|05.19.10 at 7:36 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
MLB: Twins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Hanley Ramirez doesn’t have many supporters in the media after dogging it on the field and then ripping his manager (and insulting his teammates in the process). Ken Rosenthal at FoxSports.com calls it manager Fredi Gonzalez’ “finest hour.” Greg Cote in The Miami Herald opens his column by writing: “Hanley Ramirez is wrong. Fredi Gonzalez is right.” The Miami Herald is running a poll, and as of Wednesday morning, 92 percent of the 838 respondents sided with Gonzalez for benching the star shortstop.
♦ Canadian doctor Anthony Galea was charged in a new criminal complaint Tuesday, and Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News wonders what Alex Rodriguez and Tiger Woods were thinking when they enlisted Galea’s assistance.
♦ Forbes ranks the 10 most valuable sports team brands, and the Yankees are No. 1, with a brand value of $328 million. The Red Sox are No. 8, with a value of $163 million, and the Patriots rank 10th at $156 million. There are five European soccer teams on the list.
♦ Howard Beck in The New York Times writes about how the Washington Wizards have gone from disarray to the top pick in the draft, after they won Tuesday’s night’s draft lottery.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 19, 1946, the Red Sox purchased which infielder from the Detroit Tigers, a player who would finish out the season before turning to a managerial career, starting in the Red Sox minor league system and ending with the major league club?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I was hoping all night long I would get another chance. It’s a heavyweight fight. They might get one good blow in, but they’re not going to knock me down.” — Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, following his save Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium that came 24 hours after he blew a save there
STAT OF THE DAY: 9 — Years since the Washington Wizards last had the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, which they used on monumental bust Kwame Brown; Washington won the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night
‘NET RESULTS: A college baseball announcer is excited about a grand slam.
A few skateboard tricks worth a glance.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Pinky Higgins, who also would serve as Red Sox general manager in the mid-1960s
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Pete Townshend is 65 today.
|05.18.10 at 7:42 am ET|
Ping pong balls will again decide the futures of 14 NBA franchises Tuesday night (8 p.m., ESPN) when the league holds its annual draft lottery to determine the order of the first 14 picks in the June 24 draft. The New Jersey Nets, owners of the league’s worst record this season at 12-70, have the best shot at this year’s No. 1 pick with a 25 percent chance. As it stands now, the consensus No. 1 pick is University of Kentucky point guard John Wall, who quarterbacked the Wildcats to a 35-5 record as a freshman. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors have the next best chances at getting the top pick.
Because there is so much on the line over what is effectively just drawing names out of a hat, the draft lottery has made for some very interesting moments since the league went to the format in 1985. Here’s a top 10 list of some of the greatest moments in the history of the draft lottery (Celtics fans, you may want to shield your eyes from some of them):
10. Nets Win 2000 lottery with only 4.4 percent chance
To be brutally honest, the 1999-2000 Los Angeles Clippers played like the Clippers. The No. 1 pick in the 1998 draft, Michael Olowokandi, failed to average double-digits in points and rebounds. The team struggled to a league-worst 15-67 record. The only sign of relief for LA fans was the opportunity to win the lottery in 2000, and with a 25 percent shot, their chances seemed pretty good.
The end result? More disappointment.
Somehow, someway, the Nets, the seventh-worst team in the NBA the previous season, walked away with the No. 1 selection and went on to take Cincinnati forward Kenyon Martin, who eventually helped to lead the Nets to the NBA finals in 2002. The Clippers were stuck with the third pick and chose high schooler Darius Miles, who lasted only two seasons in LA before leaving for Cleveland in 2002.
9. Bulls Win in 2008 with 1.7 percent shot
The story almost seemed too perfect. Chicago native Derrick Rose entered the draft in 2008 after a stellar freshman campaign at Memphis as one of the potential No. 1 picks. His hometown Bulls were guaranteed a lottery pick, but because the team owned only 17 of the 1,000 ping pong balls, it appeared more likely that Michael Jordan would put on a Bulls jersey in 2008 than Rose. Lo and behold, when NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver revealed the envelopes, the Bulls were last to be shown.
