Thats some twinkie...Hoodwood mourns the loss of Harold Ramis...
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where things are their usual hectic chaotic style and your scribe continues his long running hatred of insurance red tape. The tooth still has yet to be pulled or root canaled (Is that a term?) but as long as it’s quiet I’m fine.
US Hockey, not good as gold?
More often than not the US and Canada have a quiet relationship. The US/Canadian border is the longest non-militarized border in the world and until recently a short wait to enter freely from any customs point. I haven’t been in Canada in nearly 20 years since I refuse to pay $30 for passport but the parts I saw were nice and the people by and large (except for Montreal) were friendly. The only true rivalry that will get these mostly friendly neighbors up is hockey and the Canadians are relishing the chance to stick it to the Americans. The men roared through their bracket having had trailed in any point in the Olympics for a paltry 7:19. But they met their match in the speedy aggressive Canadians who dominated the game from the opening draw, pressuring goalie Jonathan Quick from the start, but Quick parried 16 shots in a scoreless 1st period, but you knew it would only be a matter of time before the Canadians would cash one in and when Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars slammed home a silky pass from Jay Bouwmeester, you knew it was all over but the shouting. Carey Price made the lone goal stand up and the Americans were handed their 4th loss in the Olympics by the Canadians. The US Women were even more painful a loss. They were steam rolling through the Olympic tourney and for some 56 minutes had their Canadian nemesis shutout, but the Canadians scored with 3:26 left and you got the bad feeling creeping in, and the clock was moving sooooo slow. With a little more than a minute left the Canadians cashed in on constant pressure, getting the equalizer with an agonizing 55 seconds left. The deflated Lady Yanks headed to overtime looking like a prisoner walking the Green Mile, you knew that they were gonna get it sooner or later and they were finally put out of their collective misery with the winner about 7 minutes into sudden death. But at least the women were able to take home a silver, the men after losing the heartbreaker to Canada in the semis looked disinterested and played that way in a lackluster 5-0 thrashing by Finland in the Bronze medal game. Needless to say the American hockey teams left Sochi quite unfulfilled.
NBA: And the fuss over Jason Collins is because…?
Jason Collins is a journeyman player at best, he has played with six teams over the course of 14 seasons and by the best description is the worker bee, yeoman type player you see come and go in the NBA. It helps that Collins is 7 feet tall and seems to be happy to do the grinder work that every basketball team needs. The fact that Collins is the first openly gay player to play in any of the four major sports has gotten a lot of play over the past weekend frankly puzzles me. Collins came out almost a year ago in an interview with Sports Illustrated, he wasn’t playing with an NBA team at the time and many pundits figured that he wouldn’t be playing anymore. Of course other pundits said that no NBA team would sign Collins and that it would be blamed on his announcement rather than his advanced basketball age. Collins was 34 when he made the announcement. When the Nets (the team he played for the longest and was a teammate of current Nets coach Jason Kidd) called and subsequently signed him. I looked at it as a basketball move, the Nets are a team in need of big bodies and the 7 foot Collins looked to be the best fit for the team. Like Michael Sams, I have no concern of the players’ sexuality. It’s none of my business and really no concern of mine. The only thing that annoys me is that the media making such a fuss on this, my question is can he play? Can he contribute? The vitriol that is anticipated by the anti has been largely drowned out by the overly PC people lording his participation. I’m not homophobic, I’m on a live and let live mentality. But I’m still puzzling on the fuss and to be sure, Collins isnt the first openly gay player in the four major sports. That would have been Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke in the late 70s, whos other claim to fame was to be the first to perform the greeting we now know as the high-five. Burke was largely ignored and forgotten and died of HIV in 1995 but he really was the first...
NASCAR: Dale Jr. wins at Daytona..and clinches a playoff spot?
I’m not much of NASCAR maven, I know more people who are into and have enough of a working knowledge of the sport (and it is a sport) to have an appreciation of the drivers. My mom likes Dale Jr. which is ironic since she had zero love for his late father. After a lengthy rain delay the race finally got rolling close to 9p EST and Dale Jr. claimed the checkered flag, ten years after winning his first Daytona, 13 years after his father was tragically killed at that same track that he claimed his long sought Daytona win in 1998. I’ve always understood that Daytona is a prize bull for NASCAR drivers and that with the new format for the NASCAR playoffs that a premium is placed on winning races, but given that why is the biggest race at the start of the year when the playoffs are better than 7 months away? It’s like a football team winning a big game in September and clinching a playoff berth right then, I don’t get it.
NFL: Can you regulate speech in the heat of battle?
I have to start this part with a disclaimer, I’m a black man that has used the so-called n-word in conversation with friends and family. Black and white, I do have white relatives by the way. I understand the context that the word can bring and I understand the conundrum that the use of the word can bring. But the NFL is trying to push the political correctness too far, proposing a 15 yard penalty to any player using the term in play. And an ejection for a second offense in a game. Look, I’m not advocating use of the word, though I do understand how and when it could be used. But many find it offensive and I am careful in my use but this is taking legislation too far. How is a ref able to determine who said what?
MLB: No collisions at the plate…
MLB history is full of legendary collisions at the plate King Kong Keller bowling over Ernie Lombardi in the ’39 World Series (Unfairly called Lombardi’s snooze, he was knocked out) Pete Rose’s barreling into Ray Fosse in the ’70 All Star game.; JT Snow trying unsuccessfully to dislodge the ball from Pudge Rodriguez in the ’03 NLDS clincher. Or this collision by AJ Pierzynski on Michael Barrett in 2006 that result in a classic belt to the grill.
More infamously the frightening collision by Scott Cousins on Buster Posey that knocked the All-Star catcher out of the remainder of the 2011 season with a broken leg, but collisions are part of the game and I’ve always thought an exciting aspect. But MLB has taken steps to dissuade collisions with its altering of the rules. No longer can a catcher block the plate if they aren’t holding the ball, and no longer and the runner cant initiate contact by lower the shoulder or “pushing through with the arms, elbows or hands.”. The collisions is still allowed if the catcher has the ball and is blocking the direct path and the catcher is allowed to block the plate if he is making the move to field the ball. And of course if the runner slides appropriately whether head or feet first and collides with the catcher won’t be in violation of the rule. I think that is the way that the rule should have always been but there is still some gray areas here and it will be interesting to see how the umps call it the first time there is a bang-bang play at the plate.
College Basketball: The Latest and greatest Spec Sheet
Atlantic Coast Conference Class-Power
Solid: Syracuse, Duke, Pitt, North Carolina, Virginia
Work to do: North Carolina State, Florida State, Clemson Skinny on the ACC: Quick who leads this conference? Duke after their hard fought win over the Cuse? Nope, are the Orange still on top? No they are both looking up to Virginia where the Cavs at 14-1 are the top dog. The solid group is still just jockeying for position though Pitt is the shakiest. New to the list is Florida State who after going to the Oakland Zoo and earning a hard fought win is at least on the fringes. But I’m still sticking fast to the theory that the cut line is at 6
Key Game: North Carolina at NC State Wednesday 8p (ACC Net) The Pack can really solidify their chances
Projected Bids: 6
Atlantic Ten Conference Class- Major
Solid: Saint Louis, George Washington, UMass, St. Joes, VCU
Work to do: Dayton, Richmond The A-10 Spec is: The Billikens are still out in front but suddenly charging hard into the picture is St. Joes. The Hawks are closing in on 20 wins but have no margin for error with a pretty soft last four in the regular season skein. I’m really getting doubtful about GW who really didn’t give front running Saint Louis much of a fight and now have a solid week to stew. I’m really thinking that Richmond might be the better 5th team coming out.
Key Game: Dayton at St. Joes Tuesday 7p (CBSSN) Both teams are on the cusp of 20 wins, if the Flyers get it they make it harder to keep them off the solid list
Projected Bids: 5
Solid: Cincy, Louisville, UConn, Memphis, SMU
Work to do: None All-American Spec: The Cards won a cliffhanger in Cincy but the Bearcats are still in front but both are still way safe. The Mustangs cleared any doubters with a snappy win in Storrs. There is not too much left to see here beyond a shifting of seedings as I think all five teams in the solid category are Ft. Knox safe.
