Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rondo's triple double dominance, and Boston's reaction to Ray's return

Rondo has triple doubles in the Celtics last two losses.
Friday night's debacle in Atlanta was one of the most difficult Celtics losses I can remember seeing in a long, long time.  That's all I'm going to say about that.  Rajon Rondo did however post his second consecutive triple double.  He's now got 5 this season, 3 more than anyone else in the NBA.  Last year he had 6, while nobody else in the league even did it more than once.  If you include the 4 he had in the playoffs last spring, he's got 15 since the beginning of last season.  The next best over that time period?  Lebron James' 3.

Sunday Lebron and the Miami Heat come to town.  If Boston can find a way to beat them, it'll go a long way towards making people forget about this 6 game losing streak.  I may be the only person in New England who actually thinks it could happen.

But, the real question is how the fans will react to Ray Allen, who's making his first appearance back here since fleeing to Miami.  The Celtics will undoubtedly have some sort of tribute for Ray, and I wonder how it will go over.  I'll be there in the crowd, and I'm not even sure how I'll handle it.  My guess is that if they throw up a montage filled with game winning threes and a bunch of moments from the 2007 title run, myself and most of the Garden fans win lean towards cheers rather than boos.

Paul Pierce also just passed Allen for 21st place on the NBA's all-time scoring list, and currently leads him by 14 points (23,398 to 23,384).  If Ray gets off to a hot start we could possibly see the lead change hands during the game, maybe even multiple times.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Some great college hoops stories from the past few days

On Wednesday night the #1 Duke Blue Devils lost to the Miami Hurricanes by the score of 90-63.  Miami is now 5-0 in the ACC, with a two game lead in the loss column over the conference's 2nd place team, NC State (4-2).  The thought of Miami winning the ACC sounds crazy to me.  Not that long ago the Big East added the 'Canes for football purposes, which made a mockery of their basketball conference.  As horrific as Miami was in the Big East in the early 1990's, they likely would have fared even worse in the ACC.

The 27 point loss by Duke was the 3rd worst ever for a #1 team, and the Blue Devils most lopsided regular season loss since 1984.  Duke (now 16-2) somehow managed to get this far into the season with only two road games on their schedule, and they've dropped both of them by an average of 17.5 points.  The most recent defeat opens the door for the #2 Michigan Wolverines (18-1), who can take over the the top spot in the polls if they win at Illinois on Sunday.  It's been 20 years since the Wolverines were last ranked #1, back when the Fab Five were all sophomores in 1993.

One team that both Duke and Michigan beat this year is the #12 Minnesota Golden Gophers (15-4). Oddly enough, Minnesota's first three losses this season were all to teams ranked #5 at the time of the game (Duke 11/22, Indiana 1/12, and Michigan 1/17).

This loooong 3 from Darien Brothers sent the game to OT.
And last but not least I have to mention my Richmond Spiders.  Yesterday they hosted the #19 VCU Rams.  Back when I went to Richmond these two schools were crosstown rivals in the CAA, and now they are again in the giant new 16 team Atlantic Ten (yes, the Atlantic "10" has 16 teams, this whole conference system is becoming such a joke).  Richmond trailed VCU by seven, 63-56, with just :43 seconds remaining.  Amazingly the Spiders scored 13 points in the final :37 seconds to send the game to overtime tied at 69, then outscored the Rams 17-5 in the extra frame to win 86-74.

Probably the biggest giant killer in NCAA Tournament history, Richmond has now won 4 of it's last 5 home games vs. ranked opponents, and 8 of their past 13 games overall against top 25 teams.

Unrelated and off topic, Rajon Rondo had another triple double against the Knicks on Thursday.  Read my post about how much he's dominated the rest of the NBA in this category on Celtics Life.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Something weird is happening...

Is LucidSportsFan blowing up?
According to my website's official statistics, got 730 page views yesterday.  To the best of my memory that is the second busiest day in the site's history.  The thing is, I can't explain it.  I have access to data that shows where hits come from, and usually on big days most of the views can be traced to one specific link or source.  Yesterday 39 hits came from various google searches, and 28 randomly from China.  That still leaves 663 some odd people who visited my page without being directed there from any one particular place.

So far 421 page views have already been recorded today.  That makes this probably one of the 10 best days ever, and I haven't even written anything yet.  And still there is no explanation for where they are coming from.  Either something is wrong with google's numbers, or my site just got a lot more popular very quickly.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

All the best stuff about Sloan Stephens beating Serena Williams

Stephens in the instant after beating Serena.
After watching the conclusion of another discouraging Celtics loss last night, I flipped through the channels to find something else to put on the TV in my bar.  I stopped on ESPN2 when I noticed that Serena Williams had been taken to a 3rd set in her quarterfinal match at the Australian Open.  Serena was in the midst of a 20 match winning streak, and considered the heavy favorite to win the tournament; a loss to the 29th seed would be a major upset.

