Category Archives: NBA

Recapping A Wild Week In Sports

Welcome to the 65th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the sports world is providing a wealth of material, meaning I didn’t have to write too much this week. But I still have a big post for you. Let’s get into it…

I’ll start with a few words on the Rockies, who lost 15 of 18 games before winning five in a row, including an incredibly unlikely sweep of the Giants in San Francisco via three consecutive late inning comebacks. (They lost to the Dodgers last night.) So here are those aforementioned words on the Rockies:

I have no idea what to think about the Rockies.

But hey, this was an exciting moment:

On to the weekly departments…

Stud of the week:

In a week with a ton of options for this category (Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Greg Popovich, Alec Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes, Martin Kaymer, That Soccer Guy and the late Tony Gwynn) some random dude in San Fransisco gets the honors. We’ll get to those other studs in a bit.

Giants fans are generally huge douche bags, but this guy made perhaps the most impressive home run catch ever yesterday. Coming out of the tunnel, in stride, bare hand, and he played it cool like it was no big deal. But the coolest part? He did all that while holding a small child in his non-catching hand ON FATHER’S DAY.

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Here’s the GIF:

That doesn’t even look real.

Picture(s) of the Week

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Great shot of Tim Duncan as his mind-bogglingly incredible career keeps rolling along. And here’s one of Duncan and his son on Father’s Day, from the postgame presser:

Vine of the week:

Yoenis Cespedes made the best throw of the year against the Angels this week. MLB made a pretty sweet Vine of the occasion.

Just look at that throw. That’s absolutely one of the best plays of the year in 2014. Look how casual the catcher is! Then he did it again the next night.

MLB

That led to this awesome tweet from the official Angels account.

See, guys? Baseball is fun!

Tweet of the week:

Rick Reilly’s retirement rolled right into making Hitler/Nazi/Holocaust jokes. So that’s always a smart move.

Douche of the week:

Remember when O.J. Simpson killed those people? That was pretty douchey, huh? That chase took place 20 years ago today.

I don’t like to put nine minute videos in here, but I couldn’t stop watching that. What a fascinatingly strange moment in American history. And I’m proud to say I DO NOT REMEMBER where I was when this went down. Maybe all those old people who tell me I’m not that old are right!

A couple links worth sharing:

I’m sure you’ve heard the very, very sad news of Tony Gwynn’s passing. A lot of digital ink was rightfully devoted to Gwynn yesterday. It’s impossible to read all the different pieces but here a few that are worth your time:

Jeff Passan took a look at the two new videos that MLB released of their new advanced media tracking system. They are amazing. Yasiel Puig can run 21 mph on grass while tracking a baseball with a glove on his hand. Andrew McCutchen takes a nearly perfect route (99.7 percent efficient) to a line drive in the gap. These guys are absolute freaks. Anyway, this stuff is awesome and is about to further change the way we consume baseball. Highly recommended read here.

I’m always quite interested in the 50 athletes who made the most money last year.

And a bunch of other fun stuff from the week:

Hockey is over:

Great call (or lack thereof) from the great Doc Emerick as well.

Zach Johnson made a hole-in-one during an otherwise boring-as-hell US Open. Then he did this, which is pretty cool. I guess.

Remember the Jim Harbaugh Wal Mart pants story from a few months back? Dockers has some smart marketing people and Harbaugh has a funny wife:

I feel like we haven’t had anyone falling on their face in a while ’round these parts, which is a shame.

The GIF is even better.

Let’s double up on the “people falling down” category!

That stuff will never get old.

This young man was a bit startled

I wish Jimmy Kimmel would do one of these every week:

Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo!

And finally, here’s a ball bouncing off of a guy’s head into a large net.

Apparently a lot of American folks cared about that ball going in that net. I have to admit, this video is pretty awesome.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

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Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

 

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Brian Shaw, The Aftermath of Game 7, Other Stuff

Welcome to the 15th edition of Tuesdays with Mitch. We’re turning a corner in the sports calendar. Basketball is done. Hockey is done. Football hasn’t started. We have just entered the dog days of summer when baseball is the only thing going on. Almost…

Brian Shaw is the new head coach of the Denver Nuggets. (USATSI)

The Nuggets hired Brian Shaw as their new head coach to replace George Karl. I don’t have a whole lot of insight on Shaw, but I think it has to be considered a success for the Nuggets. Shaw was one of the hot names in coaching circles this offseason and the Nuggets got the guy who was probably their first choice to take over. Shaw has won five championships in his career, three as a player, two as an assistant. That alone is a pretty impressive resume. It will be interesting to see how much the playing style differs from the fast-paced days of George Karl.

