Week In Review: May 12th-May 18th 2014

So I’m going to be starting a weekly post called, imaginatively, The Week in Review. Every week I’ll talk about what happened in the world of sports, maybe add in some analysis, try (and probably fail) to be funny, and just try and talk about something fun and new. As I’m trying this out for the first time, I need feedback. If you’d prefer to have it posted once a day as a “Day in Review” column because you can’t bear to wait a week to hear from me (no need to flatter me), then just comment and let me know. In fact, I’m leaning towards a daily post, to push me towards either side, shoot me an email or comment. Thanks!

 

Monday, May 12th, 2014

 

The Nets lost after a late three by Chris Bosh, eventually falling to the Heat, 102-96 to go down in their series, 3-1. With the series heading back to South Beach, it seems as though it’s increasingly probable that the Nets will lose. This sucks for a number of people. First, it sucks for all the Nets fans (like me) who’ll be pissed that the Nets are eliminated. Two, it sucks for everyone in the world who’ll have to deal with bandwagon Heat fans crowing about their team’s success saying stupid things like “Wow, LeBron is so good! I’m so happy we drafted him in 2010”. Do us all a favor and shut up. Please. Now. Despite all this annoyingness (annoyingty? annoyingosity?) the person who this sucks for most is Billy King. Why? Well, when Billy King tells Prokhorov that he wasted about 180 million dollars for a second round playoff exit imagine how Prokhorov’s reaction. In the understatement of the year, I don’t think Prokhorov will be too happy with him.

 

Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavs, fired Mike Brown. This shouldn’t be a big deal—after all, coach firings are common in the NBA. Still, it’s highly amusing. Why? Well, in 2010, when the Cavs were trying to convince LeBron to stay, they fired his coach. Evidently, that didn’t work out too well. Guess who the coach was? You got it! Mike Brown. So the Cavs fired a coach, rehired him 3 years later, and then fired him AGAIN a year after that! That’s impressively incompetent. Maybe that’s why LeBron didn’t come back: he didn’t want to play for a bunch of idiots. This reminds me of Ted Stepien, another Cavs owner, who was historically incompetent (if you take out the second comma the sentence still works). He traded away so many first-rounders in the early eighties that two crazy things happened: First, the NBA had to institute a rule that prevented teams from trading away first-rounders in consecutive years which was fittingly named “The Stepien Rule”. Second, no one wanted to buy the Cavs because they were so bereft of assets so the NBA had to give them extra first-rounders just so someone would buy them. Gilbert isn’t on that level yet, but it seems as though he’s doing his best to get there. Speaking of which, they should make a Hall of Fame for horrible owners. The charter members would be Stepien, Donald Sterling, Harry Frazee, Jeffrey Loria, Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder, and James Dolan.

 

Just like many teams, the problem with many teams isn’t that their players or front office suck, it’s the fact that their owners are thrifty, stupid, heavy-handed, or any number of other bad adjectives. And, that’s the problem with sports today: you can fire a bad GM, you can buyout a bad player, and you can ditch a bad coach, but you can’t get rid of a bad owner. Knicks fans, for instance, are probably jealous of the Clips fans as they managed to get rid of their horrible owner and are now set for a fresh start. I feel like some enterprising Knicks fan will try and frame Dolan for being racist or the like, just to get rid of him. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014 New York Knicks!

 

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

 

The Rangers closed out the Penguins tonight in Pittsburgh. I’m a Rangers fan and watched a large chunk of the game and it just seemed like the Rangers were always in the Penguins’ zone, constantly firing away shots at Andrey-Fleury while Lundqvist just sat in his goal and rubbed the posts. Other than a couple of instances when Lundqvist made some nice saves, it seemed to me (admittedly, an uneducated fan) like the Rangers dominated. While I’m pleased that the Rangers advanced, it’s too bad for Crosby and Andrey-Fleury as it means that they’ll receive all the blame while everyone conveniently forgets that the Penguins won the Cup in 2009.

 

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

 

For once, the referees seemed honest and fair. In the Nets-Heat game, Game 5, near the end of the game, Paul Pierce knocked the ball out of bounds. This would seem like a straightforward call, except that LeBron clearly smacked Pierce’s hand to force him to knock the ball out. After a replay, It became clear that LeBron had fouled The Truth, except since the call had already been made, it was going to be Heat ball. What did the officials do? For the first time in forever (cue up Frozen music) the officials actually did the decent thing. They called it out on LeBron so Brooklyn could get the ball. Of course, people whined about the officiating after the game anyways. Obviously it was the refs’ fault! It was their fault that Joe Johnson couldn’t get a shot off at the end of the game. Duh.

 

Whiny Nets fans (I am a Nets fan, but I like to think of myself as not being whiny) complained because they lost 96-94, and therefore the series 4-1. Somehow I doubt that Nets fans would have complained had they won the series. Oh well.

 

The Spurs eliminated the Blazers in 5 games after winning 104-82. With the ease that the Heat have dispatched their opponents and the Spurs getting on a roll, it seems as though they’re on a collision course for a rematch in the Finals. If they did, that would be in the running to be one of the greatest Finals ever (in my not-so-humble opinion).

 

On one side, you have the Heat, aiming for a three-peat and to ensure that LeBron returns while on the other side, you have the Spurs, hoping to avenge their loss in last year’s Finals to Miami and trying to get Duncan a 5th ring, which would push him even higher up the ranks of the All-Time-Team. There’s so much at stake in a Spurs-Heat Finals and I hope we get to see it.

 

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

 

The Thunder ousted the Clippers 104-98 while the Pacers finished off the Wizards, 93-80, concluding the second round of the playoffs. Kind of a bummer. After the best first round EVER, the second round following up is a dud. The Basketball Gods giveth and they taketh away. At least we should be headed for (hopefully) another incredible round. Spurs-OKC is the matchup of old vs. new and athleticism vs. experience. The Thunder will try and run San Antonio off the floor while the Spurs will attempt to force OKC into making mistakes. For the Heat-Pacers matchup—wait, scratch that. To make it more exciting: for Heat-Pacers III: the Quest for the Three-Peat, is should also be great. A matchup between two teams who genuinely dislike each other (a rarity these days), between the #1 defense and the #1 offense, and between the two-time defending champions and the team designed specifically to beat them should be fabulous. The amount of good basketball and matchups that we’re about to witness is astounding. It should be an incredible round. I can’t wait. Of course, notice all the should-bes in that paragraph? Yeah, well, I hope I didn’t jinx anything by talking about how awesome everything should be (damn it! I did it again). The Basketball Gods are fickle and they must be appeased. Anyone know where to find a sacrificial lamb?

 

Friday, May 16th, 2014

 

            So I have a problem: nothing particularly interesting happened today. There were 15 baseball games, nothing particularly interesting. No basketball games. The draft hype has mostly dried up. There was a hockey game, between Anaheim and LA, a game 7, in which LA won 6-2. It also was Teemu Selanne’s last game, but there isn’t much to write about that either. Damn it! Well, there’s not much to talk about now, so I’m going to cheat and write about something that’s been irking me for awhile but I haven’t had a chance to talk about (and hey, it’s not cheating if I make the rules). Michael Sam. He and his story have been pored over time and time again. However, with all the talk about why teams would be apprehensive about drafting him because, for instance, he would be a distraction due to the immense following he would receive, there’s been surprisingly little about the most obvious thing of all.

           

            Sam is a 7th round draft pick. Most 7th rounders get cut quickly, and even id they don’t, they rarely (if ever) get anywhere in the NFL. However, if the Rams cut Sam (as they would for many 7th rounders), the media backlash would be enormous. It wouldn’t matter that, as a 7th round pick, the odds were stacked against him in the first place. Rather, everything would be turned into how the Rams are homophobes. Maybe it’s that (please don’t hate me for saying this) possibly (I’m begging you) that perhaps (I swear I’m not homophobic) Sam isn’t all that great of a football player (compared to most NFL-ers) and that’s why he’s cut. Let’s try not to make it into a bigger deal than it is. Of course, there’s no chance of that happening nowadays since everyone is so desperate for stories, which is too bad.

