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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Speed Read: Sox Sweep As Ellsbury Steals Home

You had your fun, Red Sox haters, when Boston was 2-6 and looking like a mediocre mess. Now, the Sox have won 10 straight and look like the team to beat in the AL East (can Toronto really keep this up?). The Yankees found three different ways to lose to the Sox over the weekend, and were further embarrassed when Jacoby Ellsbury stole home off of Andy Pettite:

Ellsbury’s theft highlighted a three-run fifth inning that led the Red Sox to a 4-1 win on Sunday Night Baseball.  It was the weekend in a nutshell for the Yankees, who are now facing mounting questions about their pitching staff, which is ruining things for an offense that’s scoring more than five runs per game (and will get better when A-Rod returns).

So, you’re the Orlando Magic, you’re down 2-1 in the series to heavy underdog Philly, and you just dumped a nine-point lead late in the fourth quarter and find yourself tied in the final seconds. You don’t want this going to OT because the Sixers have all the momentum. So now what? Clearly, it’s time for Hedo Turkoglu to just dribble around for a while and then drain a 26-footer to win it 84-81:

Just how you drew it up, right Stan?

In Houston, the Portland Trail Blazers once again had a chance to steal a game from the Rockets…and once again, gave it away late. The Rockets killed the Blazers on the offensive boards, getting two huge second chances that led to three-point daggers from Shane Battier in the final minutes. Portland still had a chance to tie it with 20 seconds remaining, but Brandon Roy was called for an offensive foul, then Travis Outlaw missed a deep three. The Rockets held on, 89-88, to take a 3-1 series lead. Houston needs just one more game to advance to the second round for the first time since 1997. And, unfortunately for Blazer fans, Tracy McGrady isn’t around to blow this one.

Luis Scola

(How does his hair stay behind his ears all the time like that?)

In the NHL’s late game, the Hurricanes blanked the Devils 4-0 to push their series to a deciding game in Newark on Tuesday night. In related news, NHL.COM has told Kevin Smith he can’t blog about the series on their site anymore. Apparently, the NHL wants to be “family friendly” and didn’t realize they had commissioned one of the filthiest mouths anywhere to write about the series. So now, Smith has moved his playoff blog to his own site.

Kevin Smith

• The Broncos, along with all of the former AFL teams, are going to wear throwback jerseys for the first two games this season. No, not those orange ones we all remember from our youth. It’s this monstrosity that thankfully was retired after only two seasons (according to the DENVER POST, they were acquired secondhand from a defunct bowl game):

Denver Broncos horrible uniforms

• Man, the Royals even suck in India.

• PRO FOOTBALL TALK notes that Mike Singletary confirmed yesterday that ex-Ball State quarterback Nate Davis has dyslexia. The 49ers still drafted him anyway.

• Amputee Kyle Maynard, who we’ve mentioned a few times here on SbB, lost in his MMA debut last night in Alabama. But he did last the full three rounds. FIGHT REPORT has all the details, including some video.

• The Caps drilled the Rangers 5-3 yesterday to send their series to a seventh game, but Rangers fans like THE MANIC RANGER are incensed that Donald Brashear got away with crushing an unsuspecting Blair Betts at center ice in the first period. See for yourself. It was pretty much a cheap shot, and if Game 7 gets out of hand either way, expect Brashear to get lit up by somebody:

• BUGS AND CRANKS thinks Ozzie Smith was copping a feel on Alyssa Milano’s sideboob at the 2007 All-Star festivities.

• ESPN called on Erin Andrews to moderate the historic Quan Cosby-Bill Cosby summit at the NFL Draft. Yalta can rest easy, though. As you can see, it mostly involved Quan talking on his phone while Bill babbled incoherently and tried to put on his old Temple helmet:

Quan Cosby Bill Cosby Erin Andrews

MJD over at YAHOO! SPORTS says the Bengals obviously are still not all that concerned about character, judging by their early draft picks.

• Seahawks LB Leroy Hill failed in his attempt to have his franchise tag removed by the team by getting arrested for pot possession. But now the ‘Hawks have drafted Aaron Curry, so Hill has been cut loose. That whole staged arrest seems like a waste of time now, eh, Leroy?

• This may not be sports-related, but lets face it, Bea Arthur was twice the man that A-Rod will ever be. So in honor of her sad demise, here’s some grainy footage of her embarrassing performance in the horrible Star Wars Holiday Special:

What was the most embarrassing loss for the Yankees this weekend?

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Blog-O-Rah-Rah: Cheerleaders Videotape Assault

• INTENTIONAL FOUL tosses up a group of cheerleaders taking the whole “Be Aggressive! B-E Aggressive!” thing a bit too far, as they beat up a teammate - and are stupid enough to videotape it.


Michael David Smith pens in the NEW YORK TIMES that another Purple Jesus won’t be ascending upon this year’s NFL Draft.

• THE DENVER POST throws out news that Mark Grace says he was only joking, but the Rockies aren’t laughing about the commentator’s comments that pitcher Manny Corpas didn’t have enough Vaseline on that ball.”

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