Here's the latest early week recaps and articles from the teams I follow at the various levels of basketball.
Before their game against the L.A. Clippers, the team waived Chris Douglas-Roberts, yet another of the players they acquired via trade that they had no intention of keeping around.
In the game vs. the Clippers, the Celtics never really could do anything more than keep within striking distance on their way to a 102-93 loss.
Brandon Bass scored 17 points to lead Boston's offense. Marcus Thornton had 15 points and Marcus Smart added 14 points and 7 boards. Jared Sullinger (pictured below) finished with 14 points and 8 boards.
Evan Turner had a double double with 10 points and 10 boards. He added 6 assists as well. Kelly Olynyk (pic below) finished the game with 11 points.
The surprise of the game was seeing that Tayshaun Prince suited up and got into the game. He had 2 points and 2 boards plus an assist. I don't know if this means he is going to be with the team long term but considering he was ticketed for a buyout as soon as he got traded to the Celtics, it is a huge turnaround.
I read an article in the newspaper on Monday about Miami men's basketball coach Jim Larranaga and came away with a really great impression of the man. You can check out the article via this link.
Meanwhile, SI.com had a couple of articles that were good reads. The first is on former Louisville player Kevin Ware as he rebuilds his life and career after transferring to Georgia State. You can read that one HERE.
The other story is about Preston Mattingly, the son of LA Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, and his career at Lamar after 6 years playing minor league baseball. Here's the link.
Boston College Men - The Eagles started off the game by taking their offense right at Syracuse but after building an early 12-4 lead on them, they watched as the Orange ran off a 31-5 run to go into halftime with a 35-17 lead.
BC outscored Syracuse in the second half but it wasn't enough and they lost 69-61 and are now 8-9 on the season (0-5 in the ACC).
Aaron Brown (pictured 1st) led Boston College with 21 points and 6 boards, Dimitri Batten (pictured 2nd) added 17 points and 5 boards. Point guard Olivier Hanlan (pictured 3rd) had 13 points, 5 boards and 5 assists. Patrick Heckmann (pictured 4th) finished the game with 9 points and a team high 9 rebounds.
Missouri State - A 15-0 run early in the second half helped lead the Bears to their 78-64 victory over Bradley. The win improves Missouri State to 6-10 with a 3-2 conference record.
Kenzie Williams led four players in double figures with 13 points. Hillary Chvatal (12), Tyonna Snow (11) and Liza Fruendt (11) were the other players. Fruendt added 6 boards. Audrey Holt (pictured below) had season highs in both points (7) and rebounds (5).
Hartford - Despite 25 turnovers, the Hawks took down UMBC 70-63 and got above the .500 mark for the season. They are 10-9 with a 4-1 America East record.
Deanna Mayza scored 16 pointswith 6 assists (4 turnovers) and Morgan Lumb had 14 points (6 turnovers). Janelle Harrison finished with 9 points and 8 boards.
Amber Bepko (shown below) led the team with 17 points which helped her top the 1,000 point mark for her career. I've been following her since her freshman year so I was very pleased to see her hit this milestone.
You can read more about Bepko's evolution as a player HERE.
Tennessee LADY VOLS- Tennessee never led in their Monday night matchup against Notre Dame. Their 88-77 loss was their 14th straight loss on the road to a Top 10 opponent. When you consider the history of the Lady Vols program, that is a rather astounding statistic. Of course, when you give up 34 points to Jewell Loyd, you probably can guess that you might not win the game.
Bashaara Graves (shown below 1st) led the Tennessee (15-3) with 22 points and 8 boards. Cierra Burdick (shown 2nd) added 15 points and Isabelle Harrison (shown 3rd) scored 12 points to go with 9 boards. Ariel Massengale (shown 4th) hit for 11 points.
Boston College Women - BC was down just 24-22 to Syracuse at halftime of their game this past Sunday. I missed that half but did catch the second half on the computer and it was astounding just how awful the Eagles played the last 20 minutes of the game on the way to a 64-46 loss.
The season low point total wasn't helped by their 23 turnovers in the game (Martina Mosetti had 7 of those turnovers on her own). A number of those turnovers came as the Eagles players found themselves trapped by the press defense in the backcourt and simply lost control of the ball.
The Eagles had a big edge at the half in rebounding and did actually still outrebound the Orange for the game. But in the second half, they repeatedly failed to box out on the offensive glass. This led to 2nd, 3rd and 4th chances for Syracuse.
BC's shooting was woeful, particularly from the outside. They were forced to rely on their outside shooting because they couldn't break the 2-3 zone employed by Syracuse to get drives to the basket.
Emilee Daley (shown 1st) and Ashley Kelsick (shown 2nd) led the team with 11 points apiece. Kelly Hughes(shown 3rd), the leading scorer for BC, had just 3 points in the game but did have a team high 11 boards. Shayra Brown (shown 4th) added 5 points and 4 rebounds.
Highlights of the game and the post game press conference with coach Erik Johnson can be seen below.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - Jake scored 14 points as the Spartans beat Coyle-Cassidy and improved to 7-3 (2-2 in conference).
Sturgis East Girls Varsity - The Storm got 30 points from their top player but couldn't keep up with West Bridgewater, losing 64-46. Isabella scored 4 points in the game as Sturgis East fell to 3-5.
Wareham Girls Varsity - Tieyanna scored 21 points to lead the Vikings to a 48-32 win over Barnstable. Gabby scored 9 points as Wareham improved to 8-7 (5-4 in conference).
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - Last night, I went to see the Upper Cape girls against Avon. The two teams had played a week ago with the Rams blowing out Avon on the road. A week later, the game was a little tighter.
After the JV won 44-18. the varsity started out slowly. The team has been dealing with the flu running through the roster. At least two of the girls played looking like they walking zombies for a while.
Upper Cape was up just 8-4 after the first quarter. But Avon took a 9-8 lead at the start of the 2nd quarter. After that, the Rams built a lead that they never relinquished. Avon kept challenging them with their leading scorer having a game high 22 points, but the Rams ended up at 12-0 with a 51-36 victory.
Michaela was still recovering from being sick but did play in the game. She shot just 2-12 from the floor and 1-12 from the line for 5 points. She had one rebound, 1 assist and 1 steal as well as 2 fouls.
The Bourne Courier newspaper posted a photo gallery from the team's recent game against Cape Cod Tech on their website. The photos are by David Colantuono. A few of the pics are below with Michaela and Dasia first and both Krystle and Amber second.
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".
In case you guys are thinking man he's back again on Sunday, well I have some unfinished business from yesterday's blog. I didn't weigh in on one of the best days next to the Super Bowl and Final Four in the NCAA Men's Hoops. There will be a lot of broken dreams tomorrow after each game, but in turn the games should really be exciting regardless of the outcome of each game.
Sure my Super Bowl dreams were dashed by the Cowboys 2 weeks ago, but I will still be watching tomorrow even the Lions will not be playing. You kind of get used to it, but honestly that's not the emphasis of my blog today, it's really about the games being played today. Who's dreams will be crushed tomorrow, we will all know by the days end.
Not many give Andrew Luck much of a chance against the Patriots tomorrow, even though anything can happen. Guess we will wait and see........
With the finish to the regular season that the Seahawks had, are they the odds on favorite to repeat? If injuries hadn't over ran Arizona, would we be talking about the Seahawks right now?
Brady is always a contender for a ring, even if the team behind him always changes. I really don't like making predictions, but I really like his chances of reaching Arizona in two weeks.....
I am not sure if he will survive Sunday's game against the Seahawks defense, pass protection will be a must tomorrow if the Packers want to reach Arizona.......
The Final Four in professional sports, there's nothing like watching teams playing for the right to see who's the best at what they do. Who will walk down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, only time will tell.......
I'm trying to clear at least a little bit of the material I have for what looks to be a very jam packed Sunday Musings this week, so here's a bevy of basketball related recaps, links, videos and photos to wile away your Thursday evening.
Boston Celtics - The Celtics split their two games thus far this week. And while always important, it seems the action on the court was of little concern to pretty much anyone from the fans to the players to management.
Instead, the various trades the Celtics made to further lessen their chances to win games were the top rung news stories of the week.
The long gestating trade of Jeff Green ( read the details here ) brought Tayshaun Prince and Austin Rivers to be nominal members of the team. But with the contract for Prince being targeted for a buyout and Rivers, now that the trade has been finalized, off to the Clippers to play for his father, Doc Rivers, the trade is essentially about clearing away Green with quantifiable returns not even a secondary concern. Yes I know we got Shavlik Randolph back, so I'm sure the season is saved!
The trade of unhappy veteran Jameer Nelson didn't take nearly as long to pull off. He didn't make a huge deal out of it, but he did talk about his unhappiness with his playing time when asked about it. The Celtics got Nate Robinson in return and while this would've been his second time around playing for Boston, it isn't going to happen. Why? Because the Celtics bought out his contract as well.
A former player of mine was excited enough about his return that she tweeted about it and I had all I could do not to ask her if she'd bothered to read the full story about the trade.
GM Danny Ainge has been stockpiling draft picks, trade exceptions and who knows what else in what everyone that follows the team can only hope is an executable plan to actually make the team better. I don't want to seem to pessimistic but I truly haven't an inkling about what he might actually do next.
All I know is that they'd better figure out something quick because the seeming lack of a real desire to field a team that can legitimately compete for the playoffs and/or an NBA title is wearing thin.
At least give me a little hope Danny, stop making it seem like the Celtics are doing a variation upon the Sixers' theme of blatantly losing to get a higher draft pick.
As for the games, the Celtics knocked off the Pelicans 108-100 to start off their week. The team committed just 11 turnovers of their own while scoring 21 points off of the turnovers by the Pelicans. Meanwhile, Marcus Smart hit a big three pointer in the final minute to help ice the game.
Jared Sullinger (seen below) led Boston with 27 points and 10 boards. Jae Crowder added 22 points and Marcus Thornton finished with 13 points. Brandon Bass (who could quite possibly be the next guy headed out via trade before the deadline) had 12 points.
On Wednesday night, the Atlanta Hawks continued their run as one of the best teams in the East with a 105-91 victory. The loss dropped Boston to 13-24. The Celtics hung in with the Hawks during the first quarter, but things fell apart for them during both the 2nd and 3rd quarters.
Avery Bradley (pictured below) led Boston with 17 points while Sullinger had 14 points and 9 boards. Kelly Olynyk went for 12 points and 8 boards.
In other NBA notes, with the brouhaha surrounding LeBron James pushing coach David Blatt away from a confrontation with officials during a game, Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski has this column calling for James to show the leadership that he promised to bring on his return to Cleveland.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - Tennessee had to rally in the second half against Arkansas in order to pick up a 60-51 come from behind victory to start their week off.
The Lady Vols (now 14-2, 4-0 SEC) shot just 21.4% from the floor in the first half and trailed by as many as 9 points in the 2nd half.
Cierra Burdick (pictured below 1st) led Tennessee with 17 points, 6 boards and 3 blocks.
Ariel Massengale (pictured 2nd) added 16 points and Isabelle Harrison scored 13 points to go with a season high 13 rebounds.
Boston College Women - I can't say that I was surprised that the Eagles lost to Notre Dame this past Sunday, but I was more than a little disappointed that they were so entirely outmatched that it was like watching a youth league team play the Irish.
In the midst of their 104-58 loss, BC committed 20 turnovers in the game (Notre Dame had just 13), established their season low for points scored, shot 13-33 from three point range and got forced into three 30 second shot clock violations.
I had been hoping to find a way to watch the game on the computer, but seeing how bad the game was made me glad I didn't.
Emilee Daley led BC (8-8, 0-3 ACC) with 12 points. Karima Gabriel scored just 3 points but led the team with 12 rebounds.
Ashley Kelsick (pictured below) had 11 points but turned the ball over 5 times. Kelly Hughes scored 9 points but had 7 turnovers. Nicole Boudreau added 10 points.
You can see coach Erik Johnson's weekly press conference from Monday below.
Boston College Men - For the last 6 years, the BC men's team has been manhandled by Harvard in the annual meeting between the two schools with the Crimson winning all 6 matchups.
Last night, in the Eagles final non-conference game of the season, the team got off to a big lead and led by 11 points at halftime.
But once again, they collapsed and saw Harvard rally to send the game into overtime. However, the Eagles rallied in the extra period and took the 64-57 victory to end their losing streak to Harvard.
