Yesterday we learned about Brandon Marshall’s feelings for Denver and how he hates that “f***ing city“. Now today we learn of another disgruntled athlete and his lack of love for the place he had to play in the last few years.
Stephon Marbury will hit the free agent market today along with plenty of other NBA players, and though he’s not going to be as hot a commodity as most of the others he does have some advice for anybody considering the New York Knicks. That advice basically being to slap yourself in the face and think again.
You have to give Mike D’Antoni credit for trying something innovative, even if it didn’t work out. For the second straight game, the New York Knicks rolled out their “Box and Zero” defense, which essentially challenges the other team’s best player to beat them by refusing to cover him under any circumstances. But just like against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Monday night, somehow it didn’t work out against the Cavaliers either.
Actually, I’m not sure what defense D’Antoni had his team running the last two games, but “none” comes to mind: a game after giving up 61 points to Bryant, the Knicks did the impossible: made another superstar have an even more incredible performance, as LeBron Jamesscored 52 points in the Cavaliers’ 107-102 victory and became the first NBA player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 to score 50+ points as part of a triple-double.
James also joined Michael Jordan as the only players to have multiple 50 points games in the new Madison Square Garden. Any time you’re mentioned in the same breath as Kareem and Jordan, you are doing something right. And did I mention that this was the tail end of a back-to-back? And that the Cavaliers were without three of their players due to injury and illness?
And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t get any easier for the Knicks. Their next opponent to come into the Garden? The Boston Celtics on Friday night. I can’t imagine what Kevin Garnett could possibly do to upstage Kobe and LeBron - perhaps pick Nate Robinson up and slam him through the basket while clutching the ball?
Raiders running back Justin Fargas wasn’t breaking any records last night, unless it was “Stupidest Appearance in a Hip-Hop Video.” Because if you are an NFL player, and you know the league is on the warpath about its image and substance abuse, I would think that appearing in a video with someone called “Yukman” as he smokes a blunt that would make Cheech & Chong quiver in their tie-dyes isn’t such a great idea.
But PRO FOOTBALL TALK says that’s exactly what Fargas did. And honestly, are we shocked by this? Not that an NFL player would be so brazen about assoicating with potheads, but that it would be Fargas. I mean, his dad was Huggy Bear, for crying out loud. Just look at his dad:
Being shocked that his son is involved with marijuana is like being shocked that one of Bob Marley’s kids has a taste for the ganja. The video is up at WORLD STAR HIP HOP: go grab some Fritos and see it yourself.
While you pick the seeds out of your buds, here’s some more sports wackness from last night:
It’s bad for a college football program when when of your four-star linebacker recruits gets busted for a DUI. But when that school is BYU? Yikes. COUGAR BLUE has the story of Kyle Van Noy, who won’t be playing for the Cougars next year.
The WICHITA EAGLE wants you to look at the swinging watch and read the story of the high school basketball coach who turned to hypnotism to break his team’s slump and the school board that didn’t like it. Also, please send them a check for $500 dollars. And cluck like a chicken whenever you hear the word “beans.”
That sound you heard was Dick Vitale openly weeping for the Duke basketball team, as the Blue Devils dropped a close 74-47 game to Clemson. The WINSTON SALEM-JOURNAL picks up the pieces from the wreckage.
You might remember Cleveland State as a footnote in NCAA basketball history: back in 1986, the Vikings became the darlings of the hoops world when they beat Indiana and St. Joesph’s to become the first No. 14 seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Both their wins came in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, one of the sites for the early rounds of the East Regionals (remember back when game sites actually had some geographical relevance to their bracket?)
Flash-forward 22 years, as Cleveland State makes their return trip to Syracuse, this time to take on the previously-unbeaten and 11th-ranked Orange. The Vikings - thought to be a contender in the Horizon League before a rash of early losses - put up a good fight and lead late, only to see Syracuse’s Arinze Onuaku tie the score at 69-69 with two seconds left on a put-back basket, setting up the inevitable overtime where the better team uses their superior depth and athletic ability to pull away from the game underdogs.
