- Let's start with the Association! The Atlanta Hawks are really scuffling at this point, after dropping a 99-83 decision in Cleveland to the Varejao-less Cavs last night. Kyrie Irving was the best player in the arena with 33 points, but the real story was the woeful Atlanta offense. Bah. Elsewhere, in a battle of two teams that you wouldn't expect to play in the 70s/80s, New Orleans beat Houston 88-79. Both teams have bad defenses, but it didn't matter on this night, with both teams shooting 40% and guys like Eric Gordon (2-12) and Ryan Anderson (0-7!) shooting the ball badly. By the way, New Orleans won the game with those two efforts, eesh. San Antonio topped the Lakers 108-105 behind 24 and 6 from Tony Parker, and 19 points and 8 boards from Manu Ginobili. Kobe was Kobe, but the real reason that LA hung around in this one was a surprise flourish from Earl Clark, who had 22 points and 13 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench. Could be something to watch going forward. The Clippers overcame a 4th-quarter deficit to knock off Dallas 99-93 thanks to 19 points and 16 assists (good lord) from Chris Paul and 5 triples from Matt Barnes. The hits keep coming for Dallas. And finally, Memphis got an impressive road win in Oakland over Golden State 94-87. All five starters scored in double-figures for the Grizz, and they also won the rebounding (43-38) and turnover (15-10) battles in this one.
- In another NBA note, Kevin Love had surgery yesterday and will miss a reported 8-10 weeks with that fractured hand. Huge blow to Minnesota, and the focus is now directly on former #2 overall pick Derrick Williams. It's time.
- The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted... no one. This actually didn't surprise me, but the fact that the Hall of Fame exists without Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens is pretty funny/ridiculous. In the "non-steroid" group, I also think that Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Mike Piazza are hall-of-famers who were unjustly left out based upon some absurd voting trends. Alas, nothing will anger me about the Hall-of-Fame as long as the Braves duo of Maddux/Glavine comfortably get in next year on the first ballot. Oh, while we're here, Jack Morris should never be in the Hall of Fame. Just clarifying.
- College Hoops! - Kansas escaped an in-conference upset with a 97-89 overtime win over Iowa State. This one was hotly contested throughout, and KU was lucky to steal it. Ben McLemore led the way with 33 points for the #6 Jayhawks. Michigan remained unbeaten at 16-0 after a 62-47 win over Nebraska in the Crisler Center. #8 Minnesota went on the road and pummeled #12 Illinois 84-67 last night. They got 29 points from Joe Coleman, 22/8/6 from Andre Hollins, and a 19/11 from Trevor Mbakwe to spark their impressive win. That's a scary team with Tubby Smith at the helm. And finally, New Mexico edged UNLV in a West-coast battle 65-60. The Lobos were able to hold All-American Anthony Bennett to just 12 points and 6 rebounds, and they got 23 and 9 from 7-footer Alex Kirk. Impressive win.
- Also in college hoops, Duke lost one of their core players in Senior forward Ryan Kelly who exited Tuesday's game with Clemson with a foot injury. That would be a huge loss for Duke if it is for the season, as Kelly anchors their defense, and gives them a "stretch" presence from a front-court position. Keep an eye on how Coach K attempts to replace him.
What to watch for on Thursday (in chronological order)...
- 7:00 - NCAAB - #22 Michigan State @ Iowa (ESPN2) - First of a college hoops triple-header on ESPN2. Iowa got housed by Michigan, but they are better than they showed there, and at home, I actually think they beat Sparty.
- 8:00 - NBA - Knicks @ Pacers (TNT) - Indiana is coming off a huge win over Miami and with Paul George on fire and Carmelo Anthony suspended, this could be a match-up that tilts in Indy's favor. Still worth a look.
- 9:00 - NCAAB - #4 Arizona @ Oregon (ESPN2) - Really, really nice game here. Arizona is the class of the Pac-12, but Oregon has impressed early and they're hosting here.
- 10:30 - NBA - Heat @ Blazers (TNT) - Portland has surprised in a good way this year, starting 19-15 behind Lillard and Aldridge. They at least have Batum and Matthews to throw at the big two, and the Rose Garden will be raucous.
- 11:00 - NCAAB - St. Mary's @ #9 Gonzaga (ESPN2) - The rivalry is back! The WCC crown has gone through this game in recent years and this is the first match-up of 2013. I can't imagine the atmosphere at the Kennel for this one.