Monday, May 07, 2007

Monday, May 7

So, basketball season has decided to continue. I really couldn’t muster the energy to watch any hoop on Friday or Saturday. But, Sunday, as the game moved to the 4th Quarter, and the Rangers game and the Race had ended, I tuned in to the end of the Spurs and Suns.

I cut myself again to see if I still fell. It was truly a numb experience.

But, if I am going to heal, as a basketball lover, I need to ease my way back. There are still 3 wonderful rounds of ball in these playoffs, for crying out loud. And I don’t have the luxury of a full boycott. So, Suns-Spurs.

But, who do I root for? For years, I watch with agenda in hand. How does this effect the Mavericks? It was described to me as Germany vs. Japan. Measles vs. Mumps.

So, let’s look at what was sending me back and forth in that 4th Quarter:

Initially, seeing the Spurs uniforms and players….cheer against Spurs.
Seeing that idiot coach Mike D’Antoni complain about every call…Cheer against Suns.
Seeing every Spur complain about every call…Cheer against Spurs.
Seeing Raja Bell take an unnecessary cheapshot…Cheer against Suns.
Wanting Steve Nash to eventually get the big one…Cheer against Spurs.
Admiring how awesome Tim Duncan is…Cheer against Suns.
Wondering if any team besides these 2 will win the NBA Finals….gun to head.

I guess that should break the tie. It is pretty likely you don’t know Suns fans everywhere. But, you know Spurs fans. They work with you, they live by you, they know you. And they will taunt…even worse. We cannot allow another title down there. If you thought they were insufferable before…

Anyway, the game was pretty good…

As the Spurs escape because Nash was bleeding out

Classic Steve Nash, the nicest guy in basketball. After butting heads with Tony Parker, Nash first checked on Parker.

Nash thought Parker might be hurt.

Classic playoff game, too, with classically bad timing. Had Nash's gash come in the second quarter, with time for stitches, the Spurs might have their own wounds today.
But there also was something else classic about this, and it started at the end of the first half. Then a call went against the Suns, and the Phoenix coach wouldn't let it go. Mike D'Antoni spent the end of the first half and the start of the second with the same, angry, crunched-up face. An assistant eventually earned a technical foul, and D'Antoni talked about the play afterward.

Classic signs — of a frustrated team that wonders about itself.

D'Antoni says this will be a long series, and maybe he's right. His Suns tied the game in the final minutes after Nash, with blood trickling down his nose, threw in a 3-pointer.

Again, classic Nash. Mark Cuban wouldn't want this kind of toughness on his team, would he?

In baseball, The Rangers picked a real solid time to win 3 in a row

There was another sweep in the making at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday, but this time Michael Young held the broom. And he used it to sweep away his slow start and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Young's final hit of the series was his biggest, a home run to right field with the score tied in the eighth. It resulted in a 3-2 win for the Rangers, who have their first three-game winning streak since last September.

Texas gained two games on AL West-leading Los Angeles and is now 3 ½ games back.
The Rangers did nearly everything right in the series. They produced timely hits – the kind they hadn't seen since leaving Arizona in March – got solid starting pitching and ran the bases well. They scored early runs to get the series off to a good start Friday, beat one of the American League's best pitchers with singles and doubles Saturday, and won a close game with the long ball Sunday.

Texas' sweep came just three days after it was swept by the Yankees. After their disappointing showing, the Rangers held a players-only meeting before Friday's game with the Blue Jays.

Young was one of the players who spoke up. He declined to reveal what he said, but mentioned that the players talked about the importance of getting things turned around.

"We needed to get on the same page," Young said. "It was good to talk and get things out in the open. I think it helped."

It may have helped Young as much as anyone. He was batting .192 after the Yankees series and went on a tear against Toronto, the team that traded him to Texas in 2000.

Young was 8-for-13 with two homers and six RBIs in the series. He had at least two hits in every game, raising his average to .233.

For last year's All-Star Game MVP and the 2005 AL batting champion, that's not an average he's accustomed to seeing in early May.

Jayson Stark, a week ago, Did his annual – which teams are dead in April column

• Of the 144 teams that made it to the postseason in that span, only eight (or 5.6 percent) came out of April more than three games under .500. Clubs that need to worry most about that history lesson: the Yankees (9-14), Astros (10-14), Cardinals (10-14), Cubs (10-14) and Rangers (10-15).

• Just six of those 144 playoff teams (or 4.2 percent) found themselves more than 4½ games out of a playoff spot after April. Clubs that ought to get nervous about that trend: the Cubs, Cardinals and Astros (all five games out).

• And you wouldn't think the standings would mean much this time of year. But more than half of the 120 teams that found themselves in first place after April (66 of 120) wound up finishing first. And 98 of the 120 (81.7 percent) of the teams that finished the season in first place either led their division or were within 2½ games of the lead at the end of April.

The fight Saturday night was wonderful stuff. I think the judges got it right, but Oscar perhaps deserved a draw. Did it save boxing?

The ice age predicted by some to grip boxing might yet come, but on this glorious night in the southern Nevada desert, which served to remind everyone of what it was like in the good old days when big fights mattered, two super welterweights bestrode the earth like a couple of T-Rexes. And if they only temporarily eased the myriad ills of a sport with a persistent cough, so what? One bright turn in the international spotlight is an elixir that at least can ease the symptoms, if not provide an outright cure.

"I thought it was an excellent fight between the best fighter in the world [Mayweather] and the most popular fighter in the world [De La Hoya]," Larry Merchant, the 76-year-old boxing commentator who reportedly is nearing the end of his own professional life cycle with HBO, said after Mayweather won a flawed but nonetheless entertaining 12-round split decision.

"Was it filled with drama and knockdowns and all that good stuff? No, but it was a good representation of what boxing is like at the elite level."

As the history of the Super Bowl suggests, so-called ultimate matchups often fail to meet expectations. Given boxing's penchant for screwing up even a one-horse parade, there were concerns that Mayweather (38-0, 24 KOs) and De La Hoya (38-5, 30 KOs) would engage in a dull, tactical affair, maybe topped off with the sort of bogus controversy that leaves everyone angry and/or disenchanted.

There were one or two minor subplots that 16,700 spectators at the MGM Grand and a worldwide audience in the millions could have done without. But for the most part, this was a very entertaining scrap that wasn't as good as it might have been, but was probably better than many anticipated.

It's difficult to find too much fault with a two-way rumble so closely contested that it was decided by a single point. Judge Tommy Kaczmarek scored it 115-113 for De La Hoya, while Chuck Giampa and Jerry Roth submitted cards favoring Mayweather by margins of 116-112 and 115-113, respectively.

Had Roth - who gave the 12th round to Mayweather, which is not how his colleagues saw it - gone along with the majority opinion, De La Hoya would have retained his title on a split draw.

For Football nerds…(like me), Here is Todd McShay’s Top 10 in the 2008 NFL Draft

Now that the 2007 NFL draft is over, it's time to starting thinking about the 2008 draft. Here are the top 10 as well as the top five by position.

1. Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
2. Sam Baker, OT, USC
3. Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
4. Jake Long, OT, Michigan
5. Early Doucet, WR, LSU
6. Paul Oliver, CB, Georgia
7. Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
8. Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
9. Chad Henne, QB, Michigan
10. Frank Okam, DT, Texas

And Despite wishing the worst against them, we must tip our caps to the 2007 Premiership Champions, Manchester United …Hey, at least Chelsea didn’t win it 3 years in a row…

In the season that Sir Alex Ferguson became entitled to ride the buses for free, he yesterday booked himself a trip on an open-top bus surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Manchester United admirers, and hailed by millions as a master-motivator of men and an impresario of the best show in town.

Chelsea's failure to defeat Arsenal meant that the Premiership title passed to Ferguson, whose passport says 65 years old, whose face says 55, and whose lust for life and glory says 25. To think that we questioned his fire, his ability to construct teams in his own ambitious, adventurous image.

Ferguson will stand proudly on the bus, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and the rest of his footballing family, handing around the Premiership trophy and accepting the thrown scarves, bouquets and plaudits. He has been here before, and for a man celebrating his ninth league success it was surprising to see him spill the champagne yesterday, yet those bubbles must have tasted so sweet. Chelsea pushed United all the way, staying on their coat-tails until yesterday.

Like fallen warriors, Jose Mourinho's erstwhile champions were carried out on their shield, every drop of sweat expended for the cause. The sight of Chelsea's inspirational leader, John Terry, pushed into emergency centre-forward action late on here, supported by Scott Sinclair and Salomon Kalou, signalled the shortage of resources. Chelsea were not so much down to the bare bones, as scraping the marrow.
While Ferguson's team maintained their momentum, Chelsea ran out of options as well as steam. Like a heavyweight, they absorbed too much punishment; the injuries to Petr Cech and, for two months, Terry, robbed them of security and drive.

Dirk is no Larry Bird.

The always amazing Grape Stomp (made famous by the Musers).

Since you didn't ask for it, here is Holly Robinson and her hero at the Super Bowl in Miami...Year 2 of our get a picture together tradition.


Andy D. said...

Man.. when it ends, it ends.

Not much to say now. I feel like that I moved to Oklahoma over the weekend and I left "big city sports" all together in my wake.

This is what it must feel like to not live in a pro sports market...


Poncenomics said...

If you're at least a fan of the sport of basketball, then you'd hopefully have found Spurs-Suns entertaining in spite of your uncertainty about whom to root for. Heck, after watching the Mavs' series, you'd have to at least appreciate the nuts those teams were showing.

Nets-Cavs, on the other hand, was simply painful.

I'm intrigued by Warriors-Jazz. It'd be fitting if the Jazz won in 5, which would show that the Warriors simply got on an unreal hot streak that they couldn't keep going.

Personally, I suggest everyone look out for the Pistons. Now that the Mavs are out, Detroit probably likes its matchup with any potentials out of the West.

Jay, Christi and Andrew said...

I've always been die-hard Dallas sports anything. Is it possible that the Suns-Spurs can end up with both teams losing and this years basketball playoffs imploding end of the universe style? Probably not...I hate both their fans but do you realize that either the Warriors or Jazz will be in the Western finals? I really am beginning to hate the NBA. But I got distracted...
I think this weekend was great for the Rangers. I hope that it is the start of something. Not just winning or competitiveness, but that the team of players realize the chance they have to win a larger fan-base in the area. I know most people just hate the Rangers, and I'm no Tom Hicks fan, but I really want to see them succeed. I hope that players only meeting even discussed that. These guys have 2 and half months to win the hearts of the Dallas sports fan. Good luck boys.

Poncenomics said...

I wonder what it must feel like to be a Suns or Spurs fan...

How insufferable must they consider the Mavs fan to be?

How annoying do they find Mark Cuban? And how fitting do they find the Mavs' recent collapse for him?

How much do they enjoy Dirk's collapse?

How often do they think the Mavs "complain about every call?"

How excited are they to see their teams face off?

This is why I tend to prefer the NFL over the NBA. NFL fans appear to offer jabs at each other, but there's a certain fun-loving quality to it, because every NFL fan knows their team can hit the peak or the nadir any season. NBA fans appear to have such contempt for each other, and it's genuine.

It's sports, people.

Cap It said...

"NFL fans appear to offer jabs at each other, but there's a certain fun-loving quality to it,"

um...unless you're in philly.

Poncenomics said...

OK, I'll give you Philly. But then, Philly is like another planet, anyway.

I just find the contempt between Mavs fans and Spurs fans incomprehensible. I understand wanting your team to beat theirs. But the whole "they whine" charge floors me. EVERYONE WHINES IN THE NBA. It's like fighting in hockey or overcelebrating in football. Not sure why NBA fans harp on it so much.

Bitterwhiteguy said...

It's because they're in-state rivals. Spurs/Mavs reminds me a little of Texas/A&M, except the Spurs & Mavs are on a bit more even ground(this year notwithstanding, Aggy's been taking a pounding for years).

NBA fans complain about the calls and the whining because the calls are invariably horses**t and the players DO whine too much(on both sides). Plus, between Manu, Dirk, & Duncan, you have 3/5ths of the 5 worst complainers in the league(Rasheed & Nash are pretty bad) so there's a reason to complain about the complaining.

Matthew said...

No, Dirk is nowhere the player that Bird was. But Dirk's supporting cast isn't HALF as good as Bird's supporting cast either.

The great Celtic and Laker teams of the 80s were just that -> TEAMS. Dirk can't do this on his own. He needs more of a supporting cast around him.


The rest I don't care.

Brad said...

Bob, I would submit to you that Suns/Spurs is a clash of philosophies, not just our rivals. 2 things in deciding who I root for in this series:

1. The Suns style of play.
Yes I know they actually DO play some defense, But I view them as a gimmick. This is defense vs offense. Run and gun vs "Playoff Basketball." In order to believe the Mavericks are "on the golden path" long term, I gotta take the Spares.

2. If SA gets another title, how much worse is 4 than 3? It's a LOT more than we have either way. No problem. If PHX gets their FIRST! Then the Rockets, Lakers, Spurs, AND SUNS have titles and we don't.

We need PHX to stay in the virgin category with us, not having popped their championship cherry.

I grossed myself out.

Go Spurs?...just for a round. Then I hope they die.

Phil K. said...

Brad - don't you mean "how much worse is 2 1/2 versus 3 1/2?" We will never forget that it was strike-shortened season that year, however unfair that may be. :)

Can we PLEASE stop comparing Dirk to Bird and vise versa!?! It's apples-to-oranges. Two different games. They're both WHITE. That's f-ing it!!! Bird was listed at 6' 9" which means he handled the ball a lot closer to the court than Dirk. Check out how much more agile Bird is. It's simply a negligible comparison. What simpletons everyone is to make it--oh...he's white, he must be compared to Bird. Dumb...

I leave you with this: Bird used to tell his opponents exactly what he was about to do to them and then execute it (e.g. - "I'm going to fake left, dribble right, jump-shoot and hit it, and there's nothing you can do to stop it.") And, then, he'd proceed to do it. Now that, my friends, is intestinal fortitude.

Gravypan said...

The NBA?


The only reason I have any interest in basketball is because of our little Mavericks. Now that they're out, my sports post-season attention is focused solely on the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

I expect Detroit to oust San Jose, but not before the Sharks push that series to 7.

Then Anaheim beats the Red Wings in 5 to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs where they will face...


Sorry Buffalo. You're a cursed sports town.

MK said...

This may come as a shock to Mavs fans but the Warriors didn't just "get hot". They beat the snot out of the Mavs for one reason, the Mavs have no low post scoring. Utah will handle the Warriors by feeding the ball to Boozer and either shooting over GS smaller defenders or fouling out their front court. If you are going to beat a small ball team, you slow it down and feed it to a big man down low and pound them. Dallas didn't have that in the playbook, they would rather have a 7 footer set a high screen.

CFB123 said...

Sorry Bob, but I have to agree with Poncenomics here.

As far as the whining goes, like he said, they all do it, it's just that the Mavs also have an obnoxious owner that does it too. So that really puts the Mavs over the top of all others in that category.

And as for your tie breaker, how is a 4-0 advantage in NBA titles won really any different than the current 3-0 advantage? Either way the Spurs have major scoreboard on the Mavs until the Mavs ever win at least 3 titles of their own.

Jonathan said...

A bit confused on how to feel about my Blues. The players on the field (except Boo-la-roos) fought valiantly in the second half. But not sure if the decision to keep Drogba and Ashley Cole out with "injuries" was the right way to go about it. At least keep them in reserve for instances when you need a goal with 20 min left to keep hope alive for the title (at least until Wednesday).

But alas, my sports year has been almost completely cursed. UT falls apart, Cowboys and Stars lose in the first rounds, Mavs then show them all how to choke with grandeur, and now Chelsea draws 3 straight league matches and can't score more than once in 210 minutes of play against Liverpool to go from quad hopes to maybe a double.

BTW, Shootouts are good for NHL regular season games, but are HORRIBLE for playoff soccer. I thought so in the 1994 World Cup, and I thought so last Tuesday. It's called REPLAY.