US Basketball Team Set

Blah Blah Blah we all know who’s on the team and we can sit here and talk about what bubble player should of made it, especially since there wasn’t even a try-out.

It really doesn’t matter when you have Kobe, BronBron, Melo and the Fundamental Bore that are gonna rack up at least 35 minutes if any game gets close.

But I’ve been fighting with myself about how this team will do.

Part of me thinks, hey it’s the dream team, how can they lose. But we obviously saw the embarassment in Athens where a bunch of millionaires thought they could roll over the world as one man shows.

That’s the other part of me. It’s a team of 12 superstars that is just waiting to collapse in a tight game when they go into Kobe-mode and need to get it done themselves.

But what I like about this team is that it actually has a couple of play-making point guards, unlike the Iversons and Stefan Marbury’s of the past.

No, it looks like it could be different this time around, as the starting point guard is looking like it’s going to be MVP candidate Chris Paul.

And Paul better be up to spreading the ball around, just like Rajon Rondo was able to do in Bean Town this year, or we could see one more clash of egos.

And as we all know, that clash of ego’s is just going to result in USA losing, and Kobe pulling a D3 Varsity Warriors move and throwing Tayshaun Prince’s clothes in the shower because he didn’t do a good enough job shining Kobe’s MVP trophy.

The last issue I have with this team is the coach. What? Just listen.

Yes I know Coach K is the legend. But what I always worry about with coaches jumping to the show is the difference of managing their players.

Coming from college to an NBA team means managing a bunch of hot shot kids, over to trying to tell full grown men that they need to work harder in practice when they would rather spend time with their families, or substitute wives, as they call them.

And that’s just to an NBA squad. This is the 12 biggest stars that the heartland has to offer.

Who knows, maybe I shouldn’t worry about it. After all it is the dream team.

I’ll just have stop being jealous and cheer for Samuel Dalembert. Go Canada Go.

Heat Comes From the Sun – Shaq to Suns, Marion to Miami

Shaq

We thought we saw the biggest trade of the season when the Lakers picked up Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown, a prospect and a draft pick. But folks, they ain’t gonna get much bigger than this.

We don’t need to get into the stats, we all know what Shaq’s done and we all know what Marion can do.

But it’s been obvious since the offseason that Marion just wasn’t feelin’ Phoenix, and it’s been obvious since the opening tip-off that Miami just wasn’t going to work anymore for the Big Aristotle.

At first glance, this trade can look like a blowout in favour of Miami. Marion, a very offensively gifted player, is in his prime and Shaq, the former most dominant player in the Association is heading downhill. The Heat also get Marcus Banks in the deal for god’s sake.

But let’s look closer into Suns’ GM Steve Kerr’s mind, since no one really cares about the Heat this season anyways. We all know the offensive firepower they have, but we also all know that they haven’t been able to get it done in the playoffs. This is why we have to take a look at their weaknesses.

Taking a peek at Phoenix’s team stats, they are atrocious on the boards and give up close to the most points on defense in the league.

Nash Stoudemire

Amare Stoudemire is big, but not big enough to play the centre roll. Sure the highlight alley-oops from Steve Nash every game look nice, but those just aren’t going to be enough when the Suns have to face the Lakers with Pau Gasol, the Spurs with Tim Duncan, or even the Celtics with Kevin Garnett.

No significant player on their roster has a single NBA Championship ring.

These are all the things that bringing Shaq in can address. O’Neal has been to championships, and also knows how to share the spotlight when he won titles with Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade respectively, which is something he will need to do playing with two-time MVP Steve Nash and Stoudemire.

Shaq is also, as we know, freakin’ huge. He is going to be the inside presence on both sides of the floor that Phoenix has lacked in all these years of missing the Finals.

Phoenix does still have some very good three-point shooters on their roster, and any team that thinks they’re going to beat them by doubling or tripling Shaq is going to be smacked right in the mouth when Steve Nash or Leandro Barboso pop a tres-bomb right down their throats.

Having Shaq in the lineup is going to completely change how teams have to defend against Phoenix, and although he may not be as fast as he used to be, he is still one big dude in the paint.

TSC NBA Midseason Awards

As the NBA season reaches its midway point, it’s time to hand out some midseason awards

Kevin Garnett

Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)

As some witty sportswriter predicted on this very website, the Boston Celtics are a very, very good team. They are so good that when they slipped to 34-6, there were some talks about firing head coach Doc Rivers. And while the Doc may not be up for coach of the year, the leader of this team is KG. He may not be leading in points, shot-blocking, or steals, he is the real deal on defence and the undisputed leader of this star-studded Boston squad. He is big enough to guard the seven-footers inside, and is quick enough to guard a point guard if his teammate can’t get around a pick. Garnett is also my runner-up for league MVP.

Runner-up: Marcus Camby  

Kevin Durant

Rookie of the Year: Kevin Durant (Seattle Supersonics)

In a rookie class thats mostly filled of 27-year olds, the 19-year-old is the one sticking out. A feat, which is tough to do in the rarely-publicized northwest corner of the country, especially when his team is 3 wins away from being the worst in the west. Durant is putting up 20.5 points a game – 6 more than any of his teammates, all of which are more experienced than the youngster. And with Greg Oden not around to join the 27-year-olds that he looks older than, this honour is a no-brainer to hand to Durant.

Runner-up: Juan Carlos Navarro (Memphis Grizzlies)  

Byron Scott

Coach of the Year: Byron Scott (New Orleans Hornets) 

Show me the surprise team of the league, and I’ll show you the coach of the year. But this goes beyond that. While Scott does have a solid starting five in Tyson Chandler, Morris Peterson, Peja Stojakovic, David West, and Chris Paul, who is quickly molding into one of the league’s best point guards, the first three mentioned players are those that just didn’t work out with their previous teams. Chandler was a good player in Chicago, the problem was the team wasn’t any good. Same with Peja, same with Mo-Pete. For  the ex-Grizzly Byron Scott to bring this team together and lead them to a division leading 28-12 record, it has to give him some serious consideration for this award.

Runner-up: Stan Van Gundy (Orlando Magic)   

Kobe Bryant

League MVP: Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)

Every year Kobe is nominated for this award, but he never wins it. First off, he was playing with Shaq, the most dominating player in the league at the time, so he obviously isn’t the most valuable player to his team with the Big Aristotle by his side. After Shaq’s departure, everybody knew that Kobe was the most offensively-skilled player in the league, but that doesn’t mean much when you can hardly make the playoffs, as only three players in the least 20 seasons have took home this award when they’re respective teams finished with under 50 wins. Now, Kobe’s Lakers just might hit that mark, with 26 wins and just a game and a half back of the conference leading Phoenix Suns. And trust me, it ain’t Andrew Bynum that’s gotten them there.

Runner-up: Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)  

Hawks and Heat to Replay 51.9 Seconds

Shaquille O'Neal

What? Is this a joke?

The NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat must replay the final 51.9 seconds of last month’s game after the league ruled that the official scorer gave Shaquille O’Neal one foul too many, resulting in him being fouled out.

This means that the 117-111 win in overtime by the Hawks on December 19 is crossed out from the record books and the final seconds of that game will be replayed.

Yes, you heard right.

Before their next meeting on March 8, these two teams will play starting at the time where O’Neal previously received the disputed sixth foul. 

Here’s what happened, according to a TSN article:

The Hawks were leading 112-111 in overtime when O’Neal was called for a foul. The scoring table personnel, who are provided by the home team, ruled it was the Miami centre’s sixth foul, when actually it was only his fifth. 
 
According to the league, the mistake stemmed from a foul with 3:24 remaining in the fourth quarter that was called on Udonis Haslem, but was mistakenly credited to O’Neal at the scoring table.
 
David Stern ruled the Hawks “failed to follow league-mandated scoring procedures and failed to respond effectively when the members of the statisticians’ crew noticed the mistake,” the NBA said in a statement.
 
