All Balls Don’t Bounce

Completely Random Sports Non Sequiturs From A Completely Random Hip Hop Head

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Sports Update

Posted by hiphopmama on December 27, 2008

Number 21 is tackling Jesus!!

Number 21 is tackling Jesus!!

With the NBA season picking up steam, this has essentially become a Lakers blog. Which is cool, but I had initially intended to use it as a forum to talk about all the sports I watched, and I’ve definitely fallen off in that respect. With that in mind, I’d like to recap all the sporting action I’ve been watching, with an eye toward what current results are likely to mean in the near future. Without further ado…

Premier League

Apparently no one wants to win the title this year, because every time one of the top teams slips up and presents an opening, the rest follow suit with disappointing performances to keep pace with the leaders. Arsenal are goners (not Gooners) at this point, but the remaining Big Three seem to win, lose, or draw together, as if they signed a mutual pact before the season stating that no one would run away with the title before the new year. Liverpool and Chelsea, in particular, have had their fates linked, with each team drawing games and losing points at the same time, and then both turning it around for a big win the following week. Friday’s games saw this happen again, as the top two squads gave dominating performances and secured three points apiece to stay logjammed at the top of the table (Liverpool currently sits one point ahead of Chelsea). It’s hard to figure Man Utd out at this point, since they’ve played two fewer games for the moment, but they’re certainly within striking distance, as are Aston Villa, the surprise upstarts of the season. They staged a miraculous comeback on Boxing Day – perhaps not so miraculous considering Arsenal’s form this year – surging from 2-0 down to tie the game with a stoppage time goal from Zat Knight. The draw kept Arsenal out of the top four for another week, three points adrift of Villa for the final Champions League spot. I had expected much more to be decided by the Christmas slate of games, but it appears we’ll be exactly where we started come January. How the teams approach the transfer market will thus likely have a big effect on the ultimate outcome.

La Liga

Pep Guardiola is right to point out that there’s a long way to go, but it’s increasingly looking like a foregone conclusion that Barça will win the title this year. Real Madrid is all but out of the race, currently sitting in fifth place and twelve points adrift of the leaders. No team has been as ravaged by injuries as Los Merengues, so an infusion of new blood will be necessary if they plan to make a late run to defend their title, or even to reclaim a top four spot. They’ve already locked up Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Lassana Diarra, but another defender and someone to play on the right wing would be a big help to Juande Ramos as he tries to extend his stay with the team. Valencia has stayed near the top longer than expected, especially considering the injury to David Silva, and Sevilla are the closest to Barcelona in second place. Mind you, they’re still ten points back of the Blaugrana, but they’re in a better spot than anyone else to overtake them. If they can hang onto their players, that is. 

Serie A

Inter continue their league dominance, entering the new year six points ahead of Juventus, their nearest competitors, with AC Milan nine points off the pace. While it pains me to say so, Jose Mourinho has done well with his boys, not allowing malaise to set in for extended periods and fielding good squads suited to the task at hand. Juventus have been picking up steam, though, and are poised to make life tough for Inter down the stretch. While I want to believe that AC Milan are still in it, I doubt they’ll be serious contenders come season’s end. Their aging squad has added another elder statesman in David Beckham, and the return of players like Pirlo and Ambrosini has helped prop the team up recently. Still, Kaka and Ronaldinho have yet to prove they can play effectively together and neither has been exactly scintillating so far. The middle third of the table is remarkably tight as well, with Napoli, Genoa, Lazio, and Catania all within striking distance of a top four spot. If Juve (and hoepfully Milan and Fiorentina) can give Inter a run for their money, it should be an entertaining sprint to the finish line. Anyone but Inter!

NFL

And now to the good stuff. The NFL is in its home stretch, with one more round of games to determine the lucky teams who will make the playoffs. While the Giants and Titans are essentially marking time until their second round match-ups, there are a number of battles yet to be played out. The Eagles still have a shot at a playoff spot if they can beat the Cowboys and get a little help from teams like the Bucs, Vikings, and/or Bears. The Dolphins have their fate in their own hands and can clinch the AFC East with a win this week, regardless of what the Patriots do. New England, on the other hand, has to win and then hope for a Miami loss (or tie). Come on, Dolphins. The best game of the week will be between the Chargers and Broncos for sole possession of the AFC West title, although I’ll have a hard time watching because I dislike both quarterbacks so much. Both seem like your prototypical QB jock brought up to believe their shit don’t stink. I hope they both crash and burn, but that the Chargers still win. This has the potential to be one of the more interesting playoffs in a while, with a surprising array of strong teams all with a chance to do some real damage. Just think about it. When was the last time the Colts were a five seed? The Vikings in the three spot? And the Dolphins in the playoffs at all?? Despite their stellar records, none of the top teams looks really unbeatable, so every game should be a slugfest with the potential of an upset. As long as the Patriots don’t make it, I really can’t lose this year.

So that’s that. My sports viewing in a nutshell. Does anyone really give a shit? Nope, just me, but I’ll always take the chance to prove my extensive knowledge and remind people that I know more about sports than they do AND I’m a girl. How about that X chromosome?

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What I’m Watching This Weekend

Posted by hiphopmama on December 12, 2008

As if you gave a damn. =) I’m looking forward to a good weekend of sports viewing, and I just had to share it all with you. Because I’m self-centered like that.

El Clasico: Barcelona v Real Madrid

This is numero uno on my schedule this weekend. As impossible as it sounds, I’m kind of indifferent to the outcome of this game, so I can just enjoy the intensity of it all without sweating the result. Barcelona is currently six points clear at the top of the table, while Real Madrid sits in fifth, nine points adrift of the Blaugrana. I expect it to be a hotly contested affair with lots of highlights, but I also expect that it won’t be particularly close in the end, with Barça winning it in their typical eye-popping style. As long as both teams come to play – as I fully expect – and not just to thwart the other team, it should live up to the hype. 

Tottenham v Manchester United

Dimitar Berbatov returns to White Hart Lane to take on a surging Spurs side that has remade its season under Harry Redknapp. The newly crowned Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo will be entertaining as always, even if only in his monstrously exaggerated attempts to get fouls calls on the opposing team. 

Chelsea v West Ham

Chelsea will hope to regain their form at the formerly formidable Stamford Bridge (I know, I know, excessive) in the London derby against the East End Hammers. Only trailing Liverpool by one point, Chelsea have a chance to overtake them at the top of the table depending on how it all shakes out. Drogba is finally back in action, so Scolari has the (un)enviable problem of deciding how to play his star-studded front line with both Didier and Anelka chomping at the bit. Anelka has been outstanding this year, but he has been less than stellar at the Bridge and Drogba is coming off a spectacular goal against Cluj in Champions League play this week. West Ham are looking to stop a horrendous slide in which they haven’t won a game since September. Good luck turning it around against Chelsea.

Juventus v AC Milan

These two teams will be duking it out for sole possession of second place in Serie A, behind only Inter in the standings. Milan have moved into prime position in the table despite some middling performances, while Juve have been on a bit of a tear. A win would be more of a statement for Milan at this point.

Buccaneers v Falcons

Atlanta is currently one game behind Tampa Bay, who sits one game behind Carolina in the shockingly good NFC South. With the Panthers facing a tough three games to close the season, this game could help propel either of these teams into the playoff mix.

Giants v Cowboys

Yet another crucial game in the always tough NFC East. Go Eli. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Timberwolves v Lakers

This SHOULDN’T be a good game, but with the Lakers you never know. As I just heard Stu Lantz say, this is the most misleading 18-3 (now 19-3) record you will see. Still, the Timberwolves shouldn’t be able to push us too hard. Right? I think I’m trying to convince myself.

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NFL Week 2 Wrap-Up

Posted by hiphopmama on September 15, 2008

Apparently it was comeback week in the NFL, because there were quite a few teams that brought themselves back from seeming defeat to win or at least make a game of it. There weren’t too many surprising results, except that both Oakland and San Francisco won in the same week (shocker!), but it was an exciting Sunday just the same. Here are the scores, with my own inestimable commentary.

– Tennessee 24, Cincinnati 7

  • Kerry Collins’ steady hand helped lead the Titans to an easy victory over an abysmal Bengals team, which is now 0-2. Ocho Cinco looked beleaguered, as did Cincinnati’s offense in general, and the Tennessee game plan ran smoothly with the back-up quarterback at the helm. I expected the Titans to do well, but not this well.

– Green Bay 48, Detroit 25

  • This was one game that featured a good comeback, with the Lions coming back from 21-0 down in the second quarter, but Detroit couldn’t hold on to the brief lead they captured. Once again, Rodgers was composed and effective, even more so than in his week 1 performance. Could he look more impressive at this point?

– Oakland 23, Kansas City 8

  • McFadden went absolutely nuts in this one, rushing for 164 yards on 21 carries, including a 50 yard run and TD in the third quarter. It was a good showing for the Raiders, although they did lose Justin Fargas to a groin injury in the first half.

