9:00 PM Football Scoop reports that during this summer's practice camp, the Abilene Christian University football team went on a two-day "Manhood Retreat" where they talked about God & spirituality but not about football.
8:45 PM The Cincinnati Bengals share a photo gallery of running back Giovani Bernard throwing out the first pitch at Sunday's Florence Freedom game and .... wait, what exactly is this?
You know who had a good night on Monday? Devin Harris of the New Jersey Nets. Not only did he score 39 points, but he sunk a game-winning half court shot as time expired to lift his team to a 98-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. The entire play was about as nutty as you can get in the NBA, with Harris having his initial shot blocked before recovering to sink the game-winning basket a fraction of a second before time expired.
As BLACK SPORTS ONLINE points out, Harris’ shot raised a whole host of questions: was he fouled in the act of shooting; did he travel after recovering the initial blocked shot; and did he really get the shot off before time expired. Take a look for yourself and be the judge (and please pay attention to Violet Palmer, who emphatically waved off the shot, probably because she’s an awful referee):
As for the 76ers: as THE 700 LEVEL points out, this loss was a microcosm of their season: for the sixth time, they lost a game they were leading with ten seconds to go. So the next time you complain about a close game your team lost, keep in mind that it could be worse - you could be a 76ers fan.
If Devin Harris had a good night on Monday, then the New York Knicks’ Nate Robinson continued his great month of February. Not only did he win the NBA Slam Dunk title by (literally) leaping over Dwight Howard, but he’s been a beast on the court as well. Besides blocking Chris Bosh, Robinson has been on a scoring tear. His 41 points against the Pacers marked the fourth time in the last six game he’s scored 30 points or more, helping lead the way to a 123-119 victory.
Meanwhile, not having such a great day or month is Marvin Harrison. It’s hard to imagine the possibly second-greatest wide receiver in NFL history playing for another team than the Indianapolis Colts, but that’s the real possibility after the INDIANAPOLIS STAR reports that Harrison is all but certain to be cut by the team, barring a last-ditch effort by team owner Robert Irsay. Then again, if Jerry Rice can play for the Seahawks…
John Ireland is a favorite around here, for being one of the few LA sports talking heads to actually know what he’s talking about. But NESW SPORTS has video of the Lakers’ Derek Fisherplayfully upstaging him after an interview.
Devin Harris and Jason Kidd will never be able to do anything without being compared to the other. That’s on the court, as well as off it. Remember when Kidd traded in killjoy ex-wife Joumana Kidd for bikini model Hope Dworaczyk? Harris has one-upped him, dating a girl who would be overdressed in a bikini.
Mark Teixeirais a Yankee. It’s a crushing blow to, well, just about every team outside of New York. The big fish — Red Sox, Angels — wanted him. The little fish — Orioles, Nationals — wanted him even more. Still, if you thought one of those jilted big fish was about to wade back into the pond for another bite, well, think again.
(Neither Manny nor the LADIES… know where he’ll will end up.)
According to Angels GM Tony Reagins, the team was absolutely, positively, never ever interested in moving on from Teixeira to Manny Ramirez. Let’s repeat that: the Angels were never interested in Manny. Wait, let’s just let Reagins do it himself, in this exclusive audio provided by KLAA 830’s THE SPORTS LODGE show:
That’s right, in case you didn’t get the picture, the Angels really, really, really want nothing to do with “Manny Being Manny.” All of which begs the question: Where in God’s name is this guy going to end up? There really aren’t any big market teams interested — the Angels, Mets, and Red Sox (obviously) are all out of the picture. The Cubs and White Sox have absolutely no need for another overpriced outfielder. The Orioles, where Manny loves to hit, say they’re not interested.
So will Manny have to go back to the Dodgers? It’s a real possibility, just because there’s so little competition out there. The Nationals? They claim they aren’t interested, yet that may not be the case now that Ted Lerner has finally been outed by agent Scott Boras as an owner who does, in fact, have bags of money.
Of course, despite losing out on Teixeira, it wasn’t all a bad day for Boston. After all, the Celtics won again. That’s right, Boston won a 19th-straight game. Nineteen in a row. Without a loss. It hasn’t been done since … well, last year, when the Houston Rockets won 22 in a row. (And who stopped Houston’s streak? Yes, the Boston Celtics.) And every team that’s had a streak of 19 or more games has gone on to win the NBA title … except for last year’s Rockets. That’s the kind of stat that’s a little hard to minimize.
In the past week, as Boston’s winning streak careened past the level of “improbable” into solid “something’s got to give eventually” territory, there was a rush to minimize the accomplishment. “They aren’t playing anyone good,” said one Grinch. “They’re healthy when other teams are banged up!” chimed another. Both are somewhat valid points, but they do little to minimize or trivialize what the Celtics achieved by winning a 19th straight game last night, knocking off Philadelphia 110-91, at T.D. Banknorth Garden.
Perhaps more significant is the way that the Celtics are winning these games. Boston isn’t just beating teams, they’re blowing them out. The Celtics are playing better than they did all of last year en route to the title, yet they insist they can get even better.
That’s more than you can say about Boise State. They finally lost — by a point, a crushing point — to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl, which might just be the lowest status bowl to ever host a No. 9 vs. No. 11 matchup. Think about it: The Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day has No. 15 vs. No. 20. This was the stinking Poinsettia Bowl. On Dec. 23rd. Amazingly, it was also an incredible game. It might just be the best game of the bowl season that isn’t part of the BCS (for that matter, it might be better than the BCS, too).
Remember how Shaquille O’Neal — and then the REAL Shaquille O’Neal — showed up on Twitter one day? Well, evidently he’s not alone among athletes in the new technology. In fact, he’s not nearly as good looking as the newest addition, one Natalie Gulbis. Read her early entries here, via our friends over at RANDBALL.
You know, this Devin Harris guy is starting to look pretty good. Just check out the composure. We’ll take one of him and one Brandon Roy in the three-point contest, please.
Never did the Jason Kidd-for-Devin Harris trade look so ridiculous as it did last night, when Harris lit up the Mavericks for 41 points and 13 assists in a 121-97 victory. In fact, Nets fans serenaded Mavs owner Mark Cuban — who was in attendance at whatever they call Brendan Byrne Arena now — with chants of “Thank you Cuban.”
Kidd hasn’t been terrible in Dallas. He’s averaging 8.1 assists per game this season. And while he only averages 10 points, he also doesn’t shoot much. Harris, however, has turned into a monster this year, putting up 24.5 points per game along with nearly 7 assists. When asked about the taunts of the Nets fans after the game, Cuban was his usual polite self.
Football games are long, long endeavors. Battles of attrition. Game of inches. Field position. And such. The previous week, the NFL set a league record for most combined points in a weekend, which is exciting on paper. But this week, and last, a lot of games were simply horrible.
Half the games were won by more than two touchdowns. The average margin of victory was 15½ points. The “closest” Thanksgiving game was the Cowboys’ 25 point squeaker over Seattle. Week 12 wasn’t much better; last week’s points-a-palooza had an average victory of almost 17 points, with only three games featuring a single-digit victory. In a season where the median margin of victory is 10 points, the last two weeks have had median wins of 16 and 18 points. Hey, football’s fun. And it’s a never-ending cycle to find the good ones. You have to watch the 41-17 clunkers to find the 31-28 photo finish. Good thing I skipped the action today to go Christmas shopping.
(”It’s funny ’til somebody gets SHOT IN THE LEG.”)
