I'm off on a quick work trip to Vegas... I don't even really know why, but the destination is all that matters, right? The point is, the money is going where my mouth is tonight: I've already got investments on the Bulls and the Clippers. Let's see how this plays out...
Of course, with travel comes complications. For some reason, Google isn't working on my 'free' WiFi; the practical effect of which is that I can't look up any pictures for this damn article. C'est la vie, we're going old school in this one. No color, just text. I hope you enjoy.
Today in the bag, I'm talking the continuing saga of the NBA and NHL playoffs before taking a look at whatever it is that Tom Brady got himself into up in Boston.
Click below for the bag...
Around the NBA playoffs -
Cleveland 86 - Chicago 84 -
The recent weeks of NBA action have been ridiculous. Close games, dramatic turns, and a handful of buzzer-beaters. This applies, particularly, to the Bulls/Cavs series. Tied at one game a piece headed to the Windy City, games three and four featured dueling last-second heroics from the teams' respective stars. On Sunday it was LeBron's turn, arcing home a game-winning jumper from the corner to even up the series as it heads back to Cleveland. In reality, it was a game My Bulls needed to win, coming against a banged up and struggling Cavaliers squad, but you can't argue with the game's best coming through when it matters most. As the series has gotten more and more entertaining, my perspective on it has changed. This will continue to be the most entertaining series around, on up through the eventual game seven. Bring it on.
Los Angeles 128 - Houston 95 -
Out West, the Clippers have opened up a commanding 3-1 lead over a flagging Rockets team that just doesn't seem to have its fastball. Sunday, much like the other games of the series, proved to be a free throw fest, with the teams combining for 93 attempts (LA had 63 of those). To that extent, the series has been ugly, as Houston hangs on to what slim hope remains. For Los Angeles, however, the impressive play of Blake Griffin has been a site to behold; so much so, that I eagerly await their oncoming appearance in the Western finals. The former Sooner and his band of merry Kia pitchmen will look to close out the series this evening.
Atlanta 106 - Washington 101 -
The Hawks, the Eastern Conference's #1 seed, have struggled all playoffs long. They dallied against Brooklyn in the first round, and have continued to play inconsistent ball in the second round against the Wizards. This is a Washington team without John Wall, remember, and shouldn't - at least on paper - be posing this much of a challenge for a team that won 60 games this winter. The Hawks may be waking up, however, as Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford combined for 63 points yesterday evening to pave the way to a crucial game four win. With the series tied, game five probably decides the outcome.
Golden State 101 - Memphis 84 -
After proclaiming the series as good as over after only one game, Memphis proceeded to shove it back in my face with back-to-back wins. Steph Curry had seemed lost over the past week, with the good ship Warrior was listing dramatically, as a result. Game four, however, featured the return of the MVP, and an immediate reversal in the series; a breezy 33 points from the Davidson product, 21 in the first half, spurred the rout. It's good to see this Golden State team again, as they are one of the easiest watches in the league - the team that struggled in games two and three is simply not a good reflection of their true quality. Warriors/Clippers is the series everyone wants, anyways. Now, with the GSW express seemingly back on track, we all may just get our wish.
Around the NHL playoffs -
New York 4 - Washington 3 -
Can anyone even remember the last time the Rangers played in a game that wasn't decided by a single goal?They managed it again by turning a three goal advantage into more familiar territory late in the third period. Maybe they just like the nervous energy created by a close game? Regardless, they held on, and with them the little series that could. Their game six win has given us all the gift of a game seven tomorrow night in New York. Is there any doubt how this one ends? Win or lose, the Rangers will be within one of the Capitals once the final horn sounds. I guarantee it.
Montreal 2 - Tampa Bay 1 -
Somehow, the Canadiens are still alive. At one point down 3-0, they've fought back to 3-2 in their second round series with the Lightning. Tampa had been rolling, having reeled off six wins in seven games to oust the Red Wings and put the Habs on the ropes. But, in a league where the ultimate comeback has never felt impossible, I wouldn't blame them for feeling a little nervous headed home for game six. Should Montreal pull another one out of the fire, a deciding game seven up north could be bananas.
Anaheim 3 - Calgary 2 -
While the action in the East rolls on, out West the table is set thanks to an overtime winner from Duck Corey Perry. An incidental hit had taken the scoring maestro out of the action earlier in game five, and he had been mostly quiet upon returning to the ice in the third period. With the game and a series clincher on the line, however, Perry scratched and clawed his way towards net in the opening minutes of the extra frame. A bouncing puck found the prone winger's stick, and, just like that, the series was over. Calgary put up a noble effort, finally making the Ducks sweat and even lose a game, but the final outcome was never in doubt. So much the better, because it sets up a sparkling matchup in the finals.
Chicago 4 - Minnesota 3 -
We didn't have any hockey last night, thanks to My Blackhawks sweeping aside the Minnesota Wild for the third straight year. A righteous infliction, indeed, Chicago is officially their nemesis. Should they again draw the 'Hawks next spring, maybe we should all save ourselves the trouble and just move Chicago into the next round? As perfunctory as that second round matchup was, however, the Western finals with Anaheim should be a hell of a show. If you don't mind staying up late, I'll highly recommend it.
Good Lord, I swore I was not going to concern myself with this, but here I go... *sigh* Hey, so Tom Brady's suspended! The Pats are fined a cool $1 million! Draft picks have been forfeited! A couple of randos have had their careers destroyed! HAWT SPORTS TAKES: COMMENCE!
Where the hell did all that come from? All for messing with a few game balls? Somewhere, baseball hall-of-famer, and noted ball doctor, Gaylord Perry is laughing his ass off. Especially for a sport that has seen this happen before, and that uses different balls for the various phases (the kicking ball is over-inflated, and kept separate from the 'regular' game balls), the idea that the ball is so sacrosanct, and that a little deflation is suddenly worth all of this is a little absurd. I'm no Patriot fan, far from it, in fact, but there's something seriously off with this heavy-handed punishment. Bronco Fan, feel free to take your pound of flesh.
It's just the latest turn from an institution - the NFL - that has a desperate, ADD-esque approach to discipline and public relations. When it comes to printing cash, there's none better, but when it comes to actual administration, the Shield comes across like Congress - activity for activity's sake, rather than actual progress or effect. Where's the precedence for this reaction? Where's the reason behind four games for the face of the sport? I just don't see it.