So I go to the gym tonight, expecting to watch a little Spurs vs Thunder basketball during my workout. I turn to ESPN, anticipating what the score might be, excited to see if OKC can actually pull a game out of the series. However, what I see in front of me is a 14 year boy from Jamaica, Gifton Wright spelling some word I’ve never even heard of. The boy got the word right, the place went wild and I was hooked for the rest of the night! If anyone can tell me what actually happened in the Spurs and Thunder, I’d appreciate it!
I enjoy the World Series and the Super Bowl. The March Madness Tournament definitely has its thrills, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the New York Rangers playoff run this season. However, when I saw Snigdh Nandipati spell “guetapens,” a French-derived word that means ambush, snare or trap, to win the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee, I couldn’t control my emotions. It was by far one of the highlights from my time as a sports fan, and I sure as hell hope you all were able to watch it also.
Unfortunately, I lost a little bit of money on the event. I had placed a bet on Nicholas Rushlow of Pickerington, Ohio. Nicholas was making his fifth straight appearance in the contest, and I had landed some inside information that he has studied 53 pages of words a night from last year’s contest until tonight. Unfortunately, he lost on the always tricky “vetiver”, which was good for a fourth place tie. Although he was satisfied with his performance, I am figuring out a way to tell the lady friend that our trip to Europe this summer needs to be put on hold. COME ON RUSHLOW, YOU’RE BETTER THAN THAT!
Anyways, other than my financial loss, the Spelling Bee was a tremendous event and all of the participants should be proud. Nandipati’s prize for winning includes $30,000 in cash, a trophy, a $2,500 savings bond, a $5,000 scholarship, and $2,600 in reference works from the Encyclopedia Britannica and an online language course, but who really cares about those last two? She was the fifth consecutive Indian-American to win this, but the first without a mustache, so kudos to Snigdha. The main thing I took from this is that there are a whole lot of 11 to 14 year olds smarter than anyone I personally know. Can’t wait for next year and everyone please enjoy the videos below from some of my personal favorite spelling bee moments…
I would imagine that when a young kid is growing up and playing hockey, he would fantasize about having a breakaway to win a game in the Stanley Cup Finals. For Anze Kopitar, that fantasy became reality last night as he found the puck on his stick 8 minutes into the extra frame, looked up and had only the goalie to beat. The thing about this scenario for Kopitar was that he didn’t have to beat any old goaltender, but he had Martin Brodeur, possibly the greatest goalie in NHL history, standing in his way. Kopitar faked right, took the puck to his backhand and waited for Brodeur to make a move as he slid the puck under Marty’s right pad. Game over, LA is up 1-0 and Kopitar realized a dream.
Oh yeah, I should have probably started this article by reminding everyone that the NHL Stanley Cup Finals actually started last night. I’m assuming that the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics Game 2 destroyed the Devs-Kings in the national ratings, but all the true hockey fans who tuned in were treated to a great game. Both teams played fundamental hockey, and each goalie made plays to keep their teams in the game. Brodeur made an awesome play in the third, stacking the pads to stop Drew Doughty on the doorstep, and Jonathan Quick played shutout hockey for the most part, as the Devil’s lone goal was a flukey deflection off a King defenseman. The King’s looked like they pushed the play a little more than New Jersey, and the road warriors were able to capitalize in OT and capture Game 1.
The NHL was certainly rooting for a Rangers and Kings finals, as facing LA and New York City off against each other in the finals would have been marketing heaven for a league that sorely needs the coverage. Instead, the Devils forced the NHL to sell a product that is not as appealing, lacking the marquee power a Ranger-King matchup would have produced. However, for the true hockey fans like myself, this series will provide great hockey, defensive battles and a true appreciation for the forecheck. Even if I am in the minority, and I know that I am, I can’t wait for Game 2!