I've never been a fan of Serena, I like to call her the "Shaq" of women's tennis because she dominates by being bigger and stronger than everyone else.  So for the next half hour I greatly enjoyed watching her get beat, even before I knew anything about the 19 year old who did it.

Sloan Stephens became the first American younger than Serena to ever defeat her.  After her victory the thing Stephens was most excited about was that her twitter following increased from 17,000 to 38,000 in roughly an hour, and she was ecstatic that Dirk Nowitzki had tweeted about her.  Both of those would pretty much make my day too.

Stephens is the daughter of former Patriots running back John Stephens, who I have childhood memories of as the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1988.  Her mother was also a swimmer at Boston University.  Stephens learned tennis from her stepfather Sheldon Smith, who died of cancer in 2007.  Sadly her biological father John was also killed in a car accident in 2009.

To get back to a lighter note (is it in poor taste to make a Manti Te'o joke about her dead fathers being real?), in the second set of yesterday's match Stephens frustrated Williams so much that Serena smashed her racket and hurled it towards the stands:

Here's a blog post from Sloan Stephens on ESPNW today that was actually put together by my sister, who's an editor there.  Oh yeah, and that look on Sloan's face (in the above photo) when she won is spectacular.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" by Poison

There's a commercial on TV at the moment that uses this song in the background.  I honestly can't remember a thing about the ad, even though I've probably seen it 20 times (which supports my theory that commercials don't actually work); I think it's either for an airline or car insurance.  Regardless, it's got Every Rose Has It's Thorn stuck in my head.

I remember the first time I heard of the band Poison was in a middle school social studies class.  We were doing an exercise in which we had to "interview" somebody in the class that we hardly knew.  I got paired with a girl who would later be described as slightly "goth," but at the time that word didn't really exist yet.  When I asked her what music she liked, she said "Poison."  I thought she was referring to the Bel Biv Devoe song.

While searching youtube just now I discovered that Miley Cyrus did a cover of Poison's song.  I'm not ashamed to admit I kind of love it, and I'm honestly shocked I didn't already know it existed.  For the purists here's the original video, but below is Miley performing it in Central Park with Poison lead singer Bret Michaels:

Monday, January 21, 2013

What is "entertainment" if it's not fun?

As I have mentioned before, the purpose of sports is entertainment.  If you're not having a good time, it seems silly to watch.  And that is why with the finals seconds ticking away in the AFC Championship Game yesterday I changed the channel, and I've pretty much avoided the TV and internet ever since.  If I don't enjoy seeing/hearing/reading about the Patriots losing a big game, why subject myself to it?  Normally I spend Mondays sitting in front of my computer researching/writing various sports stories with one of the ESPN channels on my television.  So in need of a different pastime, today I went out to the theater and saw two movies (although I only paid for one, Shhh).

Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games)
First up was Lincoln, which was good, but I definitely would have liked it a lot more had I brushed up ahead of time on my knowledge of the very short and specific period in U.S. history (i.e. January, 1865) that it details.  I did however learn that the film is based on a book written by somebody I know (Doris Kearns Goodwin), and also that Lincoln died on my birthday, April 15th.

But the point of this post comes from the second film I watched today, Silver Linings Playbook.  If you haven't seen it there's some mild spoilers here, but I promise you'll still enjoy it even if you keep reading.  As the movie goes along there are several sad and gloomy parts, but in the end Katniss and Hangover guy get together, and it turns out happy.  However, it easily could have gone in another direction, which would have been a terrible decision by whoever picked the ending.  Like sports, movies are entertainment, they're supposed to be fun.  If you leave the theater feeling all dreary and depressed, what's the point?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A couple unconvincing predictions for the AFC title game

Dan Shaughnessy and Terry Francona have written a book together, and it's coming out on Tuesday.  But this post is actually about football.  The book's publishing company has an office in the building above my bar, and because of that Shaughnessy has become a frequent guest.  Sometimes I chat with him about sports and such when he's not with people or on the phone.  Last week he wrote a story saying that the Houston Texans were terrible and the Patriots would destroy them. Texans running back Arian Foster turned it into a really big deal by posting some quotes from the article as his twitter profile picture.

So on Friday when I saw Dan I asked him if he'd written anything this week about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.  He laughed and said "I'm not going there again."  Before he left he asked me who I thought would win tonight.  I said I liked New England, but was a little scared by how well Baltimore has been playing since Ray Lewis announced his retirement.  Shaughnessy told me he thought the Ravens were a lot better than the Texans, but that he still liked the Pats in a close game.  Then he said something along the lines of "but I'm usually wrong about these things."  So there you have it, two fairly vague predictions for tonight.


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