7:45 PM Kean University in New Jersey recently spent $219,000 on a conference table built by a company in China. New Jersey law requires competitive bidding for state college & university projects, but the table was purchased without any bidding.
SundayMichelle Obamareportedly spoke to Marines south of Los Angeles at Camp Pendleton to honor five of their recently fallen comrades in Afghanistan. Last night, TMZ.com caught a glimpse of Mrs. Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia leaving Hollywood restaurant Osteria Mozza. (Sasha and Malia reportedly dined with Mom the night before in L.A. too.)
(Michelle’s Brother Craig Coaches Oregon State)
Today, I’ve learned exclusively that Mrs. Obama will be attending Game 6 of the NBA Finals tonight between the Lakers and Celtics at Staples Center.
After sweeping the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals at Orlando, Paul Pierce addressed Boston fans during a live postgame interview as part of the Game 2 telecast on May 18. Pierce said, “we’re coming home to close it out.”
Moments later Pierce could be heard on the same telecast telling Magic fans as he walked back to the locker room, “see ya’ll next year.”
Pierce’s comments were less than prophetic, as the Magic managed to force the series back to Florida with a Game 4 victory in Boston. Orlando then defeated Pierce’s Celtics in Game 5 before the C’s took the series 4-2 with a Game 6 victory in Boston.
Pierce blessed us with similar histrionics Sunday night in the waning moments of the Celtics’ Game 2 win against the Lakers in Los Angeles. Read more…
Hey, remember that whole thing with Chris Brown and Rihanna? No, not this Chris Brown; what do you think this is, a sports site? We’re referring to the two pop stars, one of whom rained a series of blows onto the other’s far more attractive face and body. Allegedly.
(Evidently, that’s Teyana Taylor on the right, who sings “Google Me.” Make her dream come true, won’t you?)
The Magic were a Courtney Lee layup and a Derek Fisher miss away from being up 3-1 and having the Lakers on the ropes going into Game 5 last night, but it wasn’t to be. Then, sensing that Orlando was still reeling from giving away Game 4, the Lakers seized the momentum and left absolutely no doubt as to who the better team was in a 99-86 series-clincher at Pyramid Scheme Arena. The Lakers used a 16-0 run in the second quarter to take control, and the Magic never got closer than five after that.
(Ladies and gentlemen, the saddest NBA champion ever.)
Kobe finally got his title without Shaq, though it’s not like he did this thing alone (but averaging 32, 6, and 7 in the Finals is a pretty impressive line). The Lakers were a mediocre team until Memphis GM Chris Wallace decided to give them Pau Gasol, and the continued development of youngsters like Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza helped push the team to another level. Add in the rejuvenation of candy addict Lamar Odom and you have all the ingredients for a championship run.
As for the Magic, they certainly have a lot of things to be proud of, but also face a lot of uncertainty going forward. Will they find room for Hedo Turkoglu? What are they going to do with Rafer Alston? Will Dwight Howard grow into his true potential? Will Stan Van Gundy’s insane act wear thin? Was this their only window of opportunity? If Cleveland gets LeBron some help and KG comes back healthy for the Celtics, Orlando might find getting back to the Finals an impossible task in the near future.
The trophy presentation had plenty of unintentional comedy, including Jackson’s goofy “X” hat that his kids made for him,Morrison’s puzzled look as he decided whether or not he should act like he deserved a ring, and a hilariously awkward interview with Jerry Buss‘ kid, whose public speaking skills came off like a cross between your average spelling bee champion and Mark Madsen. David Stern’s backhanded obligatory compliment to the Magic for being a “very worthy Eastern Conference champion” was nice too. All in all, it wasn’t “anything is possible!” but still a very solid postgame ceremony.
Of course, the fine citizens of Los Angeles are always looking for a flimsy excuse to throw a garbage can through a window, and the “celebration” around the city extended well into the wee hours of the morning. As I’m sure you already know, Brooks was on hand outside the Staples Center and noted that the LAPD was clearly overwhelmed in trying to keep up with what was going down on the streets.
