Monthly Archives: January 2018

Jeter’s first three months as an owner have been an awakening.

As an aside, I asked one veteran scout for his over/under on the combined home run total for Stanton and Judge this season. The scout predicted Stanton will hit 53, Judge 48, Gary Sanchez 35 and Greg Bird 33. That’s 171 total for four players — or three more than the entire Boston Red Sox team launched in 2017.

He has made several PR missteps and was recently besieged by Marlins Man and other angry season-ticket holders at a town hall. Jeter and his ownership partner, Bruce Sherman, can’t be blamed for shedding some of the massive contracts they inherited from the Jeffrey Loria regime. But when competing ownership groups say they didn’t plan to rip things down to this extent in Miami, it calls into question whether MLB sacrificed viability for a flashy name and a $1.2 billion payout.

Admittedly, the 21-year-old center has a maddening tendency to settle for turnaround jump shots when defended by smaller guards, but there’s no reason to expect that this wouldn’t have been an easy dunk.

At the very least, if Collison wasn’t going to throw the ball to his teammate, then the speedy guard should’ve tested the lateral quickness of Towns and attacked the rim.

But wow, was this fun. There was the lead-up to the game on HBO 24/7, which introduced us to the cosmic meanderings of Ilya Bryzgalov and the snarly puppy dog that was John Tortorella. There was the alumni game that saw Eric Lindros make an emotional return to the Flyers organization. There was controversy, as Bryzgalov sat for the Classic in favor of Sergei Bobrovsky in a surprise move. (I can still vividly recall Bryz talking to the media on one side of the locker room, playing coy about who was starting, while Bob was on the other side of the room revealing it was him.)

The game itself was one of the best-played in the Classic from the second period on, right down to the Daniel Briere penalty shot that was stopped by Henrik Lundqvist with 19.6 seconds remaining to preserve the win — a penalty Tortorella claimed was an NBC conspiracy to extend the game into overtime, an accusation that earned him a hefty fine.

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The 2011 Winter Classic will be remembered for two reasons.

The hype for this game was off the charts: Two blood rival teams, and the NHL’s two biggest stars in Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin. Plus, the Penguins and Capitals were featured on the first season of HBO’s 24/7 series dedicated to the Winter Classic, which remains the gold standard for the genre. (We’ll always remember you, sauce-faced, profanity-laced Bruce Boudreau.)

Alas, the hype was not met. First, for having an 8 p.m. start time thanks to concerns about rain. At first, under the lights seemed cool, until one realized it killed much of the charm of the event.

The Celtics were also able to throw multiple waves at defenders at James, beginning with Marcus Morris and on through Brown, Tatum, and rookie Semi Ojeleye, who is a reliable jump shot away from being a rotation fixture for years to come. Having forwards who can not only switch everything but stay in front of James is the key to their defensive structure.

You know, against LeBron , there’s nobody that can guard him the whole game, so you have to throw as many bodies at him as you can, Stevens said. And then pray.

What is interesting about this season is that the other contenders — Boston, Toronto, and Washington — have all made strides in their development. The Wizards have proven dangerous against good teams, albeit with a stubborn inconsistent streak against lesser opponents. The Celtics are 31-10, their best mark at the midway point of their season since 2010-11. Then there are the Raptors who have updated their style and are playing out of their minds.

Jared Cook appears to have an 11-yard touchdown catch for the Raiders with 14 seconds to play in the half, but he’s called for offensive pass interference, negating the score. Carr follows with an incomplete pass and Giorgio Tavecchio enters to attempt a 39-yard field goal. He misses wide left and the Raiders head into halftime trailing by 10.

Dak Prescott’s pass to Cole Beasley on third down falls incomplete and the Cowboys punt. Oakland will start its drive at its 31 with 3:08 to play in the half.

Oakland picks up one more first down but fails to move the chains again. It punts and the Cowboys will take over on their 10.

Carr escapes the pocket and scrambles for 7 yards to pick up the Raiders’ first first down of the game with 11:55 to play in the second quarter.

Touchdown, Cowboys. Dallas puts together an eight-play, 65-yard drive that ends with a 1-yard touchdown run by Rod Smith. Dallas has outgained Oakland 153-7 so far and leads 10-0.

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This really shouldn’t have been as incredible as it was.

There was no iconic venue, as the Philadelphia Phillies’ picturesque stadium was less than a decade old. The weather didn’t exactly put the Winter in the Classic: The game was delayed by sun glare and was eventually played in 45-degree weather with some spotty drizzle. While the Rangers were in their first outdoor game, the Flyers had played in one two years earlier.

I remember jumping in some leaves, getting so cold outside we got locked out of a car, Jordan said with a chuckle. But he also fondly remembers meeting a number of my dad’s co-workers, and they turned out to be legends. You talk about (defensive end) Chris Doleman, you talk about (safety) Joey Browner, (running back) Darrin Nelsons of the game. I won’t talk about Herschel Walker, because he ruined (that) franchise.

You grow up and you get drafted by the Saints, Jordan added. This is my team. This is my family.

Saints coach Sean Payton generally urges his players to refrain from providing opponents with bulletin-board material, but didn’t sound inclined to rein in Jordan.

It’s just Cam’s personality, Payton said. He’s humorous and I think he genuinely enjoys what he does and that’s just how it’s expressed. Outside of that, I’m glad he’s on our team.

Jeter grew accustomed to fawning news coverage during his playing career, and he’s learning (or at least, he should be learning) that the same rules don’t apply in the owners’ suite. He’s a target for criticism now, whether he’s sitting in a booth watching a Dolphins game during the winter meetings or enlisting someone else to do the dirty work and fire holdovers from the previous administration. Until the Marlins turn the corner, he better get used to it.

Stephenson hasn’t been the only guard guilty of probing for shots, however.

Check out this particularly egregious possession against Minnesota, wherein Collison ignores that Myles Turner has his man sealed under the basket in order to settle for having his own shot blocked by Karl Anthony-Towns, instead.

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Wilson has done his best to carry his entire team with no traditional running game and a depleted defense.

While the well-documented percentage of how much he was producing in relation to the rest of the team helped his cause, it ended up hurting it as the Seahawks struggled too much around him, putting their playoff hopes almost on ice. The games against the Jaguars and Rams back-to-back were make or break for his MVP campaign, and the losses shattered his chances.

As long as the Pacers continue to be the only team to rank among the bottom five in points allowed in the paint per 100 possessions as well as opponent three point attempts per 100 possessions, the speed of the offense both in terms of the number of possessions as well as the speed within those possessions has to be this team’s best defense.

Without Victor Oladipo’s clutch shooting to fall back on and Myles Turner and Bojan Bogdanovic both shooting less than 40 percent since the start of his absence, neglecting to do the little things is huge.

Wins over the lowly Bears and Texans didn’t move the needle much (other than strong defensive performances, plus the game-winning drive executed by Garoppolo to set up the field goal that beat the Bears in Soldier Field). But impressive victories the past two weeks have opened everyone’s eyes. Facing the playoff-contending Titans and Jaguars, Garoppolo was superb. Against Tennessee, he completed 72 percent of his passes for 381 yards and one touchdown, and he calmly directed the drive that set up the game-winning field goal as time expired.

Then last week against the league’s No. 1 defense in points allowed, Garoppolo put up 28 points in the second half of a 44-33 win. He threw two TDs, ran for one and made a Brett Favre-esque escape from pressure and perfect sidearm throw for a fourth-quarter touchdown pass.

When Patriots coach Bill Belichick finally agreed to trade Garoppolo, he figured the 49ers’ second-round pick would be the first or second selection in the round (which teams consider a late first). Now if the 49ers win their fifth straight against a Rams team that has already clinched the NFC West, that pick could fall to No. 10 in the round.

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We know how NHL commissioner Gary Bettman feels about passing on Pyeongchang in 2018.

Brees, who will lead the Saints (11-4) against the Buccaneers (4-11) on Sunday with a chance to clinch the NFC South, said his great-grandfather was a straw boss or basically like a sharecropper on a big property and his grandfather grew up in a house with basically a dirt floor, no running water, no electricity.

He took a train over to San Diego, went through Marines boot camp, shipped over to Guadalcanal for more training, and was there for the invasion of Okinawa, Japan on April 1, 1st Marine Division, 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment, Special Weapons Company, Brees continued. What he endured over there, I heard a lot about that over the years from him. He was very proud of being a Marine. That was something he took so much pride in and while it was hard to talk about the war for a long time, I think he reached a point where he felt like there were so many lessons from it and it was a way to honor the guys that he served with to. He had 153 men in his Special Weapons Company and was one of three to survive. That just tells you how brutal that fighting was over there.

Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Utah The younger brother of Panthers defensive lineman Star Lotulelei, Lowell had a huge day against the Mountaineers. The 6-2, 320-pound senior recorded four tackles, 2 1/2 for loss, and a 1 1/2 sacks. He has a quick burst off the snap and a powerful base to create penetration. The younger Lotulelei should be a second-round pick in April.

But what about other folks around the league? Here’s what some owners, GMs and players had to say about the gamesmanship heading into the Games.

Were this a sports comedy, then Chris Bourque would be the heart and soul of said movie. He’s the 31-year-old son of an NHL legend who has … well, not exactly had a legendary career while living in the shadow of Ray Bourque. The majority of the younger Bourque’s career has been spent in the American Hockey League, and the majority of those seasons (10) were spent with the Hershey Bears.

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Giants GM Dave Gettleman: Eli Manning will remain starter, as of now

As the Giants continue to make changes to their front office with the latest coming after the hiring of general manager Dave Gettleman, one question remaining is what the future of Eli Manning will look like under new management.

The question comes after a controversial decision from former coach Ben McAdoo to bench Manning before a Week 13 game against the Raiders, and as expected, it was one of the first things asked Friday in Gettleman’s introductory press conference as general manager. Gettleman said he intends to keep Manning as the starter as of now, but he needs to watch film.

The bottom line is, I’m an inveterate film watcher, Gettleman said. It’s what I do. I haven’t had access to tape, and I’m not avoiding the question, but obviously we have to look at the film, see what’s cooking.

Third quarter, it was a quick look to him and I literally said `no way, no way, the two-time MVP said. … It felt like the first day of school again, for real.

Curry made a sensational return from injury by scoring 38 points with a season-high 10 3-pointers, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies 141-128 on Saturday night with an energy and spirit that had been missing much of this month without him.

Curry shot 13 for 17 and 10 of 13 from deep in just shy of 26 minutes for his ninth 30-point game this season after missing 11 games with a sprained right ankle. His mere presence brought an energy to the Warriors and all of Oracle Arena, and he spent much of the fourth quarter pacing, gesturing in delight while cheering his teammates with a towel draped over his head.

Kevin Durant added 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds, and Klay Thompson scored 21 points as the Warriors wrapped up nearly three weeks at home in California. Zaza Pachulia scored a season-best 17 points and also had eight rebounds and six assists.

It wasn’t just him, Grizzlies interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Curry. You look up and they’ve got guys that can make shots all over the floor. They were making shots that were contested.

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