Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kevin Durant B3TZ

Oklahoma City vs. Memphis

When the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Memphis Grizzlies tonight it will be the beginning of a new era in Memphis.  The Grizzlies traded the talented Rudy Gay to Toronto and there's no looking back.  To me it seems like an impulsive move by an impatient team.  The Grizzlies felt like they had to do something to change the chemistry and openly questioned whether Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph could co-exist in the long run.  The good news is the Grizzlies shed the two years and $38,000,000 in salary off the books.  The bad news is they had to part with one of the top 20 players in the NBA.  Only time will tell, but I think the Raptors got the better of the deal.

Although the Rudy Gay storyline is intriguing it's not something the Oklahoma City Thunder are concerning themselves with .  The Thunder have tunnel vision in their quest to return to the NBA finals.  Kevin Durant is certainly doing his part averaging 29.6 points per game and providing leadership and stability.  If all superstars had his work ethic, skill, and dedication the world would be a better place.  In addition, if Russell Westbrook would come to the realization that he is the 2ND BEST player on the team their road to the finals would be much easier.  Given the current set of circumstances surrounding this game OKC will blow out the Grizzlies and Durant might go for 40.

Is San Francisco A Sports Fan's Heaven?

Without question the hottest sports town in the country is San Francisco.  For two years straight the Bay Area has been the epicenter of the sports world.  First it was Lincecum and Brian Wilson taking out the mighty Texas Rangers in 2010.  Then the 49ers almost won the NFC championship game.  Then Matt Cain and Buster Posey embarrassed Justin Verlander and the Tigers and now the Niners are playing in the Super Bowl.  That's a pretty illustrious run. 

San Francisco sports fans have a legitimate chance to follow a championship caliber team all year  long.  That doesn't mean I want to be them or jump on their bandwagon, but few cities have ever experienced this phenomenon.  Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles have experienced it, but those cities had dominant teams in at least one sport.  Frisco teams seem to fly under the radar until you come to the realization they're in the big game.  They have the element of surprise on their side and the city seems to embrace the role of under dog.

San Francisco is the complete opposite of those cities that have a one trick pony.  Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio only have the basketball season to focus on.  Arlington, St. Louis, and Detroit are totally focused on baseball.  Seattle, Green Bay, and Baltimore are totally focused on football.  Whether the 49ers win or lose Super Bowl XLVII Frisco only has to wait 7 weeks to dust off their Buster Posey jerseys and start their quest for another title.

Jealousy is not an emotion I possess so it's easy for me to acknowledge how cool it must be to live in a city that has preliminary plans for a championship parade twice a year.  It keeps the city positive and optimistic all year long and everybody seems to get along better when there's a common bond everyone shares.  In the back of my mind I know both teams are highly overrated, but at the same time you can't argue with the success they've had.  I don't wish them luck, but I don't hate on them either.  If you're a true sports fan there's no place like Frisco right now. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Los Angeles Clippers vs. Minnesota

The Los Angeles Clippers lead the Pacific division by 4 1/2 games, but they are a shell of the team that went undefeated in the month of December.  Injuries to Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups have left the team without a true point guard to run the show and that has hindered the production of Blake "The Barbarian" Griffin.  The Minnesota Timberwolves conversely have lost 9 of their last 10 games without Kevin Love in the line up and I don't anticipate things getting much better.  The Clippers need to get healthy if they want to be a contender for the Western conference title, but not to beat the Timberwolves.  LA will win big tonight.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix

The Los Angeles Lakers are on a 3 game winning streak thanks to the unselfish play of Kobe Bryant.  Kobe has more assists in that 3 game span than any 3 game span in his career.  That doesn't mean this trend will continue, but it is an interesting stat.  Tonight Steve Nash will make his first visit to Phoenix since being traded and I expect Nash will get a warm reception.  The Lakers played last night however so I don't know how well he is going to play.  You know how I feel about back to back games and Steve is getting old.  Look for a close game.

The Curse Of Roger Federer

After losing in the semi final of the 2013 Australian Open some tennis experts think Roger Federer has lost a step.  With players like Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray routinely getting to the finals of grand slam events Federer appears to have lost his edge.  Competitive balance has been restored.  On the surface these comments may seem valid and warranted, but when you look at his entire body of work it's obvious Roger Federer is a victim of his own success.

The only reason critics find fault with the play of Roger Federer is because they are comparing him to Roger Federer at his best.  Sustained greatness can spoil fans and media people to the point they expect nothing less than perfection.  they forget Roger Federer has won more grand slam titles (17) than anyone in the history of tennis.  They forget Roger's last grand slam title (his 7th at Wimbledon) was less than 7 months ago.  They forget that 3 years ago Roger Federer lost 4 matches ALL YEAR!  It is unlikely he will fall out of the top 10 before his career ends.  Making it to the semis of a grand slam is nothing to complain about unless your name is Roger Federer.

Here's an ironic thing about sports fans and media types you might not be aware of.  As much as they respect greatness and want to see dominant athletes eventually they will get tired of liking someone.  Eventually they will covet a player or a team that's capable of beating the unbeatable.  It's the melodrama of sports and society that keeps things interesting.  For now Novak Djokovic is the new sensation, but make no mistake about it.  When it's all said and done his career will pale in comparison to what Roger Federer has been able to accomplish.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Central Division B3TZ

Milwaukee vs. Detroit

Believe it or not the Milwaukee Bucks have won 7 of their last 10 games and are only 1 1/2 games out of the 4th spot in the Eastern conference.  The Detroit Pistons on the other hand are a dismal 17-27 and I keep waiting to hear news that coach Lawrence Frank has been fired.  The Pistons are playing .500 ball over their last 10 games so maybe his job is safe through the all star break.  Milwaukee will win this game by a few points.

Golden St. vs. Cleveland

The Golden St. Warriors are the feel good story of the first half of the season.  Point guard Steph Curry has emerged as one of the league's best shooters and power forward David Lee takes care of all the dirty work.  Cleveland's Kyrie Irving is a star in the making, but the way the Cavs roster is currently constructed it's a one man show.  Irving will get his, but I can't see Cleveland being able to keep up with Golden St.  The Warriors will win by half a dozen.

Monday, January 28, 2013

One City Sport B3TZ

Sacramento vs. Washington

The Sacramento Kings and the Washington Wizards have been more competitive than their records would indicate this season.  The Kings had to deal with the distraction of ownership change and possible relocation while the Wizards played without their best player (John Wall) for most of the year.  The game is not exactly must see TV, but I'm curious to see if DeMarcus Cousins can continue his consistent play.  I don't think Washington will be much opposition for him.

Houston vs. Utah

The Utah Jazz have won 7 of their last 10 and lead the Houston Rockets by one game for 7th place in the Western conference.  The Rockets have won their last two games while coming to an agreement with Royce White.  Not sure he's going to help them anytime soon, but until then there's always James Harden.

Memphis vs. Philadelphia

When the Philadelphia 76ers play the Memphis Grizzlies tonight their season has new meaning.  You never want to benefit from the misfortune of someone else, but when Boston lost Rajon Rondo for the season it opened the door for the Sixers to grab the 8th playoff spot in the Eastern conference.  At present they trail by 3 games.  The Grizzlies might not be the best team to try and start a winning streak against, but if you're going to be a playoff team you have to start somewhere.

Weekend Observations

The good news is the Boston Celtics snapped their 6 game losing streak and spoiled the triumphant return of Ray Allen.  The bad news is they lost Rajon Rondo for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.  Although Rondo is a difficult personality and somewhat underrated as a point guard his leadership and his role as the floor general will be sorely missed.  There's little or no chance the Celtics will make the playoffs and now the question becomes will they blow the team up and start over.  I wonder if Danny Ainge has the heart to trade Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett.  I doubt it.

As for my B3TZ game?  I came from way back and won 8 of my last 9 B3TZ's but it wasn't enough to stop the juggernaut that is Danielle Tran.  I don't know where Danielle came from, but she's on fire lately.  Dare I say I have a new arch nemesis to battle me at my own game!  She's setting the standard right now.  Congrats to Bob Smith for coming in 3rd place.  Any of you guys that aren't scared to battle the great Cleavie Wonder please feel free to step up and take your shot at Cleavie's Platinum picks.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

As predicted Novak Djokovic made short work of Andy Murray to win the first grand slam of the season in Australia.  It will not be his last.

If Cody Zeller isn't careful Mason Plumlee might overtake him for college player of the year.  Plumlee displayed tremendous athletic ability in Duke's win over Maryland on Saturday and even got a technical for taunting.  I like it!

Tiger Woods is on the verge of winning his 7th Farmers Insurance Open title.  At this point in his career he's measured by the number of majors he wins, but that doesn't mean the other tournaments don't count.  Winning a professional event 7 times is kind of ridiculous.

I watched Rampage Jackson get the snot piss kicked out of him on Saturday and after watching the same thing happen to BJ Penn last month it's obvious the MMA is no place for aging fighters past their prime.  I hope this dangerous trend doesn't continue.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Texas B3TZ

Houston vs. New Orleans

When the Houston Rockets face the New Orleans Hornets tonight it's a contest between two streaking teams.  Surprisingly the Hornets have won 7 of their last 10 games and point guard Greivis Vasquez is currently 3rd in the league in assists.  They are not the pushovers they once were.  Surprisingly the Rockets have lost 8 of their last 10 games and the lone bright spot has been James Harden.  Harden is currently 5th in the league in scoring and the Rockets will need that to continue if they want to hold onto the 8th playoff spot in the Western conference.  I think the Hornets will get this one.

San Antonio vs. Dallas

The San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks is not a rivalry this season.  The Spurs franchise is a model of consistency sustaining greatness for over a decade.  Not sure Tony and Timmy can play at a high level much longer, but for now they're tied for the best record in the NBA.  Conversely the Dallas Mavericks are in rebuilding mode.  Dirk Nowitzki is getting up there in age and the team looks nothing like the squad that won the championship in 2011.  Their pride keeps them competitive, but the Spurs ae on a different level.  Tony and Timmy will roll tonight.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

If Cleavie Wonder Was The GM of the Kings/Sonics

You might recall a few weeks ago I referred to the Sacramento Kings as a glorified D-league all star team.  Now that the squad is most likely moving to the 206 I've been forced to look at their roster more in depth.  If I'm going to be rooting for these guys I need to have a definitive opinion as to who should stay and who should go.  If Cleavie Wonder was wearing the GM hat this would be my analysis of each player.

Tyreke Evans: 6'6 PG.  Although Tyreke was rookie of the year a few years ago he seems like a player that doesn't have a true position.  Too much of a shooter to effectively play the point, but not quite a good enough shooter to play the 2 every game.  It wouldn't hurt my feelings to see him go because for the moment he has trade value.

Aaron Brooks: 6'0 PG.  You know what you're going to get with this guy.  A solid point guard that can run the offense and knock down open shots, but don't expect a lot more than that.  He can stay.

Jason Thompson:  6'11 PF.    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   Whatever.

Jimmer Fredette:  6'2 PG.  A good shooter, but too slow to guard the elite point guards in the Western conference (Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker) and too small to play shooting guard.  Wouldn't hurt my feelings if he left.

Isaiah Thomas: 5'8 PG.  An overachiever with a lot of heart, but a defensive liability.  I'd prefer if he came off the bench for energy and instant offense.

Francisco Garcia: 6'7 SF.  A journeyman veteran that can provide leadership, but that's about it.  At $6,000,000 he's expendable.

Marcus Thornton: 6'4 SG.  He shows flashes of brilliance, but not often enough to rely on him.  He can stay for now.

Thomas Robinson: 6'10 PF.  Way too early to tell what he's going to become.  A keeper.

James Johnson: 6-9 PF.  A glue guy that does all the dirty work.  He can stay.

Chuck Hayes: 6'6 PF.  Nothing bad to say, but nothing good either.  He's kinda small for the position, but a good insurance policy.  He can stay for now.

John Salmons: 6'6 SF.  The league has figured his game out.  $8,000,000 seems a bit far fetched to keep him around.

Travis Outlaw: 6'9 SF.  Maybe a few years ago he would be an integral part, but I'm indifferent at this point in his career.

DeMarcus Cousins: 6'11 C.  The biggest wild card in the game right now.  Such tremendous talent, but such a headache at the same time.  People are going to be who they are, but I'm not comfortable with someone this volatile being the team's best player and foundation for the future.  I'd let him go, but only if I got ample compensation.

There you have it.  Gut the team and decide whether you want to build around a player with superstar talent and maturity issues, or trade him and go in a different direction.  This is not an easy decision to make and will ultimately determine the future success of the team.  My instincts tell me to let him go.  Your thoughts?

Paul Pierce B3TZ

New York vs. Boston

The Boston Celtics have lost 4 straight heading into tonight's game against the New York Knicks and coach Doc Rivers isn't happy about it.  The coach publicly called out his players questioning their effort and insinuating the team wants things to come easy for them.  If the Celtics are going to turn things around it will be due in large part to the play of Paul Pierce.  Although Rajon Rondo may be their best player at this stage in his career Pierce is the most important.  Without his scoring and leadership the Celtics will go nowhere.  Pierce is one of the 7 greatest Celtics of all time and still has some game left.  Not sure he can stay with Carmelo Anthony at this point in his career, but I'm sure he will give it his all.  The Celts will win a close one at home.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

1st Place B3TZ

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City

The match up between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder looks like a preview of the Western conference finals.  Lob City is clearly the best team in California and leads the Pacific division by 6 games.  OKC looks primed to return to the NBA finals and currently leads the Northwest division by 8 games.  There will be all stars a plenty on the court this evening, but LA is coming off a loss last night (you know how I feel about back to back games) and I don't think they have an answer for Kevin Durant.  LA is much improved this season, but not enough to beat the Thunder.  It will be close though.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend Observations

The AFC and NFC championship games were all about defying the odds.  Baltimore couldn't possibly go to Gillette Stadium and beat the Patriots at home.  The Falcons couldn't blow a 17 point lead two weeks in a row.  The Harbaugh brothers couldn't really set the stage for a Harbaugh Bowl.  All of the above came true.  Now we'll have to hear about the Harbaugh family tree, the coaching legacy, the games of touch football in the back yard growing up, and how John and Jim won't approach the game any differently coaching against one another in the biggest game of their lives.  Can't wait! 

And if that wasn't nauseating enough we'll have to hear Ray Lewis go into his evangelical motivational speeches that last 5 hours.  If Ray wasn't a Hurricane I'd probably be tired of hearing him talk by now.  As for my B3TZ game?  I got my ass handed to me this week in a manner I'm not accustomed to.  Winston Tran, Dazey Daily and DJ Tang took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively, but I didn't even make the leadrerboard.  I'm feeling like Austin Powers right about now.  I've got to find a way to get my mojo back.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

Chris Hansen and the Maloofs are in the process of finalizing their deal for majority ownership of the Sacramento Kings.  Now it's time to officially dissect the Kings roster.  More on that tomorrow.

Novak Djokovic is the best tennis player in the world.  I'm not saying that because of his physical attributes or his over powering serve.  I'm saying that because of his ability to hit big shots in pressure situations.  The moment never overwhelms him and he's mentally tougher than Federer, Nadal, and Murray.

College basketball's AP poll has a familiar look to it.  Duke, Michigan, Kansas, Syracuse, and Louisville make up the top 5 while Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Butler, and Gonzaga round out the top 10.  Are the one and done guys losing their touch?

Russell Wilson was added to the NFC Pro Bowl squad after Matt Ryan hurt his shoulder against the 49ers.  This only validates what fans in the 206 already know.  Russ will be a top 5 quarterback for years to come.


Los Angeles Lakers vs. Chicago

When the Chicago Bulls face the Los Angeles Lakers tonight they're only 3 1/2 games out of first place in the Eastern conference.  They get it done with their defense as they eagerly await the return of superstar Derrick Rose.  Conversely the Lakers have lost 8 of their last 10 (5 straight on the road) and are 3 games back for the 8th seed in the west.  The Lake Show suffered an embarrassing defeat last night to the Toronto Raptors and there seems to be no end in sight to their futility.  Mike D'Antoni clearly has not been the remedy for the problems in Los Angeles.  Look for the Bulls to roll in this one.

Washington vs. Portland

The Washington Wizards have a nice young back court with John Wall and Bradley Beal, but the team is still a work in progress.  The Portland Trailblazers are playing .500 ball clinging to the 8th spot in the Western conference.  Rookie Damian Lillard has been the teams bright spot, but he will have his hands full tonight in Rip City.  The Blazers will win, but this game will be closer than you think.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

AFC Championship B3TZ

New England vs. Baltimore

Once again the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens will meet in the AFC championship game.  Last year's game ended with SHANKAPOTIMUS ripping the hearts out of Ravens fans, but this year is special.  It could be the final game in the career of Ray Lewis.  I'm sure the pre-game speech will be emotional and Ray will have his team ready to play.  On the flip side Tom Brady and Bill Belichick aren't really the sentimental types and the Patriots desperately want to avenge the loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl last year.  4 rings = immortality and that's what the Patriots are striving for.  Look for the Patriots to roll in this one.

HTB Statements

It's time for another installment of HTB statements.  For those of you not familiar with what HTB stands for HTB refers to statements that are hard to believe.  Here's a few for your reading pleasure.

1.  The Los Angeles Lakers have only missed the playoffs twice since 1976.

2.  There will be no baseball Hall of Fame inductions in 2013.

3.  The Seattle Seahawks won't be playing in Super Bowl XLVII

4.  If Tom Brady wins on Sunday it will be his 6th Super Bowl appearance.  He's a 6th round pick.

5.  LeBron James is the youngest player to reach 20,000 points.

6.  Nick Saban has 4 national championships.

7.  The Harbaugh Bowl is a possibility for the 2nd consecutive year and the kicker that missed for Baltimore last year is the kicker for San Francisco this year.

8.  Lance admitted he did dirt.

9.  It will cost Seattle in excess of $1,000,000,000 to get a basketball franchise.  Clay Bennett bought the Seattle Supersonics for $350,000,000 5 years ago.

10.  Adrian Peterson came up 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record.

11.  I'm in the sportsbook Hall of Fame, but I've only won my own B3TZ game once!

12.  Only eleven quarterbacks have won multiple Super Bowls.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Can Marc Trestman Cut It In The NFL?

When the Chicago Bears hired Marc Trestman as their new head coach they were clearly thinking outside the box.  Although Trestman's roots are in the NFL it's extremely unusual for teams to turn to the CFL for coaching candidates.  Half of the teams that missed the playoffs this year fired their coach and already 4 of those teams have hired men with no head coaching experience.  It appears they've decided the results couldn't be any worse than the previous regime.

In Jacksonville (2-14), Philadelphia (4-12), Cleveland (5-11), and Buffalo (6-10) I can understand that logic, but the Chicago bears were 10-6 this season.  They have a top 10 quarterback, a top 10 defense, and 4 pro bowl players on their team.  Conventional wisdom says a few minor tweaks would probably result in a playoff berth.  Completely changing the culture and philosophy of the organization may do more harm than good.  At the very least Chicago might have to take one step back to take two steps forward.

In Trestman's defense he was considered to have a brilliant offensive mind before he left for Canada.  Steve Young, Rich Gannon, and Jerry Rice all sing his praises and those in the coaching fraternity say he's deserving of the opportunity.  Still is it a wise move to hire someone that's been in a league where the rules are significantly different than the NFL?

I don't have a problem with Marc Trestman's credentials, but I do question the league he's coming from.  The rules are different and the dimensions of the field aren't the same.  In addition there's a reason those guys play for teams like the Edmonton Eskimos and the Toronto Argonauts.  The talent level isn't on par with the NFL.  Still I must admit I'm curious to see what kind of innovative schemes Trestman brings to the Bears.  The franchise will either flourish in the new system or become the laughing stock of the league.  Can't decide what I think the outcome will be.  Your thoughts?

