In case you were busy making a new nonalcoholic mixed drink that's half soda water, half tonic water called the Van de Velde, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
Playing without Luol Deng, Derrick Rose, and Kirk Hinrich was too much for the Bulls, who fell 95-92 to the Brooklyn Nets. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau regrettably informed his team of their depleted forces before the game, adding, "I didn't know the games were optional." He then proceeded to drink straight from a bottle of Gilbey's gin, tell Taj Gibson that he wanted to sleep with his sister, and unleash a barrage of awkwardly profuse "real talk about love and pain" upon the injured Hinrich. Bulls forward Carlos Boozer then yelled out his signature catchphrase, "Can you smell the booze stank in the room?!" before being told by Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin that games are not optional. A visibly intoxicated Boozer fouled out of his team's defeat in the fourth quarter.
Even though he had another solid outing, Atlanta starter Kris Medlen fell to 1-4 as his Braves lost to the Washington Nationals, 3-1. Medlen, snacking on biscuits after the game, blamed his spotty start to the season on fatigue based on his home life. "I've got young boys, and they're up at all hours," he said. "I've only been a little off, which just makes me think I could be 5-0 if it weren't for those Medlen kids!"
In case you were busy living on easy street wait — OH, I FORGOT ABOUT MY TAXES — here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
The Boston Red Sox rode a seven-run second inning to cruise to a 7-2 win over the host Cleveland Indians. Red Sox starter Felix Doubront, who got the win after throwing five solid innings, said, "With everything that happened yesterday, I was just out there pitching for the name on the front of the jersey today, not on the back. Which really helped, because even I have trouble pronouncing my last name. It's Doo-Braunt, by the way I think. I'm pretty sure. Like 99 percent. Don't hold me to that until I call my ma, though."
Veteran starter Dan Haren gave up seven runs in 4⅓ innings as the Washington Nationals fell to the Miami Marlins, 8-2. After the game, a shell-shocked Haren said, "I gave up a home run today to Adeiny Hechavarria. I got shelled by the Miami Marlins. Sometimes it's hard to know when it's over. This is not one of those times." He then announced the immediate opening of Haren Buick, Haren Chevrolet, and Haren Kia/Hyundai, which he hoped would become the Southern California destination for peoples' Buick, Chevrolet, Kia, and Hyundai needs.
It feels like just a few weeks ago that we were watching the NHL’s opening night. And it was. Thanks, Bettman!
But in this lockout-shortened season, we’re already in the home stretch. In fact, today is one of just 18 days left on the NHL schedule. In a perfect world, you’d watch them all. But in this imperfect world, there’s a good chance you’re stuck with things like “a job” or “family” or “friends,” so you have to pick your spots.
I’m here for you. I went through each of the remaining 18 days on the NHL regular-season calendar to figure out which were likely to be worth watching, and which could safely be skipped.
In case you were busy letting yourself go after realizing that a late push for a role in Pain & Gain was a fool's errand, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
In a battle of red-hot Eastern Conference foes, Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks outdueled John Wall and the Washington Wizards, 120-99, securing their first division title since 1994. The Knicks drilled 20 3-pointers in the win, their 13th in a row. This game came one day after Knicks legend Bernard King was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade announced that he's likely out of action until the playoffs begin. Additionally, the weather in New York was perfect, with sunshine and highs in the low 80s. Am I blaming this run of Knicks good fortune on global warming? No. But am I blaming global warming on the Knicks' unprecedented run? Maybe.
The Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets, 104-96, to move back into the no. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoff race. Kobe Bryant was sensational in the win, scoring 23 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. "You know what they say about Kobe; he's a closer," said Lakers center Dwight Howard after the game. "Well, that's what Kobe says about Kobe when he refuses to let me have any coffee in the clubhouse."
In case you were busy wondering what living Nicolas Cage's life would feel like, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
The NCAA tournament got under way in Dayton as North Carolina A&T edged Liberty, 73-72. The win was a clear victory for Revisionist Bracketologists, who are well aware of the infringements on liberty that occur when advanced technology mechanizes our agricultural processes. However, the day's other game, in which the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders fell to St. Mary's, was a triumph for Conservative Bracketologists who respect religion's place in society and who do not support raiding, regardless of the color it takes. Fortunately, both groups found common ground in Kentucky's first-round NIT loss to Robert Morris, as John Calipari is both an affront to those who desire a more equitable distribution of finite economic resources and God.
In a Western Conference showdown, the Denver Nuggets proved their recent winning ways are no fluke beating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 114-104, on the road. "It's not fair," said Thunder forward Kevin Durant after the game. "It's our house. They should have to play by our rules." Scott Brooks lent his star forward a sympathetic ear, saying, "I hear you, Kevin, but be honest, what rules did they break?" Durant fought back tears as he said, "All of them." "Well, that's true," Brooks granted, before asking, "but were they punished for their infractions? Huh? How many free throws did you shoot tonight?" Durant was silent. "Come on, Kevin," Brooks implored. "How many?" "Sixteen," Durant said with a shake of his head. Brooks kept pushing. "And how many did you make?" "Fourteen," Durant said with a grin. Brooks rubbed Kevin's head. "That's pretty good, isn't it? Maybe they just came in here and played really well. And maybe, just maybe, we can learn from this and give ’em 'what for' come playoff time. Does that sound good?" Durant's grin stretched into a broad smile, as he stood up, visibly reinvigorated. "Yeah, Coach, it sure does!"
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
Matt Ryan threw his 100th career touchdown pass and the Falcons defense harassed Peyton Manning into three first-quarter interceptions in a 27-21 win over the Broncos. "Each turnover has its own story that no one really wants to hear," Manning said afterward. He then paused, looked in every reporter's eyes, and said, "Actually, let's do this. Turnover one was a lonely girl with big dreams who wanted to escape the drudgery of life in her tiny Nebraska town. Her father was an undertaker, but she longed for more, so she joined a traveling circus. She found joy and she married a carnie, but late one drunken night she died while riding the zipper and they sent her body back to her father. INTERCEPTION. Turnover two was a lot like the boy in Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer." Poor kid, ragged people, bleeding winter, dead from boxing. INTERCEPTION. Turnover three was just a bad pass. WRONG. TRICKED YOU. Each turnover has a story, never forget that. Turnover three was the look my father gave me one October morning, age 8, when I said I wanted to become an artist. "I hate football, Daddy. I love paints and oils." Old Archie threw me in the back of our pickup truck, drove me out to the woods, and left me with nothing but a football for six days. It worked. I fell in love with that football and named it Godfrey. My artistic dreams died with the midnight howling of the wolves. INTERCEPTION. COME BACK, GODFREY. But Godfrey's gone."
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
Jeremy Lin continued to amaze and electrify, dishing out a career-high 13 assists to go along with 10 points in a 100-85 Knicks win over the Sacramento Kings. After the game, in an attempt to reclaim his status as America's basketball darling, Kings guard Jimmer Fredette released a series of adorable pictures with puppies. I'm not saying it worked, and I'm not saying it didn't work, but I'll trade a "Jimmer With Labradoodle on Sofa" print for anything from the Black Lab Cuddle Sessions.
Hockey’s Three Stars of Comedy is a monthly feature that will recognize the three NHL personalities from around the league who produced the most comedic fodder for fans. It will appear every month during the regular season, unlike Eric Staal.
The Honorable Mentions
Craig Smith, Nashville Predators
Experts agree that there are three unbreakable records in hockey: Glenn Hall’s 502 consecutive games played in goal, Wayne Gretzky’s 2,857 career points, and Patrick Stefan’s “worst choke job while all alone in front of an empty net.”
While he didn’t quite reach Stefan’s level, Smith came close against the Maple Leafs. Alone and just inches outside of the crease, Smith managed to not only miss the net but somehow fire the puck into the upper deck. He then went to the bench and delivered one of the best “Please take the camera off me so I can try to swallow my own tongue” looks of all time.
We went back to simpler times on the BS Report today you know, those days when there were two winter sports to discuss and we needed to split a podcast up into two parts to properly cover both of them.
In Part 1, Yahoo!'s Greg Wyshynski (of Puck Daddy fame) came on to discuss Alex Ovechkin's mysterious disappearance this season, Sid the Kid's comeback, the rejuvenated Bruins, his hatred for shootouts, his fetish for Russian goon videos, whether it is smart to have two good goalies, Tyler Seguin vs. Taylor Hall, whether the Maple Leafs are for real, whether hockey fans are the best fans in sports, and how weird it is that I suddenly have opinions on many of these things. Here's the ESPN.com PodCenter link and iTunes link for Part 1.
In Part 2, we called my buddy Joe House to have our long-awaited Red-and-Andy/Mexico hug about the end of the NBA lockout, then tried to predict what the next three weeks might look like even though it's been so long that we could barely remember who this month's free agents are and what the new rules were. We also talked about whether we like the shorter schedule, whether there's a guaranteed "smart" title pick for Vegas purposes right now, where Nene and Marc Gasol might be going, which teams might be able to sneakily improve themselves with a couple of shrewd signings, and whether House was even qualified to be appearing on this podcast after calling O.J. Mayo "J.J. Mayo." It's an action-packed romp and we're delighted to have the NBA back, even if I'm still pissed off that the league went away for five months. Here's the ESPN.com PodCenter link and iTunes link for Part 2.
Three Stars of Comedy is a new feature that will take a look back at the month that was in the NHL, and recognize three personalities from around the league who produced the most comedy fodder for fans. It will appear every month during the regular season, or until the NBA lockout is settled and Grantland stops covering hockey.
The Honorable Mentions
The NHL is a funny league, and some worthy candidates didn’t quite make the cut. Before we get to this month’s winners, here’s a few who fell just short.
Arron Asham, Pittsburgh Penguins
Sure, his “go to sleep” move after KO’ing Jay Beagle was offensive and tasteless and an affront to hockey’s code. But you still used it. Yes, you did. Once we knew Beagle was (relatively) OK, hockey fans had the green light to incorporate “go to sleep” motion into their day-to-day activities. It became the ultimate celebration move. Pull off a one-sided trade in your fantasy league? Go to sleep. Silenced a Senators fan by tricking them into clicking on the fat gladiator intro video? Go to sleep. Heard Sidney Crosby give his three hundredth update on his concussion status without actually saying anything? Go to sleep. Literally.
The Columbus Blue Jackets
They’re rumored to be considering John Ferguson Jr. as their next general manager. As somebody who writes jokes about hockey for money, this is almost too good to be true. In fact, I don’t even want to think about it. Let’s move on.