- Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest aka Ron-Ron) is suspended 7 games for his vicious elbow to James Harden's head. The reaction I've read/heard has been wide-ranging from "not nearly harsh enough" to "about right" to "too much", and while that's the norm in today's culture, I thought it was fairly reasonable. I probably would've given him 8 games if I was going to hand out a 7-game suspension since it is somehow possible for him to return in a Game 7 of the First Round series now (what?!), but the length is reasonable. One note is his repeat offender status, and I'd be curious to know what part that played because a) his other offenses were a pretty long time ago, and b) he's done so much good work in the league since then. At any rate, let's wrap this story up now.
- Atlanta Wins! The Braves got a 4-3 victory on the strength of a decent outing from Mike Minor (3 ER in 6 IP and one dreadful pitch to Juan Rivera in the 1st), and a game-winning triple in the 9th from Martin Prado. Matt Kemp is one of the best players on the planet, but an atrocious base-runner (at least in this game), and that didn't exactly help LA here. Shout-out to Tyler Pastornicky with 3 hits to raise his average to a more respectable .227 as well. And back in Atlanta, the Hawks inched by the Clippers 109-102. Chris Paul (34 points, 8 assists) was the best player on the court as usual, and Blake Griffin exploded for 36 points, but the rest of the paper Clips didn't do much, and the Hawks got nice output from Joe (28 points), Teague (21 points), and Josh Smith (18 and 10 with only one 3 point attempt). Keep in mind that Al Horford is rumored to be returning on Thursday against Dallas, so that is something to keep an eye on going forward, but this was a nice win for the Hawks.
- The Falcons are on the verge of a deal that would bring CB Asante Samuel to town. The former Patriot and current Eagle defensive back has been an above-average corner for a long time, and would be a very nice addition in the nickelback role. The rumored compensation is either a 5th or 6th round pick depending on where you look, and that's a really nice amount to be giving up for a starter-level CB. One note is that he's due 20+ million over 2 years, and that would have to be restructured for cap purposes. Nice move.
- The Jazz clinched the final West playoff spot with a 100-88 win over Phoenix last night. Utah got 3 double-doubles from their frontcourt trio as Jefferson went for 18/16, Millsap went for 26/15, and Favors provided 13/11 off the bench. I think we've seen the Derrick Favors coming-out party recently, and he was great by all accounts last night. If there was ever a spot to take advantage of San Antonio, it's probably up front and with these 3 guys, they could provide some issues for the Spurs in Round 1.
- Yu Darvish (Yu!!!!) went 8 1/3 innings of shut-out ball while striking out 10 Yankees to get a win for Texas last night. The full array of pitches was on display here, and Texas has to like what they've seen so far since the 1st inning of his 1st start. That's a scary, scary roster.
What to watch for on Wednesday...
- MLB - Angels @ Rays - 7:00 ESPN2 - Wilson vs. Hellickson - Matchup of lefty studs here, and all eyes are on Albert Pujols whether we like it or not. I'm vehemently against the constant "what's wrong with Pujols?!" talk this early in the season, and I'm hoping he puts it to bed soon.
- NBA - Clippers @ Knicks - 8:00 ESPN - Chris Paul is worth watching always. That's about all I got for this one.
- MLB - Braves @ Dodgers - 10:00 SportSouth - Beachy vs. Lilly - The best pitching matchup of the series doubles as the rubber match of the 3-gamer. Beachy has been the best pitcher in the majors this year by the numbers, and we'll see if he can keep it up.
- NBA - Spurs @ Suns - 10:30 ESPN - This one lost a lot of luster with the Jazz clinching last night, and I'd expect both teams to sit a lot of guys. ESPN is thrilled!