Superstar B3TZ

Miami vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Yesterday LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 points.  I'm sure he celebrated in a king like fashion.  Tonight the Miami Heat take on a struggling LA Laker team on the 2nd night of a back to back.  You know how I feel about these games.  Kobe will try his best to humble LeBron tonight and let him know what greatness truly looks like.  The Lakers will be competitive, but I'm not sure they will win the game.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Weather B3TZ

Golden St. vs. Miami

When the Golden St. Warriors beat the Miami Heat earlier this season they proved they would no longer be a push over for the NBA's elite teams.  The Warriors are currently in 5th place in the Western conference and trail Memphis by only one game.  Although their accomplishments this season are impressive the Miami Heat were not amused by the embarrassing loss.  Look for LeBron, D Wade and company to avenge the bitter defeat.

Oklahoma City vs. Denver

The Denver Nuggets won a hard fought overtime game against the Portland Trailblazers last night and you all know how I feel about back to back games.  If you include travel and fatigue there's not much chance the Nuggets will perform at a high level tonight.  Even when they are at 100% they don't have a go to player or someone that can hold Kevin Durant under 30 points.  The Thunder will roll at home.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lance Armstrong Is Like Pete Rose

I remember watching the interview with Pete Rose where he finally admitted he bet on baseball.  It was completely uneventful because everyone already knew he bet on baseball.  The evidence was overwhelming.  Various people had already rolled over on him.  The commissioner banned him from baseball for life.  His confession was only stating the obvious.  It didn't validate something the public didn't already know.

The upcoming Lance Armstrong interview will have a similar feel to it.  After years of denying he took performance enhancing drugs, wasting millions of taxpayers dollars with silly court cases, and misleading sponsors the 7 time Tour de France champion will come clean.

Much like Rose it appears Armstrong's conscience has gotten the better of him.  The pressure of living a lie and the need for atonement have forced him to admit the truth.  It will be a huge weight lifted off his shoulders and I'm sure there's a small percentage of the population that will feel sorry for him, but the majority of people will question why it took him so long to spill his guts.

The pressure to perform at a high level and protect a legacy can drive people to participate in unethical practices.  It is difficult for someone who is idolized by millions of people and paid handsomely for for their success to resist temptation when the opportunity presents itself.  I don't blame Lance Armstrong for the decisions he's made in the past.  It would be totally hypocritical of me to say I wouldn't have done the same thing in his position.  That being said there is nothing to gain from a conversation with Oprah Winfrey that simply confirms what people have been saying all along.  You gonna watch the confession?

8th Place B3TZ

Milwaukee vs. Los Angeles Lakers

This may be hard for some of you to believe, but the Milwaukee Bucks have a better record than the Los Angeles Lakers.  The Bucks are currently 19-17 in 8th place in the Eastern conference ahead of Philadelphia by 4 games.  The Lakers are currently 16-21 and trial the Portland trailblazers by 4 games for the final playoff spot in the Western conference.  The Lakers better get healthy soon or they'll be watching the post season on a nice plasma screen at a local sports bar.  Look for the Lakers to handle the talented back court of the Bucks and cruise to victory.

Denver vs. Portland

The Denver Nuggets aren't flashy, but they've won 8 of their last 10 games coming into tonight's matchup against Portland.  The Trailblazers are clinging to the final playoff spot and need to win as many games before the all star break as humanly possible.  Damian Lillard is the odds on favorite to win the rookie of the year and without his stellar play Portland would be in big trouble.  Although he's a talented player Denver is on a 5 game winning streak and should continue their winning ways tonight.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Diary Of A Seahawk Fanatic

Even as I write these words I'm still in disbelief.  The Seattle Seahawks football season is over.  Right now the 206 is in such a state of depression there's a shortage of xanax in the town.  All I want to do is lay in my bed, eat clam chowder, and listen to Sade.  I'm feeling like Marcus Graham when he got dumped by Jacqueline in Boomerang.  I'm emotionally spent.  I don't want to listen to the radio, watch ESPN, or read the newspapers.  It was painful enough to watch the first time.  Why do I need to re-hash that anguish?  It's bad enough I can't pretend it didn't happen.

Since the Chicago game seven weeks ago I've been firmly convinced the Seahawks were going to the Super Bowl.  I watched the team get better every week and didn't see a more balanced  team in the league.  Aside from the injuries to Chris Clemons (which proved to be extremely costly) and Steven Hauschka the team remained relatively healthy.  I figured a dominant running game, a stingy defense, physical corners, and a talented quarterback was the formula for success.

I've been so absolute in my conviction I already made plans for the Super Bowl parade.  I took time off from work, picked out my vantage point, and made reservations at a local restaurant.  I even had tentative plans to head down to Frisco this weekend to watch them beat the Niners.  It's never occurred to me for ONE SECOND there was a possibility they could actually lose.  This all or nothing mentality inevitably lends itself to extreme disappointment when the ultimate goal isn't achieved.

For those of you that aren't die hard sports fans it probably sounds insane I could let a football game affect me to this extent.  I don't play the game, the outcome has no bearing on my day to day living, the world has more pressing issues, and my time could be better spent teaching kids to read or helping the elderly.  For those people all I can say is I am what I am.

It's too early to look on the bright side, but when I get around to it I'll realize the window of opportunity is still open for the Seahawks.  They have the 2nd youngest team in the league, a franchise quarterback, an all pro safety, and a coach the team believes in.  I'm still drunk off the Pete Carroll Kool-Aid and like Amy Winehouse I'm not ready to go to rehab.  This team isn't going anywhere and the league better take notice.

The optimistic outlook for the future doesn't help my current state of mind however.  For now I'll wallow in self pity and ponder what could have been.  Super Bowls are hard to come by so when you have a team that's capable of hoisting the Lomardi trophy you have to take advantage.  If the Seahawks weren't so good it wouldn't hurt so bad.  The gift and the curse I guess.  Time to hibernate for the winter.  Call me on draft day.


Boston vs. Charlotte

Coming into tonight's game against Charlotte the Boston Celtics have won 5 straight and trail New York by 4 1/2 games in the Atlantic conference.  Since Kevin Garnett got into it with Carmelo Anthony the Celtics have been playing inspired basketball.  We'll see if the trend continues.  Unfortunately the Bobcats won't be much opposition tonight.

Cleveland vs. Sacramento

The Sacramento Kings seem to be distracted by the constant rumors the team will be sold and moved to Seattle.  The Kings have lost 4 straight despite the improved play of DeMarcus Cousins.  Cleveland has not fared much better losing 7 of their last 10 games.  It is apparent the injury to Anderson Varejao is more critical to their success than previously thought.  In this battle of sub par teams Cleveland should win at home.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Seahawks Will Win The Battle Of The Birds

When listening to the national media it's pretty obvious people don't know what to make of the team from South Alaska.  They see what's going on with their own two eyes, but it doesn't equate for them.  They watch Marshawn Lynch run over people, Russell Wilson confuse defenses, and Earl Thomas cover the  field like a blanket, yet they still question the resolve of the Seattle Seahawks.  Is this fair?

Of curse not.  If the Seahawks played in New York, Chicago, or LA the media attention would be ten fold.  Russell Wilson would be hosting Saturday Night Live.  Marshawn Lynch would be on Jimmy Kimmel.  Pete Carroll would be endorsing Viagra.  The playoffs are not a popularity contest however and fans in the 206 don't care what other people think about our beloved Hawks.  Talk all the sh*t you want, but when Seattle serves up some deep fried Falcon scattered, covered, smothered, and chunked the world will see things differently.

Matt Ryan is going to get well acquainted with Bruce Irvin while Roddy White and Julio Jones get pushed around like rag dolls.  There will be coverage sack a plenty.  The loss to the Seahawks may very well cost Mike Smith his job leaving the Atlanta franchise searching for answers and new leadership.  Ordinarily I would have sympathy for someone in his position, but there's no time to get all sentimental.  The Hawks are on a mission to get to the Super Bowl and the Falcons are just another obstacle in their path.  Seahawks 26, Falcons 19.  Anyone disagree?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Is The NBA Coming Back To The 206?

Seattle let a team walk with Kevin Durant on the roster for $350,000,000 5 years ago.  5 years later they have to spend half a billion dollars to build an arena and another half a billion to buy a team with DeMarcus Cousins as their best player.  OUCH!

Derek Duckworth

Although my friend has a very valid point I won't let the stark reality of basketball economics curb my enthusiasm.  It looks like the NBA is returning to Seattle and that's all I care about.  It's not my money and the ownership group is capable of making the necessary financial adjustments.  Nordstrom can sell more penny loafers.  Microsoft can sell more smart phones.  Hedge funds can dabble in insider trading.  They will get our Sonics back by any means necessary.

The Sacramento Kings are nothing to write home about, but beggars can't be choosers.  The Kings are the only NBA team currently looking for a new home and the opportunity to purchase an NBA franchise is rare.  In this scenario you take what you can get.  Never mind the Kings roster looks like a D-League all star team, that situation can be rectified in a few short years.  Besides, who says a change of scenery, a better fan base, and a seafood diet won't turn these kids into better players.  I know dungeness crab and fresh halibut does wonders for me and maybe it can help with the attitude of #15.

The most important thing is for the fans of the 206 to embrace the team with open arms regardless of the results on the court.  This shouldn't be hard considering the factors surrounding the team's departure and the inexcusable amount of time Seattle has been without professional basketball.  Once you get it back you'll appreciate it more and the support will be there.  Can't wait to see yellow and green all over the place once again!  What about you guys?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Texas B3TZ

Houston vs. New Orleans

The Houston Rockets and the New Orleans Hornets are two teams going in opposite directions.  Houston has won 8 of their last 10 games while the Hornets have the worst record in the Western conference.  So far this season James Harden is proving he's worth every penny averaging 27 points a game.  Rookie Anthony Davis is quickly realizing he's not in Lexington anymore.  When you don't have the most talented team it's hard to dominate on your own.  Houston should win this game rather easily.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio

The Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs have a lot of playoff history, but the way things look right now the rivalry will be put on hold this year.  Kobe Bryant is doing his best to keep the Laker ship afloat, but it's taking on water at an alarming rate.  Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard are out of the line up for an extended period of time so things are less than optimistic right now.  By the time they return it might be too late for the Lakers to make a playoff run.  We're not even to the halfway mark of the season, but I'm hitting the panic button now.  The Lakers will lose tonight and I'm not sure when they will win again.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Should Chris Clemons Sue The Washington Redskins?

