8:30 PMGregg Bell of the Tacoma News-Tribune reports that nobody at Pete Carroll's Monday press conference mentioned that the Seattle Seahawks coach turned 63 years old today. The Seahawks lost to the San Diego Chargers 30-21 the day before.
Early Wednesday Detroit Piston Charlie Villanueva made the claim in a Tweet from his Twitter.com account that Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett called him “cancer patient” during Tuesday’s Pistons-Celtics game in Detroit.
After Villanueva’s claim, Garnett responded via this statement to the media:
“I am aware there was a major miscommunication regarding something I said on the court last night.
“My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league.’
“I would never be insensitive to the brave struggle that cancer patients endure. I have lost loved ones to this deadly disease and have a family member currently undergoing treatment.
“I would never say anything that distasteful. The game of life is far bigger than the game of basketball.”
One thing Garnett is indisputably correct about: There was a major miscommunication between him and Villanueva last night.
Also interesting to note that Garnett claims that he not only insulted Villanueva in the context of the Pistons, but also to the league.
How on earth is Villanueva “cancerous” to the league?
The fact that Garnett would allegedly say such an absurd thing - and mention it in his response to Villanueva’s allegation - makes it hard for me to completely buy into his version of events.
Not to mention Garnett’s notorious reputation for saying plenty of distasteful things.
Villanueva isn’t backing down from his earlier statement about what Garnett said, either.
Last night during the Boston Celtics 109-86 rout of the Detroit Pistons in Michigan, Kevin Garnett of the Celtics and Charlie Villanueva of the Pistons were each issued technical fouls at the same time late in the third quarter.
That may have been a tipoff to what Villanueva later Tweeted about Garnett after the Pistons landed in Atlanta following an overnight flight from Detroit. Read more…
Things should be good for Chelsea fans as the EPL season opens. Four games in, Chelsea are undefeated and tied for the top of the league with, of all squads, Spurs. That’s an issue for another time, anyway.
(Hope this guy’s worth it, Chelsea!)
But for as well as the team is performing, they’d better be happy with the players they’ve already got. That’s according to FIFA’s “dispute resolution chamber,” which sounds like a euphemism for a room in Abu Ghraib; the international soccer federation just banned the team from signing any new players for two whole years after illegally signing a player in 2007.
If anyone was going to step up and hit the game-winning shot in a must win game for the Boston Celtics, of course if was going to be Glen “Big Baby” Davis, right? I mean, just look at the guy’s track record. It’s…OK, basically it’s him getting screamed at by Kevin Garnett on the sidelines and crying into his towel. So what I mean to say is that there is no possible way that Glen Davis hits the biggest shot of the season for the Boston Celtics.
But there he was, with the clock running down on Sunday night against Orlando and the Celtics trailing by one, draining a 21-footer after the Magic had swarmed Paul Pierceto give Boston the 95-94 victory to tie their Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2-2. And there he was charging down the court like he was chasing down the ice cream truck as it took off down the street, taking out some helpless kid on the sidelines in the process. Make sure you keep an eye on the kid’s friend shooting daggers at Davis:
Yeah, kid, I’m sure you could have taken him down if he just wouldn’t have run away so fast. But back to the shot: it’s not that the shot was too uncommon for Davis to hit - he does have that kind of range from the outside. But to hit that shot in that situation is just uncanny. Almost as uncanny as Paul Pierce having the guts to pass to him and let him take the shot with the Celtics’ season basically on the line. Can you imagine Kobe Bryant passing the ball to Andrew Bynum in the same situation?
Meanwhile, remember how the Rockets’ season was supposed to be doomed when Tracy McGrady went out for the season? That didn’t happen, as Houston won a playoff series for the first time in 47 years (approximately) before giving the Lakers all they could handle in their Western Conference semifinal series. But the news that Yao “Bamboo Bone” Ming would miss the rest of the playoffs with a broken foot suffered in Game 3 was surely the end of their run.
Then what in the world were the Lakers doing trailing by as many as 29 points to a team starting a 6-foot-6 center (Chuck Hayes) before falling 99-87 to have their series evened up at 2-2? For one thing, the Lakers had no answer for Chris Rock Aaron Brooks, as the diminutive guard ripped Los Angeles for 34 points, while the combination of Ron Artest and Luis Scola held Kobe Bryant to just 15 points.
As Phil Jackson predicted, it may have just been a case of a team playing full of emotion after having their backs to the wall; and yes, the Lakers did still regain home court advantage during the two games in Houston. But watching the Lakers and comparing them to the molten hot ball of basketball destruction that is the Denver Nuggets right now, perhaps that Cavaliers vs. Lakers NBA Finals isn’t as much of a sure thing as we previously thought.
