Speed Read: Nuggets Put Hornets In Their Place

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.

new orleans hornets fans

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.

joe thornton sharks

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.

clay bennett thunder

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.

Sonics owner Clay Bennett Halloween mask

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.

zlexei cherapanov blood doping rangers

  • Did Ozzie Smith cop a feel on Alyssa Milano? You decide with the pics below, courtesy BUGS & CRANKS:

ernie banks alyssa milano ozzie guillen

ozzie guillen alyssa milano

 

Which NBA team has been the biggest playoff disappointment?

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Victoria’s Secret Model Marries Memphis Grizzly

• Another male fantasy flattened: Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima ties the knot with Memphis Grizzlies guard Marko Jaric.

Adriana Lima Marko Jaric

Life just isn’t fair sometimes.

Gina Carano makes a move to Maxim, while her bra is up for bid.

• The Nets’ Devin Harris makes a game-winning half-court shot to sink the Sixers - even after he was blocked the first time.

• Is it in you? Get Tiger Woods’ used Gatorade bottle for only $25,000.

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Stunning Back-To-Back Deaths At Hockey Rink

The San Jose Sharks have the best record in the NHL right now, and they couldn’t say the same if they didn’t practice hard every day. Of course, they may want to think about taking the next few practices off because their practice rink seems to be cursed, and it’s killing off hockey players left and right.

Sharks Ice in San Jose

Sharks Ice is not only the home of the Sharks practice facilities, but it also hosts the largest adult hockey league in the United States with over 3,000 players. Well, actually it’s not at 3,000 anymore. It’s more like 2,998 after two players shuffled off this mortal coil while playing there on Sunday night.

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Clever Caption Contest: Mascot Menage-A-Trois?

Hey readers! It’s time for another exciting SbB Clever Caption Contest!

Today’s candid camera work comes courtesy of Tom Hoffarth’s FARTHER OFF THE WALL blog, where we see a couple of NHL mascots partake in a dramatic reenactment of Frank Lampard stretching with John Terry:

San Jose Sharks naughty mascots

You know you have something to say about the risque rink image above. So submit your suggestions into the comments section linked below. Winner will be announced in the end-of-the-day recap, with a chance to spend 20 minutes with S.J. Sharkie in the HP Pavilion locker room of your choice.

Good luck & good writing! And please be gentle.

Speed Read: Jim Leavitt Has Totally Lost His Mind

Being a college football coach is a high-pressure business - maybe not being an air traffic controller or a heart surgeon, where if you screw up people die, but it can be pretty intense. And if your team is getting a nasty reputation for late-season collapses, it might start getting to you after awhile. Witness South Florida coach Jim Leavitt: THE WIZ OF ODDS has video of him losing his mind during a press conference:

This is exactly how my cousin Aldo used to act, right before he took to chasing after the ice cream truck with his pants off and trying to recruit local children to “help repel the Huns.” Despite the lack of blustery, screaming theatrics, I’d still like to suggest that Leavitt ask his doctor if Paxil is right for him.

If ever there was an appropriate way to recap a ridiculously high-scoring (i.e. actually fun to watch) Week 12 in the NFL, the Saints’ 51-29 thrashing of the Packers was it. New Orleans became the 12th team to score 30 or more points this week, more than during any other week this season.

Saints fan before game vs Packers

Drew Bress continued his assault on the NFL record books, throwing for 323 yards and four TDs, but the Saints’ MVP might have been Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers, who had a very Brett Favre-like performance on Monday night, except this was the bad Favre of 2005-2006. Translation: Rodgers threw three interceptions and the Packers had no chance.

And finally, a word to the wise - if you are going to shoot someone flashing a random group of tailgaters before a Cowboys game, try not to do it from directly behind them. Then again, if the flasher in question looks like a 45-year-old high school softball coach, maybe it’s for the best:

Here are some other stories you might have missed last night as you, like the rest of the US, were an emotional wreck after hearing about the Hannity and Colmes divorce:

  • Not even Tiger Woods is recession-proof: BLOOMBERG says that GM is pulling out of its endorsement deal at the end of the year, meaning that he’ll get to quit pretending that he really loves driving a Buick.
  • Tiger Woods and GM

  • Retired NHL goon Claude Lemieux is attempting a comeback, as the CANADIAN POST reports that the 43-year-old has signed a tryout contract with the San Jose Sharks. He’ll be heading to the AHL first to work on his baiting and sucker punching.
  • RIVALS.COM has a depressing look at Northwestern, the worst basketball program of the major conferences and the only which which has never been to the NCAA tournament. But at least their football team has a rich history of…ugh, never mind.
  • Your usual video of a student’s first trip to the Montana/Montana State rivalry, including drinking, push-ups…and a pretty solid catfight at about 1:05 in. (The problem with catfights in Montana in November: too much clothing to rip off.):
  • Despite this week’s performance, THE GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS would like to see all the Brett Favre vs. Aaron Rodgers comparisons stop, thanks.
  • The Clippers/Knicks trade is in limbo because of questions about Cuttino Mobley’s heart, says David Aldridge on NBA.COM. Literally - the Knicks have concerns about a possible pre-existing heart condition.
  • Mike Shanahan tells the AP that he’s OK with players taking out idiot fans who run out onto the field during games. How does he expect his team to tackle rowdy fans if they can’t even stop the Raiders?
  • Bob Arum confirms to ESPN.COM that the fight between Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley is back on for Jan. 24 in Las Vegas, as boxing continues to respond to rumors of its demise by putting out decent fight cards.
  • Eric Thomas, who helped lead Kent State to the Elite Eight back in 2002, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for burglary and assault. The DAILY KENT STATER says that’s enough to get a banner with his accomplishments pulled off the rafters, but not enough for his number to be unretired.
  • Roger Goodell tells BROADCASTING & CABLE that despite the BCS package going to ESPN, we shouldn’t expect NFL playoff games on cable anytime soon. Also of note: the BCS considered a package that would have put all the BCS games on FX, which is just weird.

When you think “historically inept sports teams” you think about…

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Playoff Hockey Forced Off Air for April Baseball

Comcast SportsNet, Dish Network, and the Oakland Athletics’ hitters all conspired to express their true feelings about hockey to San Jose Sharks fans on Wednesday night. John Ryan of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS covered the confusing events with aplomb.

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area cares

First, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area couldn’t find room for both the A’s-Blue Jays game and the Sharks-Flames Game 1 tilt on their two channels when the A’s made a late comeback, so they ignored the first three goals of the hockey game in the first six minutes.

Dish Network users fared worse: due to either “technical difficulties” or petty in-fighting between corporations about rights fees, they didn’t see any of the first period. And you wonder why hockey is developing a complex…
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