Boston College (8-7) got 17 points and 8 assists from Olivier Hanlan (pictured 1st). He did turn the ball over 6 times though. Patrick Heckmann (pictured 2nd) scored 14 points with Dennis Clifford (pictured 3rd) going for a double-double (13 points and 10 rebounds). Aaron Brown (pictured 4th) added 12 points and 7 boards while turning the ball over 6 times.
You can see highlights from the game below.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Before I get into writing about the latest news on the high school teams I follow, I wanted to point you towards the latest SI.com High School Athlete of the Month piece. It's about a high school basketball player from Medfield, Massachusetts named Jack Cadigan. I think that once you read the article, you'll be amazed at what a great kid seems to be. Here's the link.
As for my teams of rooting interest:
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - Savahna's team dropped to 2-9 on the season after losing to Holbrook 53-25, then dropping a heartbreaking 51-50 overtime decision to Norfolk Aggie.
Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - Jake was a big factor for the Spartans in their 63-52 defeat of Somerset-Berkley. He helped seal the win with a big three pointer and a driving layup. Overall he finished with 14 points as Stang upped their record to 6-2 (1-1 in conference).
Wareham Boys Varsity - The Vikings are now 8-3 (6-2 in conference) after their 53-41 victory against Apponequet. Mark had 3 points in the game.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The girls team lost to Apponequet 40-31 in their first game of the week. Gabby had 6 points in the game. Tieyanna score 4 points, Kali scored 3 points and Erica added 2.
As disappointing as that loss was, their game on Wednesday showed just how far the team has come. In their first game of the season they lost to Bishop Stang by 27 points. But in their rematch last night, Wareham turned things around on Stang and won 50-42.
According to the coach it was the first time the team had played a full effort for the entire game all season long. Tieyanna finished with 15 points and Kali had 4 points as Wareham raised their record to 7-6 (5-3 in conference).
The pic below is from their earlier win over Sandwich. It features the Vikings in white. Tieyanna is laying down, Erica is diving for the ball and Gabby is #10.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - The Rams had an excellent early part of the week. Michaela scored 12 points in their 55-35 victory against Avon.
Against Cape Tech last night, Upper Cape started out sluggishly and trailed 15-7 after the first quarter. But they got things going in the 2nd quarter, took a 28-18 lead at halftime and cruised to a 57-30 victory. Michaela had 5 points in this game. You can read more about the team's last two games HERE.
The two wins gives them a 10-0 record and makes them eligible for the state tournament! Whoo Hoo!
In other high school news, I had planned to attend the Sturgis East game tomorrow afternoon to see Isabella play but we are having some bad weather with very icy road conditions so I will most likely not be going if the roads are still that bad tomorrow.
YOUTH BASKETBALL FLASHBACK
There was an article in the local weekly town newspaper this morning about a new call firefighter to the town's department. As it turned out, it was a former player of mine.
I coached Justin back in the 97-98 season as a member of my Raptors team. Though I can't give the article link to you since the paper has yet to put it online, the photo below is of Justin on the left.
I was going to write a nice little piece about the looming disaster that is the Boston bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. It was basically going to boil down to the idea that if the people behind the bid want it so bad, let them pay for it. And also, I'm not enthused about the notion, despite it being a decade off, of Boston effectively becoming a city under martial law as the Olympics are held.
There was going to be righteous indignation about the phallacy of the notion being forwarded by supporters of the bid that holding the Olympics would make Boston a "world-class city".
To be crystal clear: I like the Olympics. I follow various events during each Olympiad and root for the US athletes to do well. But I do not want nor support having the Olympics held in Boston. And since Boston is the home or at least nominal home of some of the best sports teams, institutions of higher learning, restaurants, technology & medical firms, arts scene and much more, it is already a world class city and the Olympics will not change that status.
New England Patriots - The first half of last night's game against the Ravens started out inducing near pin drop silence in Gillette Stadium. Baltimore raced out to a 14-0 lead. If that wasn't bad enough, they did it in such a manner that it brought back memories of the playoff spanking the Ravens put on New England a few years back.
