In case you were busy realizing that you waited way too long to make that Harlem Shake video, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
- LeBron James powered the Miami Heat to their ninth consecutive win as they beat the Chicago Bulls, 86-67, at the United Center. The game was notable both for James's performance and a pair of scary moments. First, James pulled up limping after being fouled hard by Bulls guard Nate Robinson. Fortunately, he's not expected to miss any time. Scarier still, a large lighting fixture fell from the roof of the arena, narrowly missing a group of spectators. While rumors of a "phantom" haunting the arena were quickly dismissed, sabotage by a man envious of James's success is suspected. Early reports describe the suspect as a bald, 6-foot-6, 50-year-old African-American male wearing a mask over his face and six rings on his fingers. He is reported to have eluded capture using his superior footwork, and remains at large.
- In a battle of Western Conference leaders, the San Antonio Spurs blew out the Los Angeles Clippers, 116-90, at Staples Center. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was able to leverage the margin of victory into time off for his stars, playing Tim Duncan only 16 minutes in the win. "Sixteen is pretty good, but, ideally, we can get Tim's minutes down even lower," Popovich said after the game, before unveiling his "Hexagon of Success." The elaborate system is designed to ensure Tim Duncan can play as little basketball as possible, with each of the six points of the hexagon representing a different reason that Tim Duncan can be rested in a game: injury, large lead, large deficit, small ball, savvy rotation, and "Pop's wild card." Popovich went on to explain, "If we get to the center of the hexagon, then Tim isn't playing at all, which we see as the Platonic ideal of how Tim can contribute to our team's success. Every minute he plays is a minute I've failed to prevent him from having to play."
- It took a seven-round shootout, but the Ottawa Senators took down the New York Rangers at home, 3-2. However, the Senators' win was bittersweet, as goalie Craig Anderson sprained his ankle in the third period, adding to the Senators' injury woes. "Man, I haven't seen this many injured Senators since the caning of Charles Sumner," said Ottawa coach Paul MacLean. As the Canadian press corps laughed, MacLean added ruefully, "That wasn't a joke. Sumner was seriously beaten, and I've got a number of guys in a lot of pain over here."
- The Connecticut Huskies picked up another Big East victory with a 73-66 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bearcats. Shabazz Napier had 27 points for the Huskies, as he continued his torrid play in pursuit of the crown of best college basketball player named "Shabazz." "I wish I could be focusing on team accomplishments, but there's another Shabazz out there," Napier said after the game, referring to UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad, "and there can be only one." Napier then explained that before the draft, the two men will have to battle until "one of our heads comes away from our neck. Then it's over." When told of Napier's terrifying statement, Muhammad nodded, saying, "We all understand the rules. The rap group Shabazz Palaces must not interfere, and yes, in the end, there can be only one."
- Kobe Bryant, in an interview with Sports Illustrated, guaranteed his Los Angeles Lakers would secure a playoff spot despite their current position outside of the top eight in the West. When asked how he could be sure that his team, which has underachieved all season, would be able to turn around their fortunes, Bryant explained, "Fear is a very powerful motivator. And also books." Bryant then pulled out a dozen copies of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and added, "Don't think I didn't learn anything from Phil."
- Tottenham Hotspur advanced to the next round of the Europa League as a 90th-minute strike from Mousa Dembele eliminated Lyon in the round-of-32. Lyon captain Frenchman Maxime Gonalons, was introspective after the match, saying, "Is it better to have almost won, or would we prefer to have never been close? The correct answer is neither, as we are all manifestations of the same consciousness, which some may call God, and, as such, one cannot win or lose. One can only participate in the illusion of existence." Gonalons then took a cigarette out of his pack of Gauloises and lit it before adding, "But for some reason, I do wish to cause pain to the manifestation that is named Bale, and I will do so now." Gonalons then put the cigarette out on his forearm, as he said through gritted teeth, "I am Gareth Bale, and I feel pain. And yet there is no me, no Gareth Bale, and no such thing as pain."
- Top seeds Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy crashed out of the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship in Phoenix. For McIlroy, this loss means more uncomfortable questions as his shaky play since switching to Nike clubs becomes a concern. For Woods, this loss means more comfortable questions as his shaky play over the past couple of seasons is a much more pleasant topic of conversation than his personal life.
- In a relatively tepid NBA trade deadline day, the marquee move sent shooting guard J.J. Redick from the Orlando Magic to the Milwaukee Bucks in a six-player deal. In an effort to process his emotions surrounding his move, Redick, harking back to his days at Duke, composed the following poem. And for some reason, he sent it to me to share with you all. Enjoy!
February 21, 2013
NBA Deadline Day, time to get traded.
Am I sad, or am I elated?
Look at Josh Smith, he didn't get dealt,
Unlike Jordan Crawford, who now is a Celt.
Look at the truth, and look at the pain.
Will they trade J.J.? Are they insane?
And what of all the skill that I gain(ed)?
My D that developed, my thickening frame?
What is the cost for a man like me?
Where will I end up? Who will I be?
Time to get the call, time to see.
No more time, time moved quickly.
Wisconsin. The Bucks. Milwaukee.
Milwaukee, for me is a city of dreams.
Place in Wisconsin that has lots of teams.
North of Chicago, but south of Green Bay
Basketball is the game that I play.
And also life, I play that game hard.
Overcame hardships, been called a coward.
Had to spend so much time with Dwight Howard.
Seriously, so much damn time with that dude.
Guy wasn't funny, guy was just rude.
But enough of the Magic.
No more time for stuff that is tragic.
No more talk of Dwight.
For the Bucks I must fight.
For the almighty dollar.
God told me to holler.
Oh, wait, I guess Buck means deer.
A male beast that guys fear.
Hoofs on my feet. Antlers on my head.
Run too fast, hunters can't shoot me dead.
NBA Deadline Day came and then went.
And for me, no doubt, the day was heaven sent.