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Boston Celtics Fall Short in the West Coast

The team that’s been atop all others throughout the previous two months of this season is slowly fizzing away. The Boston Celtics ended their road trip with a loss at the Rose Garden and I couldn’t be any happier. Yup – I’m a Trail Blazers fan and love how Portland was able to win without Roy. It shows talent in the other starters and reserves. Greg Oden was even able to add 13 points and 11 rebounds despite his ankle injury in a recent practice. Perhaps he’ll slowly shake off the media tension that’s been burdening his shoulders.

Celtics vs. Blazers
Celtics vs. Blazers

Paul Pierce stepped up as usual with 28 points for the Celtics, but it wasn’t enough for Rip City’s finest. It hasn’t been enough for the last three of their four games. Coming into Los Angeles on Christmas, the Lakers gave the defending champs something to think about – How the f*ck will they beat them again if they were to match up in the finals? The Lakers seem much stronger this year and the Celtics are dwindling. They need another boost of energy like last year in the playoffs, but what will happen if their second boost runs out?

After losing to the Lakers they fell short to the Golden State Warriors on the following night. Even though they picked up a Win in Sacramento thereafter, the Portland game brought them back down. Overall, the west coast road blocked their franchise-record, 19 game winning streak.

Cleveland and Orlando are close behind, so if Boston wants to “make it reign” again, they need to work on their play making ability down the stretch. The way I see it is if teams like the Blazers can cover without their star player, then the Celtics are no match for Kobe, Lebron or Dwight (who’re much more polished) and their crews.

Skrybe – Keep it Fly

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NBA | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NFL 2008: Crazy

As 2008 draws to a close and 2009 brings us the beginning of the playoff season, we should look back on what makes us love football so much.

The great thing about the NFL season is that, no matter what you think you know, you really know nothing.  When the NFL schedule was released in spring 2007, everyone thought the Cowboys would be Superbowl champs.

Crazy.

Everyone thought the Dolphins and Falcons would be battling for the number one pick.

Crazy.

Many thought that Tom Brady would help lead the Patriots deep into the playoffs and that the Eagles were getting ready to say goodbye to the Donnovan McNabb era.

Brady Goes Down

Brady Goes Down

Crazy.

Early in the season, many thought that the Redskins were a great team and that Jason Campbell was emerging as an elite quarterback.  Many thought that the Buffalo Bills had finally become contenders in the AFC East.

Crazy.

Who would’ve thought that the hard-nosed Tampa Bay Buccaneers would lose all of their games in December, including a match-up against the lowly Raiders, thus ending their playoff hopes?  Who would’ve thought that in the same game–in the fourth quarter no less–that running back Carnell Williams would tear up his knee yet again after a year long rehab?

Crazy.

Who would’ve thought that we would’ve seen a team like the Patriots come so close to immortality in February and just ten months later, see the Detroit Lions get inducted into the Hall of Shame?

Lions go 0-16

Lions go 0-16

Crazy.

Who could have forseen that this time a year ago, Michael Vick began his prison sentence.  Just one year later, his Falcons have a franchise quarterback, a coach of the year candidate, and a playoff birth?

Crazy.

Who would’ve thought that Drew Brees could throw for over 5,000 yards (coming 16 yards shy of the passing record) and 34 touchdowns and not even be in serious contention for the MVP award?

Crazy.

Who would’ve thought than the Patriots could go 11-5 and miss the playoffs, while the 8-8 Chargers host the 12-4 Colts and the 9-7 Cardinals host the 11-5 Falcons this weekend?

Crazy.

This has been a season of surprises and jaw dropping moments.  As Don Cheadle (below) once said, the “crazy” is why we love it.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA News sponsored by Chris Paul’s Pits?

Chris Paul

Chris Paul

Has anyone seen the new Chris Paul Right Guard commercial where only his lips move on his frozen picture? The commercial for Right Guard continues to get more disturbing as they claim themselves as “the official sponsor of Chris Paul’s pits”. Personally, we know what deodorant is for. There’s no need to sponsor someone’s pits or even highlight the pit region. I always thought that was an area of the body that we knew existed but never focused our direct advertising towards. I’ll compare it to Gold Bond coming out with an ad campaign that features Julio Lugo scratching his balls then using Gold Bond to soothe the pain. Gold Bond, official sponsor of Julio Lugo’s cantaloupe balls. Yeah, I went there. Let’s keep the pits and balls off our TV screens, for the kids sake of course.

And now some NBA news:

The Celtics end their West Coast trip 1-3, leaving a lot of questions about their bench depth.

Lebron and D-Wade went at it last night in a matchup of the top two MVP candidates. Lebron put up 38 pts but D-Wade had 21 pts and 12 assists in the upset over the Cavs. (Lebron’s record on his birthday 0-3)

Sir Charles Barkley was arrested then released on suspicion of DUI Wednesday morning. Story says he drove through a stop sign in Arizona and was pulled over immediately after. He refused the breathalyzer but was given a blood test. Maybe Chuck should have put a taxi’s number in his fave five.

The Houston Rockets have signed Dikembe Mutombo for the remainder of the season. No big surprise here with all the injuries plaguing the Rockets. He is now the oldest NBA player in the league and continues to hold the best catch phrase at the clubs; “Who wants to sex Mutombo!”. Nice to see him back.

Baron Davis does not want to leave the misery that is the Clippers. The rumor began when Stephen Jackson spoke earlier this week about sitting down with Davis. He claims Davis wants to rejoin the Warriors and misses playing with old friend Jackson. Baron can thank Stephen for blowing up his spot in LA and letting the media feast on this story. Now Davis denies all these claims and says he is not jumping ship on the LA ride called the Titanic. It’s a feeling out process, but it’s still a process.

Have a Happy New Year!

RaginRondo

December 31, 2008 Posted by | NBA | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Where have all the true sports fans gone?

This morning I was listening to a local radio show host discuss the discrepancies among professional sports teams and the negative impact it is having on the leagues.  Over the past 25 years of my life I have witnessed a transformation of the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL going from “American pastimes” to big business.

Why is it that an Arizona Diamondbacks game has as many Cubs fans as it does home team fans?  Or why is it that Lebron James can wear a NY Yankees hat to a Cleveland Indians game and feel it is acceptable?  I believe that it is attributed to a new breed of sports fans (for lack of a better term) and foresee some potentially huge fallbacks to this.

As a child I can remember trading baseball cards, playing football in the streets, sitting down and watching entire baseball games, going to Seattle Mariner games, and immersing myself into my local hometown teams.  That was a different day.

Today, young men wear a jersey because they like the color, like individual players because they are dating Jessica Simpson or were seen on TMZ, enjoy teams because their marketing is strong and is forced down their throats.  The differentiator that I am looking for here is “nostalgia”.  I have that, because of childhood experiences, my father’s generation even more so, but the newer generations, not so much.

I am a huge advocate for an integrated America, taking people from all walks of life, different countries, different cultures, and different experiences, but when the Pittsburgh Pirates are 41-73, the residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will NOT continue to go see the games unless they were of my or previous generations.  The nostalgia is not there.  They want to see a winning team, period.  Or, they are merely there for the experience.

Somewhere along the line, professional organizations began to emphasize the importance of having a custom new stadium, with breweries, cushy seats, personal service, Diamond Club seating, HD display screens, and multiple Starbucks.  Why?  Because the people they are attempting to draw are no longer their to see their team, they are there to simply be entertained.

Lets look at this from another angle; my girlfriend is a huge theater buff (or is it theatre, whatever), and would watch a performance from a metal bleacher in a back alley of a rural town if it was made up of her favorite performers, whereas she knows damn well she would not get me into a theater performance unless their was plenty of beer, food and a wireless signal.

The sad thing with this, particularly being an avid sports fan, is that I can predict a couple of bad things happening to professional sports here in America.  First, I grew up in a time where all 3 of the major sports leagues, MLB, NFL, and NBA have grown in number of teams.  This will change.  Lets say by 2025, I would be willing to bet that atleast 4 teams from each league (the NFL may be the safest for now), will fall off and the leagues will not be able to replace them.  For example, Kansas City Royals, Pitsburgh Pirates, Florida Marlins, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Bobcats, all of which could fall victim to the eventual trimming of the leagues.

Second, ugh, I hate to even imagine this, but I foresee our beloved athletes boasting advertising, akin to NASCAR race cars, .  Maybe as individuals or as teams, but it is coming…coming to the plate now, brought to you exclusively by Burger King, where you can have it your way, Ichiro “the Whopper Junior” Suzuki!

And finally, as television has commercials, internet services have interstitials and movies have previews, professional sports will become tainted with non-sports related promotions and performances during the 7th inning stretch, beginnings of the game or halftime (see Super Bowl).

Yes, sports have gradually become extremely commercial, looking to sell, sell, and sell, and are succeeding admirably.  The purity and raw competitiveness of yesteryear has left us behind and we have to face the reality of what is to come.  But I, and surely a small percentage of sports fanatics across the country will continue to root for their home team for reasons that todays generation can never understand, while they will boast about Tony Romo, Kobe Bryant, Barry Bonds, and all the players I love to hate.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment