For years, sports commentators and analysts have been drilling athletes, owners, coaches and commissioners with professional and personal questions trying to dig up the most interesting dirt that would interest the public. The problem is when the questions are below the belt and the interviewees fights back to avoid further embarrassment from the interviewer. No one is more famous for their outlandish questions and lack of regard for privacy than the former ESPN host of “Rome is Burning,” Jim Rome. This morning was just another moment for Jim Rome to put someone on the hot seat and listen to them squirm as they try to avoid his probing questions that come off more like an interrogation.
Luckily for the listeners of Rome’s radio show, as well as NBA fans around the world, his guest for the morning was NBA Commissioner David Stern. Since taking over as Commissioner for Larry O’Brien back in 1984, Stern has made it a point to be up front and in the public eye, letting the fans know that the NBA is in good hands. Stern was clearly not prepared for the accusatory question that Jim Rome had ready for him. Rome went on to probe Stern with an accusation that the NBA had fixed the Draft Lottery to favor the NBA owned New Orleans Hornets. Stern firmly responded by asking Rome if he’s still beating his wife. Now Rome has never been formally accused of domestic violence, but Stern clearly was pissed with Rome’s question.
The question is 100% warranted based on the fact that New Orleans is owned by the NBA and the odds that they would win the lottery were a slim 13.7%. I personally don’t think that the lottery was fixed, but with the nullified trade that the NOH’s made involving Chris Paul with the LA Lakers before the season started and then the Clippers trade going through just days later for the before mentioned Paul, made the NBA’s involvement with the team seem slightly suspect. Regardless of whether Rome was right or wrong in this instance, I am just glad a person like Rome finally got caught by some bad Karma. Rome’s fame escalated for an incident on his show in 1994 when his guest was NFL Quarterback Jim Everett. Rome had referred to Everett as “Chris” (after Chris Evert the female tennis player), suggesting that Everett was scared of being hit. When he was a guest on the show, Everett warned Rome about repeating the insult. Rome continued his taunt, causing Everett to overturn the table between them and shove Rome to the floor while still on the air. Here is the interview between Rome and Stern and you can determine whether David’s aggressive responses can compare to Jim Everett’s temper tantrum.
Let us know who you feel is in the right or wrong in this situation.
For almost two decades now the San Antonio Spurs have demonstrated exactly what it is like to play as a team. Year after year, the Spurs have proven that it does not matter who is in the game as long as you play as a team. With NBA championships in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007, the Spurs are looking to add a fifth title to the dynasty that started when San Antonio drafted Tim Duncan as the first overall pick from Wake Forest in 1997. Last night the Spurs finished their second straight sweep of an opponent in the 2012 playoffs and added to their win streak of 18 in a row dating back to the regular season. In round 1, San Antonio demolished the Utah Jazz only to be faced up with the young and talented LA Clippers in round 2. Fear of this high-flying acrobatic team that fans call “lob city,” was nonexistent in the minds of the Spurs as they won all 4 games without missing a beat. At this point I do not see anybody being able to beat this powerhouse team, whether it be the winner of the Thunder/Lakers match-up in the Western Conference Finals or whomever they would face in the NBA finals.
Although this team is clearly led by their veterans Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, San Antonio is a team with endless depth and can beat you from a million different angles. Second in the NBA in scoring, fourth in assists and ninth in rebounds, the Spurs hit on all facets of basketball fundamentals. The Spurs finished the regular season tied with Chicago for the best record in the NBA at 50-16. The incredible thing about that is that they played relativity under the radar all year. I guess that America has just come to expect that Tim Duncan will lead his team to success season after season. This season was extra special for San Antonio because their expectations were a lot lower after losing in the first round of the playoffs last year.
With a roster filled with relatively unknowns, San Antonio found ways this season to pinpoint each players strengths and weaknesses so they could put a solid 11-man rotation together. Role players like Gary Neal, Kawhi Leonard, Daniel Green and Tiago Splitter have embraced their opportunities as secondary options to the Spurs all-stars. Aging veterans like Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner have bought into the idea of supporting rather than shinning, knowing that it will help their ultimate goal of winning a championship. Already tasting one championship in 2007, Matt Bonner has become a huge vocal leader off the bench, as well as providing the Spurs with a deadly 3-point shot. When the Spurs play it is always a complete team effort and it all starts with the marvelous coaching of Gregg Popovich.
With the Lakers trailing the Thunder 3-1 in their best-of-seven match-up, it looks like the Spurs will be facing off with yet another young and extremely talented team in Oklahoma City. I can’t bet against the Spurs right now with the way they are playing, but I do feel that OKC poses a tough match-up. If the SAS make the finals it will most likely be against the Eastern Conference favorites, Miami Heat. If this is how it all plays out I will really look forward to seeing the Spurs and Heat duke it out till the very end. Regardless of what else happens for the rest of the playoffs, I think we should all pay our respects to the under-appreciated and over-achieving San Antonio Spurs.
There is little debate about who the best Power Forward in the past 15 seasons has been. Tim Duncan has been a game changing player since he entered the league in 1997, helping lead his Spurs team to a championship in only his second year. In his career he has averaged 20.3 ppg, 11.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and he played in at least 50 games every season he’s been in the league. With 4 NBA Championships, 2 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs and a Rookie of the Year award to his name, he has assured himself a Hall of Fame spot and he’s in the discussion for best big man of all time. He has a chance this year to make another run at a title, and I’m not quite sure people are appreciating Timmy for what he’s worth. With all that said, the Sports Debater Brain Trust is having a small disagreement over who the next great Power Forward will be. With the likes of Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki in their last years, the young crop of Power Forwards are ready to step into the limelight. LaMarcus Aldridge, Derrick Favors, Thaddeus Young, Michael Beasley, Derrick Williams and company all have a lot of potential, but we choose two others to argue about as to who has the most upside.
Kevin Love vs. Blake Griffin
Kevin Love (NYbobby)Kevin Love is an absolute machine. Although he plays in Minnesota, which is basically off the NBA map as far as relevance goes, Love has filled up the stat sheets in every way imaginable. He was drafted with the fifth pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008, and traded the same day to the T-Wolves, weeks after leading the UCLA Bruins to a Final Four appearance in his Freshman season. In Love’s rookie season he had 29 double-doubles, finishing ninth in rebounds, 3rd in offensive rebounds and led the league in offensive rebounding percentage. He was the first rookie to do so since Hakeem Olajuwon in 84-85, and Hakeem’s career ended out being pretty decent…
In the past few seasons Love has put up scary, historic numbers. He began this last season with 15 straight double doubles, being the first player to do so in twenty years since….you guessed it…Hakeem Olajuwon! In 2010-2011 he led the NBA in rebounding with 15.2 a game, and followed it up this past year with a 13.3 average. His scoring in the past two years has increased from 20.0 ppg to 26.2 ppg. At this rate, we might be looking at 28-29 ppg next year with 14-15 rebounds?!?! The sky seems to be the limit at this point.
Are those numbers not enough proof that Love is the top PF going forward. In November of 2010, Love had the first 30 point, 30 rebound game in 28 years of NBA ball. This past year he scored 51 points in a game against Oklahoma City, then on the next night he put up a smooth 30 point, 21 rebound game against Denver…No Big Deal. He broke the T-Wolves record for 30 point games in a season, sorry Kevin Garnett. Just to top it all off, he went head to head with Kevin Durant in the Three Point Contest at this past All-Star game and beat him too. So lets recap, best rebounder in the game, historic double doubles, averages mid 20’s in ppg, and can outshoot the top sniper in the game from downtown. Not too shabby…
Blake Griffin (matthewtodderich)
Electrifying, high-flying, fearless, tenacious, these are just a few of the many ways you can describe the young phenomenon they call Blake Griffin. From his dominance in college, playing for Oklahoma, to his car-leaping slam dunk in the NBA All-Star game last season, Griffin has mesmerized the basketball world. Just into his second season, Griffin has led his LA Clippers to the second round of the playoffs where he faces off with best power forward of all time, Tim Duncan. Even though these two guys play the same position, they play two completely different styles of the game. While Duncan plays the more conventional PF with his casual post-up ability linked with his smooth bank shot, Griffin has started a new trend for PF’s where he moves without the ball like a stealth ninja and electrifies the fans with his acrobatic dunks.
Griffin won 4 state titles as a high schooler at Oklahoma Christian School, playing for his father, and stayed at home to attend the University of Oklahoma for his college ball. He was showered with numerous accolades like Naismith College Player of the Year, the Oscar Robertson trophy and the John Wooden award. After 2 years at Oklahoma, Griffin was taken with the first overall pick by the Clippers. He went on to win the Rookie of the Year in 2010, and was honored by Sports Illustrated in 2011, as they named him one of the top 15 NBA Rookies of all-time. In that Rookie season, Griffin was the first rookie since Allen Iverson in 1996 to have two 40 point games in his first campaign. Following in the footsteps of the before mentioned Duncan, Griffin was the first Rookie to be voted into an All-Star game by the coaches since Timmy himself in 1998.
Griffin is only through his second full season but his numbers speak volumes of what we can expect from him for years to come. Blake averages 22 points per game while pulling in close to 12 boards. He is also a very impressive passer for a big man with an average of close to 4 assists a game. The most amazing part of Griffin’s behemoth offensive stats is that he shoots the ball at an outstanding 55% from the floor. There is no power forward in the game that does more for his team right now, and there is no one with more upside then Blake Griffin right now in the NBA. Blake has taken the laughing-stock of the NBA, LA Clippers, and transformed them into a playoff contending team that anyone with a little sense would fear playing.
You’ve heard our thoughts on this subject…Who do you agree with and if it’s neither of us, who do you believe is the future of the PF position in today’s game…
Today is one of those days where if you are a sport fan, it doesn’t get much better! You have the NBA and NHL playoffs, a full slate of baseball, the Kentucky Derby and to top it all off, a big boxing match. My suggestion is to start off with a few beers and a comfortable couch for some hockey and basketball this afternoon, then find a nice lounge and order a few Mint Juleps and enjoy the derby, then switch over to a bar, order some tequila in any form, and watch the fight! For you gamblers out there, get your wallets ready and read below because this is a great day to wager on some action!
NHL Playoffs: Rangers vs. Capitals- This series has been played very close throughout. Both teams play solid defense, have great goaltending and contains dangerous scorers who are capable of hitting the nets. However, the Rangers have all the momentum in the world after their last game, a triple OT win on Wednesday night. I expect the Rangers to carry their solid play into today’s game, and even though it is in Washington, New York has played excellent away from the Garden so this won’t be much of a factor. Look for the Rangers to win another close, exciting game and take a 3-1 lead in the series.
NBA Playoffs: Pacers vs. Magic- The Pacers are coming off 2 straight wins, the last being in Orlando and I don’t expect anything different from today. Danny Granger is the best player on the floor, coming off a 26 point, 9 rebound game. In game 3, Roy Hibbert had a solid 18 points, 10 rebound game, taking advantage of the huge void left by Dwight Howard, and I don’t see how Orlando can match his size. Indiana had a solid season all year long, though received very little attention. Look for them to take a stranglehold on this series today by beating the Magic and taking the series back to Indiana up 3-1.
NBA Playoffs: Spurs vs. Jazz- Although San Antonio is a favorite to win the entire thing this year, as the Spurs have had a great season lead by Tony Parker, I believe the Jazz have a little more fight in them then they have shown. Though Utah lost the first two games in San Antonio by a combined 46 points, Utah has always enjoyed a great home court advantage. I do not think the Jazz have the talent to match up with the Spurs over the course of a series, but I also don’t see them getting swept. I think today is when they get their first and only win, and look for Derrick Favors to play more minutes and have a positive impact for the Jazz.
NBA Playoffs: Thunder vs. Mavericks: Though the first two games were very close, Oklahoma prevailed in both and then dominated the Mavs in Dallas to take game 3, 95-79. The defending champion Mavericks have a lot of veteran leadership, and Dirk and company have been in this position before. The only difference this year is they are going against a younger, hungrier, and better basketball team. Kevin Durant threw up 31 points in game 3, and it appears that the Thunder are trying to make a statement that they are ready for the big time. Look for Durant’s hot shooting to carry over and the Thunder to sweep the champs out of this year’s tournament.
NBA Playoff: Grizzlies vs. Clippers- This series has been my favorite of the playoffs so far. The Clippers had a great comeback in game 1, the Grizz matched them in game 2 behind OJ Mayo’s 20 points off the bench, and now the series returns to Los Angeles. The Clipper fans have been overshadowed by Kobe and the Lakers for so many years, and this is the series and chance they have been waiting a while for. When they brought Chris Paul in this season it was for games like todays. I like both of these young, talented teams, and I really feel like this series has a great shot of going the distance. Though I am leaning towards to Grizzlies to take the series, I think the home crowd, who haven’t had a home playoff game since 2006, will give Paul, Griffin and the rest of the Clippers team the energy needed to match Memphis’s physical play and allow LA to take Game 3.