Meanwhile, in those “other” playoffs, the Bruins followed the lead of their basketball brethren from Boston, although their prospects are still far more bleak. Despite their 4-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, Boston still trails 3-2 and needs to win at Carolina in Game 6 (where the Hurricanes have lost just once this postseason) in order to extend things to a Game 7. And in the Western Conference, the Red Wings pushed the Ducks to the brink with a decisive 4-1 victory to take a 3-2 series lead.
While the Celtics and Bruins were in their playoff battle, the Red Sox were simply beating the Rays 4-3. But how could one fan celebrate everything that was going on in the Boston sports world on Sunday? BUGS AND CRANKS found one fan who had the perfect answer: a Celtics jersey pulled over a Bruins jersey, topped with a Red Sox cap:
Just to finish our Boston sports orgy: are you ready for a reality show starring Troy O’Leary as the baseball version of Simon Cowell? The BOSTON GLOBE says O’Leary hopes you are, as he’s developing a new TV show called “Play Big or Go Home” that is trying to find baseball diamonds in the rough. My choice for the Paula Abdul spot at the judges’ table? The San Diego Chicken.
England national team soccer star Ledley King was arrested over the weekend after allegedly assaulting a bouncer at a London nightclub and insulting his Pakistani heritage. THE SUN says that King got to sleep it off in the drunk tank, literally, as he passed out in the stony lonesome for five hours.
While that was happening, the TELEGRAPH says that Manchester United was throttling Manchester City 2-0 to put a stranglehold on the English Premier League title with two games remaining. But mercurial United star Cristiano Ronaldo found something to mope about, throwing a fit after being removed by Sir Alex Ferguson just short of an hour into the match:
NASCAR’s head of drug testing isn’t exactly buying Jeremy Mayfield’s claim that a reaction to an allergy medication led to his positive drug test, telling USA TODAY that “in my many years of experience, I have never seen a violation like this due to the combination of over-the-counter or prescription products.” But maybe he was trying to get pregnant?
With college athletes getting in trouble about Facebook postings on a seemingly daily basis, you would think that universities would avoid social networking sites like the plague. But the IDAHO STATESMAN says that Boise State is embracing the concept in a big way, complete with Facebook pages, YouTube channels and more. (h/t to THE WIZ OF ODDS)
April is the best month to be a sports fan, and last night was a classic example of why. It was a virtual buffet of scrumptious viewing options. And a really good buffet, too, like the ones you find in downtown Vegas where all the locals eat, not one of those lousy chain buffets where everything from the decor to the food is a monochrome tan color palette and seems to be from the 1970s. (I’m looking at you, Hometown Buffet.)
Case in point: Game 5 between the Celtics and the Bulls, which took an already great series into uncharted territory. With their backs to the wall and missing two of their Big Three (Kevin Garnett to injury and Ray Allen after fouling out with 5:27 left in the fourth quarter), Boston found a way to get past Chicago 106-104 in overtime. And that way was Paul Pierce, who made three straight jumpers in the final 77 seconds of OT to carry the Celtics to a 3-2 series lead.
Just how historic is this series? The two teams have set a record with three overtime games in one series - and there’s still as many as two games left to go. (And let’s be honest: anyone who isn’t a Boston fan has to want this to go to seven games.) Bob Ryan of the BOSTON GLOBE believes it’s the best No. 2 vs. No. 7 match-up in league history, and it’s pretty hard to argue the point.
Of course, there were other heroes who made the win possible for the Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Brad Miller. Yeah, that Brad Miller, the big, vaguely stiffish center who plays for the Bulls. Miller had a chance to send the game into a second OT when Rondo was called for a foul on Miller’s missed layup with two seconds left. But Miller clanked the first one and then failed to hit the rim while trying to miss the second one.
Meanwhile, Dwight Howard is just destroying things. Mainly the 76ers, as evidenced by his 24 point, 24 rebound performance in the Magic’s 91-78 victory to get their own 3-2 series lead. And more specifically, he destroyed the 76ers Samuel Dalembert with an elbow to the head which earned him a technical foul. Philadelphia coach Tony DiLeo has said the team has already informed the league about Howard’s foul (in hopes of getting him suspended for Game 6), but since David Stern was actually at the game, the phone call was probably unnecessary.
But like any weapon of mass destruction, Howard can be as dangerous to his allies as his enemies (think of him as the basketball version of Doctor Manhattan, except with less giant blue wang), as proven when he KO’ed Orlando starting point guard Courtney Lee, sending him out of the game and to the hospital with a likely concussion. Which means that Orlando could be very short-handed when heading back to Philadelphia for Game 6. This series is far from over.
