While chuckling over the events of my sister's birthday party...
For a recap of some early week college and high school basketball, check out THIS LINK.
By the way, in case you were wondering about my plans to do a weekly Celtics Report blog series, I am not going to continue with that. I've got too much stuff going on to do a faithful weekly extra series, so while some stuff may appear during the week in other blog posts, most of the Celtics talk will stay inside of my Sunday Musings.
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay (Hey if I can get B.O.B. to do it, y'all should be clicking the follow button!
In case you missed my separate entry on the New England Patriots regular season finale loss to the Buffalo Bills, CLICK HERE.
Sadly, I missed the majority of the first game in the playoff action yesterday. But having looked over the results I can say that I was a little surprised by the way Carolina handled Arizona. I won't say that I was completely surprised by the result but from what I've read, it really seemed that the Panthers dominated the game despite the relatively close 27-16.
I missed nearly all of the first half of the Steelers-Ravens game but did catch the second half. In all honesty, I found the game rather boring.
In other NFL news, it looks like the Cleveland Browns are going to have to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror and decide on whether or not Johnny Manziel is really worth the off the field aggravation he causes. You can read more about that HERE.
The Browns are apparently fed up not only with Manziel but also Josh Gordon. So much so that the team owner publicly lambasted their actions. Now, Manziel has cried his crocodile tears in apology with a promise to be a better person and player. But he's done that before while in college and anyone who gives him the benefit of the doubt now is just absolutely foolish.
As for Gordon, all his million dollar talent can't make up for his ten cent head. (Thank you Bull Durham). I know that he's still a productive player when he's on the field but it has been 2 decades since the resurrection of the Cleveland Browns and because of an inconsistent approach to building a team that can compete year in and year out, Cleveland can no longer afford to carry talent at the expense of a broader sense of team accountability.
Of course, the Miami Dolphins have big problems too. And the fact that my buddy Brian has almost totally given up on his beloved Fins is just the tip of the iceberg. Did you see the report that came out last week about receiver Mike Wallace? If not, HERE IT IS.
To sum it up, Wallace quit on his team in the middle of the game and it looks like the reason he did it was because someone else caught a TD pass in the game instead of him.
SERIOUSLY!?! If the owner, GM or coach had any testicular fortitude, the minute they ascertained if that was indeed the case for Wallace pulling himself out of the game while healthy, they should've had him escorted from the building and cut him. If football is supposed to be the "ultimate team game", you cannot have this kind of prima donna on said team. This kind of thing is a festering sore on the chemistry of a locker room. I know I can say this with the armchair quarterback viewpoint, but if I was on a team and someone quit on me, I would never trust or want to play with him again. Period.
NBA - There's been talk that a feud / power struggle is brewing on the Cleveland Cavaliers between LeBron James and coach David Blatt. While both parties deny it, SI.com's Phil Taylor had an interesting article this past week that posits the idea that there really is something to all the rumors.
Boston Celtics - The Celtics laid down a beating on the Sacramento Kings earlier in the week. The final score was 106-84. which is the largest margin of victory for the Celtics this season.
Jared Sullinger helped power Boston to the win with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Evan Turner (see below #11) made a big stab at taking the starting point guard job with a 15 point, 6 rebound and 11 assists performance. It was a new career high for him with the assists.
Kelly Olynyk added 15 points and Jae Crowder finished with 12 points.
Marcus Smart's 11 points and 6 boards were nice, but the biggest part of his game on the day may have been when he was involved in a confrontation with Sacramento's Demarcus Cousins. And by involved I mean that he made a totally clean and legal defensive move and Cousins viciously threw him to the ground. Cousins was assessed a technical foul and since it was his second of the game, he was ejected. But what makes no sense to me is that the referees also gave Smart a tech. FOR WHAT? Getting tossed to the ground like a ragdoll? Hell, Smart didn't even try to go back at Cousins as the players immediately stepped between the two of them and said "confrontation" was over and done immediately. So can someone please tell me how Smart "earned" a technical foul?
On Friday night, the Dallas Mavericks came to Boston and you know what that meant right? Yes, it gave Boston sportswriters and the team the chance to hype "THE RETURN OF RONDO"...as if he's been missing since World War II or something. After the first quarter the plan was to pay a video tribute to him.
Oh yeah, and coincidentally enough, they played a basketball game too. Unfortunately, the Celtics lost to Dallas 119-101.
