Friday, June 01, 2012

06/01 (June Already?) Quickie

The dream of the Spurs going 16-0 through the playoffs is over, after last night. But even if the Thunder make it interesting -- and last night's win qualifies -- it's hard to imagine SAS not moving on.

Heat-Celtics Game 3: The question is whether the Celtics have anything left after basically giving it everything in Game 2 and still losing. Maybe they get the home-court bump... but does it really matter?

Spelling Bee: As always, gripping drama from talented kids facing more pressure than any athlete in "real" sports. One of my favorite events of the year.

Hmm: Should UCLA have given Diddy's son a scholarship? Let's flip that: Should Diddy have taken the scholarship for his son or offered to pay? I say the latter -- Diddy can more than afford it.

Hmm, part 2: Is it wrong that Vandy football coach James Franklin wants to know if his potential assistant coaches are married to attractive women, because that's his proxy for whether they can recruit? It's amusing but focuses on the wrong alpha quality for assistant coaches -- salesmanship matters, of course, but I want relentlessness even more. The real question is: Is the assistant coach so focused on football that he isn't married? Or had to get divorced? Or neglects his family? That's harsh, but the reality. I know that many head coaches look for "family men" because that is some sort of indication of their groundedness, but it's a facade -- if an assistant coach said "Hey, Coach, I need to head home early to tuck my kids in and/or have dinner with my wife," he'd be an ex-assistant coach shortly.

This weekend's Must-See: Stanley Cup Game 2, tomorrow night.

My daughter turns 3 months old today -- happy "birthday," Lucy! If you have kids, you know that in the first year, those quarterly milestones are big ones. Takeaway: 3 kids is a handful, but the transition from 2 to 3 wasn't as hard as the transition from 1 to 2.

This weekend is also my Harvard Business School 10th reunion -- I'm not there, unfortunately, but I might have a bit to say about it later.

Enjoy your weekend -- pop over to Quickish for some great reads on the Thunder and a ton of great reads from yesterday, if you missed them.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

05/30 (Spurs) Quickie

At this point, I am fully rooting for the Spurs to go 16-0 en route to a title, if only for the novelty -- to go along with the jaw-dropping excellence.

(That it would imply the Spurs sweeping the Heat in the Finals to get there is just a bonus. I think the Spurs will be extra-motivated to destroy the Heat in the Finals, because it is the ultimate validation of the Spurs' awesomeness, which has been largely overlooked throughout the Duncan dynasty.)

Stanley Cup Finals: My 6-year-old son Gabe is picking/rooting for the Kings; my 3-year-old son Jonah (who is the one who actually plays ice hockey) is picking/rooting for the Devils. I love the fact that it's a toss-up, particularly between two teams that two months ago, no one thought would get here.

NBA Lottery: For we Wizards fans, it's the perennial event that is a proxy for our "playoffs." We get unusually into it -- almost always let down. Let's be clear: The team that lands Anthony Davis gets the kind of super-elite talent that is necessary to be an NBA title contender; everyone else at the top of the draft gets a nice piece -- maybe even a starter -- but nothing that will transform a team like Davis will.

USMNT vs. Brazil: Right up the road from me at FedEx Field. Fully expect a Brazil W, but in a friendly, the US has pulled off bigger shockers in the past (like Spain a few years ago). Should be a fun one.

MLB: The Rangers were already the odds-on favorite to win the World Series -- signing Roy Oswalt only firms that up. Meanwhile, the Phillies get the brunt of going all-in when the title window is open -- Halladay breaking down was unexpected and entirely painful for a team trying to keep it together to hold off charges from the rest of the division, which have pushed the Phils down already.

RIP: Condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of's Craig Stanke, who died suddenly and tragically -- he had been in online sports since the mid-1990s (the SportsLine days), making him one of the real early believers and practitioners in the medium. So sad.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

05/29 (LeBron Laughs) Quickie

LeBron gets the first laugh: I need to talk about LeBron's laugh, which -- to me -- is by far the biggest story of the day, the kernel of authenticity wrapped in mocking wrapped in the way the Heat leveled the Celtics in Game 1 in a way that seemed entirely routine. Here's the clip:

I'm fascinated by this for a few reasons:

Rather than make LeBron look like a jerk, it made him look triumphant. Obviously, this is in large part because he did it in Kevin Garnett's face, KG being a compulsive asshole on the court throughout his entire career. KG mugged menacingly at LeBron... and LeBron laughed at him. Not in his face -- not quite -- but more like close enough to his face to make us know, yet far enough away to be entirely dismissive. KG looked pathetic; LeBron looked Olympic, like he knew the series was already over.

For me, it was one of the most fascinating on-court moments of LeBron's career -- clearly, he hasn't won anything of substance yet (if "substance" is defined as "championship"), but when we talk about LeBron assuming an alpha role en route to that championship, this is the kind of thing you expect to see.

Let me reiterate: LeBron wasn't being a jerk. He was diminishing a rival to the point where KG's signature scowling now feels like a joke, a punchline.

It was necessary that LeBron pull this off against KG and the Celtics -- if he did it against the mediocre Rockets or the lowly Wizards or even the rising Thunder, he is a bully. Aside from a very specific nostalgia springing from the idea these all-time great Boston players are on their last gasps of relevancy, most fans loathe them and are thrilled to see them mitigated, even if the typically loathed LeBron is doing the mitigating. Few have the basis to laugh KG into NBA oblivion -- LeBron does.

We mocked KG and the Celtics with LeBron, and that is an ultimate result for LeBron.

-- D.S.

Monday, May 28, 2012

05/28 (Memorial Day) Quickie

First and foremost: Honoring everyone who gave their life in service to the country -- and a special thought for their families who carry their memories every day and, especially, today.

"I need a little bit more dose of nasty": That's Spurs coach Gregg Popovich before the start of the 4th quarter last night, when the Spurs took over -- and overtook -- the Thunder. As it turns out, the X-factor is that OKC didn't see Manu Ginobili this season... until last night.

Franchitti wins Indy 500: With three career wins and wins in two of the last three years, we're in the Franchitti dynasty (along with the gratuitous reference to Ashley Judd).

Northwestern wins women's lax title -- again (again): That's 7 national titles in the past 8 years. I tweeted this out yesterday -- the NU women's lax team is the closest thing we have in sports to Wooden's UCLA dynasty.

Enjoy your Memorial Day. Give Quickish a drop-by today for the best takes on Spurs-Thunder, Franchitti and more.

-- D.S.