Although the national media focused on the injury to RGIII following the Seahawks victory over the Redskins on Sunday it was not the only significant injury sustained during the game.  Seahawks defensive lineman Chris Clemons suffered a torn ACL and meniscus which will cause him to miss the remainder of the playoffs.  Clemons led the team with 11 1/2 sacks and anchors the defensive line so the loss is far from trivial.  Rookie Bruce Irvin will try to fill his shoes, but the Seahawks are now very thin at the position.  How could this injury been avoided?

By all accounts the turf at Fed Ex Field was in horrible condition.  It's the same field Adrian Peterson shredded his knee on last year so there's a bad history associated with the playing surface.  Redskins owner Dan Snyder is responsible for the maintenance and the up keep of the facility so there's no excuse or explanation as to why the field wasn't up to NFL standards.  It seems odd that a billionaire would decide to cut corners and act in a miserly fashion when it comes to player safety.

If I was Chris Clemons I would sue the Washington Redskins organization.  The average career for an NFL player is 3 1/2 years and the contracts aren't guaranteed.  If a player suffers a serious injury the economic ramifications can be dramatic.  What if Chris Clemons doesn't recover from knee ligament damage?  What if he gets an infection during surgery?  What if the Seahawks decide he is no longer the player he was and cuts him?  Shouldn't someone take responsibility?

There's no way to determine the full impact of this injury.  It may cost the Seahawks a Super Bowl.  It may cost Chris Clemons longevity in his career.  It may cost Chris Clemons in excess of $15,000,000.  Whatever the case may be someone should be held accountable for this travesty.  It is up to the owners to provide a satisfactory work environment for the players and that starts with the surface they play on.  Dan Snyder should replace the grass at Fed Ex Field before someone else gets hurt.  If Chris Clemons can't return to form Snyder should compensate him for the damage his negligence has caused.  It's not like he can't afford it right?

South Beach B3TZ

Miami vs. Indiana

The Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers have both won 7 of their last 10 games coming into tonight's game.  The heat have the best record in the Eastern conference while Indiana is a mere two games out of 3rd place.  The Pacers gave Miami all they could handle last year in the playoffs, but that was with a healthy Danny Granger.  Without the all star forward Indiana has little or no chance of defeating the reigning NBA champs.  Look for LeBron James to have a big game as Miami rolls to victory.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Weekend Observations

The story of the weekend was the injury RGIII sustained in the Redskins loss to the Seattle Seahawks.  That's unfortunate because the Hawks played a hell of a game after the 1st quarter.  The defense shut down Washington's running game and Earl Thomas proved why he's the 2nd most important player on the team.  The two time pro bowler (he's only played 3 seasons) was brilliant wreaking havoc all over the field and causing turnovers that led to a victory.  Now that the NHL lockout is over DC fans can turn to the Capitals for their sports fix.  Something tells me the Wizards aren't going to turn it around this season.

As for my B3TZ game?  I made a valiant effort coming back from a 4 point deficit, but I barely missed the cut.  Blake Griffin and the Clippers let me down early in the week and I was never able to recover.  Congrats to Danielle Tran, Winston Tran, and Monk Key for coming in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively.  I'm not completely discouraged about my 6 week losing streak, but the lack of victories is starting to become annoying.  Not to worry though, the self proclaimed expert on all things sports related will make his triumphant return to the top of the leader board this week.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

The NFL has decided Chip Kelly's gimmick offense isn't what they're looking for and the Oregon coach will head back to Eugene.  Just because Jim Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, and Greg Schiano have had success in the pros doesn't mean every college coach is ready to make that leap.  Note to Chip Kelly:  Don't go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to.

The media is doing their best to pretend the national championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama will be competitive.  Don't believe them.  Notre Dame is out of their league and Nick Saban is about to win his 3rd national championship in 4 years.  Not sure how I feel about that.

Canada can breathe a sigh of relief now that the NHL lockout is over.  My friends and family in Vancouver can pull out their Canucks gear and head down to Rogers Arena.  Can't say it makes any difference to me one way or another.

Kobe Bryant is leading the NBA in scoring with an average of 30.5 points per game, but his individual success hasn't translated into Laker wins.  LA has lost 3 straight games and are currently behind Portland, Minnesota, and Utah for 8th place in the Western conference.  Where's Jeanie Buss's fiancee when you need him?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Seahawks B3TZ

Seattle vs. Washington

It's not secret I'm drunk off the Pete Carroll Kool Aid and I think the Seattle Seahawks are headed to the Super Bowl this year.  In order for my prediction to be right the first obstacle is RGIII and the Washington Redskins.  The Skins have a tremendous amount of momentum going into Sunday's game and they will certainly enjoy the benefits of the home crowd at Fed Ex field.  That doesn't mean they have the better team however and winning playoff games comes down to making big plays while eliminating mistakes and turnovers.  I think Russell Wilson is going to have a monster game while RGIII struggles against a superior defense.  First stop the nation's capital.  After that win  off to the dirty south. 

