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.
- Well, that might explain the heart failure: Suddenly there’s pictures of late Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov blood doping a day before he died on the ice.
- 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.
- Clearly, the NHL is making an example of Capitals enforced Donald Brashear.
- What the hell is Combaton? Well, think lacrosse meets kickboxing meets MMA. With less organization.
- Chris Mortensen’s son played college football? And he’s a quarterback from Samford via Arkansas?
- The coach of Bahrain’s national soccer team came up with a clever way to ensure his goalie was emotionally invested in practice: Make him defend his car.
- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was a bit of a ballplayer when he was in high school, but he wasn’t actually drafted. Maybe this has something to do with it.
- 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:
- Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair’s son, Reid, is an even bigger party boy than his Dad. In fact, the 21-year-old is really in trouble, after cops found heroin in his car.
- Another sure sign that the economy is dismal: MIT is cutting varsity sports programs left and right. What, they couldn’t just invent another rocket and sell it to offset the funding for at least hockey and golf?