5 Things You Need to Know To #Win Thursday

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and the National Fantasy Football Convention play to depose NFL commisioner Roger Goodell as part of their $1 million lawsuit against the league for last year’s failed event.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and his National Fantasy Football Convention have no plans to back down on their lawsuit against the NFL for tortious interference in the canceling of last year’s event.

Romo and his partners are asking for more than $1 million from the league.

Not only are the two sides heading to court in Dallas on Monday for a hearing on a summary judgment on the NFL’s motion to dismiss the suit, but the lawyers for the NFFC have filed paperwork to depose league commissioner Roger Goodell.

The NFL has filed a motion to block Goodell’s deposition.


MLB-Lineups-Divisions

The NHL had a novel idea this season: It broke up its All-Star Game into semifinals, with the individual stars from each division playing short exhibitions against each other in a tournament format. They played a 20-minute semifinal — giving fans an actual All-Star bracket — and then a championship between the winners. A clever idea, to be sure, and one that not only made the All-Star format itself more exciting, but also allowed more star players to be seen by their fans. (It also ended up leading to the John Scott story.)

I’m not sure baseball should do this — it already has the best All-Star Game and doesn’t need to radically reinvent it, though getting rid of the “Now It Counts” business is long overdue — but it is an enticing thought experiment. Imagine if the All-Stars from each division played, say, a series of three-inning games in a double-elimination format that ended up determining the best division in baseball over a three-day stretch. It’s probably too much, but it’s fun to think about: Now that the divisions are more geographically aligned, there’s as much division loyalty, pride and solidarity as there is with leagues, maybe more.

It’ll never happen — and again, it probably shouldn’t happen — but I’m gonna take part in the thought experiment anyway. Let’s come up with a preseason All-Star team for each of the six divisions and imagine who would win such a tournament. Rather than go through matchup-by-matchup, we’ll just rank them.

Here’s how the teams might look. I’ll be cheating a little bit by just allowing for three outfield spots rather than LF/CF/RF, but hey: This is an All-Star Game.

Read: If each MLB division had an All-Star lineup, what would it look like?


LarryBird

For several days in the summer of 2014, I debated a question whose answer seems obvious. Was Larry Bird a pure shooter? I kept this debate internal — I drafted emails for friends and basketball writers asking for their opinions, but never sent them, for fear of their reaction and eventual abandonment. Instead, I went back and forth with the question. Calling someone a pure shooter can be used as an insult, if pure becomes synonymous with “only” or is the first half of a compound sentence that begins “He’s a pure shooter,” and ends “but he can’t play any defense or put the ball on the floor.”

Bird belongs in the discussion for the greatest shooter of all time, but simply calling him a pure shooter might erase the way he controlled the game with his passing, rebounding, tenacity, team defense and floor game. Is calling Larry Bird a pure shooter the ultimate compliment or an underestimation? Praise or pejorative? But then if Bird isn’t a pure shooter, who the hell is?

Regardless of definitions and labels, Bird’s greatness as a shooter can get lost when discussing his career. His all-around brilliance separated him from everyone else. He could dominate without taking a shot, but it was still that shot that made everything else possible.

Read: How the jumper turned Bird into Larry Legend.


Andy Pettitte had six heavy-use postseasons in his career. (via Chris Ptacek)

At the end of my last article at THT, “The In-Season Aging Curve,” I indulged in some speculation about whether older pitchers’ skills eroded faster during the playing season than in the offseason. The data I used gave me no grounds for a conclusion either way. Were the erosion to happen faster in-season, though, it raised the unfortunate possibility that pitchers who had longer seasons—meaning those who pitched deep into the postseason—would be worn down by the grind and pitch worse the next season, and possibly beyond.

I teased that I might have more to say on the matter in months to come. Teasing isn’t really nice, so I got to work on the matter right away.

I wound up both narrowing and expanding the question I posed. I looked at just the following year after a heavy postseason workload, and I did not limit myself to older pitchers. This was probably a wise shift, since two of the biggest controversies surrounding pitcher workloads and the postseason in recent years have involved younger hurlers.

Read: Pitchers and the Seven-Month Season – The Hardball Times


New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul sued ESPN and NFL reporter Adam Schefter on Wednesday for tweeting his medical records over the summer.

The lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade County in Florida, alleges that Pierre-Paul’s privacy was violated — as was the state’s medical records statute — by the report. The lawsuit claims Schefter “improperly obtained Plaintiff’s medical records from a hospital” and then tweeted them out, writing that “ESPN obtained medical charts that show that Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul had right index finger amputated today.”

Paul injured his right hand in a fireworks accident July 4. Schefter posted a photo of Pierre-Paul’s medical chart July 8

Read: Jason Pierre-Paul of New York Giants sues ESPN, Adam Schefter for posting medical records

What No One Tells You About #Winning Tuesday


All Aboard the S.S.TD:

The Gronk.  Lovable meathead, really good tight-end for the Patriots just disembarked from his “Party-Cruise”.  The debaucherous, drunken revellry seemed to be on par with another party that comes to mind in the Big Easy, and according to social media, it was.  However, while everyone was re-living the halcyon days of Sodom & Gamora and being tailed by “intrepid” journalists to “document” the event – we need to ask this question – How is Manziel any different?

Is it because Gronk is a Pro-Bowler, a Superbowl Champion and has never been accused of striking a woman?  Why do we treat Gronk as lovable meathead and Manziel a loser for being the same Teddy Bro-sevelt?  At some point we should stop demonizing notorious behavior while applauding another as we maintain our upright moral status with the rest of the swine.  Then again, how much could you have had on this hedonistic cruise?

+ Read: Let’s all have as much fun as Gronk’s Party Ship.

Then there’s the King of Berzerkers, the thorn in the SEC paw, the man in the khakis, hanging out at WWE Raw last night.  The most visible and entertaining coach in college football lately, is a self-avowed rasslin’ fan and was front and center at Joe Louis Arena.  How can you not love this guy’s headline making ways?

Welcome to @UMichFootball head coach @CoachJim4UM, ringside at @WWE#RAW in Detroit!! #Wolverinespic.twitter.com/II49BL7Cml

— WWE (@WWE) February 23, 2016


NBA

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 22: Andrew Bogut #12 of the Golden State Warriors dunks against Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

If you follow along with us, then you know Mondays are prettay prettaaay prettaaaay special when you read our 5pt plays and build your lineups with our LineupAnalyzer.  Or maybe you were too caught up in listening to another hit from the dark-side of the moon and the Apollo 10 astronauts…Either way, you can read The United Stats of #Murica #NBA edition for a review or read these 5 takeaways:

  • Warriors become the fastest team to 50 wins in NBA history by beating Hawks. It got interesting. Atlanta became the latest team to make a big run on Golden State and force a response. Portland did it most of the game, but the 13-turnover third quarter for the Warriors put that game out of reach. The Clippers game seemed to be in garbage time until a 13-0 run late gave Los Angeles a chance to tie (the shot fell short). Then Monday night the Warriors were in complete control up 23 in the third quarter, when the Hawks went on a 33-6 run and took the lead. These lapses are a combination of factors. The Warriors have some mental vacations, they get bored it seems, but also teams are not just rolling over for them. Good teams that have pride. The result is the Warriors having to work hard for games where it felt like they were in control.
  • Channing Frye makes his debut for Cavaliers but Pistons spoil the day. Cavaliers fans got to see the guy they gave up Anderson Varejao for Monday night (not that much was expected of Channing Frye in his debut, he’s had basically no practice time with the team). Frye played nine minutes for the Cavaliers, missed both his threes, and looked like the new kid trying to fit in. He’ll find a more comfortable groove.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo finishes the off-the-backboard alley-oop. Yes, it still counts if you do it against the Lakers’ defense. The Bucks picked up a win and the Greek Freak had maybe the highlight of the night.
  • Pistons void Donatas Motiejunas trade with Rockets over concerns about his back.Stan Van Gundy has coveted Motiejunas for years — a true 7-footer who can bang inside and is shooting 41.2 percent from three this season. He’s a perfect fit on paper for the inside-out offense Van Guyndy is trying to set up in Detroit.
  • Kyle Lowry puts up triple-double. Does it still count if Jose Calderon is guarding him? Kyle Lowry and the Raptors went into Madison Square Garden on Monday night and looked every bit the second best team in the East, with an unstoppable backcourt led by Kyle Lowry. Going up against the porus defense of Jose Calderon, Lowry did what he wanted on the way to 22 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds, and the Raptors picked up a comfortable win 122-95.

Source: Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Warriors become fastest team ever to 50 wins – ProBasketballTalk

Big man Hassan Whiteside continues to confound the Miami Heat by mixing in dominant performances with head-scratching mistakes that cloud his future with the team.

+ Read: Whiteside remains an enigma for Miami – Yahoo News

+ Read: NBA’s ‘haunted hotel’ strikes again — this time with bed bugs | New York Post


NFL

The NFL withheld a big chunk of money from the NFLPA. (USATSI)

The NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) was on the winning side of an arbitration that’s expected to cost the NFL more than $100 million.

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank sided with the NFLPA over an issue that had to do with the pool of revenue (or shared revenue pool) that the NFL splits with its players. According to the Wall Street Journal, the league is going to have to return about $120 million in revenues that it wrongly collected over the past three years.

+ Read: Report: NFL withheld more than $120 million from players over 3 years – CBSSports.com

Let’s face it: All 32 NFL teams have plenty to do before the start of the new fiscal year, as well as the beginning of free agency on March 9.There are just some that have more to do than others.

+ Read: NFL Teams That Have the Most Work to Do Before Free Agency | Bleacher Report


MLB

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke talks to the media during a press conference, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, in Phoenix. Greinke could have stayed with the Los Angeles Dodgers or gone up the coast to the San Francisco Giants. Instead, he signed a massive contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, dramatically shifting the landscape in the NL West.   (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The phrase “play the game the right way” is vague, so it’s usually tough to know exactly what someone means when they use the phrase. Hitting batters as revenge, for example, could be “right” if you’re an old-school baseball type, or it may be wrong to someone else. NL West managers say the Diamondbacks “play the game the right way,” Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports.

+ Read: NL West managers say the Diamondbacks “play the game the right way” – HardballTalk


Overtime

+ Read: Nation’s fastest football player? LSU’s Donte’ Jackson can make that claim – CollegeFootballTalk

On Sunday, a relieved Bubba Watson interrupted his post-tournament press conference at the Northern Trust Open in Pacific Palisades, Calif., as the gleaming prize was placed beside him on the table. Though he had to pass a kidney stone earlier in the week, he still managed to rally back on the final day of action to win the tournament for the second time in three years.

In a thrilling final round packed with twists and turns, Watson closed out a one-shot victory over leader Jason Kokrak and 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott at Riviera Country Club. Bubba finished with a 15-under 269 total.

+ Read: Bubba Watson won the Northern Trust Open.

Weekend Update: Boom Goes the Dynamite


Mo-Mo-Motorius:

In case you missed it – the Daytona 500 was this weekend and ther finish was the closest in the computer-timed era, that began in 1993 – .01 seconds.  Just watch the video and see an incredible final lap, even if turning left a-lot is not your forte.  Denny Hamlin passing three of his own teammates to squeek out a victory over Martin Truex – leaving Joe Gibbs to proclaim this #win over any Superbowl.

Maintaining the Motor theme – the Pistons wore Motor City on their jerseys last night and Anthony Davis motored right by.  Davis dropped the clutch on Detroit to a tune of 59pts and 20 rebounds in the Pelicans 111-106 win, (Davis was an 89 on #FanDuel and 93.5 on #DraftKings).

It was a career high for the “Brow” and also the highest total in the #NBA this season.  Fact: Only two other players have ever scored more than 55pts and grabbed at least 20 boards in a game – Wilt Chamberlain and ShaQ-Fu.


NBA

Kobe Is A Dick And Talks About It On HBO

Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in NBA history. Five NBA championships, 18 All Star Game appearances, one MVP award. Despite how unbelievably good Kobe is at basketball, no one has ever confused him with being a good teammate or a particularly nice guy. Although he’s currently on a Derek Jeter-like retirement tour, it’s not so much an admiration for the man himself, but rather an appreciation for the player that Kobe Bryant was.

+ Read: Kobe is a dick and talks about it on HBO

Since he was essentially anointed the next face of the NBA over the past year, Anthony Davis’ season has been a little disappointing on a number of levels. His per-game numbers are as good as ever — 24.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.2 blocks — but after last year’s surprise playoff run, the Pelicans have underperformed due to injuries throughout the roster and an awkward coaching transition from Monty Williams to Alvin Gentry. In the eyes of the casual NBA observer, the next shiny toy to get excited about has already become Timberwolves rookie phenom Karl-Anthony Towns.

+ Read: Anthony Davis joins elite company with 59-point game.

The Donatas Motiejunas trade between the Pistons, Rockets and 76ers isn’t the only one held up by a physical.The Cavaliers’ trade for Channing Frye still isn’t complete, either.

+ Read: Channing Frye trade still not complete, as Cavaliers continue to test former(?) Magic player – ProBasketballTalk

It took a few days to finally happen but the New York Knicks signed Jimmer Fredette to a 10-day contract on Monday. This will be Fredette’s third attempt at sticking with an NBA team this season.

+ Read: Knicks make it official, sign Jimmer Fredette to 10-day contract – CBSSports.com


MLB

Jimmy Rollins

The White Sox announced on Monday that they’ve added shortstop and former Phillies cornerstone Jimmy Rollins on a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Rollins is a client of MVP Sports.

+ Read: White Sox Sign Jimmy Rollins To Minors Deal – MLB Trade Rumors

Miami Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds, baseball’s home run king, made it clear “I’m a Hall of Famer” at an introductory news conference Saturday.Bonds, in his familiar No. 25, wore a major league uniform for the first time in nine years this week — aside from a weeklong stint as a guest instructor with the San Francisco Giants two springs ago.

+ Read: MLB Notebook: New Marlins hitting coach Bonds introduced, says ‘God knows I’m a Hall of Famer’ | West Central Tribune

It came as a shock on Friday when the news broke that longtime former Major Leaguer Tony Phillips had died of an apparent heart attack. A man determined and fit enough to suit up for an independent league team last season is now gone far too soon, at age 56.Phillips stood out for his personality, but even though he enjoyed an 18-year career in the big leagues, his on-field accomplishments flew a bit under the radar. He never made an All-Star team, only once showed up on an MVP ballot and received a single vote in his only year of Hall of Fame eligibility.

+ Read: Phillips most versatile player in MLB history.


NFL

Plenty has been said about how the New England Patriots unearthed a gold mine when they selected franchise quarterback Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 draft. Four Super Bowl rings, three Super Bowl MVPs and a supermodel wife — there isn’t much more for the future Hall of Famer to accomplish.

+ Read: 12 funny factoids about the 198 players picked ahead of Tom Brady in 2000 | FOX Sports

The NFL Combine has become very similar to the “Winter Meetings” of Major League Baseball over the last decade.The media interviews, workouts and drills are televised on the league’s network, but much more happens in Indianapolis during late February. Certainly, it’s a showcase for players to demonstrate their physical ability. It’s also a time for teams and player representation to come together and continue working on the offseason activities.

+ Read: 7 secrets of the NFL Combine | FOX Sports


College

A day before his team played for the national title in Glendale, Ariz., Alabama coach Nick Saban remained fired up about the same topic he had harped on six months earlier at SEC Media Days. After Clemson coach Dabo Swinney answered a reporter’s question about some of the Tigers’ best underclassmen mulling whether to stay in college or to enter the 2016 NFL draft, Saban chimed in with his own take.

“Could I make a comment about that? Because I’m going to call Dabo after the game, and last year after our game against Ohio State I tried to develop a little energy from college coaches who had players that are in this situation you just asked about, and the NFL moved the draft back. I wish they’d move the declare date back,” Saban said. “I wish they’d make a rule that says you can’t even give a player what his draft status is from the NFL [draft advisory] committee until they’ve finished their competition as a college player, so that you don’t put them and their family in this situation where there’s a big timing issue relative to competition.

+ Read: The case for an underclassmen NFL scouting combine

If there was a weekend to start getting fans excited about March Madness, last week was a good one. There was the Duke-Carolina game that lived up to its hype and a 31-point game from St. Bonaventure sophomore guard Jaylen Adams to lead his team to an upset over No. 13 Dayton.

+ Read: Louisville-Duke game was a great reminder that college basketball is broken | For The Win


Overtime

The daily fantasy sports industry is dominated by DraftKings and FanDuel. DraftKings has raised in excess of $500 million since 2012, while FanDuel has brought in over $300 million. The two daily fantasy sports entities lead the way in terms of user acquisition and retention, and they both continue to operate in the State of Florida despite legal concerns regarding same.

+ Read: DraftKings And FanDuel Are Playing With Fire In Florida – Forbes

What 6 Things You Need to Know Thursday – #NFL #MLB

name of site - hunter thompson styleFictionalFootballers

1.

Who’s The Best in Fantasy?

There is little debate over who should win the NFL MVP award, with Panthers quarterback Cam Newton likely to snag that honor. So instead, we decided to examine a more uncertain question — who is the best fictional pro football player of all time?

Read: Which fictional professional football player is the best?

SBrankings

2.

Re-Watchability…

The endless two-week build up before the Super Bowl can get tedious, but tripping down memory lane helps the time move faster. From the recent instant classics to the one-sided routs from the 1970s and ’80s, and even the sepia-toned matchups that spurred the AFL-NFL merger, every big game had its own unique quality.

As some have done already, we wanted to take a look at every Super Bowl in terms of the excitement factor, but with an emphasis on how well the game has aged, and how eager we would be to rewatch each one.

Read: Which has been the most exciting Super Bowl to date?

3.

2 Sports:

It’s a football kind of week, even in the world of baseball.

Before we get to Spring Training (less than two weeks until pitchers and catchers!) and before we even get to Sunday’s Super Bowl 50, there is today’s college football National Signing Day.

Naturally, all this palaver about pigskin has us thinking about the glorious occasional conversion between the stars of these two very American athletic undertakings.

Read: 13 football players who became Major Leaguers | MLB.com

1980x1100-BB-Campaign-Slogans

4.

Politico…

The presidential race and the baseball season share a certain symmetry of scheduling.

February is not only the time the presidential candidates spend a disproportionate amount of time campaigning in faraway locales in Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s also the month clubs begin spending an inordinate amount of time training in faraway locales in Florida and Arizona. And the goal of each campaign, of course, is to accumulate small victories early, surge in the summer and then obtain the ultimate prize in the fall.

With that in mind, let’s reimagine each team’s 2016 declaration of intent in the form of a political slogan.

Read: What if baseball teams had political slogans?

Yu Darvish's slider is in a league of its own. (via Matthew Straubmuller)

5.

Slider In…

Let’s take a visual stroll across Statistical Boulevard and meander past Analytics Way as we dissect the slider (as classified by PITCHf/x) in various ways. The intent of this article is to show some interesting visuals on the aforementioned slider and perhaps bring to the surface an interesting tidbit or two.

We begin with a brisk walk on Top Season Street and take a peek at the top slider-throwing seasons since 2009. I’ve excluded 2008 since it was the first season to have PITCHf/x data, and it showed some weird inconsistencies with the rest of the data set. 2008 will be excluded from all data in this article. The graph below is courtesy of FanGraphs’ leaderboards feature.

Read: The Slider: A Visual Analysis – The Hardball Times

ZimmermannGreinkePrice

6.

Turnaround…

It’s nearing the time of year when experts and prognosticators release their predictions for the 2016 Major League Baseball season, but only one thing is certain — nobody ever fully knows what to expect.

Look no further than just last season, when the Astros, Cubs and Mets all blazed a path to the postseason, despite most believing each club was still a year or two away from contention. Though it was a bit more prevalent last year, it turns out almost every season during the Wild Card era has featured at least one team making an unexpected postseason run.

Since the introduction of the Wild Card in 1995, only the 2005 campaign did not include at least one team that qualified for the postseason after finishing the previous year with a losing record. This was true for four of last year’s 10 qualifiers, with the Rangers joining the aforementioned trio with a drastic turnaround of their own. It’s also worth noting that there have been at least two such postseason qualifiers in each of the four seasons since a second Wild Card berth was added to each league in 2012.

Overall, about one in four postseason teams since 1995 were coming off of a losing season. While these improvements were more expected in some cases than others, there has been a fair share of surprising postseason runs a la last season.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at which team(s) is most likely to continue this trend in 2016. The following is a look at each of the 14 teams that finished with a losing record last season, as well as their prospects for reaching the postseason in ’16. The teams were broken down into three categories — “Work in progress,” “Borderline contenders” and “Eye on the prize” — based on the likelihood of qualifying for the playoffs next season.

Read: Which sub-.500 teams can make a run in 2016?

The DiRT Canon Weekend Update – #Megatron Edition

name of site - hunter thompson style

1.

Detroit Breakdown:

Word comes down that Calvin Johnson is done.  No more nagging injuries.  No more missed opportunities.  No more chance for the Lions to cut him.  Megatron gets to go out on his terms, with plenty of energon left in the tank.  What is it about Detroit that seems to see franchise icons walk away?

This feels different than Barry Sanders walking away.  It feels different because the game has changed.  Perceptions have changed.  No longer are today’s players willing to risk further destruction for a few extra moments.  It also feels different because we thought Barry was just sick of losing in Detroit and that he was gonna resurrect his career in a new uniform.  Calvin seems at peace and contentment with his decision.  The calendar just struck 30 for Calvin, and what better way to heal a tired warrrior’s body then spending the salad days on a beach, earning 20%.

EXTRA – EXTRA….

+ Megatron drops a mega-bomb

ESPN reported on Sunday that Calvin Johnson has planned since last summer to make 2015 his final season in the NFL. If Johnson sticks to that plan, his total of 1,214 receiving yards will be the highest in NFL history by a player in his final season in the league. Three other players gained at least 1000 receiving yards in their last season: Sterling Sharpe (1,119), Reggie Langhorne (1,038), and Jimmy Smith (1,023).

+ Johnson’s absence would be felt by Stafford

Calvin Johnson accounted for 31 percent of Matthew Stafford’s passing yards since the Lions drafted Stafford in 2009. During those seven seasons, only one other receiver was responsible for a greater percentage of a quarterback’s passing yards than Johnson was for Stafford (minimum: 5000 passing yards). A.J. Green has accounted for 32 percent of Andy Dalton’s total.

2.

MMQB with Peter King…

Before building the Broncos into a winner, John Elway cut his teeth in player personnel by watching his father. Plus, the Joy of Cam, Marvin Harrison vs. T.O. in Hall of Fame voting, Doug Williams recalls the greatest quarter in Super Bowl history and more from San Francisco as Super Bowl week kicks off

+ Read: John Elway, Broncos GM, learned from father Jack Elway | The MMQB with Peter King

+ Watch: Your Pro Bowl Highlight Is Richard Sherman Dropping An RKO On Clay Matthews

3.

SuperSnooze?

While we prepare for Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, you may have wondered if the game is gonna be any good – we all remember some stinkers.  So when thinking about makes a good Superbowl, The Washington Post has given us the 10 Least watchable Superbowls of all time. They arrived at these conclusions by asking a few questions: Was there exciting drama? A legendary performance? A moment that we still can’t forget? Or were they just all hype and no substance?

So, here are the 10 least watchable Super Bowls.

Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments.

+ Read: Ranking the watchability of every Super Bowl ever played – The Washington Post

4.

Put That In Your Pipe…

The smile that flashed across John Scott’s face again and again throughout the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game was the perfect symbol of his adventure at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.

It also looks like the NHL may have gotten this right. If you actually watched the NHL All Star game, you might have enjoyed it!  As well as, John Scott giving it to Jeremy Roenick. Roenick apologized to It was a good job by both Roenick for the apology and Scott for acknowledging it….with a dig, that made this a true Cinderella story.

+ Read: Scott named MVP of Pacific’s All-Star Game victory

5.

Suns of Anarchy?

You may have never felt like Jeff was that good anyway.  The year they broke out and won 48 games, everybody seemed to be having career years, running around without any perceived strategy. Every game was Dragic+Bledsoe driving to the basket – Frye shooting 3’s off the pick n roll – Green chuckin’ it as soon as he gets it – or the Morris brothers taking and making contested mid range shots. There never appeared to be any real ball movement.

The Phoenix Suns fired Jeff Hornacek on Sunday night, ending his tenure as head coach with a 14-35 start to the 2015-16 NBA season.  How many of those guys above are still with the team and how much of that sliding win% is Hornacek’s fault.  Screams more of #FirstWorldProblems from ownership having unrealistic expectations.  I cold be wrong.

+ Read: Jeff Hornacek Fired by Suns: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction 

6.

Rising Arizona?

The Arizona Diamondbacks have two of the best hitters in baseball, but not much else around them.

Apparently, general manager Dave Stewart feels the acquisition of shortstop Jean Segura from the Milwaukee Brewers in Saturday’s five-player trade will help remedy that shortcoming.

However, except for a stellar first half of 2013, Segura has been an average to below-average major league player. Over the past two years, he’s posted a .252/.285/.331 slash line in hitter-friendly Milwaukee.

+ Read: Jean Segura joins better offense in Arizona, but won’t really help it

73 Seconds…

name of site - hunter thompson style

1.

Drop In The Bucket…

Did we forget about Klay?  As Draymond rises and Steph improves beyond icons, we seem to have forgotten about Klay.  Thompson dropped 45 on the Mavericks last night, getting payback for one of their losses, by 20pts – Is Carlyle now on Hot-Seat?  ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss expands on Kerr’s thoughts on Klay: “…he’s fine taking a back seat to Steph. It works well. They obviously play well together, but I think there always has to be a little bit of a pecking order in the NBA. Klay’s personality suits that second option perfectly.”  Thompson is a quiet all-star that fits perfectly with Golden State.

2.

Spurred On…

What did we think they were gonna do?  Quit?  Lose by 30 and announce the season was over?  So while Golden State came back down to earth and beat the Mavs by twenty, The Spurs treated Houston like a birthday party and blew them out by 31.  So you can say the Spurs bounced back and showed Houston how far away from contending they still are, plus 5 more things.  You think that at some point, while Aldridge is getting better and showing chemistry, he’ll have to be less passive.  If Aldridge can be more like young Dirk and drive to the basket, the way the Spurs play would make more noise in the playoffs.

3.

Started From the Bottom, Now We Here…

The 65th NBA All-Star Game will be the first All-Star Game held outside of the U.S. The game will be seen by fans in more than 200 countries and territories and will be heard in more than 40 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game in the U.S. for the 14th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 31st year of NBA All-Star coverage.

…And all of that is nice.  The Game is even on Valentine’s Day, awwww.  So who will be coaching the Eastern Conference All-Stars?  The answer is a guy who just started, Tyronn Lue – because he deserves the honor.  So tune in to TNT at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 14 from Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and watch history in the making – just make sure you take the over.

HicksJasoHill

4.

Under-rated…

The winter that was — and, in some cases, still is — defined by the nine-figure notables (David Price, Zack Greinke, Jason Heyward, Chris Davis, Justin Upton and Jordan Zimmermann), some blockbuster swaps (Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel, Todd Frazier, Shelby Miller and Andrelton Simmons, to name a few), some international intrigue (Kenta Maeda and Byung Ho Park), the rewarded hand-wringing of the Mets faithful (welcome back, Yo), the limits-testing patience required of the likes of Dexter Fowler, Ian Desmond, Howie Kendrick, etc., and, as usual, the art of surprise.