– New York Giants 41, St. Louis 13

  • The Giants D looked unfazed by its recent personnel losses, sacking Bulger six times. Eli Manning played great too, going 20/29 for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns (and no interceptions, mind you). The Rams looked hopeless again.

– Indianapolis 18, Minnesota 15

  • This was one of the bigger comebacks of the day. The Colts were down 15-0 in the third quarter, but Peyton was able to lead them back since the Vikings were only able to manage five Ryan Longwell field goals. Vinatieri grabbed the lead for Indy with a 47 yard field goal with three seconds left on the clock. We had stopped watching this one with the score so lopsided, but we were able to catch the end, after picking our jaws off the floor.

– New Orleans 24, Washington 29

  • This was another one we turned away from, my husband happily assured of a Saints win late in the game. The Redskins turned it around, though, as Jason Campbell netted 321 yards, the highlight being a 67-yard TD to Santana Moss. Brees’ two interceptions and Shockey’s lost fumble didn’t help, either. Shockey had a hand in one of the interceptions too, so not a great day for him. Ha. Ha. Ha.

– Chicago 17, Carolina 20

  • The Panthers pulled off another improbable comeback this week after falling behind 17-3 in the third quarter. Rookie RB Jonathan Stewart led the charge with 77 yards and 2 TDs. How is this team 2-0? I guess you could say it’s been a gutsy 2-0 start.

– Buffalo 20, Jacksonville 16

  • This one was a bit of a comeback as well, with the Bills rallying from 10-16 down in the fourth quarter. Trent Edwards was spot-on (20/25, 239 yds, 1 TD), especially on his 7-yard TD pass to James Hardy in the fourth. And now the Bills are 2-0. Can’t say I foresaw that one.

– San Francisco 33, Seattle 30

  • San Francisco was down 13-20 at the end of the first half, but J.T. O’Sullivan’s 321 yards helped bring them back and force overtime, where Joe Nedney’s 40-yarder got them the win. With SF 1-1, I have less ammunition with which to deny my husband the right to view them next week. Damn.

– Atlanta 9, Tampa Bay 24

  • I can’t lie – I didn’t see a minute of this one and didn’t really want to. But I can tell you that Griese played competently enough to trounce the Falcons and rookie QB Matt Ryan, who went 0 for 9 to open the game. Meh. That’s all I got for that one.

– San Diego 38, Denver 39

  • This was a great game – lots of scoring, lead changes, and some amazing plays, particularly by Chargers RB Darren Sproles. Sproles ran for 53 yards in relief of an injured LT, but his best plays were a 66 yard TD catch and a 103 yard kick return for a touchdown. I was pulling for San Diego, but I couldn’t hate anyone at the end of the game, except perhaps Ed Hochuli, for blowing the whistle on what should have been called a fumble by Jay Cutler on second and goal. A review showed it was not, as Hochuli called it, an incomplete pass, but the rules don’t allow possession to change on such an instance, and the Broncos reached the end zone in short order on a 4 yard pass to Eddie Royal. They followed it up with a 2 point conversion, also to Eddie Royal, to grab a one point lead, which they maintained to win. This is why I got DirecTV. Except that I had this game on my local station anyway. Ah shit.

– New England 19, New York Jets 10

  • Favre didn’t look nearly as impressive in this one, especially in comparison with Aaron Rodgers’ performance in week 2. Favre (18/26, 181 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) made a couple of big plays for the Jets’ offense, but he also lofted one for his first pick of the year. Matt Cassel was as good as necessary, going 16/23 for 165 yards, and he looked comfortable with the offense. Favre tried to bring them back but was held off by the New England defense. Boo hoo, Brett. Boo hoo.

– Miami 10, Arizona 31

  • Kurt Warner had it clicking all day and finished with only 5 incomplete passes (19 for 24), 361 yards, and 3 touchdowns, all three to Anquan Boldin, who picked up 140 yards receiving. Larry Fitzgerald also reaped the benefits of Warner’s accuracy with 153 yards of his own. Warner ended up with a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the process. Oh, and the Dolphins looked miserable. Poor Chad.

– Pittsburgh 10, Cleveland 6

  • Typical Pittsburgh game: low score, turnovers, gutsy performance. Roethlisberger played the game with a separated shoulder but still did well enough (12/19, 186 yds, 1 TD), and Willie Parker added 105 yards rushing. Not the prettiest game, but at least it was close the whole way through.

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