The 138th Kentucky Derby- I am not going to pretend I know a lot about horse racing. Every now and then (and by that I mean three times a year), I’ll tune in just because I like the half a minute of excitement and I enjoy hearing the announcers call the winner. I have not been researching the horses, I do not know how they each run on different tracks, and I’m not sure which jockeys have the inside advantage. However, from what I know, this particular field seems to be very open. As a result, I will predict my winner by using my usual strategy, pick a horse that has a cool name and pays out well. Since I plan on drinking a decent amount today, and plan on uttering the phrase, “I’ll Have Another”, then I don’t see how picking any other horse makes sense. I’ll Have Another is paying out 17-1, so as I’m at the bar, I’ll be simultaneously ordering drinks and rooting on this beautiful chestnut colt.
Junior Middleweight Title Match: Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto- Floyd “Money” Mayweather has taken a lot of heat over the past few years for who he hasn’t fought, mainly Manny Pacquiao. However, in tonight’s match, he will certainly be tested by the 31 year old Miguel Cotto, who has a career 37-2 record, with one of those losses extremely questionable. His only other loss came at the hands of Pacquiao, so Cotto can definitely hold his own in the ring. Cotto is much more humble than the 35 year old Mayweather, who is the biggest showman in the sport. Though Cotto might be easier to root for, Floyd is the best in the business hands down. With a 42-0 lifetime record, it is very hard to argue that point. I think Floyd will win tonight, as he is just a better boxer than Cotto. I don’t see a knockout, as both fighters are technically sound, though I believe at the end of the night, Mayweather will receive the judge’s decision on the score cards.
Enjoy the day and night in sports and good look with your bookies and at the OTB!
Being a Knicks, Mets and Jets fan has helped me build some thick skin and cope with defeat and heartache better than most people can. But this Monday night I was pushed to a whole new level of “fan frustration.” Amare Stoudemire performed what I can only describe as the most selfish and moronic move I have ever seen in sports. Following a demoralizing game 2 defeat in Miami, the Knicks players headed to their locker room with their heads down, and in Amare’s case fists loaded. Stoudemire thought that the best way to take out his post game frustrations was to punch the glass casing on a fire extinguisher. Who knows, maybe this act was a metaphor for how Amare thought he could “put out” the Heat’s fire. Regardless of his intentions, Amare has now removed himself from game 3 and most likely the remainder of the series because of the lacerations he sustained from the punch.
This could not have come at a worse time. First, let’s start with the fact that the Knicks are now going to have to try and find a way to beat arguably the best team in the NBA without their second leading scorer and rebounder whilst down 2-0 in a best-of-seven series. Secondly, this is now back-to-back seasons where Amare Stoude’quagmire’s dimwitted actions altered his ability to play in the playoffs. Last season in a shoot-around before game 2 against the Boston Celtics, Amare tweaked his back trying to perform over-the-top dunks in pregame warm ups and was unable to perform for the rest of the series. This most recent act of selfishness is inexcusable and he definitely deserves to to be reprimanded for his lunacy.
“I am so mad at myself right now,” Stoudemire tweeted after declining to speak to the news media. “I want to apologize to the fans and my team, not proud of my actions, headed home for a new start.” Hopefully the first thing he does when he gets home is give some of that 5-year $100 million contract back to some fans around New York who have had to suffer through his last two seasons of underwhelming performances. I for one would like the $99 I spent buying his jersey reimbursed to me.
What does this mean for the remainder of the series against Miami? Well, games 3 and 4 are going to be played in New York and hopefully the Knicks will have a fire lit under the asses…(if it gets out of control I hear Amare knows what to do.) Regardless of the Knicks tenacity in Thursday’s upcoming game 3, this all feels a little too similar to last seasons series against Boston where we also had two starters down for the count, Amare and Chauncy Billups. The series ended in a sweep and is part of the Knicks tying the worst losing streak in playoff history with 12 straight losses. After the game Carmelo Anthony said, “Nobody wants to lose, but my thing is, as one of the leaders of the team, I’ve got to keep everybody positive. I’ve got to keep everybody’s head up to keep everybody confident.” All season long Melo has tried and help Amare get over his injuries and career-worst performances but it doesn’t seem like it helped. When asked about what Amare did he said, “I really don’t know how to put it in words, but it’s a tough situation. It seems like it’s always something happening. Snakebit.”
I am a very strong believer in Karma so maybe back in New York there will be a fire extinguisher that punches Amare back. All I am really hoping for is a couple more competitive games against Miami and then an off-season where the Knicks look for healthy and responsible players that actually have a goal of winning…(and rubber casing around all fire extinguishers in the Garden.)