There’s always great optimism when hiring a new coach, but after Karl’s surprise firing and Masai Ujuri leaving, all the sudden the Nuggets have a rookie GM and a rookie head coach leading one of the youngest teams in the NBA. That doesn’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence. Again though, I think it is wise to make a change, simply because the only thing the Nuggets risk giving up is boring first-round playoff exits.

This piece from ESPN on Shaw’s remarkable journey is worth your time.

The rough road trip for the Rockies that I said had the makings of a season-changing disaster started with them going 0-5. (Sometimes it’s almost like I know what I’m talking about.) They won the next two and there are two in Boston remaining, tonight and tomorrow. They can finish the trip at 2-7 or 3-6 or 4-5. At this point I’m hoping for a split in Boston, and coming home at .500 to regroup.

Since nobody watches hockey anymore, here’s all you need to see from the absolutely incredible Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, wrapped up in a neat three minutes.

Two goals in 17 seconds on the road in a clinching game of the Finals? That’s about the craziest damn thing I’ve ever heard.

The middle of overtime in a Stanley Cup Finals game is not the best time to cut to cheap local commercials.

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I was cruising around Twitter after the Heat beat the Spurs in Game 7 on Thursday and found some pretty legit pictures and gifs and videos.

Here’s ESPN’s ninjas getting real creepy behind the scenes.

Bill Simmons is one of the few ESPN employees who can get away with badmouthing the network for which he works because he’s one of the top dogs. And juuuuuust as he was about to bring up the debacle that LeBron and ESPN took a lot of justifiable heat for (see what I did there?), the cameras went black. Hard to believe that was a coincidence.

Excellent and gutwrenching picture of a sad Tim Duncan

Sad Tim

I found this on Twitter from @corkgaines. Getty Images.

Dwayne Wade looks pretty drunk:

Happy and drunk Wade

Or maybe he’s just happy. via SB Nation.

Here’s rap superstar Drake being told he can’t enter the Heat locker room.

Whoever’s holding the camera is sure a douche.

Check out Birdman’s unreal shades:

Found this on Twitter @corkgaines.

Classic freaking birdman right there.

Dan LeBetard had an epic, 10 minute rant after Game 7. Kind of strange for a “columnist” to be such a homer. Stranger still, for anyone to play the “disrespect” card when referring to the Heat. Still pretty funny though.


And my favorite one
of all is Chris Bosh struggling with the postgame celebration as much as struggled with the actual game.

found on Twitter @sportsvines

In other news, I follow the Iron Shiek on Twitter along with 305,000 other people. It’s fascinating. The former pro wrestler sends out incredibly vulgar, mostly nonsensical tweets about anything happening in pop culture or sports. He doesn’t like Hulk Hogan. He likes the cold beer. He calls people Bubba (which I have since stolen). Once you learn to speak his language, it’s usually pretty hilarious.

There has always been kind of a mysterious vibe to the whole thing though. Is this really him? There were pictures that made it clear the Iron Shiek was actually around. I always wondered if he was actually sending these tweets or they were coming from brilliant handlers who created a strange Twitter character. An insightful article came out Sunday that (kind of) helps answer some of these questions. Pretty interesting stuff. It’s all being done to help raise funds to create a documentary on the guy.

Here’s some good sportsish long reads from the past week:

Really interesting profile on Serena Williams from Rolling Stone.

An oral history of the 2003 NBA Draft is insightful stuff from ESPN.

Here’s a video of a guy making fun of the government and screwing with people:

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And finally, I have absolutely no idea what is going on in this video, but it’s just captivating. I mean, I can’t look away.

There is so much going on. Kids ripping off their shirts and sticking out their tongues. Admit it, you were hoping they brawled. Twenty bucks says each one of those kids grows up to a lunatic.

Happy Tuesday everybody, see ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Masai Ujiri is Probably Leaving and That’s Bad For the Nuggets.

It’s starting to sound like Masai Ujiri won’t be staying with the Nuggets.

The single biggest reason for the recent success of the Denver Nuggets has not been a player or George Karl. It has been Masai Ujiri.

The VP of Basketball Operations (which really just means general manager, but the Nuggets have a weird hierarchy with strange titles) was considered a rising star in the basketball world when he was hired. This season, he won the NBA Executive of the Year award.

Ujiri comes from a scouting background which is a little different than most front office executives and has apparently given him a leg up in analyzing talent and acquiring a cohesive set of players.

The NBA is a superstars’ league and superstars don’t want to play in Denver. Ujiri has recognized this and expertly assembled a roster of solid players than can compete with the big boys.

There hasn’t been any playoff success, but I point the finger at George Karl there and that’s a whole separate conversation.

The drama surrounding Carmelo Anthony’s exit was a horrible situation for a young GM to be in, but Ujiri pulled off a genius trade that reshaped the Nuggets franchise.

Anyway, the Kroenkes have given Ujiri permission to speak with his former franchise, the Toronto Raptors, about their vacant GM position and it is being reported that Toronto will be offering a very lucrative deal. The details remain hazy, but it sounds like Ujiri could pull in well over $1 million per year, with the Kroenkes not likely to match that kind of figure.

That kind of money not easy to turn down.

At this point, we’re all just waiting on Ujiri to make his decision, but personally, I’d be surprised if the NBA Executive of the Year comes back to Denver.

Ujiri leaving would not resemble most changes in the front office with relatively unknown executives moving on. He is the single most important– and perhaps most talented– person in the Nuggets organization.

OTHER STUFF

Not sure what’s going on here.

Tulo is not interested in high-fiving Betancourt. (gif via guyism.com)

Baseball players are a quirky bunch.

Your quick Rockies update aside from cupchecks or sack taps or whatever is happening there: Finished that crucial homestand 5-2, but then started their current road trip 1-3. Went 6-4 in the 10-game NL West stretch. Should really win the next three over the AAA affiliate in Houston.

This video is perfectly titled. I present, “Tim Duncan Realizing He Has Arms”.

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Chris Anderson has had a few different looks in his day.

@NickiJhabvala

via @NickiJhabvala of the New York Times

As good as this is, I distinctly remember a perm somewhere along the way even though I couldn’t find any evidence of this either. I’m putting the over/under him just saying “screw it”and going full technicolor face-tat at 2.5 years.

This is the best interview I’ve seen in a long, long time.

I would like to hang out with that young man.

I can’t wait for the 30 for 30 on Gordon Bombay.

Bombay’s willingness to accept eccentric characters like the Bash Brothers and implement unique techniques like the Knuckle Puck have made him a true legend.

And finally, here’s a non-sports link. A worthhile read about the devastation in Oklahoma.

Happy Tuesday everybody. See ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

It’s Time to Fire George Karl

Welcome to Tuesdays With Mitch, this week’s edition 100 percent free of both tear gas and pepper spray. Off we go…

What’s the point of another season with George Karl? AP Photo

Over the past eight and a half years, every now and then some Denver Nuggets fans or media members would start a little uprising calling for George Karl to be fired as the Nuggets’ head coach.

I never really bought into those theories. I shrugged and thought Karl was a fine coach, but not the reason the Nuggets weren’t advancing in the playoffs.

This is Karl’s ninth season in Denver. His teams have made the playoffs nine times. They’ve advanced past the first round once. That won’t be changing this year unless the Nugs win three in a row against Golden State beginning tonight. To put it mildly, that seems unlikely.

This off-season is the time to fire George Karl.

Heading into the playoffs, things were different this year.

This isn’t the Nuggets as a 7-seed trying to pull off an upset like in many previous seasons. The Nuggets were heavily favored to win this series. The Nuggets have the all-important home court advantage. This team won 57 (fifty-seven!) regular season games.

Including tonight, the Nuggets have been favored in Vegas in all five games. It looks like they’ll lose the series in five or six games, but keep in mind they’re one Andre Miller layup away from getting swept.

The Nuggets’ performance in these playoffs is an enormous underachievement.

Denver is without Danilo Gallinari, which I predicted would be a huge blow in the playoffs, but Golden State is without their all-star. David Lee going down allowed Mark Jackson to tinker with his lineup– going small by starting three guards– and in doing so, badly outcoach Karl.

Yes, Stephen Curry has gotten weird and sometimes there’s just not much you can do, but if you don’t think Karl’s been outcoached by Jackson, you’re a lunatic.

This isn’t the Broncos losing a somewhat flukey game to the eventual champion. This is one of the best Nuggets teams ever getting blown-the-hell-out by a mediocre team in the first round.

The system that’s in place is not working. Eventually the organization has to try something new. Why not? What’s at risk aside from another few years of first-round exits?

This team is talented enough and young enough to make the playoffs by sleepwalking through the regular season over the next few years. When the regular season ends is when they need some fresh thinking and a new outlook.

At this point, we know who George Karl is. It is not unfair to label him as a successful regular-season coach who can’t win in the playoffs. He’s a perennial underachiever  He’s a coach that loses in the first round.

And year after year, season after season, what is the point of that?

Feel free to comment at the bottom of this story if you think I’m wrong about GK, or preferably, if you think I’m right.

OTHER STUFF

It was an eventful few days for the Avalanche. They finally had their nightmare of a season come to an end. Then they fire Joe Sacco (to the surprise of no one. It will be more interesting to see if they shake up the front office as well). Then they won the draft lottery. They’re expected to pick Seth Jones, which is a cool story.

The Rockies continue to play well, but the big story from the past week was the call-up of Nolan Arenado, who started at third base Sunday in the most anticipated Rockies debut in years. If you follow the Rockies, you’ve been hearing about this kid for some time. He went 0-3 with a walk on Sunday, but went 3-6 with a 2-run homer last night. His family and friends had almost a whole section to themselves and they kind of went nuts in what was a pretty cool moment. If Arenado can provide some pop and Helton comes back soon, it could make the Rockies lineup ridiculous. Like, best-in-baseball ridiculous.

The Sports Pickle compiled a handful of old newspaper articles praising horrible draft picks. This essentially explains my position on why analyzing the NFL Draft is just a really stupid and pointless thing to do.

Frank Caliendo can get old in a hurry, but anyone making fun of Mel Kiper Jr. is all right with me.

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I don’t know why I found this to be so funny, but I was pretty much crying uncontrollably throughout.

I suppose the 3 million views in three days means I’m not alone.

We lost a legend on Friday. George Jones was one of the greats and a personal favorite of mine. (Yeah, I like that kind of music.) Here he his with his first hit in 1959. (Just look at that flat-top!)

He lived one wild life and there’s a lot in this NYT obituary you didn’t know.

The guy who was carjacked by the alleged Boston bombers talked to the Boston Globe. This is just a gripping, fascinating, incredible story.

And finally, well, I’ll let you piece together the details of this episode. The world needs more people like this.

Happy Tuesday everybody. See you next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

The Nuggets’ NBA Finals Hopes Were Ripped Apart Along With Gallinari’s ACL

It’s starting to look like the Nuggets are going to lock up the 3-seed in the West. That’s good. Ty Lawson should be back for the playoffs, but might not be at 100 percent. That’s also good. Danilo Gallinari’s ACL appears to be in several pieces. That’s really, really bad. This GIF is gross, but I didn’t show Kevin Ware’s last week, so I’m going for it. Sorry if you’re squeamish.

Ouch. (via SB Nation)

So where do the Nuggets go from here? They should still lock up the 3-seed and will have home court in the first round against probably Golden State or Houston. They went 4-0 against Houston this season, including a 132-114 blowout on Saturday without Lawson or Gallinari. The Nuggets went 3-1 vs Golden State. The one loss came 106-105 in Oakland when Andre Iguodala’s last second three was determined to be after the buzzer.

If Lawson is able to play, the Nuggets should win a first round series, which is progress, but a lesser aspiration than what fans had in mind a couple weeks ago. Wilson Chandler should be able to step in and fill Gallo’s role in the starting lineup adequately. Chandler was even getting more minutes than Danilo for a multiple-game stretch a few weeks ago. Thing is, when Ill-Will starts, there’s nobody to step in and fill his role off the bench.

I considered the Nuggets a threat to make the NBA Finals because they legitimately have 9 different guys who can beat you on a given night. Their depth is what made them dangerous. Without the versatile offensive threat of Gallinari in their half court offense, that depth is diminished remarkably. This is particularly true in the playoffs, when fast-break points are harder to come by and the Nuggets will be forced to rely on running a half court offense. Gallinari’s slashing dunks and quick-release threes will be missed sorely against San Antonio in the second round.

The entire NBA looked at the Nuggets as an interesting experiment because they don’t have a superstar and play at such a high-octane pace. Many, including me, considered them a serious contender to come out of the Western Conference.

That standpoint was torn in half at the same time as Gallinari’s ACL.

SPORTS STUFF FROM AROUND THE WEB

The NCAA National Championship didn’t disappoint. I can’t remember watching a better college basketball game. It was back and forth. Surprise stars came out of nowhere, then faded (Raise your hand if you had heard of Spike Albrecht before last night).  Huge dunks and alley-oops. The whole game was just played at a really high level. I’ve always thought “It’s a shame one team had to lose this game” is a corny expression, but that really applied to this one.

Rick Pitino thinking he was getting capped as fireworks went off in the Georgia Dome kind of stole the post game show last night.

Found this on Twitter via @worldofisaac

Until, of course One Shining Moment played on CBS (after midnight on the East Coast). Nothing even comes close to perfectly wrapping up a great season like this song.

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No CSU Rams snuck in there for the second year in a row. Kind of lame. Really, there’s no Mountain West in there at all. No CU either.

Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the release of a cinematic masterpiece. The Sandlot is a staple of my generation and easily one of my favorite movies ever. If you’ve ever played baseball with your friends or just lived for the summer as a kid, it’s probably one of your favorites too. Bleacher Report had a fun breakdown. Here’s my favorite scene from the classic about nostalgia, summer, camaraderie among young boys, America, the good ol’ days and, of course, baseball:

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Squints grabbing the back of Wendy’s head right when “This Magic Moment” starts playing is one of the great moments is movie history. Then the narration ending with, “But everyday after that the lifeguard looked down from her tower, right over at Squints… and smiled.” That’s some darn good stuff.

Here’s a long, in-depth piece from ESPN The Magazine inside the collapse of the Auburn football and the huge role synthetic marijuana played. “For lack of a better term, they were out of their minds.” Stuff sounds terrifying. Really good investigative journalism.

This screencap from Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) is gold.

So is the reaction of this kid sitting behind home plate. I could watch this GIF 1000 times in a row.

The Denver Post had a good breakdown of the decline of the Avalanche on Sunday. Pretty crazy how far they’ve fallen.

This is a called third strike to end a one-run MLB game.

Found this on Twitter via @ycpb and @citizenmeyers .

Neither the batter, pitcher nor catcher appear to have initially thought that was a strike. Rays manager Joe Maddon wasn’t happy.

And finally, allow me to rain on your parade when it comes to the Rockies. They jumped out to a 5-2 start and their starting pitching looks really good, with six quality starts in seven games. Their lineup will be a beast all year. Opening weekend at Coors Field was great. I’ll just remind you that there’s 155 games left. In 2011 they started 11-2, then went 62-87. I’ll stand by last week’s prediction.

The Most Hideous Thing I’ve Ever Seen

There’s a lot to hate about the NBA.

For starters, watch this little promo I saw during the holiday season:

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That may be the most hideous 78 seconds of my life. Just horrible, horrible stuff.

Let’s recap:  We have Justin Bieber singing (or pretending to sing while computers make noises for him) a traditional Christmas song while blending fast-paced action shots of NBA players dancing around in pregame warmups, complaining to the refs, high-fiving one another, wiping sweat off of their cheeks, doing that hip-bump thing that is required of all athletes, smiling at cameras and beating their chests. If you think life can’t get any better, hold on to your freaking hat. The video then transitions into some sort of God-Awful rap remix of the Little Drummer Boy.

Reread that last sentence.

Anyway the video goes on like this and even mixes in exciting shots of referees signaling both a block and a charge call; one ref even one falls over! What’s not to love?

Obviously, this is Where Amazing Happens. Who could watch that and not think, I Love This Game.

I’m sure that is exactly what James Naismith had in mind when he nailed up those peach baskets in Kansas.