Duke Tops Wisconsin

Coach Mike Krzyzewski won his fifth national title with the Duke Blue Devils last night, beating Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin 68-63. The game was one for the ages, featuring star freshman and star seniors. The game was back in forth the entire time, and ended with Duke overcoming a nine point deficit to knock off the Badgers. The story lines coming from this game are endless, but what are the three biggest ones?
Aside from the obvious fact that Duke won, the biggest storyline was the emergence of the two freshman on Duke’s team that aren’t considered top five picks in the draft. The main focus coming into the game was how Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow would perform against their counterparts, Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. Okafor had a subpar performance, and Winslow played well, but the two players that put Duke over the top were their other two freshman, Tyus Jones and Grayson Allen.
Allen scored 16 points off the bench, his third highest scoring total this year. When Duke looked to be in trouble, Allen is the guy who kept them in the game with his stellar play. He gave the team a huge spark with his ability to get to the free throw line and his overall effort.
Jones, on the other hand, is the one who put the game away late with an insanely clutch three-pointer. He was given the ball late in the game and was told to go and win it, and win it he did. To top off his performance, he hit two free throws in the final minute to put the game out of reach. His 23-point performance won him the Final-Four Most Outstanding Player.
The next biggest storyline has to be Bo Ryan’s post-game comments. In his post-game presser, he essentially took a shot at both the referees and the “one-and-done” system.
Ryan made a comment about “the body contact” and “the hand checking”, saying he felt sorry for his players that all of the sudden a game was played like that, when they hadn’t played a game that was called like that all season.
Even though the officiating was bad, and yes, Duke got a couple of calls that should’ve went the other way, Bo Ryan has no room to complain about the refs. His team was given every call down the stretch against Kentucky, and there were two or three calls that subsequently gave Wisconsin points in that game. So yes, the officiating was bad, but those same bad calls helped you in the previous game.
When it comes to the “rent-a-player” line, there isn’t anything wrong with that. One side of the argument could say, “He’s just mad that he can’t get these one-and-done players. He knows he would take a one-and-done player if that player wanted to play at Wisconsin”, and the other side could say,”Thats just how Bo likes to run things. He likes to recruit system guys that he can develop into good players over four years.” Neither argument is wrong, and neither argument is right.
Could Bo have worded his answers better? Yes. Could he have come off as a little less of a “sore loser”, as some are calling him? Yes. But whats done is done, and Bo Ryan will continue to be one of the better coaches in college basketball.
Lastly, how will last nights game affect the draft stock of Jahlil Okafor, Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky? Thats the question that many are asking today, and rightfully so. Jahlil did not play his best game last night, and frankly (pun intended), Frank Kaminsky worked him last night. Frank’s basketball IQ, fundamentals, and post moves reigned superior over Okafor’s size and athleticism last night. The only time Okafor got the best of Kaminsky was late in the second half, when Kaminsky had played nearly the entire game and Okafor had been on the bench with foul trouble.
Now don’t get me wrong, just because Frank got the better of Okafor doesn’t mean he will get drafted higher. Okafor is still a superior draft prospect and has a higher ceiling than Kaminsky, and therefore will still get drafted in the top three or four while Kaminsky will get drafted in the mid to late lottery.
A player who’s draft stock was hurt last night was Sam Dekker. Dekker had been on fire during the tournament, specifically from three point land. He had not shot spectacular from three during the season, so many were wondering whether or not it was a fluke or if that shot was here to stay. Well, it looked last night like his previous tournament performances from three were a fluke, making zero of his six three-point attempts. Sure, everyone has off nights, but Dekker’s performance last night will definitely have some front office executives questioning how high he should go.
Regardless of how bad the refs were, who came to play and who didn’t, and how the game was won, Duke is your national champion. They won the hardest national championship there is to win in sports, and they did it in thrilling fashion. Coach K established himself once again as a top three coach of all time, and he has even more freshman coming in next year to try and do it all over again.

Anthony Davis has right shoulder sprain, questionable for Monday


Good news for Pels, losing Davis for extended time would all but eliminate them from the playoffs.

Originally posted on ProBasketballTalk:

In the first half of the Pelicans’ Saturday night blowout loss to the Bulls, Anthony Davis finished a monstrous dunk but exited the game with an apparent shoulder injury.

[nbcsports_video src=https://www.youtube.com/embed/VWabNKW8Odg width=620 height=349]

Now, the Pelicans have issued an update on his status. He has a sprained right shoulder.

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that forward Anthony Davis has been diagnosed with a right shoulder sprain. Davis sustained the injury at the 5:28 mark of the second quarter in New Orleans’ game Saturday night against Chicago at the Smoothie King Center.