With the pick, Chicago took the hometown kid, who already has led the Bulls to the playoffs twice in his two seasons and was named 2008-09 Rookie of the Year.
8. Cavaliers win in 2003, immediately announce they’ll pick LeBron
It’s been written about a lot lately, but the misfortunes of the Cleveland sports fan really have accumulated over the years. The Drive. The Fumble. Jordan’s shot over Ehlo. Jose Mesa’s blown save in the 1997 World Series. After the Cavaliers finished the 2003 season tied for the league’s worst record at 17-65, things certainly didn’t look much better. But there was a potential savior. Local high school product LeBron James, who many touted as one of the draft’s best prospects in years, was there for the taking. The Cavs just needed the opportunity to take him, and after winning the lottery, they finally got that shot.
Now, the worst team winning the draft lottery isn’t that big of a moment. In fact, it’s happened three times since 1990. However, what makes this the No. 8 moment in the countdown is the fact that almost immediately after the lottery had ended, the Cavs announced that they would in fact take King James. Owner Gordon Gund said as much in several interviews that night. Juxtapose that with the Bulls executive who wouldn’t give a straight answer about picking Rose, and you see why the 2003 lottery gets this spot.
7. Defending champion Celtics get No. 2 pick in 1986
This is where you may want to skip ahead, C’s fans. Boston was coming off the best season in NBA history with a 67-15 record in 1985-86 and an NBA Finals trophy to boot. Normally, that equates to the last pick in the first round of the draft. However, the great Red Auerbach found a way to ship guard Gerald Henderson along with cash to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for their spot in the upcoming lottery. The rich kept getting richer when the C’s got the No. 2 pick.
Boston eventually picked Len Bias, an All-American out of Maryland who many thought could take eventually take the torch from Larry Bird and keep the Celtics greatness going well into the future. Only two days after being selected, Bias died tragically of a cocaine overdose. He never even had the chance to suit up in a Celtics uniform.
6. Celtics miss out on Oden and Durant in 2007
Twenty-one years after the Bias pick, the Celtics again found themselves with a pretty good chance at a high pick in the 2007 lottery. After a 24-58 season during which many of those in the media criticized the C’s for not trying in games in the hopes of getting a high pick, the Celtics saw themselves with the second-best chance at getting the No. 1 pick and the chance at freshman phenoms Greg Oden (who since has struggled to stay injury-free) or Kevin Durant (who possibly has exceeded all expectations). What happened next can be seen here:
You can see Silver’s surprise when he pulls the Celtics logo at the 2:05 mark in the video. Side note: At 1:47, you can also hear the announcer say that Kevin Garnett will not be traded. So much for that.
5/4. Raptors and Grizzlies win lotteries in 1996 and 1998 but are forced to pick second
When the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies entered the league in 1995, they agreed to not accept the No. 1 pick in the draft until 1999 as per their expansion agreement with the NBA. That seems fine. Certainly no one plans to be in a position to take the first overall pick. You plan to win and therefore be out of the running. However, that’s not usually the case with expansion teams, and it certainly wasn’t with either team. The Raptors won the 1996 lottery, only a year after entering the league, but were forced to give it up to Philadelphia. The 76ers used it on future MVP Allen Iverson, who is talking about practice:
The Grizzlies had less of a gripe in 1998 when they gave up their pick to the Clippers, who took eventual bust Michael Olowokandi.
3. Celtics lose out on Duncan in 1997
Now for the worst moment in Celtics draft lottery history. The 1996-97 version of the C’s did everything they could to get the top pick in the 1997 draft. Their .183 winning percentage was the worst in franchise history. But really, who could blame them? Wake Forest forward Tim Duncan, seen by many as player who could immediately turn around any franchise, was entering the draft, and the C’s had a 27.5 percent chance at securing his services.
Unfortunately for Boston fans, the lottery gave that honor to the San Antonio Spurs. The C’s got the third pick and Chauncey Billups. Here’s a video of the Spurs selecting Duncan, and let’s look back and think of what might have, and in the eyes of some Celtics fans, should have been.