Rondo left no doubt that he's turned the page from his time in Boston. He led Dallas with 29 points (15 in the first quarter).
For the Celtics, Avery Bradley led the offense with 22 points. Jeff Green (see below) finished with 18 points and Tyler Zeller finished with 17 points and 10 boards.
Saturday saw Boston matched up against the Chicago Bulls. The teams went into overtime tied at 99 and the Bulls pulled away to a 109-104 victory. The loss dropped the Celtics to 11-20 on the season. The loss for Boston came in large part due to their inability to stop or even contain Paul Gasol. He finished the game with 29 points, 16 boards and 5 blocked shots.
As for the Celtics, it was Evan Turner leading their offensive attack with 29 points. He dished out 6 assists but had a team high 7 turnovers as well. Avery Bradley scored 17 points while Jared Sullinger had a big game with 16 points and 16 boards.
WNBA - New York Liberty assistant coach Katie Smith finally posted a new entry on her blog. Before it went up she hyped it up the day before on her Twitter account. I responded to her and much to my surprise, she briefly replied back. Anyway, that's neither here nor there. Here's her blog on her "Holiday Adventures".
MISCELLANEOUS SPORTS ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Sports Illustrated published a lengthy article this week detailing how a former basketball coach helped launch a cheating scheme for college athletes. There's a lot more to the story and you can read it HERE.
I have to admit I was almost gleefully happy to see Florida State get a 59-20 smackdown laid on them by Oregon on New Year's Day. Now maybe the powers that be at the school and in charge of the football team (Jimbo Fisher this means YOU!) will get their collective heads out of their asses and finally realize that white-washing the behavior of their star QB was a head-shakingly bad idea.
The Internet, creative beasties that they are, took almost no time to unveil cruel, effective and utterly hilarious takedowns on Jameis Winston playing so badly. You can check out some of the material in this Yahoo! Sports article.
Of course, Florida State fans are upset about the loss and once Alabama lost 42-35 to Ohio State in the late game on New Year's Day, I got to join them in mourning the end of my effective rooting interest in the college football season.
The game started out well for the Crimson Tide as they built a 21-6 lead in the first half. But by half-time the Buckeyes had cut it to 21-20 Bama. But once half-time ended, Ohio State continued to push forward ahead of Bama. While Nick Saban's (pictured below) team kept the game close based on the final score, the defense really didn't have much of an answer for Ohio State's offense.
OSU racked up 537 total yards to 407 for Alabama. That includes a 281-170 advantage in rushing yards. When was the last time you saw such a wide disparity in the numbers when Bama was on the lower side of them? Buckeye QB Candale Jones passed for 243 yards and a TD. He did get picked off once and sacked three times (see below).
But the relatively adequate numbers by the QB were offset by Ezekiel Elliott (shown below) who ran for 230 yards and 2 scores.
This isn't to say that Alabama just rolled over for Ohio State, they did do some pretty solid things on offense. Amari Cooper (shown below) caught 9 passes for 71 yards and 2 scores.
The ground game put up three scores on the board. Derrick Henry (shown below), T.J. Yeldon and QB Blake Sims each found the endzone via the rushing attack.
But for all that stuff, the game eventually was decided by the passing game performance by Sims. And it wasn't pretty. He threw for 237 yards including those two TDs to Cooper. But he also got sacked three times (see below) and intercepted three times. When your QB is turning the ball over on the basis of his arm, it is going to be a long night.
Ohio State played a fantastic game. They outdid Alabama on offense and had a defensive game plan that led to them being that much better overall throughout the game. Alabama will look to reload and try again next year for sure. But on New Year's Day , it was Urban Meyer with hands raised in a Rocky-like pose of triumph. (DAMMIT!)
Catholic University - The Cardinals raised their record to 8-4 with a 66-49 win over Merchant Marine. Amber played 4 minutes in the game. She missed her only shot attempt, grabbed 2 rebounds and had 1 turnover.
Hartford - The team's opening game in conference play saw them run away from Vermont 62-46. Amber Bepko led the team with 16 points. Cherelle Moore added 13 points and 10 boards. Deanna Mayza scored 12 points with 4 assists.
Missouri State - In their Missouri Valley Conference opener the Bears faced off against Evansville, but lost 65-56 based off of poor shooting and 25 turnovers. The strange thing that seemed to keep the score close at the end was the Missouri State had a 49-25 edge in rebounding. To shoot that badly and yet somehow still get a 24 margin in rebounding, you have to wonder what the hell was going on with their shot selection.
The loss drops Missouri State to 3-9 overall. Lexi Hughes scored a career high 24 points including 5 three pointers. Kenzie Williams added 14 points and 7 boards (but had a team high, along with Tyonna Snow, 5 turnovers.) Hillary Chvatal had 6 points in the game but grabbed 14 rebounds.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - In their SEC opener, Tennessee trailed by four points at half-time butused a second half surge to knock off Missouri 63-53 and improve to 11-2 on the season. Andraya Carter (see below) tied her career high of 16 points in the game to lead the Lady Vols offense. She hit 3 out of 6 three point attempts and grabbed 7 rebounds.
It was a guard oriented offense for Tennessee on the night as Ariel Massengale added 14 points and Jordan Reynolds finished with a season high 10 points.
In the post, Bashaara Graves (pictured below) had 8 points and a team high 11 rebounds.
The Lady Vols lost the services of both Isabelle Harrison and Nia Moore late in the game. Both were ejected (along with a Missouri player) after a confrontation under the basket with about 2:55 left to play.
Boston College Men - The Eagles had a big test in their first ACC game of the season and unfortunately it was a challenge they weren't able to meet. They lost to Duke 85-62 and fall to 7-5. BC never got closer than 10 points in the 2nd half of the game. Olivier Hanlan (pictured below) scored 22 points for the Eagles while Aaron Brown had 11 points.
Boston College Women - In case you missed my game report post on the BC women's game against Providence on Sunday December 28th, you can read it HERE.
As for the team's game against Northeastern, they had a bit of a touch and go game for a while. Northeastern led at the half before the Eagles managed to carve out a 66-56 win in the second half. The win raised their record to 8-5 as they head into ACC play today.
Kelly Hughes scored 17 points to go with 8 rebounds while Ashley Kelsick had her first double double of her college career with 16 points and 10 rebounds. She added 5 assists and 3 steals as well. Nicole Boudreau added 13 points and Karima Gabriel had a solid game with 8 points and 9 boards.
A big factor helping out the Eagles was their ball handling. They protected the ball much better than they have been and ended up with just 13 turnovers for the entire game.
You can see highlights from the game and post game press conferences from coach Erik Johnson and Ashley Kelsick below.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Just a reminder that I'll be calling the Upper Cape girls basketball game scheduled for January 7th. There are tentative plans for me to call an Upper Cape boys game and a Bourne High boys game later in the season as well.
Sturgis East Girls Varsity - The Storm lost to West Bridgewater 43-26 on Friday and remain winless on the season. Isabella didn't score in the game. By the way, I learned this week that her sister Blossom is on the Sturgis JV team.
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - On Friday, Savahna scored 4 points and dished out a number of assists as her team beat South Shore Voke 51-26.
Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - Jake has been in a shooting slump for the start of this season but he hit three 3 pointers on Saturday afternoon on the way to a season high 12 points. His offense helped key a 75-71 upset of previously unbeaten Old Rochester. The team is now listed in the paper with a 4-1 record.
Wareham Boys Varsity - The Vikings improved to 5-2 on the season with a 77-47 victory over Seekonk on Friday night. The star of the game was Andy (not one of my players) who scored 31 points in the game. Meanwhile, Mark and Josh each scored 5 points.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - While the team is off until Tuesday January 6th, I saw a local paper/website had named Amber (not one of my ex-players) the Bourne athlete of the week. You can read more about her HERE.
Oh, and here's a shot of her from their most recent game when they beat Norfolk Aggie to improve to 6-0 on the season. I'll be seeing the team play on Tuesday night before calling their game on Wednesday.
ORR Girls JV- I attended the JV game on Saturday morning so I could see my former player Jillian in action. The Bulldogs were playing Bishop Stang and though ORR was down just 29-22 to the Spartans after three quarters, the final results was a relative disaster. Stang scored 20 points in the fourth quarter alone and went on to win 49-27.
In the first half Jillian didn't play all that well, but neither did the rest of the team. In the second half, she played a lot better. She came over to talk to me after the game and was rather excited that she hadn't committed a foul in the game. This is rather a big thing because she does tend to hack a lot.