Davis is questionable for Monday’s home game against Utah and is listed as day-to-day.

The good news is that Davis’ day-to-day status and the fact that he hasn’t been ruled out means that the injury isn’t as serious as it could have been, and he likely won’t miss extended time. Davis is scheduled to start in next Sunday’s…

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Pelicans Top Thunder With Davis Buzzer Beater (Video)

On Friday night, the New Orleans Pelicans faced off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City. The Pelicans were coming off of a home loss against this same Thunder team, minus Kevin Durant. In that home loss, the Pelicans allowed Russell Westbrook to score 45 points. On Friday night they were not much better, allowing him to drop 48. But unlike Wednesday night, the Pelicans were able to overcome.
By looking at tonights matchup on paper, one would think that the Thunder would win this game fairly easy. They had just beaten the Pelicans on their home floor the other night without the reigning MVP, so why wouldn’t they be able to beat New Orleans again, on their home floor, with the MVP? Well, the answer to that question is Anthony Davis (with a dose of Tyreke Evans).
The combo of Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans was a lethal one tonight. Davis finished the game with a team high 41 points and added 10 rebounds, while Evans finished with a triple double that included 22 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds. When two players on any one team play like that on the same night, its going to be hard to beat that team, especially when that team shoots 55 percent from three like the Pelicans did tonight. New Orleans might not have played a complete all around game tonight, but on the offense end they put on a show.
Aside from the offensive show, what was almost the downfall for the Pelicans tonight was their defense. Once again, Russell Westbrook torched them, and Kevin Durant added another 27 points. No team can consistently win games when giving up 75 points to the other teams two best players. Luckily for the Pelicans, there aren’t many Westbrook/Durant combos out there.
Even with all the excitement and offense of tonights game, it still came down to one shot, a shot taken (and made) by Anthony Davis. With 1.2 seconds left, New Orleans had the ball to inbound. The ball found its way into Anthony Davis’ hands, and he delivered the three most important points of the night in buzzer beater fashion, bringing his point total to 41. You can see Anthony Davis’ crazy buzzer beater below.

Pelicans Fall to Thunder

The Pelicans fell to the Thunder on Wednesday night at home 102-91. The Thunder were without former MVP Kevin Durant, while the Pelicans were without starting point guard Jrue Holiday. Although Anthony Davis poured in 23 points and had eight rebounds, the absence of Holiday proved to be the deciding factor. In Holiday’s absence, Russell Westbrook went off for 45 points.

The Pelicans for the most part played well against the Thunder. The rebounding totals were equal at 47 a piece, they committed four less turnovers, and had more assists. The difference in the game, aside from Russell Westbrook’s 45 points, was the amount of blocked shots the Thunder had; namely Serge Ibaka, who had six all by himself. The Thunder had seven more blocked shots than the Pelicans. That led to a shooting percentage total for the Pelicans that was much lower than the Thunder. Oklahoma City shot 52 percent from the field while New Orleans shot 38 percent from the field. It’s hard to win basketball games with a shooting discrepancy like that.

Ultimately, no matter how bad you might shoot the ball, you can’t allow an opposing player to score 45 points off of 58 percent shooting like the Pelicans let Russell Westbrook do tonight. Not having Jrue Holiday hurt, but they have to be able to compensate better during his absence.

The Pelicans are currently sitting at 26-23, which has them at one and a half games back of the eighth playoff spot. Jrue Holiday should be back within the next couple of weeks, which will help tremendously. In the meantime, the Pelicans have a pretty favorable schedule over the next five games. For their next game they will travel to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder once again. After that, they have three straight home games against the Bulls, Jazz and Pacers. They then will travel to Orlando to face the Magic. If they can win three or four of their next five games, they will be a good spot for the return of Jrue Holiday.

Patriots Top Seahawks

The 2014 Super Bowl was a major disappointment, with the Seahawks routing the Peyton Manning led Broncos 43-8. Many thought there was no way this Super Bowl could be a snoozer like last years, and they were right. The 2015 Super Bowl was one for the ages. There was pregame drama, highlighted by “Deflate Gate”, which dealt with the Patriots alleged deflation of their footballs in their AFC Championship game routing of the Colts. The drama didn’t stop there though. This game had drama from the first drive all the way to the last one, and that’s why this Super Bowl will be remembered for the long time.

There were a lot of topics of discussion leading into this game. Could the Seahawks repeat? Can Tom Brady and Bill Belichick get their fourth Super Bowl title together? How would the “Legion of Boom’ hold up with all of their injuries? Would there be a player make a name for himself? So many questions leading into the game, all of which were answered in thrilling fashion.

