Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wednesday A.M. Quickie:
Heat Are Defending Chumps?

My favorite part about the first game of any major pro sports season is that it's the ultimate moment for Instant History:

(1a) The Bulls routed the Heat by 42 points in Miami: The Bulls are ready to take over as the best team in the East! (Oh, who predicted THAT?)

(1b) And coming off a title, have the Heat players lost their motivation?! (Uh, didn't predict THAT.)

(2a) *Without Kobe*, the Lakers beat the Suns: So much for my pick of the Suns as the best in the West (or my pick of the Lakers as destined to miss the playoffs).

(2b) And let the speculation begin: Could it be that the Lakers better off without Kobe?! (Hmm: Maybe they should build their team around man-child sophomore C Andrew Bynum, who had 18 pts, 9 reb and 5 ast.)

Tonight's NBA slate is a packed one, with the featured matchup being the most popular player in the NBA (LeBron James) vs. the player who SHOULD be the most popular (Gilbert Arenas).

More on today's top storylines:

Shawne Merriman will sit his 4 games for using steroids, without an appeal. It's an implicit admission of guilt, but more trouble for the Chargers' defense to lose its best player.

The Bulls signed Kirk Hinrich to a 5-year contract extension ($47.5M), and he must have felt either liberated or motivated, because he led all scorers last night with 26 points.

What do the Suns and Heat share – besides an opening-night "L" in the standings? Both are rumored to be in the running for paid-off ex-Knick Jalen Rose, who seems like a good fit on either. Hmm: Which team would YOU rather play for? The defending champ or the fun-n-run contender?

MLB Free Agency: My Top 3 most intriguing free-agents, in order: (1) Daisuke Matsuzaka, because he could command a package of up to $100 million (and we all know starting pitching is everything); (2) Barry Bonds, who will likely break the all-time HR record in whatever uniform he's wearing in 2007 (I love the idea of a reunion with Jim Leyland in Detroit); (3) Barry Zito, because he's the best (not to mention most expensive) domestic starting pitcher available.

Texas Tech hoops problems: Hold off on those predictions of a Top 15 season, friends. Red Raiders leading scorer Jarrius Jackson has been suspended indefinitely for academics.

It's going to be official today: Curtis Martin's season is over. The only question is whether his CAREER is over, and how soon we can start the clock ticking for his Hall of Fame induction.

What do the Maryland women's hoops team and the Florida men's hoops team have in common? Both won the national title last year, both return all five starters and both are No. 1 in their coaches' preseason poll.

Only one more day until the first half of college football's de facto national-title semifinal showdown. Much more tomorrow...

And, in today's sad story, 111-year-old former Negro League player Silas Simmons – who it feels like fans only these last few months got to know about – died yesterday. Truly the end of an era.

-- D.S.


Geoff-Detroit said...

Holy crap, 111 years old! Well, that is a pretty solid life. Think of all the stuff he saw.

Unsilent Majority said...

Only two words need to be uttered today.


Tee Isenhour said...

Hey Dan -

(a) Great pic of the kid. Looking sharp in the jersey.

(b) I know you love the underdog story hailing from Northwestern. Not looking for much, but couldn't we at least get a mention of SMU looking to be back on the right track. 1st Nationally Televised game in 13 years last night and they are 1 away from being bowl eligible. Maybe it could lead to a discussion of just how many years it takes for a program to get over the death penalty?

Jake C said...

I don't think anyone in the East will be able to match up well with the Bulls. They have too much energy and depth (as seen last night)...and Thomas might have the most, that kid was everywhere. Plus, that defense is STIFLING!

Brian in Oxford said...

Usually, it's the Marlins that stink it up the year after a title down in Miami.

I'm interested in seeing what the Celtics will do for Red tonight. (although I'm not sure my cable has FSN.....but can't you get the league pass for free the first week of the season on the channels in the 400s?)

ndyanksfan05 said...

Merriman is sitting now to avoid missing playing Denver twice instead of just once. Schedule if he sits now:

If he waits the two weeks for the appeal:

He knows he will lose the appeal and doesn't want to miss TWO extremely important divisional games instead of one. Its a matter of thinking his team can win three out four during this first stretch instead of only two out of four in the second leg (with both loses to a team they will be battling for the division).

I still think hes guilty...

Richard said...

Oh shit!!! Bob Barker is retiring!!!

Mega said...

Tyrus Thomas broke his nose. Here comes the mask!

Nice win by the Bulls though. They are pretty deep and have 4 different guys who can drop nearly 30 a night if the other guys are shooting cold.

With the addition of Wallace I think the Bulls are a legit title contender.

Greg said...

re: Oh Shit!!!

I saw Bob at a "Price is Right" taping a few months ago. He seems like he lost a step or two, but still did a great job, and everyone still loves him.

35 years with the same show, 50 years in the business... what would be the fportf equivalent to Mr. Barker?

(And since he announced this during the season, I wonder when Michael Irvin will call him a distraction...)

TBender said...

Re: Bulls vs Heat

Further proof that any NBA game played before New Years' is worthless.

rukrusher said...

After watching last nights ring ceremony I am not sure Shaq is going to be able to play himself into shape for next season let alone a nother playoff run. The Big Diesel looked very content getting that ring. How many years till Shaq retires?

Gary said...

I think the sports equilivant of Bob Barker just died. Red Auerbach

Unknown said...

Three of four teams last night scored over 100 points - yep that new ball has destroyed the scoring in the NBA.

Generik said...

Gordie Howe would be a sports equivalent to Bob Barker. He played professional level hockey in 5 different decades, or maybe it was 6. One was a publicity stunt, but solidly played forever it seems... and is one of the all time greats. Hell he's called Mr. Hockey.
(Yes Dan, there are some of us hockey fans that come on here :P)

So I have a question.. I know steroids will leave your system fairly quickly when you stop taking them, but how long do the obvious benefits take to wear off? My point aiming at this: Is 4 games really enough to punish a guy caught cheating. Is Merriman going to come back in 4 weeks and still be *enahanced* from the steroid use he is being busted for? Dan, you say that NFL fans don't care that players are doping, but I have to tell you, I do. I would love nothing more then my 2 1/2 year old son to one day be good enough in a sport to play professionally, but I sure as shit don't want to read about him using steroids or hormones to be able to hang with the star players. I personally think a steroid or HGH violation should warrant at least a half season suspension without pay.

Drucifer said...

Dan, can you give me one reason Gilbert Arenas would be more popular than Lebron James? Christ almighty, that's retarded...

EPorvaznik said...

With all due respect to Gary's Red Auerbach call, with which I agree, hard not to mention (even for me) Joe Paterno. In his 41st season as head coach and on the Nittany Lions staff since 1950. The little wop could still probably kick all our asses, too.

Polack Porvaznik