If there is anything that the Devils and their fanbase should have learned during the most deflating of road trips, it's that the rigors of an 82 game schedule are far too unforgiving for any apologies to be necessary when things do happen to be bouncing your way. Anyone that watched that game can attest that 3-0 probably doesn't do justice to the run of play. However, while the sights weren't always pretty either, it was one unmistakable sound that served as the perfect score to holding the Flyers' scoreless. The ping of the post was just about as friendly to the Devils as it's ever been, and it afforded a team that's found ways to lose on the road a chance to start flipping that script.
Now, that's not to say the Devils were entirely at the mercy of the iron. For almost each and every time they were saved by the proverbial bell, there was a time in which they managed to blow a glorious opportunity to extend the most precarious of leads. It's not like they were doing nothing more than standing in front of a shooting gallery and hoping not to get killed. Instead, it's more like they took a whole bunch of breaks to fire at their own foot (instead of a wide-open net) in between standing in front of a shooting gallery waiting to get killed.
All this sounds very pessimistic, but the truth is that I was impressed with the Devils' defensive play as they fought for another leg to stand on after Sami Vatanen limped off early. Admittedly, the road trip from hell has set the bar extremely low in giving me a new found affinity for basic in-zone accountability. For example, I'm already about ready to die on the hill that Pavel Zacha could set the NHL record for games held pointless and would still be a net plus to a team that desperately missed his size, strength, and positional play inside its own blue line. Still, they had no problems clearing that bar against Philly. Simply put, giving themselves even a chance to win was too much to ask as of a week ago, so they are slowly, surely, and structurally headed in the right direction.
I want it on record that the last time I said the following was probably two seasons ago when I was convinced that Taylor Hall was about as appreciative of being in New Jersey as the Statue Of Liberty, but he was probably the most turnover prone player on the ice last night. That's not me complaining, as the disproportional load he carries for this team (especially without Nico Hischier in the lineup) is bound to wear on him at times. Rather, it's meant as a credit to a roster that was able to get to the finish line first without riding his cape-tails or following his lead. Seeing the point-producing and penalty-slaughtering revelation that is Blake Coleman team up with two rookies in going tic-tac-toe for what eventually proved to be a game-winning goal was obviously awesome in giving Brett Seney and Joey Anderson some career firsts...
However, it was even more awesome in showing a flash of what lengthening out the lineup could do for a team that's been insanely top-heavy. With Jesper Bratt looking as shifty and strong on his skates as ever, you no longer need a magnifying glass to see where the offense might, and I emphasize the word "might", come from when the first line (who also helped...ahem...wrap-up a long overdue road win) isn't on the ice...
Last but quite obviously not least, when Keith Kinkaid wasn't showing tell-tale signs of watching too many highlights during Marty Brodeur's HHOF induction, he was absolutely awesome...
As was the case when the Devils were putting forth winning efforts earlier in the year, I would imagine it's his crease until further notice. The post certainly helped but, as he stopped everything else thrown at him, he's been granted the benefit of claiming it was the only thing he gave the Flyers to shoot at. Cutting down on the close calls would be nice, but - for whatever reason - consistency in net has come part and parcel with consistency in front of it, and the Devils are back to showing a little bit of both after showing a whole lot of nothing.
To be honest, my first instinct was to downplay the impressiveness of this feat. Even putting yourself in a position to pot the entirety of a natural hat trick into an empty net in 91 seconds of game time requires some skill, but all three of Brayden Point's goals coming on the powerplay (with the first two coming compliments of a two-man advantage during which they had an entire intermission to prepare) takes just a little sizzle off a historical heater for me. The Lightning are nothing short of surgical when it comes to dissecting a defense that's down a man, never mind one that's down two men, so - of their many quick-sticked assassins - the one that demands the least amount of attention was bound to get some beneficial looks.
That being said, with the first tally being the type of picturesque snipe that could break the top part of a half-full glass clean off without spilling it, I can't - in my heart of hearts - be pessimistic about something we haven't seen since the days in which goalies appeared to be manning the crease in futon cushions and blindfolds. It's a credit to the amount of top-end talent on Tampa's roster, but even someone as skilled as Brayden Point can quietly rain on your parade when you focus a little too hard on the type of storm brought by the combo of Kucherov and Stamkos. So, circumstances aside, a huge tip of the cap must go to one of the best second line centers in the entire league, even if he didn't leave anyone much of a choice while ever-so-quickly forcing the removal of hats.
Oh, The Irony: Draymond Green Allegedly Dared Kevin Durant To Leave In Free Agency And Told Him The Warriors Didn't Need Him
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NBCSports- Multiple stories have come out the last three days with snippets of what Draymond Green reportedly said to Kevin Durant on the bench Monday.
Now, with the Warriors trying to put the drama behind them, a new story from Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reveals that Green dared Durant to leave the team in free agency next summer.