“Because of this conduct by Atlanta’s personnel, Miami suffered a clear competitive disadvantage, as O’Neal – the Heat’s second-leading scorer and rebounder that night – was removed from a one-point game with only 51.9 seconds remaining.”
 
Now, they’ll have to do it over again. The NBA decided to let Horford’s free throws stand, meaning it will be Miami’s ball, with the Hawks up by three.
 
On the NBA’s official website, those final 51 seconds have already been wiped from the books. The Dec. 19 schedule shows 12 games as finals, but the one in Atlanta is still in progress. The box score and play-by-play are on hold, ending at the time of Horford’s free throws.  

This is absolutely absurd.

First off, it’s not like this was a playoff game, and secondly, mistakes happen in sports. If only we could take back so many instances where the ruling went wrong.

The NBA should not be doing this whatsoever, because then what happens everytime a wrong call is made by an official or a timekeeper? They can’t review it and play it out again.

The Hawks also were fined $50,000, because commissioner David Stern ruled that the team was “grossly negligent” in failing to address the mistake.  

It gets even more ridiculous because timekeepers make mistakes as well as athletes. Why isn’t Shaq fined for not keeping track of his own fouls? Give me a break. Games should not be allowed to be redone because, as unfair as maybe some instances are, it’s part of sports in general. If we can have do-overs in life, then history would be very different.

They cannot rebuild the whole scenario again, so they should not even touch it. Disciplinary action and warnings is okay, but to change the past result is a big no-no. Are they going to get the exact same crowd and atmosphere? Are they going to regain the same fatigue these players were experiencing at the time? Are they going to have the exact same lineups, especially if one of these teams make a trade?

This extra 51.9 seconds of play that these two teams will have to replay is a waste of time, and ultimately, an insult to the world of sports. And now, Stern and his NBA will add another page to the book of sporting disgrace.

So next time Dallas and Buffalo meets in NHL action, we’ll take off from when Brett Hull had his skates in the crease, okay? 

Best of the Best: Part VII – Feel Good Stories

Lebron James

I was just reading a few sports articles, as I continued to procrastinate from school work, when I came across a story on Cleveland Cavaliers’ star LeBron James

Apparently, James and the Lebron James Family Foundation treated 800 locals, most of whom are homeless, to a thanksgiving dinner at Quicken Loans Arena, and then to a movie this past Monday. He also gave families free gift cards for groceries and free transportation passes over the holidays.  

“It’s great to see the smiles on kids’ faces,” James said. “That’s the most important thing to me. It really means a lot to them and it’s special for me.” 

Now that’s using power and money for the right reasons. 

“I’m in a position where I’m able to do things like this. It’s not like I have to, it’s because I want to. I know I can’t fulfill every kid’s dream. But I’m thankful I can do something like this, especially during the holidays.” 

This is a very heartwarming story and a much needed one especially for the NBA and sports in general. James, who is one of the league’s bona fide superstars, understands that he has the ability to give back, and – take notes pro athletes – that’s exactly what he does.

It’s nice to see that not all sport figures are bitter and selfish … 

Another great sports moment, which happened over a year and a half ago, is about an autistic high school basketball player named Jason McElwain.

Watch this inspirational story, which is worth retelling over and over again.

Continuing on with this theme, Rick Reilly, one of my favourite sports writers, has compiled so many amazing articles, which makes you want to go out and be a better person after reading it. 

Here are just a few examples of his feel-good articles on Sports Illustrated:

But one of my all-time favourite has to be this story:

The World’s Greatest Father 

From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in Marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars–all in the same day.

Dick’s also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much–except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years ago, when Rick Was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

“He’ll be a vegetable the rest of his life;” Dick says doctors told him And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. “Put him in an Institution.”

But the Hoyts weren’t buying it. They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There’s nothing going on in his brain.”

“Tell him a joke,” Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!”

And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want To do that.”

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.”

That day changed Rick’s life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!”

And that sentence changed Dick’s life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

“No way,” Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren’t quite a single runner, and they weren’t quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, “Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?”

How’s a guy who never learned to swim and hadn’t ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they’ve done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don’t you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you’d do on your own? “No way,” he says. Dick does it purely for “the awesome feeling” he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992–only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don’t keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

“No question about it,” Rick types. “My dad is the Father of the Century.”

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. “If you hadn’t been in such great shape,” One doctor told him, “you probably would’ve died 15 years ago.” So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other’s life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass. , always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father’s Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

“The thing I’d most like,” Rick types, “is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.”

Watch their video. It’s truly unbelievable.

  

Scott’s Thoughts

Ed Willes has his, I have mine.

  • I’m really glad I didn’t watch the Seahawks’ blow a 21-3 lead to Cleveland, thank you Colts and Patriots for not subjecting me to that ridiculousness, and actually letting me watch a good football game.
  • Apparently the GMs in the NFL that had the top five picks in the draft last season are starting a club where they watch Adrian Peterson’s record-breaking 296 yard rushing game over and over again and cry about what could have been. That is a good Chargers defence he dismantled.
  • Why did Luc Bourdon finally play well on Friday? Simple. It’s the first time nothing was expected of him.
  • Who cares if the Lions won an ugly game? They set a franchise record for wins in a season, with the bulk of those coming from the arm of their third string quarterback. Saskatchewan is going to beat Calgary, and as much as I hate to say it, the ‘Riders haven’t even seen Dickenson yet, and you know Buono’s gonna start him, and you know the Lions are going to win.
  • Give it to the end of this week and Sidney Crosby will surpass Henrik Zetterberg for the scoring lead.
  • Scott Rintoul is a better writer than I would have thought.
  • What is with this Canucks’ schedule? 3 day layoffs followed by back to back games and span of 21 days where they only play divisional games? It’s about time they do something about it.
  • Sure, trade Kobe to Chicago. Then you have the Chicago Lakers. Good on ya.

Kobe’s Krapshoot

Kobe BryantThe L.A. Lakers are in dangerous territory.

How so? Although nothing has been officially completed yet, I think everyone one knows that sooner or later, their superstar Kobe Bryant will be traded.

The big question is ‘to who’ and ‘when’.

Rumours involving Bryant has been a hot topic amongst water-cooler gatherers in the past few weeks, and it’s not going to stop until he gets dealt.

The most common possible blockbuster idea floating around the league was Kobe being traded to Chicago with Luol Deng going the other way. But Bryant came out and stated that he will veto any trade involving Deng. Why? Simple, he needs and wants someone “good” to play with. So a possibility of that trade was squashed.

But a three-way deal speculations started making its rounds around the rumour mill recently.

It also involved the Bulls, with Sacramento being the third team. This deal would send Bryant to Chicago, Bull’s Ben Wallace and King’s Ron Artest going to L.A., and the Kings getting Ben Gordon and P.J. Brown.

But again, these rumours were squashed. This time by Bulls GM John Paxson.

“There’s not a deal done,” said Paxson. “There’s not going to be a deal done. All the things that were out there were really unfair to all of us who were trying to do our jobs. It’s just such a complicated thing and we kind of put it to rest now.”

But as sports fans should know, just because he came out and said that the trade isn’t going to happen, you never know.

In my opinion, the Lakers need to get rid of Kobe Bryant soon. It’s no mystery that he’s unhappy with his surroundings after demanding to be traded this off-season, and then taking back his statement after, but having it brought back up again. Bryant isn’t going to play 100 per cent for the Lakers, because it’s obvious he’s not motivated.

The team is making it publicly known that they don’t want him and he is making it known that he doesn’t want to be there. It’s a hate-hate relationship at the moment.

The Lakers need to get as much as they can for Bryant as his era in the yellow jersey is slowly ending, whether fans want to admit it or not.

Obviously the biggest name out there on the trading block is Kobe, and the deadline isn’t until February, but don’t expect Los Angeles to wait that long.

KB will be gone soon, and the Lakers won’t be the same ever again.