandled us. USC had 16 blocks. That is not a typo. They had 15 blocks in their three previous games combined. We were outplayed, outhustled, and outcoached. USC reminds me of Tennessee in the fact that they have compiled a team full of great athletes. The difference is they have a guy who can take over in Devan Downey, and a good coach in Darrin Horn that is teaching great athletes to play basketball as opposed to letting them run around. We had 20 turnovers, shot the ball terribly and Patrick Patterson had the quietest 28 points and 12 boards I’ve ever seen in my life. He was blocked numerous times, and late in the game went out of his way to attempt to dunk on USC. He was again blocked. I don’t even know where to start with this game. USC defended the basket better than any team I’ve seen all season, which is pretty much a triple dog dare for Jodie Meeks to kill you from outside. But he didn’t. He had 18 points on 11 shots which isn’t a bad night, but the team as a whole was terrified to go inside. Sam Muldrow and Domonique Archie combined for 11 blocks and defied anyone to enter the paint. UK was without Kevin Galloway, probably their best point guard and perimeter defender, and we missed him dearly. Michael Porter had 5 turnovers to 0 assists in 11 minutes. No starter had an assist. Liggins came off the bench with 7 assists, but shot 0-6. As a matter of fact, no one on the bench had a single field goal. Perry Stevenson, A.J. Stewart and Josh Harrellson combined to play 22 minutes. The three players that could have matched up the best with USC’s size and athleticism played 22 minutes. Gillispie instead tried to surround Patrick Patterson with 4 guards to spread the floor but forgot one thing: We can’t shoot. Other than Meeks, there isn’t one above average shooter on this team. This is the crew Gillispie hoped would spread the floor around Patterson and Meeks:

Liggins- 21% from the three point line

Ramon Harris- 19%

Darius Miller- 29%

Landon Sloane-28%

Why would you leave these assassins out there when you are getting killed inside? Would you not at least try a lineup of Harrellson-Stevenson-Stewart-Meeks-Liggins for an extended amount of time? Of course not, that makes too much sense. Gillispie’s lineup of bombers worked to no avail: 4-12 from beyond the arc, and Meeks hit all four. There was no spacing for Patterson and he had a bad game because of it. I think Coach Gillispie summed it up best after the game by saying, “It’s one of the best games I’ve ever seen a guy play inside.” Really, Billy? Even though 9 of USC’s blocks came against Patterson and he passed up open teammates and went away from the offense just to take on USC defenders? THAT’S the best you’ve ever seen?

It’s almost baseball time. I know this, not because my calendar tells me so or because I feel the weather getting warmer. I can tell because I am seeing Rays and Phillies hats galore. Hats I have never seen before. Are you seeing what I’m seeing?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Wouldn't Hit No Woman

As far as I'm concerned, hitting a woman is never okay (isn't that right, Randy?). Ever. I was thinking today when it might be acceptable, and here is the only situation I could come up with: if a woman is endangering your life in some very obvious way. Like, "She's running at me with a knife" kind of way. But even then I would probably try to grab her by the arms and guide her to the ground or something. Even in that extreme situation, I can't see myself hitting a woman.
But let's go with your example. Say Rihanna told Chris Brown that she gave him an STD (the early rumor floating around was AIDS, contracted from Jay-Z, but I don't put much stock in that at all), and he decides to give her "the 1-2" (your words). From what I've seen, he went above and beyond a couple of punches. Here's Rihanna before the incident...

And here is a police picture taken directly after the incident (link). I don't even feel right posting the picture here.
That looks like a full-on rageaholic beat-down. On a woman. STD or no STD, that's not okay.

Interesting take on the O'Neal/Marion trade. I can see the O'Neal view, but I'm just not buying it. If he can somehow get himself back into even serviceable form, then this is a great deal for Miami. If he stays the same injury-riddled, ineffective mess he's been for the past couple of years (and I see no reason why he wouldn't), then it will not end well.
Marion to Toronto makes little-to-no sense. It's a rental. I get it. But there's no way the Raptors will win the Championship this year, and Marion won't resign there. The only way it makes sense is if the Raptors wanted O'Neal out of town and wanted an expiring contract in return. And that could be the entire reason for the trade.
I can see Marion getting out of Toronto after the season, testing the waters, and getting a massive contract offer from a team. I'm going to guess that team will be Cleveland. It's their last year before the "Summer of LeBron", and they're going to do whatever is in their power to keep him there. Mo Williams has been playing great at point guard, and LeBron seems to like him. They're a force to be reckoned with in the East, and with the addition of a player like Marion...well, wouldn't they be the favorites out of that conference next year? The Celtics will be yet another year older, and that's never a good thing. Unless the Pistons can pull something together in the offseason, they won't be a major threat. The Magic should be great next year, but I'd still have to roll with the Cavs.

Andrew Siciliano is a walking diaper stain...and he looks like this:

He does the NFL Redzone Channel during football season, and he is also a talking head on FSN's Final Score (a half-hour show that shows the major highlights of the day's sports). He's completely smug and full of himself, and his jokes aren't even close to funny. He makes the same references every single show, and he always sounds a bit too pleased with himself.
In fact, while I'm talking bad about him, I may as well bring out Danyelle Sargent as well. She is this woman:

Although, to be honest, I've never seen her look this good.
She is also a talking head for FSN's Final Score, and my complaints with her are the same as that of Siciliano. Too smug. Too full of herself. Makes awkward references that are meant to be construed as "hip". And she giggles at her own jokes a bit too often.
For the record, she has also done some sideline reporting. She dropped an f-bomb while working for ESPNews. After getting fired for that bit of fun, she was hired by Fox Sports as a sideline reporter. After Mike Singletary became coach of the 49ers this year, she told him that she heard that he had immediately called his mentor Bill Walsh after the announcement. Two problems: Bill Walsh wasn't his mentor, and Bill Walsh was dead. So she got pulled off the sidelines to be a terrible sportscaster.
I just don't understand why these people still have jobs. I'm gunning for you. Siciliano. Sargent. I won't rest until you're out of television.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A little bit of everything

I had not heard about that article on Ledger but that’s a ludicrous idea. Yes, Ledger was fantastic in that movie and one will be hard pressed to find anyone to play the Joker that well, but come on. Taking nothing away from Ledger and his tragic death, but actors die all the time. Why not call for the retirement of Superman after the death of Christopher Reeve? If they were going to use Jordan as an example, a more apt comparison would have been the NBA retiring the position of shooting guard after Jordan’s retirement. No one will ever perform at that position better than Jordan did, so why not just retire the position all together? See how ridiculous that sounds? The retiring of the Joker is just as insane.

You’re on your own with the Chris Brown thing. Not to sound like I advocate beating bitches up, but there’s got to be more to this story. For a seemingly mild mannered Chris Brown, a man who watched his mother abused by past boyfriends, to snap like that doesn’t fit. I’ve heard many stories including one saying Rihanna was mad that he took a picture with another female. Not buying it. Chris Brown could have any woman under the age of 35 he pleased, and I’m sure he’s had quite a few of them. I know this. You know this. Rihanna knows this. A simple picture couldn’t have made her this mad, but then again I’d like to assume she’s a logical thinker, but she’s a woman so I know better (Kidding ladies…not really). I’ve also heard that she gave him a STD so he gave her the 1-2. Seems like a fair trade to me. One bright side of the situation is that it led to the following exchange between an interviewer and our old pal Soulja Boy.

Interviewer: I heard you went to your first Grammy award ceremony. How was it?

Soulja Boy: It was great. I got to see everybody. Beyonce (crowd cheers), Jay-Z (crowd cheers), Chris Brown and…(Crowd, interviewer and Soulja Boy all fall silent simultaneously.) Um, it was great.

Never got around to the Cool Kids and here’s why: Ruckus, where I go to download any CD, was recently shut down for seemingly no reason. I did find a friend with a plethora of CD’s and the Cool Kids were amongst them so I will try to get a hold of that and get my thoughts up here sometime soon.

Marion-O’Neal was a solid deal that made sense for both teams…but didn’t make sense for both teams. Let me explain, Toronto got rid of O’Neal, who was doing nothing for them, and gets Marion who will fit well with the up-tempo style they are trying to get going. It also lets them rent Marion and see if they want to re-sign him after the season. If they don’t like what they see, they let him walk and get his cap space. So far so good for Toronto. But here’s where the wheels come flying off: What are they doing with that cap space? Who was the last free agent that signed in Toronto? Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams? They can go over the cap to re-sign Bosh, so what will they do with that extra money?

For Miami, they get rid of an unhappy Marion and get a solid big man. Even in decline, O’Neal is better than what Miami had at the center position. This also lets them slide Beasley back into the starting lineup, which is another good thing. But Miami is kind of the opposite of Toronto, in the sense that everyone wants to sign there. Carlos Boozer intends to opt out and has showed interest in Miami. I wonder if O’Neal’s contract takes them out of the running to get him. Maybe it won’t because of teams afraid to spend big bucks and Boozer being injured most of this season, but if it costs them a chance to add Boozer after the season is over, you would think they would have rather kept Marion.

My thoughts on A-Rod are the same as they’ve always been. He’s phony. I refuse to believe any player that says they didn’t know what they were putting into their body. “I had no idea what I injected into my body over a period of 6 months even though being caught with this unknown substance could potentially hurt my career, endanger my life and damage the image I’ve worked on for years to keep spotless.” Second of all, he got it from his cousin? You really couldn’t think of a lie better than that? If I’m him, I go all the way out with this fabrication and pay a cousin of mine to play along with the whole thing. Either that or blame Ken Caminiti. It’s lower than low, but desperate times call for desperate measures. He and Cam were on that 2001 Rangers team and what easier out is there, than to blame a dead guy? What say you on A-Rod and steroids in the sport in general?

I’m still trying with the NHL. I was flipping channels the other night and caught a guy saying, “We’ll be right back with the rest of the Red Wings- Blue Jackets game!” I put the remote away and was going to finish watching the game and when they came back, the game was over. I guess the rest of the game was mentioning the final score and sending it to The Best Damn Sports Show. Hockey and Cool Kids will get done within the next week.

Fill me in on this Sicilliano character as well as your hate for him.

This past week the Bengals have been ridiculed again for letting TJ Houshmandzadeh walk and placing the franchise tag on Shayne Graham. I’m in the minority here but I think it was a good decision. Graham will likely be re-signed and we will avoid paying him the average of the top 5 kickers in the league. Even if we do have to pay him that, it can’t be that much and he’s an accurate kicker and the least of our worries so I’m glad he’s coming back. Houshmandzadeh on the other hand, can walk. He was a 7th round pick who exceeded expectations. He was a part of that magical 2005 season, I will never forget him and I wish him well wherever he goes. But we’re not getting any better by paying top dollar to a 32 year old possession receiver. Not to mention we drafted 3 receivers last year. I have faith that if we can keep Carson Palmer upright, he will find our receivers, whoever they are. Second of all, we had a healthy TJ this year and won all of 4 games, one of which without him. How much worse can we do without him? I can only pray we do the right thing and invest the money that would have been spent on him on our offensive line. Again, I wish TJ well and think he could do some damage on a team like Philadelphia.

