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Hawks Girl & “The Rivalry”

12.17.08 at 5:10 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics will put their 15 game win streak on the line tonight in Atlanta against the Hawks. The folks in Atlanta are obviously trying to play this game up to sell additional tickets. Have you seen how this game is positioned on the Atlanta Hawks web site? I mean, really, is the dramatic Braveheart-like music necessary in the video montage? The Hawks are pulling out all of the stops to try and jam the Philips Arena, including a half time performance by Ludacris (who is from Atlanta)! For those over 30 readers, this is Ludacris. It is too bad that this game isn’t sold out, because the Hawks are young, athletic, and play an exciting brand of basketball. Atlanta has proven over the years that it just isn’t a sports town with its terrible fan support for the local pro teams. This is just another example that this won’t be a rivalry until the Hawks fans get behind their team and show them the respect.

Meanwhile, back in title town, I think people are looking forward to this game as well. With that said, maybe for different reasons? Who remembers “Hot Hawks Girl” from last year’s playoffs? I think it’s fair to say that there will be some wandering eyeballs looking for her court side appearance once again tonight.

Ok, after that brief respite, we are back on track with some pre-game nuggets from our friends at STATs:

  • Boston has won four games in a row against Atlanta, including a 103-102 victory in the first match-up between these clubs this season.
  • The Hawks will be looking to extend their current win streak to four games in a row. Atlanta is 9-1 at home this season and has won seven in a row there.
  • The Celtics have won 15 consecutive games and their 23-2 start this season matches the best 25-game start in NBA history.
  • Rajon Rondo scored a career-high 25 points against the Jazz on Monday in his second 20-point performance of the season. Boston is 15-0 when Rondo scored in double figures this season.
  • Joe Johnson has made the fourth-most three-pointers in the league this season (57). Johnson has scored over 20 points in each of his last two meetings with the Celtics and is averaging 17.4 points in 15 career games against them.
  • Paul Pierce has scored at least 30 points in two of his last three meetings with Atlanta.

So enjoy “The Rivalry” tonight, but lets face it, the real rivalry is a match-up on Christmas Day against a team from L.A.

Read More: Atlanta, Boston, celtics, Hawks

Drew Carey has given up

12.17.08 at 2:40 pm ET
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(Thanks to the Mut Man) Are you kidding me?! A guy nails the Showcase Showdown right on the money and Drew Carey basically is thinking about how quickly he can get to the donut holes in his dressing room. Maybe he knew the fix was in and was showing his disgust. Anyway …. history was made!

Snub-a-dub…

12.17.08 at 12:33 pm ET
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All-star games, hall of fame ballots, MVP votes and Pro Bowls. All of them are subjective and all of them start arguments over who was left off. Albert Breer of the Sporting News takes an indepth look at some of those deserving who were left off the AFC and NFC squads on Tuesday. Then there’s the latest on the T.O. soap opera in Dallas, courtesy ESPN.

Read More: Dallas Cowboys, NFL, Pro Bowl, snubs

Nothing says Christmas like a tattoo on your head

12.17.08 at 7:35 am ET
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Ever since our own (and FoxSports) Jeff Goodman reported the Celtics are one of five teams showing interest in embattled point guard Stephon Marbury (has embattled had a better fit?) I’ve been fascinated by his existence. Evidently he was in LA last night, whipping off some quotes at halftime of the Knicks/Lakers game, one of which was …

” …. I’ve got the greatest job in the world.”

You think? Sitting around on $22 million is certainly better than ostrich egg hunter (the mothers tend to get more ornery than most). 

Oh, but Marbury isn’t all about free rides — he did buy a ticket to attend the game after being banned from the bench by the Knicks. (What a warrior. Anything to cheer on his teammates.)

Tom Brady is still alive … we have proof.

Steve Dillard will forever be known as that player you got in every pack of baseball cards … and as the man who returned to Quad Cities for 2009. He was also taken in the second round by the Red Sox in 1972, two picks before Royals starter Dennis Leonard, and seven selections ahead of Pirates ace John Candelaria. The Sox first round pick that year? A shortstop named Joel Bishop.

Times are tough economically … for everybody but  Jones Big Ass Truck and Rental Storage. (The best line from Toby Jones, Junk Specialist, was “The fact of the matter is that I’m pretty drunk right now …”

Orange Crush

12.16.08 at 1:59 pm ET
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As a Syracuse University alumnus, it pains me to post this piece of news. If you’re a sports junkie, like myself, you’ve probably already seen this highlight dozens of times today. However, if you missed it, check out the college basketball highlight of the year to date:

First off, I apologize for the quality of the video (try to watch in the high quality option), it was the best I could find. Give credit to Cleveland State, but Syracuse didn’t do much to guard the inbound pass and challenge/alter the shot. It may just be me, but whenever something like this happens to a team I root for, I equate it to being kicked directly in the junk.  Syracuse Alumni in general haven’t had a lot of good news lately:

It was inglorious enough that the mighty Orangemen of Syracuse endured a stunning defeat at the hands of Cleveland State. The Vikings enjoyed a moment of NCAA relevance for the first time since 1986, before then-head coach Kevin Mackey got arrested for celebrating a contract extension in a crack house.

Yes, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim could be forgiven for being somewhat non-plussed after his team endured a shocking defeat at the buzzer to the Vikes. But the misery did not end there for one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history. A faulty microphone was clearly too much for Boeheim to take. I don’t think that Boeheim was ever this rattled in the days when he matched wits with John Thompson and Rollie Massimino. Then again, who can forgot the “we wouldn’t have won 10 F’n games without Gerry McNamara” press conference. God, do I love Boeheim.