Meanwhile, let’s turn our attention to something slightly less violent: the NHL playoffs. Unless you consider death by choking to be too graphic for your tastes. Because that’s exactly what the New Jersey Devils did in their Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes, finding a way to lose in regulation despite having a 3-2 lead … with 80 seconds left.
No OT needed here, just a total and complete collapse started by Jussi Jokinen’s game-tying goal at 18:40 in the 3rd period and completed with Eric Staal’s game and series-winner with 37 seconds left. And keep in mind that this all happened in New Jersey: If you want to know just how quiet a sellout crowd can be, just watch this video of the Hurricanes’ furious rally:
Finally, I guess that Major League Soccer has finally reached the big time. Sure, their attendance is lagging and their TV ratings are at XFL levels, but now they can claim to be on par with a big time league like the NBA in one capacity: a referee game-fixing scandal. The COLUMBUS DISPATCH says that MLS referee Jair Marrufo is under investigation for allegedly accepting an autographed jersey from Chicago Fire star Cuauhtemoc Blanco in the referee’s room after their 2-2 draw against the Columbus Crew on Saturday. (And a hat tip to SOCCER BY IVES for finding the original story.)
Accepting a gift from a player is a pretty awful idea if you’re an official of any sport, much less a professional official at the highest level. But when you add to this the fact that Marrufo called a controversial red card on the Crew’s Gino Padula for a foul on Blanco in the second half, and that the Fire rallied for two late goals against the man-down Columbus side for a 2-2 draw, and things get downright shady.
As someone who has covered the MLS in recent years, I don’t think Marrufo purposefully threw the match; Given the lousy quality of MLS referees (including Marrufo), I don’t think the majority of them have the wherewithal to fix a bowl of cereal, much less a match. It’s more likely the whole incident was a mix of horrible on the field and post-game judgment by an MLS referee, a shockingly common occurrence.
Speaking of people I wish would go away but haven’t quite yet: Please get ready to head to your fallout shelters until the start of the regular season. PRO FOOTBALL TALK says that the Jets have given Brett Favre his release, meaning he’s now a free agent. And Favre’s response to the news (“at this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football”) has me feeling very nauseous and woozy.
In case you missed it on Monday night, James Jones of the Miami Heat scored eight points in 11 seconds against the Hawks, thanks to back-to-back four point plays. And Miami still lost by about a billion points - imagine how much worse it could have been (OK, eight points worse, but still). BALL DON’T LIE has the video proof of the Reggie Miller-esque scoring outburst:
The CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS says former Tennessee OL Cameron Mayo was arrested on charges of sexual assault. The former Volunteer was working at Dalton High in Tennessee as a substitute teacher at the time of his arrest.
In other Red Raiders news, Texas Tech’s baseball team recently had a “Turn Back The Clock” night, so UNI WATCH says their video department decided to make a retro style highlight package. Someone had a lot of fun making this, so please watch:
More fallout from the swine flu epidemic: the AP says that CONCACAF has canceled its regional beach soccer tournament scheduled to begin tomorrow in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The good news: if you’re going to be stranded somewhere because of a horrible flu outbreak, at least it’s the beach.
It’s time to confront reality: Kevin Garnett is done. Done, done, done. Not coming back for a single game of the playoffs. It sucks for fans of both the Celtics and of basketball in general, but it’s the truth.
That sounds you hear is that confident bubble of pride surrounding the city of Boston bursting — and the city of Cleveland rejoicing — all at once.
“He’s not going to be ready. After watching him practice, there’s no way,” Rivers said. “The way I saw him move today, I don’t know if he’ll be ready.”
The Celtics are still a playoff caliber team without Garnett, but they’re certainly not a squad capable of defending an NBA title. In fact, missing Garnett is precisely the kind of blow that will convince the young Bulls that they can actually steal this first round series if they get lucky with a win in Games 1 or 2. After Garnett went back on the shelf in April, the Celtics still won 10 of 11 games down the stretch. Yet there’s a substantive difference between winning regular season games against teams that may or may not have a postseason future, and winning playoff games against the likes of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
I’ll be blunt: End Times may be upon us. Sources have told ESPN.COM that the Clippers have had discussions with Isiah Thomas about bringing him into their front office. While the two sides have apparently only had “informal yet substantive” conversations, the thought of arguably the worst executive in NBA history joining forces with perhaps the most sad-sack franchise in all of pro sports should be enough to make anyone tremble in fear.
(A sign of things to come?)
One source within the Clippers organization (in between bouts of crying and failed suicide attempts, I’m sure) said that the discussion of bringing Thomas or Randy Pfund into the front office to “help” Mike Dunleavy is just “a smoke screen to defray the criticism of the franchise” about the lawsuit filed by former GM Elgin Baylor. I don’t know if that’s true or not; what I do know is that even throwing the idea of Thomas and the Clippers linking up is tempting fate.