2. Magic win lottery for second year in a row with 1.52 percent chance
One in 66. How would you like those odds for anything? Well if you were in a Magic fan in 1993, you loved those numbers because that’s what the Magic had going against them going into the 1993 lottery. As the only .500 team in the lottery, Orlando understandably and almost rightfully didn’t have much of a shot at the first pick. The Magic won the lottery the year before and used the pick on Shaquille O’Neal. No team is lucky enough to win it two years in a row, never mind the 1-in-66 odds against them. Well, look at the video. You can even see the GM’s surprise starting at 6:45.
1. Knicks win 1985 lottery for rights to Ewing, conspiracy theorists rise up
So, here’s the biggest thing to happen in an NBA draft lottery, and it happened in the first one, no less. In order to stop teams from throwing games in order to get a better pick, NBA commissioner David Stern decided to throw envelopes representing the seven worst teams in the league into a drum and pick them out by hand to see who got which pick. Here’s the video:
Now, the New York Knicks, playing in the country’s biggest market, getting the draft’s biggest star certainly is big news for the NBA. With that being said, some have looked at the video, including ESPN’s Bill Simmons, and have said there is evidence that the NBA rigged the lottery process. At 4:50, you can see Jack Wagner, the Ernst & Whinney partner, throw one envelope against the side of the drum. He does not do this for the other envelopes. Then, at roughly 5:30, you can see Stern pick out an envelope for the first pick that may or may not have a crease on it that may or may not have been caused by Wagner’s throwing it against the drum. Did the NBA cheat the system to help the big-market Knicks? Well, you can be the judge of that, but it certainly made for the most interesting NBA draft lottery moment.
|05.18.10 at 7:15 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
MLB: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, WRKO)
NBA playoffs: Celtics at Magic, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN, WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Terence Moore at AOL FanHouse writes that all signs point to LeBron James ending up in Chicago. But his new coach won’t be University of Kentucky mentor John Calipari. Rather, it’s Celtics bench boss Doc Rivers. Writes Moore: “Rivers will join James in Chicago, all right. As solid as the Celtics have been in recent years is as shaky as they could become in a hurry due to aging legs. And Chicago is Rivers’ home town. And his wife is from up the road in Milwaukee, where Rivers went to school at Marquette.”
♦ Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel praises Celtics assistant coach/defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau.
♦ Mark Heisler of The Los Angeles Times writes that Kobe Bryant unleashed his anger on the Suns in the Lakers’ Game 1 win last night.
♦ Tyler Kepner in The New York Times writes that the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has lost the personalities that helped make it exciting, but the drama remains.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 18, 1978, the Bruins defeated the Canadiens in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, with which B’s goalie making 16 saves to record the shutout in the 4-0 win?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s not what you’re looking for, but it happens. We’ll come back and play tomorrow; there’s nothing else you can do.” — Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, after Monday night’s heartbreaking 11-9 loss to the Yankees
STAT OF THE DAY: 22 — Consecutive regular-season save conversions for Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon before Monday night’s meltdown at Yankee Stadium
‘NET RESULTS: A Paraguayan soccer player with a free kick just over midfield scores a goal.
Roger Federer swings and misses at match point vs. Rafael Nadal.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Gerry Cheevers
SOOTHING SOUNDS: George Strait is 58 today.
|05.17.10 at 7:43 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
MLB: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN/ESPN, WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Andy Martino at the New York Daily News has Mets left fielder Jason Bay talking about his recent resurgence. The former Red Sox slugger has a 10-game hitting streak and has upped his average from .238 to .277 during that time. “I feel a lot better than I did, but I still don’t feel like I’m in a really good spot,” Bay said. However, the Mets still are struggling — in last place in the NL East — and Mike Vaccaro in the New York Post is calling for the team to fire manager Jerry Manuel.
♦ Dave Sheinin in The Washington Post has an interesting piece about Bryce Harper, the baseball phenom who is the likely No. 1 pick in next month’s draft despite taking some heat for an alleged attitude problem.
♦ With the Lakers set to start the Western Conference finals against the Suns Monday night, reporters brought up accusations that Kobe Bryant tanked the second half of the teams’ Game 7 battle in the 2006 playoffs. Said Bryant: “People who say that are stupid. That’s just stupid.” Bill Plaschke in The Los Angeles Times has the story.
♦ Jim Henry at AOL FanHouse writes about the University of Virginia women’s lacrosse team winning its NCAA tournament opener and paying tribute to deceased teammate Yeardley Love, allegedly killed by a member of the UVa men’s team. Anna Katerine Clemmons at ESPN.com writes about the men winning big Saturday night and also honoring Love.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 17, 1971, the Red Sox signed which free agent pitcher who had been released by the two teams in the previous 47 days but stuck with the Sox for most of the decade?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I honestly say we lost ourselves [during the regular season]. I think we’ve found ourselves again.” — Celtics coach Doc Rivers, after the Celtics beat the Magic on Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals
STAT OF THE DAY: 44 — Days since the Magic had lost a game before Sunday, as they won the final six games of the regular season and swept the opening two rounds of the playoffs
‘NET RESULTS: Check out this goal from potential Bruins draft pick Taylor Hall in Canada’s Memorial Cup playoffs.
Cleveland’s finest got together for a “Please stay, LeBron” song modeled after “We Are The World.”
Phoenix reporters have some fun with with the Suns, having a couple of them attempt to hit shots while wearing an eye patch in order to see what Steve Nash went through in Game 4 vs. the Spurs.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Luis Tiant, who was cut by the Twins on March 31, signed with the Braves on April 16, and was let go by Atlanta on May 15
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Blues musician Taj Mahal is 68 today.
|05.14.10 at 4:50 pm ET|
The Bruins are teetering on the edge of infamy.
After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers, the B’s are faced with a winner-take-all Game 7 Friday night at TD Garden. The Flyers — playing with a third-string goaltender and a string of injuries to match the Bruins own issues — have won three straight games and are brimming with confidence as they look to stun the Bruins.
If the Bruins fall on Friday night, the collapse will rank alongside some of the worst in Boston sports history. Here are some of the other contenders.
1978 Red Sox
The Sox held a 14½ game lead over the New York Yankees in the race for the AL East pennant in July. With his slumping team in need of a shakeup, George Steinbrenner fired manager Billy Martin and replaced him with Bob Lemon.
The results were immediate. The Yankees stormed back from the dead and ran off a 19-8 streak in August to cut the lead to six games. By the time the Yankees rolled into town for a four-game series at Fenway Park, the Sox lead was just that: four.
It wouldn’t be for long, however. The Yankees swept the series in what became known as the “Boston Massacre,” and all of a sudden the two teams were tied. Everyone knows what happened next — the two teams fought down the stretch and ended in a deadlock at the end of the regular season, setting up a dramatic one-game playoff.
The Sox took an early 2-0 lead off of Ron Guidry, a 25-game winner and the eventual recipient of the Cy Young award, thanks to a homer from Carl Yastrzemski and an RBI single by 1978 AL MVP Jim Rice. But then Bucky “Bleeping” Dent struck his homer off Mike Torrez, and the Yankees went on to finish off the Sox’ collapse with a 5-4 win. Well, the Yankees would call it a stunning comeback.
In what ranks as easily one of the worst moments in Bruins history, the B’s were less than two minutes away from reaching the Stanley Cup before a dramatic collapse.
Boston had the hated Montreal Canadiens, the three-time defending Stanley Cup champs and the team that had defeated them in the finals two straight years, on the ropes. After falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven semifinal series, the Bruins thought they would finally exorcise the demons and get a shot at winning the Cup. The Bruins held a 3-1 lead in Game 7, only to see the Canadiens storm back and tie it up. With just under four minutes left to play, Rick Middleton appeared to score the game-winner, squeaking a shot past Ken Dryden and giving the Bruins the 4-3 lead.
But the Bruins’ excitement was short-lived, and the Canadiens were not ready to give up their crown just yet. An unfathomable too many men on the ice penalty gave the Habs a power play, and Guy Lafleur tied the game up with just 74 seconds remaining.
Montreal would go on to win the game, and the series, in overtime and win their fourth straight Stanley Cup.
1986 Red Sox
The Red Sox were oh so close to getting the monkey off their back and winning the World Series. Up 3-2 in the series, the Sox battled back and forth with the New York Mets and headed to extra innings in Game 6. Boston took a 5-3 lead in the 10th inning and got the first two outs, needing just one more to win its first World Series since 1918.
