Saturday, December 25, 2010

NBA on Christmas Day

     The line-up of NBA games today is simply unbelievable.  Superstars galore are in action, looking to get their team a W in front of millions of viewers.  Let me break down each match-up for you and give an unbiased prediction for each game.

     Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks 12 P.M.
     This game has a lot of appeal.  The Knicks are averaging 108 points per game, which leads the NBA.  Amar'e is dominating this year, putting up 26 and 9 per game.  Key players such as Landry Fields, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, and Wilson Chandler make these here Knickerbockers an extremely fun team to watch.  Toney Douglas also provides a lot of spark off the bench.  Meanwhile, the Bulls are 3rd in the NBA in rebounding.  However, Joakim Noah, who averages nearly 12 per game, is out for at least two months with a torn ligament in his thumb.  Not having to deal with Noah will enable the Knicks to attack the paint and outscore the Bulls.  While I expect Derrick Rose to score over 30, I feel the Knicks' interior presence and ability to drain threes will be too much for Chicago to handle.

Prediction: Knicks 109, Bulls 98

     Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic 2:30 P.M.
     The Magic completely revamped their roster, hauling Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat, and Rashard Lewis away.  While the acquisitions of Jason Richardson and fan-favorite Hedo Turkoglu are pretty good ones, the Magic seriously lack size.  Stan Van usually prides his team on the defensive team, yet this team appears to be more offensive-minded.  Dwight Howard has averaged over 24 points and 18 rebounds in his last five games.  However, if Dwight gets in early foul trouble, the only formidable big man the Magic have is Brandon Bass, and he's quite undersized.  The C's need to attack Howard early and often.  The depth of the Celtics will be instrumental in this game.  From The Big Shamroq (fresh off of conducting the Boston Pops) to Big Baby, the Celtics are clearly the deeper team.  Expect Baby to score at least 16 off the bench.  KG will exploit Bass inside and stretch the defense with his lethal mid-range jumper.  The Celts get win number 15 in a row this afternoon.

Prediction: Celtics 97, Magic 88

     Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat 5 P.M.
     This game is so incredibly intriguing.  Kobe, Gasol, and Odom to LeBron, D Wade, and Bosh.  Wow!  What a gift on Christmas Day.  What a plethora of superstars.  Odom says that this will be "a great game to watch."  I believe him.  I honestly expect that this game will go into overtime.  These teams are so evenly-matched it's crazy.  I think the ultimate factor will be the Gasol vs. Bosh match-up.  You know what you're going to get out of Kobe, LeBron, and D Wade.  Yet, the winner of the power forward match-up will ultimately prevail.  I expect Bosh to go off.  He's averaging 21 ppg and 8 rpg in his last five games.  The Heat have won 13/14, their only loss coming to Dallas by a mere two points this past Monday.  The Lakers, meanwhile, lost 98-79 to the Bucks on Tuesday and Kobe says they "have a lot to work on."  I expect this one to be tight throughout, but I feel that LeBron and Bosh will score over 25 each, leading the Heat to victory.

Prediction: Heat 108, Lakers 106 OT

     Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 8 P.M.
     Kevin Durant will score over 35 points tonight.  That's a guarantee.  Carmelo Anthony is missing the game due to a family matter, which will enable Durant to exert less energy on the defensive end and focus on attacking the hoop.  Gary Forbes is a liability for Denver, and i expect Durant to explode.  Russell Westbrook is putting up monster numbers this year.  He's finally coming into his own and is truly an elite scoring point guard in the league.  He's averaging 22 ppg and 8 apg.  Expect the Thunder to beat the Nuggets in a shootout.  J.R. Smith will score big for Denver, but it won't be enough.

Prediction: Thunder 114, Nuggets 101

     Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trailblazers 10:30 P.M.
     Commissioner David Stern certainly picked some exciting games.  This one is going under the radar, yet it will undoubtedly be another high-scoring, down-to-the-wire, exciting affair.  Steph Curry is healthy and ready to roll for the Warriors.  Dorell Wright is a threat from beyond the arc for Golden State.  Though Andre Miller and LaMarcus Aldridge are consistent players, their play won't be enough.  Brandon Roy is having his worst season in quite some time, still nursing an injured knee.  I expect Golden State's youth to be a key factor here.  David Lee, Andris Biedrins, and and Monta Ellis will lead the Warriors past Portland. Expect Ellis to score over 25.

Prediction: Warriors 112, Blazers 97

     I hope you enjoy watching a terrific day of basketball.  After you open your Christmas gifts, plop down in front of the TV, eat some popcorn, drink some hot chocolate, and watch some amazing basketball.

     Happy Holidays everyone.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I know it's only December

     I know it's only December.  The NFL, NBA, and College Football are in full swing and baseball isn't for months.  However, with the Red Sox' recent acquisitions, I deem it imperative to discuss the immense amount of potential we have as an organization.
     Let me lay out the probable starting lineup for you:

1) Jacoby Ellsbury-One of the fastest, most entertaining players in Red Sox history.  If he can stay healthy and put the ball in play, he'll be a great asset at the top of the order.  He is also one of the most flashy and consistent outfielders in all of baseball.

2) Dustin Pedroia-Every year people keep doubting the little guy, yet every year he puts up monster numbers.  Maybe it's time critics start believing in Dustin.  Pedroia has a .309 lifetime average against right-handed pitching.  Rather impressive.

3) Carl Crawford-When the Sox acquired Adrian Gonzalez I was content, but once we bolstered our roster even more with the addition of Carl Crawford, I was convinced; this is the year.  Crawford is one of the few legitimate five-tool players in the league and he has an arsenal of talents.

4) Adrian Gonzalez-Sure, Mark Teixeira is good, but so is Adrian Gonzalez.  When you compare their numbers over the past three years, the two stupendous sluggers have virtually identical numbers.  Gonzalez quietly had a near .300, 30 homer, and 100 RBI season last year.  Hopefully he can replicate those numbers under the scrutiny of Red Sox Nation.

5) Kevin Youkilis-YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUK. (All I have to say.  Everyone knows what a multi-dimensional, tenacious, Jewish, consistent player Youk is).  Gotta love him.

6) David Ortiz-"Wait...back up a second.  Is David Ortiz really batting sixth!?! He's the man!"  Why yes, he is.  The fact that Big Papi is batting sixth is a testament to exactly how deep this team is.  Last year Papi had over 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in, much like Gonzalez.  As a non-biased fan of the game of baseball, I can truly say that our 4-5-6 combo is the best in the game.

7) J.D. Drew-I've always said that Drew is the most average player in Major League history.  Though this is somewhat factual, it's also somewhat erroneous.  Yes, Drew is average at everything, however he's not bad at anything, which makes him a reliable right fielder on a team full of outstanding young lads (you follow? good.)

8) Marco Scutaro- "Scut. Hey, can we ask you to 'scut' down to the number eight spot?"  Again, a testament to how stacked this team is.  Scutaro had 38 doubles last year.  That's more than anyone else in this starting nine.  Interesting, huh?

9) Jarrod Saltalamacchia-Let me spell that again, just in case you missed it. S-a-l-t-a-l-a-m-a-c-c-h-i-a.  (If you were wondering, yes it is the longest name in MLB history (except for Juan Pablo Martin Sanchez Coralamimadandatimafalainez of the Brooklyn Dodgers-I'm fully aware that was absolutely ridiculous.  Excuse my obnoxiousness).  The Sox recently signed Jason Varitek to a 1-year/2 mill contract, so it's presumable that he and Saltalamacchia (yes, spelled it right again without looking!) will split playing time.  JS will get the majority of games behind the plate, but don't be surprised to see JV in there multiple times a week.

     THIS LINEUP IS INCREDIBLE.  If Beckett and Lackey improve, and Lester and Buchholz remain as dominant as they were last year, the Sox will be superb.  Yes, I know it's only December, but Spring Training is less than four months away...  There's a lot to be excited about in Beantown.  The Celts are on fire, the Pats are unbeatable, and the Bruins are unflappable.  But the Sox...well the Sox are unbelievable...and that's an understatement.  (Like how I incorporated the un, un, un, un, un there?  I was personally pretty proud of it).

     Right now I'm invested in the C's and Pats, but when baseball season rolls around, I'll be excited.  Theo Epstein and the rest of the ownership has compiled one hell of a lineup.  This will be good.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thermostat Check

     For the 20,000+ of you following my blog religiously, I sincerely apologize for my erroneous prediction that the Heat would win 72 games and breeze through the playoffs en route to a championship. 
     Through 17 games, the Heat are 9-8, hovering around .500 in search of an identity as a team.  Last season, the James and Bosh-less Miami team was 10-7 at this point.  Drastic improvement, huh? 
     I previously made a foolish claim that LeBron and D Wade would be able to coexist and thrive together on the court.  Boy was I wrong on that one.  Whenever the two elite scorers are on the floor at the same time, incessant miscommunication ensues and turnovers pile up quickly.  The two combine for 7.5 turnovers per game and are each shooting under 45% on the season.
     In last night's loss to an experienced Mavs team, LeBron walked off the court and "inadvertently" bumped shoulders with Head Coach Erik Spoelstra.  NBA analysts often overreact and go into a frenzy following the slightest feud between a player and coach.  Most of these feuds end up being trivial, yet this one clearly has deeper implications.
     The Heat look outmatched on both ends of the court.  Coming in at 22nd in the league in both points and rebounds per game, it's clear that this team has two pressing weaknesses.  Carlos Arroyo is simply not skilled enough to be a starting point guard in the NBA.  Big Z is about as much of an inside threat as Hasheem Thabeet (with inferior shot blocking ability, I might add). 
     Looking to rectify their issue of lack of size, the Heat acquired Erick Dampier.  Frankly, Dampier is not the answer to anyone's problems.  Last night, he posted one rebound in eight minutes, committing one foul. Sick!  Unbelievable!  The Messiah has come!  Heat fans, (if they hypothetically existed) bow down to your savior, Erick Dampier. 
     The acquisition of Erick Dampier evidently does absolutely nothing to enhance the interior presence of the Heat.  The ridiculously potent trio of big men in Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, and Dampier cumulatively amasses to 104 years of living on this Earth.  104 years of missed layups and unnecessary fouls all packed into one massive package of merely taking up space on the court.
     There is a recurring theme in the box score of the Heat.  LeBron, D Wade, and Bosh all hover in the vicinity of 20-25 points, while no one else even reaches double figures.  Occasionally Mario Chalmers, James Jones, or Joel Anthony provides a tad of spark, but for the most part, there is simply no supporting cast whatsoever.
     It will certainly be intriguing to watch this drama unfold.  At least LeBron has some practice acting in his obnoxious, ego-centric commercial.  What should he do?  How about win games, LeBron?  I now change my prediction from 72-10 to 10-72.  Just kidding.  But seriously, the Heat will be lucky to get past the first round of the playoffs if they keep playing in such a discombobulated, erratic fashion.  Dwyane keeps saying it will just take time for this team to gel.  Well Dwyane, I'm pretty sure the time is now.  You might want to consider stepping it up a notch, because quite frankly, the Thermostat is plummeting into oblivion.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

All that Jazz and more

     The Utah Jazz have pulled off five consecutive come-from-behind wins.  Not only were the Jazz down in each game, but they trailed by double digits in each contest.  This incredible streak has captured my attention big-time.  Winning five games in a row against the Clippers, Heat, Magic, Hawks, and Bobcats is an impressive feat in itself, but coming back in the fourth quarter in each of these games is simply incredible.
     With the threat of Deron Williams, Paul Millsap, and Al Jefferson, the newly-conglomerated Big Three, (I'm fully aware that's a stretch - it's deliberate), the Jazz are on fiyahhhh.  Williams is averaging 21 ppg, 10 apg, and 5 rpg.  Though it's still early, I would qualify those as potentially MVP-caliber numbers.
     Deron Williams is the best point  guard in the league.  Sure, Rondo is a more skilled and deceptive passer and CP3 and D Rose are just as adroit at scoring the ball, but when you put everything together, D Will is the best-hands down.
     Paul Millsap has also emerged in the most explosive way this season.  In the overtime win against Miami, Millsap had a game-tying tip-in at the buzzer en route to a rather impressive 46 points.
     And "Hey, hey, hey, whaddaya know, it's Fat Albert."  I don't mean to insult the rather muscular (certainly not obese) Al Jefferson; rather, I want to remind those who follow the NBA avidly to not forget about Al.  He's quietly averaging 17 ppg, 9 rpg and having a solid year.
     Though the Western Conference is packed with talented teams like the Lakers, Mavs, Spurs, and Hornets, I advise you to not sleep on the Jazz (even if that's not your preferred style of music).  The team has recently shown its capability of coming back and playing well down the stretch.  Now if Utah can translate that energy and effectiveness to the first half, you're looking at one helluva team, yes one helluva team.
      Once they improve their play in the first half (I guarantee it will happen) the Jazz will be clicking on all cylinders and they'll be all that Jazz and more.  For sure.
     Oh, and don't forget about Francisco Elson and Kyrylo Fesenko.  The two ferocious monsters are averaging almost five points per game in total and will undoubtedly power the team to the Western Conference Finals with their unstoppable post moves (just so the casual fan is aware, this is a joke.  Fesenko and Elson have about as much potential as Semih Erden - So they're really good, right!?! - Nope).
     I'm quickly becoming a Jazz fan.  When Utah makes the Western Conference Finals, just remember, you read it here first.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ponders provide heroics once again

