Wife Behind ‘Melo’s Continental Divide In Denver?

Why has Carmelo Anthony suddenly decided that he wants out of the Denver Nuggets organization?

La La Vazquez

(Carmelo Anthony’s wife LaLa Vasquez)

Nothing has changed to suggest that the Nuggets won’t remain as an elite team this season - so long as Anthony remains on the roster. In fact, the club figures to have a better chance to go deeper in the playoffs thanks to the inspirational comeback of their cancer-stricken coach, George Karl.

With that in mind, why did Anthony turn down a $65 million contract offer from the Nuggets in June and reportedly make known through his reps that he desired a trade - only to the New York or L.A. markets?

In the past week, there’s been a colossal amount of coverage involving Anthony’s trade prospects, but very little indication of why Denver apparently has little-to-no choice but to trade him.

LaLa Vasquez

Though there are some pretty striking clues to what triggered Anthony’s intentions. Read more…

Nike Owns You, You, You and You. And You Too.

Thumbing through Henry Abbott’s True Hoop today when I came across this:

Nike Viral Ad Carmelo Anthony Fans of Utah

The biggest mystery of these playoffs is “What did Quentin Richardson say to Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce?” A close second is what is up with this “Fans of Carmelo Anthony in Utah” ad?

With Henry as good as NBA blogging gets, naturally I clicked over to see the ad.

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Carmelo Anthony Annihilates Utah’s Paul Millsap

If you went to bed early or had other things to do besides watch the Denver-Utah game on ESPN last night, you made the wrong decision. One, because the NBA is awesome and this is its strongest iteration since about, oh, 1996; and two, because you missed Carmelo Anthony’s enormous dunk over Paul Millsap, who is legit in his own right. Or was. RIP Millsap’s cred, you will be missed.

Carmelo Anthony Posterizes Paul Millsap
(Melo, my man.)

The play was an effective dagger into Utah’s heart for the night; the Nuggets had begun to pull away in the second half, but Utah was still hang-ging around, hang-ging around, down 8 halfway through the fourth quarter. Millsap had just corralled a defensive rebound and sent a lazy pass up the court to a waiting Deron Williams. Bad decision, sir, as Anthony was waiting for the pass. Anthony picked it off, took one dribble, and utterly posterized Millsap, who compounded his earlier bad decision by standing in the crease. Video? Of course there’s video, after the break.

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Speed Read: Lakers Are Back In Control Out West

Would someone care to tell the Western Conference Finals to get its plot straight already? With yet another tight game going down the stretch in the fourth quarter, the Lakers used tight defense and some key assists from Kobe Bryant — yes, assists — to push past the Nuggets to a 3-2 series lead heading back to Denver.

lamar odom lakers

No, the series isn’t over yet, but Bryant may have helped his team take the biggest step toward an earlier conclusion with a beautiful assist that took advantage of his personal reputation, up-faking on a shot with just more than a minute to go and connecting with Lamar Odom, who dropped in a layup and was fouled, giving the Lakers a dominant 10-point lead.

chris anderson

Perhaps not surprisingly, Bryant took credit for the shift in his style that catapulted L.A. to a series lead, despite the superstar’s lowest scoring game of the playoffs.

“It was a big gamble for me coming in, but I wanted to change my approach this game and be more of a decoy,” Bryant said of his eight assists, many off fourth-quarter double-teams. “The past couple games they really were loading to my side and I figured I could be a decoy and try to give chances to my teammates.”

It’s an interesting shift for L.A.’s signature star, though you wonder if he’ll be content to try it again in Game 6. Interestingly, this is the ultra-rare scenario where the Nuggets might be happy to let him try it, too. Hey, it’s better to have someone else trying to torch you in the fourth quarter than know Kobe’s the guy to do it.

Meanwhile, in the college game, we’re starting to see a pattern from uber-coach John Calipari. It seems like whenever his program is nearing punishment, the ol’ ball coach flies the coop.

John Calipari

All this comes in the aftermath of allegations that a Memphis player cheated on the SATs during Calipari’s watch, citing “knowing fraudulence or misconduct” on an SAT test by a player on the 2007-08 team. Making the matter more grating is the fact that the player is almost certainly NBA Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose.

Making matters harder for Calipari and his new employer, Kentucky, is the fact that he was told of the allegations on January 16th, in the middle of the season. Sure, a Kentucky spokesman told ESPN.COM that Calipari was open about the allegations when he interviewed for the job, but can we really trust that that’s the truth? It’s a leap of faith, to say the least.

Derrick Rose

Of course, allegations of cheating to land top recruits is nothing new with Calipari. His UMass team that lost to Kentucky in the national semifinals has since vacated the school’s Final Four apperance because of improprieties in the recruiting of former superstar center Marcus Camby and other Minutemen. If Calipari’s Memphis squad has to abdicate its runners-up finish, Calipari would become the first coach to have two of his teams’ Final Four credits taken back by the NCAA. That seems like a pretty big condemnation of character, doesn’t it? At least the folks back in Memphis are taking it pretty well.

Well, the Stanley Cup Finals are set, but we’ve got more than a week to go before they start. Is that what the league needed? Well, no. No it isn’t. That being said, if a league was going to serve up a finals rematch, it could have done a lot worse than Red Wings-Penguins.

red wings

We’ll get Sidney Crosby + kids vs. the Detroit hockey factory, which is newly reinforced with Marian Hossa, who took flight from the flightless birds last offseason because of this gem of a quote:

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I want to have a best chance to win the Stanley Cup. I feel like Detroit is the team.”

Something tells us that’ll be bulletin board material in Pittsburgh, no? As for the photo below, well, we’ll have to see if Pittsburgh fans take a cue from the classy folks in Chicago. Clearly they’re on a higher mental plane.

blackhawks fan poster

DeCamillis Cowboys

(Video courtesy of LARRY BROWN SPORTS)

  • As if Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t already funny enough, now he’s rolling out with YouTube video apperances next to Ron Jeremy and Ben Stein? When did he completely jump the shark? Oh yeah, when he entered the NBA. Nevermind.

Would you ever hire John Calipari?

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Week in Review: The Soon-to-be Sharapova of Golf

• Meet Maria Verchenova, the swinging Russian sweetie who hopes to do in golf what fellow countrywoman Maria Sharapova has done in tennis.

Maria Verchenova

Glen “Big Baby” Davis makes Magic fans cry by hitting a game-winning shot - then bowls over a young courtside spectator. Of course, the kid’s dad isn’t very happy with the Raging Luna-Celtic.

• A Baltimore-area stripper claims that there’s nothing Michael Phelps likes better than sex & spitting tobacco.

• That Nuggets-Mavericks series certainly was a fierce one. If it wasn’t Mark Cuban getting into it with Kenyon Martin’s mom, it was Carmelo Anthony’s fiancee LaLa Vasquez jawing with Dallas fans.

• But Dirk Nowitzki steered clear of any such confrontations, since he had his own problems with his own fraudulent fiancee. Hey, Dirk - Tony Banks feels your pain.

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Carmelo’s Fiancee Claims Mavs Fans Are Racists

With the Mark Cuban-Kenyon Martin flap apparently settled, you’d think that would be the end of any hostilities between the Dallas Mavericks & Denver Nuggets. Thank goodness for LaLa Vasquez.

Carmelo Anthony LaLa Vasquez

The MTV personality (as if anyone on MTV had any personality) and fiancee of Carmelo Anthony got into it with some Mavericks fans at the American Airlines Arena during Game 4, with the result of LaLa saying “Ta-ta!” as she was escorted out by security.

The video footage found only shows the aftermath of the incident, so we’re not exactly sure what started the whole mess. But Ms. Vasquez explains why it all went down - because Mavericks fans are racists.

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Miami Caliente Holds Hot Lingerie Football Tryouts

• Tryouts were held for the Lingerie Football League’s Miami Caliente, and some of the resulting scenes were, dare I say, en fuego:

Miami Caliente lingerie football

Mark Cuban uses his blog to apologize to Kenyon Martin’s mom. But if you think the Mavs-Nuggets rivalry has cooled off, just ask LaLa Vasquez.

• The Dodgers know what women want - their own online radio broadcast!

• The Blackhawks scalp the Canucks, while the Caps force a Game 7.

• A slimmer Jessica Simpson sings at Sea World, much to PETA’s chargin.

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Melo’s Fiancee Furiously Fights Fan, Gets Ejected

A lot of the off-court news from the Nuggets-Mavericks playoff series has focused on the war of words between Mavs owner Mark Cuban and Lydia Moore, mother of Nugs forward Kenyon Martin. Now that their feud appears to be winding down, America needs a new off-court “thugs and punks” story to keep its ADD-riddled citizens entertained.

LaLa Vasquez

(Oh sure, she looks happy now…)

Thankfully, for the good of the nation, some new Melo-drama has come along to entertain us all. Last night, MTV personality and Carmelo Anthony fiancee LaLa Vasquez decided to start a feud of her own with an unnamed Mavericks fan that ended with Vasquez being escorted from the premises. Score one for the Mavs. Video proof that money can’t buy class, as well as a hearty dose of schadenfreude, after the jump.

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Speed Read: Yawn, Another Bulls/Celtics Classic

A few days ago, I thought that nothing could in the Celtics vs. Bulls series could top Boston’s wild OT victory over Chicago in Game 5, featuring Paul Pierce playing out of his mind to carry Boston to the win, Kirk Hinrich getting tripped by Rajon Rondo and smashing his face on the floor, or Brad Miller almost getting his faced ripped off (again by Rondo) before missing potential game-tying free throws with two seconds left to seal the victory for the Celtics.

Joakim Noah

But after last night’s Game 6 in Chicago,  I was clearly very, very wrong, as the Bulls’ 128-127 win in triple OT has not only pushed the series back to Boston on Friday for a deciding seventh game, but pushed the series from “epic” to “best ever” territory. And we can forget the qualifiers like “best ever first round series” or “best ever non-Finals series” - based on the series so far and what we can expect on Friday, this might be as good as an NBA series can possibly get.

Kirk Hinrich and Rajon Rondo square off

Just to recap some of the highlights, the fun started when Rondo and Hinrich got into it again early in the first quarter, with Rondo basically slinging Heinrich into the scorer’s table, with Heinrich immediately popping up looking for blood. Cooler heads prevailed and no one was ejected, but it sure served warning about what was to come.

Keep in mind that this game - and the series - should have all rights been over midway through the fourth quarter as the Celtics used a 25-2 run - 25-2! - to turn a 12-point deficit into a 99-91 lead with just under four minutes to go. In most series - hell, in any other series - a 25-2 fourth quarter run by the defending champs is enough to put an end to things.

But there were the Bulls, seemingly unable to grasp just how screwed they were, using their own 10-2 run to take the game to overtime. And from there, it was on. Taking the role of one-man team for the Celtics last night was Ray Allen, who scored 51 points including a game-tying three at the end of the second OT.

Even Allen wouldn’t be enough to fend off a wave of Bulls, all looking to be part of the heroics. One minute, it was John Salmons suddenly becoming unstoppable while scoring 35 points. The next it was Joakim Noah screaming down court after a steal for a ferocious dunk that led to a three-point play and Pierce fouling out with 35 seconds left in the third OT. And finally, Derrick Rose turning in the defensive ply of the season by blocking Rondo’s potential game-winner with three seconds left.

The series has been exhilarating, frustrating, ridiculous and incredible. But as Jalen Rose wisely pointed out on ESPN after the game, the Bulls will have people over the next two days congratulating them on their win, while the Celtics will be stewing on the anger of dropping it, which could be all the motivation they need. Remember what happened last season when the Celtics were pushed to a first-round Game 7 by an upstart team? For the good of sports, I hope history doesn’t repeat itself - sports fans deserve a classic game to end a classic series.

Meanwhile, Bill Simmons’Ewing Theory” - where a team inexplicably plays better without their star player - seemed to be alive and well elsewhere in the NBA playoffs last night. Despite having Superman grounded with a suspension after his hard foul on Samuel Dalembert, the Dwight Howard-less Magic were able to drill the 76ers 114-89 to close out their series.

Howard spent his time Twittering during the game, and I can tell you that I understand absolutely nothing he wrote. (Except for something about the Polish Hammer, which makes me wonder why he’s writing about former WWF wrestler Ivan Putski.) Not Twittering was Howard’s teammate Courtney Lee, who was too busy recovering from surgery on his sinus cavity which could cause him to miss the first few games of the Magic’s second round series to “tweet”.

The other example of the Ewing Theory came from out West, where the Rockets’ 92-76 victory over the Trailblazers clinched their first playoff series win since 1997. This was all done, of course, with Houston star Tracy McGrady on the shelf for the season since late February recovering from microfracture surgery on his knee. Coupling the Rockets’ success with Denver’s closing out of New Orleans - giving Carmelo Anthony his first playoff series victory - and there’s now no question who is going to be known as the Best Player Never To Have Won A Playoff Series.

Meanwhile, I’m sure you’ve taken the time this week to butter up your friend with the illegal cable box, since there is a big-time boxing match coming up this weekend as giant killer Manny Pacquiao takes on Ricky Hatton. Since there’s only two days to go until the fight, the fighters have shut up as the hype machine ramps up to sell PPV buys and tickets, meaning that everyone has to get their two cents in about the fight.

That includes the trainers, who seem to be threatening to become the bigger story than their charges. Hatton’s new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. has been defending claims that his combative presence has created problems in the Hatton camp - tough to do when you remember what a jerk Hatton’s father/trainer could be. Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach is telling people that Mayweather was a “poor choice” to train Hatton and that he would have been better served making a different choice of trainer - like himself.

And with any big fight, the media has to track down some brain-damaged, washed-up former champion to give their bleary opinion on who is going to win the fight. God knows where they find these poor sods, but I hope they at least bought them breakfast. People like this sad case named Oscar De La Hoya, who drooled out an opinion for the DAILY TELEGRAPH:

“Hatton can confuse you, offset you, and especially with the Mayweather factor in the corner in this fight,” he told Telegraph Sport. “I know Mayweather, what he is capable of, what he plants – those little details he plants in your head.

“I’m crossing my fingers that Mayweather and Hatton can go undefeated for many years to come. There will be a chess match going on mentally and physically between both camps but, with all due respect to Freddie Roach’s training ability and his team, Mayweather is the better trainer.”

“I’m speaking from experience. He is more technically sound. He teaches you the craft, the art of boxing. He’s old school – an amazing trainer – yes, he’s one crazy son of a gun, but mentally he plants those little details in your head for you to become King Kong inside the ring.”

It sounds to me like De La Hoya’s fight against Pacquiao should have been stopped about eight rounds earlier than it was; clearly the 200 straight blows to the head he took during the fight have rattled his brain to the point of no return. And think about this: if De La Hoya thinks Mayweather Sr. is a better trainer than Roach, what would have happened to him if Mayweather Sr. had trained Pacquiao instead of Roach? Yikes!

Hinrich vs. Rondo was pattycakes compared to some NBA playoff incidents. Which one is your favorite?

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A-Rod’s Been Doing Steroids Since High School?

A-Rod may have been taking steroids since his high school playing days.

Alex Rodriguez in high school

• The Baltimore Sun tells two of their writers that they’ve been fired - as they’re working in press row in the middle of an Orioles game.

• It seems that Derek Jeter is the only one these days who can afford those new $850,000 Yankee Stadium luxury suites.

• If you don’t yell “Fore!”, don’tworry - you’re not legally responsible for any damages done to other golfers.

• Swine flu is affecting the sports landscape like some kind of epidemic.

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