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.

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  • 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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Thunder Say OKC Is A Windblown Wasteland

Oklahoma City fans are so paranoid about their team. They ought to relax, since the Thunder are locked into a nice long lease. And owner Clay Bennett would never think about breaking a lease…

Oklahoma City

Okay, let’s start this over. Oklahoma City is so defensive about being considered a major league sports city (spoiler alert: it’s not), that in their big post-season wrap-up, THE OKLAHOMAN makes sure to ask each player their likes and dislikes about the city. While the pros range from “there’s no traffic” to “no one bothers me for autographs” to “there’s very little traffic,” all the players agree on what they hate about the OKC:

Read more…

Clay Bennett Rips On HS Cheerleaders’ Diversity?

It’s already been established that Clay Bennett isn’t that sympathetic of a character, having moved Seattle’s beloved Supersonics to Oklahoma City amid legal threats, local protestations, and less-than-unanimous owner support. But “heartless businessman” can probably describe more NBA owners than not, so is it time to cut Bennett some slack and let him enjoy the OKC?

Clay Bennett Racist Facebook
(Oy.)

Of course, by “enjoy,” we mean “take shots at cheerleaders who aren’t white.” Same thing, really. That above conversation was taken by BEND IT LIKE BENNETT, a Thunder-themed blog, from the Facebook page of Graham Bennett (Terrorist fist jab: THE SPORTING BLOG). Graham, as you’ve probably already guessed, is Clay Bennett’s son, and apparently just a real big fan of his old man and his riffs on race (let’s call it Claycism).

Oh, and just in case you were curious, yes, it gets worse. Read more…

Brog: Booze-Soaked Smokey Fans Witness Choke

I’m still in recovery mode from the UCLA-Tennessee game yesterday. Between the broiling temps before and during the game, the pregame and stadium-smuggled booze, and the four-hour game itself, I was positively toast late last night. As it should be.

SbB Girl Alex UCLA Game Dumb and Dumber Guys

(SbB Girl Alex with Tennessee Defensive Coaching Staff)

The highlight of the game for me was actually having 50-yard line seats (21st row) for the first time in my life, something for which I can thank My Boy Barry:

SbB Girl Alex 50-yard Line UCLA Tennessee Game

(50-yard line seats? By now you prob know the reason why)

Those seats had me squarely inside a blue-veined artery of the UCLA alum section, so I’m happy to report that I wasn’t bothered by undo noise or impaired sight lines, at least until the Bruins’ late-game comeback.

Brooks at UCLA-Tennesse Game At The Rose Bowl

(Only thing more overexposed than this pic? The Vols’ secondary)

The thing that most struck me about the game was the lack of adjusts made by the UT defensive coaching staff in the second half. It was clear what Norm Chow’s strategy was with Kevin Craft after his diarrhea-inducing first half performance: throw nothing but quick, short passes.

In the final two quarters, I don’t think Kraft looked off his primary intended receiver once. So with that the case, why didn’t the Vols defensive backs and linebackers start to jump the routes? (Think the CHiPs on Labor Day weekend.)

As an alumnus of the Univ. of Georgia, I’d like to issue an enthusiastic salute to those Knoxvillians who saw fit to give Phil Fulmer a seven-year contract extension last July. Now I’ll know just who to call about getting those elusive Sunday, late-December Chik-Fil-A sandwiches.

My biggest disappointment at the Rose Bowl last night?

How could the Vols not bring the real Smokey? At least I didn’t see him at the game last night.

Smokey The Mascot

No wonder he can afford to hire a stand in!

Tennessee inflatable mascot

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Cuban, Allen Vote Against Sonics Move To OK City

Despite the best efforts of the blogosphere, the NBA owners have voted overwhelmingly to approve the Sonics’ move from Seattle to Oklahoma City. But it wasn’t a unanimous decision.

Mark Cuban Mavericks Paul Allen Blazers

CBS SPORTS reports that Friday’s final tally was 28-2 in support of the move. The two owners casting the dissenting votes were Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks and Paul Allen of the Portland Trail Blazers. Why wouldn’t these guys go along with the crowd?

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Bloggers To Arms! It’s Time To Save The Sonics!

The Seattle Supersonics mess is already pretty, well, messy. Howard Schultz sells team, Clay Bennett tries to take them to Oklahoma City but tells David Stern that he didn’t, Schultz gets mad. Like I said, messy. But Sonics fans are hoping to make it even messier.

Sonics Blogger

Tyler Kumakura of SONICS CENTRAL is rallying the blogosphere around this worthy cause, hoping to harness the power of the internet and convince NBA owners to vote against the Sonics’ relocation.

Fans are encouraged to call, e-mail, petition, and generally do whatever they can to convince owners that they’re making a huge mistake.
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Howard Schultz Sues for the Seattle Sonics Back

It’s one thing to mess with an entire city government, a loyal and passionate fan base, and the integrity of David Stern and the NBA, Clay Bennett. Governments come and go. David Stern, like all men, has his price. And the fans? Ha! A piffle.

Starbucks and the Seattle SuperSonics

It’s quite another matter to screw with Howard Schultz, Clay. You see, he heard about those e-mails and he feels he’s been lied to. You don’t cross the CEO of Starbucks, Clay. He wants his toys back. Now. If you don’t go quietly into that misty Seattle night and back from whence you came, he will sue your pasty white posterior there.
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Stevie Y. Deals With Dirty Dad Faking Kid’s Cancer

A friendly reminder - the Patriots’ victory parade (same day as Super Tuesday) is less than a week away!

• A putrid parent faked his kid’s cancer just so they’d get a visit from Steve Yzerman.

Steve Yzerman Stanley Cup

• Disgraced TV anchor Alycia Lane may be back on the airwaves - with the WWE?

• Argue with Sonics owner Clay Bennett, and he’ll toss your butt out of the arena.

• UCLA’s Kevin doesn’t get any Love from the Oregon crowd.

Jeremy Shockey will go to Terrell Owens’ in-town Super Bowl party, but might not attend the Big Game with his Giants teammates.

• A high school wrestling coach bit off more than he can chew when he munched on one of his players.

• Japan’s postal service delivers up new stamps featuring baseball hero Dice-K.

• Remembering the time a NASCAR fan stole the pace car at the Winston 500.

Sonics Owner Argues With Fan, Has Him Removed

Clay Bennett will not suffer your insolence. The SEATTLE TIMES reports how a Sonics fan may have been tossed out of the arena on orders from the team’s owner.

Sonics owner Clay Bennett Halloween mask

(Clay Bennett Halloween mask courtesy of SUPERSONIC SOUL)

Sam Kidder says he learned through the Internet that Bennett would be attending Sunday night’s game at the KeyArena, so the 23-year-old bought a couple of seats below the owner’s box.

During the game, Kidder let Bennett know about his feelings on moving the club to Oklahoma City: “I looked up at him and said, ‘Hey Clay, what’s up?’ He gave me this snide look and I called him a thief and … he blew me a kiss. That just set me off.”

Read more…

David Stern to Present Sonics Owner To Oklahoma Hall of Fame

STERN TO BE AT SONICS OWNER’S ENTRY INTO OKLA. H.O.F.: David Stern seems to have his mind made up about the Sonics’ possible move to Oklahoma:

David Stern

The SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER reports that the NBA commissioner will be “presenting” Sonics owner Clay Bennett into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame on Thursday night.Bennett has already filed with the league his intentions of moving the Seattle basketball club to the Sooner State.

Stern’s appearance for Bennett indicates that Clay should get the moving trucks ready. The commish has more or less given up his attempts at keeping the team in the Pacific Northwest.

Stern earlier lamented how the city of Seattle has “no heart whatsoever for assisting a Sonics team,” as they thwarted attempts to use taxpayer money for a new arena.

With Stern’s show of support for Bennett, it looks like Kevin Durant & crew will soon(er) be saying, “So long, Starbucks. Hello, barbecue.”