Today's Names to Know: Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Rashard Lewis, Reggie Bush, Al Jefferson, Torii Hunter, John Beck, Jon Kitna and More!
Two huge games this weekend in the NFL and college football -- arguably the biggest regular-season games in each sport of this season: Pats-Colts and Arizona State-Oregon. Complete coverage coming tomorrow.
I know a lot of you don't care very much about the NBA. My focus on game results probably won't continue beyond tonight, when I'll go with a more MLB-style "Studs" and "Duds" each morning.
Kevin Durant's NBA debut: 18 points, which is respectable, but it took him 7/22 FG shooting to get there. (He added 5 rebounds, 3 steals and a block.)
More notably, he was the third-leading scorer on his team, which might foreshadow that with a focus on Durant, he'll make his teammates better. Delonte West (19 pts, 5 ast) seems like a beneficiary. By the way, the Sonics are going to be terrible. The Suns, playing with fresh legs, are going to destroy them tonight in PHX's season debut.
(By the way, Carmelo and Iverson combined for 57 points and Camby had 15 rebounds and 5 blocks; if that's the way it's going to be this season, the Nuggets will be a solid contender.)
The Mavs routed the Cavs, but can anyone take the Mavs' regular-season success seriously anymore? I'm tempted not to talk about them until they reach the second-round of the playoffs.
(Meanwhile, LeBron was terrible: 10 points on 2/11 FG shooting, with as many turnovers as assists. Rough start for many experts' MVP.)
Rashard Lewis is a great fit in
The Hornets start strong, with a win over the Kings (Chris Paul: 22 and 12 assists). Still a feel-good story, particularly with the NBA All-Star Game in
The Wizards are off to a slow start if they are going to have the best record in the East as I said they would. (Arenas had 34 though, including a buzzer-beating 3 to send the game to OT...)
It's closing in on Reggie Bush: The skeevy marketer he worked with is going to give the NCAA what sounds like conclusive proof that Bush himself was paid during the 2005 season. Even the NCAA can't bungle this one.
That means: There's a good chance the NCAA will turn all of USC's wins into "L's" (though they can't take away
(The real intrigue is whether any of this bleeds into 2004, when the NCAA would actually face the idea of stripping the national championship from USC.)
Meanwhile, there's still the whole idea of a punishment for the top-tier Trojans program. The ultimate penalty in this day and age would be not allowing them to play on TV for a season.
More NBA: The T'wolves gave new franchise cornerstone Al Jefferson a huge contract extension. (Of those who did NOT get an extension: Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor, Andre Iguodala.)
MLB Hot Stove Pre-Heat: Torii Hunter will meet with the White Sox next week.
Meanwhile, the biggest value yet from Curt Schilling's "inside-baseball" blog came out: He listed the 12 teams he would be interested in signing with. (The Yankees were notably missing.)
The new A-Rod storyline is that he could very well return to the Yankees, which totally makes sense if you understand that Scott Boras wants to maximize the size of his clients' contract and that the Yankees, still, are the market-makers for contract size.
(Or perhaps it should be phrased that A-Rod could very well return to
Oh, and where's the World Series ball? Because Jason Varitek doesn't have it.
NFL: I don't feel like adding to the Pats-Colts build-up (until tomorrow, when I will pick the Pats to win by 30). In other NFL news, is it John Beck time in
Meanwhile, Jeff George may be interested in the Vikings, but the feeling isn't mutual. (And why should it be? The guy hasn't played since the turn of the century.)
Oh, and I think that Jon Kitna is infinitely more likeable and cool for having dressed up as a naked guy at a fast-food drive-through, like the team's assistant coach Joe Cullen.
Finally, Pac-Man Jones' lawyer says he'll apply for reinstatement after the Titans' 10th game in mid-November. Good luck with that.
College Hoops: A 5-8, 125-pound 14-year-old combo guard from
CFB Top 25: Here's this week's BlogPoll analysis from Brian Cook. (h/t Fanhouse)