Gulf Oil Spill Bogs Down Hornets Coaching Search

With the NBA Draft approaching for the New Orleans Hornets, the team’s prospective owner Gary Chouest has still yet to hire a coach. Yes, it’s getting late, but to say Chouest has a good excuse for the holdup is an understatement.

Gary Chouest New Hornets Owner Helping With Gulf Oil Spill

Chouest is the owner-operator of a 7,500-employee ship company that services offshore oil rigs. So Chouest, who has agreed in principle to buy the team from George Shinn, is currently faced with finalizing the formal acquisition of the Hornets while he mobilizes his ship company to help clean up one of the worst offshore oil spills in recorded history.

In other words, Avery Johnson and Tom Thibodeau can wait. Read more…

Floyd’s Catfight Video: Tipoff Scott To Be Fired?

Byron Scott was fired yesterday as coach of the New Orleans Hornets, replaced by someone named Jeff Bower, a guy with no previous head coaching experience at any level.

Tim Floyd Casino Fight

More interesting is Bower’s top assistant hire: Tim Floyd.

You remember Floyd was caught in the middle of a catfight in a crappy SoCal casino out on I-10 two weeks ago, and at the time, we were all wondering what the hell he was doing out there.

Now we know the real reason, perhaps. Read more…

Speed Read: O’s Rally From 9 Down To Top Sox

It’s been a rough decade for the Baltimore Orioles. The once proud franchise has long been third fiddle to the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East, but with the sudden rise of the Rays and the continuing competence of the Blue Jays, it’s hard to imagine a team that’s further away from being a contender in any division in baseball than the O’s.

Orioles celebrate

So it’s fitting that when the O’s finally did achieve something great, nobody was around to see it. Trailing 9-1 to Boston in the fifth inning last night at Camden Yards, the rain came and most of the crowd took off during a 79-minute delay. After resuming, the Sox added a 10th run in the top of the seventh inning before all heck broke loose. Baltimore scored five times in the bottom of the inning off of Justin Masterson. Then they added five more in the eighth that included a three-run pinch homer by Oscar Salazar, and capped off by a Nick Markakis double off of Jonathan Papelbon.

Hideki Okajima and Terry Francona

And just like that, history was made. George Sherrill shut the door on the Sox in the 9th and an epic meltdown was complete, sending the nine Baltimore fans in attendance into hysterics (while a few thousand Sox fans sat in stunned silence). Final score: Baltimore 11, Boston 10. It was the biggest comeback in the history of the Orioles franchise (which dates to when they moved there from St. Louis in 1954), and the biggest comeback by a last-place team over a first-place team in the history of the game. For Boston, it was the second-largest blown lead in their history (they choked away a 10-0 lead to Toronto in 1989).

The rally seemingly came out of nowhere, but perhaps we should’ve seen that the Sox didn’t exactly have their heads in it after the rain delay when the entire infield left the field in the bottom of the sixth inning…after recording the second out.

Red Sox leave field with 2 outs

(Fail)

July 1st is upon us, and that means NBA free-agent season is about to kick into gear. Today was the deadline for players with options to decide whether or not to honor their deals or look elsewhere. And with most NBA teams looking to slash payrolls, it’s no surprise that there aren’t a lot of people choosing to opt out. Kobe Bryant heads the list, but nobody really expected him to opt out.

Carlos Boozer, on the other hand, declared months ago that he would be on the open market come July. But a lot has changed since then. Detroit was the only team in position to offer Boozer a substantial deal, but they balked at offering a deal that would pay him more than the $12.7 million he’ll earn next season for sticking around Utah. Plus, Boozer’s really into going to Sundance and he wouldn’t be able to do that in Detroit.

Carlos Boozer

Boozer’s choice to exercise his option, and Mehmet Okur’s decision to do the same, has put the Jazz in a tough spot. They expect to lose Boozer after next season, and probably would’ve preferred if he bolted now. They’d like to sign youngster Paul Millsap to a long-term deal, and will now have to pay the luxury tax if they do so.

