Friday, February 27, 2009

That Couldn't Have Gone Much Worse

Um, yeah. So heading into last night, Temple had a chance to take over the top spot in the A-10 if it took care of business and got a little help from from its Philadelphia brethren. That's right, if St. Joe's could somehow manage to upset top-seeded Xavier and Temple simply won a very winnable game against Big 5 foe La Salle, the Owls would be sitting in first place in Atlantic 10 conference and be in a very good spot for an NCAA tournament bid.

Well, that certainly didn't happen. Somehow, some way, Temple, playing for pretty much everything a team can play for, lost to lowly La Salle, 70-63. I'd like to tell you exactly how that happened, but for some unknown, inexcusable reason, a game between two Philadelphia schools, Temple and La Salle, with huge NCAA tournament implications for the Owls, was not on Comcast digital cable anywhere in the city of Philadelphia. That, my friends, is complete and utter horseshit. I was thoroughly looking forward to watching the game, but I was denied. Shame on you Comcast. Shame on you.

Turns out that may have been for the best though, because I would have gotten all sorts of pissed watching Temple throw its season away. Now the Owls absolutely have to win the A-10 tournament to get in. Had they simply won out and gotten to the A-10 final, that may have been enough. Maybe not, but now that's a moot point. Temple choked and the A-10 tournament is the only saving grace. Pathetic.

While all that was going on, I had the pleasure of watching St. Joe's give Xavier all it could handle for a while at the Palestra. Thanks ESPN2. First off, I'd like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Doug Gottlieb, Jon Sciambi and Tom Brennan. I really did. Gottlieb is just flat-out knowledgeable and funny, and his report with Sciami and Brennan was awesome. Plus, you never know when Gottlieb may pull out something awesome like this:

Anyway, St. Joe's played a tough game, but in the end, Xavier was just too much. The Musketeers were simply too big and too strong for the Hawks, crashing the offensive boards with abandon, and really, outside of Ahmad Nivins, who was a beast again, St. Joe's didn't get much going. So instead of both teams winning and boosting the profile for Philadelphia hoops, both teams fell and sent a crucial blow to potential representation for Big 5 schools in the NCAA tournament.

Basically, it's Villanova. That's it. Because Temple choked. Although, they have been known to win an A-10 tourney or two, so stay tuned.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

You Know It's a Great Commercial When Theo's in It

Check out this awesome commercial for NBA TV (lot's of Sixers' footage, but pay special attention to the 19 second mark):

Yeah, that's right, Theo Ratliff. The Long Arm of the Law. Give that man No. 42 back. God knows Elton Brand doesn't need it.

And as a bonus, look what LeBron can do:

BallHype: hype it up!

Broke Ankles

I hope Jerel McNeal purchased some of that ankle insurance Kobe is selling, because A.J. Price definitely broke them last night:

That is just filthy. Price is a beast.

BallHype: hype it up!

Good Day Giroux

For the past few weeks, I've been kicking around the idea that Claude Giroux just may be my new favorite Philadelphia Flyer.

Well, after a month-long stretch of excellent hockey and two great performances the past two nights, it's official: Claude Giroux is my new favorite Flyer. After scoring the first of four unanswered goals in the Flyers 4-2 come-from-behind victory against the Capitals on Tuesday, Giroux, although not registering a point, was arguably the best skater on the ice last night.

I should know. I was sitting awfully close to the guy in two of the three periods. Thanks to my incredible sense of picking the proper house to move into, I was able to sit 6 rows off the ice last night, in the sixth row of section 103—right at the blue line on the visiting bench side. I can thank my roommate for the privilege. It's the closest I've ever sat at a hockey game, and it was awesome … especially watching Giroux.

On a night when the Flyers were sluggish and outplayed following a game the night before, Giroux had a hop in step that no other Flyer really had. Right from the get-go he stick-handled through three Kings, making them all look foolish, and provided a great scoring chance. And he was doing it all night.

I mean, watching this guy up close and personal was just incredible. I've already said it once, and at the risk of sounding like an overhyping lunatic, I'm going to repeat myself: Claude Giroux really reminds me of a righthanded version of Peter Forsberg. He has incredible awareness on the ice, can thread a pass to anyone anywhere, sees plays that look like they aren't even there, stickhandles with the best of them, has a pretty nice little shot and, even though he's small, isn't afraid to take or throw a hit … much like Forsberg.

Of course, Giroux is nowhere near Forsberg's level in those things just yet, but it's evident that he is a special player. And he gets better each and every game. Last night, he, along with Scottie Upshall and Darroll Powe, provided the Flyers with their most consistent strong shifts, and their work was a big part in the 2-0 win.

But I'd be lying if I told you Giroux was the best player on the ice either Tuesday or last night. Best skater, sure. Best player, no. After the annual whirlwind controversy that is the Flyers' goaltending situation, with inconsistency from both Antero Niittymaki and Marty Biron, the two Flyers netminders stepped up their games big time.

On Tuesday, against Alexander Ovechkin and the rest of the high-powered Capitals, Niitty was back on his game. He made 33 saves and kept the Flyers in the game to allow the comeback.

He made some incredible saves and really provided confidence throughout.

But not to be outdone, Marty Biron had perhaps his best game of the season last night. Playing on tired legs, the Flyers were sluggish and outworked by a Kings team scrapping for a playoff birth. They were outshot in their own building 34-19, but in the end, the scoreboard read 2-0 Flyers. Why? Because Biron was spectacular in net.

All game long, Marty was in complete control, squaring himself up to the shooter, absorbing the puck and providing a calming influence in net. He didn't look frantic, panicked or unsure of himself. Sure, he still turned the puck over a few times when he came out to play it, but let's face it, Marty will never, ever be good at handling the puck. As long as he makes the stops, that doesn't matter. Last night, he stopped them all.

He certainly helped make up for costing the Flyers at least one point last Saturday, because last night he was the reason the Flyers won, plain and simple.

There's still plenty of games for the goaltending situation to work itself out, but I think it's abundantly clear that it's Marty's job to lose. Last night, he once again looked like the goalie that helped lead the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and for the most part, he's looked like that guy since the calendar turned over to 2009. Here's hoping he continues to play well and Niitty keeps pushing him.

The competition should only help out the Flyers down the stretch, a team that currently sits in 4th place and is now just 4 points behind those hated Devils for first in the Atlantic … with a game in hand.

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

So This Happened Last Night

I shit you not. Word is, the Sixers might appeal it, but honestly, that freakin deserved to be good. What a ridiculous shot by Harris, and an even more ridiculous way for the Sixers to lose. That one hurt.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why are So Many Goalies Named Marty?

Want to see the complete opposite of Marty Biron's boneheaded play form Saturday? Check out what Marty Turco did:

I'm sure Marty Brodeur was watching on a couch somewhere applauding his fellow goaltending Marty while admonishing the other.

BallHype: hype it up!

Stubborn Stupid Silly Saturday

So … Saturday completely sucked. The Flyers lost. The Sixers lost. North Carolina lost. And two of the three ended in horrible fashion.


Yeah, so, you know, please just stay in the net no matter what Marty. That was just a devastating way to end the game. After the Flyers fell down 3-1 to a desperate Pittsbrgh team, Mike Richards decided enough was enough and scored yet another shorthanded goal—his 3rd in three games—to bring the Flyers back within one, using the old Peter Forsberg backhanded five-hole shootout move.

Seriously, Richards' shorthanded play is just getting ridiculous at this point. Anyway, his goal sparked the Flyers, who tied the game on a goal by Braydon Coburn. Then they gave the lead right back to the Penguins and the comeback looked to be for naught.

Except, you know, the Flyers' top line of Richards, Gagne and Knuble continued its torrid stretch, combining on a tic-tac-toe goal that Knuble calmly deposited to tie it again. After falling behind by two, battling back, surrendering another goal and then tying it again, the game was incredibly entertaining. For the NHL's sake, it's a shame this game wasn't nationally televised, because it really was awesome: physical, high-scoring, intense, fights, and a true sense of hatred between the squads.

And then Marty happened. Unbelievable. And after battling back not once but twice in the third period, they Flyers lost because Marty is a fucking moron. Really, he had no reason to even come out, although he got the puck. Dupuis had a step on the defense, but he wasn't coming on a clear breakaway. He had pressure on him, and he wouldn't have had the easiest time getting a good shot off. Oh, and Marty absolutely blows at playing the puck, so there's that.

What an awful way to lose.

And the day didn't get any better. For you see, I then watched North Carolina go the way of the Mets and choke away an easy victory. Yes, I said a game at Maryland should have been an easy victory, and I mean it. The Terps suck. North Carolina has national title hopes. The Heels should be able to beat this Maryland team anywhere any time. But on Saturday they didn't. In fact, they allowed Greivis Vasquez to score the first 16 points for Maryland and surrendered a triple-double to that herpes-faced douche.

I detest that man so very much. And I hated that game. Vasquez kept Maryland close early on, but UNC took a 9-point lead into half and then built it up to 16 early in the second. Easy win, right?

No, it wasn't. You wanna know why? Because no one in a Tar Heels jersey, with the exception of Ty Lawson, seemed to give two shits down the stretch. Well, not exactly. Danny Green was playing pretty damn well too, but he got in foul trouble and things went to shit for UNC when he took a seat on the bench.

In all honesty, everyone else on North Carolina sucked. Tyler Hansbrough kept getting blocked and traveling, only he wasn't getting to the foul line or getting away with his feet-shuffling. Wayne Ellington disappeared per usual, as did Deon Thompson. Ed Davis got no touches, and North Carolina decided to stop guarding the three-point line.

And while Vasquez was having a record-setting day and Cliff Tucker was bombing away from three, Roy Williams just sat back and watched it all unfold. I know it's commonplace for Roy to let his team play through the tough stretches and not call timeouts, but about 5 times late in the that second half, you could see the game was slipping away unless UNC woke up. Yet Roy refused to call a timeout, calm down his troops and come away with the win. Instead, North Carolina fell apart, and Maryland took it to OT. And again, in OT, Lawson was the only one even trying.

But that jerk-face Vasquez just wanted it more. Maryland wanted it more. And Greivis put forth an incredible performance. 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Damn. Couldn't have happened to a bigger arrogant asshole. What a horrible day this was shaping up to be.

But oh, the losses didn't end there. As I flipped over to watch the final minutes of the Sixers-Heat game, I noticed that Andre Miller was going off … but he's no Dwyane Wade. Wade was the best player on the court, and he willed Miami to a 97-91 win. Three games, three losses. What a horrible Saturday.

Luckily, Temple and Villanova won yesterday to salvage something of the weekend, but man, Saturday sure did suck.

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, February 20, 2009

What's the Point?

Or should I say, who's the point? Sure, today, the big news in the NBA is centering on the injuries to Amare Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett, Danny Granger and Manu Ginoboli. Well guess what, I don't give a shit about any of that. There's important point guard news going on, some Philadelphia-related.

For starters, Jameer Nelson's season is officially over, and that sucks big time.

Jameer was having by far his best season as a pro, rivaling his incredible senior season at St. Joe's. But thanks to that stupid shoulder injury, Jameer had surgery yesterday and will require 4-6 months of rehab. Very unfortunate.

But, with its title hopes hanging in the balance, the Magic went out and traded for Skip to My Lou Rafer Alston to fill the void in the meantime.

Well, the Rafer trade didn't just affect one native Philadelphia-area point guard … it affected two. As part of the three-team trade between Orlando, Houston and Memphis, Kyle Lowry was shipped to Houston to replace Alston, and the Rockets have high hopes for the former Villanova standout.

Personally, I love this move for Lowry, who was stuck behind Mike Conley in Memphis and never really got the chance to shine on a shitty Memphis squad. In Houston, he'll be running the show for guys like Ron Artest, Yao Ming and of course, Brent Barry. Hopefully he can establish himself as a solid NBA point guard down in Texas.

And while all this point guard chatter has revolved around some Philly-centric guys, there's also the fantastically tits news that the one and only true Jason Williams has filed for reinstatement.

Please, someone, anyone, sign him.

BallHype: hype it up!

It's Friday, Time to Dance

Yesterday WSBGM's provided some Phillies lookalikes, and the resemblance between new leftfielder Raul Ibanez and Rage Against the Macine guitarist Tom Morello is stunning:

Well, GM-Carson offered the suggestion, following my comment of "Turn on the radio, nah, fuck it, turn it off." that "Lights Out" Lidge should have that as an anthem. I can't disagree, unless of course, you go with "Guerilla Radio," you know, for the "Lights Out" part. Either way, it's Friday, time to dance, so enjoy both "Vietnow" and "Guerilla Radio."

BallHype: hype it up!

What Up, Shorty?

Anyone happen to catch the Flyers game last night? Well, uh, if you didn't, Mike Richards kindly would like to remind you that he is, in fact, the best player and best captain this city has seen since a pre-concussion Eric Lindros, no disrespect to Keith Primeau (Much disrespect to Eric Desjardins). In case you haven't heard, Richards posted a career-high 5 points and, well, I'll let Puck Daddy take it away:

No. 1 star, Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers:
Thursday night's game against visiting Buffalo was the 264th of Mike Richards' career, and statistically it goes down as his best night in the NHL. Richards scored two goals and added three assists for a career-high five points as the Flyers doubled up the Sabres, 6-3. Richards assisted on his team's first two goals, then took it upon himself to score the next pair
[Ed note: he didn't socre the next two. Knuble was sandwiched between his first and second]– the first of which was a league-leading sixth short-handed goal. Richards, with 22 goals and 57 points, was a plus-5 – don't see that very often – with five shots, two blocks, three hits during 22:22 of ice time. He won 17 of 24 faceoff, too. Oh, and he locked all the doors before being last to leave the arena.

What he's trying to say is, Mike Richards is a beast. And honestly, he has to be the single most intimidating penalty-killer in hockey, because at any moment, he can make a one-man disadvantage into an odd-man rush in his favor. It's frightening. Last night, with the game tied in the second, Kimmo Timonen and Richards, after a blocked shot, broke out on a 2-on-1 shorthanded, and Kimmo laid an incredible saucer pass over to Mr. Shorty, who one-armed it past Ryan Miller to put the Flyers ahead, scoring his 6th shorty of the year.

Last night, it was Richards' show from the onset. He started on a line with Darroll Powe and Scottie Upshall, found himself on the ice with Glen Metropolit and Aaron Asham when Metropolit scored (with an assist from Richards) and then finally settled back on the top line with Knuble and Gagne—a line that proved to be incredibly dominate in the second and third periods.

In a game that could only be described as back-and-forth, in which the Flyers failed to capitalized on a dominate first period, scoring only once, the Sabres hung around and eventually took the lead. John Stevens was back to his old line-shuffling self, which drives me fucking nuts, and the Flyers couldn't really get any continuity going, although they weren't playing bad.

Then, finally, mercifully, Stevens kept his reunited top line in tact, and it went nuts.

On a ridiculously awesome shift in the 2nd, the Flyers were hounding the Sabres in the offensive zone for what seemed like a solid 2 minutes, getting incredible chances, and finally, after a failed clear, Richards sent a pass along to Gagne, who hit Braydon Coburn, who had crept in from the point, with a perfect pass. Coburn banged it home, and the top line never looked back.

In the final period, the trio of Knuble-Richards-Gagne was unstoppable, and ultimately, the line that won the game. With the game tied, Gagne and Richards set up Knuble for the game-winning power play goal, and Richards and Powe added empty-netters for good measure.

Marty Biron had himself another solid, if unspectacular game. He should have definitely stopped one of Buffalo's goals, but he did make 39 saves on 42 shots. All told, not too shabby.

But it was Richards who stole the show. With all the talk of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin (and rightfully so), Richards is a guy who seemingly goes under the radar to the general public. But ask any expert and he'll tell you, Richards is just as important to the Flyers as those two guys are for the Penguins and Capitals. Surely, Crosby and Ovechkin are great players. So is Mike Richards, who seemingly has no weakness to this game. He hits. He can skate. He can score. He can pass. He plays defense as well as any forward in the league. He mans the point or plays down low on the power play. He kills penalties. He's decent at face-offs (definitely not great though). Oh, and he scores more shorthanded goals than anyone.

Mike Richards is a super star. At least, he should be.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chillin with Steph, Part II

Earlier today, I passed along one brave sole's bus stop encounter with Stephon Marbury.

Well, here's part 2:

BallHype: hype it up!