I told her that she played much better in the second half but I don't know that she really believed me. Jillian played 24:20 in the game. She was 1-5 from the floor (missing some easy breakaway layups) and 1-5 from the foul line for 3 points. She had 5 rebounds, a steal, a blocked shot and a steal. She also had 1 turnover.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The girls team had a jam packed weekend planned. They had a game on Friday against Seekonk where Tieyanna scored a career high 31 points to lead the way to a 56-44 win. Gabby added 5 points.
They played host to the first annual Wareham Winter Classic on Saturday (and today). On Saturday they played New Bedford and ended up losing 44-42. Tieyanna scored 9 points, Gabby added 5 and Kali hit for 2 points.
They'll play today in the consolation game and I'll write about that in a future blog. The team is 3-5 with a 3-2 conference record.
You can read more about the tournament's fundraising goal and benefit "Make Room For Molly" HERE.
Music - The KNAC.com article featuring the Staff Picks for the best albums of 2014 can now be seen HERE. I have two lists again this year. The first list pertains to all music genres that I got material from this past year. The second one, for the KNAC.com website, is just for rock and metal discs.
All Genres Included
1. Sabaton - Heroes 2. John Mellencamp - Plain Spoken 3. Accept - Blind Rage 4. Kix - Rock Your Face Off 5. Uriah Heep - Outsider 6. Judas Priest - Redeemer of Souls 7. Joe Bonamassa - Different Shades of Blue 8. Lone Justice - This is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983 9. Ronny Munroe - Electric Wake 10. Night Ranger - High Road
ROCK AND METAL ONLY
1. Sabaton - Heroes 2. Accept - Blind Rage 3. Kix - Rock Your Face Off 4. Uriah Heep - Outsider 5. Judas Priest - Redeemer of Souls 6. Ronny Munroe - Electric Wake 7. Night Ranger - High Road 8. Winger - Better Days Comin' 9. Tesla - Simplicity 10. Overkill - White Devil Armory
Movies - I caught the new version of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes this past week. While it was too late to include it on my Best of 2014 movie list, I have to say that I really enjoyed the movie. If they can make future sequels in the franchise this interesting, I might just have to see the films when they open in the theaters.
Speaking of movies in the theater, if you are planning on checking out the new Mark Wahlberg film The Gambler, why not check out the Pop-topia.com review first.
Magazines - Back in 2009, the final issue of Starlog was published. I was a big fan of the science fiction and fantasy mag and was saddened by its demise. It was online for a while as a small part of sister magazine Fangoria's website but it soon disappeared entirely. Well thanks to a quick tweet catching my eye in the middle of the week, I've found out that it is back as a website on its own. There are plans to supposedly make it into an online-only magazine beyond just a standard website. Of course, the site has been back since July so I don't know how I missed it for so long. You can check it out at Starlog.com.
Even more interesting for me, was the news that the Internet Archive website has put up the entire run of the Starlog print magazine online for FREE! So you can imagine what my project for the year will be. Yep, I want to read through the entire collection of everything that was published. You can check that out HERE.
Books - My Pop-topia.com article on my choices for the 10 Best Mystery/Thriller novels of 2014 is now online. You can check it out HERE.
If I was the CFB bowl announcer guy, this is what it would sound like...
"The third year junior hikes the ball to the fifth year senior, who fakes a handoff to the fourth year sophomore who was out due to injury last year because of an ankle broken by a true freshman, and then throws deep to his fourth year senior which is tipped by the fourth year junior cornerback, and bobbled by the third year sophomore safety and into the receiver's hands for a touchdown by the walk-on, redshirt freshman."
For my last post of the year, I wanted to provide the latest updates on the college and high school basketball teams that I follow.
Just a bit of news on Lauren Hill, the Mount Saint Joseph's basketball player. She had a goal to raise $1 million dollars by today (December 31st) for pediatric brain cancer research. Thanks to an anonymous $116,000 dollar donation, she hit the mark. You can read about it and see a video with Hill HERE.
Catholic University - The Cardinals played in the Jamie Lynn Roberts - Fairfield Inn Holiday tournament the past couple of days. They won both games to capture the championship. The first win was a 68-64 victory over Washington & Lee. The team then beat Mary Washington 53-48 for the title clinching victory. Amber didn't play in either game.
