While wondering why anyone would think it is a bad thing to be known for "The Tuck Rule" (Tom Brady) as opposed to a central figure who cut a deal to get out from under a double homicide charge (Ray Lewis, who should learn to shut the hell up.)...
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
In case you missed my recap of basketball action from the early part of the week, you can read all about it in my latest Mid-Week Basketball Update.
Oh and a follow up to one of my X-mas gifts arrived in the mail yesterday. I got the only available by mail order Bumble figurine from the 50th Anniversary Rudolph collection.
New England Patriots - Like most people in New England, I'll likely be spending my day in preparation for the AFC title game later tonight. It can't come soon enough because I'm a little burnt out on all the pregame talk. About the most exciting thing that has come out of the Patriots side of things this week was the low key and Belichickian response Tom Brady gave when he was asked about ESPN commentator Ray Lewis stating that the only reason "we" (the general public) know about Brady is because of the Tuck Rule.
Brady's response: “Yeah, Stacey [James, Patriots vice president of media relations] told me about that . . . yeah. Everyone has an opinion. I think Ray’s a great player; he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I was fortunate enough to play against him.”
Somebody must've told Lewis what a jackass he was because he soon backed away from what he said with this CYA "clarification": “To clarify my comments from this week: I was trying to express my frustration about the Tuck Rule itself . . . Rules like that should not be part of the game,” Lewis wrote. “They lead to controversial plays that impact the outcome of games and thats [sic] what everyone Remembers, especially when you are talking about playoff games.
“I have immense respect for Tom Brady and everything he has achieved in this game. He will go down as one of the all-time greats.”
The Colts have spent the latter half of the week dealing with the news of linebacker Josh McNary being arrested on rape charges. He was placed on the commisioner's exempt list and will not be active for the game. I know that the team will say that they are focused on the game in front of them, but you have to think that this news will at least occupy a fraction of their minds as they get ready to play.
Coaching Hires - There was a bevy of coaching hires in the NFL this past week and for the most part, it is retread city. But while you might take issue with hiring coaches who have failed or simply run their course elsewhere, the new coaches have a lot of issues to deal with in their new posts.
Raiders - The Raiders hired Jack Del Rio away from the Denver Broncos. The biggest impediment to his success is likely that this is the Raiders we are talking about. They've been a joke franchise for years and there is simply no quick fix here. They've got a halfway decent QB to build around, but there are so many holes on this team, you hardly know where to begin.
49ers - After their ever more tension filled run with Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco promoted from within and hired Jim Tomsula as their new head coach. I will never be able to say I know all the ins and outs of a coaching staff, but I've heard of a lot of the various assistants throughout the league. But this hire had me asking WHO?
Tomsula has the rep of being a great teacher. He's going to have to be exceptional to figure out how to help the 49ers get back into contention. You've gotta fix Colin Kaepernick, and rebuild team morale. And Tomsula (in the middle in the photo below) is likely going to have to deal with the perception that he got the job in part because he'll be easier for the GM and ownership to control.
Chicago Bears - The Bears hired John Fox to be their new coach just days after he got fired in Denver. While the Bears aren't quite as bad as the Raiders, this past season they did devolve so unexpectedly into a mess that firing Marc Trestman was pretty much necessary. Fox did a good job in Denver, despite the disatisfaction of not winning a Super Bowl with a loaded team, and I think he could likely reshape the Bears. But any potential success down the line will first require the coach and front office to make a decision on QB Jay Cutler. Cutler is a great QB on paper, he's got the tools. But he's the worst field leader since Jeff George and hasn't shown the least bit of interest in improving in that area.
Bills - The Bills hired Rex Ryan after he got canned by the Jets. And once again, Ryan "won the press conference". But you have to wonder exactly what has changed for the team or Ryan with this hire. The Bills have a new ownership that will be learning the ways of NFL ownership (yes I know they own the NHL's Sabres, but not everything carries over I would venture to say.), they don't have a QB worth a damn on the roster and haven't figure out how to get back to respectability in more than 15 years. And Ryan's stated "obsession" with the Patriots would be fine if it was part and parcel of building Buffalo back to a contender. Instead it rang to me as if he was more concerned about beating Belichick and screw winning anything else.
Let's not forget that Ryan hasn't exactly done wonders in developing players on the offensive side of the ball the last few years either.
Jets - The always in rebuilding mode Jets hired Todd Bowles away from Arizona to be their new coach. Everything I've read says that he's ready to step up to the big chair after years as an assistant. But given the wimpy ownership and front office that will have yet another new GM (after John Idzik was deservedly fired), you have to wonder how much support Bowles will have in New York. If the Jets are going to stick with Geno Smith at QB, they need to hire an offensive coordinator and/or QB coach that can actualy develop Smith instead of making him even worse than he already is.
Do you remember the official who was a key figure in that "Fail Mary" game from a couple years back? His name is Lance Easley and since that ill-fated call his life has completely fallen apart. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports wrote a lengthy piece about his this past week detailing Easley's PTSD diagnosis and everything else the now ex-official has been dealing with. You can read it HERE.
Jenny Vrentas of TheMMQB.com had an interview with ex-Bengals coach Sam Wyche this week. He talks about the no-huddle offense and a lot more HERE.
National Championship - Congratulations to the Ohio State Buckeyes on winning this year's championship. I had picked Oregon to win the game but I should've known better. I've said in the past that Oregon wins until they actually have to. I thought this year they'd change that opinion but I was wrong again.
Maybe Phil Knight should find a new school to pour millions into because he's never going to see a national title in football for the Ducks.
Ohio State will likely have a very interesting QB battle for next year. J.T. Barrett was having a fantastic year before he got injured and Cardale Jones started the three games after Barrett got hurt and helped guide OSU to a title. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall in the coaches room for spring evaluations?
Penn State - A lot of strong opinions have been expressed both here on YouGabSports and in the sports world at large since the news broke that the NCAA and Penn State have brokered a deal to avoid lawsuit trials over the Sandusky sex scandal.
The main point of contention seems to be that the 112 wins the school was forced to vacate will be given back. This puts Joe Paterno back on top of the all-time wins list. You can read more HERE.
I know everyone that is pissed off about this decision has their opinion. For me, I realize that I'll be in the minority, but I'm glad the wins got restored. They never should've been taken away in the first place. What Paterno did or did not do in covering up the scandal had nothing to do with the games that were played during that time. The games were played, they were won and they were done so in a manner in accordance with the rules governing the games.
If Paterno was still alive and you wanted to charge him with crimes in a court of law, be my guest. But winning football games and covering up a horrific sex scandal are two entirely different things. The NCAA overreached in their punishment to such an extent that I believe Penn State would've easily prevailed in their lawsuits. The restoration of the victories is, to my mind, an acknowledgement by the NCAA that they screwed up and this is a course correction.
Apparently the most offensive thing to a "good catholic education" these days is a girl playing CYO football. At least in Pennsylvania. The archdiocese of Philadelphia kicked Caroline Pla out of the CYO league in the middle of her second season, but she fought back and was allowed to play her final two seasons of eligibility. As soon as she was done, the league banned girls on the basis of moral grounds saying:
"Preparation for Christian adulthood likewise involves the development and encouragement of appropriate, dignified and respectful forms of contact between male and female students. The [Arch]Diocese therefore believes that it is incompatible with its religious mission and with its effort to teach Gospel values to condone competitions between young men and women in sports that involve substantial and potentially immodest physical contact. Consequently, the [Arch]Diocese has adopted this policy prohibiting co-ed participation in the following sports: wrestling, tackle football and tackle rugby."