Thankfully, the Pats rebounded by tightening up their defense to stop the Ravens offense and tie things up at 14. But things fell apart at the end of the half for the Patriots. The Patriots had the ball with 2 minutes and 3 timeouts. It was the perfect set up for the Patriots to drive the field and pick up a score headed into halftime.
Great idea, at least until Tom Brady threw another ridiculously unexplainable interceptions. The pick led to the third Joe Flacco TD pass of the half as he hit tight end Owen Daniels in the back of the end zone. Instead of a Patriots lead, the Ravens had a 21-14 lead at the break.
When the Ravens extended their lead to 28-14 at the start of the third quarter, I have to say I was a bit worried. Then Tom Brady hit Gronkowski for a score and a fantastic trick play saw Julian Edelman hit Danny Amendola for a 51 yard scoring strike to tie things up.
The Ravens got a field goal but the Patriots answered with a Brandon LaFell TD to take a 35-31 lead. Joe Flacco got picked off in the end zone to give the Patriots the ball with 1:39 in the game. But they had to punt the ball and a Hail Mary from Flacco came damn close to shocking everyone before falling to the ground as the Patriots celebrated going onto the AFC title game.
Besides that bad interception, Tom Brady had a solid game. He threw for 367 yards and 3 TDs. He also got sacked twice. He ran for a TD as well. (see below)
On a day when the run game was held to just 14 yards total, they needed the aerial corps to step up. Gronkowski had 108 yards receiving to go with his TD. Danny Amendola (see below) caught 5 passes for 81 yards and two scores. Julian Edelman caught a team high 8 passes and had that TD pass to Amendola.
The defense didn't generate much of a pass rush, failing to sack Joe Flacco, but they did pick him off twice and recovered a fumble. Their run defense left something to be desired (Baltimore's Justin Forsett ran for 129 yards), but they seemed to find just the right times to stop the Ravens when they ABSOLUTELY had to. Jamie Collins (below) had a team high 8 tackles with 3 assists.
It was a nailbiter game for sure, but the win was a great relief and to have it come in such a hard fought and exciting way makes it that much sweeter.
In other NFL related news, former Dallas Cowboy player and Denver Broncos coach Dan Reeves talked about playing in the Ice Bowl in this interview on TheMMQB.com
Sports Illustrated ran a lengthy story on John Elway online (it appears in the January 12th cover dated print issue) as Elway looks to bring the Denver Broncos to a new round of glory days.
The national championship game between Oregon and Ohio State is tomorrow night. And I'm still going with Oregon finally winning a game when it counts. But based off of what the Buckeyes have done in their last two games, I have to say that I really have no confidence in my prediction.
In off the field news, former Boston College and North Carolina State coach Tom O'Brien announced his retirement from coaching after a 40 year career. He spent the last two seasons as the associate head coach for offense and tight ends coach at Virginia. He's the all-time record holder for wins as a coach at Boston College. I liked the guy when he was at BC and kept track of how his NC State teams did from time to time. You can read more about his career HERE.
The Celtics made a solid accounting for themselves in their mid-week matchup against the New Jersey Nets.
In their 89-81 victory, the had just 6 turnovers for the entire game while forcing 17 of them by New Jersey. Their ability to hold on to the ball has been a factor (one of many, I know) in the team's lack of success this season. While I don't expect them to always have games with this low amount of turnovers, the more they don't give the ball away, the better it will be for them.
Avery Bradley (below) scored 21 points to lead Boston's offense while Tyler Zeller added 18 points and 6 boards. Evan Turner had 6 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists.
On Friday, the Celtics traded Brandan Wright to Phoenix. You can see the details of what they got in return HERE.
Jeff Green was pulled from the lineup on Friday night before the game when a trade was pending to send him to Memphis. Surprisingly enough, the Celtics were competitive against the Indiana Pacers. Avery Bradley hit a 3 pointer to tie the game and send it to overtime. But the Celtics couldn't finish the job and dropped to 12-22 with their 107-103 loss.
Bradley had 23 points in the game while Evan Turner added 9 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists. Brandon Bass scored 17 points.
Last night, the Celtics ended up dropped another game, losing to the Toronto Raptors 109-96. The loss leaves them at 12-23. Boston started out strong in the first quarter but lost control in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.
Kelly Olynyk (pictured below) had 23 points to lead the Celtics. Avery Bradley added 17 and Jared Sullinger had a double double with 13 points and 10 boards.
BASEBALL HALL OF FAME
Randy Johnson, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week. And while they are certainly deserving and I don't mean to slight their forthcoming induction, the final elected inductee is what this year's ceremony will be all about for me.
HELL YEAH, Pedro Martinez is a Hall of Famer! Of course, anyone who follows the game knows he was a lock for the honor, but the confirmation is nice. I'm a huge fan of his from his Red Sox days obviously. I've seen a lot of the best pitchers during my time watching baseball, but Martinez was something really special. He is definitely one of the most dominant pitchers I ever saw.
And given the stuff he's said in interviews after his election, his induction speech is sure to be a memorable one. Plus I can't wait to see if his Hall of Fame plaque reflects his old jheri curl hairstyle. He said he wants it on there because he had during the best part of his career.
By the way, I know everyone has their favorite candidates who didn't get in so let me just add my two picks to the mix. I think Lee Smith and Curt Schilling should be in the Hall of Fame too.
In what has to be one of the weirdest bits of news I can recall in a long time, the New York Liberty have hired Bill Laimbeer as their new coach. He replaces Bill Laimbeer, who was let go after two unsuccessful seasons.
Yes, you read that right. They re-hired the guy they fired just a few months ago. While everyone is saying the "correct" things, it didn't take long for fans to suggest the hiring came about because no one else wanted the job.
I don't know if that is true or not, but given the almost complete radio silence surrounding the search for a new coach, I wouldn't dismiss this idea out of hand. After all, the team is owned by James Dolan, the same guy who owns the New York Knicks and let them slide into being a joke of a franchise.
While Laimbeer is only the coach this time around instead of the GM as well, both management and the coach seem to point towards him still having a big say in personnel decisions.
For me, this is good news because I think Laimbeer is great for the WNBA and I didn't think two years was long enough to build a serious title contender with the Liberty. With Laimbeer back on the job, if the mistakes made the first time around are corrected, I think he can start to see better results with the team.
Plus this means Katie Smith will definitely be back as an assistant coach!
Catholic University - Amber didn't play in the team's game vs. Goucher on Thursday night, but the Cardinals did go on to win their 5th straight game by the final score of 57-52.
On Saturday they played Drew and came away with an 81-69 victory (6th in row) to raise their record to 11-4 (5-1 conference). Once again, Amber didn't play in the game.
Hartford - The team announced on Friday that redshirt junior Katie Roth has ended her injury plagued playing career. You can read about it HERE.
On Saturday afternoon, the Hawks hosted Maine. Amber Bepko (pictured below) scored 18 points but it wasn't enough to stop the Black Bears, who ended up winning 68-57. The loss puts the Hawks at 8-9 on the season. Cherelle Moore added 12 points and 6 boards. Deanna Mayza had 7 assists but turned the ball over 8 times, which as you might expect is not a good thing for any player much less your point guard.
Missouri State - The Bears kept things close in their game with Wichita State on Friday night, but the Shockers pulled away late and picked up the 71-59 victory. The loss drops Missouri State to 4-10 (1-2 MVC).
Kenzie Williams scored 18 points to lead the Bears, while both NiJay Gaines and Tyonna Snow had 12 points.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - Tennessee picked up their 9th win in a row by blowing out Texas A&M on Thursday night 81-58. The win raises their record to 13-2 with a 3-0 SEC record.
The Lady Vols committed just 8 turnovers in the game and shot a season high 52.4% from the floor for the game. They got a season high 21 points from Isabelle Harrison and she (pictured below) also grabbed 8 rebounds.
Cierra Burdick (shown below 1st) had 14 points and 11 boards with Ariel Massengale adding 14 points of her own. Jordan Reynolds (shown 2nd) finished with 7 points and 6 assists.
By the way, you can check out this Yahoo! Sports article on Andraya Carter. It talks about how the player known for her defense has been giving the team a lift by providing more offense.
Boston College Women - The Eagles led by 1 point at half-time in their back and forth game against Georgia Tech on Thursday night, but they couldn't hold on to the lead in the 2nd half and went on to lose 80-77. The loss drops them to 8-7 on the season.