Hartford - The Hawks were playing in the Fordham Holiday Classic to start the week. They lost 64-51 to an undefeated Princeton team in the first round. Morgan Lumb was the only Hartford player in double figures for scoring with 14 points.
In the consolation game, the Hawks came back from 10 points down at the half to beat Savannah State 59-55. Cherelle Moore scored 17 points and grabbed 9 rebounds (she had a team high 6 turnovers) to lead Hartford's offense. She was also named to the All-Tournament team.
Morgan Lumb scored 15 points and Amber Bepko added 14 points with 8 rebounds.
The Hawks are now 6-8 on the season and are headed into America East Conference play.
Missouri State - The Bears beat Missouri for the second straight year behind 19 points from Kenzie Williams. Hillary Chvatal scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Tyonna Snow had 10 points and 7 rebounds. Both players tied for a team high 5 turnovers apiece.
Missouri State is 3-8 on the season and is headed into Missouri Valley Conference play now.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - Tennessee beat Oregon State this past Sunday 74-63. The win raises their record to 10-2. It was their second straight win over a Top 10 opponent (the first was Stanford).
Isabelle Harrison (pictured below) scored 20 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had a season high 5 blocked shots to lead the Lady Vols to the big win. She was later named SEC Player of the Week for the first time in her career.
Alexa Middleton (shown below 1st) had 12 points. Cierra Burdick (shown 2nd) and Ariel Massengale (shown 3rd) added 11 points apiece. Bashaara Graves finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds (shown 4th).
(ALL PICS FROM TENNESSEE GAME PHOTO GALLERY)
The box score from the game revealed a weird little twist in the statistics. While Tennessee turned the ball over just 12 times for the game, the team's pathetic ability at the foul line is a cause for concern. Tennessee hit on just 64% of their free throw attempts and that won't cut it come tournament time.
Boston College Women & Men - In case you missed my blog post about attending the BC women's game vs. Providence this past Sunday, you can check it out HERE.
The BC men used their defense to force UMass Lowell into 22 turnovers during their game. The 22-6 advantage the Eagles garnered in the points off turnovers category helped them cruise to a 70-47 victory and a 7-4 record headed into ACC conference play.
Aaron Brown (seen below) scored a season high 22 points and dished out 4 assists to lead Boston College.
Dennis Clifford (shown 1st) tied his career high with 19 points. Olivier Hanlan (shown 2nd) added 10 points. Patrick Heckmann tied his career high with 6 assists.
(PICS FROM BC GAME PHOTO GALLERY)
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - Savahna said that she had an "alright" game, but her team lost to Tri-County Voc-Tech 49-31.
Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - The Spartans lost to Sandwich 64-56. No word on how Jake did in the game. Stang is now 3-2.
ORR Boys Varsity - The Bulldogs rolled to a 57-42 win over Fairhaven and are now 5-0. However, I won't be following the team anymore as my former player Raekwon is no longer on the team.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - The Rams are now 5-0 after beating Norfolk Aggie 42-27. Michaela had 1 point in the game.
Wareham Boys Varsity - The Vikings knocked off Dighton-Rehoboth 71-44. They were in control of the game from the start, but their 22-2 third quarter spurt helped lead to the outright blowout. Mark had 2 points in the game while Josh (seen in #22 blue in a pic below from the ORR game by Adam Ellis) had 9 points.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The game (which I was there to see) started out poorly for the Vikings as Dighton-Rehoboth came out attacking on offense. D-R led by 11 points after the first quarter and 9 at the half. Wareham had entirely too many turnovers and looked thoroughly out of synch.
But in the third quarter, Wareham got their offense rolling and fed their center (not one of my former players) the ball to the tune of a career high 37 points for her. This helped them come back and win 63-56. The win leaves Wareham at 2-4 with a 2-2 conference record.
Tieyanna (seen below) had 13 points in the game which eventually offset the turnovers and poor passing she displayed in the first half.
Erica scored 2 points while Kali (seen below) had 6 points and got cited in the newspaper for her defensive efforts in the game. She covered the two best players on D-R and while she was on them, their offensive output slowed to a trickle.
Unfortunately for Gabby (shown below), she didn't have such a good game. She had trouble holding on to the ball when installed as the point guard and her shot was off all game. I know she can play better.
(ALL GIRLS PHOTOS COME FROM THE WAREHAM-ORR PICTURE GALLERY BY ADAM ELLIS OF THE WAREHAM COURIER)
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.