Unfortunately, losing an early home game to a small school has been the Syracuse basketball trademark over the past two seasons. Two seasons in which Syracuse missed the dance by the slimmest of margins, in large part to these sorts of home losses at the Dome. This season, it looked different, three major conference wins against Kansas, Florida, and Virginia before December.  It is not surprising that the let down against Cleveland State was the first game following the Devendorf suspension.

At any rate, a fantastic sports highlight, you just hate to see it against your team.

Kraft, Henry, Jacobs among most powerful…

12.15.08 at 2:37 pm ET
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It should come as no surprise to anyone in New England that Patriots owner Robert Kraft is considering among the most powerful and influential people in all of American sport. Now, there’s a poll to prove it, thanks to the folks at the SportsBusiness Journal. Kraft comes in at No. 12, Red Sox owner John Henry is No. 20, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs comes in at 43, just one spot below baseball’s most famous agent, Scott Boras.

Read More: Jeremy Jacobs, John Henry, Robert Kraft, Scott Boras

Really???

12.15.08 at 11:29 am ET
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The Buffalo Bills have reportedly agreed to a contract extension with their head coach Dick Jauron over the weekend, amid rumors he was gone. And that was BEFORE his inexplicable decision to roll out his quarterback, J.P. Losman, on second and 5, just a first down away from sealing a win over the Jets. This is what they’re saying in Buffalo. The other big league-wide story from Sunday had to do with old friend Walt Coleman. He got the tuck rule right when it mattered but yesterday may not have been one of his finer moments in stripes.

Read More: Buffalo Bills, Dick Jauron, J.P. Losman, New York Jets

What do the Yankees and the country of Tonga have in common?

12.14.08 at 10:25 am ET
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The New York Yankees have already committed $243.5 million to C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett this offseason. That is roughly the gross domestic product (the market value of all final goods and services from a nation in a given year) of Tonga, a small nation in the South Pacific. This raises a couple of questions:

While the Evil Empire reaches into their deep pockets to fill out their roster, the Red Sox quietly move about their business this off season. The focus has been on the “retro roadies“, ticket sales, Christmas at Fenway, and solidifying their international marketing initiative. The Red Sox seem like they are more concerned with figuring out ways to continue to make money in this challenging economy, rather than spend it.

Of course that all could change if/when a Red Sox press conference is scheduled to announce the signing of one Mark Teixeira to one of the most lucrative contracts in baseball history.

Go figure.

The Matsuzaka Effect

12.13.08 at 9:05 pm ET
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I would of called it The Dice-K Effect if Bradford hadn’t ranted on and on about how despises the nickname, but that’s neither here nor there. Let’s get to the point. Cameron Martin over at Comcast Sportsnet New England has a post up today examining what Daisuke Matsuzaka has done for the Red Sox just by signing with them. Matsuzaka was a big reason for the Tazawa signing. It now looks like the Sox may snag Kenshin Kawakami for 3 years. If that is the case then you can see how much Matsuzaka has contributed, on AND off the field, to the Red Sox success.

Here’s a quick note on Kawakami from Martin:

“Kawakami, 33, reportedly projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter. A quick look at his career stats says he gives up a lot of home runs. In his two best seasons (2004 and 2006, when he won 17 games apiece), he allowed 27 and 22 home runs respectively. Keith Law of ESPN.com likened him to Kei Igawa, which is rather inconsiderate, me thinks.”

Go ahead and check out the post for some great insight.

Read More: kawakami, matsuzaka, tazawa,

Lucchino re-affirms commitment to Red Sox

12.13.08 at 3:06 pm ET
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Perception and reality of Red Sox CEO and President Larry Lucchino often seem divorced. He is viewed as a powerful voice who is difficult to work with, a notion that swelled when Sox GM Theo Epstein briefly left the job in 2005. Yet Epstein has now been on the job for six years, just as Kevin Towers served as general manager during almost the entirety of the time when Lucchino served as the president of the Padres.

Since Epstein’s return to Boston, there has been plenty of speculation that Lucchino might bolt at any moment for another opportunity. Initially, it was assumed that the Dodgers–an organization that has evidenced a remarkable fascination with anyone who has been in the employ of the Sox–might make a run at wooing Lucchino back to the West Coast. (He owns a home in La Jolla, Calif.) The latest is a suggestion that Lucchino might try to form an ownership group to save the Padres from current owner John Moores, whose messy divorce has forced San Diego to shed payroll and put talented players on the market.

But Lucchino did his best to quash the speculation of a San Diego Union-Tribune columnist:

All I can say is that I have a wife and kids and I’m comfortably ensconced in Boston. I’m gainfully employed and my situation is very attractive. I don’t think you’ll see me in the hunt (to buy the Padres). My plan is to stay here.

There has been a tendency, over the course of Lucchino’s seven seasons in Boston, not to take such claims at face value. But given his track record, it would seem misguided to suggest that Lucchino has any ambitions of parting ways with the Red Sox.

Larry Lucchino joined Rob Bradford & Mike Mutnansky live from Fenway Park during the Christmas at Fenway Event. CLICK HERE to listen to Larry’s interview about the new uniforms and the Red Sox off-season activity.

Read More: larry lucchino, red sox,