About 2 months ago, Anthony Davis partied on the streets of New Orleans after leading his Kentucky Wildcats to the NCAA Championship. Now, it appears he will be packing up and moving to the city in which he enjoyed his greatest conquest. The New Orleans Hornets, who finished last season with a 21-45 record, the 4th worst in the NBA, had a 13.7% chance of capturing the 1st draft pick. However, the ping-pong balls fell in their favor, and now the Hornets will have a chance to grab Davis, the obvious choice for the first pick. Last offseason, the Hornets traded away their biggest star, Chris Paul, as he demanded a trade and the team obliged. This offseason, Hornets fans will have an opportunity to rejoice as they will replace some of the star power they lost when Paul went to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Charlotte Bobcats came into the draft with the greatest chance of capturing the #1 pick, as their record-setting 7-59 record landed them a 25% chance of scoring the grand prize. Michael Jordan has received a lot of criticism as the owner of the Bobcats, and adding a player like Anthony Davis could have done wonders to move their franchise in the right direction. So far Jordan’s NBA owner career has been much closer to his baseball career than basketball playing career. Obviously Jordan’s gambling addiction didn’t help the Bobcats win this lottery, but Charlotte did grab the #2 pick, and might focus on drafting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis’s teammate in college. If you pair MKG with Kemba Walker, another NCAA Championship winner, the Bobcats might have a reason to be hopeful for the future.
The Washington Wizards were able to secure the third pick in the draft, even though they finished the NBA season with the 2nd worse record, which gave them a 19.9% shot at the #1 pick. I believe they will take Andre Drummond, the Center out of the University of Connecticut. The 6’11, 275 pound 18-year-old is great at running the floor and has a lot of raw talent that can be turned into an excellent all-around offensive game in a few years. Jon Wall should love playing with Drummond, as Wizard fans hope the combination of a young and promising PG with a young and promising Center will allow DC to finally compete.
Picks 4-14 were then determined by last seasons records. For a complete list of who is picking where in the first round, check:
Tell us what you think about tonight’s lottery and who you want your favorite team to draft on June 28!
You hear it all the time. Whenever a team goes on a historical hot-streak then everyone jumps on the bandwagon and claims they are the best ever. Surprisingly, the San Antonio Spurs have just set the record for most consecutive wins, for a streak that links the end of the regular season into the playoffs, and did so pretty much without any recognition. With their 20th win in a row last night, 120-111 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Spurs separated themselves from the 2001 Lakers who had also won 19 consecutive during their title run season before losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in game 1 of the Finals.
After a 17 point first half, Tony Parker let it be known that he was every bit deserving of that MVP award as Lebron James was. “Tony’s been great all year,” Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s been really focused the entire season.” Granted, OKC is not a premiere defensive team, but Parker literally tore them apart like a bulldog with a new toy. I will be the first to admit my previous dislike of the Spurs, mainly because of the Championship smack-down they laid on my Knicks in the last strike-shortened season, but the unbelievable teamwork and the top quality performances that the Spurs have been putting out on a nightly basis leave me in awe. From top to bottom, the Spurs have no holes. There was a point in last night’s game during the third quarter where all five players on the court for the SAS were bench players, while OKC had out their top 3 scorers, Westbrook, Durant and Harden and their best two defenders Ibaka and Perkins. Instead of relinquishing the lead that the starters had built, the Spurs seemed to build even more momentum.
As the fourth quarter was winding down, I was really hoping that OKC could go on a run and make it game, Unfortunately for them, every time that the Thunder were able to cut the once 22 point deficit down to 7 or 8, the Spurs would just drain a run-stopping shot like it was nothing. I have personally never seen a team this flawless since the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls 1995-96 team, which went on to win an NBA record 72 regular season game and one of Michael’s 6 championships. From the Spurs leading scorer, Tony Parker 21 points a game, all the way down to their 11th leading scorer, Matt Bonner’s 4 PPG, the Spurs can hurt you from anywhere and with anyone. At this point in the playoffs, I can’t feasibly bet the Spurs to lose even one game with the way they are playing. If the Spurs do sweep through the Thunder just like I expect them to, the Celtics or more likely the Heat should be prepared to manhandled. I am now jumping on the bandwagon!
The Miami Dolphins are obviously jealous of the New York Jets. Up until this point in the offseason, the Jets have been by far and away the dumbest organization based on their personnel moves. Bringing in Tim Tebow to run a second offense and be the up-back on the punting team… brilliant guys! I guess word got out that the Jets were taking over all the bonehead moves and were flirting with HBO once again, which would have served as a great way to introduce their circus to the world. Today it was announced that the Dolphins couldn’t stand to give their rivals all the attention, and announced that they will be the team that stars in Hard Knocks this season.
The Dolphins will start this season with a rookie head coach, ex Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, and potentially a rookie starting QB as well, as Miami spent their first round pick drafting Ryan Tannehill out of Texas A&M. This is great planning Miami! Take a kid who has never been in the league before, a new head coach who has never run an organization before, and throw cameras in their faces during their first ever mini-camps. Also, lets show the entire world how they handle their business, before they really know how to handle their business! Way to set up your team for great success.
When asked about the organizations decision to appear on the show, Philbin said “The Miami Dolphins have long been synonymous with success on the field as evidenced by our five Super Bowl appearances and the only perfect season in NFL history.” Joe, we understand that Don Shula was a good coach. Hell, that Dan Marino was a pretty good QB as well. But let’s look at the recent history. Miami has finished below .500 in 7 out of the past 8 years. Since Dan retired in 1999, the Dolphins have won 1 playoff game, and that was in the 2000 season! They have only been to the playoffs two other times since then, and were eliminated in the first round in both years. Terrific legacy Joe, your fans must be really proud.
The Dolphins are not marketable. Their biggest draw is Reggie Bush, who is better known for his college ball and flings with reality TV stars. The Dolphins thought they were the front-runner in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, as Manning already has a permanent residence in Miami. After Manning visited with the Dolphins, he quickly signed with the Broncos. I guess he had more respect for what Elway was selling him then Marino, who reached out to Manning and urged him to give Miami a whirl. Their other notable offseason moves were trading away Brandon Marshall to the Bears, and the retirement of Jason Taylor. There is nothing interesting about this team at all, making this decision by HBO extremely suspect.
After careful consideration and research, I do believe I know what the driving force behind this decision might be. HBO has always been known for some great adult television and I believe they might be focusing on a new star. Ryan Tannehills wife Lauren is definitely an individual that the execs at HBO will want to give as much television time as possible. They might even want to consider doing a late night episode of Hard Knocks, maybe call it REALLY Hard Knocks. Also, now that Kris Humphries is out of the picture, maybe HBO can give Kim Kardashian a call and see if she and Reggie could work out their issues. Lauren Tannehill and Kim Kardashian would probably get some fairly decent ratings in the 18-65 male demographic.
If they choose to go a more traditional route and actually talk about football, I would say the only thing more boring than that would be an actual Dolphins game!
As an avid New York Rangers fan, I have avoided writing this article for a few days now. One of the best ways to get over a defeat to your hated rival is to get away from it all, which is what I was able to accomplish this Memorial Day Weekend. However, it is time to pay my respect to a team that is very deserving. The New Jersey Devils proved that they were the most complete team in the Eastern Conference this season, playing excellent hockey all season long, unnoticed by the majority of the Tri-state area. If you have read my posts in the past few weeks in which I gave unlimited accolades to the Rangers leadership, tenacity and desire to win, all and more should also be said about the Devils. As much as it pains me to say, I believe New Jersey deserves to be where they are, but now they come up to their greatest challenge yet.
The Devils finished the season with more points than their opponents, meaning that for the first time in the postseason, New Jersey will have home ice advantage. Not that it really matters all that much to them, as New Jersey beat the Rangers twice at MSG and finished off both the Panthers and Flyers in their own buildings. If anything, this might actually be a disadvantage for the Devils. The Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Kings have steamrolled their way to the Finals. They have gone 8-0 on the road, taking the first 2 games of each of their series against the top three seeds in the West. They have gone up 3-0 in all three rounds, illustrating their dominance in all arenas this postseason. The Kings snuck into the playoffs as the #8 seed, but have since proved how worthy they actually have been. In a city defined by its basketball tradition, the 2012 Kings have given the hockey contingent a reason to be excited for the first time since 1993, when some dude named Wayne Gretzky led the Kings to the Finals against the Montreal Canadiens. However, the Kings fell to a legendary goaltender in that series named Patrick Roy. Now they get another try against maybe the only goalie in hockey history better than Roy.
The before mentioned legend of course is Martin Broduer, and the main matchup to watch will be the battle of the goaltenders. The 40-year-old Brodeur will be going up against the 26-year-old Jonathan Quick. While Brodeur has all the experience in the world on his side, Quick has been the most dominant goalie of the postseason thus far. Quick has posted a 12-2 record with a 1.55 Goals Against Average. He has given up more than 2 goals only twice in the playoffs and has yet to allow 3 in a game. Brodeur has gotten the job done, but has been a lot more shaky in doing so. He was able to outduel the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist, a goalie in a small group considered to be the best in the world. Brodeur did give up a few bad goals to the Rangers though, and was even pulled from a game earlier this postseason against the Florida Panthers. Quick has been much more consistent and its going to take a huge effort from Brodeur to keep up with the Kings net-minder. However, in my years watching hockey, there is one thing I know about Marty and that is to never better against him. I won’t start doing that now.
Though the Kings have picked up the scoring in the postseason, they are not a dynamic offensive team by any means. Jonathan Quick’s play has brought them to the Finals. The Devils on the other hand have somehow transformed themselves into an offensive juggernaut. Ilya Kovalchuk, Adam Henrique, Travis Zajak, Stephen Gionta, Ryan Carter and company have been lighting up the nets in the postseason. Zach Parise provides the scoring and leadership that Ryan Callahan gave the Rangers, though it might appear the Parise did an even better job that the blueshirts Captain. Head coach Peter DeBoer has kept his team calm and composed all season long, and feels confident in all four of his lines for a spark.
I think the Devils offensive push will finally get to Jonathan Quick, who has played in big games throughout the playoffs, but hasn’t been on this stage before. Marty on the other hand has seen it all before and has done everything you can in the sport, so I can’t see him getting flustered at all. I believe the Eastern Conference was tougher than the West this year, and the Devils battled through, proving they were the strongest willed team in their Conference. The Kings are scary and I might be sleeping on them a little bit, but as much as it sucks to say, I have to go with the Devils in the Cup Finals this year. (that doesn’t mean I’ll be rooting for them though!)
Devils in 7 games
The jump ball was won and Lebron James did not hesitate to let the Boston Celtics know that he was here to win. For the third straight year, Lebron James is facing the Boston Celtics in the postseason. Two years ago he faced them in what ended up being his last ever games with the Cleveland Cavaliers as Boston knocked him out of the playoffs and forever out of a Cavs uniform. Last season, the Miami Heat trampled the Celtics in 5 games in the second round on their way to the Finals. So I guess we can call this series the rubber match of a best-of-three. Although most Celtics players and coaches said they were happy about the short turnaround and little rest, it did not look like Boston was prepared. Early Sunday afternoon the Celtics captain, Paul Pierce, even came out and said that his team is old and too much rest could be detrimental.
Maybe they could have used just one more day of rest, because in the first quarter of last nights 93-79 loss to the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics looked flat and out of it. Lebron James single handily out scored the entire Boston team 13 to 11. The Celtics 11 points matched a 2012 playoffs low for points in the first quarter, the only difference is that the Spurs went on to win their game when they did it. It looked as if Boston was going to execute a miraculous turnaround themselves when they turned a 11 point first quarter deficit into a tie game at the half by scoring 35 second quarter points. The only problem was that Miami was not going to lay down.
“We knew at halftime we hadn’t played our best basketball,” James said. “So we just had to stop making the mental mistakes and start to play the way we’re capable of playing.”
And what the King says goes…at least that’s what I’ve learned from HBO’s Game of Thrones. The truth of the matter is that when Lebron or Wade want to score, they do. Those two freaks of nature can take the ball themselves and just dominate from wherever they want. I honestly don’t even understand why Eric “Waste of Space” Spoelstra even bothers putting the other 3 guys on the floor with them. The one bright spot that Boston had in this game was at the one position that I gave the favorable matchup to the Celtics. Kevin Garnett had no one of significant value playing him on either end of the floor all night and was able to fill up the stat sheet with 23 points, 10 boards, 2 assists and a block and steal. Outside of Garnett, no Celtics player performed to their fullest capabilities. Rondo shot 8-20 and had only 7 assists…which is really low for him. Paul Pierce seemed physically drained from matching up with Lebron and he only put in 12 points on a pathetic 5-18 shooting performance. I feel the most costly under production came from arguably the NBA’s greatest shooter ever, Ray Allen. Allen shot 1 for 7 from the floor and made 3 of 7 from the foul line. That was only the third time in Ray Allen’s career that he missed 4 foul shots in one game.
“We may never see that again,” Rivers said of Allen’s foul shooting. The fact is that they better not because Miami is not the type of team to let small mistakes go unnoticed. I expect Boston to come out with a little more fire power in game 2 on Wednesday, but with how well Miami is playing at home, I find it hard to imagine that Boston will be able to prevail in any games in South Beach.