Eastern Conference Finals Recap: Game 1

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Well, who saw that coming?  Who expected an offensive explosion from the often anemic Indiana Pacers offense?  I know I didn’t.  The Pacers starting five averaged just shy of 38 minutes each and all scored in double digits (yes, even Roy Hibbert scored in double digits).  This helped lead The Pacers to a 107-96 win Sunday afternoon over The Miami Heat.  History usually dictates that when Dwyane Wade plays well, the Heat win, however, it appears that just Lebron James and Dwyane Wade isn’t enough to beat a Pacers team when firing on all cylinders.  With that being said, let us talk about what The Pacers accomplished in Game 1.

 

The Pacers managed an astounding 42.1% shooting from 3-point range.  Their regular season average from downtown was only 38.2%.  They also only averaged 92.5 points per game during the regular season, so the 107 points they put up in Game 1 was also somewhat of an anomaly.  The entire Pacers roster played well, and they do have the size to counteract The Miami Heat’s smaller, more athletic lineup, however, I don’t foresee The Pacers sustaining this level of offensive efficiency.  I also don’t believe that Chris Bosh will score only 9 points per game and continue to go 0 for the century from downtown (he went 0-5 from 3-point range in Game 1).  The Heat also have a very solid track record when losing the 1st game of a playoff series.  In the 2013 playoffs, they lost the 1st game in 2 out of their 3 series (against The Chicago Bulls and The San Antonio Spurs).  The Heat went on to sweep the rest of The Bulls series and they went on to beat The Spurs as well to capture their 2nd straight NBA Championship.

 

Today, most people will be overreacting to The Miami Heat’s Game 1 loss, but I, as I’m sure you have already figured out, will not be.  As much as I would enjoy The Heat losing in The Eastern Conference Finals, not only for my own personal enjoyment but for the mass hysteria that would cause, I just don’t see it happening.  I believe Lebron James (aka the best player on the planet) will put his team on his shoulders, and on Wednesday morning, everyone will be seated (with arms and legs inside the vehicle) securely BACK on The Miami Heat bandwagon.  You can catch Game 2 of The Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night @ 8:30  P.M. on ESPN.  Can’t wait to watch more basketball until then?  Then tune into TNT tonight @ 9:00 P.M. to catch The Oklahoma City Thunder take on The San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of The Western Conference Finals.  That should be a highly competitive, fun series to watch as well.  Enjoy!

 

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it! 

     

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One-Liner Fridays

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Every Friday I like to infuse a little humor into everyone’s day.  Here you will find a one-liner on a topic from this past week.  These gems will be one line and one line only (we’re gonna dance to one song and one song only).  Enjoy.

 

 

Aaron Hernandez is the 2014 version of OJ Simpson….only dumber.

If I had essentially gotten away with double murder, I wouldn’t commit another murder to cover-up the first 2 murders that I already got away with; I would lay low for the REST OF MY LIFE.

Anyone else want Donald Sterling to go away?

Yea, me too, so here’s what we’re going to do: stop talking about him.

Michael Sam is living proof of something I say every day; everything is about money.

Unbelievably hypocritically, Michael Sam has decided to do a reality tv show about his path to the NFL as a gay player because, HE JUST WANTS TO BE SEEN AS A FOOTBALL PLAYER AND NOTHING ELSE. 

With Marlin’s pitcher, Jose Fernandez, adding to the long list of pitchers needing tommy john surgery, MLB teams should just offer the surgery as an option on draft day.

Phil Jackson at the plate, and the pitch, he swings, and misses.

You know it’s bad when Phil Jackson can’t even convince his protégé to come work for him.

Now, Phil Jackson will be scouring middle schools across the country for his next coach.

I happen to like Stan Van Gundy as a coach, but you picked Detroit over Golden State?

Really?!?!

Must be the weather in Detroit that lured him in.