Coming into the game, who had ever heard the names Chris Matthews and Malcolm Butler outside of their respective cities? Chris Matthews was working at a Footlocker not too long ago trying to establish a career, that is until he got the call from the Seattle Seahawks. Two months ago Matthews wasn’t even on the Seahawks roster, and last night he was a Russell Wilson interception from being named Super Bowl MVP. On the other hand, you have Malcolm Butler, who made one of the biggest plays in Super Bowl history, a play that clinched a Super Bowl title for the New England Patriots. In 2009, Butler was working at a Popeyes. In 2014, he was signed as a undrafted free agent out of West Alabama by the Patriots. In 2015, he made the play of the year, picking off Russell Wilson in the end zone to clinch the title. These two Cinderella stories show that anything is possible with hard work and perseverance.

Another obvious storyline is how the Seahawks lost this game. One, injuries proved to be detrimental to the Seattle defense. The trio of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor all showed signs of not being 100 percent throughout the game. In addition, Jeremy Lane, the third corner on the team, broke his wrist/arm in the first quarters, leaving Tharold Simon to take over corner duties. Simon is good on the deep ball, but got burned consistently on short routes by super quick receivers. The absence of Jeremy Lane might’ve been the biggest blow of them all.

In addition to injuries, the Seahawks missed two huge opportunities to put the game away. In the third quarter, Jermaine Kearse dropped a pass that was right in his hands that would’ve gave the Seahawks a first down late in the third quarter in Patriots territory. Barring a turnover, the Seahawks would’ve got at least three points on that possession, if not seven. On top of not getting the points, they lost most of the momentum that they had gained leading up to that point. The play that has left most of the nation dumbfounded though is the decision not to run Marshawn Lynch, “Beast Mode”, on second down from the one yard line with more than 20 seconds left. Instead, Pete Carroll chose to pass the ball, which led to the game winning interception by Malcolm Butler. They might not have scored running Lynch three times in a row, but it would’ve taken a miracle at that point to stop him three consecutive times. Yes, had they scored Pete Carroll would be receiving praise from all over the country today, but they didn’t. Instead, he will be getting questions about that call for a long time.

Lastly, the biggest story coming out of the Super Bowl is that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have now won their fourth title together. These two were already the most lethal coach/quarterback combo in history in my book, and they just cemented it Sunday night. Not only have they won four together, but they would have two more had it not been for once in a lifetime catches by both David Tyree and Mario Manningham of the New York Giants. The fact that they’ve been to the Super Bowl six times is insane, and the fact that they’ve come so close to winning six is even more insane. Each can be considered the best of all time at their respective professions. There will not be another NFL team have the same consistency and longevity of the Patriots for a long time.

The Patriots have achieved history, and this game will be remembered for a long time. Each team played lights out, but in the end the Patriots made the plays to win. The Seahawks will look to bounce back next year, and with the amount of young talent they have on their roster, they are more than capable of doing so.

Hassan Whiteside posts 14-point, 13-rebound, 12-block triple-double in Heat win over Bulls (VIDEO)

Originally posted on ProBasketballTalk:

CHICAGO — The Bulls had no answer for Hassan Whiteside. In just 24 minutes on the floor, the Miami Heat center was a terror in the paint, putting up a career night with 14 points, 13 rebounds and a Heat franchise record 12 blocks.

The Bulls’ formidable frontline was terrified to even go at him, and when they did, he made them pay. Pau Gasol’s 13 points came on 6-for-16 shooting. Joakim Noah shot 1-for-5. Taj Gibson shot 3-for-10. When Whiteside was in the game, the Bulls couldn’t get anything going offensively.

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“That’s what the team needs,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “It gives us a very different dimension. It’s a credit to him for continuing to work hard and match it with his talent.”

Whiteside’s out-of-nowhere success story has been the highlight of an up-and-down season for the Heat in their first year without LeBron…

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Report: Nets, Hornets talk Joe Johnson trade

Originally posted on NBA.com | Hang Time Blog with Sekou Smith:

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Will Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King pull the trigger this time?

The Nets have been looking to unload one or more of their three biggest contracts for a while now. Last week, they reportedly came close to dealing Brook Lopez to Oklahoma City in a three-team trade, but pulled out because they were hesitant to take back Lance Stephenson.

Now, they may be bringing Stephenson home to Brooklyn in a different trade. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Nets and Hornets are in discussions to swap Joe Johnson for Stephenson and a couple of his teammates …

The Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets have restarted trade discussions, this time focused on guard Joe Johnson, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Hornets and Nets are discussing a larger package that would likely include guards Lance Stephenson and Gerald Henderson and forward Marvin Williams, league…

View original 154 more words


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