(Why is this man smiling? Seriously, help me here - I have no idea.)
Because make no mistake, this is bad news on an apocalyptic scale - the Staples Center area might be turned into a giant vortex of suckage that it would collapse into itself, taking the majority of downtown LA with it. Those little yippy dogs that celebs like Paris Hilton carry in their purses would turn into blood-thirsty savages. Hollywood Boulevard might become a river of molten lava, carrying away the homeless and Japanese tourists there to see “Grease” starring Taylor Hicks to a fiery death.
I’m sure as hell leaving at once if this happens, and I’m bringing enough cyanide pills for the family in case we don’t get out in time. Perhaps I’m being a bit too panicky, but you have to plan for these things: I just have a feeling that more than the Clippers’ salary cap is going to explode if Isiah Thomas joins the Clippers.
Also making plans: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who is significantly more together than either Thomas or the Clippers. His latest plan, according to USA TODAY: expanding the regular season to 17 or 18 games, and eliminating one or two preseason games in the process. Imagine that…actually trying to give fans more meaningful games and eliminate season-ticket holders having to pay for lousy games featuring star players for one series and then a bunch of scrubs for the remainder of the game.
Of course, the union hasn’t approved the plan yet, and they are sure to not be pleased about their players having to play two more competitive games a season. (And if there’s an 18-game season, you can pretty much wipe out things like a 1,000-yard season as being any sort of benchmark for success.) And is certainly interesting that the league would consider putting the players through more wear and tear a day after announcing new rules to “protect” them.
Of course, Goodell has other things on his mind, like the fact that he might need to rule on Michael Vick’s status sooner rather than later. Vick left a federal prison yesterday for a bankruptcy hearing in Virginia, but the day was hardly successful. The AP reports that U.S. Department of Labor has filed complaints accusing Vick of illegally spending about $1.3 million in pension funds from one of his companies for personal reasons, including paying restitution in his dog fighting case.
This should close any debate about who the stupidest person in America is. I wonder if the Clippers have room on their staff for him?
Some other sports news from last night that you might have missed if you were in Brussels waiting in line to use the restroom…and waiting…and waiting…
Our economy might be going down a drain, but that doesn’t mean we as Americans are too broke to engage in the American Dream: going to a baseball game and eating a hamburger the size of a kitten. The GRAND RAPIDS PRESS reports that the West Michigan Whitecaps will be debuting The Fifth Third Burger, a 4,800-calorie, four-pound behemoth that includes a one-pound bun, five patties and five slices of cheese. And a cup of chili for good measure.
Los Angeles TV and radio personality John Ireland made a hasty bet with James Worthy: if his UCLA Bruins didn’t advance as far as Worthy’s North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament, Ireland would sing the UNC fight song on TV. Bad idea, after the Bruins tanked against Villanova. Here are the unfortunate results - it’s like the drunk guy at karaoke who gets pressured into singing by his friends and spends his whole time on stage planning ways to kill them.
Scary stuff for Olympic gymnastic hero Shawn Johnson: NEWSDAY reports that a nutjob armed with two guns and duct tape tried to break into the set of “Dancing with the Stars” and “get to” Johnson and her dancing partner. To be fair, if she wasn’t interested in him, she shouldn’t have been sending subliminal messages to him through the TV and through ESP. Women.
Of all the things I would think to impersonate in a scam, a youth soccer referee wouldn’t be one of them. But DIRTY TACKLE says that’s just what some fake ref did in Northern Ireland, convincing three teams to give him a “match fee” before games he never reffed.
Apparently the NHL doesn’t like it when a goaltender pushes a referee and then shoots a puck at him: the TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL says that Martin Gerber of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been suspended three games after going nuts Tuesday against the Washington Captials.
The Boston Celtics death spiral continues as the BOSTON GLOBE reports the Magic beat them 84-82 to edge closer to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Is it too late to give last year’s MVP to Kevin Garnett since we know now just how much he means to this team?
I think it’s fair to say that the Dallas police officer who stopped Houston Texans RB Ryan Moats from being at his dying mother-in-law’s bedside - at the hospital parking lot, over a red light - should not just be suspended or fired, but drawn and quartered. SPORTS RUBBISH has the awful, infuriating details.
For some players, spring training is a chance to get in shape; for others, it’s a chance to hit the free buffet in the locker room every day. THE LOVE OF SPORTS looks at the Top 10 Overweight Baseball Players. Maybe they’ll win a free Fifth Third Burger for making it on the list?