Monday, March 4, 2013

3/4: Hawks/Lakers, etc.

Greetings! Back from the extended absence... let's go!
  • The Hawks and Lakers played the best game of the day on Sunday (against all odds), and, of course, the Hawks came out on the losing end of the 99-98 decision. The late-game events were pretty intense, including a massive Kobe dunk, a blatantly missed traveling call (and a "where's the foul?" call on the same play), the execution of the best play in the NBA (the Smith/Horford high-low), and the final possession where Teague's pass to Smith was a fraction late, causing Smith to bobble and not get a shot off. It was a valiant effort from the Hawks, and another 20-point game from Al Horford (he had 24), but it wasn't quite enough to unseat a 34-point explosion from Kobe Bean Bryant. 
  • NBA Roundup - Miami went into New York, got a 99-93 win, and tied their franchise record with 14 straight wins. Lebron James went for 29/11/7 and they heat crushed NY by a 20-point margin. See my Fansided article here for the whole recap, but that's the gist. In the late game, OKC went into LA and knocked off the Clippers 108-104. Kevin Durant (35 points, 8 rebounds) and Russ Westbrook (29 points, 10 assists) carried the torch for OKC, but they also caused LAC to commit 20 turnovers and that was crucial. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Jamal Crawford each had 20+ for LA, but it wasn't efficient and the turnovers did them in. Sacramento beat Charlotte by 36 points. I'll give no insight here, but to say that we live in a world where the Kings shouldn't beat anyone by 36 points. Ever. Houston put up 136 points and basically ran the Mavs out of the gym in a 33-point win. Chandler Parsons had 32 points to pace the Rockets. And finally, San Antonio blitzed Detroit by a lopsided 114-75 final, and in the absence of Tony Parker, they haven't come apart at the seams (yet). 
  • The Battle of Michigan took place in Ann Arbor... and the good guys won. The Wolverines held on for dear life in a 58-57 win over Sparty, and it took a final-possession steal by Trey Burke to seal the win. Burke had 21 points, 8 assists, 5 steals, and 4 rebounds to lead Michigan, who somehow won the game despite getting killed on the glass (41-28). Go Blue. 
  • CBB Weekend Roundup - Wisconsin got blown out... at home!? The Badgers lost to Purdue in Madison by a score of 69-56 and I can't remember the last time they lost by double-figures at home. On Saturday, Duke held serve at home against #5 Miami in a great battle, 76-73. Ryan Kelly came back from a 2-month layoff and exploded with 36 points (including 7-for-9 from three) to key the Blue Devils win. Storybook stuff. UCLA got a huge home win over #11 Arizona, 74-69, and the Bruins are suddenly an NCAA factor after going 12-4 in the Pac-12 so far. Finally, Louisville went on the road to the Carrier Dome and knocked off Syracuse, 58-53. It was a battle of offensive ineptitude as neither team cracked 40% shooting, but the 'Cuse is in real trouble as they are in a tailspin. 
  • We have our second MLB injury of the Spring (Curtis Granderson holds the #1 distinction) as Matt Garza will miss all of April with recurring pain in his left side. This is a huge blow to an already-sketchy Chicago rotation, and former Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija will now start on opening day for the Cubs. Yikes. 
What to watch for on Monday...
  • 7:00 - NCAAB - Cincinnati @ #10 Louisville (ESPN) - Louisville is in full-on "play for their seed" mode, and they need a win here.
  • 8:00 - NBA - Heat @ T-Wolves (NBATV) - The Heat look to make their winning streak 15 games on the road in Minnesota. They're (obviously) the better team, but a road back-to-back is never easy.
  • 9:00 - NBA - Hawks @ Nuggets (SportSouth) - Road back-to-backs that end in Denver are never good. In fact, it's basically where road teams go to die. Eesh. 
  • 9:00 - NCAAB - Baylor @ Texas (ESPN) - On paper? This looks like a good game, but both teams are .500-or-worse in the Big 12. There's talent, though.

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