What a weekend it was in the sports world. There truly was something for everyone the past 4 days. I break it down in the events I had no interest in, some interest, and all my interest. It’s like being in a huge arcade, you got more games than you know what to do with, so you stick to what you know and try to use your time in there wisely. You’re not going to stumble around plugging coins into every loud machine with bright lights. No, you’re going to seek out the Tekken, Time Crisis, Mortal Kombat, and Ms. Pac-Man.
This first group of sporting events I associate with those stupid “games” that you can win an obscene amount of tickets/ tokens. All you have to do is like freeze a coin with you mind and presto. It only takes one, but you end up losing like 5-10 bucks, saying “you’re so close.” Well I have given up on those machines much like the following events from the weekend.
The Indy 500, NASCAR’s Coke 600, the College Lacrosse Final 4, and the Stanley Cup Finals. I extend a hardy handshake to Scott Dixon, Kasey Kahne, Syracuse University, and the Detroit Red Wings. That’s really all I have to say to all of them. Nice work.
I had some interest in the Boston Red Sox and the rest of May baseball. This is like Ski-Ball. Always sounds good, and you have to do it while your there, just like keeping up with major league baseball. But come on, MLB in May? Is it really do or die? No, fantasy baseball keeps everyone interested in it before the All- Star break. The Sox took a 7 game winning streak in to their 10 game road trip. Well they got swept by the upstart Oakland Athletics. Luckily for Boston Bartolo Colon brought his A game (what a steal this guy was, doesn’t matter what happens next, but really, the Yankees didn’t need him, really? He won the Cy Young in 2005.) Anyway Colon went 7 strong and the Sox got a road win. Still the Rays are in 1 st place. How bout them Rays?
Tampa Bay and Florda are currently in 1 st place in their respective divisions, 1 day after Memorial Weekend. Just thought everyone should know.
The following two sports spectacles were what made this weekend so impressive. This is the Lazer-Tag, NBA Jam, and crazy Fighting/ Shooting Games. The reason you go, the reason you love sports. From Friday-Monday you had alternating Western and Eastern Conference Finals in the NBA. Lakers vs. Spurs and Celtics vs. Pistons, what it was supposed to be, the best four basketball teams in the league. And on top of that you had UFC 84 ill will on Saturday night. I’ll start with the mixed martial arts.
UFC 84 provided a number of intriguing and important match ups. How would Wanderlei Silva respond to his 3 fight losing streak? Could Tito Ortiz leave the UFC with a win over unbeaten Lyoto Machida? And who is the rightful champion at 155? Short answers: violently, no, and B.J. Penn. Slightly longer answers: Wanderlei Silva had not won a fight since July 2006. Despite losing to very tough opponents, Mirko Cro Cop, Dan Henderson, and Chuck Liddell, the buzz was that Silva is no longer the dominant fighter he was when he dominated Pride. Well Keith Jardine was coming off his most impressive victory of his career, and figured with a win over the Ax Murderer he could be in contention for a shot at the light heavyweight belt. That until he lost viciously and explosively to Silva in just 36 seconds. At one point in the match, Wanderlei had his left hand on Jardine’s throat pinning him to the mat while he pummeled him with hard right shots. It was intense. Wanderlei Silva is back!
Tito Ortiz faced the undefeated Lyoto Machida in the final fight on his UFC contract. Tito’s well documented relationship with UFC President Dana White leaves very little room for a potential return to the organization that saw him as one of their most dominant champions. Ortiz lost a 3 round decision, and nearly pulled off a late win, but Machida scrambled out of a triangle choke by Tito. It will be very interesting to see what happens to both men following that fight.
In the main event B.J. Penn defeated Sean Sherk, putting to rest the question of who the real champ is. Sherk had his belt stripped when he tested positive for steroids, and allegation he still denies. The 3 rd round bell momentarily saved Sherk, but he could not get up and Penn was awarded the victory via TKO (Knee and Punches). Word is Penn would fight the winner of the August fight between Kenny Florian and Roger Huerta; however in his post fight interview Penn asked the crowd if they wanted him to fight welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. The sold out arena responded with a resounding yes. Who knows perhaps Penn vs. St. Pierre II could happen.
UFC 84 overlapped with Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals for about an hour and a half. And although they were not in an octagon, the fight in the Palace proved finally that the Celtics can win away from the Garden. After losing home court advantage to the Pistons in a 103-97 loss in Game 2, the pressure was squarely on the Celtics. 0-6 on the road to Atlanta and Cleveland, could they possibly win in Detroit? With their 94-80 win in Game 3 a huge weight had been lifted off the entire city of Boston. They were now guaranteed a game 5 being tied 2-2 at the very worst. Well they did lose Game 4 last night, but it is now a best of 3 series with 2 games in Boston.
Out West the Spurs lost after having a 20 point lead in Game 1 then got blow out of Cali by 30 in Game 2. But it’s still the Spurs. Ask the Hornets about being up 2-0 with big impressive numbers. I said Celtics vs. Spurs when the playoffs began and I’m going to stick with it. Would I like to see Celtics and Lakers like everyone outside of Detroit and San Antonio, of course, but how can you count out the Spurs. Game 4 tonight is going to be huge, and if Manu can play like he did on Sunday this one is probably going 7 too.
In the end it was an unbelievable sports weekend. As we look ahead here at the Sports Brief coming up on our sports schedules: NBA Conference and League Finals, MMA on CBS with Kimbo Slice this Saturday, UFC 85 June 7 th, more 1 st half MLB, and the June 26 th NBA Draft.