Ryan Salocks saw the keeper out of position.  He controlled the ball and sent a perfectly placed shot toward the upper left part of the net.  The Malden Catholic goalie, Kyle Lewis, sprinted back and reached up for the ball, but to no avail.  Salocks scored and gave the Ponders a 1-0 lead with 26 minutes left in the game.
            When Salocks found the net, the boisterous and devoted crowd went wild.  While the players swarmed around Salocks, vuvuzelas sounded and the fans erupted and cheered.
Following Salocks’ pivotal goal, the Ponders played with even more focus and determination.  Rather than stalling, AHS continued to attack Lewis.
            The Ponders’ incessant push for a second goal was rewarded 15 minutes later when Fernando Cuervo-Torello sent a laser beam past Lewis.  With the insurance goal, the Ponders doubled their lead and were able to hang on for a 2-0 shutout over the Lancers.
            Cuervo-Torello’s goal was his second in as many games.  His hustle and skill around the ball has been instrumental to Arlington’s success.
After a relatively even first half, the Ponders played more consistent soccer down the stretch, maintaining ball possession the majority of the time in order to preserve their lead.  Arlington counteracted everything the Lancers wanted to do offensively and passed the ball with precision.
            While the offensive production was superb in the second half, the defense was extremely solid throughout the entire contest.  Christian Fischer, Adam Long, Chris Hamblin, and Graham McInnis definitively shut down the speedy Nick Annesse and the rest of the Lancers.
            AHS goalie Sam Flavin was relatively inactive in net because the defense was so strong.  With that said, Flavin fulfilled his duty when he was challenged.
            Following this clutch win, the Ponders will take on undefeated Winchester in the semi-finals of the Division Two North sectional playoffs, as their incredible playoff run continues.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Spy Ponders push forward

After an hour long bus ride to Haverhill, the Spy Ponders were met by an abundance of torrential rain.  Even though the field was drenched, the Spy Ponders’ spirit was anything but dampened.
            Arlington came into the game with firepower and passion.  Matched up against the Pentucket Sachems, the number four seed in the Division Two state tournament, the Ponders were the underdogs on paper.  However, they defied the odds and posted a decisive 5-2 victory.
            Chris Hamblin started the action with a header goal early in the game, using the back of his head to propel the ball past the goalie.  Hamblin then added a second score, sending a rocket past a mystified keeper.
            Senior Captain Nick Coleman, the leading goal scorer on the team, made the score 3-0 with a follow off of a ricochet.  After a successful Pentucket penalty kick, Coleman made the score 4-1 with an arching left-footed kick over the Sachems’ backpedaling goalie.
            Coleman made a split-second decision and floated the ball into the air toward the goal.  The keeper staggered backward, nearly making a recovery.  He did not get there in time, however, and the Ponders augmented their lead to 4-1.
            Just a few minutes later, Fernando Cuervo-Torello tacked on one more goal for Arlington, finding the back of the net thanks to a Yannick Doyle attack that got the Sachem defense out of position.
            “It was probably one of the best games that we’ve had this year,” said Coleman.  “We’ve been facing teams of (Pentucket’s) caliber the entire season, but last night we stepped up and just played our game.”
            When the final whistle sounded, some of the players slid head-first onto the soggy turf.  The Ponders then acknowledged the devoted, rowdy fans who made the commute by doing a cohesive victory run toward the stands. 
AHS managed to overcome the weather and preserve a 5-2 score until the end of the eighty minute time frame.
            “The conditions (both the situation and weather) got us pumped up,” said Nathan Lobel.  “It was a good moment.  We did what we had to do.”
            After taking care of business on Sunday and Monday with two clutch wins, the Ponders will face Malden Catholic at home at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday November 11th.
            The Ponders are already in the quarterfinals and are looking to prolong their dramatic run.  Had Arlington not defeated Bedford and Weston in the final two games of the regular season, or beat Lynn Classical in penalty kicks (5-4) in a thrilling finish on Sunday, this game would not have occurred.
            With four consecutive do or die games, the Ponders have answered the call in every contest.  Each win brings this determined team one step closer to the ultimate prize…the Division Two state championship.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2010