If it wasn’t for the human tendency to honor anniversaries, not many people would connect the diametrically opposite incidents of Plaxico Burress and Sean Taylor. (Also, their teams were, y’know, playing each other.) A year ago, Taylor was murdered in his home. Last Friday, Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg. The location of the bullet wounds might have been remotely close, and they were both football players, but that’s pretty much all the two things had in common. Was Burress carrying a gun to protect himself in light of the Taylor murder? Well, maybe, but isn’t that what friends and bodyguards are for? He ought to be rich enough not to have to actually handle one of those firearms. We’ll all find out more when he surrenders tomorrow and talks to police about potentially carrying a weapon without a legal permit.
What’s Dabo Swinney looking at, other than seeing the “interim” diamond-encrusted plate being taken off his Clemson head coach office door? He’s trying to figure out who first reported it. ESPN! Multiple sources told them. WYFF GREENVILLE! Multiple sources told them. CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER! Multiple sources told us, but they told us first. Put them all together, and multiple sources have told SPORTSbyBROOKS that Dabo Swinney will be the new head football coach at Clemson University. You (might have) heard it here first.
Arbitration time! Today is the deadline for MLB teams to offer cash to their free agents and potentially scrap some draft picks out of the process in the event the free agent leaves. Milwaukee could offer it to Sabathia. Boston might give it to Captain Varitek. The Royals could … let anyone with talent sign elsewhere and bring up some young people.
Old-ish news, but it’s new to you! Warren Moon was on TV and mentioned that maybe the Patriots should trade Tom Brady and keep Matt Cassel. Yes, and maybe they’ll turn Bill Belichick into a French sous chef. That’ll show them.
David Chalk of BUGS AND CRANKS weighs the odds of who will be SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s Sportsman Of The Year. David’s a Rays fan, so you know who’s the odds-on-favorite.
THE 700 LEVEL watches Derrick Rose block the tar out of Andre Miller’s shots last night. Chicago won 103-92.
THE STAR LEDGER reports on Devin Harris’s 47-point barrage to help the Nets beat the Suns. 21 of the points were in the final quarter.
Peyton and Tom have huge games against each other! No, not those ones. Hillis and Jones. They both ran for over 120 yards but Hillis’s Broncos trounced the Jets 34-17.
The woman who had bathroom sex in the Metrodome (what a way to be named) is claiming she was victimized and would never ever have drunken sex if it was up to her. Hey, wouldn’t we all. That would be absolutely disgusting if she was date-raped, but there doesn’t seem to be any proof other than she’s embarrassed. Let’s all move on.
So Lane Kiffin is the new Tennessee Volunteers coach. Neat. But will his daddy Monte, a Buccaneers assistant, follow him to Knoxville? PFT can’t get a word out of the senior Kiffin about it. He’s not talking. Lips. Sealed. (For now.)
And finally, the Michigan State basketball game was delayed by rain. Wait… what?
Due to injuries, Mavs swingman Devean George has been starting lately, and seems to like his situation — thus, he is exercising his “Larry Bird rights” and saying no to being dealt along with Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse, 2 others, draft picks and cash, according to the DALLAS MORNING NEWS.
WHO COULD RESIST A LIFE-SIZE NOWITZKI BOBBLEHEAD?: Attention Dallas basketball fans - Having trouble looking for that special X-Mas gift? Mark Cuban is more than happy to help you out:
WITH LEATHER has the lowdown via the DALLAS MORNING NEWS of the Mavericks owner rolling out his ‘Above the Rim’ catalog, just in time for the holidays.As described by Cuban, the items offered in this costly collection go “beyond the foam fingers, T-shirts, hats and face paint that we all love, and touches the imagination of every fan, myself included.”
For only $20,000, a lucky consumer can either spend the day hanging out with the Mavericks’ front office, or join the dance team for a one-night performance.The more curious - and more expensive - offerings feature interaction with Mavericks players. $25,000 will get you a round of golf with Jerry Stackhouse, while a three-night getaway to the Bahamas with Devin Harris will only set you back $300,000.
Sounds like Cuban is pimping out his players for some “off-court excitement”.WL offers some advice for any wealthy gals willing to hang with Harris: “If you can convince Devin to go without a condom, you’ve got a shot at recouping some of that $300K.”