Somewhere in a Beverly Hills mansion, surrounded by dishes of caviar and flying monkeys, Alyssa Milano violently curses the fates. Penny, who dated the fetching actress for a brief period in 2005, seems to be the latest of her former boyfriends to have beaten the terrible Curse of Alyssa Milano. Could it be that her bony grip on America’s Major League pitching has finally been broken for good? Consider the evidence:
So much for more than two decent NBA series. Just when it looked like a Chris Paul-led New Orleans team might be primed for a run, the Nuggets come out and put a near-record licking on the bugs … in New Orleans. How bad was it? Bad enough that the Nuggets led by nearly 60 points in the third quarter, and the Hornets fans who packed the arena for tip off were already busy down on Bourbon Street.
How could New Orleans possibly have had that bad a game, and played that poorly at home? It’s an incredible mystery. What isn’t a mystery is just how bad the Hornets were. New Orleans turned the ball over an astounding 27 times, and it shot only 30 percent from the field. The 58-point loss tied the all-time NBA playoff mark, matching a Minneapolis Lakers win over the St. Louis Hawks. That’s pretty much all you need to know: Neither one of those teams still exist in that context. After all, L.A.’s a heck of a lot warmer.
In fact, as FANHOUSE points out, the Nuggets’ margin of victory in Game 4 alone nearly matched the entire series worth of margin of victory in Cleveland’s dominant, four-game sweep of the Pistons.
Empty seats, thy name is New Orleans. Now, about moving that team if they don’t get a new arena …
Meanwhile, there was one other loss that was equally ignominous as the one New Orleans put out there. With their season on the line — again — the top-seeded San Jose Sharks, winners of the President’s Trophy for best regular season record, bowed out to the Anaheim Ducks, the final seed in the West. What’s more, the game wasn’t even close.
There was buzz that, after forcing a Game 6, San Jose finally might come into its own in the playoffs. Instead, the Sharks capitulated the only way they know how: By failing to play any defense after they got an early lead. The Sharks scored first, halfway into the first period, then they never scored again. In fact, they only kept that lead for two minutes.
From there out, it was all Ducks, which has been a pretty strong recurrent trend for the Sharks in recent years. Funny how that used to happen with the Bruins when Joe Thornton was stalking those sidelines, isn’t it?
There were two other games in the NBA last night — the Lakers finished off the Jazz while the Hawks tied up their series with the Heat — but the other big basketball story was all about a team that isn’t even in the city where the turmoil rages on.
That’s right sports fans, the Sonics aren’t walking back through that door. In fact, any chance of a resurrection in the Pacific Northwest officially went out the window when the city of Seattle turned down an opportunity to re-make Key Arena by paying only 25 percent of the cost. The rest of the funds would have been brought in by hotel taxes, area businessmen and, most significantly, from the team’s personal anti-christ himself: Clay Bennett.
That’s right, Seattle had a chance to avenge losing the Sonics by making the man who stole them away pay for the upgrades that would land the city another team. Instead, they turned down the opportunity solely because it would have raised the tax cost of hotels and rental cars.
Is it short-sighted? You better believe it. Then again, it’s also probably a statement of just how rough the economy is. When a city turns down a Big Mac of revenge to save $0.99 of taxes that tourists, not they, will pay, you know that people are afraid to spend money on anything.
Lou Lamoriello has practically run every facet of the Devils for almost two decades now. All of sudden, he may not be quite so involved come next year, if this report from STREET & SMYTH’S SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, via the NEWARK STAR-LEDGER, is true.
You only thought you’d seen the last of Hideki “Fat Toad” Irabu. Little did you know that he’s back, and he’s pitching in America. Too bad it’s in the Golden Baseball League, which is just about the lowest level of the independent minors possible.
Did Ozzie Smith cop a feel on Alyssa Milano? You decide with the pics below, courtesy BUGS & CRANKS:
You had your fun, Red Sox haters, when Boston was 2-6 and looking like a mediocre mess. Now, the Sox have won 10 straight and look like the team to beat in the AL East (can Toronto really keep this up?). The Yankees found three different ways to lose to the Sox over the weekend, and were further embarrassed when Jacoby Ellsburystole home off of Andy Pettite:
Ellsbury’s theft highlighted a three-run fifth inning that led the Red Sox to a 4-1 win on Sunday Night Baseball. It was the weekend in a nutshell for the Yankees, who are now facing mounting questions about their pitching staff, which is ruining things for an offense that’s scoring more than five runs per game (and will get better when A-Rod returns).
