Thursday, March 07, 2013

3/07 (Thursday) Quickie

Last night's big winner: Jamal Crawford, who pulled off a between-the-legs alley-oop pass to Blake Griffin that was a good reminder that even in a season that feels like a Heat d'accompli as it relates to the playoffs, the sport is built on the night-in-night-out aesthetic brilliance.

Was last night the Heat's best win of the 16 straight? It was arguably the grittiest, the kind of grinder that you typically need en route to 16 wins in the playoffs -- which, at this point, is the only "16" that really matters for Miami.

Speaking of streaks, the Blackhawks -- sports' best ongoing drama right now -- won again, on a last-minute tie-breaking goal in front of an absolutely frenzied home crowd. That's 30 straight games with a point, 11 straight wins and a 2013 season still without a loss. Amazing.

College hoops: It is an early-March truism -- desperate Bubble teams will necessarily play with more urgency (especially at home) than teams that are locked into the Tournament.

That was the story of Villanova over Georgetown, of Iowa State over Oklahoma State, of Xavier over St. Louis and of Georgia Tech over Miami.

Of those four winners, it's probably too-little-too-late for two of them, but for the other two, it is a resume-bolstering moment.

MLB Spring Training: Yankees-Red Sox has lost so much of its luster over the past year or two that it feels like MLB is ripe for a new leading rivalry, and I would nominate the Phillies and Nationals, who really do seem to dislike each other. The Phillies are on the decline, but clearly have enough money invested to want to scratch and claw back into relevancy; the Nationals are on the ascent, and clearly see beating down the former class of the NL East as a stepping stone to their own validity. When Roy Halladay is buzzing Nats in a spring training game, you know you're on to something good and ugly.

Today's viewing guide: Thunder-Knicks and Clippers-Nuggets NBA doubleheader on TNT... in college hoops, it's ostensibly Wisconsin at Michigan State at 9 on ESPN, but why not the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on ESPN3? All four Mo Valley teams angling to make the quarterfinals have a theoretical chance of playing their way into the NCAA Tournament. All they have to do is win four straight games, and they're in. Easier said than done, but still: Doable!

Today's loser: David Akers, finally released by the 49ers.

-- D.S.

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