NBA predictions, Derrick Rose, NHL playoffs, and Pep Guardiola
It sure has been an eventful week in sports, with more playoff games being played right now as well. First, and probably the worst news, is that Derrick Rose tore his ACL on a pretty routine play in Game 1 against the 76ers, and will be out for the next 6-9 months. This is really sad for the NBA, D-Rose is such a likable, humble player, and not to mention a tremendous athlete. The Bulls will definitely have a harder time without him, but they have already shown this season that they can win games while he is out. Expect C.J. Watson and John Lucas to fill the void at point guard for the Bulls.
Now for my NBA playoff predictions (these are my picks before D-Rose got hurt):
The NHL Playoffs are into the 2nd round right now, and have been as unpredictable and intense as ever. Here are my predictions from here on out:
Lastly, Pep Guardiola, the manager of one of the greatest soccer teams of all time, FC Barcelona, has decided to step down after the season is over at the Copa del Rey. In his 4 year term as manager, Barcelona has won two Champion’s League titles, three La Liga titles, two FIFA Club World Cups, two European Supercups, one Copa del Rey, and three Spanish Supercups. None of Barca’s players wanted him to leave, but he decided the stress from the job was too much, and with the work he has put in for this club, he’s allowed to quit whenever and will still be remembered as one of it’s greatest managers ever.
I won’t pretend like I really cared for or studied up on this year’s draft beyond the big names, but I’ll give my take on a few things.
First, the Lions did a good job this year in my opinion. They addressed a need at offense tackle with Riley Reiff from Iowa, got a steal by getting Oklahoma linebacker Travis Lewis so late in the draft, and took a risk with wide receiver Ryan Broyles that could turn out to be pretty good, just depends how he comes back from that knee injury. They also signed undrafted free agent QB Kellen Moore from Boise State. I really like that pick up, he is knocked for having played at Boise, but he has the most wins in college football history, he’s a winner.
I’ve been saying it for awhile now, but I think the Colts should have taken Robert Griffin III over Andrew Luck. I just like RGIII’s skill set, I think he is more athletic and has a better arm than Luck as well, not to mention he was one of the fastest players at the NFL Combine.
Another great move was made by the Dallas Cowboys, who moved up to take CB Morris Claiborne from LSU. He is definitely someone the Cowboys needed badly, and should shine in the league for years to come.
The New England Patriots made some great moves as well, moving up twice to get Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower, who will help their poorly ranked defense from a year ago. The Cleveland Browns helped themselves move in the right direction, moving up to take Trent Richardson and getting Brandon Weeden late in the 1st round as well. Unfortunately, they are looking to move Colt McCoy, a personal favorite from Texas, but they are trying to get the city of Cleveland of its misery, so I cannot knock em for trying.
Here are some pictures from the draft (Courtesy of ESPN.com):
Bayern Munich takes down Real Madrid!
Oh man what a game! Cristiano Ronaldo opened up scoring on a penalty at the 6th minute after a hand ball by Bayern in the box, then followed with another goal just 8 minutes later. With the away goal last week in Munich, Madrid looked to be in a favorable position to make it to the final, until Pepe tripped Mario Gomez in the box, leading to a penalty goal for Arjen Robben. The second half saw scoring opportunities for both sides, but the match went to extra time on the 3-3 aggregate, which saw Bayern play with a lot more aggression against a tired looking Madrid team that had a tough match last Saturday against Barcelona to basically wrap up the La Liga title. Despite this, the match went to penalties, which saw both Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka miss their atttempts after Bayern made theirs. Casillas made two good stops to help Madrid come back, but Sergio Ramos sailed his shot about 10 feet over the goal, and Bastian Schweinsteiger nailed his attempt to clinch the penalty shootout 3-1! Bayern moves on to face Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League Final on May 19th in their home stadium in Munich!
Here’s the match-clinching goal by Schweinsteiger.
The curse of the white buses?
By Dominic Vieira, writing from Lisbon
A game we’ve all seen before, where Barcelona persistently tried to find the net and were unlucky, again. The consequences of an attacking overload were suffered at the back as an advanced defensive line lost them Europe’s most wanted crown. Chelsea are going to Munich.
In each of the past 5 years, FC Barcelona have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. In 2008, 2010 and now 2012, the visiting side wore white and blocked Barcelona’s path to the final. Under Pep Guardiola, we’ve seen almost two identical matches against Mourinho’s Inter Milan and di Matteo’s Chelsea; two battles when Barcelona had to win by 2 goals, two encounters completely dominated by the hosts, two matches when the visitors
playeddefended with ten men, and most importantly, two matches when they ‘parked the bus’. In fact, the Greek national team which incredibly and unexpectedly won the Euro 2004 could almost be classified as an attacking team when compared to these sides.
Chelsea played like Inter did in 2010, collectively defending for 90 minutes. They were compact, closed, and conservative.
Great post about the Barcelona-Chelsea UEFA semifinal tie. Personally disappointed that Barca lost, but nonetheless, credit to Chelsea for their strategy and stopping the giant.
The NBA regular season ends later this week, and play has been heating up the past few weeks as teams jockey for playoff position. The Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Miami Heat will be the likely favorites going into the playoffs, but there are some sleepers to watch out for that may cause a stir in the first few rounds. My sleeper pick of the year is the Memphis Grizzlies. They have been playing well since last year’s playoffs, getting Rudy Gay back from injury was huge seeing as he is playing at his highest level as a professional, as well as signing Gilbert Arenas to come off the bench. They have a great front court tandem with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, as well as a good supporting cast that includes OJ Mayo, Tony Allen and Mike Conley Jr. The Lakers are always going to be in the discussion, with Kobe and the Gasol and Bynum combo as their leading force. Two teams out of the East that need to be watched out for are the Celtics and the Pacers. The Celtics are that veteran team that has found some help from their younger guys, and have been playing some of the best basketball since the All-Star break, whereas the Pacers have been quietly playing solid ball all year and are poised to finish as the 3 seed in the East. With the playoffs starting on April 28th, sports fans are in for a treat with these and the NHL playoffs to watch.
Here’s a preview of the playoffs by ESPN featuring Kevin Durant:
El Clasico and Monte Carlo
This is the matchup that would basically decided the winner of the La Liga season title. Two-time defending champions Barcelona playing at home against league leaders Real Madrid. You come to expect the highest levels of play when these two meet, and this game was no different. Madrid’s defensive strategy really paid off, holding Barca and more importantly Messi in check for most of the game, not really allowing them to get into a rhythm. Madrid’s first goal was a result of mishandling of the ball by both Victor Valdez and Carlos Puyol, whereas Alexis Sanchez’s for Barca came off of a few rebounds. The game winner by Ronaldo was beautifully set up by Ozil, almost assuring Madrid the La Liga title. It seemed Barca was more focused on their upcoming 2nd leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals with Chelsea, but nonetheless they had opportunities and came up short.
This week kicked off the major clay court events for the ATP Tour in Monte Carlo. To no one’s surprise, the final was between the top 2 players in the world, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Djokovic and his family are going through a tough time right now with the passing of his grandfather on Thursday. Nadal ended up winning 6-3, 6-1; Djokovic looked emotionally drained, saying so himself, but gave credit where it was due, as Nadal did take it to him, finally beating him in final after losing the last 11 or 12. Nadal has actually won this event for the seventh consecutive year now, showing that he is still the king of clay.
There are some highlights of both events below.
I have decided to change up the content of the blog a little: I am going to post videos of the top plays, games, etc. throughout the week, and throw in my 2 cents about them and other major events.
So, I am going to try and catch up on some of the major events I have not blogged about.
The NHL Playoffs are underway, with the 1st round coming to a close within the next few days. My beloved Red Wings were knocked out, as well as last year’s finalists and number one overall seed the Vancouver Canucks. This year’s playoffs have been so intense, every series has been a battle. This year’s winner is up in the air in my opinion. I’ll be rooting for Ovechkin and the Capitals now that the Wings are out. The amount of overtime games this year seems high, and I love it. The intensity of a NHL overtime playoff game is unmatched. Tonight the LA Kings took out Vancouver in overtime, here’s the game winner: