Talking sports while everyone else talks s#*%. Don't be haters, be Debaters!

Archive for November, 2012

Building a Rivalry

If you are a basketball fan, then you were definitely tuned in for the first ever game between the newly formed inner-city rivalry New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.  This was a make up game that was postponed due to the devastating destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.  One of the biggest questions heading into this contest was whether or not these teams could be considered a rivalry or not.  If it wasn’t a rivalry before the game, it sure as hell is now.  While the outcome of 96-89 win for the Brooklyn Nets was a disappointing one to Knicks fans like myself, the atmosphere around the game was absolutely brilliant for the NBA and especially New York.

My boy NYBobby recently wrote about how the Brooklyn Nets deserve more praise then they are getting for their impressive start the season (https://sports-debaters.com/2012/11/18/big-ups-to-brooklyin/).  I, of course, gave him a hard time and explained that to get quality press you must get quality wins.   Since that article, the Nets had a huge win over the LA Clippers, who are a top 3 team in the Western Conference, and last night they pulled out an even bigger win against the then Atlantic Division leading Knicks.  Now the Nets sit tied on top of the Atlantic Division with the Knicks and I feel that I owe them some recognition.  Clearly, the Brooklyn Nets are a team to recon with this season and while I still rank them behind the Knicks, the disparity between the two isn’t nearly what I thought it was.

Last nights game was a lot more then just a regular season win for the Brooklyn Nets and loss for the New York Knicks.  The game was played in the Nets new stomping grounds, the Barclays Center, and boy was it rocking.  The turnout for the game was way more electrifying then I thought it could be and both teams were represented well by their supporters.  While the commentators seemed to think the crowd was a 60-40 split in favor of the Nets, I thought it was 50-50.  There were actual points in the game where I couldn’t tell if a play went good or bad for the Knicks because they had an equal amount of fans and haters.  The stadium was a very unappealing mix of black, silver, blue and orange and the intensity was high.

Throughout the game, I was on the phone with Bobby talking about how exciting this regular season game was.  I rarely put much stock in any of the first 50 games of an NBA season as teams are just trying to find their footing.  That being said, the Knicks and Nets clearly new what this game could mean for the city and after the Nets big win, the city of New York now has 2 #1 teams to root for.  While I am Knicks fan through and through and I will never root against them, I do now have a small place in my heart for New York’s newest team.  New York has not had two quality teams in the same sport since the Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees back in 2000.  The Jets, Giants and even the forgotten Bills are never good at the same time, or in the Bills case…ever, and the Mets always seem to suck when the Yankees are thriving, which is almost always.

A lot of people are saying that the Nets and Knicks can’t be considered a rivalry because neither has been relevant in quite some time, but that’s not how I see it.  Knicks/Nets games has always been an important matchup on each teams respective calendars for a while now.  Just because neither team has been good recently shouldn’t take away from the intensity that both teams bring out of each other.  In their first battle as newly minted inner-city rivals, the two teams fought tooth and nail to earn a “W” and the Nets came out victorious in an exhilarating overtime thriller.  Sure, the Knicks were without Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert and Amare Stoudemire and the Nets were completely healthy, but I’m not an excuse maker and the Nets deserved the win.  Deron dominated Raymond and while Melo and Tyson had their best games of the season, it just wasn’t enough to defeat the scrappy Nets.

As tough as last nights loss was, I am very happy to know that the Knicks will not have to wait long to pay the Nets back with a taste of their own medicine as the two teams will face off once again on national television Tuesday, December 11th in the Barclays Center and then again on December 19th in the Garden.  Firstly, I want the Knicks to win because I just love the Knicks. Secondly, I want the Knicks to win to shut Charles Barkley and Shaq the hell up.  Congratulations to the Nets for their hard fought victory and I know I will be ready for another exciting game two weeks from today.  Sit back and enjoy the ride New York because it looks like our city has two teams that are looking to make some noise this year.

Advertisements

Expert Picks Against the Spread: Week 12

Gamblers rejoice, here are our Week 12 Sports Debater expert picks against the spread.  (We are NOT responsible for any money lost)         odds courtesy of 5Dimes.eu

Game Time Teams NYBobby MatthewToddErich Scher Thing
Sunday, November 25, 2012: Minnesota Vikings (+6.5) @ Chicago Bears (-6.5) Bears Bears Bears
Sunday, November 25, 2012: Oakland Raiders (+8) @

Cincinnati Bengals (-8)

Bengals Bengals Raiders
Sunday, November 25, 2012: Pittsburgh Steelers (-2) @ Cleveland Browns (+2) Steelers Steelers Browns
Sunday, November 25, 2012: Buffalo Bills (+2.5) @ Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) Colts Colts Colts
Sunday, November 25, 2012: Denver Broncos (-10) @ Kansas City Chiefs (+10) Broncos Broncos Chiefs
Sunday, November 25, 2012: Seattle Seahawks (-3) @ Miami Dolphins (+3) Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks
Sunday, November 25, 2012: Atlanta Falcons (-1.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1.5) Buccaneers Falcons Falcons
Sunday, November 25, 2012: Tennessee Titans  (-3.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5) Titans Titans Titans
Sunday, November 25, 2012: Baltimore Ravens (0) @ San Diego Chargers (0) Ravens Ravens Ravens
Sunday, November 25, 2012: San Francisco 49ers (-2) @ New Orleans Saints (+2) Saints Saints 49ers
Sunday, November 25, 2012: St. Louis Rams  (+1.5) @ Arizona Cardinals (-1.5) Cardinals Cardinals Rams
Sunday, November 25, 2012: Green Bay Packers (+2.5) @ New York Giants (-2.5) Giants Packers Giants
Monday, November 26, 2012: Carolina Panthers (-2.5) @

Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5)

Panthers Eagles Panthers
Overall Records:

 

NYBobby:

51-56

MatthewToddErich:

53-54

Scher Thing:

9-3

 

Did That Really Happen?

On April 18th, the NFL announced it’s 2012 Regular Season schedule and Jets fans immediately cringed.  They placed our New York Jets in a Thanksgiving homegame with the New England Patriots.  I immediately wrote the article https://sports-debaters.com/2012/04/18/no-thanks-nfl/, which I stated my displeasure that the Jets would have to embarass themselves on National Television, ruining my favorite holiday.  Now I have made a lot of predictions on this website, many of them have been correct (hell, I called the Kentucky Derby winner “I’ll have Another” and I took the Sports Debater March Madness Pool)…but my prediction in the above article was the most spot-on article I have written since Sports Debaters has been up and running, proving this Jets debacle was easy to see all the way back in the Spring!

Jets fans, there’s really nothing I can say to put a positive spin on what we witnessed Thursday night.  After a great evening of stuffing myself stupid, I cut off a fat slice of chocolate pudding pie, settled in front of the TV and got ready for some “playoff intensity” AFC East football.  I must have been drinking the Rex Ryan kool-aid, because for some god damn reason, I thought the Jets might be competitive.  They were playing for their lives on National TV in front of their home fans against their biggest rival…seemed like the kind of game that our beloved Jets might actually compete in.   Holy shit, was I wrong!

It’s all pretty much a blur to be honest.  I remember Sanchez running into Brandon Moore’s ass, I recall Shonn Greene handing the ball to the Patriots on a failed 4th down attempt and I vaguely remember Joe McKnight fumbling the ball in the waiting arms of Julian Edeleman, who caught the ball in stride for a New England Touchdown.  At this point, I believe I doubled my alocohol intake from the previous 6 hours, found a quiet room in my house and began laughing.  After a good 10 minutes, my laughs turned into a soft whimpering which lead to feelings of self-pity and guilt.

It’s time to blow this team up.  The first to go must be Mike Tannenbaum.  Your personnel decisions have made this team weaker and weaker every single year you have been here.  You have cut or failed to resign veteran leaders each offseason and left our locker room with nothing but malcontents.  Rex Ryan, I am tired of your act.  Just for fun, I tuned into your press conference after the game and listened to your bullshit again…”We are going to continue fighting”….”Mark Sanchez gives us the best chance to win”…”This is the most talented team I’ve ever had”….your act was cool for a little bit, but now it’s quite transparent that you don’t know what to do to save this sinking ship.  Bart Scott, you might be the slowest linebacker in the game today and if you retired today it wouldn’t be soon enough for me.  Mark Sanchez, I feel bad for you in a way but come on man, you forgot the play, decided to take off and run with the ball, colided with your teammate’s fat ass, fell down, fumbled and gave up a TD.  It was the most comical play any of us have ever seen and it sums up your season and basically your Jets career perfectly.  Breaking up is always hard, but it’s time for us all to go our seperate ways.

As for me, I am feeling many of the same emotions that all Jets fans are today.  Disgusted we had to witness that massacre, happy that it’s over, relieved we don’t have to see the Jets again for another 9 days, apathetic about the rest of the NFL season, jealous of all NFL fans whose teams don’t disappoint them week after week and really pissed off that for some god damn reason we couldn’t have been raised as New York Giants fan.  However, the main emotion I am feeling is overwhelming joy that I am not longer a season ticket holder, as being as Thursday night’s game would have lead me to do really bad, unmentionable things that I could probably get into a lot of trouble for writing…use your imaginations….


Fighting For the Top Spot

Every Saturday when I was young, my grandpa  Herbie was glued to the TV.  He is without question one of the main contributors to me being a sports-addict.  These Saturdays were filled with my grandma Lila stuffing my family’s faces with delicious food as Herbie sat back and taught me all he knew about his favorite college football team: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  I’ll be honest with you. I never had a true passion for college football because I grew up in New York where it  isn’t really a big deal.  Having said that, I always had a soft spot for Notre Dame for the sole reason that my grandfather found such enjoyment in watching them.  Now I am not trying to look like a front-runner, but I must talk about Notre Dame’s climb back to relevance as they are now on the top of the BCS standings and only one game away from their first National Championship Game since 1988.

When the college football season started, the Irish were a 30 to 1 favorite to win the whole kit and caboodle.  Entering this Saturday’s game against the USC Trojans, the Irish find themselves a remarkable 3 to 1 favorite to win it all.  This match up is quite fitting considering the fact that Notre Dame is ranked #1 in world while the underachieving Trojans were the preseason #1 ranked team.  Oh my, how the tables have turned.  Before this past Saturday, the Irish were ranked #3 in the BCS standings, but after Baylor destroyed Kansas State and Stanford won a nail-biter against Oregon, the Irish jumped to the top of the league.  It’s pretty amazing that the Irish are the only bowl-eligible undefeated team left in college, but it’s true.

The Irish weren’t the only team that benefited from Kansas State’s and Oregon’s demise; the Alabama Crimson Tide jumped back up into the drivers seat and they too are now in control of their own destiny.  If the Tide win on Saturday and then win the SEC Championship game, they will face off with the Irish for the National Championship, assuming Notre Dame wins on Saturday.  Rumors are already floating around the gambling world that if the National Championship game is Notre Dame vs Alabama, then it will be the most bet on game in college football history.  This could be the best thing that has happened to Notre Dame athletics since Sean Astin donned the Gold and Navy Blue in the movie Rudy.

The Fighting Irish’s head coach, Brian Kelly, is not sitting lightly on his teams #1 ranking.  Kelly told the Daily News, “It’s interesting, I kind of wanted to get a sense of how the players felt around this (referring to their #1 ranking), so I went to the training room when the guys were popping in today. They all to a man know that it doesn’t mean much if you’re No. 1 for just three or four days. So they understand the importance of the USC game.”  I completely agree with Kelly that there is no reason to even think about the Championship game until they beat a USC team that would love to play spoiler to the Fighting Irish’s dreams.

One of the biggest highlights from this season for the Irish is the emergence of their superstar Captain, Manti Te’o.  Te’o is in his senior year and is in the running for the Maxwell Award (Best Player), the Chuck Bednarik Award (Best Defensive Player) and the highly coveted Heisman Trophy.  He is the true example of a team leader and Kelly considers Te’o the main reason why his defense is one of the best in the nation.  Te’o is not taking these honors lightly.  “I’ve never felt so strong” Te’o said. “Something my girlfriend always stressed to me was being humble and if anything, this experience has truly humbled me.”  I am praying that my Jets can pick up this stud come draft time.

I honestly couldn’t explain why my grandpa, who went to City College during their point shaving days, became a die hard Notre Dame fan, so I asked him.  “Since I have my Jewish heritage, the fighting Irish became my team,” Grandpa Herbie joked to me.  His real reason was that the Irish were the only team that was on TV every week so he was a fan by default.  I am very happy that his passion rubbed off on me and now I have a vested interest in this Saturday’s important game.  Regardless of what happens on Saturday, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have had an amazing year and I can only hope they finish it with a National Title.  GO IRISH!!!!


Big Ups to Brooklyn

Going to make this short and sweet.  My partner in crime has been, and will continue to write about how great the New York Knicks are playing.  I understand why, I mean they have jumped out to a 7-1 start with big early wins over Miami and San Antonio.  However, if you look at the Atlantic Conference standings you will notice another New York team sitting close to the top.  The Brooklyn Nets, in the first season in their new home have come out of the gate at a 6-2 clip and need to be recognized…

After a rough existence as the New Jersey Nets, the Nets have a new look, a new energy and have thus far put up new results.  The Nets embarked on a West Coast trip this afternoon as they took the court in Sacramento against the Kings.  While I know that Sacramento is a pretty awful team, traveling across the country is always a tall task and in the past few years, the Nets would have lost a game like that.  While a win like today’s isn’t the sexiest, it’s an absolute indicator that the Nets are a much improved team.

The great thing about the Nets thus far is that they are getting contributions from the entire team.  Joe Johnson had a woeful game today shooting 1-10.  However, the Nets had Marshon Brooks step off the bench and put up 14 points on 5-6 from the floor.  While Kris Humphries hasn’t been scoring much this year, his hustle and boarding are huge factors.  To make up for Humphries lack of offensive production, Andray Blatche came into today’s game and went 11-12 from the floor while putting in 22 points off the bench.  Todays game was the perfect example of a team that is meshing well and supporting one another.

Brook Lopez, who was supposed to be shipped out of town for Dwight Howard on 50 different occasions, has really been a difference maker this year.  He’s always been a great inside scorer when healthy, and now that he has a playmaker like Deron Williams to receive the ball from, he’s ready to insert himself in the short conversation of top Centers in the league.  He’s put up 17.8 points per game in the early season and I expect that number to go up as long as he stays off the injured list.  In today’s win vs. the Kings, Lopez also had 4 blocks, which is an area that has never really been in strength.  If Lopez keeps growing in his defense, look for him to join Deron as East reps at this year’s All-Star game.

As earlier stated, I’m not trying to disrespect the Knicks at all.  They are receiving lots of love and right now they deserve it.  The Nets need some also though and after they beat the Lakers Tuesday night, which I am predicting right now, they will start to receive a little more of the National Spotlight than they have to date.  As a New York City hoops fan, the past week has been about as good as it’s been in quite a long time.  I just want to make sure everyone realizes that there are TWO teams out there representing the greatest city in the world on the hard court.


Expert Picks Against the Spread: Week 11

Gamblers rejoice, here are our Week 11 Sports Debater expert picks against the spread.  (We are NOT responsible for any money lost)

odds courtesy of 5Dimes.eu

Game Time Teams NYBobby MatthewToddErich Scher Thing
Sunday, November   18, 2012: Arizona Cardinals (+9) @ Atlanta   Falcons (-9) Falcons Falcons Cardinals
Sunday, November   18, 2012: Cleveland Browns (+7) @

Dallas Cowboys (-7)

Cowboys Cowboys Browns
Sunday, November   18, 2012: Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Detroit Lions   (+3) Lions Packers Packers
Sunday, November   18, 2012: Cincinnati Bengals (-3) @ Kansas City   Chiefs (+3) Bengals Bengals Bengals
Sunday, November   18, 2012: New York Jets (+3.5) @ St. Louis Rams (-3.5) Rams Jets Rams
Sunday, November 18, 2012: Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) @ Washington   Redskins (-3.5) Redskins Redskins Redskins
Sunday, November   18, 2012: Tampa Bay Buccaneers  (+1) @ Carolina Panthers (-1) Buccaneers Buccaneers Buccaneers
Sunday, November   18, 2012: Jacksonville Jaguars (+15) @ Houston   Texans (-15) Texans Texans Jaguars
Sunday, November 18, 2012: New Orleans Saints (-5) @ Oakland   Raiders (+5) Saints Saints Saints
Sunday, November   18, 2012: San Diego Chargers (+9) @ Denver   Broncos (-9) Broncos Broncos Broncos
Sunday, November   18, 2012: Indianapolis Colts  (+9.5) @ New England Patriots (-9.5) Patriots Colts Patriots
Sunday, November   18, 2012: Baltimore Ravens (-3) @ Pittsburgh   Steelers (+3) Ravens Ravens Ravens
Monday, November   19, 2012: Chicago Bears (+7.5) @

San Francisco 49ers (-7.5)

49ers 49ers Bears
Overall Records:

 

NYBobby:

45-50

MatthewToddErich:

46-49

   

 


Sucks to be Baltimore!

The Baltimore Orioles had a few good teams in the 1990’s, lead by Cal Ripken Junior, Roberto Alomar, Brady Anderson and Mike Mussina.  Unfortunately, their success took place during the latest Yankee dynasty and therefore the O’s were never able to reach their desired pinnacle of a World Series Title.  After the retirement of Ripken, the Orioles dropped off the face of the relevant baseball planet.  For over a decade the Orioles looked up at the standings every season and saw the Yankees and Red Sox sitting pretty atop the leader board.

The good news for the Orioles is that they were at least competitive with the Rays and Blue Jays for the battle for 3rd in the AL East.  Then in the late, 2000’s, the Rays all of a sudden got talented and began competing with the Red Sox and the Yanks.  All of the Rays years of sucking paid off, and their quality draft picks came to the big leagues and took off.  Tampa reached the World Series in 2008, a feat Baltimore was unable to accomplish in their 90’s run.  As a result of Tampa’s success, there were two basement beaters in the AL East…Baltimore and Toronto.

Then the craziest thing happened this year…The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore switched places.  Boston fell apart, the Orioles pushed the Yankees for the division crown and eventually settled for a Wild Card birth and first round matchup vs. New York.  Well, the Yankees disposed the Orioles in five games but baseball experts all over the world were saying how successful of a season Baltimore had and that it could be a building block for next year.

Fast forward 6 weeks and the Toronto Blue Jays are the talk of the big leagues.  After their blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins, the Blue Jays have put themselves in a position to compete with the rest of the division.  Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, Mark Beurhle and Josh Johnson are all bonafide big leaguers who will help contribute immediately to a Toronto Blue Jays that already has big league talent on the roster in players like Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie.  Then two days ago, the Blue Jays inked Melky Cabrera to a deal and even though he’s coming off a steroid scandal, he’ll still add to their suddenly deep team.

As for Baltimore’s future, I believe the Toronto moves drop them back down to fourth in the division.  The Yankees will always be the Yankees because they have the money to retool year after year.  The Rays still have the youngest and deepest rotation in the American League and if some of their players like Evan Longoria were healthy all last year, I believe they could have taken the AL East crown from both the Yankees and the Rays.  The Blue Jays will be better than the Orioles next year because their talent will have time to go to Spring Training together and mesh, unlike the Dodgers talent collection attempt this past year.  The other thing Baltimore needs to consider is that the Boston Red Sox are down right now, but we all know that they will be back in short time.  The demand for a winner in Bean Town is too strong and the front office has already stated that they are willing to spend money to build sooner rather than later.

So, Baltimore Oriole fans, if you are out there…sucks to be you!  You had a good year, it was cute but you didn’t really accomplish all that much actually.  The Yankees beat you in the division race and the playoffs and Yankee fans are disappointed with the end result of 2012!  It’s time for you to go back to the dungeon for the next decade or so and let the AL East heavyweights battle it out.  Hey, at least the Ravens are relevant….


Is it the Right Choice?

Early Monday morning, the basketball world found out that the struggling Lakers decided to sign Mike D’Antoni as their new head coach.  Let me start by saying that the Lakers interim head coach, Bernie Bickerstaff, is 2-0 since the firing of Mike Brown and I think Bernie deserves a couple of more games to prove whether or not he can manage this juggernaut team.  That being said, D’Antoni has been chosen as the Lakers front office’s first pick to fill the coaching void and now there is some questions and controversy surrounding their decision.  Once Brown was fired, everyone in the world thought that the Zen Master himself would retake the helm and lead this team to his twelfth Championship ring.  Well, Phil Jackson is still jobless and Mike D’Antoni is about to lead an ideal lineup for any coach in the league, but is this decision the right choice?

Obviously, as a Knicks fan I have my extreme skepticism’s about D’Antoni’s coaching ability.  This is a guy who has made it abundantly clear over his two decades as an NBA coach, that he has no regard whatsoever for the defensive end of a basketball game.  Sure, Mike won Coach of the Year for his 2004-2005 season managing the Phoenix Suns to their first year of relevancy since the days of Charles Barkley, but he did so by leading the league in scoring and he also had a PG named Steve Nash, in his prime might I add, on his way to his first of two NBA MVP’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that D’Antoni is one of the smartest offensive basketball minds to ever grace the hardwood, but if you are a true NBA fan, you know that Championships are not won on the offensive end.

When there became a vacancy in the Lakers head coaching position, everyone’s first thought was that Phil was going to come back to help Kobe match the six rings he helped put on Michael’s hands.  Even Kobe addressed the media saying how he thought “he never truly gave Phil a quality farewell season”.  The Staples Center roared with chants of “We Want Phil! We Want Phil!”  The only problem with that thought was no one thought Phil was going to want to come back to the NBA so soon; only 1 year removed from retirement.  The Lakers front office, The Buss family and Mitch Kupchak, visited Phil early Saturday morning and after some short talks, Phil was under the impression that he would have until today to work out the kinks and make his decision.  Well Phil, you snooze you lose!

Having found out about D’Antoni’s hiring yesterday, Phil told the media, “No contractual terms were discussed and we concluded with a hand shake and an understanding that I would have until Monday to come back to them with my decision.  I did convey to the that I did have the confidence that I could do the job.  I was awakened on Sunday by a phone call from Mitch Kupchak.  He told me that the Lakers had signed Mike D’Antoni to a 3-year agreement and that they felt he was the best coach for the team.”

First off Phil, there is no way that the Lakers thought Mike was “the best coach” for the job.  The way I see it is that Phil, in the final seasons of his coaching career, was very high maintenance with his restrictive traveling schedule and constant health issues.  Mike, on the other hand, will be the perfect puppet for Jerry Buss to bounce on his knee and do whatever it is he wants done with his team.  D’Antoni doesn’t have the type of pull that Jackson would demand and that is a lot more comforting for Kupchak and the Buss family.  The truth of the matter is that D’Antoni and Phil can not even be mentioned in the same sentence when referring to their coaching abilities.  Phil is arguably the greatest coach there ever was and Mike D’Antoni is just eh.  D’Antoni has had a couple of successful regular seasons under his belt and he has proven that he can match anyone’s offense output, but the Lakers always make the playoffs so the regular season is not their problem.  They need to win once in the postseason and Mike has proven time and again that he can not coach in the playoffs.

I do understand the signing of Mike though.  He obviously has a report with Nash and when Kobe was growing up in Italy, D’antoni was his favorite player to watch.  Add that to the fact that Mike coached both Dwight and Kobe on multiple Olympics teams and you have a coach who has pretty good chemistry with his core players.  Kobe even went on to post on his Facebook page, “It’s been a wild week to say the least.  I’m happy to have closure and can’t wait to get to work with Coach D’Antoni.. spacing, ball movement. And despite the chatter, I believe we will be phenomenal defensively. I’m looking forward to getting started with him and his staff this week. Mamba out.”  Phenomenal defensively?  I doubt it.

I honestly feel that anyone with the slightest bit of basketball knowledge can coach this Lakers team to the NBA Finals because of how talented their roster is.  There was so much fuss over their 1-4 start, but lets not forget that the Miami Heat started with a 9-8 record when they first joined Lebron-Wade-Bosh.  Chemistry takes time and I can assure all of the doubters out there that the Lakers will be a force to recon with for the rest of the season.  As to whether or not Mike was the right choice to lead them to their successes, well that’s just something we will have to wait and see.