by user JB82
Lots to talk about from this weekend, so let's get to it.
NBA Playoffs from The Armchair
- In his first-ever playoff appearance, LeBron James made his case as the league's MVP by putting up an historic performance as his Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Washington Wizards 97-86 on Saturday. James scored 32 with 11 rebounds and as many assists, making him only the third person to record a triple-double in playoff history. Not bad, for a beginner.
- LeBron was in elementary school (as was yours truly) the last time the Cavs and the Los Angeles Clippers were in the playoffs together. In fact, it was also the last time the latter won a playoff game – until Saturday. Hadn't it been for a near-collapse near the end and Vladimir Radmanovic to save their skin, the Clippers' game against the Denver Nuggets would've ended up like the Cavs'. Just think, six years ago, nobody gave any thought to the Clippers being in the playoffs ever again. Wishful thinking turned into reality, perhaps?
- Trying to go back to your normal routine after a loved one passes away is difficult enough. Doubly so for Miami Heat head coach Pat Riley, whose team was in the playoffs for the third year in a row. Despite this unwanted distraction, Riley managed to lead his Heat to a 111-106 win over the Chicago Bulls. Condolences to Riley and his family on his mother's passing, by the way.
NHL Playoffs from The Armchair
- Going into the playoffs, a rather young New York Rangers team staggered into the playoffs on a five-game losing streak, while across the Hudson River, the battle-hardened New Jersey Devils had won their last 11 straight games. On Saturday in the swamps of New Jersey, the Devils had momentum – and a decree from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about the Three Blind Mice calling penalties in the playoffs as though the regular season never ended – on their side as the Devils routed the Blueshirts 6-1. While the Devils have never beaten the Rangers in the playoffs, this will hopefully augur well for them.
- Another young but slightly more experienced team, the Buffalo Sabres, needed double overtime to notch the first game in their series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Daniel Briere scored the game-winner to put the Buffalo six on top 3-2. Talkin' proud, talkin' proud...
Yanks end near-sweep trend
Maybe a change of scenery and the return of a familiar voice was what the New York Yankees needed to get them out of weekend series trouble. While they lost their first home game since the season-opener against the Kansas City Royals – not to mention the first of the season for long-time public address announcer Bob Sheppard – the Yanks beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 and 7-1. Interestingly, the Yankees have been much like yours truly so far this year – day people. They are 8-0 this year in day games, compared to 1-8 at night.
Beanballs, boots galore in Colorado
Coors Field, the Colorado Rockies' home park, is infamous for having home runs leave the park like gangbusters because of its altitude. But this weekend, beanballs and ejections were also mile high.
It all started the night before when Rockies' reliever Jose Mesa plunked San Francisco Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel with a pitch in the same game where the former and – are you strapped in? – Barry Bonds homered. Bonds' tater was the 709th of his career and first this season, by the way.
The following day, the beanball war intensified. In all, four players from both teams were victims of dusters. When all was said and done, their respective managers, one pitcher each, and Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti had been given the gate. No doubt, a wild weekend in Denver.
Odds and sods
- Speaking of blow-ups, Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley lost his temper and got the boot along with manager Charlie Manuel while teammate Ryan Howard clubbed two home runs – including a monster tape-measure job – in their 4-2 win over the Florida Marlins.
- On the same day the Milwaukee Brewers displayed their old-school unies that had long-time baseball fans remembering the days of Paul Molitor and Robin Yount, they played like they were in their last years at County Stadium. Brewers pitcher Doug Davis walked a franchise record-tying nine batters as the Brew Crew were shut out 11-0 at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds.
- Somebody break up the Kansas City Royals!
That's all for this week...
Until next time, let's all be good sports.
Sun 04/23/06, 4:07 pm EST