In case you were busy snickering uncontrollably upon hearing that Johnson and Fister got traded on the same day, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Tim Duncan was in vintage form, collecting 21 rebounds and scoring 23 points including a game-winning jumper with 0.4 seconds remaining in the Spurs' 102-100 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Later, Duncan celebrated his heroic outing by giving himself time to consider whether or not Jonathan Franzen's impact on American literature is overrated, before deciding that any such critique was inherently premature.
Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks established themselves as the class of the NFC with a 34-7 dismantling of the New Orleans Saints. "AHHHH YES! PETE CARROLL PETE CARROLL PETE CARROLL!" Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll yelled after the game as he ran laps around the assembled media, "THAT WAS ONE OF THE BEST PETE CARROLL NIGHTS EVER!" When asked if it was Russell Wilson or the team's defensive effort to whom he owed his good mood, Carroll shook his head and replied, "NEITHER! PETE CARROLL HEARD ED HOCHULI TALK ABOUT HIS BALLS! THAT WAS HILARIOUS!" Unfortunately for Carroll, once he started shaking his head, he couldn't figure out a way to stop moving his neck for more than an hour.
Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng combined for more than half of the Bulls’ field goal attempts, which makes sense. When your best offensive weapon goes down, you look to the next-best options. To a degree, it worked. But the Jazz’s young frontcourt was also shorthanded, with Enes Kanter out because of injury and Derrick Favors in foul trouble for most of the night. This left the task of guarding an energized Boozer to the likes of Marvin Williams and rookie Rudy Gobert, human magic beanstalk. Boozer won’t have such favorable matchups in the future.
In case you were busy trying to figure out if the Xbox One is a prequel to the original Xbox, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
LeBron James scored an extraordinarily efficient 35 points on 14 shots as the Miami Heat beat the Phoenix Suns 107-92. He did so despite a strange moment when James called over an official and yelled, "Xbox! Turn the difficulty up!" before realizing he was actually playing basketball and not a next-gen copy of NBA 2K14.
Colin Kaepernick and San Francisco's offense finally got rolling in the 49ers' 27-6 win over Washington. "They dared me to throw the ball," Kaepernick explained after the game. "And at first I was all like, 'Nuh-uh,' and they were all like, 'Double dare,' and I was all like, 'Nuh-uh,' and then they were all like, 'Double dog dare,' and I was all like, 'No way,' and they were all like, 'Triple dog dare,' and that was unorthodox 'cause they totally skipped triple dare, and also they start Josh Wilson in their secondary, so I don't know why they were daring me to throw at all."
Some thoughts after a very depressing weekend of NBA basketball has left the league feeling unusually unsettled for this time of season, with scads of injuries and so many (Eastern Conference) teams with high internal expectations floundering horribly:
With Derrick Rose officially lost for the season, we don't need any more reminders about just how much luck and health-related fortune goes into winning even a single championship. All the VERY LOUD SHOUTING about "ringzzzzz" might obscure this, but how many rings would Michael Jordan own if Scottie Pippen had developed chronic knee issues? Bill Russell went down midway through the 1958 Finals, which the Celtics lost, and injuries both major and minor have tipped the balance of every postseason since. We would do well to remember season-altering issues to contender centerpieces (Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Willis Reed, Jerry West, Kevin Garnett, Oscar Robertson, Dave DeBusschere, Russell Westbrook, Andrew Bynum, Isiah Thomas, etc.) and sub-stars (Jameer Nelson, Sam Cassell, Lakers-era Karl Malone, Gus Johnson, and on, and on) the next time someone screams about how pathetic and "unclutch" it is that Player X hasn't won a ring. Health plays a giant role in deciding the champion — in literally every season.
For all the attention on the wonky basketball mysteries SportVU tracking cameras might solve, the real holy grail is combining that technology with others that might lead to some tiny slice of enlightenment on injury prediction and prevention. It will never be an exact science — not in our lifetimes, anyway. But any team that learns some small truth about injuries will have gained a valuable edge.