So let me get this straight, Johnny Manziel has the most jersey sales in the NFL since April 1st, people are actually excited and talking about the Cleveland Browns (for the 1st time in eternity), and in turn the organization will make more money, and you Jimmy Haslam, the owner of The Cleveland Browns, decide to tell Manziel to ‘act like a backup?!?!’

That makes about as much sense as the NCAA bylaws.

Oh yeah, there are hockey playoffs going on, I almost forgot.

In all seriousness, although I am not a New York Rangers fan, I fully appreciated the comeback that they pulled off to come back from being down 3 games to 1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I’m sure that Martin St. Louis will give it his all throughout the rest of these playoffs for himself, his teammates, and most importantly his mother.

 

 

This has been another edition of One-Liner Fridays.  If you have a One-Liner of your own, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.  Thanks.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

First Openly Gay Player Drafted in the NFL

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On Saturday May 10th, 2014, The St. Louis Rams made history by drafting Michael Sam.  Michael Sam made headlines back in February, by announcing to the world that he was gay.  At the time, Sam was projected as a 3rd round pick in the NFL Draft, so most expected Sam to become the first openly gay player in the NFL.  After a poor showing at the NFL Combine in late February, Sam’s stock price dropped drastically.  Did some General Mangers use his poor combine as an excuse to drop him in their rankings?  Or did these General Manager’s look at Sam strictly as a football player and nothing more?  I hope the latter is true.  While I understand the General Managers in the NFL put an unreasonable amount of value on Combine results, I don’t know if Sam deserved to drop all the way into the 7th round.  Sam was selected with the 249th overall pick.  The St. Louis Rams may be the biggest beneficiary of Sam’s draft stock dropping, as I believe they got Sam about 2 or 3 rounds later than his abilities dictate. 

 

Immediately following the selection, the camera flipped to Sam’s home as he received the call from The Rams.  His house was filled with family and friends who were there to share in this joyous occasion.  Most notably Sam’s boyfriend was right there by his side.  Sam was visibly overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry.  Sam’s boyfriend stood by his side the entire time and when Sam hung up the phone, the two kissed and embraced each other.  This display of affection between two men has drawn quite a reaction, and is currently one of the top stories in the sports world.  Most people are fine with this, for they understand that the world has changed and this is a personal choice that every person is entitled to make.  Others, however, are not as tolerant of Sam’s relationship, and some have gone as far as to publicly speak out negatively toward Sam.  Don Jones, of the Miami Dolphins, tweeted “OMG” and “horrible” in reaction to Sam and his boyfriends televised displays of affection.  Jones has subsequently been suspended and fined an undisclosed amount for his comments.    

 

I believe that every one in the world has the right to do what makes them happy.  If being gay is a choice that makes Sam happy, then who are we to tell him he is wrong?  Ignorance, unfortunately is everywhere, but the best thing Sam can do is ignore the negativity and stay focused on the game he loves.  Now, when it comes to football, I believe he should be judged solely as a football player and a teammate.  All the other stuff shouldn’t play a role in his place on The St. Louis Rams or any other team.  This is why I believe Sam unfairly dropped in the draft, but nonetheless, he was drafted.  He now has just as good of an opportunity to make the roster and receive playing time as anybody else.  You would think that despite his poor showing at the combine, his game will translate to the NFL.  He was only an All-American and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year last season.  That sounds like a 7th round pick to me!  In all seriousness, we should be happy for Sam and every young man that was drafted this year.  They each have a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in the NFL, and they should give it their all.   

 

 

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Thank you for reading and leave a comment in the section below.

 

2014 NFL Draft: 1 Day Down, 178 To Go

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Round 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft is now officially in the books.  It was a very interesting 1st round that came with a few trades, a few surprises, but most things played out as expected.  Over the past 3 months, draft experts have been laying out any and all possibilities for the outcome of the NFL Draft.  Many have been suggesting that The Houston Texans could do a multitude of things with the #1 overall pick in the draft.  Some have suggested that they should select Johnny Manziel because they need a quarterback and he played his college ball in the state of Texas while some have suggested trading the asset of the #1 overall pick, move back in the draft, and collect an extra set of picks.  And the majority of people have implored the Texans to simply to the right thing and select the best player in the draft.  And that is what they did.  They selected Jadeveon Clowney because he is a “freak of nature”.  At his size, Clowney is listed at 6’5 1/4″ and 266 pounds, his speed, size, and power are unmatched.  He posted a very impressive 40-yard dash time of 4.53 seconds, the fastest of any defensive lineman in this years draft.  I believe this was the right selection by The Texans, but don’t be surprised if Khalil Mack is the best defensive player to come out of this years draft.  Oh no wait, he was drafted by The Oakland Raiders so never mind.

 

The first surprise to come out of the 1st round was the selection of Blake Bortles 3rd overall by The Jacksonville Jaguars.  I understand that he is your prototypical quarterback, standing 6’5″ and weighing in at 232 pounds, and he played his college football in the state of Florida, and Jacksonville desperately needs a quarterback, BUT I think that it was a reach taking Bortles this early.  The 2nd quarterback selected was Johnny Manziel at #22, so the Jaguars definitely could have capitalized on having the #3 pick by trading back in the draft, still drafting Bortles, and picking up an extra pick or 2 in the 2nd or 3rd round. 

 

The first trade occurred at the 4th overall pick in the draft, where The Buffalo Bills traded up from the 9th pick to acquire, who I believe is the best wide receiver in the draft, Sammy Watkins.  The Bills traded their 9th pick this year and their 1st and 5th round picks in the 2015 to The Cleveland Browns for the 4th overall pick.  Personally, I like this move because I feel that Watkins has the potential to be one of the best wide outs in the NFL for the next 8-10 years.  This is a move that I have been talking about for weeks, only I was hopeful that The New York Jets (having 1,278 draft picks this year) would have taken advantage of such an opportunity.  Instead, The Jets drafted Calvin Pryor, a hard hitting safety from Louisville.  I like Pryor, and while I believe he is the best safety in the draft, I would have been much happier with a cornerback (Darqueze Dennard) or a wide receiver (Brandin Cooks) at the 18th overall pick in the draft.  I believe that John Idzik was thinking about position depth in this years draft when he made this selection.  There is plenty of talent at cornerback and wide receiver, but the talent at safety is scarce.  Also, The Jets do have another 11 picks in this years draft, so I’m sure they will fulfill their needs at wide receiver, cornerback, tight end, and most importantly WIDE RECEIVER.  Did I say wide receiver?? 

 

The Jets crosstown riv…..oh wait they play in the same building and they’re not rivals, but anyway, The New York Giants did select a wide receiver with the 12th overall pick in the draft.  They chose a very talented playmaker in Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU.  I think The Giants should have drafted an offensive lineman here, because you can have all the talent you want at wide receiver, but if you can’t protect your quarterback, and provide him with enough time to throw the ball, then your talent at wide receiver will be all for naught.  However, you can’t solve all of your problems in 1 pick, so we will have to wait and see what The New York Giants do with their other 6 draft picks. 

 

Ah yes, which brings us to little Johnny football, aka Johnny Manziel.  Manziel “dropped” down to the 22nd pick in the 1st round.  ESPN kept showing his face on the screen as if we were supposed to feel bad for him for sitting in the spot light for 3 hours.  I think he and his millions will be just fine (as he so clearly let us know by rubbing his fingers together on his way on stage as if to say “show me the money”).  And despite all the money he did lose by not being drafted until 22nd, he did not get drafted into a bad situation.  If you look at all of the possible teams that could have drafted him, The Minnesota Vikings or Jacksonville Jaguars, he actually landed in the best situation.  The Browns offensive line isn’t terrible and Manziel will have 2 viable options at pass catching positions (Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron).  Having a reliable running back would help Manziel out, but it’s a better situation than his fellow competitor Blake Bortles is in. 

