In case you were out all night looking for the afikomen, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
Dallas got a crucial win in the Western Conference playoff race, beating the Los Angeles Clippers, 109-102, at home. Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who had a potential game-winning shot waved off at the end of regulation after he fouled Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, said after the game, "Dirk, man, respect his game, but the guy's a real Batusi dancer." When told of Griffin's comments, a puzzled Nowitzki asked, "Wait, is he calling me old? Like Adam West? Or lame? Is he saying I cheated? I don't get it. We won the game. What the hell is this? Ask him what he meant by that." When asked, however, Griffin responded, "Nah, guy just dances the Batusi, you know" before winking at the gathered media and jutting out his mouthpiece with a half smile.
The United States Men's National Team earned a rare road point at the Estadio Azteca, holding Mexico to a scoreless draw in a World Cup–qualifying match. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann credited his team's resolve to their prematch preparation, in which Klinsmann himself berated his team in Spanish and threw bags of unidentifiable liquids at them as they attempted corner kicks. When asked if his own experience winning matches in Mexico with West Germany led him to that training technique, Klinsmann responded, "Um sure. Yes. Let's go with that."
In 2009, Bill Simmons decided to cross another item off his bucket list by traveling south to Mexico City and Estadio Azteca to take in the sights, sounds and passion of a USA-Mexico World Cup qualifying match.
In case you were busy trying to remember Della Reese's name (it's Della Reese), here's what you missed in sports last weekend.
Despite an off night from LeBron James, his Miami Heat got their 18th consecutive win, 105-91, over the Indiana Pacers. After the game, diminutive Heat point guard Mario Chalmers, who led his team with 26 points, said, "Finally, it's my Miami Heat." Chalmers beamed and pointed at himself with both thumbs until Heat forward Chris Bosh patronizingly patted him on the head, saying, "Sure it is, little buddy." Chalmers sulked away as both Bosh and Dwyane Wade laughed at his expense. "Why won't they let me have this?" Chalmers asked himself while crouched inside of his locker.
Indiana won a thriller in Ann Arbor to take home the Big Ten championship, beating the Michigan Wolverines, 72-71. Michigan point guard Trey Burke's potential game-winning layup hung on the rim, bouncing three times before falling out, costing him and his team a share of the Big Ten title in what might be his last regular season game as a member of the Wolverines. So in case you find yourself talking to Trey Burke at some point in the next 20 years, now you'll know exactly what he's replaying in his mind while he stares off into the distance with a glazed-over look in his eye.
Before Wednesday’s friendly between the U.S. and Mexico in Mexico City, there was talk. Lots of talk. Of the United States’ 0-1-23 all-time record in Mexico. Of the Estadio Azteca, the buzzing cauldron where the crowds of 100,000-plus El Tri fans usually taunt American players and shower them with liquids, varying in form from alcoholic to human. But the loudest talk was of Mexico’s recent achievements and the United States’ recent failings. The U.S. failed to qualify for the Olympics, while, four days before Wednesday’s match, Mexico won Olympic gold, beating Brazil in the final. Add their Olympic triumph to their U-17 World Cup victory and the question needed to be asked: Is there a gap in quality and talent and player development between Mexico and the U.S.?
Yes, there was a lot of talk. But there was also a match to be played.
Today the USMNT take on Mexico in the famous Azteca Stadium in Mexico City to rekindle one of the great rivalries in sports. Back in 2009, Bill Simmons traveled down to Mexico to witness a World Cup qualifier between the two national sides. Here's an excerpt from his column.
Thanks to Blanco and some shaky officiating (the Americans couldn't get a call for two hours), the Mexicans seized control and eventually scored on a hellacious 25-yard bomb from Israel Castro. The crowd regained its swagger. Liquids started flying. We headed into halftime with everyone in my group thinking, I'd take a tie. Secretly, we knew how it would play out. Rattled by the crowd and the referees, the Americans played a tentative, sloppy second half that came back to haunt them at the 81-minute mark, when Donovan (battling the swine flu, although nobody knew it at the time) got badly beaten on a relatively simple streak down the field. His guy ended up creating the winning goal from Miguel Sabah. Game over.
"Why does the Little League World Series stop becoming a double elimination tourney at the American and foreign champ games? Makes no sense," he tweeted.
My first reaction when I saw this tweet wasn't to wonder why Battier, a professional basketball player, cared about fair play in youth baseball. Instead, I nodded my head, and felt a tiny bit vindicated. I'd been annoyed about the same thing all day, and thank god for Twitter, because where else could I find a venue for addressing the unfairness of something so small?
The U.S. men's national soccer team drew with its rival, Mexico, 1-1 in an international friendly on Wednesday night at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. The game might have ended in a tie, but in the hands of new USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a manager whose communication skills make up for whatever deficiencies he might have as a field tactician, the result must be considered a kind of victory.