In case you were out getting a terrifying vote of confidence from an eccentric Russian oligarch, here's what you missed in sports last weekend:
A rough day for the Manning family saw the Dallas Cowboys all but eliminate the Giants' scant playoff hopes with a 24-21 win at the Meadowlands. "The bad news is, we're probably headed home in December," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said after the game as he stroked his weird red mustache. "The good news is, Cooper said I can finally go to Space Camp this offseason. So it's all good news, because Space Camp is gonna be so worth it!"
A punt misplayed by Denver's Tony Carter in overtime proved to be the difference, as the New England Patriots beat the Denver Broncos, 34-31, in an instant classic. "At least I'm not that guy. At least I'm not Tony Carter," said world's saddest man Gary Pittson while watching the game's highlights from a motel room in West Memphis, Arkansas. The Ultimate Clarity: A Life-Changing Life System information session he had attended at the Memphis Airport Marriott had been a bit of a bust, if Pittson was being honest with himself. Sure, the day's speaker, former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Tony Jones, was possessed of Ultimate Clarity, but he couldn't see how the principles of confidence and serenity that Jones was espousing could apply to his life. Jones was a millionaire, and he was famous, and he was a Super Bowl champion. Pittson was a nobody. Also, the session was expensive, so much so that after paying for his flight and the fees and the books, Pittson certainly couldn't afford to stay at the Marriott, but being so far away made it hard to participate in the more social aspects of the information session. Pittson shook his head, looked back up at his TV, and took a deep breath as the highlight repeated itself. "At least I'm not that guy," Pittson said to no one. "At least I'm not Tony Carter."
In case you were busy really thinking about Michael Jordan's trademark celebration; he was just sticking his tongue out, right? How did he make that cool? That's kinda just gross, yes? Yeah, anyway, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
Despite being held to three second-half points, the New Orleans Saints did enough to beat the Atlanta Falcons, 17-13, to keep in pace in the race for the top seed in the NFC. "I almost wish we'd let them win that, but the damn Seahawks " Saints quarterback Drew Brees said while shaking his head. When asked why he would possibly want to lose a divisional battle in the heat of the playoff race, Brees suddenly clammed up, but the wind whispered, "Clowney," as a shudder ran down his spine.
A late 3-point barrage from guard Nate Robinson and forward Jordan Hamilton was the difference as the Denver Nuggets pulled away from the Chicago Bulls in a 97-87 home victory. "Hamilton and Nate, you say?" said Robinson after the game, as he arched an eyebrow. "That sounds like a great idea for a buddy cop drama starring me, Nate Robinson. I call it Nate and Hamilton. I'm a young bad boy, and Hamilton's a grizzled veteran. And he's all like, 'Gimme your badge, Nate,' and I'm all like, 'Gimme one more chance, Hamilton,' and he's all like, 'You're a loose cannon, Nate,' and I'm all like, 'This whole city's a loose cannon, Hamilton.'" Hamilton then piped up to ask who would play Hamilton, because it sounded like a juicy part, and he wondered if Robinson had anyone in mind. Robinson considered for a second, before pointing at Hamilton and saying, "Carl Weathers."
In case you were busy confusing Jimmie Johnson, Jimmy Johnson, and a turkey sandwich, son, here's what you missed in sports last weekend:
Peyton Manning overcame an injured ankle and Kansas City's vaunted pass rush as the Broncos handed the Chiefs their first loss of the season, 27-17 in Denver. "Well, when you think Peyton, you think mobility," said Broncos interim head coach Jack Del Rio after the game. "So, it was definitely tough to deal with being forced to keep him in the pocket. But somehow, god bless him, he managed."
Indiana lost its first game of the NBA season as Derrick Rose's return sparked his Chicago Bulls to a 110-94 win. "D-Rose is going to make me broke," said Chicago fan Jesse Wilkerson while purchasing a brand-new Rose home jersey. When asked why he was buying Rose's jersey now, Wilkerson replied, "Look, if the guy's gonna play soft and miss games, I'm not going to not burn his jersey." Wilkerson, who once cried at a party at the University of Illinois when someone accidentally spilled his Corona Light, then added, "That's what fans do to toughen up their favorite players. Men gotta be tough, but they also have to be loyal."
In case you were busy putting in place overly ambitious field-wiping plans, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Despite coughing up another double-digit lead, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took advantage of a distracted Miami team, beating the Dolphins 22-19 to record their first win of the season. "Hee-hee! Yippee!" exclaimed head coach Greg Schiano to his team after the game, "we did it for realsies, friends! We got that first win, just like I wished we would. Now I promised you a special surprise when we won, and I'm not one to let my best friends down! So here it is!" Schiano then threw open the locker-room door, revealing an entire fun forest waiting for his team in the bowels of Raymond James Stadium. "It's all there!" Schiano said with a giggle, "a petting zoo, ice cream cake, clowns, face painting! I want you guys to just go nuts! You earned it!" Schiano then dove headfirst into a bouncy castle as the party DJ he hired started blasting Miley Cyrus's Party in the U.S.A.
In a battle of talented, young Western Conference teams, the Clippers withstood a late Timberwolves flurry to top Minnesota 109-107. "Man, I felt like Liam Neeson out there," said Clippers forward Blake Griffin after the game, "you know, when he's facing down those wolves. In the wolf movie. What's that called?" Clippers guard Chris Paul replied, "Dude, that's The Grey," but Griffin was unconvinced, saying, "Nah, I think it's got 'Wolf' in the title. Wolf Day Afternoon?" Paul shook his head, and said, "No, that's Pacino, and it's 'Dog,' not 'Wolf.' I'm sure you're thinking of The Grey," but Griffin was insistent, saying, "Nah, dude, duh, we're both wrong. It's not Wolf Day Afternoon or whatever made-up thing you said. It's Star Wolf: Episode 2, Attack of the Wolves." Paul then walked away as a pleased Griffin explained, "This game was like that movie. Lots of wolves."
In case you were busy telling one of your employees to hit another one of your employees to settle an interpersonal workplace dispute, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday:
A fourth-quarter surge from the Pacers' reserves turned a close game between division rivals into a blowout, as Indiana ran away from the Bulls in a 97-80 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau, whose team is now a disappointing 1-3, said after the game, "I'm panicking! Of course I'm panicking! We've played four games! Derrick Rose is not playing like an MVP! We're all panicking!" Thibodeau then added, "Fire! Fire! I don't know what to do! What am I supposed to say? 'Just play your game, and things will turn around?' No! No one will believe me! Must make everything clean! Must make everything clean!" Thibodeau then pulled out a canister of gasoline and poured it over the team's jersey hamper as the media ran from the locker room.
Philadelphia lost its second consecutive game after opening the season a surprising 3-0, falling to the Washington Wizards 116-102. "I think we've got this all straightened out," said 76ers GM Sam Hinkie after the game. "Me and the boys had to come to a bit of an arrangement, see. Turns out just bringing in bad apples ain't enough. You have to make them want to play bad, you hear? But the problem is, shooting baskets is real fun. Almost too fun." Hinkie then smiled and said, "But defense? No one likes playing defense. Dames don't go in for defense. So I say, no defense, and they can keep their precious offense. Pretty clever, eh?"
In case you were busy trying to solve the Heat's chemistry issues using stoichiometry, here's what you missed in sports last weekend:
It was a weekend of big comebacks in the NFL as contenders Seattle and Indianapolis mounted stunning symmetrical rallies behind their Pro Bowl second-year quarterbacks to beat Tampa Bay and Houston, respectively, 27-24. When asked if they were disappointed to have fallen behind relatively poor opposition, both Seattle's Russell Wilson and the Colts' Andrew Luck replied, "It's easy to look at records and dismiss an opponent, but every team in the league is good." Then both men said, "There are no excuses in this league. Sure, we lost a top receiver to an ACL injury last week, but every team deals with injuries, and it's on me to avoid mistakes," before both said, "But what's special with this team is its belief and resolve." When asked if they were considering a presidential run after their careers were over, both men laughed and replied, "Well, I don't want to get ahead of myself but who knows?" Then both men pointed directly at the camera and said, "But I do know this: There's only one man standing in my way. And he knows who he is. And I will stop at nothing until I am the most powerful man in the world." Then both men let out uncharacteristically evil maniacal laughs, before clearing their throats and adding, "Go Hawks," and, "Go Colts."
In a battle of ACC unbeatens, Florida State throttled Miami 41-14 as they narrowly moved back to no. 2 in the BCS standings. "Don't worry, folks," said Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher after the game, "we're not gonna run up the score for no BCS computer. No siree, Bob." Fisher then pulled his sunglasses down to the tip of his nose, peered out over them, and said, "We're gonna run up the score because scoring lots of points is real fun."
With 17 minutes left in the countdown until tipoff last night, United Center was still half-empty. Rain had beat down on Chicago all day, and adding wet roads to the already grinding rush hour crawl turns I-90 into one long parking lot. As the JumboTron clock hit 16:40, the people who had made it were enough to provide a glimpse of the type of night this was going to be. Shots of the Bulls waiting in the hallway flashed on the video board, moving from player to player. Derrick Rose was last, and when his image came onto the screen, the arena didn’t feel half-empty anymore.
For some, it was probably the first definitive statement they’d received on whether Rose was going to play. A stiff neck kept him out of shootaround that morning, and for a brief stretch, it seemed like the moment Chicago had waited 18 months for would have to wait a few more days.
There’s no sense in rehashing Rose’s saga from that year and a half. When he tore his ACL against Philadelphia in April 2012, the Bulls were the no. 1 seed in the East, with dreams of a title very much alive. Last season, the back and forth about whether Rose should play started in February and went until a depleted Bulls team finally ran out of steam and was put down by Miami. All of that was gone last night. The wait was over.
In case you were busy shooing weird-looking kids begging for candy off your doorstep, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
Cameron Wake's game-ending sack of Andy Dalton was the difference as the Miami Dolphins snapped the Cincinnati Bengals' four-game winning streak via a rare overtime safety in a 22-20 win. When asked if Wake's pressure had gotten in his head, a confident Dalton replied, "Not at all. That game was just a real wake-up call for our team — no, no. I'm not going to do that, he's not in my head." Dalton took a deep breath and continued, saying, "I mean, fortunately this isn't some sort of wake for our chance to win the divis— no! Shit. There's another way to say that." Dalton then shook his head for a second before changing the subject, saying, "Let's talk about our defense, which did a great job even without Brandon Ghee, who went to Wake Forest — what is happening to me? Come on, I'm not brain-dead like those guys in Awakenings — gah!" A visibly desperate Dalton then said, "OK, OK. I'm gonna talk about something else entirely. Have you guys heard that new Arcade Fire album? Not as good as 'Wake Up' but — goddamnit! Wakeboarding is a great way to enjoy the summer — what? I don't even believe that! 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' was a hit by Wham — this has to stop!" Dalton then stood very still for a moment, before saying very slowly, "Credit to the Dolphins. They've come a long way since the Cam Cameron era." Dalton then paused and looked around the room, before suddenly blurting out, "Cameron Wake era. Dolphins can ride the wake. Wake up, Andy! Wake up!"
In case you were busy walking the plank at the behest of Bill Belichick, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
LeBron James and the Miami Heat opened their NBA championship defense with an impressive 107-95 win over Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. An optimistic Rose, who was playing in his first regular-season game since recovering from a torn ACL, said, "I'm disappointed in the loss, but my performance, I can easily change that by making shots and keeping down the turnovers." When Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau heard his point guard's comments, however, he flew into a rage, screaming, "He could have made more shots and avoided turnovers? Well, why didn't he? What the hell was he thinking?" Thibodeau then threw his hands in the air and said, "Jiminy Christmas, he was only out for a year. I have to micromanage everything with this team."
Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons disagree about which team should be in the top spot, but Bill made the list, so THE BULLS ARE THE NO. 1 TEAM. Bill and Jalen enlist the help of Ice Cube, a Carlos Boozer shot chart, the Blues Brothers, and the O'Jays to break down the reloaded Bulls and, of course, give the people what they want. Got to give the people what they want.