Lost in all that discussion, though, are the people on the periphery. So let’s round up some of them here with the best acquisitions nobody’s talking about (until now)……

+ Keep Reading: The 10 best MLB pickups nobody is talking about.

5.

Might As Well Jump…

From Deadspin: The second period of the Predators’ 2-1 win over the Flames featured a strange moment, as Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman absolutely leveled linesman Don Henderson on his way back to the bench. The hit sure looks intentional, but Wideman had just been checked hard into the boards, and looked pretty woozy sitting on the bench.

Wideman wasn’t penalized, and both he and Henderson stayed in the game. Afterwards he told reporters that he apologized to Henderson on the ice, and that the hit was entirely accidental.

Thankfully Wideman recieved treatment for a concussion before returning to the ice, as per NHL protocol. Of course that protocol is to pop 2 Percocets and wash them down with a can of LaBatts, but still.

6.

If a Tree Falls…

Further proof that the NFL tries too hard to make you care about a game that the players don’t care about, unless your these guys in the picture…I give you the 2016 NFL ProBowl Draft – Are You Not Entertained?!!  Is there some possibility of interest?  Sure, I’m curious about Julio Jones and Russell Wilson on the same team.  But more to the point, are you gonna play it on DraftKings, or bet the Under?  Before you do read more about the drafting of Team Rice and Team Irvin here, from ABC News:

+ Keep Reading: Russell Wilson, Eli Manning top picks in 2016 Pro Bowl draft

7.

A Man Named $uh…

We’ve talked a lot about this guy and how he was not worth the scratch Miami paid him.  Word is, Suh’s monster deal is already causing cap issues for the Dolphins.  

8.

Aloha…

Hawaii’s attorney general has issued an opinion that says daily fantasy is illegal gambling under state law, becoming the umpteenth state attorney general to do so. [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]


73 seconds.

30 years ago today, that was all we saw of the Space Shuttle Challenger.  I remember exactly where I was and still I am reminded by the thoughts that went thru my head of disbelief.  Being at school, being told over the speaker system what happened, hoping the falling cabin contained life…still is hard to believe that 7 people lost their lives because of an O-ring.  18 years and 6 days later there was the second shuttle disaster, when Endeavour disintegrated in re-entry over Texas and Louisiana.  Now, no more shuttles…Prometheus stole fire to provide us a spark, to generate creativity and explore – what shall we do if we never venture out into the unknown?  Bless those that took the chance to peel back the curtain of the great beyond.

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Countdown to Spring Training – #MLB #NBA #NFL

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1.

3…2…1…

These are the dog days of winter. Football season is (all but) over, the NHL and NBA are in the uneventful middle of their seasons, and Major League Baseball’s free-agent flurry has just about ended. But we’re still just under a month away from the unofficial start of baseball season.

So here’s a list of things to do until Spring Training begins — one every day, Jan. 27 through Feb. 23, the latest date any team’s pitchers and catchers report (looking at you, Rangers and White Sox).

Wednesday, Jan. 27: You’re reading this, aren’t you? Anything else is gravy.

Thursday, Jan. 28: No. 3 Iowa! No. 8 Maryland! 7 p.m. ET on ESPN! Could be a sneaky-good game in a wide-open college basketball landscape.

Friday, Jan. 29: MLBPipeline.com’s top 50 prospects will be unveiled on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. The new top-100 list will go live on MLB.com, too.

Saturday, Jan. 30: What’s the record for largest margin of victory in an NBA game? The Warriors are visiting the 76ers. It starts at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on NBA League Pass, so you even get most or all of your night if this game isn’t as fun as it sounds. (You’ll have to stay up pretty late to catch the Australian Open men’s singles final live, which usually airs around 3 a.m. ET on ESPN or ESPN 2.)

Sunday, Jan. 31: Watch the Pro Bowl. Nah, read a book instead…...(Continue Reading: Counting down the final days till Spring Training.)


2.

…Ummm Just One More Thing:

Some have called it a non-story. Others think there’s more to it.

Wherever you fall on the whole Peyton Manning HGH controversy, get ready for it to start creeping into your timeline again because the NFL says it will open its own investigation into allegations that the Broncos QB received the illegal drug at his house during his days with the Colts.

Whether you trust the NFL or not to run an unbiased and thorough investigation—in light of the one they ran regarding Tom Brady and Deflategate—is another story, but it looks like the league is going to sniff around the whole Manning controversy while he prepares for possibly his final game in Super Bowl 50 Feb. 7 against the Panthers.

According to the Indianapolis Star, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said the inquiry, “which began two weeks ago, involves reviews of records, interviews and coordination with other agencies.”…….(Continue Reading: Peyton Manning Under NFL Investigation Over Alleged HGH Shipments)


3.

Shake It Off…

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is enjoying the best season of his career, as he’s led his team to a 17-1 record and an appearance in Super Bowl 50, in addition to being the odds-on favorite for the NFL MVP Award. Instead of celebrating Newton’s brilliance, a large chunk of fans and media pundits have grown to hate Newton because his joy is being misconstrued as cockiness. If you’re one of the haters, here are five reasons why you’re wrong……(Continue Reading: 5 Reasons Why Cam Newton Haters Are Wrong)


4.

Tell The Truth…

This story originally appeared in the Jan. 25, 2016, issue of Sports Illustrated. Certain statistics and sections have been updated to reflect the most recent developments. Subscribe to the magazine here.

The few inarguable facts about Ben Simmons are that he was born in Melbourne, Australia, 19 years and six months ago; he is a 6′ 10″ freshman at Louisiana State who averages 19.8 points, 12.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game; and he is the player most likely to be picked No. 1 in the 2016 NBA draft. After that, Simmons becomes more difficult to define. Is he a point-forward, a point-center, a giant floor general—or positionless? Is he lefthanded or (given all those righty finishes) ambidextrous? Should he be a primary ballhandler, to capitalize on his court vision and passing skills, or should he play in the paint, to exploit his advantage in athleticism over opposing big men? Is his game more Aussie-influenced or American-influenced, considering that he developed it in both countries and has one parent of each nationality? Can he responsibly be called the second coming of Magic or of King James? And can he be called the best player in the college game when his team is only 13–7?

It’s easier, at this stage, to define Ben Simmons by what he is not…….(Continue Reading: The truth about LSU star freshman Ben Simmons)


5.

We’re Off To See The…

The Boston Celtics are the most confusing team in the NBA. Their best player stands just 5-foot-9. Their head coach had no NBA experience before taking the job in 2013. They don’t have a single player who would be a top-three guy on a championship contender. Yet here they are in the middle of the Eastern Conference’s second-tier teams: fighting for the right to lose to the Cavaliers in the Conference Finals, playing well above their individual talent level, and creating massive headaches for opponents in every game.

Brad Stevens has been on the job for two-and-a-half years and is already……(Continue Reading: Brad Stevens: The wizard of Boston)


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6.

Drops Mic…

When the subject involves the NBA, and the debate features Hubie Brown versus me, I lose. Take, for instance, my belief that you can pick anybody out of the Oakland telephone directory, and that person still would lead the Golden State Warriors to the NBA championship this season.

 All you need to know is that Brown’s 82-year-old head nearly exploded this week from such heresy. He said coaching does matter in the league. In fact, the veteran head coach turned splendid television commentator on national NBA broadcasts went even further……(Continue Reading: Hubie Brown defends importance of NBA coaches.)


7.

He Said/He Said…

LeBron James is now a coach-killer. Or least, he really wants to be. Fingers are pointing at LeBron in the firing of David Blatt. And now a Miami Heat minority owner has claimed that LeBron wanted Erik Spoelstra fired throughout his tenure in Miami and that was why he ended up leaving for Cleveland. Raanan Katz, who played professionally in Israel, was a panelist on an Israeli sports talk radio show to talk about Blatt’s firing when he shared this story about LeBron leaving Miami……(Continue Reading: LeBron James May Have Been a Coach Killer His Entire Career and We Just Didn’t See It)


8.

Last One Out Of The Circus…

Troy Aikman knows what it takes to be a quarterback in Dallas, so we’ll take his word for it when he says that either Johnny Manziel or Robert Griffin III will back up Tony Romo in 2016……(Continue Reading: Aikman: Manziel or RGIII will be Cowboys backup QB)


9.

No Place Like Home…

Perhaps the most memorable and most surreal scene of the 2015 college football season took place on thenight of Nov. 28 in LSU’s Tiger Stadium. With rumors flying about his job security, Les Miles led the Tigers to a win over Texas A&M, then was hoisted on his players’ shoulders and basked in the scene as the place known as Death Valley made it clear that it wanted nobody else to be its coach. Moments later, the wish was granted: Miles kept his job.

The LSU-Texas A&M game turned into a sort of pep rally for Miles, the most intimidating venue in college football proving to be the friendliest possible home for its coach. But it’s not just Death Valley that gives LSU one of the greatest home-field advantages in sports; it’s the entire state of Louisiana.

One week before National Signing Day, Tiger Stadium occupies the most valuable real estate in college football……(Continue Reading: Home-state advantage makes LSU a recruiting power.)

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