Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Tonight: Be A Witness

June 2, 2007

It took Michael Jordan seven years to get to the NBA finals. It took most sports fans two games of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals to officially write-off LeBron James.

In Game 1, James scored only ten points, looked frustrated at times, and passed away the final shot. Detroit won by three in the Palace.

In Game 2, LeBron and the Cavs threw away a 50-38 halftime lead on the road, allowing the Pistons a third quarter run. Seemingly, with the final seconds ticking off the clock and the ball in the hands of King James, all was not lost, but Lebron would drive to the hoop and miss the potential game-winning shot. “Jordan would have made that shot,” said a million fans in a million bars. “Took Michael three seasons to get through Detroit,” some weary, but eternally optimistic Clevelanders muttered over their collective beers. Guess we’ll just pack it in and wait for next year.

But that’s not what 22 year-old James (the same age as Michael Jordan in his first NBA season) was thinking.

In Games 3 and 4, LeBron James had a combined 57 points, 16 rebounds and 20 assists to lead the Cavaliers to two wins over the Pistons, knotting the series at two a piece. James was simply magnificent.

Still, it was Game 5, an unprecedented individual playoff performance, an effort that no NBA great, not Michael, not Magic, not Wilt, no NBA great could have matched, it was Game 5 that those of us who sat in disbelief will remember as the greatest individual performance in NBA playoff history. At the Palace in Auburn Hills, Miiiiiichigan, LeBron James scored 48 points, had nine rebounds and seven assists to lead his team to a 109-107 victory over the Pistons. James scored his team’s last 25 points, double and triple-teamed, at times slashing through the Pistons’ entire starting five, like a drug-resistant TB patient through airport security, on his way to the basket.

Everyone in the building knew who was getting the ball and what he was going to do with it, and the Pistons still could not stop him. The Bad Boys of Detroit–and I’m not being mocking here, the Detroit Pistons can play some hellacious defense–were simply no match for Number 23. James’ 48 points were a new franchise record for the Cleveland Cavaliers, an effort that transcends the label of Jordanesque: what LeBron did was Jamesian.

And tonight, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are poised to do what took Jordan and the Bulls 7 seasons together: earn a berth in the NBA finals.

Will you be a witness?

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Great Oden’s Raven

April 14, 2007

It’s officially unofficial. One and done; Greg Oden is going to the pros–at least, according to his father, Greg Oden Sr.

Greg Oden ended the season with a very impressive National Championship performance (twenty-five points, twelve rebounds, four blocks). And, though he’ll leave college without having won the big one–my God I hate the Gators–this is absolutely the best decision for Oden.

I have a few friends–you know who you are–who think Oden would benefit from one (or three, Drew Miller) more years of College Basketball.

Quick detour: I’m watching Sportcenter right now and they are verbally fellating Urban Meyer, Florida and a couple of the school’s recruits (I guess this is my first ‘live-blogging’). Is there a single player on their roster that even approaches some semblance of coherence when speaking? It’s a whole team of Mush Mouths and Boomhauers. On the bright side, when Timmy Tebow struggles throwing the football this year (turns out, that’s a major component of the position, Tim) he can always audition to be the next GEICO caveman.

Aaaaand we’re back. Three more years, Drew? Really? Greg Oden is a seven-foot, two-hundred and seventy-five pound monster that eats scrap metal and can palm a medicine ball. If I were Oden, right now I’d be soaking in that Tony Montana golden bathtub, flanked by shoe contracts, a strung-out Michelle Pfeiffer and Manny (Conley Jr.). That’s right, I think he should go too.

Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 2005

April 13, 2007

The NCAA rules oversight panel has officially turned back the clock. By returning clock rules to their 2005 form, the NCAA saved more than just fourteen minutes of game time; they have preserved the fourth-quarter comeback and closed a major loop-hole that allowed teams to drain the clock indefinitely on kickoffs.

In the 2006 clock experiment, the following changes were made to the previous rules:

  • The game clock was not stopped on possession changes. In close fourth quarter games, teams holding the lead drained 25 seconds from the clock before running a play, while trailing teams receiving the ball often ran out of time getting players onto the field. In one example, Arizona State punted to USC with 2:30 remaining on the clock. While this was a questionable call, the old rules would have left ASU with about 30-40 seconds, provided they stop USC from getting a first down. USC knelt the ball on each of four downs (the clock doesn’t stop after 4th down) and walked off the field.
  • The game clock began on kickoffs when the kicker touched the ball. In the most egregious example of this new game clock loop-hole, Wisconsin–hosting Penn State–drained almost 2 minutes of clock before the half when the team lined up intentionally offside on three kicks in a row. The result: 11 Wisconsin players got 3 free hits on the Penn State returner (remember, they started about 10 yards forward) and were rewarded for their penalties.

While there is absolutely no doubt that Ohio State benefited from the 06 rule more than a couple times (think Illinois and Michigan) too many fourth-quarter rallys were prematurely cut off by the arbitrary desire to shorten games a half hour. Now, with the rising tide of NCAA rule reform, I expect we’ll see Notre Dame finally join a conference, the Big East removed from the BCS and a 4 team playoff instituted. Yea right.

Ted Ginn is a Monster

April 12, 2007

Ken Gordon of The Columbus Dispatch reports that, in his Wednesday private workout, Ted Ginn ran a few 40s that were not quite “Ginn-like.” That is to say, Ted Ginn ran 4.38, 4.40 and 4.41 second forty-yard dashes on his father’s stopwatch–4.4 average according to the scouts–on a sprained foot that Ginn Sr. estimated was anywhere between 75 and 80% healthy. His 4.38-forty tied Calvin Johnson for fastest among wide receivers.

I sprained my ankle 3 weeks ago and I’m not back to wearing dress shoes. Ted Ginn is running the fastest 40-yard dash among all eligible NFL entrants. This guy is a beast. If Ted Ginn were Jack Bauer, they’d have to call the show ’12.’ Superman must wear Ted Ginn pajamas. You get the drift: he’s good.

The Rams want him, but my guess is that he goes earlier. If the Vikings don’t take him, the Falcons certainly will–they love drafting Buckeyes.

The Buckeye State

April 11, 2007

I have finally emerged from my Men’s-Basketball-National-Championship-induced coma. It was a grueling episode of my life; one I will not soon forget. Immediately following the game–and subsequent orgiastic Gator celebration–I began having Vietnam-like Post Traumatic Stress flashbacks to Glendale, Arizona. Glendale, for me, is like Da Nang, only less humid. Chris Leak and Joakim Noah haunted my dreams and I cursed God every minute for getting my Buckeyes through such a labyrinthine March tournament only to stand by and watch as they were ignominiously dealt another defeat at the hands of America’s dong-piece.

Wallowing in Sisyphean self-pity as ESPN played the loss over and over and over, I had two clear choices; I could O.D. on poisonous Buckeye nuts, or start writing a catch-all sports/news/opinion blog to honor the State that has caused me so much pain.

After the doctors at the poison control center were done pumping the last of the (delicious) Buckeyes from my stomach, I knew I had but one option remaining: I would begin work on a web log. Enjoy.