Monday, April 29, 2013

4/29: Sweeps, Steph Curry, etc.

Greetings! It's been a while since I've checked in so let's go...
  • The NBA Playoffs had one of those rare (and spectacular) quadruple-headers yesterday. In the early game, the Celtics staved off elimination with a 97-90 overtime victory. Carmelo Anthony "won" the game for Boston by being insanely inefficient, shooting 10 for 35 from the field and committing 7 turnovers (versus 2 assists). Boston was led by 29 points from Paul Pierce (in 50 minutes!) and 26 from Jeff Green. This series is still over, but it was good to see Boston battle, even after blowing a massive lead in the 2nd half. 
  • The middle games of the day were both series-ending, sweep-causing blowouts. Miami got a 30/8/7 from Lebron and knocked off Milwaukee 88-77. Dwyane Wade sat out the game as an injury precaution, but it didn't matter, and Milwaukee (once again) had no answer for the Heat. Ho-hum. Next, the Spurs blitzed the Lakers 103-82 in a game headlined by Dwight Howard's ejection and San Antonio's dominance. You can read my full thoughts here (as I covered the game for, but it was an epic beatdown against the short-handed Lakers.
  • In the late game, Steph Curry stole the stage. The young Warriors point guard shot 10-for-16 from the field, 6-for-11 from three-point distance (including some insane shots), and scored 31 points to lead Golden State to a 115-101 win. Curry was absolutely masterful, but he did have some help, as Jarrett Jack shot 8-for-9 and scored 21 points to go along with 9 assists as he let Curry play off the ball. With GSW up 3-1 in the series, it isn't "over", but they'll have a home close-out game in Game 6 and they are now a big favorite. 
  • The Braves were swept by the Tigers after a brutal, 8-3 loss in the rain last night. Austin Jackson and Miggy Cabrera each bashed 3-run bombs in the game, and the bats couldn't fully solve Doug Fister. No time to panic as the Braves come home for 4 with Washington, but it certainly wasn't a fun series.
  • Tim Tebow was released this morning by the New York Jets. Are we supposed to be surprised by this? As soon as they drafted Geno Smith, the writing was on the wall, but I personally hope Tebow lands somewhere where he can serve a purpose. I believe he's an NFL player. 
What to watch for on Monday...
  • 7:00 - NBA - Bulls @ Nets (Game 5, TNT) - Chicago looks to close out Brooklyn on the road, but I think the Nets will rise up here and hold serve. 
  • 7:00 - MLB - Nationals @ Braves (ESPN) - Strasburg vs. Teheran - It's a wild sports night in Atlanta, as the Nationals come to town and Strasburg is on the hill. National TV, also. 
  • 7:30 - NBA - Pacers @ Hawks (Game 4, NBATV) - Atlanta looks to stay in the series here. It'll be very interesting to see if they can defend at the same level as they did in Game 3. 
  • 9:30 - NBA - Thunder @ Rockets (Game 4, TNT) - Game 2 of the Russell Westbrook-less era for Oklahoma City. Houston will compete in a big way here and it wouldn't be surprising at all for the series to head back to OKC. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

4/25: Draft and More...

Greetings! Let's go...
  • The 2013 NFL Draft kicks off tonight with round one on tap. With no clear #1 pick this year and a huge absence of skill players in the top early half of the first round, it's going to be a very interesting one. In addition, the Falcons have a long, long wait until pick #30, and I'd certainly go with a defensive end or cornerback if I was them. At any rate, should be fun. For my full Falcons thoughts (here) and coverage of the local talent (here), check out
  • NBA Check! The Hawks got their doors blown off for the second consecutive game... I'm not sure I even want to get deeper into that one, but the Pacers are simply much, much better. Oklahoma City got 29 points a piece from Russ Westbrook and Kevin Durant in holding on for a 105-102 win over Houston to take a 2-0 lead. James Harden was also impressive (36 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 17-20 FT), but with his outside shot not falling, it wasn't enough. Finally, the Spurs looked fantastic in dispatching of the Lakers 102-91. Tony Parker (28 points, 7 assists) was the best player on the court, and Manu Ginobili looks to be primed for a big role coming up. 
  • Marc Gasol was named the NBA's defensive player of the year yesterday. That was my pick as well, so I appreciated the choice, but it was also nice to see Lebron (who came in 2nd) get recognized on that end. 
What to watch for on Thursday...
  • 7:00 - NBA - Heat @ Bucks (TNT) - The death march for Milwaukee continues.
  • 8:00 - 2013 NFL Draft (ESPN and NFL Network) - Full Round one coverage on either network. It will take forever, but it's always entertaining and you can watch Mel Kiper's hair for hours. 
  • 8:30 - NBA - Nets @ Bulls (NBATV) - Is it just me, or would you rather watch Bulls/Nets than Heat/Bucks? Anyway, this is a huge game for Brooklyn, who can't afford to fall behind 2-1. 
  • 9:30 - NBA - Clippers @ Grizzlies (TNT) - I think this is the best of all the first-round series, but that talk ends quickly if Memphis goes down 3-0. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Posts everywhere!

In lieu of a full post today (sorry), I'm going to link to my productivity from the last few days... take a look!

  • My glance at the Hawks Game One loss to Indiana, examining the absence of Al Horford, the foul disparity, and the rebounding advantage. (This one should be up this more at Soaring Down South)
  • An official NBA awards ballot (click here) and a quick breakdown of the Atlanta Falcons schedule release (here) over at
  • And finally, a bunch of content from the front page including an Al Michaels DUI (here), a walk-off home run from Mark Trumbo (here), and a full-length breakdown of the Rockets/Thunder Game 1 (here).
There you have it! Take a look and help me out!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Weekend Viewing Guide (4/20 - 4/21)

Greetings! In the absence of regular blog work this weekend (due to travel), here's an extended look at "what to watch for" for Saturday/Sunday. Enjoy!


  • 3:00 - NBA - Celtics @ Knicks (ABC) - The playoffs begin! It would be huge for Boston to grab control with a Game One upset here, and the eyes of the league will be on this one. 
  • 3:00 - MLB - Nationals @ Mets (FOX) - Gonzalez vs. Hefner - The last time out for Gio Gonzalez involved him getting beaten and battered by the Braves, but this Mets lineup isn't exactly comparable. 
  • 5:30 - NBA - Warriors @ Nuggets (ESPN) - Combined points... Over/under 240? I might take the over. 
  • 7:05 - MLB - Braves @ Pirates (SportSouth) - Maholm vs. McDonald - Paul Maholm has a 0.00 ERA entering this game and that's reason enough to tune in. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - Bulls @ Nets (ESPN) - Not exactly the most riveting series, but at least they'll avoid NBA-TV anytime the Hawks and Pacers are on. 
  • 10:30 - NBA - Grizzlies @ Clippers (ESPN) - I couldn't be more excited for this one. A diehard NBA fan's dream because these teams are going to full-on battle each other. 
  • 1:00 - NBA - Hawks @ Pacers (TNT) - This series has to win the award for "least appealing nationally", but I'm all-in (obviously) and the Hawks really need to steal game one to have a chance in the series. 
  • 1:35 - MLB - Braves @ Pirates (FSS) - Medlen vs. Sanchez - Jonathan Sanchez is a punching bag. It's pretty simple. With that said, he does have elite strikeout stuff when he's on, so that's a bit of a threat. Medlen should have no issue mowing down the Pirates lineup, however. 
  • 1:35 - MLB - Dodgers @ Orioles (TBS) - Billingsley vs. Arrieta - National TV baseball on a Sunday afternoon!
  • 3:30 - NBA - Lakers @ Spurs (ABC) - A lot of people are picking the Lakers. Those people are insane. Spurs in 5. 
  • 7:00 - NBA - Bucks @ Heat (TNT) - No one is picking the Bucks. Everyone is right. 
  • 8:00 - MLB - Cardinals @ Phillies (ESPN) - Westbrook vs. Kendrick - Not the best pitching match-up, but this is an entertaining battle usually.
  • 9:30 - NBA - Rockets @ Thunder (TNT) - It's the James Harden Bowl! OKC is better just about everywhere, so it'll fall on Harden to explode (i.e. averaging 35-40 a night) for Houston to have a chance. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

4/17: Summerall, Smart, etc.

  • RIP Pat Summeral. The long-time NFL broadcaster and former NFL player passed away yesterday at age 82. Anyone from my generation remembers him exclusively for his work with John Madden, both on TV and for the Madden video game franchise, but Summerall's unique disposition is legendary, and you can always pick out his voice. RIP. 
  • The Braves have won 10 straight games after a 5-homer explosion last night against the Royals in a 6-3 victory. Juan Francisco hit two home runs in the early innings to keep the game tied at 2-2, and then the bats exploded in the bottom of the 8th, as Atlanta tallied four runs including three solo shots from Heyward, Justin Upton, and Uggla. Kris Medlen was solid again (7 IP, 2 runs, 1 ER, 5 Ks) and the bullpen slammed the door. This team is rolling. 
  • Multiple sources are reporting that Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart will return for his sophomore season in college. This is pretty shocking, honestly, because Smart is a consensus top-5 pick with nothing to really gain as far as draft stock by returning. I'm seeing a lot of references to guys like Jared Sullinger and Cody Zeller, but the difference here is that Smart is already a no-brainer top-5 guy and those guys weren't. Anyway, it's good for college hoops to have upper-echelon talent, and Smart certainly does. 
  • Tracy McGrady is... a Spur!? In a very interesting move, San Antonio signed McGrady yesterday out of China to take the roster spot previously occupied by Stephen Jackson. I don't know what T-Mac has left, but he looked good in spurts for Atlanta last year, and he can still pass and score.
  • The Hawks completely no-showed against Toronto last night (losing 113-96) and that opens the door wide open for Chicago to take the #5 seed and force Atlanta to play Indiana in the first round. Eesh. I'll have more detail on this as we go, but I'm not pleased.
What to watch for on Wednesday...
  • 12:10 - MLB - Royals @ Braves (FSS) - W. Davis vs. M. Minor - Mike Minor takes to the hill to try to extend this insane, 10-game winning streak. This is another game where ATL has the pitching edge, but weird things tend to happen in 12:10 first pitches. 
  • 7:00 - MLB - Phillies @ Reds (ESPN2) - J. Lannan vs. M. Leake - You think ESPN is thrilled about this pitching match-up? (lol) At any rate, both teams are 6-7 and could use a win. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - Jazz @ Grizzlies (ESPN) - It's the final night of the NBA regular season and all 30 teams are in action. Utah needs to win here and get a Lakers loss to Houston, so they are behind the 8-ball, but anything is possible. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - Hawks @ Knicks (SportSouth) - Atlanta needs to win here and get a Chicago home loss to Washington to get the 5th seed. Translation? Say hello to the #6 seed and Indiana. 
  • 10:30 - NBA - Rockets @ Lakers (ESPN) - The aforementioned Lakers simply need to win and they're in. Without Kobe, it won't be easy, but the Howard/Gasol duo has looked better in recent days, and they'll need to lean on it. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

4/16: Boston, etc.

  • On a somber day in the United States, it's tough to talk about sports, but because that's what we do here, that's what I'm going to do. Prayers for everyone in the Boston area after a big-time tragedy, and I hope more details come to light in what was a senseless act. I'm 100% on board with them cancelling games, including the Boston/Indiana game scheduled for tonight, and that's a great move. 
  • To sports... Nerlens Noel has declared for the NBA Draft. The craziest part about this is that Noel tore his ACL midway through the season and yet no one thought he was coming back to school. He could be the #1 overall pick (still) and if he came back, looked slowed by the knee, and struggled, he would've fallen. If I was Charlotte or Sacramento and had nothing to play for next year, I'd take Noel, stash him, and bottom out again. 
  • NBA Round-up - Chicago got a huge win in the standings with a 102-84 decision over Orlando. They were led by 22 points from Carlos Boozer, but the big story is that the win takes them to 44-37, just a half-game behind Atlanta, and with Chicago owning the tiebreaker, all they need is one Hawks loss in the final two games. Oklahoma City clinched the #1 seed in the West after a 104-95 win over Sacramento. With the way that the Spurs have struggled, it was pretty likely that OKC would put it away, but it's official. And finally, Utah went on the road and kept their playoff hopes alive with a 96-80 win in Minnesota. Al Jefferson continued to play out of his mind in this one, and all eyes move to LA, where Utah needs the Lakers to drop their final game. 
  • MLB Round-up - Boston got a 3-2 win to complete a 3-game sweep over the Rays on Patriots Day. Without commenting on everything else in Boston, it was a big win for the Sox and they got 7 quality innings (2 hits, 1 ER, 10 K) from Ryan Dempster. Cincinnati snapped a 5-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Phillies. Brandon Phillips had the clinching 2-run single in the bottom of the 8th and Aroldis slammed the door (hard) in the 9th. Finally, Oakland got a 11-2 victory over the hapless Astros to extend their AL-best record to 10-4. Tommy Milone is devastatingly good at home. 
What to watch for on Tuesday...
  • 7:10 - MLB - Royals @ Braves (FSS) - Guthrie vs. Medlen - Inter-league! Of course, there is Inter-League every day this season (lol), but this is the first look for Atlanta in a short, 2-game series with KC. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - Raptors @ Hawks (TNT) - This was originally going to be Boston/Indiana, and I'm sure TNT is thrilled to see Toronto on their slate. At any rate, the game does mean something, as the Hawks need a win to try to hold on to the #5 seed in the East. 
  • 10:30 - NBA - Blazers @ Clippers (TNT) - The Clips have to win out to guarantee home-court advantage, and I doubt Portland will stand in the way. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

4/15: Masters/Braves

  • What a week at The Masters. The climactic finish between Adam Scott (who drained the putt of his life on the 72nd hole) and Angel Cabrera (who stuck one of the best iron shots of the week on the 72nd hole) was awesome. Each guy had similar length putts on the 2nd playoff hole, and while Cabrera lipped out, Scott's effort was true, and the young Aussie snuck away with the win. It was high drama, and an example of why people (myself included) love the action at Augusta. 
  • The Braves swept the Nationals. Yes, the Braves swept the Nationals. Three straight sweeps. 11-1 record. And they've done it without much help from Heyward (who actually had a big 2B yesterday, but is still hitting .103), Freeman (injury), or Uggla (.317 slugging). The pitching has been incredible, led by Paul Maholm, who threw 7.2 shutout innings yesterday, keeping his ERA at 0.00 through 20.1 innings this season. Staggering. 
Back in full-length tomorrow...