“We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave," Green said to Durant while in the huddle following the end of regulation against the Clippers, according to Haynes.
I've said that the Golden State Warriors didn't need Kevin Durant. You've said that the Golden State Warriors didn't need Kevin Durant. Almost everyone with even the smallest vested interest in the NBA has said that the Golden State Warriors didn't need Kevin Durant. Hell, it both was and still is the crux of the same circular argument that gets brought up every time anyone is made aggravated by how predetermined the playoffs has been the last couple of seasons. Therefore, claiming a person can't make that argument would make me a hypocrite.
::insert light bulb emoji::
Unless...the person who happens to be making that argument is directly responsible for forcing us to have the goddamn endless debate in the first place. It's quite clear that, in response to being talked down to after clumsily stumbling away a potential game-winning possession, Draymond Green did what Draymond Green always does by hitting below the belt. Unfortunately for him, we haven't forgotten that he became all-too-familiar with Kevin Durant's groin when he spent all that time fluffing him prior to free agency.
Again, the winningest team in NBA history, who more than likely would have already been celebrating back-to-back titles if not for their emotional leader's affinity for causing testicular trauma, most definitely did not need Kevin Durant. I'm just more than certain that's not what Draymond Green was saying as he was huddled hopelessly in his car begging KD for his services immediately after being humbled by Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.
As unlikable as I think the consensus second best player in basketball has become, nothing about how the last two postseasons have played out lends credence to this two-faced idea that the back-to-back Finals MVP has been some sort of passenger on this title train. Anyone that hadn't just embarrassed themselves by tripping over the ball as the clock expired might even say that goes without saying.
The truth is that we'll never know if the Warriors needed Kevin Durant the last two seasons, but the fact is that they all gave up the right to claim as such when they pursued him. I don't care how deflated Draymond's ego was in the moment, because he's the one who made the choice to pay the price of his pride when he shamelessly went shopping for a mercenary. I think it was already quite obvious this whole fight started due to one dickhead's deflection tactic. However, claiming some sort of buyer's remorse - even if it was just disingenuously said to hurt feelings that have proven very vulnerable - is quite laughable when you consider the lengths the consumer went to in insuring the purchase of back-to-back championships after directly costing his then homegrown team their second one. Simply put, it's behavior that's very fitting of a...shall we say..."bitch", and I double-dog-dare Draymond Green to tell me otherwise.
Sidenote: To keep things square, Draymond Green saying "we don't need you" is only as dumb as Kevin Durant saying "don't ask me about that again" in reference to a beef from three nights prior in which his own teammate had to be both fined and suspended by his own team to protect his own feelings...
Today In 'Yes, You Read That Right': Houston Coach Major Applewhite And His Inactive Stud D-Lineman Ed Oliver Got Into A Sideline Spat Over A Jacket
What's in a name, they ask. The answer, a vast majority of the time anyway, is nothing more than a few vowels, a couple consonants, and a pretty good look into the creative process of parents.
In this case, however, I can't help but think that what comes complimentary of being called 'Major Applewhite' for your entire life is a propensity for the type of petty power trips that are more fitting of those that have made a commitment to the country to be overbearing bastards in the process of determining which kids are mentally tough enough for combat. To be clear, the Houston coach could have been A Boy Named Sue and I still would have thought he was cloaking his oversensitivity in strictness by snatching clothes off the back of a player who clearly hurt his feelings by having the gall to loyally wear team-licensed outerwear while safely looking out for his financial future. That said, there's something so self-fulfilling about the prophecy of a football coach with a military rank as a first name and a last name that's sounds made for a movie acting like a drill instructor in going Full Metal Jacket due to nothing more than a literal jacket.
Now, I don't want to let Ed Oliver completely off-the-hook here. Ranting and raving at his coach mid-game, no matter how much said coach instigated it, is a questionable move from someone who gave up the right to become a distraction on gameday when he decided not to take part in gamedays. It's not as if a mountain of a man who is pushing 300 pounds was left at risk of hypothermia by wearing only a hoodie in Houston on a nice November night, so - much like the upholding of an objectively idiotic rule - his aggressive reaction was largely out of both pride and principle.
I just think the grown adult man whose pride and principle led to him showing up the superstar player whose talents have made his tenure 10x easier should be held to a higher standard. It's a hell of a lot harder for Ed Oliver to balance being a good teammate and a good businessman than it is for Major Applewhite to balance being a rational human being and a disciplinarian, the latter being something that should be asked of him in the type of contract his freakishly talented pass-rusher is not-so-coincidentally yet to have signed.