(Yeah, this is probably enough officers, right?)
Fortunately, Brooks was able to get some good shots of the good clean fun outside of Staples before things went south. Although CBS 2 says that, all things considered, this year’s riots were not on par with previous years, such as 2000 when the Lakers won the series in L.A. Still, the LAPD’s attempts to keep revelers out of downtown altogether was a massive failure, and the department should be counting its lucky stars that major issues were the exception and not the norm.
(Kobe jersey with no undershirt and jeans = not a good look for a white guy)
(”The looters went that way!”)
The LA TIMES says that some folks went into looting mode, breaking windows at a shoe store and cleaning out a convenience store. Because what better way to celebrate your team’s NBA title than with some stolen beef jerky and a chunk of glass in your thigh?
And what makes all of these people even bigger geniuses is the fact that their city and state are both completely out of money, so it’s entirely reasonable to destroy a bunch of stuff that public funds will have to replace. Look, I’ve been excited, but I can’t imagine ever feeling the urge to carry a metal barrier through the streets and ram it into things indiscriminately, like these folks who were photographed by ABC 7 in L.A.:
I’m sure we could fill page after page with entertaining photos of idiot Laker fans, but other things are happening in the world of sports, so let’s get to the links:
• The SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS says that 17-year-old baseball phenom Bryce Parker is going to skip his last two years of high school, get his GED, and play community college baseball in Las Vegas in preparation for the 2010 MLB Draft. If you think Stephen Strasburg’s going to command a boatload of money, just wait until this kid gets drafted. He’s already bombed multiple 450-foot-plus shots in a home run derby in Tampa.
• Oh, yeah, now you try and trade for Shaq, Cleveland. Way to think of that about four months too late. Perhaps it was the steep asking price of Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic that made them balk the first time around.
• How bad have the Colorado Rockies been this year? After a 7-1 win over Seattle yesterday, they’ve now won 11 games in a row, but still are a game under .500 and 10-1/2 games out of first place. Still, a nice run for the Rocks, who haven’t won this many consecutive games since September of 2007, when they won like 49 out of their last 50 on the way to the World Series. More good news for the Rockies: catcher Yorvit Torrealba’s son was returned after being kidnapped for ransom in Venezuela, and he spoke about the ordeal for the first time yesterday.
• Phil Ivey is a sick human being. He won his second World Series of Poker bracelet in a little over a week with a victory in a half Omaha/half Stud high-low event on Saturday. He was simultaneously playing a different pot-limit Omaha event in another part of the room, and fit in enough hands there to nearly make that final table. And he somehow found more time to win over $100,000 online. While the $400,000+ in prize money he has won for his two bracelets this year is nice, rumor has it that he’s won millions more in bracelet wagers with his friends and high-stakes regulars at the Bellagio. At 33, Ivey already has seven bracelets and needs just four more to equal the record held by Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, and Doyle Brunson.
• You know how on WWE they always have someone get “hurt” and then carted off and dramatically loaded on an ambulance like there’s some sort of actual injury? Well, that happened to Japanese superstar Mitsuharu Misawa on Saturday night. Except it wasn’t fake. He had a heart attack during a match in Hiroshima and died at the age of 46. Misawa got his start as a character called “Tiger Mask” and was the biggest star in Japanese wrestling, reportedly on par with Hulk Hogan in the U.S. The BALTIMORE SUN has a short tribute. Here’s some footage of Misawa going at it a few years back with Samoa Joe:
Game 3 of Lakers/Magic this week was pretty awesome, right? Jonathan Weaver is sure glad he didn’t miss it. Even if he is in jail for tying up and gagging his girlfriend’s children, so they wouldn’t need him to babysit while he watched the game. Totally worth it.
