- Kobe Bryant is the 5th player in the history of the NBA to score 30,000 points and he is the youngest to ever do so. It would be irresponsible to not point out that Kobe, despite being the youngest to reach this milestone, also played the most games before reaching it as he is the only guy on the list to come out of high school and he's been going ever since. It was fitting that he had 29 points and was generally the best player on the floor last night in New Orleans, and it's amazing that he's still going at this rate after the amount of minutes he's played. A lot has been made of discussion on whether he is the "Best Laker Ever" so I'll address that. He isn't. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are better, and even if you dock points for Kareem's early work in Milwaukee, there's no argument for Kobe over Magic. At least not yet.
- In an awesome turn of events, former Wisconsin head coach and current AD Barry Alvarez will coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl. I realize that this doesn't matter at all but I thought it was fantastic, so I'm sharing it here.
- MLB Hot Stove - Joe Blanton is headed to the Angels for 2 years and $15 million. I quickly crapped on this deal in my brain when I heard it, but Blanton was actually pretty decent last year with 2 teams, posting a FIP under 4.00, and he has tremendous control as he's walked less than 2 batters per nine for the last 2 seasons. I'm not saying that I love the deal, but a control pitcher can be aided by a pitcher's park, and LA qualifies. Jason Bay heading to the Mariners made laugh because he had no power in New York... so just picture him in Safeco. And finally, Jeff Keppinger (former Parkview Panther) inked a 3-year, $12 million deal with the White Sox. His greatest attribute is positional flexibility, but Keppinger also murders lefties, and it makes him an ideal platoon candidate.
- NBA Check - I covered the Hawks game in-depth here but it was a very nice 108-104 win over Denver last night. Al Horford continued his stellar play with 25 points and 13 rebounds, and the Hawks gang-rebounded to outlast Denver 47-40 on the glass. JR Smith hit a buzzer-beater to lift the Knicks over Charlotte 100-98 last night. Klay Thompson got healthy against the wretched Pistons with a 27-point night in Golden State's 104-97 win. San Antonio got 22 points each from Tony Parker and Gary Neal while out-rebounding Milwaukee 53-36 in their 110-99 win over the Bucks at home. And finally, Utah knocked off Orlando 87-81 at home behind a 31/15 performance from Al Jefferson, but Jefferson had to exit the game late with a back injury, and that's something to watch for.
- One college hoops note.... Florida systematically took Florida State apart last night in Tallahassee. The 72-47 margin of victory looks lopsided, but I assure you the game wasn't this close. I'm very, very impressed with Florida and still firmly believe they're the team to beat in the SEC.
What to watch for on Thursday (in chronological order)...
- 8:00 - NBA - Knicks @ Heat (TNT) - What a great game. New York is playing great basketball this season but on the 2nd night of a back-to-back on the road in Miami, I don't think they can beat the Heat.
- 8:00 - NFL - Broncos @ Raiders (NFL Network) - Eesh. Oakland is a wretched watch, but on the bright side, home teams seem to be the favorite on these short weeks, and Carson Palmer will be winging it all over the field. At any rate, Denver should win here regardless.
- 8:00 - NCAAB - Long Beach State @ #4 Syracuse (ESPN2) - This isn't the same, dangerous Long Beach team of the last few years, but this is a chance to see Syracuse, and they're a real national title threat this year.
- 10:30 - NBA - Mavs @ Suns (TNT) - This game would've been much, much better in years past. Yep.