To this I say, are you freaking kidding me? Listen given the fact that the catholic church engaged in a massive criminal conspiracy to cover up sex crimes over the course of at least 5 decades, where do they get off telling anyone what is moral and what is not?
I was raised catholic, but much like George Carlin said in one of his comedy routines, I was catholic until I reached the age of reason (say about 12 years old).
Since when is a girl playing football a threat to the perceived notion of a christian adulthood? Appropriate, dignified and respectful forms of contact? Given how the catholics hate gays, why aren't they banning male on male contact that occurs in wrestling, tackle football and tackle rugby. After all, we've all heard tales of what goes on in the big tackle scrums between all those guys...lots of immodest physical contact going on there.
I suppose the fact that I'm a big supporter of girls and women's sports is at least partially responsible for why I'm so irritated by this story ( which you can read HERE ), but I'm rather fed up with people who claim to be paragons of morality and actually aren't, telling anyone what to do.
Yes, I have huge problems with religion of any kind. But I'm a reasonably good and intelligent guy and I have to wonder with all the various problems in a variety of religions (terrorists, the Westboro Baptist Church and sex criminals masquerading as holy men), how is it that the biggest threat to what these religious persons of interest consider a morally upright life is a girl in shoulder pads and eye black?
While my opposition to a Boston 2024 Olympics remains, I thought I'd share this story about Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields. She was the only boxer to win a gold medal for the US in the London Olympics and she recently reveal the rather horrific circumstances she had to overcome on the way to that victory. Here's the story.
Despite Joakim Noah being out with a sprained ankle, the Celtics still couldn't do enough to offset the firepower the Chicago Bulls brought to bear last night. The Bulls beat Boston 119-103 behind a 29 point 10 assist performance from Derrick Rose (pictured below).
The loss drops the Celtics to 13-25. Boston got 20 points and 8 boards from Jared Sullinger. He was one of 5 players in double figures for the Celtics but it wasn't enough. Chicago turned the ball over just 7 times in the game and got 22 points from Jimmy Butler to help send Boston down in flames.
Brandon Bass (see below) added 16 points for Boston with Kelly Olynyk scoring 14 points and grabbing 9 rebounds.
It looks like SMU's men's basketball team with Coach Larry Brown at the helm is well on their way to a big NCAA investigation over academic impropriety. You can read more HERE.
Boston College Women - The BC women were on the road to play Virginia on Thursday night, but they didn't make a good accounting of themselves. Kelly Hughes scored 14 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in the game, but she was the only Eagle to hit double figures in scoring as BC lost to the Cavaliers 68-56. They are now 8-9 with an 0-4 ACC record.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - The offense sputtered for most of the game (allowing for their lowest point total of the season), but Tennessee ended up beating Auburn 54-42 for their 11th straight win. They are 15-2 overall with a 5-0 SEC record.
Jordan Reynolds (shooting in the photo below) scored 14 points to lead the Lady Vols offense. Andraya Carter added 11 points and Cierra Burdick had 10 points. Isabelle Harrison scored 9 points and had a team high 11 boards.
Missouri State - The Bears beat Loyola University (Chicago) 87-57 on Friday night. It was their largest margin of victory on the road in 10 years. Kenzie Williams (pictured below) was 9 for 13 (including 5-7 on three pointers) from the floor to lead Missouri State with 24 points.
According to this newspaper article, it was the first game where coach Kellie Harper had a healthy roster, including the return of freshman Liza Fruendt who had missed the last 8 games due to injury.
Tyonna Snow scored 11 points and Hillary Chvatal (seen below shooting the ball) added 10 points and 9 boards. Rachel Schwarz finished with 10 points and 6 boards and Lexi Hughes dished out 6 assists.
Catholic University - The Cardinals beat Scranton yesterday afternoon 46-42 and improved to 12-4 (6-1 conference). It was just the 2nd loss of the season for Scranton. My ex-player Amber didn't play in the game.
Hartford - The Hawks knocked off UMass-Lowell yesterday 67-56 and got back to the .500 level at 9-9 (3-1 in conference). Cherelle Moore led the team with 17 points and 8 boards. Morgan Lumb added 13 points. Hartford did a solid job keeping the ball, turning it over just 8 times in the game.
Amber Bepko had 9 points, Deanna Mayza added 7 points and dished out 9 assists while Janelle Harrison finished with 7 points and 8 boards.
Boston College Men - The Eagle squared off against #2 Virginia yesterday and for a while, they not only hung with the Cavaliers, they were beating them. BC built a 38-33 lead and the watched as the highly touted Virginia defense shut them down the rest of the way. Virginia closed out the game on a 33-13 run to win 66-51.
The loss drops the Eagles to 8-8 overall with an 0-4 ACC record. They got outrebounded by 15 in game (35-20) with no BC player having more than 3 boards. The Eagles also couldn't capitalize on the bad offensive night by UVA's Justin Anderson who went 0-8 from the floor, finishing with 8 points from the foul line.
Olivier Hanlan (pictured below 1st) scored 18 points and dished out 6 assists while Patrick Heckmann (pictured 2nd) added 15 points. No other player for BC scored more than 6 points.
You can see highlights of the game below.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - Savahna didn't play on Friday night (she went to the Celtics-Bulls game) against Diman Voke. Her team lost 51-31 to drop to 2-10 on the season.
Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - The Spartans lost to Martha's Vineyard 67-59 yesterday. Jake had 8 points in the game as Stang drops to 6-3 overall with a 1-2 conference record.
Wareham Boys Varsity - The Vikings beat GNB Voc-Tech 75-57 to improve to 9-3 (7-2 in conference). Josh scored 9 points in the game, Mark added 6 points and Ashantay scored 2 points.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The girls team ended up losing at home on Friday night to GNB Voc-Tech 52-37. The loss drops them to 7-7 overall with a 5-4 conference record. Tieyanna scored 6 points, Erica had 4, Gabby scored 3 and Kali chipped in 2 points.
Sturgis East Girls Varsity - The Storm picked up two wins this week to improve to 3-4 on the season. They beat Cape Cod Academy 40-27 and Isabella scored 2 points in that game. On Friday, they beat South Shore Christian 39-34 and Isabella scored 2 points while grabbing 5 rebounds.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - The Rams beat South Shore Voke 43-15 on Friday night to raise their record to 11-0. Michaela scored 6 points in the game.
Books - I finished reading the C.J. Box thriller The Highway this week. It is a stand alone novel outside of his Joe Pickett series. It was a weird and twisty ride that not only will you enjoy reading, but I guarantee it will make you never want to let anyone you know drive alone cross-country.
I picked up 3 new books as well. I got the anthology The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs because Peter David has a story in it. And thanks to an ad in Mystery Scene Magazine for the publisher Midnight Ink, I grabbed up the first two books in the Mark Mallen series by Robert K. Lewis. The books are entitled Untold Damage and Critical Damage.
TV - There's a new series coming to The CW on Tuesday March 17th. It's called iZombie and it is based off a DC/Vertigo Comics series. It is made by the same guy who did the Veronica Mars TV show and movie, Rob Thomas. You can see the trailer for the show below.
I picked up the newly released NYPD Blue Season 8 on DVD from Shout! Factory this week. So when I'm not writing or surfing the Net, you can be sure I'll be working my way through the set.
Movies - The Oscar nominations were announced this week and they caused a lot of controversy because all of the actors nominated in the lead and supporting categories were white. While I was surprised that David Oyelowo wasn't nominated for his turn as Martin Luther King in Selma (from what I've read he was fantastic, but I haven't seen the movie), I'm more than a bit tired of all the news articles complaining about the lack of diversity in the nominations and yet they don't provide any insight into what movies or actors they would take out of the nominations list or provide a compelling reason for doing so. All the complaining sounds more like they want some tokenism as opposed to true diversity.
And you don't see me launching a national campaign against the Oscars when the two actual best movies of the year, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy only got nominations in the technical categories, do you?
Anyway, I ranted about that on Twitter, you can go there to see what I had to say in more detail. For now, here's the full list of nominations.
Last week, I wrote about seeing the movie Taken 3. This week, I bring you the Pop-topia.com review of the movie.
And last but not least, there's a new trailer for the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie.
Music - I've got a couple of new music tracks for you to check out this week. I liked both of them. The first is an audio track only for the Halestorm song "Apocalyptic".
The second is the official video for the Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock track "Vigilante Man".
Hi Gabber's and Happy New year to all of you. I wanted to update you all about the addition we've made to Gab ownership. Last fall Beeze and I had asked Jeff to come on board and join in as third owner and just 2 weeks ago the three of us extended an invite to B.O.B to come in as a fourth owner. What this does is spread responsibilities amongst the four of us and this will make it easier for us to repsond to issues or concerns and also aid Beeze and I in keeping the QOTD and photos of the day udated regularly...something B.O.B has taken on already.
Beeze and I are very happy that both have chosen to take us up on the offer. We're hoping to possibly move the Gab in the coming months if we can find a suitable server compnay that will provide us what we believe will take us to next level and give us usable options to make the site even more functionable.
If any of you ever have any issues you can contact any one of us via private message or email from us directly from the Gab hopmepage.
Please join in me in welcoming Jeff and Gerry to the Gab ownership!!
As 2015 kicks off it becomes a time for New Year’s Resolutions.
I’m not big on resolutions. I think the dead of winter is a terrible time to decide to start going to the gym, running, dieting, eating better, etc. It’s dark outside; it’s cold outside; there’s no daylight. It’s a time to persevere and soldier on until spring, not try to make wholesale changes.
That said, I found myself with some time off from work, the wife at her new job during the day before school, and the kids off in video game nirvana at their aunt’s house for a few days. What I was able to do was spend some time looking inward for introspection.
As a background on me, I gave up on my dream of sports journalism when I got a taste of how crappy the industry is and how little opportunity and payoff there is after investing an insane amount of time. Faced with driving around and covering high school sports all afternoon while my new bride was coming home from work, I went the cubicle route instead and started in the business world working with an outplacement firm as a resume writer.
From there, I continued to grow in the role and ended up with a decent job, worked with incredible people who helped me grow as an individual and in my career, had time to spend at home with my wife, buy a house, start a family, and all that good stuff that I wanted out of life.
But like all of us here at the Gab, I had that voice inside me that wanted to yell, to rant, to rave, to analyze, to educate, to learn, and to write--about sports. With the growth of the Internet, the success of Bill Simmons, and the ability to write, soon I was blogging. One thing led to another, and I went from just blogging to a small audience to becoming part of an online community of like bloggers who just wanted to write and comment on sports.
I found my way to T-S-B-N.com (which, sadly due to some time and health issues with great guys who ran the site recently shut down completely) and here to the Gab. Along the way, I started to get some eyeballs and started getting offers to write for other sites. I started with GetRealFootball.com, and then settled in writing about the Patriots with MusketFire.com.
MusketFire is part of the Fansided network and has a relationship with SI.com which helped build my online brand. I was approached by Cover32.com when they were launching and jumped on the start-up as a regular contributor to their New England Patriots site. From there, I made friends with a couple of super-hard-working, smart, and motivated sports nuts who were growing their own sports websites. I’ve been contributing to FirstStopFantasy.com and H4TV Sports Network and helping grow the sites on a crowded web.
With the ability to earn a little money based on audience & eyeballs into the site, I’ve found myself with a little (emphasis on “little”) payoff for my writing work. At the same time, I had another offer from another young website to write about the Patriots that is potentially a great growth opportunity.
My problem? Time.
About five years ago I leaped from the corporate world and commuting to Boston and Waltham each day to trading salary for convenience, job security, and job satisfaction as the economy started to tick downward. I ended up with a couple of former co-workers at their start-up executive placement company for a couple of years before the commute, time, and stress wore me down.
I had two young kids at home and a wife who was killing herself working full time and chasing the two little monkeys around. I was not happy about missing time being with my kids and being too tired to do anything but fall asleep on the couch when I got home. It was time for a change.
I ended up working for the state helping find people community jobs, doing seminars, workshops, etc and it was a 20 minute drive away. I had good health-care (finally) letting my wife leave her crummy job and start looking for more fulfilling work (she’s currently six months away from graduating nursing school). I was moved to the “Welfare-to-Work” program which was probably the most challenging and fulfilling job I have ever had in my life and loved being able to make use my business skills to help make tangible changes in individuals’ lives in the community.
Then the state cut the program funding.
Myself and everyone statewide in the program were suddenly in a job with no funding. Fortunately, my union dues paid off and we were all shipped off to man the phones for another agency. Not the same, but much more stable and secure, I settled in and quickly rose up the ranks in the job.
At the same time, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I had ballooned to over 250 pounds and something was wrong. I deluded myself (denial is not just a river in Africa, after all) until I got the diagnosis. I suddenly was on a radical change in diet, having to force myself to exercise, loading up on medications, insulin, needles, and all that crap (and the co-pays that go with it) and having to think about my own health, the change in jobs seemed fortuitous.
So everything seemed to be lining up: better health, more time to write; demand for writing; time with the family; much lesser commute. So for the past year or two I’ve been able to do what I want and have a solid career and hobby writing. I was doing internet sports talk radio shows. One of the sites (Cover32.com) got me on the Miami Dolphins’ flagship station to talk about the Patriots-Dolphins matchup with their morning show and I’ve been back multiple times with them.
Of course, then I took the next step at work with much more responsibility. Now, I’m looking at much more office time--especially in the coming months. Add in my need to stay active in the lives of my now 13 and 11 year old, and with the wife working full time while trying to finish school and the clinical (70-80 hours weeks right now for her), being committed to having to produce writing content every day while trying to expand into an editorial role to help with growing the other sites was just getting to be too much.
I used my break to sit down and break it all down. Unfortunately, things had to be broken. The writing has to scale back because I just do not have the ability to do everything I need to do and still write the way I want to. I am not someone who just sits and writes. I plan. I outline. I research. I read. I take notes. If I put something out with my name on it, I expect it to be great.
I write about sports because I like to write. I LOVE TO WRITE. I need to write. You all know how it is...the words just have to come out no matter what.
With the writing, working with my friends to consult and help grow their sites, spending quality time with my family, and taking care of my regular 9 to 5 job (which sure as heck isn’t 9 to 5 hours now!) I felt the change in me. I was gaining weight again. I was slipping into bad habits eating, my numbers were not where they should have been. I needed a change.
I could see the slippage in my writing as well. I was rushed. I was sloppy. I was mailing it in at times...recycling ideas… slapdash at the deadlines...late...heck, I even had a post at the Gab that I wrote and somehow went to bed and got up and went to work the next day having forgot to post it.
That is unacceptable to me. I was raised to do it right the first time. Measure twice and cut once. If you want to do it half-ass, you end up spending twice as much time having to fix it again and again.
I have to make changes is what came out of my introspection time. I can’t change work. I have to free up time to focus on me. I have to cut back on the writing part of it all somehow. But while I may be cutting back on my writing, but in no way am I stopping.
Sadly, one of my guilty pleasures that has to go is writing a weekly blog here at the Gab.
I have to say, it was not easy. I LOVE it here. This website is not just a blog. It’s a family. We’re in the brotherhood of the love of gabbing about sports. It may be a web family, but damn it we are one awesome family. Now I get to be the younger brother that moves away across the country and you don’t hear from as much.
While I may not be writing every week, I am not leaving the Gab. I still am going to be here...I may fill-in when necessary or kick out a post or two when I just have to write it out of my system, but have no fear I am lurking and reading just like I always have done. I’ll still be commenting and ogling the girls on Beeze’s blog and checking in with Moz and his fellow love for the Patriots; Checking in on the hoodwood on Tuesday along with the weekly highlight of Uncle B.O.B.’s Tantrum and finding out who is the D-bag of the week; On Wednesday I can have “Deep Thoughts” with Jeff and the Buzz from the Bleachers and the pain of living with Matthew Stafford at QB; I’m reading my Boston Sports crew Lanz and OH on Thursday and seeing how long it takes OH to get stir crazy in retirement and how the Little Lanz’s sports teams are doing; Someone will take over for me on Friday just as the great DVT’s spot was filled by IHM (still the best username on the site...I hate Matt Millen, too--he was jerk when playing in Oakland and he was an idiot in the front office and I’d pay to keep him off TV...I get dumber everytime he talks and I hear what he says) moving over to Fridays; Saturday I get StorminNorman and the Hoove...always entertaining and diverse; Sunday means Qwazier and the speed talk that keeps me in the know and teaches me about Nascar and Radatz and his great thought-provoking pieces. Not to exclude my pal TageRyche and his Sunday opus, SunTzu, TheKnights, ScottJax, and everyone else who makes this a great place to visit
Finally, a big thanks to Sully & Beeze for giving me the opportunity to post here for the past year and a half and pretend I knew what I was babbling about. I can’t thank you both enough.
So I’m not saying goodbye--you’re all not getting rid of me that easy--but it’s a see you around the site. I’m a Gabber...that’s not changing.
And especially, thanks for reading. I really appreciated all the feedback, comments, support, friendship, and companionship.
While resting up from the Christmas runaround and for a Christmas gift related trip...
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
I thought I'd share this Christmas related video. The girl in the video dealt with a serious illness during the year and her dad wanted to give her a special present for the holiday.
YEAR END THANKS
Since this is the last column of the year, I thought I'd take a minute to thank everyone here at YouGabSports for making this my sports blogging home. Special shout out to B.O.B. and Qwazier who reply every week. I should point out that IHateMillen, oldharry, HalBent and others comment regularly as well. And while she's not a member here, LynnePep who reads the column via the link on Twitter I send her, deserves a big thank you as well.
Also, all the bloggers here should know that while I may not always comment, I am reading what you have to offer on a daily basis.
I just wanted to take a moment and thank the Cincinnati Bengals organization for the early Christmas present of home field advantage throughout the playoffs for the New England Patriots. I didn't watch the Bengals-Broncos game but when I woke up the next day and saw the news, I was rather overjoyed.
By the way, you can check out this interview with Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin from TheMMQB.com.
Boston College - The Eagles played Penn State in yesterday's Pinstripe Bowl. On Friday before the game, the team spent time touring the stadium, conducting clinics and posed for the team photo which you can see below.
As for the game itself, BC led Penn State 24-21 before the Nittany Lions kicked a field goal with 20 seconds left in regulation. The game went into overtime where BC's David Dudek caught a pass from QB Tyler Murphy and ran it in for a score. But the Eagles missed the extra point, which set the stage for the Nittany Lions. They responded with a touchdown of their own and then kicked the PAT to crush the Eagles bowl win dreams 31-30.
Penn State's Christian Hackenberg passed for 4 TDs in the game and was named player of the game.
For Boston College, Tyler Murphy (see below) threw 2 TDS (to Dudek and Shakim Phillips) and ran for 105 yards with rushing TD.
Jon Hilliman (pictured below) ran for 148 yards, including a 49 yard run for a TD.
For the second straight year, BC finishes the season at 7-6 with a bowl game loss. Despite the repetition of the final results, the Eagles do appear headed in the right direction once again. With Steve Addazio (see below) returning as coach next season, if he can find a replacement for Murphy, the team could once again provide a good season.
In other college footballl news, Tennessee coach Butch Jones made the holiday season something to remember for one of his team's walk-on players. You can check out this article to learn more. There's a video below as well.
The above bit of good news is chased with the sad news of West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett deciding to retire as a player. He reported that he has suffered five concussions in the past 14 months and hid two of them from team trainers. He apparently plans to move into coaching football. You can read this article for more.
The career of coach Tyler Summitt at Louisiana Tech is off to a 4-5 start as he begins to establish his program with the women's basketball team. While his hiring continues to rankle about half the women's hoops fans with nothing better to complain about in their lives (IE, the Rebkell.net message board), there was a pretty good article in the Knoxville News Sentinel on December 23rd.
While the college teams I follow are still on holiday break, there is some news related to the Boston College women's team further down this column in the Miscellaneous section.
On Friday afternoon, the Celtics squared off against the New Jersey Nets. Despite leading by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, Boston came out of the game with a 109-107 loss. The Nets got a tie breaking jumper from Jarrett Jack with 28 seconds left to play and Boston's Jared Sullinger (see below) missed a shot at the buzzer that would've tied the game and sent things into overtime.
Sullinger finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds but it was Jeff Green (see below) topping the scoring column for the Celtics with 22 points.
Avery Bradley scored 17 points and Tyler Zeller had 14 points plus a team high 9 rebounds. Kelly Olynyk hit for 11 points.
On Saturday, the Celtics tried to break their 3 game losing streak when they went on the road to play the Washington Wizards. Instead, Boston lost their fourth in a row (10-18) as their offense sputtered from the start. Their team defense was awful and the Wizards led from wire to wire. The 101-88 final score doesn't do justice to just how much the Wizards controlled this game.
Jeff Green (see below) scored a game high 23 points to lead the Celtics, but it wasn't nearly enough. Kelly Olynyk was one of four other players besides Green that finished with double figures in scoring. He had 15 points.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Volleyball - A quick note to mention that the Wareham girls volleyball team was the co-winner of the conference Team Sportsmanship award for this past Fall season.
Wareham Girls Winter Track - The Vikings split a dual meet yesterday. They beat Diman Voke 68.5 - 16.5 and lost to Dighton-Rehoboth 43.5 - 42.5. Paige won two events: the mile (6:32.6) and the 1000 meters (3:34.0).
High School Basketball Update:
Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - I saw an update on this game on the local paper's Twitter feed that said Bishop Stang was down by 24 points at halftime. I'm glad I didn't write about this game until this morning. As it turned out they were only down 12 points. And they outscored Westport by 20 points in the 3rd quarter on the way to a 62-56 victory. Jake had 4 points in the game as the Spartans improved to 3-0 on the season.
Wareham vs. ORR Boys Varsity - I caught the end of the JV boys game which saw Wareham lose to ORR 56-55 after missing two shots as time ran out. As for the varsity game, I had planned to stay for the game but ended up leaving after the girls varsity game. ORR was up by 1 point at halftime in a big early season battle. Wareham has ruled the conference for years, but ORR has started this season by destroying all their opponents.
After the halftime break, ORR took over the game and extended their lead to double figures. While the final score was 53-50, ORR really controlled the tempo throughout the second half. Wareham is now 3-2 (2-1 conference) while ORR improves to 4-0. None of the players I coached on either side of the matchup scored in the game.
But Mark (in blue) nearly wiped out Wareham Courier sports editor/photographer Adam Ellis, who took the shot below.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The JV team beat ORR by three points. Jillian is listed on the varsity roster for ORR but played in the JV game yesterday. She said she played well on defense but she couldn't hit any of her shots in the game.
In the varsity game, ORR was up 10-5 after the first quarter. They extended that lead to 14-5 before Wareham finally started playing more aggressively on offense. They went on an 11-2 run to tie things up at 16 all. ORR was up 21-18 going into halftime. After the break, the offense for both teams was awful. Things got better as the quarter wound down. ORR was up 29-27 as the buzzer sounded. Gabby nailed a corner three pointer to give Wareham their first lead of the game at 30-29.
Wareham hit a shot that gave them a 37-36 lead. But they fouled ORR and their player hit both ends of the one and one with 11 seconds remaining. Wareham had two shots to hit a shot as time ran out but neither shot was set up well and unsurprisingly, they didn't drop. ORR 38 Wareham 37.
Wareham is now 1-5 (1-2 in conference) on the season. Tieyanna scored 4 points in the game and Erica had 2 points. Gabby finished with 6 points.
LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL
It seems there is some growing controversy over the US Little League Champion team from Chicago. The team is being accused of gaming the system and breaking rules to field a team with the best players. As it stands right now, the governing body of Little League isn't doing anything about it saying that it has investigated and considers the matter closed. But this article on Yahoo! Sports sheds a little more light on what on the surface at least seems like a growing scandal.
It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of this story going forward.
Music - The Classic Rock Bottom daily countdown of the Top 10 Albums of 2014 included the Judas Priest album Redeemer of Souls at #7. You can read the summary of the album that I wrote for the entry HERE. The full Top 10 Albums list for the Classic Rock Bottom can be seen HERE. Sadly, I still can't announce my Top 10 albums of the year, hopefully next week.
However, I can say that I had 5 bands that were new-to-me discoveries this year.
(Basically, the band can be either an established or brand new band that you've never heard anything from until this year).
Books - In my house, we still do Xmas lists so that everyone has an idea of options for gifts. I had four books on my list and got all four of them. 3 directly and the fourth I redeemed a gift card I received in order to receive. The books in question are below.
Movies - Since I'm not writing a full on article about my favorite movies of the year, I thought I'd post my list here for you to check out, and likely completely disagree with.
I only saw 11 movies that came out this year. The one not making my top ten list is Sabotage, an Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick. There are four movies that came out this year that I haven't seen yet but plan to: Gone Girl, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Snowpiercer and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
As for my actual top 10 movies:
10. 300: Rise of an Empire - Probably won't watch ever again though.
09. Edge of Tomorrow - Military Sci-Fi version of Groundhog Day.
08. Draft Day - Kevin Costner as a Cleveland Browns GM who actually makes the team better, so total fantasy film here.
07. Life Itself - Documentary on film critic Roger Ebert.
06. The Equalizer - Denzel Washington action flick, it was okay but entirely too long.
05. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - Better than 1st film, not as good as 2nd, decent overall.
04. Veronica Mars - Loved the TV show, loved the movie, loved the follow up original novel. I'm such a Marshmallow.
03. X-Men: Days of Future Past - Another X-Men movie done right (unlike first three films).
02. Guardians of the Galaxy - Flipping fantastic!
01. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - All the best aspects of a 1970's political thriller and modern day superhero film. Simply magnificent film.
I own #1, #2 and #4 on DVD and will probably get #3 and #5 as well.
Comics - My brother gave me money to use at the local comic shop and I used it pick up the Captain America movie and the graphic novel DMZ Volume 9: M.I.A. The story is written by Brian Wood and he's turned out some of the best comic stories I've read over the past couple of years in titles such as The Massive, Conan the Barbarian and Star Wars, as well as with DMZ.
TV - I think this was the best scene/dialogue in any TV show this past year. Peter Dinklage should've won the Emmy Award for his Game of Thrones role on this scene alone.
Christmas Wrap Up - I hope everyone reading had a great time at Christmas. The annual extended family gathering for us this year was quite entertaining. While it was the first without my grandmother, it still turned out well. My uncle ran the Christmas contest and a lot of the entries were really good. My cousin Erica got the award for most humorous. She did a two minute claymation video called "Cookies for Santa" that was fantastic. If she puts the video online, I'll be sure to post it. It was both in the spirit of the holiday and hilariously creepy as well.
My uncle also ran a Let's Make A Deal contest for the kids in the family too young for the Yankee Swap. It was just three of them, but it was quite funny to see their reactions to the first two rounds of "gifts".
As for the Yankee Swap, I got a great gift this year. A big bucket of fancy chocolate candy products. WHOO HOOO!
On Christmas Day, my mother and I exchanged our presents in the morning. She got a boatload of TV on DVD seasons from me and I got one of the books mentioned above from her as well as a bevy of New England Patriots stuff: A pillow, throw blanket, slippers, baseball hat and a fantastic jacket that spotlight's the team's three Super Bowl titles.
We changed things up this Christmas and my mother and I went to my sister's for dinner. My poor sister did such a great job that she's getting the annual "duty" of Christmas dinner from now on. We exchanged gifts there and I received two books there as well. Oh, and since my sister is a huge proponent of Xmas stockings, I got a huge stocking filled with a bunch of other smaller gifts: candy, jam, gift card etc.
And look, I helped clean up after dinner was done:
Once home from there, my brother, his fiance and his daughter came over and the final gift exchange of the day was conducted, which I mentioned in the comics section above.
I had mentioned there was something about the BC women's basketball team to talk about in this section and here it is: I'm taking my niece to see the game today vs. Providence College. Being a typical 15 year old, she was less than cooperative when it came to giving us ideas of what she'd like for Christmas. I got her some gift cards but I was looking for something "special". I asked if she still liked basketball and was told that she doesn't play the sport anymore (ARGGGH!) but that she does like to watch it. I called up BC and got courtside seats for the game.