So, you’re the Orlando Magic, you’re down 2-1 in the series to heavy underdog Philly, and you just dumped a nine-point lead late in the fourth quarter and find yourself tied in the final seconds. You don’t want this going to OT because the Sixers have all the momentum. So now what? Clearly, it’s time for Hedo Turkoglu to just dribble around for a while and then drain a 26-footer to win it 84-81:
Just how you drew it up, right Stan?
In Houston, the Portland Trail Blazers once again had a chance to steal a game from the Rockets…and once again, gave it away late. The Rockets killed the Blazers on the offensive boards, getting two huge second chances that led to three-point daggers from Shane Battier in the final minutes. Portland still had a chance to tie it with 20 seconds remaining, but Brandon Roy was called for an offensive foul, then Travis Outlaw missed a deep three. The Rockets held on, 89-88, to take a 3-1 series lead. Houston needs just one more game to advance to the second round for the first time since 1997. And, unfortunately for Blazer fans, Tracy McGrady isn’t around to blow this one.
(How does his hair stay behind his ears all the time like that?)
In the NHL’s late game, the Hurricanes blanked the Devils 4-0 to push their series to a deciding game in Newark on Tuesday night. In related news, NHL.COM has told Kevin Smith he can’t blog about the series on their site anymore. Apparently, the NHL wants to be “family friendly” and didn’t realize they had commissioned one of the filthiest mouths anywhere to write about the series. So now, Smith has moved his playoff blog to his own site.
• The Broncos, along with all of the former AFL teams, are going to wear throwback jerseys for the first two games this season. No, not those orange ones we all remember from our youth. It’s this monstrosity that thankfully was retired after only two seasons (according to the DENVER POST, they were acquired secondhand from a defunct bowl game):
• This may not be sports-related, but lets face it, Bea Arthur was twice the man that A-Rod will ever be. So in honor of her sad demise, here’s some grainy footage of her embarrassing performance in the horrible Star Wars Holiday Special:
If you’ve ever shopped for women’s clothing at a baseball stadium, and I’m sure you have, you’ve undoubtedly come away unimpressed time and time again that the team store does not carry the latest celebrity fashions. For some reason, these stadium boutiques, or “team stores” as they’re called, are more interested in carrying such oddities as team jerseys, hats, and memorabilia. What’s a fashionable young woman to do?
Lucky for Mets fans, famous worldwide as trendy fashionistas, there is now an alternative to uncouth, appropriately-colored team apparel. This afternoon, actress and known baseball groupie Alyssa Milano was on hand at Citi Field to open the first boutique store of her “touch” MLB-themed clothing line.
Well, now Giants fans know who to blame for Barry Zito’s career implosion. According to THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER, Alyssa Milano’s new tell all, “Safe-at-Home”, drops all the details from her past flings with star pitchersCarl Pavano, Zito and Brad Penny, even dropping the fact that Penny made her wear his jersey to bed.
(Two thirds of the Milano bad luck club, as compiled by SI.com)
It’s the latest step in a trave-sham-ockery of a career for Milano, who’s gone from classic crap TV (Who’s the Boss?) to modern crap TV (Charmed) to baseball clothing. It’s only too appropriate that the outlet to break the story has such high standards of integrity that it thinks Barry Zito’s first name is Brad. At each step of the way, she’s gone to lengths to have very public relationships with high profile pitchers, each of which has immediately gone into the tank after they broke up with Milano.
Matt Cassel might be a Patriot (at least until they trade him), but he apparently wasn’t ready to break out his bayonet for a swordfight at a Super Bowl party. According to the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS (who apparently had sources deep inside the restrooms at all parties), one drunken fan decided to “write his name in the snow” - but substituting the back of Cassel’s leg for snow.
I can guarantee you that this sort of thing doesn’t happen to Tom Brady. In fact, Brady probably hasn’t had to use a public bathroom with the unwashed masses since his rookie year. (As with all famous people, he has access to special, secret restrooms at all stadiums, complete with golden bidets, seat warmers on the toilets and free caviar at the wash stations instead of sticks of Extra gum.)
The Slovenian star & bane of b-ball gamblers everywhere scored 20 points, including a crucial 3-pointer with less than two minutes left, to secure the 87-81 victory - and keeping L.A.’s home playoff record perfect.
On the other side of the court, Paul Pierce’s performance could be perceived as pathetic - 2-for-14 from the field while totaling only 6 points. He should’ve just worn this jersey (courtesy of MIX MAKERS):
But it might have been another piece of apparel that jinxed Paul’s evening.