Greetings from the hoodwood where your humble scribe, is now on the 15 day DL from the Hoodwood Bandits softball team because he can’t catch a throw from his 2nd baseman…resulting in the above dislocation of the thumb his throwing hand.
NBA: They’re dropping like flies
The 1st round of the NBA playoffs has begun in earnest and the players that are dropping out are startling. Derrick Rose of the Bulls and Iman Shumpert of the Knicks both out with ACL tears. Rose’s loss to the Bulls may be the most devastating. The Bulls have played and played well without Rose who missed 39 of his teams 66 games this season. But it’s quite clear that the Bulls will need Rose’s dynamic leadership to get to their first Finals post Jordan. NBA head Mafioso David Stern poo-poohs it off but Im of the thinking that the truncated schedule that was jammed with multiple back to backs and some triples combined with a super short training camp may combine for more injuries than one would think. Look at Dwight Howard, he had missed only 7 games total since high school because of injury but suffered a back injury that effectively crippled the Magic’s chances for a deep postseason run. I mean really if you are basing your playoff chances on “Big Baby” Davis…you are in a world of shit.
Now I’m a realist, and I know that the Knicks have little or no chance of beating the Heat and the way that they have played in the first two games, they might not even win one in the series. They are now tied with the Memphis Grizzlies for the longest playoff losing streak at 12 games after losing game 2 to the Heat last night. This offense is way too predictable going through the mercurial Carmelo Anthony and the frustration has manifested itself in a devastating fashion. Amare Stoudamire slammed his hand into a glass fire extinguisher case shortly after last nights loss, cutting his hand and making not only his return for game 3 but the rest of the series in serious doubt. Now, I am one that can’t claim to be above punching inanimate objects in frustration…Not satisfied with my hitting in my softball teams first game, I slammed my hand against the dugout fence. I get that, but Im damn sure to watch where I let my frustrations out at. Hitting breakable items or things that can hurt you if you hit them is selfish and stupid. Stoudamire, tweeted early this morning that he was “mad at himself.” He should be, it was a senseless act and just a microcosm of the series in which the Heat seem to be toying with the lesser talented Knicks.
The NBA playoff first rounders to watch will be the Thunder-Mavs and the Clippers-Grizzlies. Now in the former series, both these teams have a healthy dislike for one another and the Thunder seem eager to avenge the 5 game Western Conference final dismissal the Mavs handed them last year. I think that Kevin Durant and his team are ready to make that next step. I know, I know it’s only the first round, but beating the defending champs is a statement. The first two games have been tight taut thrillers that have gone down to the last shot, the Thunder holding serve in Oklahoma City. The series now shifts to Dallas where the aging defending champs look to make a last stand. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this series go the full 7. Meanwhile the Clippers and Grizzlies, longtime playoff also-rans look to be playing a thriller of a series themselves. The dynamic Blake Griffin and Chris Paul led a furious comeback by the Clippers who faded the Grizzlies late roaring back from 20 down in the 4th to steal game one in Memphis and home court advantage. This series will likely be the best series that few will see and fewer will talk about. You have the dynamics of two young hungry teams, the Grizzlies actually have the experience after shocking the Spurs last year and taking the Thunder to 7 games in the West Semis last year. The Clippers are youthful but Chris Paul’s leadership gives them a swagger that they have heretofore never exhibited. This is another series that will go 7 but given the medias fasinication with the anointed Heat, sorry Knicks, the hurting Bulls and the ancient Celtics many casual hoops fans will only think of the Spurs and Lakers out west and ignore these two great first round series.
NHL: Kings playing the Darkhorse?
Few outside of Staples Center gave the Kings much chance in the playoffs having needed a late rush just to get into the postseason. But when the Kings stunned the Canucks in 5 games, many had to take a serious look at the Hollywood ice squad, but the so-called experts gave them little chance against a St. Louis team that was second seeded in the West. But suddenly the Kings are again up 2-0 after a pair of shocking routs of the Blues in St. Louis. A sullen crowd in Scottrade Center watched the Kings jump out to a lead 30 seconds into the game and roll to a 5-2 win. The game was more interesting for the fights than anything else. The Kings are seriously thinking of their first West Finals since 1993. That was when some guy named Gretzky was wearing their sweater. Since my beloved Wings are out, Ive taken a shine to these scrappy underdogs. No, you wont see me in their gear but Ive always liked to root for the unlikely teams. And these Kings are running with their dark horse role.
NFL: Draft Mania
I like the NFL draft, ESPN has been doing the analysis of it for over 30 years but I think that it has made pundits like Mel “Helmet Head” Kiper and Todd McShay too big for their britches. It seems like either one or both of their speculation can make or break a player. These guys just love to hear themselves talk. A prime example is Ryan Tannehill who I think got drafted way too high at 10 by the Miami Dolphins out of Texas A&M. Tannehill a converted WR played decently at A&M last year but McShay was so high on him you had to wonder was he banging someone in their family. Kiper was so hard against him you have to also wonder what Tannehill did to offend him. I knew that a QB desperate team like the Chiefs, Seahawks or Dolphins would grab him and the Dolphins took the plunge. Tannehill becomes the first QB the Dolphins have drafted in the 1s round in nearly 30 years when they took a flier on some cat out of Pitt named Marino. The Browns did seem to be tired of the Colt McCoy era pretty quick as they drafted Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden with the 22nd pick and named him the starter. Weeden is 27 and seems to have more polish coming out of college than McCoy has with a couple years experience The Redskins are the ones that made the most puzzling move though, after rightly drafting Heisman winner Robert Griffin III the Skins then drafted Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins. The Skins have had 21 starters in the past 19 seasons and Im praying that Griffin starts off fast because you know with Cousins in wait the boo-birds will be calling for him at the first Griffin mistake or bad game. Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan says that he couldn’t help himself when he selected Cousins. All he did was create a QB controversy in waiting.
Phat Dap Head Slap
This goes to a phat dap…literally. Regular readers of this column know of my distaste for NFL commish Roger Goddell the self styled sheriff of pro football. But I have to give Goodell credit for his greeting of South Carolina LB Marvin Ingram after he was drafted by the Chargers. This was the only footage I could find, my apologies for the ads and other text...
I had to do a double take and my phone blew up with “Did you see that?” Cynical me wonders how many times Goodell practiced that before he did it live.
I wanted to give it to Stoudamire for the punch but instead I give it to Nike shoe designer Jason Petrie who tweeted mockingly about Derrick Rose’s ACL injury. Rose who wears adidas was the subject of Petrie’s tweet saying “You got one guy only getting stronger, and one guy breaking down before our very eyes. You chose poorly Pooh…#shouldasignedwithNIKE” Petrie’s tasteless tweet instantly got the flame treatment but where he was first contrite and apologetic saying "Y'all take sh#t too serious! Never want to see anyone get hurt- I hope DRose comes back stronger than ever, he's too good..." but then went back to the flaming retorts saying to those who were rightly critical "Just to set the record straight- if you ain't with me you against me, and if that's the case I don't give a F about you!" After more harsh rebukes, Petrie then claimed his comments were tongue in cheek. Im sorry, that was a weak denial to trying to taunt someone for being hurt. Had someone made a comment like that had LeBron James suffered a similar injury, they would have faced countless death threats (except in Cleveland) for making those comments. Petrie should stick to shoe design, not that hes very good at it…
My apologies for the short column, but bad internet service combined with the bum thumb makes things a bit hard to pound out a long column. Hopefully, Ill be better next week. Until next post fellow sports fans!