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Archive for November, 2009

Revisiting Paul Pierce Dunking on Chris Bosh

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Um, I have to feel badly for Chris Bosh. Not only did the Boston Celtics beat his Toronto Raptors down, but Bosh got dunked on and got a knee to the groin area as a reward for trying to block Paul Pierce’s attempt. Did Pierce purposely try to “rack” Bosh or was it a case of simply trying to give himself some space to finish the dunk, something along the same lines as extending an off-hand to keep the defender away?

There is/was a good discussion over at over this very subject, and while no consensus has been reached, I think this stands out as my favorite comment, courtesy of Mr Excitement [sic'd]:

if bosh was the one who went on to knee paul pierce, celtics would have pulled the wheelchair.

Whatever the case, I do find Pierce’s post-dunk “thug mug” humorous.

Pete Carroll: Hypocrite

After almost single-handedly instigating “LA Riots: The 2009 Generation,” courtesy of a childish play call against UCLA in the closing seconds of their rivalry game, it would be wise if Pete Carroll closes his mouth the next time Jim Harbaugh runs the score up on him. You see, not only was Carroll egomaniacal enough to actually call such a play, he then allows his entire team to taunt the Bruins, which just about set off what would’ve been one of the most awesome football fights, perhaps ever.

I’ll grant you Rick Neuheisel has contributed to the feud — well, his employers have — but I’m not sure what rubbing the opposing players faces in it is going to accomplish. Punishing him for calling a timeout comes across as awfully petty, not to mention hypocritical in light of the Stanford game. Oh, and one more thing, Pete:

You have one National Championship, not two. LSU was the BCS Champion, which absolutely trumps anything the AP offers as its consolation prize.

Under the Bus With Hines Ward

I’m not sure what Hines Ward’s aim was during his interview with Bob Costas before the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens last night, but if it was to through Ben Roethlisberger under a bus, he succeeded. With flying colors. While Ward’s comments were no doubt inspired by the frustration of losing, they still came off as selfish, uninformed — especially at a time when the NFL’s concerns about concussions are growing — not to mention, it sounded like Ward had some leftover issues from Roethlisberger’s “taller receivers” lament.

In his defense, Ward said he wasn’t aware Roethlisberger was experiencing any issues with last week’s head knock, and has since clarified his comments to say he wanted his team to have the best chance to win.

Obviously, Ward thinks that chance includes having Big Ben under center. However, the fact he commented about having played with a concussion before can lead one to believe Ward wanted Roethlisberger out there regardless.

As for the Steelers as a team, they are in danger of being left out of the NFL Playoff picture. Currently, they are in a pack of seven other teams fighting the AFC’s Wild Card berth. While one would expect the Steelers to rise out of that morass, the fact that they’ve lost three-in-a-row does not bode well for their Super Bowl Champion-defending opportunities.

Greg Oden Gets Trampled by Bulls

As The Baseline pointed out, Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden had a great night against the Chicago Bulls, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. His team even got a sizable 122-98 win over the Baby Bulls. However, Oden’s night is being canonized because of two failed dunk prevention attempts. In the lead video, Derrick Rose absolutely blasts Oden with a nifty little baseline jam that the Portland big man just missed blocking. And then there’s the play where Oden tried to get in the way of Joakim Noah, and failed.

Nevertheless, it was Oden who had the last laugh as the Blazers dominated the Bulls for a 24-point win. It’s pretty safe to say both Rose and Noah would trade their highlight-worthy dunks for an impressive road win. Alas, it was not to be. Good thing they’ll always have their Dunking over Oden posters to look back on.

And if Noah really wanted a last word, he could always grab his second National Championship ring. You know, the one he won at Florida when his Gators beat Greg Oden and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Vince Young and Bernard Pollard Make Nice

The pleasant conversation going on in the video happened just after Vince Young was stopped by Bernard Pollard behind the line of scrimmage on a third down play, right before Rob Bironas put the Tennessee Titans ahead 17-14 in the third quarter. Evidently, Pollard and Young were exchanging Thanksgiving recipes, because it looks like Young was saying “cooks like this.” Although, it could’ve been something different. Maybe a “f**k you, bitch,” but then again, these are grown men we are talking about and as we all know, grown, professional athletes just don’t stoop to the levels of verbal abuse.

In other news, I wonder if Young’s colorful response offended Pollard the way his previous head coach, Todd Haley, did.

While Pollard did indeed bring his “A” game, it was Young who got the last laugh as the Titans won a second half battle of field goals, 20-17. In other news, Vince Young = win. Any questions?

Urban Meyer Nixes Notre Dame

Urban and Tim

For all of those Notre Dame Irish fans hoping Urban Meyer would swoop down and rescue them from the blight known as Charlie Weis, perhaps you should temper your expectations. Unless Meyer is taking a stab at Nick Saban’s way of choosing a new job, the Florida coach essentially told the Irish “no” today by saying he’ll be at Florida as “long as they will have me.” The Irish boosters should’ve moved a lot faster when Meyer was at Utah, because it doesn’t look like they’ll have the chance now that’s firmly entrenched in Gainesville. Speculation about Meyer leaving for the Notre Dame job came back around last season when, while waiting for the BCS Championship game against Oklahoma, he was asked about coaching in South Bend.

Although he later corrected himself, Meyer indicated in a December 2008 interview Notre Dame was his “dream job.”

Memo to Irish fans hoping Meyer would be their savior: Keep dreaming. Now, this doesn’t mean the Irish — who haven’t officially fired anybody yet — won’t court the current king of college football with a multi-million dollar offer somewhere in the $5 million per year neighborhood, because they probably will. It just means the chances of Meyer taking such an offer, if you believe what he says, are slim, which isn’t too surprising.

On the surface, Florida just looks like the easier job. Because the state is so talent-rich in prep football talent, recruiting in Florida is much, much easier than it is at Notre Dame. Of course, if Meyer wins another BCS title — his third since his tenure began in 2005 — he’ll be able to name his price and the Florida athletic department will gladly pay it.

In light of Meyer’s statement, will the Irish even try to court him (I say yes), or will they instead turn to Cincinnati head coach, Brian Kelly?

Lane Kiffin Moshes With Jonathan Crompton

Oh yes, there’s no escaping the excitement when the Tennessee Volunteers beat the Vanderbilt Commodores, especially if your name is Lane Kiffin and you have the inconsistent Jonathan Crompton as your quarterback. Not knowing which Crompton will show up is what makes these wins so exciting, evidently, especially when the good Crompton appears. You never know, Kiffin could be excited because he found out the charges against Janzen Jackson would be dropped.

Next up for the Volunteers is another chance to get excited when they face the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday. Tennessee hasn’t lost to the Wildcats since 1984 and the winner will tie the Georgia Bulldogs for second place in the SEC East with a 4-4 record.

If good Crompton makes the trip, the Volunteers will have every opportunity to continue their celebratory moshing. But first, they’ll have to get past Randall Cobb and the chip of recruiting snubs he’s carrying on his shoulder. Cobb played his high school football in the shadow of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium and was not recruited by the Volunteers, a decision that looks like a big mistake (Cobb is among the league-leaders in touchdowns [non-throwing] and all-purpose yards).

John Wall’s Productive Saturday

Forgive the music in the above highlight reel — I guess people love to show off their ability to manipulate video-production software with mundane hip hop tracks — and focus on the plays instead. What we have is oft-hyped Kentucky Wildcats guard John Wall and his virtuoso performance against Rider this past Saturday. While living up to his considerable hype to the tune of 21 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and two steals, Wall also snared ESPN’s Player of the Week honors, leading the Wildcats to a 3-0 start.

What these stats don’t show is how Wall collected them. Relying a great deal on a water bug-like open court game that showed off cross-overs, 360 degree layups and the type of speed most only dream about, Kentucky’s vaunted freshman continues to turn heads and impress.

Wall’s transition to college, save the two-game suspension, has been fairly seamless. He’s quickly positioned himself as an extension of John Calipari on the floor and is a big reason Kentucky finds itself in the top five nationally. Wall’s presence, as well as the other newcomers like Daniel Orton and DeMarcus Cousins, has also freed up preseason All American Patrick Patterson to post some incredibly productive numbers as well.

For instance, against Rider, Patterson had 19 points and 19 rebounds, all while sitting the last five minutes of the game. For the season, Patterson is averaging 19 points and 12 rebounds, showing he clearly welcomes his new teammates and will take advantage of the opportunities their presence allows him. An easier way to say it is now that Patterson has teammates of a similar skill-set, his beast-like tendencies have blossomed into full-on beast mode.

Of course, having a guard as dynamic as Wall initiating the plays — again, he had 11 assists against Rider — goes a long way in relation to improved teammate performances.