     Though I'm an ardent supporter of bad puns, I'm sick of every single headline including the word "Giant."  For example, "Giant victory" or "Giant feat for San Fran."  It's catchy to some degree, but when every single person starts incorporating it, it certainly becomes a bit hackneyed.
     While I'm nauseated by these trite headlines, I have to agree that this is a "Giant" accomplishment for the city of San Francisco.  Only the Cubs (oy vey) and the Indians had longer World Series droughts.  The Giants hadn't won in 56 years.  Prior to last night, the wonderful people of San Fran had never experienced the wonder of a World Series triumph.
     There are a few reasons why the Giants beat the Rangers 4-1 in the series.  First off: (this one's pretty simple)  Tim Lincecum.  The Freak beat the seemingly unbeatable Cliff Lee not once, but twice in the same series.  Throughout the post season, Lincecum out-dueled Derek Lowe, Roy Halladay, and Lee with an assortment off nasty pitches and an intelligent approach.  Like ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez said, "Lincecum did his homework."  After doing his homework, Big Lince (just made that one up.  Thumbs up, thumbs down?) certainly passed the test.  Posting 43 strikeouts and four wins, the two-time Cy Young award-winner was simply dominant.
     Brian Wilson's beard is arguably the best beard in professional sports.  Yes, opposing hitters should "Fear the Beard," but they should also fear Wilson's deadly assortment of pitches and overpowering stuff.  When Wilson comes in it's basically the end of the night for the opposing team.  Hey, that's kind of like Jonathan Papelbon...NAHT!
     Finally, the Giants have chemistry in motion.  Much like the Red Sox teams that won in '04 and '07, (Yes!) the Giants have a roster full of above-average players that work well together to accomplish the ultimate goal. From Freddy Sanchez (former Red Sox great) to Edgar Renteria (former Red Sox great, a.k.a. World Series MVP 2010?) the Giants have competitive players that will do anything for the team.  Talk about dedication...Aubrey Huff laid a beautiful sacrifice bunt down the first base line, moving the runners over to second and third.  It was Huff's first sacrifice bunt in 11 years in the league!  After "Huffing" and puffing down the first base line, Huff was called out.  Yet, after his unselfish act, Renteria hit a three run jack that just cleared the fences and gave San Fran the lead.  
     I would like to personally congratulate the San Francisco Giants for winning the 2010 World Series the right way.  Let me explain what I mean by "the right way."  Instead of seeing a team full of high-priced stars and mid-season acquisitions, (i.e. Yankees and Phillies) it was a pleasure to see the Giants win the Series.  Unlike the Giant teams in the '90s, this squad has no humongous juicers and no drastically overpaid players (insert whoever you'd like here.  Barry Bonds comes to mind for me...).  This time, it wasn't just "The Giants win the Pennant!  The Giants win the Pennant!"
     Rather, it was "The San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions!"  That has a better ring to it.  Though the Pennant call is a classic, this one is a bit more noteworthy.  
     What a "Giant" triumph for the city of San Fran.  (Damn, I thought I would make it the whole article without including a horrific pun)...truly a "Giant" mistake on my part.  I sincerely apologize.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Boys soccer wins thriller; Team makes state tournament

When Senior Captain Christian Fischer booted the ball down field, his intention was not to score.  He was merely clearing the ball from dangerous territory for the Spy Ponders, and sending a lead pass to sophomore standout Fernando Cuervo-Torello. 
However, much to the jubilation of Fischer and the rest of his team, the ball took a favorable bounce over the head of the Weston goalie and found the back of the net.  It was a true miracle for Arlington’s players and their enthusiastic fans.
Fischer’s spectacular goal, midway through the second half, was from 60 yards out.  The timely strike gave the Ponders a 2-1 win over the Weston Wildcats, and launched the team into the state tournament.
Coming into the DCL matchup with the Wildcats, the Ponders needed a win to make the tournament.  A tie would not suffice; with a tie, the team’s season would come to an abrupt end. 
Last year, the squad defeated Weston 4-2 in the final game of the season to enter the tournament.  This year, a similar outcome occurred.  The Ponders doubled up the Wildcats and danced their way into the tourney in dramatic fashion.
Nick Coleman, a senior captain for the Ponders, scored the opening goal, heading the ball past Weston’s keeper in the first half.  Coleman leads the team in scoring, notching his 11th goal of the season in this critical game.
Senior Night at Peirce Field added to the thrill of the evening.  Recognized for their contributions to AHS soccer were: Coleman, Fischer, tri-captain Trevor O’Brien-Jones, Chris Hamblin, Sam Mintz, Joey Lafyatis, Adam Long, Yannick Doyle, Kevin Casey, Otto Briner, Lewis Band, Joe Owayda, Nick Mongold, and exchange student Dennis Kretschmer.  Prior to the match, the players were escorted to their parents by members of Arlington’s youth soccer teams in a celebratory tribute.
Leadership from the seniors was evident throughout the contest.  The goals by Coleman and Fischer were instrumental in the team’s success.  Hamblin, Long, and Mintz also played well for Arlington.  Hamblin had a few headers that nearly snuck by the Weston goalie, Mintz was aggressive throughout, and Long played stalwart defense.
With the victory, these seniors know they will play at least one more game.  They have a chance to excel in the playoffs and keep their season alive, much like they did on this Friday night classic.
Juniors Graham McInnis, Matt Wah, Sam Rivera, and Ryan Salocks played solid soccer in full-throttle throughout the match.  Sophomore keeper Sam Flavin was extremely sturdy in net.  With the exception of a goal allowed to Weston’s Adam Stewart early in the second half, Flavin’s performance was flawless.
The match was a nail-biter throughout.  Ball possession was relatively even and there was constant intensity from both sides. 
With Christian Fischer’s improbable goal, the Ponders are now in the state tournament, and will begin playoff action next week.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Power of Green