And then, the improbable happened. Three times the Sox had Mets hitters at two-strike counts, but Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight all singled, cutting the Mets’ deficit to one run. After a wild pitch from Bob Stanley tied the game, Mookie Wilson was all set to finish off the win.
It is perhaps the most famous mishap in sports history. Wilson’s grounder went through Bill Buckner’s legs and the Sox lost the game. The Game 6 collapse carried over to the seventh game, as the Sox lost the series. But 1986 will always be remembered for Buckner’s gaffe, the capper on an epic meltdown in Boston. And Buckner capitalized on his infamy.
Toward the end of the era of the Big Three — the original Big Three — the Celtics finished second in the Atlantic Division and won 52 games, giving them the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics averaged 110 points a game in that season, despite Larry Bird being on the downside of his career after his back injury. That was evident in the first two games, as the C’s scored an astounding 157 points in their Game 2 win.
But the biggest problem? The C’s couldn’t play any defense. The Knicks averaged 118 points per game in this series and came back to win three straight games, including the final one in the Boston Garden.
It was supposed to be another classic Colts-Patriots matchup on the biggest stage possible: the AFC championship game. The Pats looked like they had booked another trip to the Super Bowl after taking a 21-3 lead, thanks to an Asante Samuel interception return for a TD.
But Peyton Manning and the Colts had other ideas. Whether it was on the ground — the Colts had 125 yards rushing — or through the air, as Manning had 349 yards passing, the Colts stormed back to win the AFC title.
In the end, the Patriots lost the game 38-34, and it was the Colts who went on to win the Super Bowl over the Chicago Bears.
|05.14.10 at 1:59 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton wants you to relax. Game 7s are fun, exciting and an overall good time.
“Like my buddy once said, ‘Pressure is five kids, no job.’ This is just fun,” Thornton said. “Game 7. Enjoy it. Just drink it in, as they say.”
But if you are a fan, a true fan of a Boston team, Game 7s are anything but a relaxing, good time. They are stress-filled, tense hours that will make true fans do some things they probably wouldn’t do in normal, everyday life (i.e cry, laugh, scream, hug a random person in a bar).
Boston has had plenty of Game 7s, especially in recent years. Some turned out well, some not so much. Here is a look at the best and worst Boston Game 7s in the 2000s.
2004 ALCS: RED SOX 10, YANKEES 3
The final game of the comeback finished off maybe the most stress-filled week of Boston sports fans’ lives. Johnny Damon and Derek Lowe finished off the Yankees, 10-3, to send the Red Sox to their first World Series since 1986.
Damon had been relatively quiet in the leadoff spot, but he busted out with a 3-for-6 night with two homers and six RBI, while Lowe — who had his share of troubles in the regular season — pitched into the seventh inning and shut down the vaunted Yankees lineup.
It really wasn’t close. The Red Sox were on a mission, and when Alan Embree got Ruben Sierra to ground out, Red Sox Nation finally could get some sleep.
2007 ALCS: RED SOX 11, INDIANS 2
This comeback wasn’t from 3-0, but it was an impressive comeback nonetheless. With their 11-2 Game 7 win, the Red Sox outscored the Indians 30-5 over the last three games of the series and found their way back to the World Series.
Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched a solid five innings to lock down the win, and Dustin Pedroia provided his usual laser show at the top of lineup. With a homer and three hits, Pedroia lifted the Sox to their second World Series in three years, and we all know how that ended up: two championships after zero in 86 years.
2008 CONFERENCE SEMIS: CELTICS 97, CAVALIERS 92
It was the year of Game 7s for the Celtics in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Paul Pierce and LeBron James battled it out in a classic game.
James (45 points) and Pierce (41) accounted for 86 points in the Celtics’ 97-92 thriller at the Garden, and you would never have known there were eight other guys on the court.
This game was all about the duel between Pierce and James, and it probably will go down as the second-best shootout behind Larry Bird-Dominique Wilkins.
2009 CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS: CELTICS 109, BULLS 99
No Kevin Garnett, no problem for the Celtics. Well, actually there were a few problems in this epic series vs. the Bulls.