When she saw the tickets and was told where the seats were located she was very excited. Yes dear readers, I made some "cool uncle" points with this gift. She called her maternal grandmother a little later on and told her "Uncle Jay got me courtside tickets for the Boston College game!" in a very animated voice. So I'm hoping this trip will be fun. And should she want something from the merchandise stand, I get to pass that off as her birthday present since that's in January after she goes home to Georgia.
Anyway, here's a picture of the two of us a few days before Christmas...ignore the fat guy in the photo, I had just gotten home from running errands.
One final gift note, my mom always manages to give crazy awesome but wacky gifts. This year I received the 50th Anniversary edition of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer talking figurines set. It was four figures and you could go online and order the fifth one (The Bumble) for free (plus shipping) with special codes that came with the set. I'm a huge fan of the Rudolph claymation special, in case you were wondering why I would get this. You can see a video for the figurines below.
While putting the finishing touches on preparations for the Christmas Eve / Christmas Day festivities...
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
I saw a hilarious Christmas related comic strip this week that kind of fit me perfectly:
New England Patriots - The Patriots wrapped up another AFC East division championship last Sunday with their 41-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins. At 11-3, they are in control of their own playoff destiny and are looking to win out to seal home field advantage through said postseason play.
The game didn't initially start out to be a study in offensive fireworks for the Patriots. In fact, it was Miami that opened things up on the first drive of the game with a 50 yard pass play on the first play from scrimmage. But the Pats defense stiffened up after that and forced Miami to settle for a field goal attempt. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, this was when the Pats got their first big play of the afternoon. Jamie Collins blocked the attempt and Kyle Arrington scooped up the ball and ran it back 62 yards for a 7-0 lead.
Despite that big play, the first half seemed like it was played in an almost neutral gear. The Patriots scored another touchdown and Miami put up a couple of field goals. But with 5 seconds left in the half, the Dolphins made things VERY interesting when QB Ryan Tanneyhill hit Mike Wallace for a spectacular 32 yard TD strike. While they had to go to replay to confirm the catch, there was no doubt that it was a legal catch. The TD sent the teams into the halftime break with the Patriots up just 14-13 and momentum clearly in favor of the Dolphins.
I don't know what the Bill Belichick and his coaching staff said and did during halftime but when the third quarter started, all that supposed momentum Miami had going for them just about instantly evaporated. In all, the Patriots put a 24-0 beatdown on the Dolphins in the third quarter and turned the game from a tight "what's going to happen" contest into a complete laffer.
I guess that's what happens when you are a student at the...
Tom Brady ended up passing for 287 yards and 2 TDs on the day. He got picked off once, but the most talked about play was early in the 3rd quarter when he had a 17 yard scramble that ended with a fiery reaction from the QB and lit a fire under the rest of the team.
The run game managed to balance things out with the passing game this week. On the ground, the Patriots racked up 108 yards. While LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen had TD runs, it was thought to be forgotten Jonas Gray (shown below) that led the team with 62 of those yards.
The Dolphins managed to shut out Rob Gronkowski (shown first) during the first half. The tight end finished up the day with just 3 catches in all, but he racked up 96 yards and score on those three balls. Julian Edelman (shown 2nd) had 7 catches for 88 yards and the other TD through the air.
While the majority of the highlights came from the offensive side of the ball, let's not forget the contributions of the defense to the victory over Miami. The run defense held Miami to just 76 total yards.
Not only that, but the defense harassed Tanneyhill all day long. While he had a lot of passing yards on the day, given how the Dolphins played from behind and couldn't run the ball worth a damn, it was still a pretty good day for the "D". They sacked Tanneyhill four times, including 1.5 sacks by Chandler Jones (see below 1st), a sack each for Rob Ninkovich and Sealver Siliga. Dont'a Hightower (see below 2nd) managed to get credit for 1/2 a sack as well.
The Patriots also picked off Tanneyhill twice, once by Patrick Chung and then by Duron Harmon (see below).
With a big lead and no real comeback rally by the Dolphins, the Patriots cruised through the fourth quarter adding a field goal for the final margin of victory. The win sets up the Patriots for big things headed into the playoffs if they can win out the rest of the regular season. After the way the season started with iffy offensive production, it is nice to be in the driver's seat in the AFC. Now the team just needs to finish the job and seal up the next two games.
It's always easier said than done, but here's hoping for the best...and with the Patriots clicking like they are, the best is always possible.
In other NFL related news, I read an article on SI.com this week about former Philadelphia Eagles player Danny Watkins. He was another one of those can't miss first round draft picks who ended up being tagged with the "BUST" label. You can learn more about him and why he never met expectations HERE.
BOSTON RED SOX
There were a few deals made on Friday that changed the makeup of the roster. The Red Sox brought back reliever Craig Breslow on a 1 year deal. Then late night on Friday, they traded oft-injured Will Middlebrooks to San Diego for catcher Ryan Hanigan.
Hanigan will be the backup catcher and serve as a mentor to Christian Vazquez. While it was probably a necessary trade to get rid of Middlebrooks, the deal also became necessary when David Ross signed a 2 year deal with the Chicago Cubs on Friday. I liked Ross. I know his bat wasn't there last season but he was a pretty good guy behind the plate and everything I ever read about him says that he was good guy in the locker room as well.
Mount Saint Joseph - After playing in her team's Tuesday night game against the College of Wooster (she scored the first basket of the game and MSJ won 66-65), Lauren Hill officially retired from basketball. The decision was made so that the school didn't have to apply for special permission from the NCAA for Hill to keep playing as she has stopped taking classes at the school. Her coach announced that she'll stay on as an honorary coach as she continues to raise money for cancer research. You can read more her final game appearance in this article.
The USA Today newspaper had a profile on Hill that appeared in Wednesday's edition. You can read that HERE.
Catholic University - The Cardinals split their two games before the Christmas break. They beat Gwynedd Mercy 65-55 and then lost to Lebanon Valley 76-54. The team is now 5-4 on the season. My ex-player Amber didn't play in the first game. Against Lebanon Valley, she saw 2 minutes of court time and had a personal foul on the stat line.
Last Sunday saw the remaining five college teams that I follow in action, and in what I'm sure is a statistical oddity for my rooting interests, all five of them ended up winning on that day. Here's what happened:
Hartford - The Hawks beat Sacred Heart 68-63 to improve to 5-6 on the season. Cherelle Moore (pictured below) led the team with 20 points.
Shanise Bultron (photo below) had an interesting game for herself. She scored 12 points in the first 4 minutes of the game, then scored one more point the rest of the way to finish with 13 points. She had 5 rebounds, a career high 5 assists as well. She also turned the ball over five times.
Amber Bepko had 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals while Deanna Mayza hit for 11 points, then added 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
You can see highlights from the game below.
Missouri State - The Bears picked up their second win of the season (now 2-7) with a strong 68-58 victory over IUPUI.
Kenzie Williams (pictured below) led the way on offense with 29 points. Tyonna Snow saw her first game action of the season after being out with an injury. She had 17 points and 4 steals.
Later in the week, Williams was named the MVC Player of the Week, the third time she's won that award.
On Friday night, the Bears faced off against Arkansas State. While Kenzie Williams had 20 points and Hillary Chvatal added 13 points and 12 rebounds, Missouri State lost 78-62. Tyonna Snow scored 10 points but led the team with 6 turnovers.