 

All-in-all I think it was an entertaining 1st round with a lot of interesting picks and moves.  I do have a gripe with the NFL though, with the way the draft is run.  Let’s use the very first pick of the entire draft as an example.  The Houston Texans have known they were going to pick #1 overall for quite some time now.  They obviously had decided before 8:00 p.m. last night that they were not going to trade their pick and they were going to select Jadeveon Clowney.  So, why in the world did it take them nearly 7 minutes to announce their selection?!?!?!  I’ll tell you why.  Now, I don’t want to get all conspiracy theory on everybody, but the NFL is a money making business just like any business in the world.  I have said many times before, and I will say it again: Everything is about money.  The longer the draft takes, the more money the NFL makes.  To keep watching the 2014 NFL Draft, you can tune in to ESPN tonight at 7:00 p.m. and coverage will continue at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN2.  Enjoy!!

 

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Thank you for reading and leave a comment in the section below.

            

           

The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown

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Monday night marked the beginning of the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs. Within the first 2 games, there were 2 emphatic statements made. One was better than good, while the other was ehhh for lack of another word, worse than bad. And Tuesday night, the other 2 games will get under way. Let’s start with The Good:

Chris Paul, and his Los Angeles Clippers, marched into Oklahoma City and sent a clear message to Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Chris Paul sent another message that I’m pretty sure his critics heard loud and clear as well. Paul put his Clippers on his back and led them to a decisive 122-105 victory to grab a 1 game to none lead in the series. Paul hit 8 three-pointers, that’s right, EIGHT three-pointers!! Yes, Paul went 8 of 9 from downtown and also added 10 assists to his stat line. He essentially contributed in half of his teams points Monday night. Paul, without a doubt will not continue to drain three’s at such a frenetic pace, however, he should be able to maintain his elite level of play throughout the entire 2nd round. This would get the monkey off his back and would land him in his first Conference Finals of his career. The MVP to be, Kevin Durant, may have something to say about that though, as I expect a bounce back performance in Game 2 from Durant and his trigger happy side-kick Russell Westbrook. By the way, imagine if Robin turned to Batman and said, “You know what Batman, I think we should change the name of this movie to Robin Returns.” Batman would have picked up Robin and put him back in his closet. Durant needs to man up and tell Westbrook to give him the damn ball and get out of his way! Anyone who knows basketball has been saying this for years, but I guess Durant doesn’t want to listen. Now, let’s move on to the bad….THE VERY BAD:

Roy Hibbert, oh poor Roy Roy. The stat line says it all: 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 5 fouls (in 18 Minutes). What in the blazing saddles is going on here?? Roy Hibbert is listed at 7’2″. 0 Rebounds?!?!?! You should get at least one rebound by accident….from the bench….when you’re 7’2″. I, along with the rest of the world do not understand what has happened to Roy Hibbert, but he better figure it out quick or else his Pacers will be watching the Heat steamroll the Wizards rather than having that dubious pleasure themselves. And last but not least, the unknown:

Only time will tell what will happen in the rest of the series’ that have yet to start, but the big conversation of the 2nd round thus far has been the Miami Heat vs. the Brooklyn Nets. A lot of people are jumping on the Brooklyn bandwagon because they swept the regular season series with the Heat this year (4-0). I for one am not buying into that. Yes, winning 4 straight games, no matter how close they were, against the two time defending champions is an outstanding feat, however, this is not the regular season anymore. The Miami Heat rest their players throughout the regular season, and from time to time honestly just don’t try sometimes. Come playoff time, Lebron, Wade, and company are all business, all the time. And frankly, they are just a better team than Brooklyn. The other question is, as a Knicks fan, if you had to root for one of these teams, who do you root for? This is not an easy question to answer, but I would have to root for the Heat. Despite what some delusional Knicks fans think, the Knicks and the Heat don’t have a rivalry anymore. The Knicks and Nets don’t have a rivalry yet either, but fuel will definitely be thrown on the fire if the Nets can somehow dethrone the Heat. Plus, Knicks fans can’t root for a team that employs Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (come on now!).

Stay tuned for my predictions going forward in these NBA Playoffs.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Thank you for reading and leave a comment in the section below.