In case you were out dressed up as Grimace to serve as a decoy for a hamburger-related heist, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
The Denver Nuggets stayed hot, winning their 12th straight at home, 107-92, over the Los Angeles Clippers. Denver pulled away late, despite the mind games of Blake Griffin. Nuggets forward Andre Iguodala said after the game, "Blake kept calling me the Iguanodon, which I get, but he also kept calling [Nuggets center] Kosta Koufos the Koufosaurus. I don't even think that's a real dinosaur." When asked what he was up to, Griffin responded, "I just think dinosaurs are cool," before jutting out his mouthguard and winking.
The Pittsburgh Penguins stormed back from a three-goal deficit to beat the Flyers in Philadelphia, 5-4. I'm sorry, I mean the city formerly known as Philadelphia, which is now officially Philahellphia, as the local government has been seized by enraged Flyers fans. Martial law currently reigns in the city, with sober rationality the only official crime on the books. Fortunately, this has caused nothing to change for the citizens of Philahellphia in the aftermath of this rare American coup d'etat.
In case you were busy helping J.J. Abrams run a viral marketing campaign for Star Trek Into Darkness in Central Russia, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Chris Paul and the division-leading Los Angeles Clippers beat the Los Angeles Lakers "on the road" at Staples Center, 125-101. "This year, the crowd dynamic has really changed," Paul said after the game. "Usually when we play the Lakers, they have the most fans, but it's been really different of late. I don't know what could have led to the basketball fans of Los Angeles supporting us when they all seemed to be so passionate about the Lakers in the past. It makes no sense at all. They were Lakers fans, something happened, and now they root for the Clippers. I don't know, I'll take it, but it's totally inexplicable."
This is a very, very special Monday in Shuffle-land. When we started this column a couple of weeks ago, I joked that "The Hardcourt Shuffle" sounded like a dance crazy from the 1920s, and I encouraged readers to write lyrics for the imaginary song. Today, I'm beyond thrilled to announce that reader Drew Bollinger did me one better; he wrote the lyrics, and then he wrote the damn song!
It's hard to explain how far my jaw dropped when I first opened Drew's e-mail and listened to the mp3. I'll let you judge it for yourself, but let me just say that Mr. Bollinger is now a charter member of the Hardcourt Shuffle Hall of Fame, which is a thing I just invented. And it's going to be a really exclusive club; so far, it's just Drew and Mason Plumlee. But man, does he deserve it. Enjoy the brand-new Hardcourt Shuffle theme song:
I've had ridiculously good luck appealing to readers so far, so why not press my advantage? My next request is for someone to invent the dance to the Hardcourt Shuffle song, and make a YouTube of yourself performing it to the music. I won't promise instant fame for the first person who follows through, buttttt … actually, screw it, I promise instant fame.
So thanks again to Drew, and now let's get to the hoops.
When my wife read Friday's post, she asked me why I cared who was the beefiest or bulkiest player in the country. And I have to tell you guys I didn't have a good answer. Let's move on to this week's epiphanies and observations.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports over the weekend.
The Redskins rallied to beat the Ravens, 31-28, in overtime, and dodged a bullet when Robert Griffin III's knee injury was diagnosed a sprain, and not an ACL tear. They dodged another bullet when they discovered it wasn't a sprained knee at all, just a swollen fat face, and dodged a final bullet when they realized they were actually looking at a large photo of team owner Dan Snyder.
I'm one of those people who adhere to a strict famine-and-feast diet on Thanksgiving Day. I'll starve myself throughout the day, trying to not let the aromas floating in from the kitchen drive me insane, just so I can gorge myself like a crazed animal when 4 p.m. rolls around. From an informal poll of friends and family, it seems like this is a pretty common tactic. I'm ashamed to admit that I had to eat an apple to hold myself over at noon, but otherwise I held firm. And the feast was glorious. I didn't stop eating until midnight, when my wife hit me with a pan and knocked me into a deep, 18-hour slumber.
The whole Thanksgiving situation is a lot like the first two weeks of college basketball. The morning starvation is the offseason, when you want to avoid lesser temptations like recruiting updates or NCAA investigations or Tony Parker's eight-month press conference. Sometimes you need to check in on those things just to hold off the hunger, like with my apple. And then, when the season finally arrives, it's a delicious cornucopia of tournaments, amazing matchups, surprising players, and crazy upsets. I can't stop watching. I can't, and I won't! I've now binged on college basketball for two straight weeks, and from the depraved den of hoops gluttony, I bring you my 25 November epiphanies.
A couple of years back, I had a revelatory moment on a college-football message board. We must have gotten tired of posting police booking photos of Texas A&M players, because someone asked the board: Who here has been to the most University of Texas games?
The revelation happened when I got a little way down the thread. A few posters announced they’d been to every single Texas game, home and away, over a period of 30-plus years. Provo, Utah, 1988; Piscataway, New Jersey, 1999; Manhattan, Kansas, 2002 Moreover, they had no intention of ending their streaks. Thirty years from now, we’d find them face-down at Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater, with their iPhones logged onto the message board and unused tickets in their cold, dead hands.
My own road-trip inventory is comparatively light. I got to hear the Colorado fight song back in 1996, before the Buffaloes program got fully Neuheiseled. I squeezed in a fantastic, Saturday-to-Sunday road trip to Columbus, Ohio, in 2005, when Texas beat the Buckeyes. It was there, with my pal Daniel, that I began to think there was an art to attending a college-football game on the road.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Syracuse got a huge scare from 16-seed UNC-Asheville in the NCAA tournament on Thursday. The Orange only escaped with a 72-65 win after receiving several favorable calls in the second half. "Guess I just had some good karma coming!" said Jim Boeheim, who, for some reason, was lighting a cigar with a $100 bill. In a related story, the last mystical gnome died from pollution yesterday at 5 p.m., and his last words were: "Magic is gone from the world."
Rivalry Week is here, and there's a lot more at stake than just pride. Which is great because, really, who cares about pride? Most of us threw that out the window when we went on welfare just so we could afford HBO. It's the American story, folks. Don't blame the messenger. Anyway, there are more games with BCS implications this week than I can ever remember. The rundown is enough to make you store canned peaches and rifles in an underground shelter and pray for Thursday. So, here it be. (Note: I realize that not all of these games are true rivalries, so quit it with your semantics. There are bigger problems in this world, dude, such as your reflexive anger at trivialities.)