Posts Tagged ‘game’

15 Sportscasters Worth Listening To

May 29th, 2010
In my last article, I featured 15 sportscasters that make me change the channel. You can find that article here: Just to show that I am not a complete Negative Nancy, here are 15 of my favourite on-air sports personalities, in no particular order. Like my previous list, keep in mind I reside in Canada, so there will be a considerable amount of Canadian content. Also, I don't watch basketball, so if you are here looking for Chuck Swirsky or Dick Vitale, you aren't going to find them. So sorry. As well, this list is limited to people I've actually seen or heard. So before you give me grief for excluding Ernie Harwell, let me say that I never had the chance to hear him call a game.

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Boston Celtics Put an End to Magic Tricks: Massacre in Boston

May 29th, 2010

I've already had enough folks; if I have to read the pseudonym, moniker, or whatever the hell you classify "Krypto-Nate" as much more, I'm going to gouge my eyes out with a spork.  It's not that Nate wasn't fantastic while making Doc look like the second coming of Nostradomus.  Basically it just sucks as a nickname and I want to kill the beast before it gains power, okay?

Whew, alright...back to the game.  I guess maybe Matt Barnes was a tad off when he described the situation as "we've got a foot on their throats."  The Celtics were once again, finally , the team from the first three games of the series—suffocating defense and great ball movement combined with bench performances above and beyond the call of duty.

Let's talk Kevin Garnett a moment, as I was searching for a picture of him delivering  those forearm shivers to Dwight Howard.  If I were a Magic fan, I'd be hating me some KG right now.  But to be fair (and potentially biased), Dwight looked as though initially he was gripping Garnett's side with vise-like intensity.  Try it on yourself, it hurts! 

I mean, it's not like Kevin went out of the way to try and hide what he was doing.  In fact, it looked almost as though he tried to alert the ref, kind of a "get this motha&#@* off of me man" type deal.  Then he delivered the blow, and when Dwight tried to get back in the saddle KG gave him another one for good measure. 

If you forced me to choose between a play like that or the tentative, "don't wanna get the refs started" type defense the rest of the team played on Superbow to that point, I'll take the fire and passion every time.

Passion vs dirty, the age-old debate usually decided by which end of it your guy is on.  I'll tell you what wasn't debatable; the Celtics played a far superior brand of basketball in game six.  Credit Doc Rivers for keeping the depths of the bench mentally ready. 

I can't remember the last time I saw a player with as few playoff minutes as Nate Robinson have that kind of impact in a series-deciding game.  You could sense after the first one went in for him that he had it going, and little big man was strong on both ends of the floor.

Onward to a gentleman who's had it going all series long, Paul Pierce.  O captain, my captain, way to show up big in the spotlight, boy.  Dude outscored and outrebounded the "most dominant" center in the league when said center had his back against the proverbial wall. 

From hitting threes to creating his own shot, to timely steals, the Truth was in full effect in Beantown Friday night.  He's starting to look suspiciously like the guy who was the best player in the '08 playoffs, and his timing is impeccable.

Ray and Rajon were finally good for an entire game. Ray's been MIA for awhile now.  Rajon started off strong in particular; he looked like he had his swag back and was on his way to filling up the ol' stat sheet until that tough fall that gave Nate his shot to get meaningful minutes. 

From my perspective, Ray's been a tad on the feast or famine side this postseason, I'd much rather see him consistently get 15-17 points instead of either 20+ or 5-9.  Either way, when that guy is on there's not a prettier shot in the NBA.

I'll tell you one thing that it's great to not be discussing today, and that's the officiating.  I can handle my team losing—for Pete's sake, it's only a game.  When I get heated is when the refs steal the show, and intentionally or not decide the outcome of a game.  There may have been a few missed calls either way last night, but nothing so egregious it sticks in the mind the next day. 

If I'd had to endure another one-way touch foul calling, phony technical foul plagued game either team's way last night I would have taken a beer fueled dive through the picture window in the living room.  In short, thank goodness the officials got one right.   

It's funny watching this 24/7 sports media swing back and forth like a pendulum in a grandfather clock. Three games in and the Celtics were the second coming, two wins later the sky is falling and Orlando's got the "magic" to pull off what 93 other teams couldn't.

Meanwhile, coach Doc Rivers stays the course and reminds his team that this starting five has never lost a playoff series!  That's quite the stat and one that I was completely blindsided by.  Here's to hoping they keep that streak alive.

Time for a little role play. if I were a Magic fan: If I were a Magic fan, I'd probably want Stan Van Gundy canned.  He seems to overplay the "screaming Ron Jeremy clone" card, and I think the team tunes him out at times. 

I'd want to send V.C. and Rashard Lewis packing; Lewis in particular as I think Dwight would be helped by the presence of a more conventional "four" starting with him (although the only thing Vince enhanced this series was his rep for being a choke artist).

I'd be reasonably happy with Dwight's intensity and the way it picked up over the second half of the series.  I'd still want to see the smiles and jovial attitude with the opposition before the game toned down more (I read somewhere that he tried to fist bump KG before the game and got rejected). 

Most of all, I'd be puzzled by the enigma that is Jameer Nelson.  He's a shorter point guard with a game that more resembles a shooting guard in my opinion.  Some games he looks like a world-beater, and some games he gets an other-wordly beating.  In general the roster the Magic have, while talented, is embodied by Jameer's inconsistencies and possible flaws.

Well, it's off to the NBA Finals for the Celtics and their fans.  Personally, I don't care who they play, as each Western Conference team presents such unique threats and matchups that neither can clearly be said to be more favorable. 

If the Celtics can maintain their hunger, focus, and intensity I have a hard time seeing either team beat them in a seven game series.  Are the Lakers sexier?  Are the Suns a more "feel good" story?  Yes and yes, but once you get on the court nobody embodies "team" more than this bunch of storied veterans, cast-offs, and rising stars hailing from Beantown.  C'mon C's, close the deal and let's get that record 18th championship banner!

Boston Celtics Set the Stage for a 2008 Revival: Can the LA Lakers Join Them?

May 29th, 2010

The Boston Celtics' series clinching, Game Six victory over the Orlando Magic was the first step to a much-anticipated rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals, and now it's up to the Los Angeles Lakers to see if they can join them.

The Lakers' task will not be simple as they must head to Phoenix and face a very confident Suns' team, who feels they had every chance to win Game Five in Los Angeles.

An answered prayer from Ron Artest off of an errant Kobe Bryant shot gave the Lakers a 3-2 advantage in the series, and this will be the third time Los Angeles has had the opportunity to close out an opponent on the road.

But, the Lakers' victories over Oklahoma City and Utah are not similar to the Phoenix series because Los Angeles defeated Oklahoma City decisively in Game Five before eeking out a victory in Game Six, and they swept the Jazz in four games.

The Suns have the veteran experience the young Thunder team didn't, and Phoenix's use of various zone defenses have helped diminish the huge size advantage the Lakers have in the post.

If the Lakers can find a way to dispose of the Suns, they will join the Celtics in a Finals series most Los Angeles fans have hoped for since the Lakers were humiliated in 2008.

The images of that inglorious defeat are still fresh in the memories of most, as are the words of Paul Pierce, who belittled the Lakers' championship of 2009 by saying it was illegitimate because Los Angeles didn't defeat Boston for the title.

The Lakers would love nothing more than a chance to silence Pierce, and if they should advance, Los Angeles would have the privilege of beginning the series from the comforts of the Staples Center.

But, Phoenix comes first, and the Lakers can't afford to get complacent in Game Six, because a poor showing could give the Suns even more confidence if a Game Seven becomes necessary.

The most important thing for the Lakers is to bring the same type of defensive intensity they did in Game Five, and they must attack Phoenix's zone in the same manner.

The Suns are the best offensive team in basketball, so completely stopping them is impossible, but the Lakers have been successful when they have managed to obstruct Steve Nash's vision in the passing lanes.

The pick and roll offense has been the Suns' best weapon, but the Lakers were able to counter it by swarming Nash in the lane, and then cutting off Amar'e Stoudemire's path to the basket, and collapsing around him.

The Suns' reserves have been spectacular in the Suns' previous victories in Phoenix, and in Game Five in Los Angeles, and the Lakers can't afford to let them repeat their performance in Game Six—especially Channing Frye and Jared Dudley, each of whose three point shooting allowed the Suns to trim huge deficits in Game Five, and almost send the game to overtime.

The Suns will not lie down for Game Six and they will have the emotional advantage of the home crowd, so the Lakers must play focused with the intent of ending the series in this game.

It's easy to get caught looking ahead, especially when the Finals opponent will be the hated Celtics, but the Lakers must understand they are still in the thick of a series that is still very much up in the air.

Roger Clemens: Big Game Loser?

May 29th, 2010

Roger Clemens has started some of the most crucial games in baseball history. His team has lost most of them.

Clemens has been called the greatest pitcher of his time, but when scrutinizing his record, one must question that conclusion.

In 1986, his third major league season, Clemens was 24-4, winning his first 14 decisions. He won the American League Cy Young Award. He was voted the league's MVP.

It was only the eighth time that a pitcher had won the MVP since the Cy Young Award had been created in 1956. Many felt that it was not right for a pitcher to win the MVP since pitchers had their own award.

Henry Aaron, baseball's all-time lifetime home run leader, expressed the view that pitchers should not be eligible for the MVP award.

Clemens, whose mouth may cost him his freedom, responded.

"I wish he were still playing. I'd probably crack his head open to show him how valuable I was."

The 1986 American League MVP made two starts in the playoffs and two more in the World Series. He won but a single game.

In the League Championship Series, Roger Clemens set the record for most hits allowed in a series (22) and tied the marks for the most runs allowed in a single game (8), most earned runs allowed in a game (7) and most runs allowed in a series (11).

Despite the handicap of having Clemens as their ace, the Boston Red Sox managed to defeat the California Angels to win the pennant.

New York's most beloved team, the New York Mets, were the National League champions. They had defeated one of Roger's future teams, the Houston Astros, in the most riveting of all playoff series.

The Sox won the World Series opener in New York, as confused New York Yankees fans couldn't decide when to feel happy or when to feel upset. It was a nightmare because only one team could lose.

Clemens started the second game of the World Series, a game the Sox won handily, 9-3, but Roger lasted only four and one-third innings. Steve Crawford was the winning pitcher.

The sixth game is one of the most memorable games in World Series history. The Sox were up in games, three to two, and Clemens was leading the game, 3-2, going to the Mets' seventh.

He retired them in order, but manager John McNamara pinch-hit for the big right-hander in the top of the eighth.

Clemens was forced to leave the game. Did he beg out, as some have claimed? It was reported that Clemens asked to be taken out, but only Clemens and McNamara know what really happened

Calvin Schiraldi, who had pitched for the Mets in 1984 and 1985, came in for the eighth inning.

The Mets tied the game at 3-3 on a Gary Carter sacrifice fly, but in the 10th inning, Dave Henderson blasted a home run off Rick Aguilera, the Sox scored another run, and Yankees fans didn't know if they were about to lose or lose.

The Mets had the bases empty with two outs in the 10th inning.

In 1986, the Mets were still the Mets, the Red Sox were still the Red Sox, and when the Red Sox came within one strike of winning the World Series, the Mets rallied for three runs to win it all.

What if Roger Clemens had stayed in the game?

In 1990, the Red Sox won the American League Eastern Division title but were swept by Oakland in the second round of the playoffs.

Clemens started the fourth game, and was ejected in the second inning for cursing at the home plate umpire. The Red Sox lost.

One must question Roger's priorities. Perhaps he could have exhibited a greater sense of self-control in order to remain in the game.

Or maybe he realized that no baseball team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs or World Series. To him, the game didn't matter much since the Red Sox were not the most likely franchise to be the first to overcome such a deficit.

How ironic that in 2004, Boston did become the first and only team to win a playoff series after losing the first three games. And they did it against the Yankees.

With the Yankees, Clemens won the clinching World Series against the Atlanta Braves in 1999.

He started the second game against the beloved Mets in 2000 and won.

The following year, Roger started the seventh game against Arizona. He pitched well enough to win, but manager Joe Torre took him out in the eighth inning with a one-run lead. The Diamondbacks beat Mariano Rivera with a two-run rally in the ninth.

Finally, Houston Astro Roger Clemens started the World Series opener against the Chicago White Sox in 2004. He lasted only two innings, allowing three runs before being forced to leave with a leg injury. The Sox swept the Astros.

Not all great players do well when it counts the most. A pair of Martins, Pepper and Billy, were good players, but neither approaches Roger Clemens' achievements.

In 1931, Pepper Martin was instrumental in helping the St. Louis Cardinals defeat the favored Philadelphia A's, and in 1934, Martin did it again, this time against the Detroit Tigers.

Billy Martin is a World Series legend. His great play in 1952 against the team that New York loved even more than the Mets, the Brooklyn Dodgers, has gone down as one of the great performances in the annals of the World Series.

Roger Clemens was one of the greatest regular season pitchers, but when it counted the most, there are a few pitchers who were a little more effective.


Roger Clemens at the Baseball Library

Baseball Reference

Five Places Keith Bulluck May Land

May 29th, 2010
He is one of the greatest outside-linebackers of the 2K decade. He recorded six straight seasons with 100 tackles. He is a player that last year had at least three solo tackles in every game he played. He had 108 total tackles last year (81 solo). He is Keith Bulluck and he is currently without a job. Why? Because he's old and coming off an injury (he broke his ACL in week 15 against the Dolphins). Those are some big risk and a big turn-off for teams that are pursuing some help at the OLB position Who could take a chance at this player? Let's have a look:

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