Meanwhile, Hedo Turkoglu is officially a free-agent, and while he’s garnering the most buzz, a lot of good players, such as Ron Artest, Jason Kidd, Ben Gordon, Andre Miller, Chris “Birdman” Andersen, and some guy named Allen Iverson could be had for the right price. Another guy on the market is Charlie Villanueva, who the Bucks declined to even make an offer to. TRUEHOOP says that’s a major indication that the economy is really taking its toll on the league. The Rockets are somewhat creepily taking a bit run at Marcin Gortat to replace Yao Ming for the time being, going as far as knocking on his door at 12:01 a.m. and setting up a Gmail account just for Gortat-based fanmail.

Marcin Gortat

(A future star, or a really well paid cheerleader?)

Speaking of Yao, people in China aren’t buying that he’s really all that hurt, suggesting that the Rockets are overstating his injury so that he’ll be cheaper to re-sign when his contract is up next year. But will Houston want him back? Regardless of whether or not he’s healed, China expects him to play in next summer’s World Championships, which could lead to further injury and basically stick the fork in him (if it hasn’t been already).

Yao's foot

(If Yao can’t run by next summer, he’s going to reinvent himself as Earl Boykins on wheels)

And now, without further adieu, let’s kick off July’s links with some bad goalkeeping, cheerleader car washes, and disembodied hair:

Chris Cooley is taking some time from showing everyone his wang to set fire to dead farm animals instead.

• On the plus side, this goalie showed some nice hops in saving this ball from going out of bounds. On the minus side, well, you’ll see (thanks to SPORTS RUBBISH):

• The ONLINE SPORTS GUYS has the story of Florida International’s cheerleaders — whose program was cut from the school’s athletic budget — trying to save their team the only way they know how: a giant car wash. Video goodness within.

FIU cheerleader carwash

• JOCK AND BALLS has 10 mullets we all know and love.

• Pacifiers featuring logos of NHL teams are being recalled because they cause a risk for choking. Surprisingly, neither the Bruins nor the Sharks are among the featured logos.

• Who has the NBA’s biggest payroll? Gotta be the Lakers or Celtics, right? No, actually, it’s New Orleans. And I’m sure that Wizards fans out there will be excited to learn that their team is #3 on the list.

• You’ve got just about three days left if you want to buy Magglio Ordonez’s hair in an Ebay auction.

Magglio Ordonez's hair

On second thought, that miiiiight be a dead puli.

• You want to edit some home video footage of Ty Cobb? Better respond to this Craigslist ad fast. He assures you that this is not a fake, because as we all know, people are always trying to pass around fraudulent Ty Cobb videos.

• The BIRMINGHAM NEWS has posted odds on which college football program will be the next to commit a major violation, courtesy of USBET.COM. #1 on the list? USC. Last on the list? The Australian Institute of Ethics.

• Penguins star Evgeni Malkin has a Conn Smythe Trophy, and now he’s cavorting somewhere warm with Oksana Kondakova, a model with creative tastes in bikini tops:

Oksana Kondakova

Looks like Malkin’s enjoying the off-season:

Oksana Kondakova and Evgeni Malkin

 

What does Yao Ming’s future hold?

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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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Speed Read: Washing Our Hands of the Swine Flu

The discerning reader prefers the news (and most foods) wrapped in bacon and liberally salted with panic. Therefore, we provide your Thursday morning sports-centric swine flu stories to better arm you at the water cooler to pass along the latest gossip mumbled through your faux designer mask:

Swine flu (or pigs fly)

Whew. That’s a lot of abject terror sensible precaution for one morning. Please add any additional sports-related swine flu stories to the comments below so the few remaining survivors have a record of these final days.

Thankfully, our few remaining moments left as a functional species can be well-represented by the following people tellin’ it like it is and keepin’ it real with the kids, assuming your kids take Don Rickles’ routine at face value:

Geno Auriemma

Fire truck at Comerica Park

(Emergency vehicle sized appropriately to emergency)

Finally, a false alarm (possibly a fire alarm) in the eighth inning could not shake the New York Yankees from barely holding onto a 8-6 lead at Comerica Park over the Detroit Tigers last night despite holding a 7-1 advantage late in the contest. As Joe Girardi put it, “In this day and age, that’s a little scary.”

Heck, Joe … in this day and age, what isn’t?

And now a hail of bullet points caused by two heroin-slingin’ senior citizen sisters (though you can’t fault them for looking for a new retirement plan these days) …

What’s your favorite pandemic?

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Jenna Jameson & Tito Ortiz Met Through MySpace

• How did porn star Jenna Jameson & MMA fighter Tito Ortiz first meet? It was through the modern miracle of MySpace!

Tito Ortiz Jenna Jameson

• The Nuggets sting the Hornets with a record-tying playoff blowout.

Bob Knight would appreciate it if the Dutch media wouldn’t f***ing ask him about the f***ing chair-throwing incident.

• Could you stand yet another day of the NFL Draft - in primetime, even?

Al Roker & Donald Trump have thrown some of the most fabulously futile first pitches at Fenway.

Read more…

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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Read Between The Lines: Chris Paul Will Be A Mav

When DALLAS MORNING NEWS sports blogger Tim McMahon — the very Tim McMahon who found himself banned from the Mavericks locker room a little over a year ago — postulated a scenario that would land budding all-time great point guard Chris Paul in Dallas a week ago, few people took notice. Well, they should have. According to a source very close to the blogger, he didn’t pull the scenario out of thin air, he pulled it directly from the mouth of Mark Cuban himself, who gave the specs of a potential deal during one of his infamous stair-stepping impromptu press conferences.

chris paul jason kidd

(Next year, they could just switch jerseys!)

The scenario goes something like this: The Hornets desperately need to clear payroll because A) they’re hurting for money like crazy and B) they’re facing an enormous luxury tax hit for the contracts of Peja Stojakavic, Tyson Chandler and, most notably, Paul. Making matters worse, Paul’s four-year, max-dollar contract extension is about to kick in, which will make him far too expensive for the Hornets to afford.

Read more…

Speed Read: Rumor Mill Heats Up Valley Of Sun

We last left the never-ending stand-up comedy routine that is Shaquille O’Neal’s life as he was engaging in a prank battle with Suns rookie Louis Admunson. But then came word that he might soon be taking his show on the road, as the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reported that the big man expected to be heading to New Orleans in the off-season in a trade for Tyson Chandler.

Shaquille O'Neal

While the prospect of O’Neal - who had something resembling a career resurgance this past season - joining Chris Paul and David West might make Hornets fans (hello, anyone?)  scream like a teenage girl bumping into Joe Jonas at an am/pm, the TIMES-PICAYUNE says that they can save their voices. They looked at the trade and said that the numbers just don’t work - basically, the Hornets would have to trade $8 million more in player salaries in addition to Chandler’s, which doesn’t help their goal of trimming salary to stay under the cap.

Anquan Boldin

So while the Suns’ trade of Shaq might have stalled, the same isn’t true of Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Anquan Boldin. First, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS said that Boldin appeared as a guest on Michael Irvin’s radio show and pretty much pleaded to be traded:

As for getting traded Boldin said, “I just want to get it resolved, it’s been going on way too long.” Later he said, “it would hurt but at the same time, change is necessary. My only problem has been management, always has been.”

While this was happening, the ARIZONA REPUBLIC was reporting that the Cardinals have changed their course and are now open” to listening to trade offers for Boldin, who has two years left on his contract, but still prefer to resign him. Boldin mentioned in his interview that he’d love to play in the NFC East. With basically every team in the division needing a go-to wide receiver, it certainly is an attractive option.

And while this all was happening, on the other side of the country former Delaware football player Julian James was hungry - really hungry.  The DELAWARE NEWS-JOURNAL says that a video surveillance camera at an off-campus apartment complex allegedly shows James entering an unlocked apartment and leaving with loot, while unsuccessfully trying to get into six other apartment. His haul?

Julian James

“100 frozen chicken wings, a pound of frozen salmon, 18 frozen Hot Pockets and 20 hamburger patties worth a total value of $82.”

Or as John Kruk would call that, “lunch.” I hope they recovered the stolen food before James had a chance to eat it; Otherwise, I’d think the state’s Exhibit A in the trial is going to be pretty smelly and disgusting.

  • What’s hotter than Miss America in a basketball jersey? How about Miss America in a basketball jersey draining an NBA 3-pointer. INDY CORN ROWS says current Miss America Katie Stam did just that before a Pacers game last night.
  • Miss America with the Pacers

  • What happens when a stick from an opposing team’s player gets stuck halfway through the glass in Boston? As PUCK DADDY says, it turned into a tug-of-war between Montreal’s Alexei Kovalev and a Bruins fan during the Canadiens’ 4-2 loss, with the stick breaking in half. If this were the 1970s and the Bruins were playing the Rangers, Mike Milbury would have made sure someone ate some leather.
  • Congratulations to Ichiro, who the SEATTLE TIMES reports set the record for most hits by a Japanese baseball player with a fourth inning single, giving him 3,086 for his career in Japan and the U.S. So that’s what was causing his bleeding ulcer.
  • As if the Flyers needed an obstacle in trying to take down the Penguins in their NHL first-round playoff series: the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS says that Philadelphia enforcer Daniel Carcillo has been suspended for Game 2 after giving a “message” hit to the back of the head of Pittsburgh’s Max Talbot at the end of the Flyers’ Game 1 loss.
  • In the wake of Nick Adenhart’s tragic death and with the Angels’ nearly tragic bus crash from 1992 still on longtime team fans’ minds, HALOS HEAVEN looks at MLB’s contingency plans in case of a catastrophic accident that wipes out a team. George Costanza can rest easy tonight.
  • The ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH says that Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter left the team’s game against the Cubs in the fourth inning with a strained oblique. How did he get the injury? Taking a swing during an earlier at-bat. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE THE DH, PEOPLE!
  • Remember when the Cavs fans got on LeBron James’ case when he dribbled out the ball with the team needing one more point to ensure fans a free Taco Bell item? The CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER says King James was still ticked about Chalupagate as he addressed the fans before the team’s home finale.
  • If I am Kurt Busch and my NASCAR career has stalled, the one person I wouldn’t be yelling at during a race is his car owner, racing legend Roger Penske. FROM THE MARBLES agrees, and has the audio and video proof (about 55 seconds in):

  • Kenyon Martin on Sacramento Kings co-owner Joe Maloof to SI.COM after Maloof demanded an apology after Martin gave a hard foul to the Kings’ Spencer Hawes: “Apologize to him? I’m not apologizing to him. I apologized to Spencer after the game, but before he opens his mouth he needs to know what’s going on.” Guess someone just got uninvited to the Palms VIP suites this off-season.
  • Congratulations to former Arizona basketball star Eugene Edgerson, who the ARIZONA DAILY STAR says was arrested for his second domestic abuse charge within the past two months. Edgerson currently plays for the Harlem Globetrotters, leading me to wonder if his wife is the Washington Generals of marriage.

With Stephen A. Smith out the door, which ESPN talking head should be the next to get the ax?

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Speed Read: A Handy LeBron Coronation Program

The 82-game NBA season ended with a gentle thud last night as the Bulls failed to secure the sixth spot in the East while the Spurs latched onto #3 in the West.  The Great Bennydini will be angered by this turn of events.

The Great Bennydini (Benny the Bull)

However, you can now express your joy in the NBA’s second season with your own SPORTSbyBROOKS NBA playoff matchups in convenient chart form:

Eastern Conference

  • #1 Cleveland We’ll Be Shouting ‘BOOBIE!’ as Much as Possibles vs. #8 Detroit Ballast Jettisoners
  • #2 Boston Can We Borrow a Dead Guy’s Knee for KG Like We Did for Curt Schillings vs. #7 Chicago Sixteen Guards and Whaddya Gets
  • #3 Orlando Dwight Hasn’t Figured Out a Costume Change to Make Him a Point Guard, Toos vs. #6 Philadelphia So Glad We’re Paying Elton Brand $18 Million in 2012-2013s
  • #4 Atlanta Name Three Players vs. #5 Miami Name Twos

Western Conference

  • #1 Los Angeles Kobe Clubs Baby Seals with Portuguese Water Dogs Wrapped in Veals vs. #8 Utah Deron Williams Falls Asleep Every Night Clutching a Copy of His Tear-Stained Contract After Failing to Find an Out Clauses
  • #2 Denver You’ve Got to Be Kiddings vs. #7 New Orleans Seriously, Aren’t These in the Wrong Orders
  • #3 San Antonio Flashbacks vs. #6 Dallas Hey, At Least We Haven’t Traded for Shaq Yets (Note: the above series has been moved to CBS and the Hallmark Channel as per FCC regulations around programming for the elderly.)
  • #4 Portland Maybe Next Years (But Don’t Tell Joel Przybilla’s Grandma We Said So) vs. #5 Houston There’s Also a Regression Analysis to Prove Shane Battier Makes the Best Damned Mojitos in Texas

As always, it’s the gift you didn’t even have to ask for.  Or didn’t want to.

Major League Baseball tried yet again yesterday to provide another round of gifts to Jackie Robinson, who has been feted nearly as often as Frank Sinatra since his death. Yesterday, every player in baseball wore number 42 in his honor to avoid the embarrassment of 42 wearer infighting last year.

Jackie Robinson

However, since MLB continues to be a bit short in providing affection through monetary donations, at least a couple players did their best to pursue great achievements on Robinson’s day.  Tim Wakefield took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning in Oakland before noted hater Kurt Suzuki ended the fun with a base hit.

Ian Kinsler followed up on this attempt with his own success: 6-6 at the plate with a cycle attached.  If the opposing team last night (the Orioles) happened to be your sleeper team this year, you may want to check just how deep that sleep is.

Speaking of deep sleep, former Illinois governor (and current Illinois chew toy) Rod Blagojevich apparently didn’t feel it necessary to stop at meddling with the affairs of Tribune Co. when he didn’t get his way.  He also sent a note to Cubs manager Lou Piniella to recommend a lineup change in 2007.

Rod Blagojevich

S’funny; we don’t remember Blago being so receptive to a lineup change at the state level earlier this year.  Perhaps he isn’t a big fan of having his moves micromanaged by impotent whiners who never held the position dictating his actions from afar when they’ve never been in the trenches, y’know?

Speaking of, what say we peek around the Internet with a gentle tap-tap-tapping of bullets on your window pane while you consider the effects of an on-campus bar in Redmond, WA, on Windows 7 development

  • Congratulations on playing all 82 games this season, Grant Hill.  Also, congratulations on getting your wife, Tamia, a spot at All-Star Weekend and various local charity events in Arizona.  Strong season all ’round.
  • Now that the WALL STREET JOURNAL has a sports section, expect to see sabermetric notions exposed to a larger audience.  That might explain why the guy in the cubicle next to you suddenly wants to talk about batting the pitcher eighth.
  • Best of luck with the dissertation, PhDribble.
  • Presumptive #1 NFL draft pick Matthew Stafford will be on Jimmy Fallon’s show Thursday, but Fallon won’t bring him out until three other picks have been introduced.
  • We suspect the last time an angry bear was used to sell hockey tickets involved Bruce Vilanch and the Los Angeles Kings, but this isn’t so bad, either:

Now that the non-playoff teams have been determined in the NBA, who will end up the winner in the Blake Griffin sweepstakes?

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