- The headliner for me in the sports world this morning is the drama surrounding the "are they or aren't they?" concerning a potential shopping/trade of Rajon Rondo from the Celtics. I believe two things are true. 1) The Celtics are absolutely taking calls on Rondo, and 2) They know that if they flat-out say he's on the block, they lose him (a historically fragile personality) for good. The C's are in a tough spot because they have no chance of competing for the title as currently constructed, but the one guy that can bring them a big-time return doubles as their best current player, and that's Rondo. Also, Pierce would be a perfect trade candidate but the PR hit of trading a lifetime Celtic who has more points than Larry Bird while he is still playing at an all-star level? Good luck with that. One "trade machine" scenario that will never happen: Celtics send Rondo and Brandon Bass to the Hawks for Josh Smith and Jeff Teague. Who says no to that?...
- It's time for everyone's favorite running segment... NFL Franchise tag update! (insert sarcasm) I wouldn't normally touch on this, but with DeSean Jackson being franchised by Philly (semi-surprising to me) and Mike Wallace not being franchised by Pittsburgh, it brings up an interesting debate. Wallace is the better player of the two, by a wide margin IMO, but it's all about cap situation and team need with this type of thing, and this is a perfect example.
- NBA Box Score Check - Kevin Durant had 38 points and 8 boards including an 18-point 4th quarter outburst to bring OKC back in Orlando for a 105-102 win. Russ Westbrook was brilliant at times in this one as well (29 points, 10 assists, abuse of Jameer Nelson), but left the game for a minute late with a rolled ankle, and we'll need to monitor that. For Orlando, Dwight was magnificent with 33 points, but OKC simply singled him with Perkins and didn't let any of their shooters get going in too big of a way. Steve Nash is better than you. The all-world Phoenix PG put up a 13-point, 17-assist, 8-rebound game in Phoenix's home win over Minnesota. For the T-Wolves, Kevin Love returned by shot just 8 of 25 (yikes!) and the Williams/Beasley bench combo combined to shoot 3 of 15. That won't do it. The Clippers had 6 players in double-figures led by 22 points and 8 dimes from Chris Paul in putting away Sacto on the road 108-100. The Kings got 23 and 10 from Cousins, but couldn't overcome allowing LAC to shoot 12-23 from three point land, and good luck winning with that. And finally, Miami blitzed Portland 107-93 after leading by 18 at the half even without Chris Bosh. Lebron James (38 points, 11 boards, 6 assists) and Dwyane Wade (33 points, 10 assists) both had it going on the same night, and Miami is nearly impossible to beat when that happens. Portland had more success when they went more "traditional" with Felton at PG and Matthews in the game at the 2 instead of the big lineup they currently start (Jamal and Batum at guards, enormous), but it was too little too late.
- College Hoops Look-in - Michigan went on the road to Assembly Hall and beat Illinois 72-61 thanks to 25 points (on just 10 shots) from Tim Hardaway and another great night from Trey Burke with 21 points and 5 assists in 39 minutes. This was the death blow to Illinois' tourney hopes, but kept Michigan alive for the regular season title chase in the Big 10. Kentucky ran Georgia out of the gym by 30 points, and I'm only even mentioning this game to tell you that if Kentucky makes 15 threes, they aren't losing to anyone, ever. And Florida State eeks out a 63-60 win at the gun over Virginia. Even after blowing a double-digit lead in the 2nd half, FSU's Ian Miller canned the game-winning 3 at the buzzer to knock off Mike Scott (28 points and 10 boards, which is insane at the pace that they play) and the Cavaliers.
What to watch for on Friday...
- NCAAB - Tennessee Tech @ #9 Murray State - ESPNU 7:00 - I know this game is on the "U", but it's a chance to see 28-1 Murray State in the semis of their tournament. That's a real squad, folks.
- NBA - Bucks @ Hawks - SportSouth 7:30 - After a bad home loss on Wednesday, the Hawks need this one before OKC comes to town on Saturday night.
- NBA - Warriors @ Sixers - ESPN 8:00 - The guard matchups here are endless with Curry/Ellis vs. Williams/Holiday/Turner.
- NBA - Clippers @ Suns - ESPN 10:30 - The mastery of Chris Paul and Steve Nash on full display. If your son (or daughter) is a point guard, make them DVR this.