Even physically undressing your own biological child in front of their peers in public is liable to get you verbally undressed, never mind physically undressing the most intimidating of sure-shot Top-5 picks who has unequivocally made massive contributions to the growth of your program in front of his peers in public. I don't think either party was totally right in the heat of the moment. However, the party that felt the combative removal of a coat couldn't wait until the locker room was the most wrong for acting like the militaristic blowhard his parents were apparently praying they had given birth to when he aggressively executed the overly simplistic theory that "rules are rules" in defense of the dumbest of rules when he should have been focused on - oh, I don't know - coaching football maybe?
Sean Payton Lost A Bet To Doug Pederson This Past Spring, And Now The Saints Are "Stuck" Wearing The Freshest Whites In The Entire League On Sunday
NOLA- New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton lost a bet to Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson in March, and as a result, the Saints will wear their color rush jerseys in Sunday’s game against the Eagles.
That’s not exactly a tough loss for Payton seeing as the Saints' all-white jerseys are among the best looks of any team in the NFL.
Payton and Pederson made the bet on jersey color when they played golf in March at the NFL’s annual league meetings. The unique bet was about which team would wear its home jersey for the matchup between the two teams.
The result of the wager came to light in July when the two coaches participated in a July conference call to discuss their pending participation in the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nev. When the coaches played in the July tournament, they made another bet aimed at donating money to charity.
And there you have it. The current status of the Saints' season in a nutshell. Sean Payton clunks and shanks away an opportunity to have final say in his team's gameday attire against the reigning Super Bowl champs...annnnd they end up suited in what are, objectively speaking, some of the sharpest threads the NFL has ever seen.
If you didn't already think the Saints were rollin' 7's during this 8-game streak then the fact that the worst bet made by their Head Coach, whose gambles have been paying off in a major way, ultimately resulted in him giving what's sure to be a raucous home crowd some eye candy as a little incentive to get even louder should prove the hotness of their heater.
As far as I am concerned, The Eagles can wear all the green they want. Not just because it'll match their mood come Monday morning, but because a win is already in the bag against the team that last raised the Lombardi if there is any truth whatsoever to the phrase "look good, feel good, play good". One of the most competitive coaches in all of sports lost a wager, and it might just lead to his team doing the Birds dirty in the cleanest of whites. Talk about everything he touches turning to (black &...) gold.
Markelle Fultz' Frightening Form Found Its Way Into A Video Of Jimmy Butler Practicing For The Sixers
Look, I'm not going to draw any definitive conclusions after watching this video. Maybe Markelle Fultz can't even practice practicing his form on free throws without instinctually trying to make his own personal demons bite on a pump-fake. Maybe he was just trying to recreate the ball definitively and unequivocally "slipping" from his hand as he looked to have forgotten to shoot a foul shot during an NBA game in an effort to convince an uninterested assistant that's totally what happened here...
Whatever the case may be, the kid certainly has more than enough problems without the general public piling on due to his discouraging cameo in a harmless clip of which he was not the intended subject.
That said, if only because a young player with almost unprecedented confidence issues slowly entered an otherwise unnecessary shot of the type of teammate that would rather raise hell than help raise children, I couldn't help but feel like this clip needed some suspense-building sound effects. Like the camera steadily scanning one's surrounding in a scary movie, this camera caught both a man who was none the wiser and his worst nightmare in the same frame. Therefore, a little something like this crossed my mind as the type of audio that should accompany the jump scare of Markelle Fultz' horrifying follow-through appearing behind the type of antihero that will eventually stop at no act of aggression to avoid being victimized by it...
While I question the allocation of resources in a city whose murder rate remains a relatively sizable concern, I must say that I respect how invested Chicago as a whole and Bears' fans are in making sure a winning season that's been a long time coming doesn't get completely decleated by a kicker. While being impressively accurate in his inaccuracy by doinking four field goals in a single game, Cody Parkey didn't even manage to steal a sure win from the Bears...
However, you can't help but appreciate the inherent paranoia of fandom that has a flagship news station stalking his every move like he just pulled off a heist of the Federal Reserve. I'd argue that an organization should probably just cut ties with their kicker if those that are emotionally invested in its success feel the desperate need to put choppers in the sky to track his mid-week progress, but I sure hope they don't as I'm rather enjoying the ridiculousness of Cody Parkey getting the O.J. Simpson treatment.
Now, I'm not sure how bringing that haunting feeling of everyone watching him to the practice field is going to help a guy who is clearly already in his own head. As I understand self-fulfilling prophecies, it sort of seems like he might be at a higher risk of killing another drive after being made into a murderer by the local news, but don't let me interrupt the coverage of an NFL kicker who is being swarmed like he just committed 5 star's worth of felonies on Grand Theft Auto.
Dwane Casey Sure Looked Happy To Stick It To His Former Team After Orchestrating A Buzzer-Beater In Toronto
Confirmed: Tupac was right. Revenge is, indeed, the sweetest joy next to...well...the only other thing that could cause Dwane Casey to have such a demonstrative climax. Whether the reigning Coach Of The Year is right or wrong to feel resentment towards the organization that relieved him of his duties after a first place finish was entirely offset by the type of postseason crown-snatching that could only be only orchestrated by 'The King' himself is a moot point. For, after an otherwise straight-laced and subdued Head Coach displayed the type of explosive burst off the bench that could push Blake Griffin for playing time, the argument certainly can't be made that Dwane Casey hadn't all-but-circled that mid-November game on the Pistons' schedule out of spite.
As far "how ya like me now?" moments are concerned, I don't know how anyone, those within Toronto's city limits included, could suppress a smile while watching Dwane Casey revel in the buzzer-beating result of one of the few scenarios in which success is undeniably attributed to quality coaching. We're talking about someone that had to awkwardly step on stage and give a speech while being honored in his professional excellence for an organization just weeks after getting unceremoniously dismissed from that organization. I'll be damned if he didn't at least deserve the opportunity to diagram an absolute dagger of an out-of-bounds play in front of those that questioned his award-winning direction enough to go in another direction.
If I were Dwane Casey, I would have been liable to go full-T.O. by grabbing the ball and standing arms outstretched at the center of the mid-court Raptor claw. However, the sheer, unadulterated excitement in his reaction was enough irrefutable evidence of that victory serving as some combination of vindication and vengeance for a guy who reserved the right to stunt on his former employer, as much as a professional basketball coach possibly can, well in advance. Not that Blake Griffin, Reggie Bullock, and the rest of the players that shared in his celebration after executing for him when it mattered most needed any in the first place...
If Last Night's Win Over The Penguins Is Any Indication, The Devils Aren't As Dead As They've Looked Of Late
First, let's start with an unfriendly reminder. The Devils were coming off a seven game road trip in which they went 1-6 and were outscored by no more than 17 goals in such a lopsided fashion that it seemed like no less than 170 goals. One single win, no matter the context or the competition, can undo all that went disastrously wrong during their tumultuous travels. Winning in the welcoming confines of their own building hasn't been the issue, so all the Devils really accomplished last night was not bringing their problems home with them like a hostile husband who hit 'Happy Hour' so hard that it became extremely sad.
All that being said, after falling far too close to rock bottom for comfort, they had to start somewhere in getting back on their feet and last night was a stand-up victory. I tend to think that Thursday in Philadelphia will say more about this team than last night did, but overcoming multiple suspect calls that directly and negatively effected the scoreboard is something that even last year's Devils struggled in doing.
Phil Kessel erased an insurance goal off the stick of Jesper Bratt after inviting All-Beef as an infantile reaction to the protein deficiency he procured by going without his pregame hot dog...
...and, according to a league that still has a problem defining goaltender interference through the lens of their own anus, a love-tap is all it takes to allow for one of world's strongest and most technically sound skaters to kick an opposing keeper into the corner...
As a team whose confidence appeared shaken by the insult that had been getting added to their own injured play by bad breaks, either one of those proverbial kicks in the groin could have had them taking their balls and going home. The excuses were Hot-N-Ready to be made, but instead a lineup who was without its number one center and has been nothing short of marshmallow soft finally decided to be harder on the puck in not only gutting out a much-needed win, but gutting out a much needed character win.
Keith Kinkaid helped to make up for a performance that wasn't always pretty, though putting an end to the sloppiest of slumps rarely is, and they needed Taylor Hall to expend every beat of his Hart in dragging their ass to the finish line. However, there was a familiar resilience amongst a group that was assumed to have misplaced it somewhere during their terrible, awful, no good, very bad two week tumbling trek to the bottom of the standings. If nothing else, it was an encouraging step in the right direction, though they'll need to piece a few of those together before this one is considered anything other than the step a baby might make before stumbling ass-first back to cold, hard linoleum.
I suppose this is fair. I have a not-so-sneaking suspicion that Le'Veon Bell has stepped his last fashionable foot into the Pittsburgh Steelers' facilities, so someone might as well blow the dust off the boxes of freshly-minted Jordan cleats wasting away in his locker. After voluntarily missing out on millions of dollars this year, I highly doubt it's any skin off his ass that a soon-to-be-former teammate in Bud Dupree is commandeering kicks of which he likely has duplicates littering his closet at home.
What's foul, however, was how giddy Steelers' players appeared to be while openly mocking someone who did what they should all be doing in somewhat selfishly looking out for themselves above all else. In a whole hell of a lot of ways, Le'Veon Bell's holdout was a failure, as he lost as much leverage as he did money while his much cheaper replacement, James Conner, filled in somewhat seamlessly during his lost season. However, what he was successful in doing is highlighting the hypocrisy of a league that expects those that it chews up and spits out at its mercy to say "how high?" when they say "Jump, man".
Whether or not it ends up working is inconsequential, because the only way to maximize your earning power while playing in a league that monetarily maxes out the minds and bodies of its players is to do what Le'Veon Bell did. At the risk of painting someone who is financially set enough to say "fuck it" to 8-figures as some average outcast, you'd think teammates whose professional efforts weren't at all compromised by his absence would understand that, regardless of whether or not they agreed with the guy whose sneaks they sportively seized.
The form. The follow-through. The focus. Tough to execute better than that on a basketball court and I mean that almost literally, as I'm not talking about the made 3-pointer but rather the sucker punch that damn near executed the kid who took it.
Don't get me wrong, it's a massive scumbag move to premeditatedly cold-clock an opposing player for doing nothing more than beating you with shockingly sound fundamentals. Offering up the sturdiest of clothesline when asked to close-out on a shooter might be homophonically clean, but it's competitively dirty as all hell.
Therefore, if we're judging this as an attempt at defense then it's probably more of a low D, as its effects won't be felt until later in the game when that deadeye shooteris clicking his jaw back into place as opposed to spotting up without hesitation. As an assault, however, it absolutely grades out as an A+. The timing that saw him arrive just as his target's feet had been planted? The attention to detail he showed in multi-tasking by winding up while in the process of contorting his body to check the eye-line of the official? The stiffness of the forearm? The inconspicuous casualness of the strut back down court? While none of it would help them improve as basketball players, the inmates playing full-contact street-ball in the prison yard could learn a lot from that kid.
A Jets' Fan Blamed His Accident And The DWI That Followed On The Team That, Figuratively Speaking, Drove Him To Drink
Yahoo- A man arrested for a drunk driving crash in New Jersey last weekend gave officers a bonkers excuse for his drunkenness and the accident that followed: the continuing suckage of the New York Jets.
Christopher Greyshock, a 57-year-old man from West Milford, New Jersey, was arrested after rear-ending a car and injuring two people on Sunday, a short time after the Jets had been soundly thwacked by the Buffalo Bills 41-10. The North Jersey Record reported that police were called to the scene of an accident that had taken place at 5:15 p.m., and two people were being treated by paramedics when they arrived.
As officers approached Greyshock, Capt. Larry Martin told the Pascack Valley Daily Voice that Greyshock was “staggering and swaying,” nearly falling into traffic and unable to stand up straight. Greyshock also had liquid stains on his pants and officers could smell liquor on his breath, so they administered a field sobriety test. Unsurprisingly, Greyshock failed. After he failed the test, he gave the officers his reason for being so drunk.
“I drank too much because the Jets suck!”
Yeah...no. As much as I can sympathize with the inevitable correlation between a pathetic point differential and the type of BAC that might break records on the breathalyzer, I'm going to have to call bullshit on the Jets' outright incompetence being a valid reason for even the most alcoholically invested of fan to hop behind the wheel. I'm pretty sure the Jets' have been almost unbearable without buckets of booze since before before the building of the first railroad, never mind the rise of Uber, so not having the foresight to place your game day travels in hands that won't soon be forced into double-fisting is almost more historically ignorant than it is criminally irresponsible.
That being said, if ever there were such a thing as a sobering defeat (there's literally not), it would probably look pretty similar to career backup clipboard holder Matt Barkley taking the reigns of the worst offense in NFL history and backhand pimp-slapping a division rival with a 40 spot in the comfort of their own home. Biologically speaking, brutally bad football can't flush your system anywhere near as quickly as it can blow your buzz, but if - and only if - it could then the Bills would have had MetLife Stadium emptying itself out cleaner of body and blood than a goddamn AA meeting.
The dumbass who put at risk the lives of innocent strangers because his perpetually shitty football team couldn't pass even the lowest standard of the smell test doesn't reserve the right to make jokes. However, he was absolutely correct about one thing...the New York Jets certainly are one.
Terron Armstead Is Reportedly Out For About A Month With A Pec Injury, But It Could Definitely Be Worse
I'm not going to lie, this sucks. How could losing a stud left tackle, albeit temporarily, that played 100% of this season's snaps prior to leaving Sunday's game prematurely with a what's being called a pectoral injury not suck? The offensive line has easily served as the unsung hero of the Saints' 8-game winning streak, and no one has been more important to it's silent success than the player who has played the role of the impenetrable security gate on Drew Brees' blindside as he's remained insanely comfortable in passing his way into MVP consideration. You need not look further than the following video to realize that Terron Armstead is the most important of otherwise unseen gears in the well-oiled machine that is the Saints' unstoppable offense.
That being said, I can't help but feel like this news sucks more for a player who was starting to feel better about his health after multiple seasons during which his availability was a week-to-week, if not day-to-day, concern than it does for a team that has taken some hits and continued to roll. If Jermon Bushrod keeps up what he started in relief on Sunday then paying a little extra attention, as opposed to having the benefit of paying absolutely no attention, to the left side of the line should do almost enough in making up for the absence of someone who has undeniably been playing at an All-Pro level.
Whether it be Patrick Robinson or Marcus Davenport, the Saints have done a great job of scheming their way around injuries. This one, of course, hurts more because of the particular person it happened to as much as it does the prominent player it happened to. However, having already stonewalled some of the league's more dominant defensive lines into their rearview, I see no reason not to believe that the Saints will keep riding relatively high until the return of the most rock-solid of reinforcements. Everyone in that locker room would feel better having Terron Armstead in the lineup, but if 3-4 weeks of recovery play even a minor part in making sure he's in tip-top shape 8-9 weeks from now then it could play a major part in what's looking like a lengthy postseason run.
P.S. Never change, Sean...
After Costing The Warriors A Chance At A Buzzer-Beating Win, Draymond Green Took To Arguing With Kevin Durant About His Impending Free Agency
Well, if this story isn't just Draymond Green in a nutshell then it's probably because the nutshell became collateral damage in the process of the NBA's preeminent nutcracker aimlessly running his trap about irrelevant nonsense. Seriously, the Golden State Warriors' resident blowhard refusing to take responsibility for his blatant mistake that played an undeniable part in costing his team a last second chance to break the tie against the Clippers (in a game they lost in OT), and instead turning it into an argument that he tried to win through the deafening decibel level of a transparent deflection tactic is all too fitting.
Honestly, I don't even like Kevin Durant, but even I was left asking what his all-too-familiar impending free agency has to with a player who is best known for his defense clumsily tripping all over his feet as time ran out instead of dishing the ball off to one of the best shotmakers in the history of the sport. The answer is obviously nothing, which is exactly what Draymond Green was thinking about when he, as the 2nd least equipped player on the floor to do so, decided to dribble coast-to-coast with the game on the line. The Warriors' emotional leader (and the rest of the league's loudmouth asshole) had as much business trying to run the point under pressure as he did in trying to bring up an entirely unrelated point to make himself feel better about falling on the ball like a damned fool as the clock struck zero. Judging by who they sided with in the locker room, even his teammates know that.
Now, hoping this will serve as the lit fuse that leads to what everyone outside of the Bay Area is waiting for, which is obviously the Warriors' implosion, is a pipe dream. However, I did take a disproportional amount of pleasure in watching as the guy who he desperately begged to come help guarantee victory over LeBron drew the ire of his exhausting bullshit. Occasionally having their sanity compromised by Draymond Green shamelessly emptying his entire gasbag during tangents is a small sacrifice for the rest of the Warriors to make for prolonged, assured, and unmatched success, but at least they have to sacrifice something other than stats.
UPDATE: Draymond Green has been suspended one game without pay by his own team, presumably for calling the kettle black as one undeservedly pissy pot...
Turns Out The NFL Kinda, Sorta Forgot To Check In On The Conditions Of The Field In Mexico City On Which They're Set To Host One Of The Biggest Games Of Their Season
The following might read as sarcastic, because I too was looking forward to watching a Monday Night Football game featuring two teams whose play could speak enough volumes to drowned out Jason Witten's failed attempts at using the idiosyncrasies of the English language, but seeing those pictures made me smile.
Not because I want any member of the Rams or Chiefs stepping foot on a field that currently isn't fit to host a BBQ, never mind a primetime professional football game between two of the most explosive offenses in the league. But rather, because I enjoyed the reminder that Roger Goodell and Co. are just as likely to blindly run face-first into "the shield" like it's a spotless sliding glass door as they are to actually protect it.
We all make fun of the NFL for being successful despite itself, but it's monumental missteps like this that give us no reservations in doing so. I mean, a multi-billion dollar entity scheduled what's only become a more and more enticing event with each passing week and then just...forgot...I guess...to keep tabs on the status of the venue in which it was being held. Much like someone losing track of the calendar during the lead-up to a holiday party they are hosting, the NFL has forced itself into full-blown clean-up mode days ahead of an undeniably intriguing nationally broadcasted game in another country, except their guests number in the the tens of thousands and had to arrange international travel plans well in advance to get there. Aside for the confusion it's causing, you just really have to appreciate how on-brand it is for a league that leans so heavily on its product in making up for its amateurish management to leave the door wide open for them to get caught with their own pants down.
UPDATE: Anticlimactic. Entirely necessary, but anticlimactic...
Stephen Jackson Thinks Carmelo Anthony Is Being "Blackballed" From The NBA, Which Is At Least A New And Creative Excuse For His Poor Play
As someone who typically errs on the side of Stephen Jackson's opinion out of fear that he'll find out I didn't only to show up on my doorstep ready to put out a lit blunt on my eyeball, I must say that he really lost me with this one. I've been riding the "Carmelo Anthony can't possibly be as toxic to a team as he's repeatedly appeared to be" wave for quite some time. Unfortunately, that tsunami of ignorance came crashing down hard when a Rockets' team that's gotten off to a miserable start decided to cut bait with a free agent acquisition that somehow defied the bounds of inefficiency in a mere 10 games as a member of the organization...
I've kept an open ear this long, so I might as well listen to any and all new and creative excuses for Carmelo Anthony, but not even Stephen Jackson can get away with throwing out an aggressive term like "blackballed" without having any basis whatsoever for that claim. The only possible reason I could I conjure up for the NBA colluding to get rid of Melo is that multiple teams have been brought to the brink of bankruptcy by his buyouts, but GM's aren't combining their executive powers to help other GM's avoid franchise crippling financial mistakes.
The truth is, one of the best ball-stopping scorers in NBA history (and an eventual HOFer) hasn't become nothing more than a check-cashing journeyman because he's not better at basketball than the last few men on every bench in the Association. Stephen Jackson is absolutely right in saying there are easily 100 players in the league that are less talented than Carmelo Anthony...and just about every last one of them is more well-rounded, more versatile, less stubborn, and less high-maintenance than someone who still puts up a stink about being a starter instead of just worrying about winning.
We're talking about a guy who is almost literally getting paid six different ways to Sunday. If Stephen Jackson was trying to say that he's being used as a scapegoat for the Rockets issues then I'd partially agree, though he's basically been begging to be treated as such by being extremely "ba-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah" at basketball lately. However, if the NBA wanted to blackball Carmelo Anthony for reasons entirely unknown they would have done so like 200 million dollars ago, so can't we all just finally accept that, good teammate or not, he's a bad team player at this stage in his career?
Today In NFL Stupidity: Marvin Lewis Has Hired Hue Jackson As A 'Special Assistant To The Head Coach'
Hue Jackson, the man whose most endearing quality was a complete lack of awareness in his ineptitude as a boss, re-joining the only boss whose been granted a longer leash than himself. I want to be enraged by this undeniable example of how it's as difficult to get in as it is to get forced out of the exclusive club that is the NFL's coaching fraternity, but this move it too ironic for me to get mad at. I mean, we're talking about a guy who was once deemed the real life equivalent of Michael Scott by one of his players...
...moving on down to become the Bengals' version of Dwight Schrute by taking on the entirely made-up role of 'Assistant to the Head Coach' that he did next to nothing to earn...
The Office is a show in which the sheer stupidity of the average workplace is magnified and exaggerated to the nth degree in the name of dry humor, and if we give Hue Jackson enough time in a business that considers itself cutthroat he might somehow make his regressive rounds until he's the NFL equivalent of an accountant that can't count. Marvin Lewis, a guy who has lasted well past his expiration date as a trusted leader in the Cincinnati locker room, responded to his team giving up 51 points by taking on even more defensive responsibilities and hiring an offensive mind whose last offense was offensive. If that's not straight out a scripted sitcom whose entire premise is the acceptance of widespread occupational idiocy then I don't know what the hell is.
Markelle Fultz, Who Recently Cut Off Communication With His Shooting Coach From This Past Summer, Had A Painstaking Flare Up Of His Yips
I suppose there's never a good time for a #1 overall pick in the NBA draft to have a reoccurrence of the mental block that had him bricking jump shots in a form and fashion that'd make you think he'd never even seen nor shot one before, but - for Markelle Fultz personally - this might just be the worst time. A lot was made of bringing aboard a player/personality who is about as patient with kids and their inconveniences as an alcoholic on an airplane, but if the Sixers can realistically contend without the services of the guy that they traded up for then the cold-blooded callousness of Jimmy Butler will have absolutely nothing on the storm the Philadelphia faithful will bring.
To be honest, I've been impressed with how much support an otherwise...umm...disagreeable fanbase has shown to a can't-miss prospect turned can't-make prospect as its most loyal members have been left rocking back and forth in their seats muttering "trust the process" to themselves. That being said, if the culmination of said process doesn't require the erratic efforts of the player who was originally supposed to complete it then the player in question might be well on his way to becoming a pariah.
In fairness, no one really knows what exactly caused Markelle Fultz to part ways with Drew Hanlen after the latter spent the summer putting in countless hours in trying to help the former regain a form that realistically should have been second nature. However, if we're going off track record then the player who went from consensus top pick in the draft to the first casualty in a game of Knockout when left to his own devices for one offseason doesn't exactly have the benefit of the doubt on his side...
I feel for the kid, because I have no doubt he wants to get over whatever internal hump is hampering his progress as a pro, but as a scoring guard in the NBA you can only get away with shooting completely uncontested free throws as hesitantly as one might pull the trigger during Russian Roulette but for so long. Simply put, an abrupt split with a proven shooting coach whose resume speaks for itself preceding the type of yip that makes every onlooker say "yikes" is a bad look for someone who doesn't have anywhere near enough good ones to this point in his young career.
Metaphorically Speaking, The Devils Are Being Towed Back From Their Road Trip With Four Flats And A Faulty Transmission
"Fun" fact: Somehow, someway, that -17 stat includes a lone 5-1 win. In essence, make that outscored by 21 in their last 6 losses.
Welp, road trips don't go any worse than that. Seriously, there is a cult classic called Road Trip with the entire plot revolving around unforeseen, if not seemingly impossible, ways in which an extensive period of travel can go comically wrong, and even those half-witted, down-on-their-luck college kids wouldn't trade places with the New Jersey Devils as they embarrassed themselves up, down, and all around multiple countries.
Now, I can sit here and say that I don't think a young roster that, after last season, no longer has the benefit of taking teams by surprise isn't anywhere as bad as they've looked outside of their own building, but with each passing uncompetitive effort even their confidence has to be shaken by questioning whether or not that's true. To be clear, it's not the 1-6 record that is the most discouraging, as no one should have expected such an unforgiving stretch to go smoothly. Rather, it's the type of lopsided scores that leave all the room for overreactions while making any and all optimism sleep outside in the cold.
It's typically unfair to compare teams from year-to-year considering the average amount of roster volatility. However, with the lack of offseason moves made and, in turn, the abundance of trust shown by Ray Shero, the only thing that's changed considerably between the end of last season and the start of this one is the color of the leaves on all 6.5 trees that stand within Newark's city limits. Therefore, I'm not sure how you go about judging this team's woes without wondering what kept them from being, well, so goddamn woeful during a season that, even at its worst, was objectively encouraging.
Ruts of bad penalties, bad calls, bad breaks, bad bounces, bad decisions, bad positioning, bad depth, and bad goaltending made for sizable losing streaks just 8-12 months ago, but none of them appeared anywhere near as hopeless as the Devils did in dragging ass all over North America the last two weeks. Luck certainly hasn't been on their side, but - as much as I hate cliches - there's definitely something to be said about creating your own luck and that something probably isn't "eh, just keep trying the same crap and odds are it'll start working in a way that keeps things close past the second period".
From Cory Schneider to Keith Kinkaid and then back again, the goaltending has been absolutely brutal. There's no way around that, and yet a team defense that's fallen apart at the seams in leaving open all the ways through it just might make the play directly in front of the net worse than the play in the net. The Devils cumulative GAA (which, given the overall product at this point, is as much a team stat as it is an indictment of the two guys who have failed in covering for its mistakes) is trending dangerously close to looking like the price of an in-arena hot dog, and yet I'd rather pay double to deal with the indigestion caused by soggy, low quality pork products than watch third periods that have become nothing more than formalities as of late.
The Devils, for all intents and purposes, have been pathetic away from Prudential Center. If that doesn't change soon in a big, big way then they'll have both a Head Coach and a General Manager that were rightfully beyond reproach just weeks ago answering to both a stark change in play, a lack of change in personnel, and - most disappointingly - not only a half-assed halt in progress but the hapless reeling of a regression.
An Eagles Fan Showed Up To Last Night's Game With A Casket Fit For The Cowboys In His Truck...Whoops.
If you asked me how I felt about this move in September, I would have absolutely loved it. Either purchasing a casket, building a casket, or - the most weird - hoarding a casket without a imminent plan to put a very particular deceased body inside it is the type of thing that should have you put on just about every local and federal watch list, but - aside from it being too close to the plot of a Criminal Minds episode for comfort - I appreciate a fan going to eerie lengths to troll an otherwise irrelevant rival.
Unfortunately, if you asked me in September what I thought about the lifeless, robot prototype that is Jason Garrett leading Dak and the gang to a victory over a Carson Wentz quarterbacked Eagles' team in Philadelphia then I'd have laughed myself into pine box, and that's really the main issue I have with this stunt. Simply put, if you show up with a casket fit for either Jerry Jones or his organization, you can't simply leave having a 6-foot ditch been dug for your own team's playoff hopes.
I almost feel like the mastermind behind that morbid attempt at mockery should have to ride home taking a long, dark, and symbolic look at his own team's mortality from the inside of his own over-the-top prop, as reigning Super Bowl champs or not, thinking you're unbeatable with a 4-4 record is simply inexcusable. I too thought last night might serve as the beginning of what felt like the Eagles' inevitable climb up the standings. However, with how things have gone thus far, it wasn't even close to a guarantee that they'd end the night dancing on the awaiting grave of the 2018 Cowboys. Other than prison, obviously, there has to be some type of penalty for driving around with a damned coffin in the bed of your truck, and I think being forced to contemplate your overconfidence from within close confines that make it impossible not to think about what you did (in between wisely chosen breaths, of course) makes for a good one. Although an argument could be made that lugging that thing back into your garage (or torture chamber) as a defeated shell of a man and fan is punishment enough.