Key Game: Temple at Louisville Thursday 9p (ESPN) Coming off an emotional slugfest will the Cards get caught with the look aheads to a meeting with Memphis?
Projected Bids: 5
Big East Conference Class-Major
Solid: Creighton, Villanova
Work to do: Providence, Xavier, Marquette, St. John’s Big East Skinny: The Bluejays and Wildcats are still on top but like the SEC the chaff is growing fast. The Muskies took an awful beating in DC to a middling G-Town squad and are in serious trouble. The Johnnies blew a golden chance to get a signature win. But incredibly the Muskies still have the inside track of getting the bid as they still have home games against the tourney bound Jays and Wildcats, a win here paired with their earlier win over Cincy might give them all the cred they need in the committees eyes.
Key Games: Xavier at St. Johns Tuesday 7p (FS1) The winner here has more an inside chance at moving solid
Projected bids: 3
Big Ten Conference Class-Power
Solid: Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Iowa
Work to do: Nebraska The word on the Big Ten is: The Buckeyes thumped the Gophers and for all intents and purposes are safe (grudgingly so) As much Iowa keeps tottering they are still good. The Michigan-Michigan State game was good TV but the real matchup will be in March. The Huskers are trying to their best to move solid but their resume is spotty at best but they have won 7 of 8 and have pushed their way on to the fringe of the conversation
Key Game: Nebraska at Illinois Wednesday 8p (BTN) The Huskers had better not get caught in this trap game if they want to solidify their tourney chances.
Projected Bids: 5
Big 12 Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kansas, Texas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma
Work to do: Baylor, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Baylor Skinny from the heartland: The Jayhawks pounded Texas to reassert their hammerlock hold on the Big 12, they are bulletproof. The Clones, Sooners and Horns are relatively safe themselves and just need to avoid any dumb losses down the stretch. After that its gets dicey, you have four teams trying to snag what I think are two spots. Kansas State is the safest bet though they got housed by the Sooners. I don’t trust West Virginia at all and the Pokes got a pair of badly needed wins against weak teams but still need to basically run the table get back to .500 and win once in the Big 12 tourney in Kansas City order to be safer
Key Game: West Virginia @ Iowa State Wednesday 8p (ESPN3/Big 12 Sports) The Mountaineers so-so chances get a big boost if they can steal one in Hilton. Baylor at Texas Wednesday 9p (ESPNU/Longhorn Net) The Bears could finally get that get that bona fide signature win with a win in Austin.
Projected Bids: 6
Conference USA Conference Class-Mid-Major
Solid: La. Tech, Middle Tennessee
Work to do: Southern Miss, UTEP, Tulsa
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: Middle Tennessee was happy to escape Huntington with a W and remain in the lead here but things may very well shake themselves out here in the next few days. There are some de facto elimination games ahead of the CUSA tourney in El Paso will be key in snagging a coveted double bye that the top four teams get
Key Games: Middle Tennessee @ La. Tech Thursday 7:30p The Blue Raiders will get their stiffest test ahead of the CUSA tourney in Ruston where the Bulldogs still have designs on the regular season title and holding onto their double bye slot Tulsa at UTEP Thursday 9p In another game that could go a long way to determining bye slots the Golden Hurricane and Miners face off.
Projected Bids: 2
Missouri Valley Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State
Work to do: Indiana State Missouri Valley Skinny: The Shockers are #2 in the nation at 29-0, the Sycamores miniscule chances to get notice as an at large dried up with their loss to Missouri State, which means nothing less than a title run through Arch Madness will get them a bid
Key Game: Wichita State @ Bradley Tuesday 9p (ESPN2). The Braves try to pull their biggest upset as they host the rampaging Shockers
Projected Bids: 1
Mountain West Conference Class-Major
Solid: San Diego State, New Mexico
Work to do: Boise State, UNLV, Wyoming
Spec from the Mountains: The Aztecs seeding may be in serious danger as they were stifled by the Lobos who may have steeled their solidity with the win. The Broncos are charging hard to make their presence known they won a thrilling OT shootout with the Rebels but have only a 1 point win over a then unranked New Mexico to point at, they will need to win out and get to the finals in Vegas to have a real shot. The Rebels and the Pokes are just about done with their respective losses. The latter got housed by the middling Rams and are in need of a miracle run now
Key Game: Utah State at New Mexico Tuesday 9p (CBSSN) Let’s see how the Lobos deal with being ranked and facing a soft team, a loss puts them right back on the bubble.