Nicole Boudreau (pictured below) scored a team high 21 points while grabbing 6 rebounds and adding 3 assists to lead the Eagles.
Kelly Hughes (shown below 1st) had 18 points, 4 assists and 4 steals. Ashley Kelsick added 13 points and Emilee Daley (shown 2nd) scored 12 points in a career high 33 minutes of action. Karima Gabriel (shown 3rd) hit for 9 points and grabbed 5 boards.
You can see video highlights and Coach Erik Johnson's post game press conference below.
Boston College Men - The Eagles had a chance to tie the game with 8.9 seconds left in regulation but missed the shot and ended up losing to Miami yesterday. The final score was 60-56. The team is now 7-7 overall and 0-2 in ACC play.
Olivier Hanlan (shown below 1st) had 19 points to lead BC. Eddie Odio (shown 2nd) scored a career high 13 points and grabbed a team high 8 rebounds.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
One quick note before I do the basketball roundups: On Saturday at the Division 5 State track relays, my former player Rachel was part of the ORR 4x800 team that came in fourth at the meet.
Sturgis East Girls Varsity - The Storm got their first win of the season on Thursday night when they beat Sturgis West 42-37. Isabella scored 1 point in the game and made two photos in the Cape Cod Times photo gallery that was posted online. She's in the deep background on the far left of the first picture and getting fouled in the second picture.
I'm tentatively planning to go see Isabella play next week and I'll write about it next Sunday.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - The Rams rolled to 8-0 with their 53-26 victory over Bristol Aggie on Friday night. They are 4-0 in conference play. Michaela had 3 points in the game.
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - Savahna's team got blown out again on Thursday night. This time it was a 69-43 loss to Old Colony. While it wouldn't have made too much of a difference in the final score, B-P did miss 8 of their 16 free throws in the game. But the biggest problem for them seems to be their inability to hold on to the ball. They had 33 turnovers in the game.
They played better on Friday night against Southeastern Regional Tech, but still ended up on the losing side of a 41-34 decision. This drops them to 2-7 overall.
Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - The Spartans dropped their conference opener to Bishop Feehan 77-63. Jake had 14 points in the game but the team is now 5-2 on the season.
Wareham Boys Varsity - The Vikings beat Case 88-54 on Friday to give their head coach his 300th career win. Josh had 2 points in the game while another ex-player of mine, Ashantay, got called up from the JV team and scored 3 points.
(Photo by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier)
There wasn't much time to linger on celebrating the milestone (his father coached the Wareham boys for 25 years and won 404 games by the way) as the team played Cardinal Spellman yesterday afternoon. The game turned into victory #301 for the coach as they beat Spellman 72-62. Josh had 1 point in the game as the Vikings improved to 7-3 overall.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The Vikings traveled to play Case Saturday afternoon. One person told me it was kind of an ugly game, but Wareham came out with a 43-39 victory. Gabby and Tieyanna scored 14 points apiece to lead Wareham's offense. Erica added 4 points. Wareham is now 6-5 on the season. I believe I'm going to their home game on Tuesday night.
Music - So far this year, I've lined up three CDs to review for KNAC.com. Once the albums are released, I'll be reviewing U.D.O.'s Decadent, The Scorpions' Return To Forever and Europe's War of Kings.
While those are in the pipeline, I thought I'd share this Marc Gunn song "The Jedi Drinking Song Prequel". It's actually quite hilarious and follows up "The Jedi Drinking Song" track he was a part of in the duo The Brobdingnagian Bards.
Books - I finished reading the David Baldacci thriller The Target this week. It is the most recent paperback in his Will Robie series. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good read, but it seemed a bit convoluted. The story didn't seem to flow quite as easily from one plot point to another as naturally as it did in the first two books in the series.
Movies - I went to see the movie Taken 3 yesterday. It is being billed as the final film in the franchise. If it does go that way, it was a decent enough way to wrap things up. However, the movie was missing any real sense of tension that you got in the first two movies. I say this because the plot was significantly altered from how they structured things the first two times around. I gave it a 7 out of 10 overall.
TV - A brief trailer for the second half of the 5th season of The Walking Dead was released on Friday. You can check it out below.