     As I entered the TD Garden, my mind was racing rapidly and I was unable to control my emotion.  After four months of waiting, it was finally here.  The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat were about to actually play THE game.
     Typically, when there is as much hype around a game as there was for this one, the game disappoints and lacks huzzah.  This game, however, exceeded expectations and was simply brilliant.  I can safely say that between the rambunctious, cohesive enthusiasm of the crowd and the final outcome of the game, it was the best sporting event I have ever been to.
     When I first entered the stadium, I was immediately taken aback by the circular sea of green.  Every seat in the Garden was covered with a massive green shirt.  Instead of the typical putrid Lakers-like yellow seats, the arena was engulfed by Celtics Green.
     As the players warmed up and prepared for the long-awaited game, I watched in detail, following their every move and analyzing their potential and role on a team full of capable players.  Ray Allen drained three after three, KG knocked down jumper after jumper, and Shaq threw down a plethora of ferocious, powerhouse dunks with the utmost authority.
     After watching an incredible pump-up video on the big screen and announcing the starting lineups with the PA man verbatim, it was time...
     The game.
     Watching my team play defense in the first quarter  made me proud to be die-hard Celtics fan.  Allowing only nine points the "unbelievably explosive, probable 82-0 Miami Heat" was quite a feat.  I then noticed that the behavior I was watching in warm-ups carried over perfectly into the actual game.  Ray Allen practices his jump shot for hours on end, taking hundreds of J's every single day.  That is precisely why he nailed a dagger three-pointer with 49 seconds left that gave the Celtics an 86-80 lead; practice.
     With the exception of Allen Iverson, (i.e., "Practice, you talkin' about practice?  You kiddin' me?  Practice?") "they" always say that practice makes perfect.  Does it?  I think so.  Ray Allen's practice gave me personally a perfect experience.  Admiring his picture-perfect release was unbelievable.
     Every time the Celtics scored, I immediately skyrocketed out of my seat, pound my chest like an animal in exhilaration and cheering incessantly.  From Big Baby's intelligent charge, to Nate Robinson's finesse finish, to the Big Shamroq's thunderous throw-downs, I loved every second of the game last night.
     The unity of the crowd was the most amazing thing about the whole evening.  I have never been a part of such a unified group.  With the exception of the LeBron fan in front of me, the vast majority of people were completely immersed in the game, and rowdily encouraging the Celts.  I quelled the LeBaby fan's antics in the first quarter by literally taking the sign out of his hand that said "Witness the King."  I kept the sign under my seat, while the kid gloomily watched his team get outplayed by a better team (the Boston Celtics, in case you were unaware of to which team I was referring).  To my right, someone had a sign that said, "Queen James."  Amen to that (sister).
     Say what you want about the Heat.   Sure, they have potential to be a phenomenal team.  I still think they'll have the best record in the East.  Last night, however, we were the better team.  Five players scored in double figures and Rondo dealt out 17 dimes.  Sweet.
     Overall, it was a night to remember.  I will never forget entering the Garden and seeing the swarm of green, Paul Pierce's clutch jumpers, and the consistent emotion of the crowd.  When Ray Allen swished the three in the final minute, the place absolutely erupted, like a volcano.  The roof literally exploded and shot into oblivion. 20,000 people jumped up and down in jubilation like children.  That is the beauty of the game of basketball.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sasha Vujacic and Maria Sharapova

     The fact that Sasha Vujacic and Maria Sharapova are getting married is repulsive.  It makes me want to vomit incessantly. Vujacic is the worst player in the NBA, hands down.  I'm not even kidding.  He's an average outside shooter and every other aspect of his game is atrocious.  I guess he handles his game better with the ladies...?
     While Vujacic is a doofus, Maria Sharapova is probably the most attractive female athlete in the world.  Her legs are as long as the Nile.  Sure, the whole 6'3 thing is a bit of a turn off.   She's about twice my height.  But something about her is special.
     So my question is, how does someone like Vujacic get someone like Sharapova?
     Money?  No, she probably makes more than he does.  That option's out.  Looks?  No, he looks like he hasn't shaved in months and his feminine hair flows past his shoulders.  Success?  Sure, he physically has two rings.  However, the reason he has those rings is because of Kobe Bryant.  Without Vujacic, the Lakers would have probably done better and won the Championship more easily.  He just gets in the way.  He's an extra body out there, excess garbage; a genuine hooligan.
     I guess Sharapova is into foolish people.  Maybe I have a chance?  Nah...I'm not nearly as foolish as Sasha. Wait, isn't Sasha a girl's name?

Monday, October 18, 2010

NFL Hullabaloo

     Six weeks into the NFL season, I am confident about one thing: that I have absolutely no confidence about my picks anymore.  As ironic as this is, it's complete fact.  My predictions are abysmal, but who can blame me?  This NFL season has been full of incessant upsets, week after week.  That's what makes football so special.
     This week for example, the Rams (yes those same Rams who won a whopping one game last season) beat the Chargers.  The Seahawks beat the Bears 23-20.  And most shocking of all, the Cowboys, the COWBOYS, dropped to 1-4.  1-4 isn't exactly a dynamite record.  They say everything's bigger in Texas.  What are they referring to...disappointment?  It sure seems that way.  We're talking about a lethal Cowboys team, one with Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Tony Romo, and Jason Witten.  These players are perennial all-stars.  The Cowboys are a perennial playoff contender.  This year however, I predict they'll finish out the year 8-8 and just miss the playoffs.  Although, then again, I guarantee this prediction will be wrong, just as nearly all of my others have been so far this season.
     Here is objective list of the five best teams in the NFL after Week 6.
Trevor's Top Five
5) Indianapolis Colts (4-2)- Manning will lead them to another division title.  They make the playoffs every year and there's no reason that will change this season.
4) New York Giants (4-2)- After an abysmal start, the Giants have looked virtually unstoppable lately.  Their defense has been stellar and Eli's finally stepping up and looking long for Hakeem Nicks.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers- (4-1)- Big Ben is finally back, and that means the Steelers are back too.  Somehow they managed to go 3-1 in his absence, yet now that he's maid his anticipated return they Steelers are a serious contender.  Everyone already knows how ferocious their rush defense is.
2) New England Patriots (4-1)- The Pats have already beaten the Dolphins, Ravens, and Bengals, three possible playoff contenders.  It's safe to say that Brady is having another pro-bowl caliber year, despite recent rumors that he's copying Justin Bieber's haircut! OMG!  Now that Deion Branch is back, the loss of Randy Moss is irrelevant. His shoes will be filled by Branch and Aaron Hernandez quite nicely, so to speak.
1) New York Jets- (4-1)- As much as I hate to say it, the J-E-T-S are currently the best team in the NFL.  Their impressive win over the Pats in Week 2 gave them a lot of momentum and they essentially cemented their position as the front runners in the AFC.  I wouldn't be surprised if they got the number one seed.  LT has been off the hizzy, the D is monstrous, and Sanchez is improving quickly...a little too quickly.

     I know the Texans, Eagles, Ravens, Saints, Packers, Dolphins, and Bears were left off this list.  I'm not making a Top 12 here; this is merely the Top 5 teams from my perspective.  I envision the Jets and Patriots emerging as the top two teams in the East record-wise, while I think the Giants and Saints will finish 1st and 2nd respectively in the NFC.

     But hey, my predictions have been horrific.  I'm not gonna lie.  Justin Bieber tore apart Tom Brady.  Heck, so did Randy Moss.  I guess Tom Brady's not perfect.  Neither am I.  My picks up to this point are atrocious.    With that said, I'm fairly confident in my Top 5.

     The NFL has been full of surprises.  This shouldn't come as a surprise, considering it's almost Halloween.  The NFL is haunted with mysterious upsets that leave you shaking in your boots.  This year is honestly a toss-up.  There are so many above-average teams that have a chance to do some damage in the playoffs.  It will be all about momentum heading into December.  The team that gets hot in Week 16 and Week 17 will indubitably be the Super Bowl Champion.  Dare I say it'll be the Patriots?  Nah, I don't want to jinx anything.

     Although,  if I pulled a double-reverse and picked the Patriots to lose the Super Bowl, wouldn't my pick be counteracted?  Wouldn't the Patriots then automatically, inevitably win the Super Bowl?  Hmm, interesting philosophy.  That's so crazy that it just might work.