Projected Bids: 2
Pacific 12 Conference Class-Power
Solid: Arizona, UCLA, Colorado, Stanford, Cal,
Work to do: Arizona State, Utah Spec from the left coast: The Utes housed the Sun Devils before a gleeful Huntsman Center crowd and stay on the sheet…for now. I still don’t think that the Pac-12 goes 7 deep, and the Sun Devils and Buffs are looking quite suspect after getting housed. The latter by Arizona. Stanford has gotten too hard to ignore especially after thumping UCLA.
Key Games: Stanford @ Arizona State Wednesday 11p (ESPNU) The Cardinal do the Southwest two step, the Sun Devils are back in bubble trouble but could make the cut line even fuzzier if they hold serve at home
Projected Bids: 5
Southeastern Conference Class-Power
Solid: Florida, UK
Work to do: Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee, Mizzou Spec is Down South: Give the Bayou Bengals some credit, they fought the Wildcats to the wire and then some in Rupp and stay on the sheet but a sweep of UK would have merited a move to solid. I’m not putting Georgia in even though they are in third and piling up win against weaker teams. There are count ‘em 7 teams at 7-7 in the SEC, which further underscores how weak this league is. Florida and UK are safe, pick two more teams from this league and your guess is as good as mine. Mizzou and Arkansas are the closest to 20 and might have the most legit case…I’m just getting ill considering the hot mess this league is.
Key Game: Missouri @ Georgia Tuesday 7p (ESPN) I’m gonna look awful foolish keeping the Bulldogs off the list at 10 wins in conference, but if the Tigers win they justify me keeping them off the sheet and merit an uptown move at 20 overall wins.
Projected Bids: 4
West Coast Conference Class- Mid Major
Work to do: BYU, San Francisco, Saint Mary’s West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs are having all sorts of trouble closing the deal on their 10th WCC regular season crown in 12 years and the Cougars left almost for dead ten days ago are closing fast but can’t win the title outright. The Dons and Gaels are jockeying for position and though this remains to me a one bid league, it’s getting interesting on who will get in.
Key Game: Gonzaga @ Pacific Thursday 10p (ESPNU) Will the third time be the charm for the Bulldogs? They continue to totter toward the bubble with bad losses and need to right themselves ahead of the WCC tourney.
Projected Bids: 1
There are others in the mix to be sure. Teams from the always dangerous Colonial (Delaware) and Big South (VMI) always are in the mix. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid (projected winners in parentheses): Amer. East (Vermont), Atlantic Sun (Mercer), Big Sky (Weber State), Big West (UC Irvine) , Horizon (Green Bay, Ivy (Harvard), MAC (Toledo) , MAAC (Iona) , MEAC (NC Central), Northeast (Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Belmont) , Patriot (Boston U.), Southern (Davidson), Southland (SF Austin), Sun Belt (Georgia St.) , Summit (IPFW), and SWAC (Southern) and Western Athletic (New Mexico St
Remember that this is still speculation, nothing here is ever solid and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?
Phat Dap/Head Slap
To one of my own. Despite my beloved Bearcats taking a tough loss to their despised rivals of Louisville, Bearcat redshirt senior guard Sean Kilpatrick became only the 2nd player in UC history to score more than 2000 points in his collegiate career. The only other player in that club? He only has a statue outside of 5/3rd Arena, a guy by the name of Oscar Robertson. His school scoring record of 2973 points is still very safe. But SK is joining some heady company and has played in a manner that has earned the Big O’s respect and admiration. Congrats to a class act Bearcat.
To otherwise mild mannered Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim who more or less went batshit crazy after a bang-bang call was made late in the Syracuse-Duke game. The resulting double tech gave the Blue Devils just enough extra cushion to hold off the Orange in the second of their titanic battles. Boeheim had never gotten the gate (exhibition game not included) in his coaching career, but he broke that streak. I thought the meltdown was amusing given Boeheim’s long standing stature as a mild mannered coach. But it was not needed and a bad exhibit
A Few Other Passing thoughts
NHL whining about losing players in the Olympics (Im talking to you Garth Snow), werent they out front saying that they should be able to represent their countries?
I gave dap to Sean Kilpatrick of Cincy for scoring over 2000 career points, you have to give dap as well to Doug McDermott of Creighton, the names that he is passing on the scoring list as he closes in on 3000 points are the whos who of college basketball scorers.
Speaking of great scorers could you imagine what Pistol Pete (may he rest) or the Big O would have done with a 3 point line and being able to play as freshmen? Mercy! Maravich scored 3667 points and Robertson scored 2973 points in 3 years at LSU and Cincy respectively but freshmen were ineligible to play up until 1972.
Wait...was that Melo actually playing tough defense on Dirk's game winner at MSG?
Kansas won the Big 12 (minus 2) for the tenth straight year, that's called dominance there, gang
JaDaveon Clowney needs to stop clowning or he will get the tag of doggin. That will cost him loot and a high draft pick.
If you want to get in a good mood listening to music, I highly suggest "Livin' In the Life" a 1977 track from the Isley Brothers, its an obscure track to be sure but its hard driven bass guitar foundation will put you in a good mood. Highly recommend it for the car.
In Memoriam Harold Ramis 1944-2014
The comic world lost a legend. Harold Ramis passed away Monday at 69 from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis He was survived by his wife, daughter, two sons, and by two grandchildren. Before you screw your face up with a “who’s that?” query. Go to your movie library…if you have Caddyshack, Stripes, Animal House and/or Ghostbusters then you know who Ramis is. He either wrote or directed these comedy classics. He was the understated Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters. I didn’t realize that he had a hand in many of my favorite movies until I looked him up. Thanks for the laughs Harold, you will be missed...
Happy Friday! What a great day for sports: the NFL Combine is underway, MLB Spring Training has kicked off, it was the NBA trade deadline yesterday, and the Olympics are in full swing.
OK, so the NBA trade deadline was a dud...the Combine is a bunch of guys in their underwear getting measured and poked (sounds like a dream my wife started telling me about and then decided better of it)...spring training is not yet into big storylines...and the USA-Canada hockey game (the only important part of the Olympics) is underway today.
So the Red Sox lost starting pitcher Ryan Dempster who walked away from $13+ million dollars. Now that is the kind of integrity that you just do not see these days (Yes, I am looking at A-Rod when I type this!). The Sox leaped quickly into free agency and signed…
Chris Capuano? (that’s a typo, right?)
The 35 year old lefty was decent in 2012 (not great...and in retrospect, as a National League West pitcher the 3.72 ERA that year is much less impressive) and injured a couple times last year. While he is a decent long reliever to keep around to eat innings in garbage time, I hate the thought of him having to start multiple times. As long as he stays in the bullpen he is ok and not going to hurt the team too much.
Whatever. Baseball is back! That is all that matters.
BIG ROUND BALLS:
The trade deadline for the Boston Celtics was supposed to be salary dump city on the way to suckapalooza and more ping-pong balls. Hardly inspiring and exciting, but no one bit on under-productive and overpaid Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and his big money contract, Gerald Wallace and his insane unmovable contract, or paid a king’s ransom for Rajon Rondo. In a way, they remain a better, more competitive team.
Philadelphia sent Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen to Indiana for Danny Granger. That was it for big names. Granger would be a big deal four years ago if traded, but today he is a salary dump. Yup, that was the big trade of the day. Check out these other deals that included players you may have heard of (possibly...maybe...OK maybe not):
The Cavaliers sent Earl Clark and two second round draft picks to Philadelphia for Spencer Hawes. Hawes gives Cleveland...hmmm. What exactly? Size? Sure, we can go with that. Philadelphia gets...well, the draft picks.
Milwaukee trades guards Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal to Charlotte for Ramon Sessions and Jeff (who?) Adrien. Charlotte gets two shooters for Sessions and Milwaukee gets playing time for the youngsters. Not a bad deal. Younger and cheaper is good.
The Sacramento Kings sent guard Marcus Thornton to the Brooklyn Nets for decrepit shooting guard Jason Terry and Reggie Evans. Sacramento gets an excuse to play the talented Ben McLemore and Brooklyn gets a reclamation project only 26 years-old.
Miami trades Roger Mason to Sacramento for a second round pick. Miami had an open spot for a veteran wanting to come for a chance at a ring after a buyout. Sacramento gets...I don’t know…the last pick of the draft? Why?
Golden State sent MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore to the Los Angeles Lakers for Steve Blake. Goldens State has Blake to come off the bench with Jordan Crawford and the Lakers...well, what the heck is going on? Where was the suckapalooza? Boo. Boo I say!
A three team trade: Washington gets point guard Andre Miller, Philadelphia gets two more second round picks and Eric Maynor and Denver gets Jan Vesely. Miller is old and...well, cheap. Denver makes out because they get rid of Miller. The 76ers get to own the second round.
There were more trades (another second round pick for Philadelphia!) but those guys were less well known than these other guys… NBA Fever: Catch it!
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OK, that’s all I have for this week. Have a great weekend!
It amazes me how NBC can spend billions of dollars to cover an Olympics that most Americans will know the results before they are aired in prime-time. Kind of takes the starch out of watching. Don’t get me wrong, NBC does show the Olympics during the morning and afternoon, when most people are either at work or have other personal things to attend. When they do show it in prime-time the results are usually known or the Americans are not in the running for a medal.
Speaking of the Olympics, if you get a chance you need to watch American Skater Jason Brown. He might not be the best in the world, but he will be by the next Olympics. Jason puts on a show like no other in the sport today. His only draw-back is he can’t do the Quad jump. This clip is from the 2014 US Figure Skating Championship:
I watched State Farm All-Star Saturday Night and if I could sum it up in one word:
Granted they did things differently this year.
The Sears Shooting Stars had one current NBA Player, one retired NBA player and one WNBA player.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge, not exciting. It was more like a two-man relay.
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. I almost fell asleep.
Sprite Slam Dunk contest. I was looking forward to it, I really was. The only excitement came in the final round, which by then was anti-climatic because I was bored.
They only great thing about it was all money earned was donated to charity.
The All-Star game was what I liked, high scoring and slam dunks.
Try as I might, I really can't work up much enthusiasm for the Winter Olympics. I'm not usually as much of a fan of the Winter Games as I am the Summer Games but with the utter debacle that is the news coming out of Sochi regarding how unprepared the city (resort town) is, you have to shake your head.
Stray dogs, unfinished rooms, rooms without the basic necessities like toilets that flush toilet paper, water that comes with a warning (as if the yellow color wasn't enough of one) to not put it on your face.
You have to wonder if the Russian leader Putin planned it this way so the world's press would be distracted by the "small" stuff and ignore the bigger stories about how much of a dictatorship Russia is back to being.
I'll be interested in how the Olympic hockey tourney goes, but I'm usually only interested in events that the US does well in. Yes, I'm a homer in that regard.
There were two bits of news this week regarding the WNBA. The first story was the Phoenix Mercury announcing a new uniform sponsor. They'd lost Lifelock and have now replaced them with Casino Arizona. You can see the home jersey below:
The bigger news revolved around the future of the Los Angeles Sparks. When the previous owners bailed out, it looked like the Sparks would most likely move to the San Francisco area after being bought by Joe Lacob, the owner of the Golden State Warriors of the NBA.
But the Sparks will be staying in LA after the news broke that the investment group led by Magic Johnson and his partner in owning the LA Dodgers bought the team.
I joked on another forum that if this keeps up, Johnson might just buy the entire city of Los Angeles at some point. But this is a good move for the Sparks and the WNBA. Johnson and his partners have been pretty successful at their business moves and if they can make the Sparks into an even more viable entity, that can only improve the future for the league as a whole.
The news coming out of the Celtics this week is a three game winning streak. The record is now 18-33 after the wins and suddenly the Celtics look reasonably good again.
Yes I know the record stinks, but the entire Eastern Conference beyond the Heat and the Pacers stinks too so it isn't like the Celtics are completely out of the realm of possibility to make the playoffs...if they keep playing THIS way.
Things started off with a 96-89 win over the Orlando Magic. Jared Sullinger led the team with 21 points and 12 boards while Brandon Bass had 19 points and 9 boards.
The game also saw Rajon Rondo's first breakout game since his return from injury. He had 19 points, 10 assists and 10 boards.
Next up was a rematch against the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston edged them out 114-108 as Jeff Green had another explosive offensive night with 36 points (and 8 boards). Sullinger added 19 points and 10 boards. Bass scored 18 and grabbed 6 boards. Rondo dished out 11 assists.
On Friday night, with Rondo given a DNP-CD to rest, you might've expected a different result but the Celtics got it done against the Sacramento Kings 99-89. Jared Sullinger (pictured below on defense) scored a career high 31 points and had 16 rebounds. Jerryd Bayless finished with 19 points including 4 three pointers. Green added 17 points and Kelly Olynyk hit for 11 points.
And while he'll be down the list of reasons why the Celtics won this game, Gerald Wallace played a really big role in the win. He had 8 points, 12 boards and 9 assists. That kind of stat line demonstrates why he is a "glue guy" kind of player.
You know he isn't happy coming off the bench in a reduced role but he does everything that's asked of him. When he was running off at the lip early in the season it was slightly annoying but say what you want about that, he's doing his job in a remarkably effective way.
Speaking of that, another player doing a great job in the role provided him is Chris Johnson. And the team rewarded that effort by guaranteeing his contract for the rest of the season. He had been on his 2nd 10 day contract with the Celtics and league rules say that you can only sign two of those deals with any one team before they have to pick you up for the year or let you go.
I think it is a smart move for the Celtics as it gives them another quality role player who fits in with the team quite well and works his tail off when on the court.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
You can check out the two high school basketball updates I did this week, including news on one of my ex-players hitting the 1,000 point mark via the following links:
And before I forget, here's the official team photo for the Upper Cape Girls varsity team.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Hartford - The Hawks split their two games this week. They won their 5th game in a row when they knocked off Stony Brook 61-48. Amber Bepko scored her season high of 19 points (to go with 7 boards. She was a perfect 10-10 at the foul line.
Morgan Lumb (pictured below) had a career high 17 points and was later named America East Rookie of the Week. Alyssa Reaves added 10 points.
The statistical oddity of this particular game was that Hartford won despite getting outrebounded 48-38.
The win streak ended on Friday night when Albany crushed the Hawks 90-68. While they played an even game in the second half, it was a 47-25 first half that killed Hartford's chances.
Morgan Lumb had 16 points to lead the team while Bepko scored 11 and Reaves finished with 10 points for the now 9-14 (6-4 AEC) Hawks.
Missouri State - Using their defense to force a season high 29 turnovers, the Bears crushed Southern Illinois earlier this week 76-58. This despite actually losing the battle of the boards 39-34.
Kenzie Williams had 12 points to lead the team. Bry Snow added 11 points and Hannah Wilkerson finished with 10 points. But it was a career night for Lexi Hughes who established 3 new career highs with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals in the game.
On Friday night, a thoroughly balanced attack led the team to a 66-41 win over Loyola. All 12 players scored in the game and none of them hit double figures. It was Williams who topped the scoring chart with 9 points.
The team is now 11-10 with a 6-4 conference record.
Tennessee - The Lady Vols had two wins this week and surprisingly enough the games were actually relatively close affairs.
They beat Alabama 64-54. They were down in the game by as many as 15 points. But a career high 20 points to go with 11 boards from Cierra Burdick (pictured below) helped mount the successful comeback. Burdick went on to be named SEC player of the week. Isabelle Harrison had a double double with 11 points and 11 boards.
In what was the 100th win that Lady Vol player Meighan Simmons has been involved with during her time at Tennessee, the Lady Vols beat Ole Miss 77-65 for their 5th straight win and a 19-4 (8-2 SEC) record. Simmons had 20 points in the game. Harrison scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Burdick added 12 points, 8 boards and 5 assists.
BOSTON COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Women - The week started out bad for the women's team as they dropped yet another game they should've won. The 70-63 overtime loss to Virginia Tech was particularly galling since they had beaten them earlier in the season.
Worse yet was that BC was winning by 5 at halftime. Kelly Hughes continued her sensational freshman year with 22 points and Katie Zenevitch added 15 points and 9 boards (5 turnovers out of the team's 17 total TO's though).
What killed them in this game was the disastrous first three minutes of the overtime period. They turned the ball over 6 times in that time frame and managed just 1 point for the entire OT.
As demonstrated, that will simply not get things done.
The weekly press conference with coach Erik Johnson is below.
With BC heading in the downward direction and Virginia looking as though they were on a move up, you would be forgiven if you though their game on Thursday would be a Cavalier undertaking.
But after being down by 9 points at halftime and 15 points with 11:05 remaining, the Eagles used a 19-2 run to not only get back into the game but take it over down the stretch. That big run was keyed by 7 points from Kelly Hughes (pictured below 1st) and 6 points from Karima Gabriel.
Those 6 points were the only points that came from the BC bench. The starters provided the rest of the offense and that was with Kristen Doherty out of action for the game with an injury.
A key to the game in the second half was the Eagles committing only 4 turnovers in the half. Shooting 10-23 for the game from three point range didn't hurt either.
Hughes finished with a career high tying 23 points. Nicole Boudreau (pictured below 2nd) had 13 points and 5 assists while Kat Cooper (pictured below 3rd) scored 12 points. You can also check out highlights of the game in the video below.
Men - The men's game against Virginia was on TV the other night and I watched some of it. But they were getting hammered early. They went on to lose by "only" 10 points, 77-67, but with Duke coming to town Saturday night, they could've used a win over a slightly lesser light in the ACC. Ryan Anderson had 20 points and 7 boards to lead the Eagles with Olivier Hanlan (14 points) and Lonnie Jackson (12 points) also contributing.
As for the Duke game, the Eagles played the Blue Devils surprisingly close in the first half. They were down just 4 points at the break.
But an 18-0 run in the second half by Duke killed any chance for the Eagles (6-17, 2-8) to pull off what would've been a tremendous upset.
Olivier Hanlan scored 25 points to lead BC. Ryan Anderson (pictured below) added 12 points and Joe Rahon hit for 11 points.
Duke's Jabari Parker put on quite a show in front of the Boston crowd which included Celtics GM Danny Ainge. He finished with 29 points and 16 boards.
THE SUPER BOWL
Well, if you weren't a Seahawks fan, that was one crappy championship game I'd say. I was totally wrong on my score prediction last week. Thankfully I didn't actually watch the game as the ass-kicking was on pretty much from the opening kickoff.
Denver looked completely unprepared for Seattle in every respect.
For those that don't pay attention, the Seahawks win is not the city's first major championship since 1979. The WNBA's Seattle Storm won titles in 2004 and 2010. Call it lazy reporting by every single media outlet you can think of.
Movies - I'm probably going to see a movie at some point today but I have no idea what that might be. The new George Clooney movie The Monuments Men looks interesting but I don't know if I want to see that in the theater or just wait for the film to come out on PPV/DVD.
As many people know, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died this week. I know some think it is crazy to see so many people that didn't actually know him be upset about his death and generally I agree with that viewpoint. But I did like some of the movies he appeared in and that is what I'll miss about him.
It also doesn't lessen my disgust with him over his drug use that led to his death. Particularly since it leaves his three children without a father.
TV - During the Super Bowl, Fox ran some promos for the return of the TV series 24. The 12 episode "event" series Live Another Day starts May 5th and I'm eagerly awaiting the return of Jack Bauer.
You can check out one of the quickie promos below.
And don't forget that tonight is the return of The Walking Dead on AMC. And for those so inclined towards comic books, the Kevin Smith show Comic Book Men returns later in the evening as well.
Funny thing about that show is how bad it makes us comic book fans look but much like a roadside car accident I can't stop watching it.
Comic Books - I somehow missed that one of my current favorite comic writers, Brian Wood, had a series prior to when I started reading his work (Conan, Star Wars, The Massive). It is called DMZ and it set during the second Civil War and the location is New York City. Obviously there is more to the story but I picked up the first trade collection yesterday (the entire series is collected in 12 trade paperbacks) and if this story is anything like his outstanding work on the three titles I mentioned above, I might just have a new series to add to my collection.