In fact, turnovers played a huge role in the game. The Bears turned it over 23 times in the game and Arkansas State converted those into 35 points. They shot 59.6% for the game which offset Missouri State having a 36-24 edge in rebounds.
The team is now 2-8 on the season.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - Tennessee found themselves in a struggle when they played Rutgers on the road. They trailed deep into the second half but eventually pulled ahead and came away with a 55-45 victory. As strange as it is to stay about Tennessee, the win was their first road victory over a ranked opponent in more than a year. They outrebounded Rutgers 54-42.
Ariel Massengale (pictured below 1st) scored 13 points top the scoring chart for the Lady Vols. Jasmine Jones (pictured 2nd) had 12 points and 6 boards, but turned the ball over 6 times. Isabelle Harrison (pictured 3rd) had herself a double double with 11 points and 13 boards.
The Lady Vols next survived a nailbiter over Wichita State 54-51. In order to win, they had to overcome 18 turnovers.
Isabelle Harrison scored 14 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while Alexa Middleton (pictured below 1st) added 10 points. Cierra Burdick (pictured 2nd) also scored 10 points. She added a career high 17 rebounds. Burdick also turned the ball over 5 times.
Yesterday afternoon, the Lady Vols stunned Stanford 59-40 and raised their record to 9-2. Ariel Massengale (shown 1st) came off the bench to lead Tennessee with 18 points. Bashaara Graves had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Isabelle Harrison (shown 2nd) added 10 points of her own along with 7 rebounds.
(All photos from Tennessee game galleries, except last one from Yahoo)
Boston College Men - The Eagles debuted their new gold uniforms (see below) in their Sunday matchup against Binghamton.
The game also saw the returns of Eddie Odio and Lonnie Jackson to action. They'd both been out with injuries.
As for the on court action, the BC ended up improving to 6-3 for the season after picking up a 63-49 win. Dimitri Batten (pictured 1st) scored 18 points to lead BC. Aaron Brown added 16 points and Olivier Hanlan (pictured 2nd) had 14 points.
(Photos from BC game galleries)
You can see highlights from the game below.
Boston College Women - The women's team was the 2nd half of the home doubleheader with the men's team and they ended up with a 64-58 victory over New Hampshire. The Eagles built the lead up to 13 points in the 2nd half but UNH rallied to cut the deficit to just 3 points with 1:25. The most telling factor on defense for BC was holding their opponents to just 1-13 from three point range.
BC managed to lock things down the rest of the way as they upped their record to 6-4. Ashley Kelsick (shown below 1st) led the Eagles with 14 points. Kelly Hughes (shown 2nd) scored 12 points and grabbed 9 boards to go with 4 assists and 2 steals (3 turnovers). Nicole Boudreau added 11 points.
(Photos from BC game galleries)
You can see videos of game highlights and post game comments from Hughes and coach Erik Johnson below.
The bowl preparations are underway so there is nothing to report in terms of games. This week, I bring you coaching news.
Wisconsin - Despite AD Barry Alvarez trying to spin things as if the decision hadn't already been made, the Badgers made what was reported last week and hired Pitt coach Paul Chryst as their new head coach.
Nebraska - I don't think you will see Nebraska and ex-coach Bo Pelini breaking bread any time soon. Pelini got hired as the new coach at Youngstown State but after that happened, reports about a meeting he had with his Cornhusker players after being fired hit the wires. He apparently verbally and profanely blasted the school administrators and the athletic director. Not content with being his verbal punching bag, the school fired back. You can read this article to learn more.
Boston College - In what I consider a great move, BC has agreed to a six year contract extension with coach Steve Addazio. The new deal runs through 2020. While it might be foolhardy to believe he'll actually be the coach until the end of the deal, this gives Boston College a sense of stability with their football program. In his two years in charge, he's brought BC football back to respectability with a pair of 7 win seasons and 2 bowl games.
Addazio seems to be developing a nice base of talent and if he can get some solid QB play once Tyler Murphy is gone, maybe...just maybe, he can make BC a threat in the ACC again.
Boston Celtics - Due to time constraints this week, there will be no separate The Celtics Report post. Instead I'll try to be relatively brief in talking about the week that was in Celtics-Land. The first bit of news is that the team has released Vitor Faverani, who never recovered enough from his knee surgery to get back on the court in any meaningful way.
In regards to the Rajon Rondo (with Dwight Powell thrown in) trade, I am not happy about it because it is a sure sign that the team has given up on the season in my mind. Especially since there are reports that the team is also shopping Jeff Green. At this point, I'm a couple of injuries away from getting a phone call.
I know that the team wasn't going anywhere this season, but the trade leaves the team just one step above what the 76ers are doing. It isn't deliberate tanking like Philly, but it is darn close. And I say this realizing that the Celtics are actually on a three game winning streak after winning their first post-Rondo game on Friday night.
But before we go into that game, lets go back to Boston's 105-87 win over those deliberately tanking 76ers. Kelly Olynyk found a magic touch for this game (or just took advantage of the barely there defensive effort) and scored a career high 30 points to go with 9 rebounds. Avery Bradley had 15 points while both Jeff Green and Brandon Bass added 14 points. Evan Turner hit for 12 points and dished out 6 assists.
It was Bass scoring 18 points and Green's 16 points that helped power the Celtics to a 109-92 win over the Orlando Magic. Jared Sullinger added 16 points and Olynyk had 15 points and 6 boards. Tyler Zeller finished with 10 points and 7 boards. It will go down as the last game in a Celtics uniform for Rajon Rondo. He scored 13 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and had 15 assists (6 turnovers).
Friday's 114-98 win over Minnesota was keyed by 21 points and 8 rebounds from Kelly Olynyk (see below). Jeff Green scored 18 points and had 7 rebounds. Jared Sullinger had a double double with 14 points and 10 boards. Avery Bradley and Tyler Zeller also had 14 points in the game. Evan Turner finished with 10 points.
The Celtics find themselves in the Marcus Smart era now, assuming Smart can actually stay healthy for a long enough period to fully take over as the point guard. They've quietly fashioned another three game win streak and stand at 10-14.
The questions surrounding the team still resonate as much as they did before the Rondo trade but all the problems the team has will be magnified that much more should they really hit the skids.
Sacramento Kings - The Kings organization set themselves up for a lot of heat this past week when they first coach Michael Malone after less than two years. While the team was an abysmal 28-54 in his first season, you can't blame him entirely for the mess that he was handed for a roster of players. The fact that the team was an improved 11-13 at the time of his firing showed he'd helped improve their fortunes.
But the big problem for the coach was that his philosphy differed with team ownership and management. They wanted to see an uptempo pace to the way the team played and stuck him with players he didn't want.
It was a horrible way to treat a coach and when they lost DeMarcus Cousins to illness, the team went into a tailspin. Ownership used this bad spot of play to fire Malone and put Tyrone Corbin in as interim coach. You can check out the this Yahoo! Sports article to get the full breakdown on the "doomed partnership" between Malone and the Kings.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Girls Soccer - The local paper announced their girls soccer all-stars and my former players Brianna and Paige got mentioned. Brianna was named as an All-Star and Paige got an honorable mention.
Girls Volleyball - The All-Star announcements saw Raelyn get an honorable mention.
Football - Josh got an honorable mention in the All-Star announcements for his efforts on the field for the Wareham football team.
Girls Winter Track - In a dual meet that featured ORR, Wareham and Fairhaven, the ORR team beat Wareham 63-23. My ex-player Rachel won the 1000M event in that matchup with a time of 3:28.7.
Wareham lost the matchup against Fairhaven 43.5-42.5. My ex-player Paige won the 1000M in 3:30.7 and took the mile event in 6:08.1.
Basketball Round Up:
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - On Friday night, Savahna's team beat Blue Hills 52-49 to pick up their first win of the season (1-1). She didn't play in the game though.
Sturgis East Girls Varsity - The first game of the season was against Falmouth Academy and the Storm ended up dropping the opener to them 60-41. Isabella didn't score in the game.
ORR Boys Varsity - The Bulldogs opened their season with two dominating wins. They annihilated Case 94-45. Raekwon (pictured below #12) had 6 points in that game. On Friday night, they played Appponequet and blew them out 69-50 with Raekwon scoring 7 points.
Wareham Boys Varsity - Wareham picked up two wins in their first two games. They opened up with a 68-55 victory over GNB Voc-Tech and then Thursday night, they held the top scorer for Sandwich to just 5 points by employing a diamond and one defense. They gritted out a 62-59 win. Josh didn't score in either game.
You can read a season preview about the team HERE.
On Saturday afternoon, they dropped a 64-63 decision to Bishop Stang. Josh didn't score in the game for Wareham. But my former player Jake had 10 points for Bishop Stang (2-0). Wareham drops to 2-1 on the season.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The girls lost to GNB Voc-Tech 56-37 earlier in the week. In that game, Tieyanna scored 11 points, Gabby and Erica had 3 points and Kali finished with 2 points. On Friday, they played Barnstable but lost 61-50. Gabby had a good game on an individual level with 13 points, Tieyanna also scored 13 points while Erica added 2 points.
Below you can see some game action photos of my ex-players from the team's season opening loss to Bishop Stang.
First up is Gabby and the first pic is just amazing as it captures her focus and intensity as she prepares to shoot a foul shot.
Gabby driving to the lane
Gabby on defense:
Below is a couple of shots apiece of Kali (1st) and Tieyanna:
(all photos by the Wareham Courier's sports editor Adam K. Ellis)
Upper Cape Girls JV - The JV team has a 3-0 record after two wins at the start of this past week. They beat Cape Cod Tech 25-11 on Monday night. Laurina didn't play in the game (she had to work), while Ann Marie started at point guard and scored 2 points. Against Sacred Heart on Tuesday, the jayvees won 31-14. Laurina played but I don't have any info on any stats. Ann Marie again started at point and scored 2 points.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - The Rams are also 3-0 but it came with a bit more of a challenge than they would've liked. In their Monday game against Cape Cod Tech, the game was a 64-27 blowout. Michaela was 1-8 from the floor and 1-2 from the foul line for 3 points. She had 2 assists and 4 steals plus 4 rebounds. She committed 3 turnovers and 1 foul. After the game I talked to her and said that she was rushing her shots, not setting them up or squaring to the basket. She agreed with what I had to say.
But Tuesday's game against Sacred Heart revealed the flaws Upper Cape has working against it even when they are winning games. The Rams led 17-4 after the first quarter and 19-9 at halftime. They scored the first 9 points in the third quarter to lead 28-9. But then Sacred Heart essentially punched Upper Cape in the mouth. All game long they'd played up on them defensively but now their pressure really paid off as they forced one turnover after another. Upper Cape was discombobulated, played bad defense themselves and couldn't hit a shot to save their lives. The third quarter ended 32-23 in Upper Cape's favor.
It wasn't a pretty game, but the Saints kept coming. In the fourth quarter, they cut the lead down to 37-33 and the Rams FINALLY called a timeout. It broke the momentum and Upper Cape ended up escaping 41-35. But when faced with a team that didn't back down away from them, you could see Upper Cape had trouble adjusting their game. And the body language was terrible from their team leaders. They got burnt badly on a couple of out of bounds plays that Sacred Heart ran, they couldn't hit free throws and they had more than the 16 turnovers I actually caught sight of. There were no picks set to get the guards free of their defenders.
I hope that during practice the team gets their act together. And I hope someone teaches their post players how to hit those 2 foot bunny shots she gets so many of in the course of the game. In the three games, she probably could've had about 30 extra points if she would hit those shots.
Michaela was 1-6 from the floor and 1-4 from the foul line for three points. She had 6 rebounds and forced 3 jump ball calls. She turned the ball over twice.
Food - It was a last minute kind of thing, but I went out to dinner with my friends Brian and Chad on Wednesday. We went to The Boston Tavern in Middleboro, Mass. I enjoyed it. We started off with some chicken tenders and onion rings for appetizers. The tenders were huge and the honey BBQ sauce (on the side) was just the right touch. The onion rings were flaky with the breading and delicious.
For the main course, I ended up going with their Tavern Burger. I was going to be a little more adventurous in what I had to eat but since it was my first time at the place, I went with a safer choice. Instead of my usual French fries, I went with the mashed potatoes. I'm not normally a fan of the skin left in style of mashed potatoes, but these were actually quite good.
It is a place that I would definitely go back to for another meal.
Comics - The full list of both Gold and Silver level sponsor books for the 2015 Free Comic Book Day can be seen HERE.
TV - A couple of shows finished their series runs this past week. White Collar ended with a final episode that tied things up neatly enough, but I wasn't overjoyed by how things ended. I guess it makes sense given the characters and their motivations, but I just felt there should've been something MORE.
HBO's The Newsroom wrapped up its three season run that gave us an idea of where all the character either did end up or would end up. It wasn't all that heavy on dramatics but there was a fantastic musical turn by series star Jeff Bridges in the midst of the episode. He performed a version of the Tom T. Hall song "That's How I Got To Memphis". I had never heard the song before but it was done so beautifully that I wish his version would get released.
You can see it below.
And it looks like there will not be any more 24, if this article on Kiefer Sutherland on TVGuide.com is the final word on things.
You can check out the first trailer for the 3rd season of the BBC America science fiction show Orphan Black below.
Movies - With Sony and movie theaters caving in to terrorist threats should they screen the movie The Interview, I guess it was only a matter of time before some creatively insane though hilariously funny person on the Internet would come up with the following:
Music - I stil can't release my best of lists yet, but the Classic Rock Bottom message board's Top Ten Albums is being released. I'm part of the voting body for these and the albums list is being done in a day by day countdown fashion. This is the overall tally of everyone's votes, not just mine. However, I was asked to write the summary for #9 on our list, Accept's Blind Rage. You can check out what I had to say HERE. Oh and the majority of the Classic Rock Bottom Awards have been announced. You can check out that list HERE.
There's a couple of videos out I thought you might want to check out. There's a lyric video for the title track to the upcoming Black Star Riders album The Killer Instinct.
Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon has a new solo album called World Peace. You can check out the song "Born Free" below.
Christmas - I know that most everyone is going to be busy with the conclusion of the holiday season this week. I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
By the way, if you have a book lover in your life, wouldn't this make a great themed Christmas tree?
Here's my favorite Christmas song for your listening enjoyment.