Friday, May 4, 2012

5/4: Hoops, Mo Rivera, etc.

Greetings... Let's go...

  • Beginning in the association, Miami defeated the Knicks in MSG by a 87-70 margin to hand the Knicks their NBA-record 13th straight playoff defeat. 13 straight is tough to accomplish, but when you package Mike Woodson with no guards and no Amar'e, this is what happens. Lebron was tremendous despite a so-so shooting night as he finished with 32 points, 8 boards, and 5 assists while Wade added 20, and Chris Bosh (fresh off a plane where his newborn child was born yesterday) added 10 boards. Melo (7 of 23) and JR Smith (5 of 18) combined to shoot just 29% on nearly two-thirds of the NY shot attempts, and that's a recipe for a 70-point total output. This series is effectively over at this point.
  • In the other game, the Zombies asserted their dominance in putting away the Mavs. OKC led by 9 at the half, but a big run in the 3rd quarter was what iced this one. Kevin Durant shot the ball better (11 of 15) and easily led all scorers with 31 points, while Russ Westbrook added 20 points in 32 minutes. The key stats? OKC committed only 7 turnovers to 15 for Dallas, and the Zombies made 12 of 28 threes to Dallas' 7 of 22. At a 3-0 deficit, this one isn't quite as over as the Miami/NYK series is simply because Dallas is a much, much better team than NY is and they're battle-tested, but again, this one is effectively over. 
  • Mariano Rivera has a torn ACL and will miss the entire 2012 season with retirement possible. Mo was shagging flies during BP and got caught in the grass near the outfield wall before taking a tumble and clutching his knee. What a shocking/weird way to potentially end a legendary career, but at 42 years old, you'd have to wonder if this is the end. The craziest part? He hasn't appeared in less than 45 games since he arrived in 1996, and appeared in 60+ games in 14 of 16 seasons. Life will not be normal without the Sandman trotting in from the bullpen for the Yanks. In the meantime, I'd imagine they go with David Robertson, with a potential for Rafael Soriano, and while Robertson is a tremendous reliever, he isn't Mo Rivera. 
  • Phillies 4, Braves 0 - Joe Blanton tossed an 88-pitch, 3-hit shout-out in Turner Field yesterday afternoon. If I wasn't still basking in the glow of Wednesday night's madness, I'd be even angrier, but there's pretty much no excuse for allowing the worst starter on Philly's staff to do a Greg Maddux impression in your home park. That said, it was getaway day and you could certainly tell. One positive note was Randall Delgado throwing 8 innings of 2-run ball, and on a day where the 'pen was taxed, this was fantastic. 
  • MLB Check - Pablo Sandoval will miss 4-6 weeks with a broke hamate bone in his hand. Big loss for an already bad Giants lineup as he is their best hitter and the options behind him (since they REFUSE to play Brandon Belt anywhere) are limited. Brandon Morrow tossed a 3-hit shutout against the Angels late last night and the Jays won 5-0. After all the "momentum" of the Weaver no-no, this sends the Angels crashing back to Earth and Albert Pujols was 0-3. I have no idea. And finally, most people are in agreement that Texas is the league's best team, but Tampa Bay is really playing well. They are now 18-8 after a sweep of Seattle, and churning out victories behind that ridiculous pitching staff. I'm interested to see how they are going forward without Longoria, but that's a playoff team.
  • Terrell Suggs tore his achilles. That's the big story, but the off-shoot story is whether he did it playing basketball or in a "conditioning test". At any rate, the Ravens may be without the reigning defensive player of the year for the entire season and that's a huge blow.
What to watch for...
  • MLB - Philles @ Nationals - 7:00 MLB - Kendrick vs. Strasburg - If you need an appetizer to the basketball, you get a few innings of Strasburg.
  • NBA - Hawks @ Celtics - 7:30 ESPN - No Josh Smith. No Al Horford. No Zaza Pachulia. I'm not exactly excited about this. The only scenario where the Hawks can steal this game revolves around Joe Johnson strapping the team to his back a la Paul Pierce in Game 2. Does he have it in him?
  • NBA - Bulls @ Sixers - 8:00 ESPN2 - Suddenly a series that no one cares about, but I'm actually riveted to see how Chicago responds after the no-show in Game 2. Aren't they still as good as Philly even without Rose?
  • MLB - Braves @ Rockies - 8:40 Peachtree TV - Hudson vs. Moscoso - Hudson makes his second start and if there was ever a guy to pitch effectively in Coors, he's it. Moscoso is an extreme fly-ball pitcher that the Rockies traded for in the off-season. Just think about the rationale there, and get back to me. 
  • NBA - Lakers @ Nuggets - 10:30 ESPN - I thought Denver would give LA a run in this series, and to do so, this is an absolute must-win in Mile-high. 

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