- Thursday is the NBA's night so let's start there. Minnesota ended OKC's 12-game win streak with a 99-93 win in the Target Center. Kevin Love led the way with 28 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota, who held OKC to just 40% shooting on the night. In the non-TNT game, Portland got a wildly unexpected 101-93 home win over Denver. The Blazers winning in the Rose Garden is never too shocking, but they won this one without their best player in Aldridge. 22 points from Batum, 20 from Lillard, and an 18/18 from JJ Hickson was enough to outlast Denver, who had a hideous performance from 3-point distance shooting an unspeakable 0-for-22 (!). And finally, Miami dominated Dallas from the opening bell and cruised to a 110-95 win despite a 34-point 4th quarter by the Mavs. Lebron had a 24/9/5 in just 31 minutes, Wade added 19 points in 26 minutes (and a crazy +40), and they were just much, much better than Dallas here.
- ESPN has suspended "personality" Rob Parker for 30 days following his ridiculous comments about RGIII on First Take last week. I'm indifferent on punishment for him because its ESPN's business what kind of talent they put on air, but there's no question that his comments were ignorant and out-of-place. Parker had already established himself as someone who was capable of saying outlandish and/or off-base things for attention (google his "feud" with ESPN's Keith Law over the AL MVP race, Parker is clueless), but this was a new level. As a side note, for anyone that still watches First Take, I have an idea.... Stop.
- One MLB contract to note is Edwin Jackson and the Cubs inking a 4-year, $52 million deal. I'm not the biggest Jackson fan because he's a guy who is wildly inconsistent, but there's no denying that he's been fairly valuable. He's only 29 years old, has posted 2.7 WAR or higher in 4 straight seasons (including 3 seasons of 3.6+ according to Fangraphs) and he misses bats, which is something that is very valuable, especially in a ballpark like Wrigley. It's not a bargain, but it's not unreasonable either.
- The NHL has cancelled games through Mid-January as part of their ongoing lockout. Is it bad for the league that NO one seems to care? I realize that I live in a non-NHL town and that probably impacts the type of coverage and chatter that I see, but it seems to be extremely dead.
- The #1 recruit in the country, as far as college basketball is concerned, is headed to... Duke! In a not-so-shocking turn of events, Chicago's Jabari Parker picked Coach K and the Blue Devils for his likely 1-year college visit. As a full-on Duke supporter, I'm elated, but Parker has been compared to guys like Paul Pierce, and is apparently an impact guy. Love it.
What to watch for on Friday (in chronological order)....
- 7:00 - NBA - Hawks @ Sixers (SportSouth) - The Bynum-less Sixers host the Hawks in the return of Lou Williams to Philly. Atlanta is the better team, but this is a tough road test.
- 7:30 - NCAAF - Beef 'O Brady's Bowl - Ball State vs. Central Florida (ESPN) - A battle of two 9-win non-BCS teams! Must-see TV! At least we can hopefully hear George O'Leary talk...
- 7:30 - NBA - Bulls @ Knicks (NBA-TV) - New York is really fun to watch, and Melo is in a zone right now.
- 9:00 - NCAAB - BYU @ Baylor (ESPN2) - Not the best game in the world, but BYU's Brandon Davies is worth watching.