Friday, January 4, 2013


Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Lakers have conceded LA bragging rights to the Clippers this season.  Although Kobe Bryant is playing inspired ball the rest of the team seems lost in the D'Antoni system.  Once considered to be a championship contender it looks like the Lakers will struggle to make the playoffs.

Conversely the Clippers are by far the deepest team in the NBA.  Their bench has more talent than the starting line up of Washington, Charlotte, Sacramento, or New Orleans.  That doesn't mean they can get to the Western conference finals, but it sure makes for a dominant regular season team.  Steve Nash will need a big game if the Lakers have any chance of winning.

AFC Playoff Predictions

Cincinnati + 4 1/2 over Houston

Not sure if anybody noticed, but the Houston Texans lost 3 of their last 4 games and barely held off the Colts to win the AFC South.  Once considered the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl the Texans now find themselves without a first round playoff bye and the aura of invincibility has been completely removed.

To make matters worse the Bengals want revenge for their playoff loss to the Texans last year.  Andy Dalton and AJ Green are no longer rookies and this time when they travel to Reliant Stadium it will be with the league's #6 ranked defense standing behind them.  If the Bengals offensive line can stop JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus from getting to the quarterback this game has upset written all over it (or at least coverage of the spread).

Indianaoplis +7 over Baltimore

In a fairytale ending Ray Lewis sacks Andrew Luck, picks up the fumble, and scores the winning touchdown just as time expires.  In the real world Lewis and Terrell Suggs are not really healthy and Andrew Luck smells blood in the water.  The Colts didn't expect to be back in the playoffs this quickly, but here they are with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

On the flip side Baltimore lost 4 of their last 5 games and Joe Flacco hasn't had a decent game in months.  Ray Rice doesn't get enough touches and the offensive philosophy is out of sync.  This is not the way I wanted the mighty Hurricane tandem to go out, but at least Ed Reed and Ray Lewis will be in Canton someday.  The Colts will play to win and the Ravens will play not to lose.  Don't be surprised to see Shankapotimus rear his ugly head in Baltimore.  Indy covers easily.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Carmelo B3TZ

New York vs. San Antonio

The New York Knicks and the San Antonio Spurs hook up for their last meeting of the season tonight at Madison Square Garden.  The Knicks are slowly integrating Amare Stoudemire back into the line up and adjusting to life without Raymond Felton.  Fortunately Carmelo Anthony is healthy and more than willing to carry New York on his back.  Tim Duncan and the Spurs will put up a good fight, but Carmelo and the Knicks will win a close one.

Denver vs. Minnesota

When the Denver Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony 2 seasons ago George Karl said they were a better team going forward.  I don't know about all that, but when Denver takes on the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight they will have won 7 of their last 10 games.  Minnesota is missing the services of Ricky Rubio, so I expect Denver to win in a rout.

NFC Playoff Predictions

Minnesota +7 1/2 over Green Bay

If you listen to Valyncia Jennings the Packers lost a first round bye in the playoffs because Aaron Rodgers (2011 Super Bowl MVP and NFL MVP) doesn't know what the hell he's doing and didn't throw to her brother enough.  If you listen to Valyncia's twitter rants you'd swear she was the greatest offensive mind since Bill Walsh.  Greg Jennings is pretty good, but he's not all that!  I mean, he's not Megatron or anything.  If Valyncia were paying closer attention she'd realize the Packers lost because they got run over by a one man wrecking machine named Adrian Peterson.  The Packers defense won't be any better by Saturday and in fact their bodies might not have enough time to recover from the beating they took last Sunday.  Although this game is in Green Bay I don't see the results being any different.  Adrian will run all day and the Vikings will pull off the upset (or at least cover).

Seattle +3 over Washington

RGIII says his knee is feeling better.  Unfortunately his improved health will be the source of his demise.  It will give him a false sense of security that the read option can be effective against the Seahawk defense.  Earl Thomas and Cam Chancellor will cut off the running lanes while Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner shut down passing lanes.  RGIII has had a magical season, but he'll soon realize the Seahawks are the biggest, strongest, fastest defense he's seen all year.  He'll have no answer for the pressure.

Meanwhile Russell Wilson is starting to look like Neo in the Matrix.  Every week he discovers some new move that he can add to his skill set.  Right now he has too many weapons in his arsenal for the 28th ranked defense (30th against the pass) to shut down.  The Hawks can score at least 24 points and I doubt the Redskins can set past 20.  You do the math.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

California B3TZ

Sacramento vs. Cleveland

The Sacramento Kings and the Cleveland Cavaliers are both looking to turn over a new leaf in 2013.  The Cavs should be improved with rookie of the year candidate Dion Waiters and the return of Kyrie Irving.  The Kings on the other hand face uncertainty about the health of Tyreke Evans and also where the team will play next season.  Look for Irving to exploit Sacramento's smaller point guards.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden St.

The Los Angeles Clippers saw their 17 game winning streak come to an end, but that doesn't mean they will automatically start a new one.  The Golden St. Warriors have been playing inspired ball this season holding their own against the NBA's elite teams.  Although Draymond Green and David Lee have been playing well as of late Blake "The Barbarian" Griffin still has a distinct advantage in this match up.  Look for Blake to have a big game and the Clippers should win a close one.