Farris vs. Coleman-Soccer rivalry heats up

           Off the field, seniors Nick Coleman and Alex Farris are great friends.  Nick is dating one of Alex’s best friends, Taylor King.  On the field however, their friendship ends, and an intense rivalry brews.
            Coleman and Farris currently each have five goals, leading their respective teams.  While Coleman relies on his rock solid head and field awareness to craftily score goals, Farris uses her blazing speed and deceptive dribbling skills to elude defenders and place the ball into the net.
            Farris and Coleman have many things in common from a soccer standpoint.  They both are constantly around the ball, are fierce competitors, and  are extremely skilled.  Yet, the number one trait they have in common is that they want to be the best, to be nĂºmero uno. 
            These two studs are in a ferocious rivalry to outdo the other and score more goals by the end of the season.
            Farris says, “Starting freshman year, we played on an indoor team.  We were very competitive with who scored more goals, and that’s carried over to this year.  We want to show each other up.”
            Unfortunately for Coleman, Farris has a slight edge now.  Nick “Scar” Coleman, as he’s now known by his fans, suffered a brutal injury in a 1-1 tie against Waltham.  Coleman got head butted and was taken to the hospital and received six stitches.  His one-week absence allowed Farris to get more playing time and she has a chance to take a 7-6 lead.
            “The majority of my goals have been headers or from free kicks,” says Coleman.  “She’s more technically skilled in her soccer playing, but I use the skills that I have to my advantage.”
            Coleman adds, “I’m committed to beating Alex in goal scoring.  It’s my first year playing midfield on Varsity.  We’re tied right now.  I want to beat her.  ‘Nuff said.”
            I sat down with Coleman and Farris individually, and there was some evident trash talking from both stars.
            “Scoring goals is one thing, but bringing moral leadership and supplying passion is what my real goal is,” exclaims Coleman.  “In fact, it’s my greatest goal of all.”
            Coleman followed up with a controversial remark, saying, “Alex could have a lot more potential in soccer if she didn’t spend so much time focusing on cats.”  Coleman, meanwhile, tries to act like a cool cat himself, hanging around Taylor King in the cafeteria.
            Anyone who knows Farris well is fully aware of her obsession with cats.  Coleman questions whether soccer is as important to Farris as cats are. 
            Jesse Weiss, a friend of both Coleman and Farris, says, “The two of them are great.  I’m interested to see how this rivalry will end.”
            As long as Coleman has his lucky necklace, he feels he can push past Farris. 
            “I like to think that this necklace provides a spiritual advantage to me on the field during practice, though we’re not allowed to wear it on the field.  The spirit carries into my games.”
            The issue here is not about which team is better.  Both teams are hovering around .500 and have a chance to qualify for the state tournament. 
            It is not a dispute over who is more popular, who gets better grades (Coleman confesses that this last accomplishment belongs to Farris), or about who will be more successful playing soccer at the college level.
            This is a battle for glory, one for recognition, respect, and dignity.  Whoever wins in the long run will forever be known as a champion, or the “Ultimate Goal Scorer.”
            Whatever happens in the end, Coleman singles out another main advantage he has over her, his dignified new hair cut.
“I know some people liked it when my hair blew in the wind,” brags Coleman.  “I went for the shorter hair cut to look more professional and refined.  Maybe that’s another advantage I have over Alex.  I don’t have the hair to get in the way like Alex does.”
            Farris’ hair may be a distraction.  Coleman’s scar may be an obstacle.  Yet champions have to overcome boundaries, and that is exactly what Farris and Coleman have to do in order to win the “Goal Medal” and be the number one goal scorer at Arlington High.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hype around the Heat

     Though all of the hype surrounding the acquisitions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh is obnoxious, it's completely legitimate.  As a Celtics fan, it pains me that we are not the best team in the Eastern Conference.  That honor belongs to the Miami Heat.
     I'm fully aware that both Dwyane Wade and James are battling injuries and that the Heat have yet to prove themselves as a team yet.  However, I truly believe that the Heat will win 72 games this year, en route to an NBA Championship.  Here's why:
     The best thing about LeBron James is that he's naturally an unselfish basketball player.  James plays with an altruistic style, much like Magic Johnson.  Some people attribute James' pass-first mentality to the fact that he's not confident in his outside shot.  While this is true, he also loves to get his teammates involved.  
     Prior to this year, James was passing to the likes of Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao.  Varejao and Williams are solid players, but Bosh and Wade...well let's just say they're more than solid.  
     Last year James, Wade, and Bosh virtually single-handedly led their respective teams to success.  While Bosh and his not-so-ferocious-Raptors missed reaching the playoffs on the last game of the season, Wade led a previously-average Heat team to the 5th seed in the East.  And James, well he led the Cavs to first place in the East, before he choked in the playoffs (no big surprise there).
     Each of these three superstars has accomplished wonderful heroics on their own.  From last second shots, to scoring titles, to MVP awards.  These players had success by their lonesome.  Now that they're together...well that's just scary.  It's really a terrifying thought.  The merging of these three larger-than-life figures (even "Larger" than the early-2000 legends, The Backstreet Boys) over the summer has been a bigger hit across the country than Jersey Shore (at least I would like to think so). Even Snooki, as dumb as she is, would be a hooligan not to pick the Heat to win it all this year.  And that's why, I'm going with my gut, and going with the Miami Heat.  
     Of course, I want the Celtics to win.  We certainly have a legitimate chance to reach the finals.  Sure, with the acquisitions of The Big Shamroq (my boy- well, man.  I guess Shaquille O'Neal would qualify as a man...), Jermaine O'Neal (Baby J doesn't do too much for me, based on his struggles against the Celtics in previous Playoff series), and other young studs like Luke Harangody (former Fighting Irish stud), we have a chance.  We'll most likely get the two-seed in the East.  But the new-look Heat, with the new "Big Three" and Eddie House, well the they're already burning down the House, so to speak.  Let's just hope the aging Celtics can come and put out the fire, like they have in two of the past three years.
     With all this said, it's almost basketball season.  That's reason enough to be excited. I'm pumped, baby.  You should be too.