And then this happened:
Cedric Jackson drains the 60-footer - just like they work on it in practice - and Cleveland State stuns Syracuse 72-69. All of which left Orange coach Jim Boeheim pretty irritable at the post-game press conference. Add in a faulty microphone and you’ve got a late contender for coaching meltdown of the year. (Thanks to NESW SPORTS for the heads up
Yowza. I know it looks bad, but Boeheim was obviously in a bad mood and I’m sure he feels really bad about it. (Although that mic totally had it coming.) After all, he doesn’t want to set a bad example for his students, so they can think they can act out in violent and destructive fashion and not be punished.
Oops, never mind. Still, it’s a great win for Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters. Let’s just hope he doesn’t suffer the same downward spiral that the last Vikings coach to win in Syracuse did, but I hope Waters is smart enough to not get caught high as a kite leaving a crack house.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles kept “Operation Don’t Let a Tie with the Bengals Ruin Our Season” going for at least one more week last night, pasting the Cleveland Browns 30-10. (And really, is there any other way to beat a Ken Dorsey-led team?) That’s three straight wins after the debacle against the Ravens that led to Donovan McNabb’s benching and a general consensus that the Andy Reid Era in Philadelphia was over.
Impressive, but will it be enough? Let’s just say that the odds are stacked against them. Not only will they need to beat Washington (who are imploding, but it’s on the road) and Dallas (the perpetual question mark), but they need either Atlanta (games against Minnesota and St. Louis) or Tampa Bay (San Diego and Oakland) to lose once.
With three almost guaranteed wins there, the Eagles have to pin their postseason hopes on the less-than-golden arm of Tarvaris Jackson. Good luck with that.
Tiger Woods’ caddie/luckiest guy in the world Steve Williams rips Phil Mickelson, calling him a “prick“ and commenting on his…ahem…cup size. Woods responds by telling THE GUARDIAN that he’s “disappointed” in the remarks. Could Williams be joining Fluff Cowan in the Tiger Woods Caddie Graveyard?
In a bit of karma straight out of “My Name is Earl,” the MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE says Vikings DT Pat Williams, after being reinstated via court order following his suspension for water pills, might be out for the season after fracturing his shoulder against the Cardinals.
SI’s Jon Heyman has word that there might be a mystery suitor who is stepping in late to make a run at Andy Pettitte. Honestly, if it’s the Astros and the phrase “linked to the return of Roger Clemens” comes up, I will start punching people in the throat.
It’s become a Christmas tradition for President Bush to recruit lots of celebrities to star in his dog Barney’s holiday video (and you wonder why the country is where it’s at?) The BOSTON GLOBE says that Olympic heroes Michael Phelps and Nastia Liukin are co-starring in this year’s final masterpiece.
The MUNSTER TIMES passes along word of 19-year-old Valparaiso freshman basketball player Logan Jones, who was arrested when cops allegedly found him and some friends in a car drinking and smoking pot. He was arrested, despite the officer noting in his police report that he pleaded with him to “please be cool, I don’t want to loss (sic) my scholarship.”
After throwing nearly $50 million away on Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry, Jerome James and Malik Rose, who may combine to contribute only Rose’s garbage time minutes, the Knicks are finally making a sound business decision: they’re recouping their Marbury costs, one game at a time.
Get your notepad ready, because a series of events this complex and asinine could only happen under James Dolan. First the Knicks told Marbury he wouldn’t play, but they’d still pay him. Then, shorthanded on Wednesday, they told Marbury he had to play, since they were paying him. He then refused to play, mad because they hadn’t been playing him. Now they’re refusing to pay for his refusal to play. Got all that? Now you’ve caught up on the last week of As the Garden Turns. (All this, plus Magic throwing Isiah under the bus, after the jump.)
There’s a new aria in the never-ending soap opera that is the relationship between guard Stephon Marbury and the Knicks. After weeks of agitating for playing time under new coach Mike D’Antoni, the team finally seemed to acquiesce with Friday’s trade of Jamal Crawford. Perfect fix right? Well, according to ESPN.com, now Marbury doesn’t want the minutes created by Crawford’s absence, even though New York was forced to play with a depleted bench after sending out three players and waiting for the arrival of their replacements.
(One of these guys no longer is in New York. The other is in the same seat.)
Welcome to Madison Square Garden, where solutions create more problems because you can’t get rid of enough misogynistic egomaniacs to function as a reasonable sports franchise. While Isiah Thomas has been busy throwing his daughter under the bus for his own attempted suicide, Marbury’s been agitating to get out of town, then insisting he’s staying, and then blabbing about a need to play only to insist he isn’t going to.
The Stephon Marbury era appeared to end in New York not with a bang, but with a DNP-CD. But new Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni parking Marbury at the end of the bench, squarely outside the nine-man rotation, didn’t sit well with some fans Wednesday night. When they made their displeasure known, D’Antoni channeled his inner Tony Soprano.
Chants of “We Want Steph” echoed through Madison Square Garden throughout the second half of the season opener once it became clear that he wouldn’t be taking off his warm-ups. (The chant was quickly booed down by other, saner fans.) When the chant came again late in the game, television cameras appeared to capture D’Antoni saying, “Are they f**king kidding me? Are they f**king kidding me? What a bunch of a**holes.”
Well, it’s been one whole night since Philadelphia has won a major sports championship. I can’t imagine how Philly sports fans are dealing with the drought - based on Wednesday night, I’d guess getting hammered, overturning and then setting fire to a school bus full of children. If they are getting restless, the ticker tape parade is today, but the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS says mayor Michael Nutter has one simple request: don’t “be a jackass.” Next I guess you want Philly fans to stop rooting for the Phillies, Mr. Mayor?
Also ready to overturn things, but this time in anger - Fox Sports and MLB executives, after the Nielsen ratings showed that the 2008 World Series were the lowest-rated ever. But don’t worry - Fox and Commissioner Bud Selig both want you to know it was all the fault of the weather.
They weren’t necessarily rioting in the streets of Cincinnati last night - although Thanksgiving is coming up, and that does mean the legendary WKRP Turkey Drop is coming back to downtown! But, beating a ranked team does count for something, even if it was only No. 24 South Florida, who played like turkeys again. (Ha! See what I did there? Professional writer, folks.) I like Bulls’ head coach Jim Leavitt well enough, but another collapse in the second half of the season? Going 8-7 in your last 15 games against FBS opponents is not good.
What is good is being 21 and having $57.4 million in your pocket. That’s what Andrew Bynum has after signing a four-year extension with the Lakers on Thursday. All for a player who has started a whopping 80 games in his career and averaged a shade over seven points per game. But he has that infamous “unlimited upside potential” that Jay Bilas drives into your head each draft, even if this probably means the end for Lamar Odom in LA.
The only thing with more comedic potential than Mike Singletary as 49ers head coach? Diego Maradona, new Argentina soccer coach. GOAL.COM reports his first match will be Nov. 19 against Scotland. Given his reputation and history of problems, this is like John Daly being named PGA Tour Commissioner.
Maradona could probably help the East Timor soccer team - even now as a player, since they are the worst team in the world according to FIFA. So as the NEW YORK TIMES says, they have to feel pretty good about tying Cambodia, their first game ever that they didn’t lose. They were dancing in the streets of…East Timor City? I’m too lazy to Wikipedia that.
The 47-year-old man who was found by paramedics at 47-year-old Isiah Thomas’ house was not breathing when they arrived. The NEW YORK TIMES uses its esteemed powers of reporting to find out from police sources who this mystery man was.
Well, I suppose that was all worth it for the folks in Philadelphia. For the first time in 28 years and just the second time ever, the Phillies are World Series champions. And the fact that they defeated their longstanding arch-rivals from Tampa Bay makes it just that much more satisfying.
(Lidge tore his rotator cuff and his out for next season, but who cares? WHOOOOOOO!)
In a game that was called after just three innings, and featuring the Phillies batting first for some reason, the Fightin’s beat Tampa 4-3 to take the series 4-1. Three of the games were decided by one run, and the Rays made just enough mistakes to win none of those games. One wonders what would’ve happened if Evan Longoria had let that chopper go foul at the end of Game 3, or if things would’ve gone better for Andy Sonnanstine if he’d thrown to the right base in the first inning of Game 4. Or, perhaps most of all, if B.J. Upton hadn’t swung at the first freaking pitch with nobody out in the eighth inning last night and at least given Carl Crawford a pitch or two to steal a base.
But give the Phils credit. They were just the better team. Better starting pitching, better bullpen, and a dominant closer in Brad Lidge who more than made up for his struggles in Houston (except to Astros fans, who still hate the guy). To think that he was seen as a “risky move” when the Phillies traded a crappy outfielder for him. A bunch of different guys came through with huge hits. Utley and Howard contributed sporadically (the former with a spectacular defensive play to cut down Jason Bartlett at home in the seventh inning last night), but the heroes of this series for the Phillies will be guys like Carlos Ruiz, Pedro Feliz, and Geoff Jenkins, who I thought was playing for Milwaukee’s AA team until I saw him at the plate last night.
It’s all a bit odd to think the Phillies are actually the champs. At the beginning of last season, Jimmy Rollins made news for predicting that they would win the NL East over the defending Mets. Most laughed, even the Phillies fans. Eighteen months later, they’re on top of the baseball world. The national media, for the most part, covers the Phillies only in relation to what the Mets are doing. They’re just that team that gets to go to the playoffs because the Mets are huge failures, not a real contender, right? And now, as the offseason approaches, we’ll go right back to a billion stories about what’s wrong with the Mets and Yankees, and how they can get fixed. The Phils have never really received a whole lot of respect, but now they have a title with which to taunt their rivals to the north, and isn’t that more important anyway?
Towel girl thinks so:
Blazers fans lived without Greg Oden for all of last season, so living without him for two to four more weeks shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Oden has a sprained foot, but an MRI revealed that there are slight fractures in the foot. Everyone insists it’s minor. The bigger problem for Portland fans is not the inevitable Sam Bowie comparisons, but that Tuesday night’s game displayed just how much better Andrew Bynum is right now than Oden. And Bynum’s only a year older than Oden. So how exactly is Oden supposed to dominate the West for the next decade?
Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks debuted with a 120-115 win over Miami last night. And this is pretty much the same team that routinely struggled to put up 80 points with the same personnel last year. The biggest news of the night was that Stephon Marbury, who actually played pretty well in the preseason, got DNP-CD‘d for the first time in his career, as D’Antoni went with Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson all night. For what it’s worth, Marbury is actually handling it all fairly well. Isiah Thomas didn’t have much to say when reached for comment, as he said he slept through the whole thing.
Here’s some more news to digest while you recover from flipping cars over all night:
• Shaq riled up Gregg Poppovich when he complained about the Spurs going to the hack-a-Shaq strategy in the first half of playoff games last season. So what does Poppovich do in the season opener last night between the two rivals? Have Michael Finley bear-hug O’Neal five seconds into the game, then give him the double-barreled thumbs up with a giant grin:
• Former Colts player and current high school football coach Jeff Burris was caught driving backward through the streets of Indianapolis at 1:00 in the morning. He was drunk, of course. WRTV in Indy has the details.
• THE TWO MINUTE DRILL is having a “best looking college female athlete” contest, that appears to just be combing through the rosters on every university’s athletic website and coming up with the best headshots. Yes, Allison Stokke is involved.
• You know, I just don’t trust those polls. Texas#1? What a bunch of crap. I have them more like #16. No doubt that Tulsa and Ball State are better. Even Minnesota’s better. Don’t believe me? It’s true, just check out the ESPNU Allstate Fan Poll.
• Bernard Berrian has been trying to call the NFL’s steroid hotline (what?) to find out if he’s ingesting anything illegal, but nobody’s been answering, says PRO FOOTBALL TALK. Berrian proceeds to place blame on NFL for recent rash of positive drug tests.