Bobby Abreu is Just Like Me

Say what you want about Bobby Abreu's tenure in Philadelphia, there's no question the guy loved playing here. And no matter how his career winds down (first a Yankee, now an Angel), he'll mostly be remembered as a Phillie, where he put up ridiculous numbers at the plate and even won a Gold Glove! (Biggest crock of shit ever, by the way.)

Sure, he wasn't a great fielder, and he was deathly afraid of the outfield wall, but Bobby was the best hitter on the Phillies each and every season he suited up. He was a perennial all-star(snub), who put on a ridiculous display in the home run derby and really looked to enjoy the game.

And it turns out, Abreu became a Philadelphia Phillies fan during his time here and rooted on his former team during its run to the World Series title in October:

“I was rooting for them. I was screaming, ‘Let’s go!’ at the television whenever they made a great play or scored some runs,” he said.

And when it was over, when Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske and the celebration began, Bobby Abreu admits that tears came to his eyes.

“I was crying in a happy way because I know how hard they worked for that and how important it is to win the World Series.

That's pretty fucking awesome. And I have to say, it cracks me up when Phils fans, even the incredible meech, discuss their hatred for Abreu while at the same time flaunting their affection for Pat Burrell. It's pretty mind-blowing if you ask me. I mean, think about it: The biggest knocks on Abreu were that he was terrible defensively, didn't always go hard after the ball, lacked the intensity and emotion Philadelphians crave, and often failed to get the clutch hit.

What, exactly, makes that description any different than the majority of Burrell's playing days in Philadelphia, save for the World Series ring last year? Terrible at defense? Check. Not always going full-bore for a ball? Maybe not, Burrell was just slow. Lacked perceived intensity and emotion? Do any of you remember his emotionless called third strikes or his maddening lunges at balls way out of the strike zone as he fell to one knee? Double-check. And, uh, for a few years there, Pat didn't get any hits, let alone clutch ones.

Now, I'm not saying all this to put down Pat. I love what Pat Burrell did to help the Phillies win, and I will always respect him for the way he handled himself and understood the fans in Philadelphia. He never made excuses, never blamed the fans, never asked to leave. The thing is, neither did Abreu. I'm just pointing out how horribly misplaced the hatred for Abreu is in this town. After all, when you look at it, Pat was the 1st overall pick and pretty much turned out to be a chronic underachiever most of his career. Abreu, on the the other hand, hit over .300 in 6 of his 8+ seasons in Philadelphia, walked at least 100 times each and every full year here, drove in runs, got on base … basically outperformed Burrell in every aspect of playing baseball.

I don't know, I just never understood the hate. Call me crazy, but I always have and always will love Bobby. Nice to see he's still pulling for us, too.

BallHype: hype it up!

Quit Throwing Links at My Heart

I think I may actually have a little time to throw out some links today … we'll see how far I can get. No time to waste.

-That Ovechkin fellow is pretty good I guess:

I caught the tail end of this game, and it was a horrible outcome for the Flyers. The Canadians were winning late in the third period, but Washington tied it and sent it to overtime, meaning both teams picked up at least one point. It didn't really matter who won for the Flyers, but we wanted someone to lose in regulation and not get any points. Turns out, Montreal got 1 point and the Caps got 2 with the shootout victory.

-Tyson Chandler, not headed to Charlotte. Chris Paul exhales.

-Marvin Harrison may be on his way out of Indy. That should give him plenty of time to shoot people in Philadelphia.

Perhaps a reunion with Donny? Probably not.

-Everyone's favorite ex-Sixer (or not) and Plymouth-Whitemarsh grad John Salmons is heading to Chicago in a trade.

Brad Miller heads to Chicago as well, while the Kings get Andres Nocioni, Drew Gooden, Michael Ruffin and Cedric Simmons. Um, I'm pretty sure Nocioni is better than Salmons and Gooden is about as good, if not better, at this point than Miller, but that's just me.

-Zach Randolph punched another former Sixer great, Louis Amundson.

Stop trying to kiss Zach, son.

-I wouldn't mind chillin with Stephon Marbury at a bus stop.

-Jarron Gilbert is a beast.

-Larry Bowa, still awesome:

“You mean the same guy who was never on time, out of shape and has one complete game? He has more stuff to worry about in the A.L. East than me. He has to worry about getting people out. He was never on time, was out of shape and never helped the kids out. Put that on the fucking dot-com. Put it in the headline.” [Ed. note: Done.]

“He never watched the game (when he was on the DL). Jason Schmidt watched the games. Nomar Garciaparra watched the games. Mark Sweeney watched the games. You go right down the line, everybody who was on the DL watched the games. But not him. He was out of there,” explained Bowa. “I’m in everybody’s corner when they work. When they’re lazy and don’t work. I could give a (well, you get the picture).”

-Don't ever forget, the Dr. was the original dunking ganster:

-Maalik Wayns was named a McDonald's All-American, via HHR.

-Meet Penn State's new kicker:

Also, Andre Miller got hurt last night—according to Dei Lynam during the game, it's a strained calf—so that's not good. But, the Flyers finally play again tonight, as they take on the Sabres at the Wachovia Center.

BallHype: hype it up!

If You Like Watching Grass Grow …

… Then Big 10 basketball is for you. Ugh, watching last night's Penn State-Illinois game in Champaign was one of the most painful things ever.

If you didn't watch the game—and I'm sure the majority of self-respecting human beings didn't—be glad you're smarter than me. The first bucket of the game came 4 minutes and 3 seconds in. At halftime, the score was 17-15 Penn State. 17-15. In 20 minutes. Of a Division I college basketball game. Yeah, the teams averaged well under a point a minute for the entire half.

And the second half didn't get much better. In fact, it wasn't better at all. Penn State pulled off the upset by winning 38-33. That was the final score. True story. Read that again: 38-33. As a final. In 40 minutes of basketball. Played by young men who are going to school for free solely because of their supposed "basketball skill."

I'm honestly not lying, I played in more entertaining pickup games at the IM Building when I went to Penn State. Like the time this one guy was calling 3-point bank shots from the corner … and making them. This game was atrocious. I mean, it was so bad that at one point of a close game that had incredibly meaningful NCAA tournament implications for my alma mater, I switched to the Sixers-Nuggets game just to watch some players make baskets.

When I returned in the second half, there was 11 minutes left in the game and the score was 26-20 Illinois. 26-20 with 11 minutes left. That's fucking awful. Luckily for Penn State, freshman Chris Babb made some tremendous plays down the stretch, the masturbating madman finally made a bucket and came up with a huge block, Villanova transfer Andrew Ott had a strong game, and Talor Battle hit some shots and iced the game at the line.

But man, that was easily the worst basketball game I've ever watched. Including women's games, which are akin to Chinese water torture. Talor Battle finished as the high scorer FOR THE GAME with 11 points. No one else, for either team, finished with more than 7. The teams combined to shoot 28-96 from the field, 29 percent. Penn State was 13-46 (28 percent) and Illinois went 15-50 (30 percent). It was like watching Rashard Lewis in his last attempt during the 3-point contest.

The thing is, this 38-33 score isn't even that ridiculous for Big 10 basketball. I've watched portions of a few Big 10 games this year, and the scores are almost always in the 40s and 50s. And it's not because of good defense either. It's because these teams suck at offense, hit each other like they're playing football and really just cannot shoot. It's awful. And that's why I hate Big 10 basketball. Watching the Big 10 is like getting a root canal. Only worse.

Having said that, it was a huge win for Penn State. It improved them to 19-8 overall and moved them into fourth place in the conference at 8-6. The Lions have knocked off all three teams ahead of them (Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois) and the team right behind them (Minnesota), so a chance to dance is still there. But that doesn't mean you should watch. Because Big 10 basketball sucks worse than Duke. OK, maybe not worse than Duke, but you get the idea.

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fight! Fight!

Holy shit! This is one crazy ass fight:

Wow. That's a scary-looking brawl, which took place during a game between Alabama high schools Carver and Valley. They aren't messing around down there.

BallHype: hype it up!

Roof? Game? Spectrum? What?

In some of the awesomest news that has ever been awesome, the Harlem Globetrotters are playing a real, live basketball game on the roof of the Spectrum. That is incredibly tits:

Special K. Daley and Scooter Christianson, members of the Harlem Globetrotters, were guests on 610 WIP's morning show today with Angelo Cataldi and announced they will in fact be playing a game atop the Spectrum. The game will take place on March 3rd... on the roof.

Here's a true story. When I was a youngster (can't remember the exact age), my dad took me to a Harlem Globetrotter's game at the Spectrum. It was the very first sporting event I ever attended at the Spectrum, and I remember that it was one of the most awesome experiences of my young life. Now, in an unbelievably great idea, the Globetrotters will get one last chance to play in on the Spectrum. Awesome.

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Want to Smile? Tune In to Some Hockey

It's a good time to be a hockey fan in Philadelphia right now. First off, the Flyers currently sit at fourth in the Eastern Conference and second in the Atlantic Division, and they've played the least amount of games (55) in the conference. They're getting healthy and playing good hockey, and the team has a lot of depth.

To top things off, the Rangers are struggling of late and the Penguins are currently four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. And they just fired their coach who took them to the Stanley Cup Finals last year. Tremendous.

Making things even better, both the Rangers and Penguins lost last night, and New York even got the shit kicked out of them physically. I mean, just check out Cam Janssen beating the piss out of Aaron Voros.

Spectacular. Now, if something bad can just happen to those damn Devils …

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Etiquette is Dead

Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you I'm not the politest person in the world. In fact, many of them will tell you I'm an asshole. Really, they're mistaken. I'm not the asshole, they are.

Anyway, asshole or not, I like to think I have a little bit of respect for my fellow human being when it comes to my actions in public and at work. Apparently, no one else feels that way, because just minutes ago I discovered that any semblance of social etiquette has been forever killed.

You see, I just was in the bathroom taking a piss when a cell phone rang. Turns out, it was the phone of a guy who was taking a shit. He proceeded to answer his phone, while taking a dump at work, in a public bathroom, and have a conversation with whoever was on the other end. At work. In the bathroom. While he was shitting. And I was pissing.

Well, I have one word for that guy: DIE! Die, die, die, die! Under no circumstance should anyone, ever, be talking on the phone while taking a shit in the public bathroom at work. Save that for the home. Like I do.

Poop is funny and telling someone who calls that your shitting at that very moment is even funnier. But not at work. Honestly, what is wrong with people?

BallHype: hype it up!

Worst. All-Star Weekend. Ever.

So you want the highlight of the NBA All-Star game? Here it is:

Why was that the highlight? Because the game sucked. A lot. It was a boring blowout, Kobe was ball-hogging like it was his job and LeBron sucked. I mean, he must have dribbled the ball off his foot at least five times. Pathetic.

Ok, that wasn't the only highlight. This was pretty sweet:

And this was the play of the play of the night:

Basically, if it wasn't for Shaq, who dominated like the Shaq of old, that All-Star Game would have been the biggest piece of garbage ever. And that was pretty much my feelings on the entire weekend. The three-point contest was horrible. It was without question the worst collection of shooting ever in the event. I mean, Rashard Lewis made the finals and managed to hit 7 shots in the extra period. Seven. That's pathetic. No one reached 20 points in any round. No one. Horrible.

Admittedly, I didn't see the H.O.R.S.E. G.E.I.C.O. competition, which I heard was pedestrian, and I didn't watch the rookie game, which apparently was owned by Kevin Durant. I'm sorry I missed that, seeing as it had to be the highlight of the weekend, especially with Beasley performing well too.

As far as the dunk contest is concerned, my feelings can be summed up by Shoals and Ziller. I completely agree with this statement by Shoals:

Maybe I'm sick of Nate Robinson getting scored on a curve because he's short

I know I'm sick of Nate getting inflated scores simply because he's short. Yes, it's impressive he can get that high, but he was getting scores that were entirely too high. His first dunk, he scored higher than J.R. Smith, and they did essentially the same dunk, only J.R. caught it on the second bounce, not the first, which is much, much harder. Yet Nate got a higher score.

And as Ziller pointed out, Rudy Fernandez got jobbed:

By my count, Rudy was in fact the first European or white non-American in the dunk contest ... and he got a bit jobbed. Sure, Pau Gasol's repeated failure to land the pass properly hurt. But Nate Robinson took 137 attempts in victory a few years ago; the two-minute plus two attempts limit seems a fair standard time control in our post-Birdmanpocolyptic world. KryptoNate, the eventual King, shouldn't have beat Rudy in the first round.

He's completely right. In fact, I think Rudy's dunk from Pau was the best dunk of the night:

Yes, Dwight's off the side of the backboard was sick, as was Nate jumped over Superman, but Rudy's was easily the most difficult dunk of the night, and he did nail it in the allotted time. Either way, pathetic display by the judges and the NBA with this mockery. Last year, the dunk contest was revived, but with Saturday's awful judging and the screw-job of Iguodala a few years ago, the dunk contest leaves a bad taste … yet I'll continue to watch.

Either way, you know it was a dull game/weekend when Allen Iverson's haircut was possibly the most memorable thing.

Oh, and Duke lost again. UNC didn't, thanks to a Herculean effort by Ty Lawson, who was sick down the stretch, nailing some big threes.

Duke sucks.

BallHype: hype it up!

I Love Beating New York

Ten goals in two games. Both against New York teams. Yeah, that was a pretty sweet weekend.

Now, Saturday's 5-1 win over the Islanders was a bit deceptive with the score. The Isles actually played the Flyers pretty tough but couldn't find the back of the net thanks to Marty Biron. He stopped 38 freakin shots and looked an awful lot like the Biron who was standing on his head much of the playoffs last season. That was nice to see.

And while Biron was stonewalling the Islanders, the Flyers were capitalizing the way good teams are supposed to. The opener came on an incredible backhand pass by Scottie Upshall to Claude Giroux, who made no mistake, burying the puck. Almost immediately afterward, Aaron Asham beat the piss out of Tim Jackman.

The Flyers never looked back. Hartnell gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead before the first was through, and then, Carle, Asham and Gagne went bang, bang, bang, scoring three goals in 1:07 to ice the game. The highlight was definitely Simon's penalty shot goal, which was a thing of beauty.

Gagne is now a perfect 3-for-3 on penalty shots in his career.

And while a 5-1 win over the Islanders is always nice, it was nothing compared to yesterday. On national television, NBC to be exact, the Flyers finally took on the Rangers again with a chance to redeem the 4-3 loss in October. And boy did they ever do that, up in Madison Square Garden no less.

For the second straight game, Giroux got things going, opening the scoring with assists from Upshall and Darroll Powe. All game long, much like in the Islanders game, this line was the most energetic, most effective line for the Flyers. I hate to make hasty comparisons, but honestly, watching Giroux since he's come up this season, he reminds me of a less physical (and obviously, not nearly as good at this point) Peter Forsberg, as far as his vision on the ice and tremendous passing skills are concerned.

He has been especially impressive the past few games, and the future looks very bright for Giroux.

The first period was actually pretty evenly played, with the Flyers getting a few more scoring chances than New York, but the complexion of the game changed completely thanks to the captain. Mike Richards, quite possibly the most underrated superstar in the NHL, as Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury pointed out, completely ripped out the Rangers' and their fans' collective hearts with this thing of beauty:

Yeah, that was a 5-on-3 shorthanded goal by Richards, the third time he's scored when his team was down two men in his career, setting the all-time record. Suck on that Lundqvist.

Well, Richards' goal opened the flood gates. A few minutes later, Matt Carle scored his second goal is as many days, and 54 seconds later, Glen Metropolit banked one off Henrik, chasing the guy most Rangers fans think is the best goalie in hockey out of the game in embarrassing fashion. Just for good measure, Knuble scored less than a minute later on some beautiful passing to put the Flyers up 5-0.

Man was it sweet. However, the Rangers didn't roll over and die. In fact, from that point on, they pretty much dominated the Flyers. Two problems though: They went down 5-0 and Marty Biron was fantastic. For the second straight game, Marty stopped 30-plus shots, turning away 35 of 37 offerings. He was especially strong late in the game when the Flyers, up by 4, seemed to run out of gas and energy. However, Marty stood tall and the Flyers came away with a very satisfying 5-2 win, outscoring New York opponents 10-3 over the weekend.

It was pretty awesome, especially seeing Claude Giroux follow up his strong game against the Islanders by being the best player on the ice against the Rangers. Yes, I said Giroux was the best player on the ice in yesterday's game, and I mean it. He had a goal and two assists, and every time he was on the ice, he made things happen for the Flyers. Now, the Fly guys are three points up on the Rangers with two games in hand. Still eight behind the Devils though, but again, two games in hand.

BallHype: hype it up!