On to the Magic. Judging from out .500 record since Nelson’s injury, it was obvious we needed to make a move if we were going to contend in the playoffs. And much credit to GM Otis Smith for doing just that. We traded Brian Cook and a first round pick for Rafer “Skip to my Lou” Alston. I’m a little surprised that we made a trade and I wish we could have kept a first rounder but we did get a point guard that has started on two playoff teams and played a big part in Miami’s playoff run the year before they won the championship. He has a history with Stan Van Dungy and played well under him. You can’t expect to get much for Brian Cook, a guy that never plays, and a pick that’s sure to be in the late 20s. Alston has two years left on his contract and I wonder how he will handle being Nelson’s back-up next season, but he is insurance in case Nelson’s rehab is a little off-schedule. If Nelson proves to be 100 percent next season, Alston has an expiring contract worth 5 million dollars that could fetch us another piece. Last night Alston made his debut on short notice. I mean really short notice. His jersey didn’t even have a name on it but he came off the bench with 3 points, 8 assists and 3 steals in just under 30 minutes of play. His 1-9 shooting left something to be desired, but overall Alston turned in a good debut. His acquisition keeps the Magic as a top 3 team in the East, with a chance to pick up some ground with the Garnett injury. He allows Courtney Lee to focus on becoming a spark off the bench and a defensive stopper and it lets Hedo Turkoglu expend his energy on getting his own shot instead of setting up others.

We played the Heat tonight and Alston started and played a great game. He played great with 12 points and 9 assists in only 29 minutes. We shot the ball well as a team and were unstoppable form behind the arc hitting 17 of 32. If we can hit like that, there’s not a team in the league that can beat us in a 7 game series. Dwight Howard looked great as usual with 32 points, on 11-14 shooting, and 17 rebounds. He also went 10-15 from the free throw line which is marvelous for him. Last game he went 3-4. The game before he went 8-15, but started by hitting 6 of his first 7. His tail-off was from a combination him throwing up a 45-19-8 on the Bobcats the night before and from having an exhausted Hedo Turkoglu refusing to get him the ball. Is he turning some sort of a corner? Maybe. I do know that he is hitting them in crucial moments and actually shows some disgust when he misses them. I can only hope this lights a fire and he aspires to work on them more.

The real story from the Heat game is how good Dwyane Wade is. I’ve went on and on about how good Courtney Lee’s defense is. He shuts down inferior opponents and makes the good ones struggle for their points. LeBron went 10-27 matched against him and Kobe went 10-26. Dwyane Wade is a different story however. In 3 games against the Magic, and Lee, Wade was went 16-29, 11-21 and tonight he scored 50 points on 17-30 shooting. He’s incredibly good and I have to wonder why he’s not in the competition for best player in the league along with Kobe and LeBron. His teammates are awful, yet they are in the 5th spot in the Eastern Conference and looking to move up with Jermaine O’Neal’s acquisition. If Wade gets them into the top 4, I think he’s the MVP, regardless of how the Cavaliers or Lakers finish.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Random, Random Thoughts

Have you seen this article? Here's the main point: a group of Heath Ledger/Batman lovers want to permanently retire the Joker from movies. Forever. If someone wanted to make a Batman movie in 75 years, they would not be able to use the Joker, because he would be retired. So they're a little crazy.
But here's my favorite line, "When Michael Jordan retired, they withdrew the number 23 jersey as an honor. It's the same thing with Heath."
That is a terrible analogy. Jordan's number was only retired by the Bulls. He played with the Wizards, but his number was not retired there.
By this analogy, they should be saying something like, "We think Paramount should not use the Joker anymore."
A much more accurate analogy would've been Jackie Robinson's 42, which has been retired across MLB. Of course, there are still problems with this analogy, but it's still closer than the one they chose.

I'm polishing up my baseball bat and going over Chris Brown. You with me?

You know, I don't think I ever got your views on the Cool Kids CD. Did you get a chance to listen to it?

I watched the All Star game. Blah. I think it gets worse every year. To be honest, I don't even remember much about it. That's how bored I was. And I'm one of the few people that still enjoys watching the NBA.

I'm a little upset by Nate Robinson winning the dunk contest. We get it. He's short. Let's just move on. Was it impressive that he leap-frogged Dwight Howard for his winning dunk? Yeah...he can jump high for a little fella. But we already knew he could jump high. He won it once. Unless he breaks out something truly unforgettable, he should not win it again.

I have two guys in the NBA that could pretty much do anything and I wouldn't bat an eyelash. One is LeBron (I feel like we've covered this), and the other is Dwight Howard. He put up 45/19 last night. I nodded my head and thought, "Yeah...sounds about right." Those guys are freaks. Absolute freaks. I love where the league is going.

I'm with you on LeBron entering the dunk contest next year. He has nothing to gain. Nothing. His game is power, not creative dunks. I'm sure he'll come up with something by next year, but I don't see his logic.

Thoughts on the Marion/O'Neal trade?

A-Rod thoughts?

I've been reading spring training reports like crazy. I'm ready for baseball season to start.

Tried any more NHL games recently?

I don't know if you know who this is, but I have to say it. I hate Andrew Siciliano like poison. He's rapidly becoming my least favorite sportscaster in history. I will destroy you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Roundball Ramblings

Just a few thoughts on a surprisingly mediocre All-Star break:

-The H.O.R.S.E. competition really had some potential, until it was sponsored and renamed G.E.I.C.O. You have got to be kidding me? The NBA is that hard up for cash? I won’t believe it. It also should have been later and better advertised but whatever. I also think they need to have better names in the competition. No knock on Mayo but he had no business being there. He’s a rookie and not a particularly good shooter. Durant put him out by shooting three’s. No granny shots or backwards attempts. Just regular three’s and Mayo couldn’t match him. Johnson is an All-Star and a good shooter, but has no personality. Personality is part of what makes a great game or great match of H.O.R…I mean G.E.I.C.O. Durant is a good choice because he’s a shooter, he’s averaging 25 a game this season and he’s 20 years old. He’s an upcoming star in every sense of the word. That is exactly what you need for this idea to take off: Stars. If you put some money on the line, you’re telling me Kobe is turning down another chance to prove how good he is at anything? If Kobe is in, LeBron will probably join. LeBron isn’t a great shooter, but he’s LeBron. Not to mention the great trash talking that would go on amongst those three.

- The game with the retired NBA player, the WNBA player and current NBA player has to go. Not now, but right now. There’s no point in it and no one cares.

-The Shooting Star competition had potential, but who wants to see point guards half assing basic drills? No one. That’s who.

- Not a lot of complaints about the Three Point contest. I’ve never been a big fan of it, but I always watch it. It just seems that certain people should always be in it. Among these people are Ray Allen, Peja Stojakovic and Steve Nash. Shooting is a skill that doesn’t diminish with age so who care if Ray Allen is 43 and Peja retired 2 seasons ago?

-The Dunk Contest was a big letdown. Rudy Fernandez did the best dunk of the night, and was ousted in the first round. This will explain the dunk much easier than I ever could. He took 10 or so attempts which lowered his score. New rules in the contest give each dunker 2 minutes to attempt their dunk, so we won’t have Chris Anderson trying the same dunk for 15 minutes. That’s fine. But if you do that, then don’t penalize Fernandez for taking much of his two minutes to complete a very difficult dunk. Dwight Howard also got a perfect score for his first dunk, which was good but not great. Things only went downhill from there. After that, Dwight had the crowd in his favor and brought out an 11 foot goal and dunked with ease on it. Nate Robinson appeared to be finished until he enlisted Howard’s services by dunking over him. Then Dwight responded with the traditional “Free-throw line dunk, only my foot was easily over the free-throw line” dunk. That dunk hasn’t been completed successfully since Flight White’s heyday. Why do people keep doing it? It’s kind of like the between-the-legs dunk is now. It was used too much in a short span so its lost its appeal. Next year, I think you bring in James White whether he is in the NBA or not, and this guy. I know I’ve thrown a lot of links at you, and if you only watch one, make it the last one I just posted.

LeBron James entered his name in next year’s Dunk Contest for some reason. What does he have to gain from this? If he wins, he’s supposed to win. If he loses, we get to hear about how LeBron can’t do what Kobe and Jordan did in winning the Dunk Contest. Also, is there any chance the Cavaliers even let LeBron participate with the off chance that he hurts himself? I was holding my breath during every Dwight dunk, praying that he didn’t come down awkwardly. I know LeBron can jump out of the gym, but how many creative dunks have you seen him do? He has the windmill and the one handed tomahawk down pat, but what else?

-The actual game. Feh. Shaq dancing during the intros was great. I know you’re not a big Shaq fan, but you have to admit no other player could pull off. Every other player, sans Dwight and LeBron, played the stoic role like they were trying to trick me into thinking that they weren’t about to goof around and throw errant alley oops for 44 of the next 48 minutes of the game. I foolishly thought the East would win until I realized they had 3 PG’s and no backup big man. This meant awful passes all night and no one to go against the backup big man for the West: Shaq. I know it’s an All-Star game and no one cares but why was an injured Chris Bosh replaced with another point guard? That makes no sense.

Also, something has to be done with the voting. Bruce Bowen was THIS close to starting over Amare Stoudemire. Bruce Bowen! Allen Iverson not only made the game, which is ridiculous, but he started. There are a few ideas to improve the All-Star weekend, but one of my favorites was letting the coach’s pick the 12 players and let the fans pick the starters among the group. Another great idea was getting the top 24 players together and picking 2 captains, maybe Dwight and LeBron because they were the top vote getters, and letting them take turns picking players for their squad. Who wouldn’t watch that? It’d be great to watch David West or Joe Johnson plead to be the last pick. I even say bring in 25 players so one person doesn’t get picked at all. America loves humiliation. People would watch that.

One random note because I have nowhere to put it: Pau Gasol is the best offensive big man in the league not surnamed Duncan. He runs the floor, has a great post game with either hand and gets 2 or 3 easy buckets a game just because he knows exactly where to be. He doesn’t have the range KG does, but he knows his bread and butter is in the low post and he sticks with it. He only gets 8 or 9 boards a game, but he taps so many more out to his teammates, that his own rebounding number could be close to 12 or 13. If he only tried on defense, he’d be a top 5 player in this league.

A little college basketball and I’m out of here. Kentucky won a game on the road against a subpar Arkansas game behind another great performance by Jodie Meeks. 45 points on 17-24 shooting and 7-12 on three pointers. He threw in 7 boards and 3 steals for good measure. Patrick Patterson sat out with a bum ankle and the team really stepped down to fill in for him. No one else on the team scored more than 8. I’ve been pining to get Darius Miller more minutes and in 27 minutes this game, he produced 8 points, 6 boards, 3 steals and a block. To be fair, I’ve also wanted more PT for Josh Harrellson who had more turnovers (3), than he did points, rebounds and blocks combined (2) in his 11 minutes. I still think DeAndre Liggins needs to start. He catches a rebound or outlet pass and heads toward the basket with speed only Meeks can match. He also kicks passes out to the three point line much more than the numbers show. There were a number of times I grimaced as Liggins barreled toward the basket, until at the last possible second he kicks the ball out to Meeks, usually for a good look at a shot. He could play with Porter because Meeks and Porter give him two shooters to kick the ball out to. Kevin Galloway also could use some more minutes. He had a great game against Florida with 6 points, 8 boards and 9 assists in 25 minutes of play. He’s a big guard and is always active on defense. He’s not a shooter but he does everything else and would do well with 15-20 minutes a game. This will never happen because omitting the Florida game, Galloway played 25 minutes total in the last month. A productive player getting more minutes makes too much sense. Go Cats.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A little more Favre and some puck

I watched the Penguins- Red Wings…well some of it. I caught the first 10 minutes of the first period. Then I switched the channel during a commercial and forgot all about it. Started watching some of the Spurs-Celtics game and then quit watching TV all together. Honest mistake. It’s not in my DNA to watch hockey so it’s going to take some work to get myself trained to remember it. I did like what I saw though so I do plan on catching another game. I’ve always been partial of the Blue Jackets. In middle school, I remember friends would talk about their hockey teams and I would come in out of nowhere to pretend I knew what I was talking about. They asked me who my team was and the Blue Jackets were just starting up then so I went with them. You said they come on FSN a lot so it works for everyone. I’ll try to catch at least one game this week and get back to you.

Rodriguez is on the juice. Am I shocked? Actually I don’t know. Love him or hate him, the guy is talented and I really thought he was doing it naturally, but I wasn’t surprised to hear he was on the stuff. These days, barring Juan Pierre, no one would surprise me if they were caught on the juice. My question with this is the same as it is with Bonds dirty tests leaking: Why is this stuff coming out now? Both happened years ago, and A-Rod’s was taken under the terms that it would remain confidential. Where are the rest of the names on that list? Also, does this mean that Ken Griffey Junior is the best player of this era (assuming he's not on the list)? With the "couple pounds", and I'm being generous, that he put it in his Cincinnati days, I think it's a safe bet that he is not. What say you on the situation as a whole?

The annual Favre retirement is right on schedule! Do you feel even a little bit sad, or with the Favre situation played out last year, does it barely register with you?

Why is Manny Ramirez still unemployed?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Super Bowl, Magic, and Hockey

Here's a football related question for you:
How is it that a punter can punt the ball and have a player run into him and it's a personal foul with the punting team keeping the ball, but a defensive lineman can repeatedly punch an offensive lineman in the kidneys and head, and it's a personal foul with the receiving team keeping the ball? Does that seem right to you?
I am, of course, referring to the Harrison play in the Super Bowl. Now, on top of the above injustice, the penalty was really only for 1/2 a yard, as the ball was downed at the 1. That play, above all others, annoyed me about the Super Bowl. But there was a play that was in close second.
It also involved Harrison, but this call was not his fault. After intercepting the ball at the end of the first half (a forced throw by Warner that had no reason to be), he took off for the end zone, somehow outrunning the entire Cardinals team. No one could touch him. But there's a reason for that. When he was around the 40, there was a massive (and completely noticeable) block in the back on a would-be-tackler. Not only was no foul called, but the announcers made no mention of it, and I haven't read a single column that makes mention of this. It was, quite possibly, the biggest play in the game, and a huge penalty has not even been mentioned yet.
And don't even get me started on Warner's "fumble" at the end of the game.

The best Super Bowl of all time? Not even close. The first half was terrible. The end of the game was exciting, though. Holmes' catch in the back of the end zone was incredible.

It is a shame about Nelson going down for the Magic, but Lue isn't a bad pick-up. Of course, I'm basing my knowledge of Lue off of NBA Live 2005. In that game, he's quick and can get to the basket seemingly at will. He will also knock down any mid-range jumper he pulls up for. I hated playing against that man. And lest you forget, this was the same game that I would trade for Korver in every Dynasty league I started...and look what he has done for Utah. I'm just sayin'...

Random NBA question for you: do you get the feeling that you could play against the Knicks at MSG right now and drop 50+ points? I'm not sure I could, but I'm pretty sure I could get to 30 fairly easily.

You want to get into some hockey? Alright...but let's set up some ground rules. You have to watch at least (at least) 5 games before passing judgment. You have to know a little something about the rules going in (or at least pick some of them up during the first game). If you have questions, go ahead and ask them. It would probably be a little more fun for you if you picked a team that you wanted to follow, but I'm not asking for you to do that right away. Watch a couple of games, and see if your loyalties are leading you in a certain direction. I feel more invested in a game if I'm rooting for a specific team.
I have a hard time telling you specific games to watch, as I'm not sure which ones are televised where you can see them. Do you have VS and/or FSN Ohio? If you do, you should be able to watch a couple of games this week.
Here's one to start with:
The Red Wings at the Penguins this Sunday, 12:30 on NBC. It should be a good game. As you well know, this is a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup. The Wings are in a bit of a slump right now, so they may not be at their best, but they're still pretty good. Start with that one, and we'll go from there.

I do have a list of teams you should try to catch during your NHL experiment:

Detroit Red Wings - Obviously, they're my favorite team. They're also a great team to watch. They have a number of great young players (Datsyuk, Franzen, Zetterberg) to go with some great older players (Lindstrom, Holmstrom, Chelios). They have great puck movement and play extremely well together as a team.

San Jose Sharks - They have the best record in the league, and they're a fun team to watch. Thornton has been amazing since he came over, and the rest of the team plays extremely well and hard.

Pittsburgh Penguins - They have two amazing players (Crosby and Malkin) as well as a terrific goaltender (Fleury). They may not have the overall team dynamic as the Wings or Sharks, but Crosby and Malkin work so well together. A fun team to watch.

Washington Capitals - Ovechkin is unreal. It seems like he's scoring 2 goals a game these days. The rest of the team is pretty good, but you really need to watch them for Ovechkin.

Columbus Blue Jackets - Okay...this is just a plug because it's the only team I can consistently watch. FSN Ohio shows nearly all their games, and I've really come to like this team. They're not the best, but they're getting better. Rick Nash is amazing, and their rookie goaltender (Mason) has been terrific this season. Like I said, they may not be the best, but I have enjoyed watching their games.

Try to watch one game from each of these teams before making a decision as to whether you like hockey or not. Like I said, catch the Wings at the Penguins this Sunday...that should be a good game to get you started.

(Ben, you know more about hockey than I do. Care to comment on this?)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Sad Day In Orlando

This is Carson Palmer all over again. That’s exactly what I thought when I heard about Jameer Nelson’s injury and its severity. If you haven’t heard, Nelson got dislocated his shoulder and tore his labrum in a strange play against the Mavericks,. He could try to rehab like hell and be back in several weeks, or shut it down and try again next season. Selfishly, I want Nelson to rehab and rush back but I know better. I hear he’s close to having surgery and effectively shutting it down for the season, and I can’t blame him. I’d much rather have him healthy for the next 10 years, than to rush back and have future complications from this injury.

Was Orlando going to win the Championship this year? Improbable, but certainly not impossible. Were the Bengals going to win the Super Bowl in 2005? I’d almost be willing to say no, but we’ll never know. We had a chance and that’s all a Bengal fan needed. But Palmer was taken away in a fluke play, much like Nelson was. I’d cry “unfair” but so goes sports. Nelson was finally getting his game and life together after questions of whether he could be a starting point guard for this team, and whether he’d ever be the same after his father drowning last year. Over the summer Nelson conquered his own fear of water and his play jumped a level. I’ve been watching him his entire career and for some of his college career so I know this season is not a fluke. The thing I really wonder about is how Nelson will be after he comes back. Palmer has been back and put up some good numbers since his injury, but he was never the same quarterback. Pre-injury Carson was a top 3 quarterback in this league. Post-injury Carson is top 10…maybe. In 2005 alone, Palmer had 11, out of 16, games of a QB rating over 100. Since then, in 36 games, he’s had 9 games of over 100 QB rating. I wonder how Nelson will bounce back, and to a greater extent, how his team will re-adjust to playing with him after losing him for so long. We may lose Turkoglu, Bogans and a couple others through free agency, so Nelson may be coming back to a different team than he left.

Orlando can choose to stay the course with Anthony Johnson, the backup PG. In his defense, Johnson went 4-1 earlier this season as starter, with his only loss coming to the Celtics. On the contrary, in his starts, he averaged a little over 7 points a game, 5 assists and shot 34 percent from the field and only played one team currently headed for the playoffs in Philly. I’d love to see a trade to bring a cheap, young PG in here for the rest of the season but seldom will you find one and it’s even less likely you find one on the trade block. Also, he’d have to be good, but not good enough to demand starters’ time when Nelson comes back. Adding to that, our only “valuable” trade assets are JJ Redick, and the contracts of Brian Cook, Keith Bogans and a trade exemption we have from trading Keyon Dooling. Not exactly enough to bring Chris Paul in here for the rest of the year. Hedo Turkoglu can opt out after the season and has easily outplayed his last contract and there is talk that he will move on for greener pastures. I honestly don’t think he will because the way we use him inflates his stats and other teams know this, and because he’s having a worse season than he did last season. If we seriously thought he would sign elsewhere, we could trade him now. I don’t want to trade him unless we get a dynamite offer, and even if we do trade him, we need a starting PF more than a PG. We could throw our names in the Marbury hat, and I mentioned earlier that I wouldn’t mind having him strictly as a backup. That was before he bought courtside seats to the Knicks-Lakers game and claimed to be shot in the head by teammates in an awful analogy. Cross him off the list. The last and most feasible option is to start Johnson, but limit his ball handling duties. Let Johnson bring the ball up some, Turkoglu will do a bit of it and I’d love to see Courtney Lee get his shot at running the point for stretches. Lee reminds me a bit of Rodney Stuckey: Both are 6-5 tweener guards drafted out of small schools to play the 2 guard, but show the versatility to play the 1 as well. Stuckey came on strong late last season, and his play this season forced Joe Dumars to trade a proven All-Star away to make minutes for him. I think Lee’s rookie year has exceeded Stuckey’s rookie year thus far, so I’m hoping Lee continues his ascent as a great player, much like Stuckey is doing now. Nelson’s injury could actually help the team in the long run if Lee is able to run the 1 or 2 when Nelson gets back, because Nelson is not a true point. I am talking myself into this because the alternative of the team bombing without Nelson isn’t nearly as fun. Whichever way we go, we have to bring in a back-up point guard, whether it be an over the hill player, an unproven young guy or a guy from the NBDL. Johnson is on the wrong side of 30 and an injury to him would derail us. I’d have no problem bringing in a guy like Damon Stoudemire or taking a chance on a guy from the NBDL, like Will Conroy. Conroy’s averaging nearly 26 points a game and 8 assists a night and I’m sure he’d bust his ass for some time on a NBA roster.

I had written all of the above and was ready to post last night, but the Magic had their first game sans Nelson and I wanted to see how things went. We played the Clippers, who are tied for the worst record in the league, and we thrashed them as we should have. The Magic won by 29 and it wasn’t even that close. Johnson had a dynamite game with 25 points, on 9-11 shooting, in only 27 minutes. This is bittersweet though. It’s good because he stepped up and hopefully gave his teammates something to believe in. It’s a bad thing though because I fear that GM Otis Smith will be suckered into standing pat because of Johnson’s big game. Turkoglu did most of the ball handling and according to reports, he was exhausted by the end of the 3rd quarter. While this was fine last night, because we were up 33 after 3 quarters, what happens when we need him in the 4th quarter against the Celtics or Cav’s? Courtney Lee played some back-up PG, and had a hot hand himself with 21 points on 9-10 shooting, but I’d still like some insurance for when/if he hits the rookie wall. Even Redick got some minutes at PG and had 4 assists to 0 turnovers, but I want no part of him playing PG. He’s just getting adjusted to being the 7th man; He doesn’t need another role to worry about. Our next two games are Indiana and New Jersey. Indiana is a struggling team and we should make easy work of them. New Jersey worries me a bit though, because Devin Harris could drive by Johnson at will all night so I suspect Courtney Lee will get a lot of time running the show, mostly because of his defensive efforts. I am a bit glad this whole thing happened before the All-Star break so the team can take it all in and hopefully come out on the other side of the break ready to go to war with whatever pieces they do have.

EDIT: The Magic just traded Keith Bogans for Tyronn Lue. Not a bad move, because we got traded an expiring contract for another expiring contract. I would have liked to see us wait a little longer because teams get desperate closer to the trading deadline but we bring in a veteran guard who has played with us before. Can't argue with that.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hockey? We talkin' bout some hockey?

Naturally, I’ll start with the big game. And what a game it was. I’m so glad the NFL delivers quality Super Bowls as opposed to the NBA Finals and especially the World Series. Roethlisberger played a great game, but the MVP went to the right person. Despite boasting after every first down, or any catch at all actually, Santonio Holmes played a great game and I’m glad to see the Super Bowl MVP go to a deserving player, when it recently has gone to the QB of the winning team. James Harrison had a claim for it, but threw it away with that foolish late hit that extended Arizona’s drive late in the game. I figured Pittsburgh would go into halftime, make some adjustments, and come out and blow Arizona’s doors off in the second half. They bottled Fitzgerald and his teeth in the first half, but went away from it in the second half and nearly dared him to beat them. And he damn near did. (By the way, did John Madden provide any insight other than noting how big and strong Big Ben was or how big and strong Fitzgerald’s hands were? Something you want to tell us John?) I questioned Tomlin’s choice to use his final timeout with around a minute or so left, but he then proved why he’s the Super Bowl winning coach and I am not. While it was a good game, I can't remember the last time I saw a Super Bowl with more costly penalties from both sides. If the Cards held on to that league, is there any doubt Pittsburgh's center comes up missing shortly after the game for that safety? Also, one ESPN, Santonio Holmes game winning catch has already been ruled the best catch in Super Bowl History. Really? Couldn't wait at least 24 hours to make that claim?

My question is this: If you are the Cards, do you re-sign Warner, knowing that another Super Bowl run is improbable but not impossible? Or do you thank him for his time and give Leinart the starting job? Same question could go for Kerry Collins and the Titans. I know Collins and Warner played great this season, but there’s no way you trade VY/Leinart or let that much money continue to sit on the bench for a couple of QB’s THIS close to 40 years old.

I’m in the same boat with you, but I’ve got one foot on the dock. I hate the week leading up to the Super Bowl, not just because of the inane stories, but because it makes me think. Think of a time where basketball is all I have. Kentucky basketball entertains me, but my hope is vested in the Magic. We’ve got to have a good season or I’ve really got nothing. There was a time when I longed for opening day in baseball but now I know better. I know the Reds will yet again trot out a mediocre team and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s weird because I dread baseball season in a sense, because I know the Reds will be awful, but I’m ready for training camp to start, even though the Bengals will probably be even worse. I’ve honestly thought about hockey because I need something else to hold my interest for a while. Tennis and golf have never done it for me. I can do soccer, but it has to be a big game for me to keep interest. Hockey is all I have left. Any good games coming up I could get my feet wet with?

I hear you on the best teams getting all the good calls. The Celtics are definitely the worst though. In Boston’s first meeting with Orlando, Pierce was set up to do the same move you described: The one where he charges, feigns a shot and throws the ball aimlessly and gets the foul anyway. This time Turkoglu recognized it, as did everyone else in the stadium. As soon as Pierce drove, Turk put his hands straight up and stopped. Pierce charged a shoulder into nothing but air and threw up a shot. And yet they still called Turkoglu for the foul. That’s another reason I want no part of the Celtics in the playoffs. The Celt’s, Cavs, Pistons and even Heat (well Wade at least) have all been there before and will get the benefit of the doubt. The Magic have not and it’s unfair. It’s really unfair. Ain’t that right T.O?I caught some of that Spurs/Lakers game and you know the calls are bad when the Spurs are leaning on the refs…and their gripes are legitimate! More on this in a minute.

The Magic played a good game against the Cavaliers but I'm not getting my hopes up. We played terribly in the first half and let Wally Szczerbiak go 5-5 on us. I don't think he's hit 5 shots all season. They were calling isolation plays for him for crying out loud! LeBron had 10 in the first quarter and appeared headed for a great game, but was nearly shut down by Courtney Lee and even Jameer Nelson at times. I can't say enough about Lee's defense. LeBron went 10-27 and while part of it was him settling for jumpshots, part of it was Lee hounding him and daring him to take those jumpers. Jameer Nelson's D is also underrated. There's nobody he won't defend. In the Boston game, he got matched up on KG a couple of times and everytime he bodied him and made KG work for a shot. I'm ecstatic he got into the All-Star game because he truly deserved it. In addition to settling for jumpers against athletically inferior (read: everyone) defenders, LeBron also has a bad habit of bitching to the refs. There's not a foul he hasn't been framed for. I hate players that whine like this but Dwight Howard is an offender as well. With Kobe and Duncan in the West, and LBJ and Dwight in the East, why even have refs for the All-Star game? There may be some actual tears shed when a foul gets called on someone.

You know, the thing about that UK loss, wasn’t even the turnovers. We had 10 against Ole Miss compared to 23, 22, 18 and 15 in our last couple games. If you tell me before the game that we turn the ball over 10 times, I tell you we win by at least 15. We were simply outplayed in nearly every category. Ole Miss shot better from the field, three point line, out rebounded us, out assisted us, and had more steals and just as many turnovers as we did. You can’t win like that. Meeks had an off night, and with him goes the team. The next game against South Carolina is the typical UK game. Meeks went for 20, Patterson went for 28, and the team had 21 turnovers to South Carolina’s 10. Porter had 4 assists and 4 turnovers, and Liggins had 2 assists and 3 turnovers. We have no PG play. That’s established. So why not give Liggins the starting job? Porter had no points and 3 boards in 23 minutes to Liggins 8 points in 5 boards in only 16 minutes. Porter has hit his ceiling while Liggins isn’t even close. Kind of hard to believe Porter turned down playing QB at USC to play PG at UK.

Good moves by Green Bay. I always think that anytime you can get a former head coach, to become a coordinator for you, it’s a good move. He’s so relieved to have some stress off his back, he can finally focus on one aspect of the game, instead of managing everything. Greene as a LB coach only helps too. Barnett, Hawk and Poppinga are already a good trio and if they can stay healthy, they are bound to improve. I’m already scouring the free agents and checking mock drafts by the dozens to see who the Bengals will pick. I saw one mock draft that had us taking Mark Sanchez with the #6 pick. Your virgin eyes have yet to see the havoc I would wreak if that actually occurred. I don’t know too much about names in the draft but I know we need offensive linemen with at least 2 or our first three picks and an end to rush the QB with the third. I pray the Bengals don’t screw this up.

Long before Madden reigned supreme, there was a video game known as Tecmo Super Bowl. It didn’t come out on a fancy X-box, or even a Super Nintendo. Nope. Just regular ass Nintendo. I assume you are familiar with it. I downloaded it last night on my computer and have been playing nonstop. I found one with updated rosters from this past season. Collins is starting over Young, Fitzpatrick starts over Palmer and Brady is on the inactive list. I love it. The skill distribution has been…shaky at best though. I played against the Raiders and Jamarcus Russell scrambled at will, yet Vince Young could barely get out of the pocket. That and Chris Perry rushed for a 68 yard touchdown the first time he got the ball. Either way, I am enjoying myself a little too much. I saw fit to play a Super Bowl matchup before the actual game, taking the side of the Cardinals. We sacked Big Ben 12 times, Fitzgerald went for 160 yards and 2 TD’s and the Cards won a laugher 41-0. That didn’t really happen in the real game.

Joe Torre the author seems to be showing more fire than Joe Torre the manager. Why would Torre even write this book, other than to fire some shots at the Yankees? What could he possibly gain from a book? He had to have wanted to throw some digs at Cashman and A-Rod, right? By the way, the A-Rod and “Single White Female” comparisons amused me because I can see the Yankees clubhouse carrying on like that. Also, I know he said he’s not affected by it, but with the A-Rod we know and loathe, is there any way he didn’t cry when he heard Torre was talking bad about him? There's a good chance he's still still crying now. I wonder if he, Kobe and T.O ever get together and share the news clippings of anytime they’ve been doubted or slammed by the media over their entire life(because you know they’ve saved every clipping) and bond over popcorn and scary movies. I wouldn’t count it out.

You wake up and you’re Matt Cassel. Awesome, I know. Do you take small money to be Brady’s backup, likely until the end of your career, or do you go to the 49ers or a similar team? You get big money there, but you’re pretty much setting yourself up to fail playing with such a terrible team. And with whatever contract you do sign, how much of that do you give to Bernard Pollard? 10 percent or a lump sum?

Phelps is caught smoking from a “marijuana pipe”. There is no doubt in my mind this picture was leaked on purpose to make Phelps seem cool. Straight out of Kobe’s playbook. You telling me this photo was leaked by accident? I’m surprised he didn’t take himself in front of a mirror, a la Myspace. That is what all the cool kids use, isn’t it?