Monday, January 2, 2012

1/3: Bowl Wrap, NBA, etc.

Greetings everyone... tons to get to...

  • Oregon 45, Wisconsin 38 - What a game. This was as back and forth as it gets and had everything from contrasting styles to electric plays to late-game drama. De'Anthony Thomas has to be the story here. He had the most ludicrous rushing line I've ever seen (2 carries for 155 yards and 2 TDs) and was even a gunner on special teams. I have no idea. At any rate, the decision to try and spike the ball with 2 seconds left was a curious one for 5th-year senior Russell Wilson, but without his brilliance, they wouldn't have been there with 2 seconds to go. Big-ups to Chip Kelly and Oregon for another wildly entertaining win.
  • OK State 41, Stanford 38 (OT) - Another great game here, as Stanford missed a 43-yard FG in overtime, and OK State was able to put them away with a 22-yarder at the gun. Mike Gundy learned from Mark Richt (we're getting there) and actually played to get his kicker closer to the endzone, and it worked out for him. The story of the night was the quarterback play on both sides, and we knew it would be. Brandon Weeden went for 399 yards and 3 TDs while Andrew Luck was a ridiculous 27 of 31 for 347 and 2 scores in his own right. Weeden, even if he's OLDER than Aaron Rodgers (true story), has been fantastic this year and deserved to go out with a bang, but Luck was incredible. One weird stat here: Stanford had the ball for nearly 42 minutes to OK State's 18, and couldn't win the game. Yikes.
  • Michigan State 33, Georgia 30 (3OT) - By far the weirdest game of the day. Georgia led 2-0 for much of the 1st half (yes, 2-0), and took a 16-0 lead that looked to be insurmountable before Mich State mounted a furious comeback. Kirk Cousins led a crazy flurry of a game-tying drive at the end of the game, and sent it to OT where the fun began. Cousins threw a costly INT in the 1st half of OT #1, but Mark Richt inexplicably centered the ball and put all the weight on Blair Walsh who entered the game having missed TWELVE field goals on the season, and Walsh was wide-right from 42 yards. The teams traded FG's in the 2nd OT, and when Walsh's 47-yard attempt was blocked in the 3rd OT, Sparty got the win. This was a tough one to watch for me since I disdain Michigan State, and have a healthy dislike for Georgia, but with as ugly as this game was at times, it was kind of nice.
  • Houston 30, Penn State 14 - Case Keenum is better than you. That is all.
  • Florida 24, Ohio State 17 - In a battle of teams that shouldn't be near "New Year's Day"-type bowl games, Florida gets the win behind their special teams. I think the game swung on the 99-yard return by Andre DuBose. Yep.
  • South Carolina 30, Nebraska 13- This one kind of shocked me. Nebraska led 13-9 after the 1st quarter but never scored again, and Connor Shaw gutted out a couple of nice drives late in the game. Tough day for the Big 10. Sigh.


  • Hawks 100, Heat 92 - Well, that was a satisfying win in the early season. Tracy McGrady has to get top billing as he banged home 3 giant triples in the 4th quarter to lead the way to victory in a genuine "time machine" performance. Joe Johnson added an efficient 21 points, Al Horford was his normal solid self, and Jeff Teague provided an element that the Hawks haven't had in previous encounters with the Heat. For Miami, Lebron was again excellent with a 28/7/6 but Wade had a tough night (4 of 17), and I can't figure out why Miami continues to go with Chalmers over Cole in crunch time when it's pretty clear Cole is playing better (if not the better player, period.) One negative note for the Hawks was the combined 0-10 from Radmanovic and Green, and while this is to be expected from time to time, it's pretty glaring when they play a combined 30 minutes despite giving you virtually nothing outside of bad offense.
  • T-Wolves 106, Spurs 96 - I'm giving this game top billing because of an injury. Manu Ginobili broke a bone in his hand last night that could sideline him for an extended period, and the Spurs REALLY can't afford to be without him. At any rate, this game was about the T-Wolves outside of that. Kevin Love is an outright beast, and he finished with 24 and 15 including 4 triples against Tim Duncan (hurts my soul a bit). All five starters for Minny were in double-digits including a breakout 19 and 9 game from Luke Ridnour, who may or may not be feeling the Rubio heat behind him. For the Spurs, it was typical balance, but with just 13 minutes for Manu before the injury, they didn't really have the burst needed down the stretch. Keep an eye on Tiago Splitter for SA though, he's playing well now after getting acclimated last year (12 points in 20 minutes).
  • Box Score Round-up - It's to see Steve Nash play well last night, and even if it was aided by the dreaded backcourt defense of the Warriors, the Suns PG did net 21 points and 9 assists in Phoenix's 102-91 win. The Celtics outlasted the hapless Wizards 100-92 behind 27 from Jesus Shuttlesworth, and an unexpected but welcomed 13 point/7 rebound performance from Greg Stiemsma. Only against the Wiz. Detroit upset Orlando in the Palace thanks to 26 from Ben Gordon and the fact that Orlando got a combined 8 points from their starting backcourt of Richardson and Nelson. Yikes. Indiana is looking deep and talented with 9 guys notching 8 points or more last night in their 14-point road win over a bad NJ team. Memo to NJ: Start Marshon Brooks. Now. Thanks! I really, really like Demar DeRozan and he's showing everyone why. 21 points on 13 shots last night, and you can actually see the improvement in his jumper from over the summer. Good work. Dallas actually looked like a West contender last night in knocking off previously-unbeaten OKC by 13 at home. Dirk was Dirk (26 points), but they got unexpected (at least to me) contributions from Vince (14 points in 24 minutes) and Ian Mahinmi (10 points, 9 boards in 21 minutes) that helped them. For OKC, Westbrook was an ugly 8-20, and their bench was dominated. How about a little love for Danilo Gallinari? The import went for 21 and 10 last night, and he has an uncanny ability to get to the line in big spots. Oh, and the Nuggets won 91-86 at home over Milwaukee. And finally, Utah welcomed Al Jefferson back to the lineup with 22 points in their home win over New Orleans. For the Hornets, they got a 27 point/11 assist outburst from Jarrett Jack, but it's going to be really tough for them without Eric Gordon in the lineup on most nights.


  • Black Monday in the NFL claimed Raheem Morris and Steve Spagnuolo, as well as the Polians in Indy. Raheem is not a surprise after they lost 10 in a row and flat-out quit in the 1st half against the Falcons, and I'm not really taken aback by the axing of Spagnuolo in St. Louis after their big-time regression in year 2, but the Polians getting whacked in Indy is a shock to almost everyone. Bill Polian is widely respected across the league, and while it's clear that they may have put a little TOO much stock in Peyton Manning with their roster construction, it's kind of undeniable that they had wild success the last decade.
  • DeMarcus Cousins didn't ask for a trade? I have no idea who's telling the truth here, but there are 2 things I know. 1) Demarcus Cousins is a malcontent, and 2) Demarcus Cousins is so talented that Sacramento got a dozen calls yesterday asking if he was available. That says it all.

What to watch for on Tuesday...

  • NCAAF - Sugar Bowl - Michigan vs. Virginia Tech - 8:30 ESPN - Well, you know what i'm watching. Shoelace looks to get Michigan it's 11th win against an always-prepared VT team.
  • NBA - Hawks @ Bulls - 8:00 NBA-TV - Of course this game is at the same time as the Michigan bowl game! Anyway, the Hawks are on a rough road back-to-back here, and I can't really expect much in the way of a victory in Chicago.
  • NBA - Rockets @ Lakers - 10:30 NBA-TV - Kyle Lowry should annihilate Derek Fisher, but LA wins pretty much every other battle here.
  • NCAAB - Michigan State @ Wisconsin - 7:00 ESPN2 - This should serve as the sporting appetizer tonight with two upper-echelon Big 10 teams squaring off. Wisconsin is coming off a really rare home loss in their last outing, so I'd expect Jordan Taylor and company to show up here.


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