(After Googling “tied up children,” the FBI is probably en route to my house.)
Perhaps the experts should handle the new handle for Derek Fisher now that he’s sunk another huge shot to carry the Lakers into overtime, where they took a formidable 3-1 series lead via a 99-91 triumph in Orlando last night. A three-pointer on an unusual inbounds play (taking it full court instead of using the opportunity to advance the ball on a time out) with just a few clicks left on the clock cinched the need for extra work from Kobe and friends.
Neither team shot the ball worth a Mouse’s posterior, allowing the Magic to freefall from a 12-point lead into an overtime where they made one lousy shot from the field. Also not helping: the Vitamin Water that made Dwight Howard’s hands too slippery, causing him to turn the ball over seven times and miss over half of his 14 free throw attempts.
The series continues Sunday (because why rush greatness?) in Orlando, but it’s all over but the Kobe Koronation (™ SPORTSbyBROOKS Industries), barring three straight Creighton-esque repeats of Game 3’s wanton abuse of the three-point stripe.
(That man is Bill Guerin, 87-year-old right wing for the Penguins. The sign is in Pittsburgh. The ridiculously large bird wearing the faux sandwich board probably isn’t a union member.)
On the other hand, the birds that sabotaged the Kansas City Royals last night in Cleveland have clearly organized. The Indians’ Shin-Soo Choo singled in the bottom of the tenth to score Mark DeRosa for a 4-3 win, but any possible throw to the plate to thwart the scoring attempt by DeRosa had to be abandoned when the batted ball bounced off a flock of seagulls in center field and ricocheted away:
First bugs and now nature’s winged rats… the Indians will rain down just about any ol’ plague on its enemies, won’t they? The only natural disaster of Biblical proportions left to terrorize opponents with has to be Dwight Howard’s free throws. (Bricks are the little-known 11th plague for obvious reasons.)
Rex Grossman has gone from starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears to battling for the backup backup slot in Houston. On the other hand, he’s still being paid to play a game professionally, so we shouldn’t mo… eh, screw it; we’re mocking him deep.
During the first three games of the NBA Finals, the first two games in particular, there was a lot of talk during the games about the way Kobe Bryant has been playing. Kobe’s busted out a whole new face for these Finals, one that looks like a combination of a man who is incredibly determined to get the job done, and doing so while suffering from extreme constipation. There have also been a lot of remarks about how Kobe has become a coach on the floor the way he’s chatting up teammates during stoppages and timeouts.
Well according to former NBA center Alonzo Mourning, the floor may not be the only place Kobe is doing his coaching. Mourning was part of a teleconference with Shane Battier and Wally Szczerbiak for the American Century Celebrity Golf tournament on Wednesday when he questioned what exactly Phil Jackson’s role with the team is. You know, since it’s obvious Kobe is doing everything on his own.
Those of you who want to goto the Lakers-Magic NBA Finals here in Los Angeles might think it’s impossible to get tickets.
(Yes, there’ll be plenty of basketballs for everybody on Thursday)
And you would be wrong.
My Boy Barry has a metric ton of tix to the NBA Finals games at both Staples Center and Amway Arena in Orlando. You can also call Barry at 1-866-708-8499 for fast, personal service. I use it all the time.
So much for objectivity. When the Los Angeles Lakers & Orlando Magic meet for Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night, ABC/ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy isn’t bashful about who he hopes brings home the Larry O’Brien Trophy: his brother Stan.
Jeff admits that he’ll be rooting for Stan’s Magic men to make quick work of Kobe & crew. But he believes that cheering on his bro won’t corrupt his game-calling. As he told Neil Best of NEWSDAY (via AWFUL ANNOUNCING):
“I’m going to try to be as objective as possible,” he said, “but I want my brother’s team to win; there’s no question about that.”
Should ABC brass be worried about Jeff playing playoff favorites? Well, he did give the network the option of taking him off the broadcast: