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."
Yesterday afternoon, it was harder to imagine a more ideal place than on a comfortable couch with a TV remote in hand. The sports slate was excellent from start to finish, but the best moment probably came late in the day’s first set of cross-sport airings. LeBron James was leading a LeBron James comeback in New York while the Detroit Red Wings were attempting to end the Blackhawks’ 21-game point streak to start this year’s NHL season.
James’s second half in Madison Square Garden was full of familiar if still awe-inspiring images. Sequences of blocks and offensive rebounds were reminders of how complete his dominance can be, but the clip everyone was watching last night and this morning is that final dunk — a game-sealing explosion with that right-hand-cocked-behind-the-head that probably deserves a trademark. It was the end of a show from the game’s biggest star on sports’ most famous stage.
The NBA is traded in easily communicable moments. The dunks from James, and later in the night from Kobe Bryant, were fodder for SportsCenter, trending topics on Twitter, and material for "did you see that!?" conversations between friends and coworkers. It's a game of moments, even if those moments don't happen during the actual games. I don’t know how much time I spent last week talking about what James was doing before tipoff, but I can tell you that it was a lot.
So what was it that made YOU finally lose your mind over the NHL lockout? For me, it was a charity hockey game in Atlantic City meant to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief!
Not that there was anything wrong with the Operation Hat Trick game or its cause. On the contrary, by all accounts last Saturday's game was a wonderful event, filled with tri-state-area-and-beyond NHL stars, attended by diehards who chanted "We want hockey" again and again, held in happy proximity to slot machines and comped beverages, and responsible for raising a half-million dollars. And despite being a no-contact exhibition game, it contained plenty to entertain the crowd: At one point, Steven Stamkos was awarded a penalty shot on Henrik Lundqvist.