Speed Read: Allen Outduels Gordon, Saves Celts

With three minutes left in last night’s Bulls-Celtics tilt, it looked like Ben Gordon was going to will the Bulls to an astounding 2-0 series lead. But then, as Paul Pierce wilted down the stretch, Ray Allen finally woke up and saved Boston’s season with two huge threes, including the game-winner with two seconds left as Boston won 118-115. Rajon Rondo bounced back from a sprained knee/ankle/hip he suffered just before halftime to finish with a triple double: 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 16 assists.

Ray Allen

Gordon scored 42 for Chicago, but the Bulls couldn’t keep the Celtics off the offensive boards all night, and it cost the Bulls dearly in the fourth quarter. With about 30 seconds left and holding a one-point lead, Chicago was unable to corral a loose ball that eventually ended up in Allen’s hand — and he nailed a three to give the Celtics the lead. Gordon answered to tie it, but never got another chance as Allen hit a tough shot over the outstretched arms and hair of Joakim Noah to end it.

Well, there were two seconds left, but Vinny Del Negro plowed through all of his timeouts too soon (and at least one of them seemed completely unnecessary, considering the Bulls’ only play in the final three minutes was “give it Ben Gordon and get out of his way”), meaning the Bulls got a 70-footer from Tyrus Thomas at the buzzer. Still, a split in Boston is all the Bulls could reasonably ask for, and knowing that they can compete when the series comes back to Boston is going to be key.

Ben Gordon

Can the Bulls actually win this series?

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In the other playoff game, the Spurs got 38 points from Tony Parker and beat the Mavs 105-84. Still, it seems like Dallas is winning this series, doesn’t it?

In the NHL, the Bruins moved within one game of their first playoff series win in 10 years with a 4-2 victory at Montreal, taking a 3-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Caps scored a huge 4-0 road win over the Rangers at MSG after dropping the first two games at home. And in Calgary, the Flames got back within 2-1 in the series by beating Chicago 4-2. It was Calgary’s first win in seven games against the Blackhawks this season.

• If you’re a Cubs fan and you’re dead, there’s still a way for you to support the team that probably hastened your death in the first place. That’s right, a Cubs-themed cemetery called Beyond the Vines opens for business on Wednesday.

Cubs cemetery

Billed as “eternal luxury suites for Cubs fans,” the cemetery features an ivy-covered brick wall and will have some other Wrigley touches, such as a stained-glass replica of the ballpark’s scoreboard.  CNBC’s Darren Rovell says that if this works, the guy who came up with it is going to take it to Yankee fans.

• You might have noticed that Chien-Ming Wang sucks now. Even worse is that he’s out of options so the Yanks can’t send him down to the minors without sending him through waivers, and someone would surely claim him (the Orioles can always use a guy with a 34.50 ERA). Worse for Wang is the fact that he’s signed to a one-year deal, which means he’s this close to pitching for the Newark Bears next year. Or, you know, Wang could throw 45 consecutive scoreless innings and get his ERA under 4. RIVER AVE BLUES is searching for answers.

• Yeah, the Marlins were 11-1, but you don’t just go into Ross Ohlendorf’s house and expect to win ball games. The Pirates now have four shutouts this year after beating Florida 8-0. They had two all of last year.

• American running hottie Kara Goucher almost won the Boston Marathon yesterday. She actually had the lead in the final stretch, but was passed up by a Kenyan and an Ethiopian and finished third, just nine seconds off the winning time. The BOSTON HERALD says she would’ve been the first American to win the race since 1985.

Kara Goucher

• A record-low crowd of 12,473 paying customers saw Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman make his major-league debut last night. Actually, it was a lot less than that because a pre-game rain delay chased all but a few hundred fans from the park. By the time Joel Hanrahan saved a 3-2 win over the Braves, the WASHINGTON POST estimates there were 70 people there. I know it was a crappy night, but isn’t it great that D.C. spent millions on that new ballpark?

The Detroit Lions have a new logo. Actually, it’s not really a new logo at all.  It’s just the same logo, with some fierce teeth. It’s all part of a new attitude. This year, Dan Orlovsky’s going to get really angry when he takes a safety.

Lions logo

• The Arena Football League is off this season (which I’m sure you’ve noticed), but when the league comes back next year, the L.A. Avengers won’t be a part of it, according to ESPN. This is bad news for, uh, Todd Marinovich?

• DRAFTEXPRESS says Stephen Curry is going to skip his senior year and declare for the NBA Draft, where he should be picked somewhere in the late-lottery range.

• WFAN’s Mike Francesa says the Yankees need to somehow fix their new stadium as soon as the team leaves for its road trip this week to try and cut down on what he calls an “amusement park” atmosphere with balls flying out of the yard to right field at an alarming rate. But how? Even if it was physically possible to change the dimensions of the park in-season, that’s against MLB rules. So the only solutions are either changing how the wind blows through the park (a little unlikely) or getting rid of Chien-Ming Wang (see a few paragraphs above).

HS Cheer Coach Canned After Playboy Photoshoot

• A California high school cheerleading coach was given her pink slip when she took off her slip - and everything else - for Playboy.

Carlie Christine

• ESPN’s expose on the WWE was more of a tapout than a body slam.

• Speaking of physical assault, a Brazilian soccer coach punches a ref in the middle of a game.

• How did the Chicago Bulls’ Ben Gordon burn his arm? Would you believe because his scarf caught on fire?

• When he’s not passing the ball, Dwight Howard loves to pass gas.

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Bulls’ Gordon Burns Arm In Flaming Scarf Accident

Ben Gordon of the Chicago Bulls sported a nifty fashion statement on his left arm in Monday night’s positioning battle with the Detroit Pistons. The large bandage didn’t stop him from depositing 8 of 15 shots on the way to 19 points and a Bulls win. According to Gordon, the bandage covered a burn received when his scarf caught fire on a candle.

Ben Gordon

Unless Gordon’s line of napalm scarves has finally reached the production stage, a three-year-old girl with a nervous bladder holds more water than this story. Remember that this is the same team that also dealt with Derrick Rose’s injury after he allegedly rolled over in bed onto the knife he cut his apple with.

It’s time to do away with the pretense surrounding these “accidents” and speak frankly about these incidents. The Bulls are finally a playoff team; now they have to tell the truth like one. They’ve been hiding the violent offender in their midst long enough. Without further adieu, the perpetrator of the Bulls’ pain and scars lo these 82 games:

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Brits: Good Tea, Bad Teeth, Suck At Basketball

When your country hosts the Olympics, it’s good to provide competitors for each event. But this can also provide problems for the host country when it comes to team sports that the hosts aren’t particularly adept at. When Athens hosted the Summer Games in 2004, Greece had to put together an Olympic baseball team - which they did with mostly Greek-Americans. And when Nagano hosted the Winter Games in 1998, Japan had to assemble an Olympic ice hockey team - which they did with mostly Japanese-Canadians.

Luol Deng Great Britain eligible

(Luol Deng certainly is)

Now that London will be hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics, the United Kingdom faces the same dilemma. Oh, they’ll do just fine in soccer, and they won’t have to worry about fielding baseball or softball teams, since neither is an Olympic sport anymore. But there is the still the matter of an Olympic basketball team.

And like Greece & Japan, Great Britain is turning their eyes toward North America in hopes of filling their national roster.

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Tatum Bell, Former NFLer, Has New Gig As Porter

Tatum Bell, porter

  • Rockies manager Clint Hurdle hates the Dodgers because … well, I have no idea. Seems like a lot of energy to waste on a team that won the NL West one time this decade.
  • Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Arland Bruce III breaks out quite possibly the most arbitrary touchdown celebration in the history of tackle football: he donned a Spider-Man mask. Chad Javon Ocho Cinco is unimpressed.
  • This makes sense: Ben Gordon, Chicago Bulls guard and British citizen might consider playing in Russia for the right price. It’s all very urbane. Or maybe he’s just trying to make a few extra bucks on his NBA deal.

Will Ben Gordon Be Leaving Chicago For Russia?

The stalemate between the Chicago Bulls and Ben Gordon continues as Gordon is still intent on finding somewhere else to call home, and the Bulls are still intent on trying to trade him. Unfortunately for both sides, it doesn’t look like either is going to get what they want. The Bulls have reportedly offered Gordon a deal for six years and $59 million, but Ben wants something more in the $12 million range.

Of course, Ben’s real problem in getting that kind of money out of the Bulls is that he has absolutely no leverage. No other team in the NBA is willing to pay him that much, and the Bulls know this because they’ve tried to manage a sign-and-trade with anybody who will listen. So now Gordon has only one card left to play, and he’s playing it. Apparently he’s been talking to a team in Russia.

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Blog Jam: Eddy Curry Would Make a Fine Gymnast

• YAHOO’s BALL DON’T LIE showcases the winners of their fun photoshop contest featuring Eddy Curry as an Olympic gymnast.

Eddy Curry gymnast photoshop

• ESPN reports that the Milwaukee Bucks will face the Golden State Warriors in two exhibition games in China this October. This would make a lot more sense had Yi Jianlian not been traded to the Nets.

• L.A. BALLS bounces along news that despite their popularity with fans, the USC football team will not be sporting black jerseys anytime soon.

• THE SPORTS DOLLAR cashes in with their helpful guide to the Six Types of Sports Bloggers.

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Sacramento Kings Rumored to be Part of Kobe Bulls Trade

SAC KINGS ABDICATED FROM POSSIBLE KOBE-BULLS DEAL?: The ongoing saga of Kobe coming to Chicago has been given a little Sacramento flavor:

Kobe Bryant Kirk Hinrich Ron Artest

SACTOWN ROYALTY decrees that the latest trade rumors involve the Kings in a three-way deal with the Lakers and Bulls.As compiled from various sources, the deal would have Bryant being Bulls-bound, with current Chicagoan Kirk Hinrich and current King Ron Artest joining the Lake Show, while Ben Gordon and Ben Wallace would venture to Arco Arena - in addition to a cast of thousands on the possible move.

Right now, all of this is speculation, as Kobe continues to unhappily twist in the Santa Ana wind. After the rude reception the Lakers star received Tuesday night, he probably can’t get out of town and out under Jerry Buss’ thumb soon enough.

Yahoo Sports Los Angeles Kings NBA

And if Sacramento won’t cooperate, they can always try asking the Los Angeles Kings.

LSU Ladies Put Their Thoughts of Nick Saban on Their Chests

• BIG TEN TAILGATE learns what the ladies of LSU think of their ex-football coach:

LSU ladies shirt Saban

• FAN IQ keeps their eye on the road, as Dale Earnhardt Jr. questions his crew about the Redskins in mid-race.

• The SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS unpacks the bags of new Spur Ime Udoka, who’s spent time in Fargo, Argentina, and as Kobe’s short-term replacement.

• BALLSIEST washes their brushes, as ESPN’s Erin Andrews practices her painting skills on a pleased proboscis:

Erin Andrews painting nose

• CHICAGO BULL dribbles up Ben Gordon wanting 70 million reasons to continue on the court at the United Center.

• BLOGGING THE BOYS seems to be pleased with Dallas owner Jerry Jones’ dual role as GM, so far.