Thursday, March 1, 2012

3/1: UCLA Hoops and.... Soccer?

Greetings everyone... let's go...
  • There is a widespread report circling about UCLA hoops that alleges that Ben Howland has completely lost control of the program, especially with his more highly-recruited players. The full report alleges drug use, intentional injuring of other players in practice, and blatant defiance including various reports about former player Reeves Nelson who was a 1st-team All-Pac 12 selection in the preseason this year before leaving the team. Really kind of a crazy story, especially when you consider that this is one of the top-5 historical programs in the country (with Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Indiana), and that Howland had been known for discipline and getting the most out of his players before getting to UCLA and even during his early stint with the likes of Kevin Love, Russ Westbrook, etc. Trouble in LA...
  • The United States won a soccer match against Italy yesterday. This is apparently international news since the US had never beaten the Italians... ever. At any rate, Clint Dempsey scored the only goal, and Tim Howard slammed the door. I'm still confounded by the concept of a "friendly" in itself, but big-ups to the fellas.
  • Warriors 85, Hawks 82 - I'm not going to write 500 words on this (even though I could), but the Hawks dropped a game they have no business losing to the Dubs at home last night. Josh Smith shot 5 of 20 from the field to finish with 14 points and 10 rebounds, which doesn't seem THAT dreadful on paper, but when you factor in that he was playing against one of the worst defensive PF's in the league (David Lee), and that he inexplicably took 11 jump-shots (making only 2) against said terrible defender, it gets worse. Oh, and he made 4 of 8 free throws to lower his % to a hilarious 55% for the year. I can't even talk about it. Did I mention that Steph Curry played under a minute in this game? or that his replacement, the little-used Dominic McGuire had fifteen rebounds in the game? or the Ekpe Udoh (who I love, but can't play offense) had 3 consecutive pick-n-roll buckets in the second half? I can't breathe.
  • NBA Box Score Check - The Zombies won their 6th straight game with an impressive 92-88 road win in Philly. The best sign for OKC was that both Durant (7 of 18) and Westbrook (7 of 20) had bad shooting nights, and they still gutted out a road win against a good team. That's impressive. Rajon Rondo netted his 3rd triple-double of the year with a 15-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist performance to lead the C's to a win over Milwaukee, which is especially coincidental since some reports had him requesting a trade on the same day, hm. The Jeremy Lin Show got back on the tracks last night to the tune of 19 points and 13 assists to lead NY over Cleveland 120-103. It's also nice to see Melo get an efficient 22 points on 16 shots if you're a Knicks fan. Derrick Rose put up 29 points in Chicago's 96-89 road win over the previously streaking Spurs. For San Antonio, they couldn't survive a 5 of 16 shooting night from Parker and 8 of 21 from Duncan on a night where Manu was in street clothes. And finally, the Masked Wonder that is Kobe Bryant (broken nose and all) put up 31 on 11-23 shots to lead LA past Minnesota (without Kevin Love).
  • Hines Ward is no longer a Steeler. With his skills clearly in decline, Pittsburgh had no choice, but it will certainly be an odd sight if he elects to sign somewhere else instead of retiring after his great career there.

What to watch for on Thursday... (chronologically)

  • NCAAB - #16 Michigan @ Illinois - ESPN 7:00 - Illinois desperately needs this one for a tourney bid, but my man John Beilein and Trey Burke have other plans.
  • NCAAB - #22 Florida State @ Virginia - ESPN2 7:00 - If you're not interested in the game above (like I am), this one is probably the better matchup anyway. Virginia's Mike Scott is the best player in the nation that you don't know anything about, and Florida State may be the best defensive team in the country.
  • NBA - Zombies @ Magic - TNT 8:00 - Did you know Orlando is 23-13 and standing alone in 3rd place in the East? Even when Jameer Nelson has been a total grease fire for 2 months?
  • NCAAB - Georgia @ #1 Kentucky - ESPN 9:00 - Georgia stinks and this game is in Rupp Arena, so if you're watching, it's simply to witness Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
  • NBA - Heat @ Blazers - TNT 10:30 - You already know the Rose Garden will be absolutely rocking for this one.


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