 

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

 

The sports media is stupid. I log onto Facebook today, and what do I see under “Trending”? I see that Lance Stephenson (a crazy guy on all accounts, by the way) said that he hopes Dwayne Wade’s knee “flares up”. Intrigued, I click on the link, and find out to my surprise that he didn’t say that at all (or at least not in the way it was made it out to be)! What did he say? He said that he was hoping be aggressive enough to take advantage of Wade’s injuries, and that, by running, he was hoping that his knee would flare up. Well, that’s a far cry from what was reported. In fact, it’s laudable that Stephenson is a competitor and aims to take advantage of the Heat’s weaknesses when he can. Would you rather have him bring a band-aid and give Wade a boo-boo kiss? It seems as though that’s what people want.

 

The Rangers demolished the Canadiens 7-2 in the opening game of their series to take a 1-0 lead. The Rangers are 4-0 since Martin St. Louis’ mother died. It seems as though a tragedy often brings a team closer together and propels them to new heights. Wait, let’s not give any ideas to Prokhorov to have someone… ‘disappear’ to try and get Brooklyn to go further next year.

 

Apparently Mike Dunleavy is in the running for the next Knicks head coaching job. (This is so laughable that I don’t even need to make a joke about it. Nah, never mind I can’t resist) Why wouldn’t you want to hire someone with a career winning percentage of .461 (although that’s two points off from getting into the playoffs in the crappy Eastern Conference), who led the Jail Blazers, and who was so bad that the Clippers fired him in 2010 so they could hire Vinny Del Negro, of all people. If you’re bad enough at coaching that Vinny Del Negro is considered an improvement over you, you probably shouldn’t be coaching in the NBA.

 

California Chrome won the 139th Preakness Stakes to win the second leg of the Triple Crown. To be the first horse in 36 years, since 1978, to win the triple crown of horse racing, he needs to win at Belmont in three weeks. Miguel Cabrera, in the meantime, is probably feeling betrayed. He captured the Triple Crown in 2012 after no one had done it in 45 years, an impressive feat. But now, the next time that anyone (or any horse) comes close to equaling his achievement, he’s ignored thanks to the present day ten second attention—hey look! A squirrel! Wait, what was I saying?

 

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

 

            Indiana beat Miami 107-96, an impressive victory. Although their lows were lower and their highs not as high, the Pacers seem to be a little like the Spurs as they’re recovering from a slow start and rounding into form, about to unleash some great basketball on unsuspecting foes like Shaq during the Lakers’ three-peat. Of course, the Spurs were consistently great all year while the Pacers were complete and utter crap for three months straight, but still.

 

            I also find it amusing how some entity on Facebook (I forgot who) posted something about how the Heat have never lost a series in which they lost the first game. This so-called ‘fact’ is ludicrous for a couple of reasons. First, the Heat have played just thirteen series since LeBron and Bosh joined Wade in Miami, and in those thirteen series, the Heat have lost the first game of the series four times (after Game 1 of this series, five times). So because, in four chances, one thing happened all four times, suddenly the Heat are unbeatable if they lose the first game of the series? Also, in those thirteen series the Heat are 12-1. So it’s not that the Heat are unbeatable when they lose the first game, rather, they’re nearly unbeatable overall. Yet another example of sports media being foolish, uneducated, or both.

 

            The Hawks easily dispatched the Kings 3-1. Wait, what? Atlanta and Sacramento aren’t in the playoffs! And this is basketball! This must a record for a low scoring game! Wait a second… Oh… It’s the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings. Whoops! Speaking of which, I think there should be a rule that no name is allowed to be used by more than one team. This is a great idea on a number of levels. First, there’ll be a lot less confusion. Second, as more and more teams are started throughout sports, you’ll eventually see games in which the Minnesota Pipers take on the Dallas Chaparrals. Actually, those two teams actually played each other in the ABA. Yet another reason why the ABA failed as a league. Who wants to see teams with boring names? That’s another problem with the WNBA: teams with names like Dream and Sky (just scroll through the WNBA team names, there’s nothing more pathetically funny). Who wants to see the WNBA when there are 120 combined points, about two recognizable stars, and not high quality basketball, even without most of its good players heading to China to play there? Stern never gave up and admitted that it was a lost cause—hopefully Silver will, especially as he showed that he can make the right decision with Donald Sterling. He showed that he’ll act proactively in removing a cancerous drain on the league, maybe he can get rid of another one. WNBA fans, sorry for offending all eight of you.

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