Monday, March 04, 2013

3/4 (Monday) Quickie

First of all: Oh my god, that buzzer-beater by the New Rochelle (NY) high school player to win the playoff game. To all the folks saying "Never seen a more incredible shot," I think I agree with you.

I consider the NBA season over. The Heat are going to storm their way to the NBA title, and LeBron is going to carry them there with the greatest individual season since the peak of Michael Jordan. Sunday's win in New York wasn't flashy -- just devastatingly effective.  Watching the league's best player at the peak of his effectiveness? There are a lot worse playoff plot lines.

Blackhawks keep winning/not losing: My kids love hockey, so we ended up watching most of the Blackhawks-Red Wings game yesterday, and oh wow, was it entertaining. Much of that had to do with the stakes (Chicago's season-opening point streak), but layer in the rivalry, how hard the Red Wings were playing and how rabid the Detroit fans were about watching the Wings snap Chicago's streak. Then the Hawks ripped their heart out. I have to imagine it is simultaneously thrilling and excruciating for Chicago fans that the incredible start has raised expectations to "Stanley Cup champion or Fail."

Kobe's dunk on Josh Smith (and leading the Lakers back to .500)
: LeBron may be jaw-dropping in his sheer dominance, but if I had to pick a single player to watch right now, it would be Kobe -- in his career twilight but so maniacally desperate to get the Lakers back into the playoffs that he seems to be playing as hard as he ever has.

CBB: Gonzaga will be No. 1? Covered this yesterday -- I can respect Gonzaga as an excellent team (I have no problem already penciling them into the Final Four, wherever they end up in the bracket) but reject them as having earned the (entirely vestigial) No. 1 spot in the latest regular-season poll. Their strength of schedule is just too spotty.

Michigan holds off Michigan State
: Big win for Big Blue, but still don't see Michigan with the defense to win four straight in late March to get to the Final Four.

Meanwhile: No change to yesterday's opinion that Ryan Kelly had the single-best performance by a college basketball player this season on Saturday night in Duke's win over Miami.

MLB: Mike Trout's agent does him no favors griping about his salary. Of course he is wildly underpaid, but it is unclear complaining about it now fixes anything. On the one hand: Yes, some young stars are going to be underpaid relative to market value, often extremely. On the other hand, non-rich teams being able to control their young talent on reasonable contracts is at the heart of what little competitive balance actually exists in baseball. Isn't he satisfied that in 5 or 6 years, Trout is going to command $300 million?

NFL: Peter King has a great detail leading MMQB this week that Bob Kraft didn't want Tom Brady to leave the Pats like Joe Montana left the 49ers. I appreciate that, but if the Patriots had a successor to Brady who was as good as Steve Young was at the tail end of Joe Montana's career, wouldn't a clear-eyed organization like the Patriots do exactly what the 49ers did? Why get sentimental about it now, when sentimentality is precisely what the Pats have NOT stood for during its Belichick/Brady Dynasty?

Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea: On the "Te'o Scale" of jaw-dropping absurdity, it's at least a 7, possibly an 8.

Get well soon, Bradley Beal.

-- D.S.

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