Eddie House went 4-for-4 from downtown to finish with 16 points, and the Celtics finally — finally — got past the Bulls. This series was probably the most exciting first-round series in the history of the NBA.
Ben Gordon and Ray Allen were trying to see who the best UConn alum was in the series. Allen may have won the war, but Gordon won some of the battles in this series.
2008 CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS: CELTICS 99, HAWKS 65
Atlanta just wouldn’t go away in this series, and it also called into question if the Celtics had the toughness to contend in the first year of the “Big Three.”
The Celtics didn’t win an away game in this series, but at home they were more than ready for anything Atlanta threw at them. Boston held Atlanta to 65 points in Game 7 and dominated with a 34-point win.
This win probably helped the Celtics learn how to deal with the adversity of winning a championship, and they are still seeing the fruits of those struggles today.
2003 ALCS: YANKEES 6, RED SOX 5 (11 innings)
Aaron “Bleeping” Boone. That’s all that has to be said. Red Sox fans will remember where they were when this moment happened.
The Red Sox jumped out a 3-0 lead early in the game, but Mike Mussina came on in relief and kept the Sox lineup in check. The Yanks fought back, but a David Ortiz homer in the eighth put Boston up 5-2. It was over, locked up, and Pedro Martinez did everything he could.
But Grady Little happened, and the Red Sox blew the lead and the chance to play the Marlins in the World Series.
You remember where you were for this one. The Sox were destined to win the World Series that year, but the Little gaffe cost the Sox the win, and it cost Little his job.
In hindsight, a win-win for everybody.
2008 ALCS: RAYS 3, RED SOX 1
The Red Sox had mounted another memorable comeback, just when they appeared on the brink of elimination in Game 5 — down 7-0 in the seventh inning — they rallied for an 8-7 win. J.D. Drew won it with a walkoff single in the ninth, capping the biggest comeback ever by a team on the brink of elimination.
The Sox won Game 6 on the road, 4-2, setting up Game 7. Boston took a 1-0 lead with a Dustin Pedroia home run in the first inning, but the Sox were shut down after that by Matt Garza and then rookie David Price, and the fans in Tampa actually rejoiced. That’s right, we said fans in Tampa. The Rays have had low attendance, but everyone came out of the woodwork with cowbells to cheer on the Rays.
It wasn’t on par with the Aaron Boone shot, but this one stung a bit, because back-to-back World Series rings would have had a nice ring to it.
2009 CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS: MAGIC 101, CELTICS 82
The vibes were good for the Celtics in their series against the Magic. Glen “Big Baby” Davis hit a game-winner and the Celts were at home for Game 7. No problems, right? Wrong.
The lack of height in the front court ended up being the downfall of the 2009 Celtics, as Dwight Howard and friends ripped the C’s for a 101-82 win.
It really wasn’t a contest at all, and without Garnett, Boston was doomed. The C’s could get by the Bulls, but they couldn’t overcome Howard, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu.
As luck would have it, the C’s get a chance at revenge this year vs. the Magic in the conference finals, with Garnett. Let the games begin.
2009 CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS: HURRICANES 3, BRUINS 2 (OT)
The top-seeded Bruins were supposed to lift the Stanley Cup curse in Boston, but they fell short against Carolina in the second round.
It was kind of fitting that Walker delivered the final goal, because he became enemy No. 1 when he sucker-punched Aaron Ward earlier in the series. It was a bad moment for the Bruins and their fans on the home ice.
CANADIENS BEAT BRUINS (2008)
This was the Bruins team that shot out of nowhere to get fans thinking about playoff success again, rallying from 3-1 down in the series. It was just too bad the B’s couldn’t come up with any more magic in Montreal for Game 7. The Canadiens stomped all over eighth-seeded Bruins in the deciding game to the tune of 5-0.
It was a major disappointment, but, really, Bruins fans couldn’t be that upset, because that team really came out of the abyss. Nobody was expecting anything out of the Bruins in 2008, and now expectations are through the roof for this year’s team.
Thornton wants you to “drink it in” for Game 7 this year. Just don’t take that advice too literally.
|05.14.10 at 11:35 am ET|
As LeBron James was talking with various members of the Celtics after his team lost Game 6 Thursday night at TD Garden, questions abounded across the country as to where the best player on the planet will suit up next season.
The denizens of Cleveland are clamoring for King James to re-up with the hometown team, and the state in which he grew up, for another long and fruitful contract.
Other cities, including Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, are hoping the best player in the world will change uniforms. At Yahoo!Sports.com, Adrian Wojnarowski writes that James is going to hold the NBA hostage, bringing John Calipari along as his sidekick/personal coach.
Meanwhile, the feeling after another early playoff flameout is anything but good in Cleveland, where the fans are no strangers to sports heartache.
This is the second year in a row the Cavaliers finished the regular season with the No. 1 overall seed, but once again they could not live up to expectations and lost to a team many predicted they would beat. What makes it worse, according to Sports Illustrated’s Joe Posnanski, is the manner in which the Cavaliers stunningly quit.
The Cavs have made many personnel moves over the past couple of seasons — acquiring Shaquille O’Neal, Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison among them — but none seem to help them when the postseason rolls around. Something clearly has been missing.
Early talk around the NBA is not hopeful for Cleveland fans, with many national pundits predicting LeBron will play for the Bulls next season.
Cavaliers fans apparently agree, as the Cleveland Plain-Dealer is running a poll asking fans how likely are the chances James re-signs with the Cavs. As of 11 a.m. Friday, by far the leading response was “0-10 percent.” Read the rest of this entry »
|05.14.10 at 8:29 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
NHL playoffs: Flyers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
MLB: Red Sox at Tigers, 7:05 p.m. (NESNplus, WEEI)
MLS: Earthquakes at Revolution, 6 p.m. (CSNNE)
MLB: Red Sox at Tigers, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)
MLB: Red Sox at Tigers, 1:05 p.m. (NESN, WRKO)
NBA playoffs: Celtics at Magic, 3:30 p.m. (ABC, WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Gary Myers in the New York Daily News writes about the Jets’ problems trying sell personal seat licenses for their new stadium. It’s been reported that 10,000 remain unsold, although owner Woody Johnson insisted the team will not have games blacked out locally, indicating he thinks the team will sell all of the PSLs before the season starts.
♦ Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle heard suspended Texans linebacker Brian Cushing’s press conference yesterday in which the player denied any wrongdoing and wrote: “Brian Cushing didn’t utter one believable word, and isn’t that sad?”
♦ Steve Kelley in The Seattle Times talks to Ryan Leaf about the former quarterback’s attempts to overcome his addiction to pain-killers.
♦ Sam Mellinger in The Kansas City Star writes about Royals general manager Dayton Moore’s difficult decision to fire manager Trey Hillman.
♦ Here’s an inspirational story in The Los Angeles Times about a high schooler left blind from Batten disease who was named captain of his baseball team and given an unofficial at-bat prior to his team’s final home game.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 14, 1970, which Bruins coach announced his retirement just days after leading the team to its first Stanley Cup title in 29 years?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Winning is gratifying. You’re playing the best team in basketball; the challenge is there, you don’t have to dress it up. One thing we don’t lack is confidence. We’re a veteran team and we understand when it’s time to lock in as a group. I think we did just that. I think the experience is taking over.” — Kevin Garnett, after the Celtics eliminated the Cavaliers Thursday night
STAT OF THE DAY: 3.7 — Years remaining in the career of Shaquille O’Neal, as the Cavaliers center explained Thursday night
‘NET RESULTS: We told you yesterday about Eric Byrnes playing in a softball league after parting ways with the Mariners. Here he is in action.
ESPN announcer Stuart Scott tries to get cute by calling the Nationals the “Natsies” without realizing that it sounds like “Nazis.”
Extreme toe wrestling.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Harry Sinden, who would return to the team 2½ years later
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Frank Sinatra died on this date in 1998.
|05.13.10 at 7:17 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
NBA playoffs: Cavaliers at Celtics, 8 p.m. (ESPN, WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Brian Cushing again won voting for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after a re-vote following the Texans linebacker’s suspension for testing positive for banned drugs last season. Gary Myers in the New York Daily News explains why he again voted for Cushing — because it’s the NFL’s mess to clean up. Mike Florio at SportingNews.com has some ideas on how the NFL should change its steroid policies. Anti-doping experts are appalled at the NFL’s delayed punishment. Jason Cole at Yahoo!Sports.com wonders where we should draw the line between healing and performance-enhancing.
♦ Larry LaRue in the News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., looks at how the Seattle Mariners have circled the wagons around Ken Griffey after his alleged in-game nap in the clubhouse, which the team now denies happened.
♦ Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle looks at the bizarre ending to the career of Eric Byrnes, who pulled back on a suicide squeeze bunt and was subsequently released by the Mariners. Byrnes now plays in a recreational softball league and says he is “beyond OK” with retirement from the game at the age of 34. It doesn’t hurt that he’s still getting paid $11 million this year, mainly thanks to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 13, 1991, which two players who won championships with the Celtics were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When the going got tough, we didn’t get going. We weren’t really a mentally tough team last year.” — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning
STAT OF THE DAY: 4 — Active major leaguers with 2,000 strikeouts, after Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield yesterday joined Jamie Moyer, Javier Vazquez and Andy Pettitte
‘NET RESULTS: This is one competitive bicycle, as it continues the race without its rider.
Brazilian soccer players in a commercial perform tricks to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”
TRIVIA ANSWER: Dave Cowens and Nate “Tiny” Archibald
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Stevie Wonder is 60 today.
|05.12.10 at 8:00 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)
NHL playoffs: Bruins at Flyers, 8 p.m. (VERSUS)
AROUND THE WEB:
A couple of odd stories to lead off this morning:
♦ In Odessa, Texas, a high school basketball star was discovered to be a 22-year-old who played high school ball in Florida three years earlier. The Odessa American has the story of the naturalized citizen from Haiti, Guerdwich Montimere, who was passing himself off as Jerry Joseph. His scam was unearthed when his former coaches in Florida saw him at an AAU tournament.
♦ On SI.com, there’s a story about a Southern California high school pole vaulter whose disqualification cost her team the league title. Her offense was wearing a friendship bracelet, an crime pointed out by the coach of the eventual winning team after she won her event.
♦ Tim Keown on ESPN.com writes that the Brian Cushing case shows that the NFL still isn’t serious about cracking down on performance-enhancing drugs.
♦ New Hampshire native and former Boston College soccer player Charlie Davies, recovering from injuries sustained in a serious car crash last year, was left off the roster for the U.S. World Cup team. The New York Times has the story.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 12, 1974, the Celtics routed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Bucks, 102-87, in Milwaukee in Game 7 of the NBA Finals for their 12th title. Who led the Celts with 28 points and 14 rebounds?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We cannot come back here. We have to think this is our Game 7 coming up and we cannot afford to have the best team in the league have a Game 7 on their floor. Just not possible.” — Kevin Garnett, after the Celtics routed the Cavaliers in Game 5 Tuesday night in Cleveland
STAT OF THE DAY: 17.08 — Dana Eveland’s career ERA vs. the Red Sox, after the Blue Jays pitcher gave up all six runs in Tuesday night’s 6-1 Sox victory
‘NET RESULTS: Hurdle jump fail.
Somewhat clever video about the “new sport of liquid mountaineering” — running on water.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Dave Cowens
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Burt Bacharach is 82 today.
- Ty on Steelers coach Mike Tomlin fined $100K; forfeiture of draft picks a possibility
- Geetsolboy on Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Struggling Nets demote top assistant Lawrence Frank after reported rift with Jason Kidd
- Kevin Miller on NFL roundup: Discipline expected for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin; Giants-Redskins ends in controversy
- Mike on Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez amends lawsuit, says Bud Selig lacks ‘courage’
- my10sense on Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Seahawks CB Brandon Browner reportedly facing 1-year suspension
- DF on Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Seahawks CB Brandon Browner reportedly facing 1-year suspension
- Mike on Friday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez hearing ends, player’s lawyers say they’ll take case to court
- gazzzmann on Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez turns up at New York radio station, says Bud Selig ‘hates my guts’
- Mike on Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez turns up at New York radio station, says Bud Selig ‘hates my guts’
- TedSox on Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez turns up at New York radio station, says Bud Selig ‘hates my guts’