A few highlights from and musings about the wide world of sports, or more appropriately, from my narrow interests in the world of sports.
The Patriots lost and that sucks, but it happens, and they should be better next year. Hopefully BB has seen the error of his ways and will not only value that home field advantage just a little bit more next year but will also stop making silly decisions following coin tosses. All I ask is that they add a stud lineman and an outside receiver, please. Calvin Johnson, anyone? Megatron next to Minitron? I’m in. And for the record, no, I will most assuredly not be watching the Super Bowl.
David Blatt’s firing was both absurd but predictable, and a further testament to the amorality of both the culture of the NBA in general and star players specifically; a coach who took an undermanned Cavs team to a 2-1 finals lead last year and the best record in the East this year deserved better. While the reaction from Israeli fans may have been a little much, the unfurling of a Palestinian flag at Quicken Loans Arena after his dismissal was a disgusting act that absolutely should make you feel sick to your stomach. And yes, I am rooting harder than ever now against Cleveland.
Maccabi Haifa scored in the 4th minute against crosstown rivals Hapoel Haifa and held on for a 1:0 Derby victory in the State Cup Round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals. I hope they go all in to win it, as the domestic league is way out of reach, with Hapoel Beer Sheva and Maccabi Tel Aviv standing head, shoulders, knees, and toes above the competition. Maccabi Tel Aviv almost went out in State Cup action on Thursday against second-division Hapoel Rishon Lezion, but a 101st-minute winner from Eran Zahavi (of course) grabbed a 2:1 win for the reigning cupholders. The two-legged State Cup quarterfinals take place on February 9 and March 1, with Maccabi Haifa taking on B’nei Yehuda, Maccabi Tel Aviv matching up against Hapoel Kfar Sava, Hapoel Beer Sheva facing Beitar Tel Aviv, and B’nei Sakhnin playing Hapoel Ashkelon.
Liverpool had a great week, beating Norwich City 5:4 after being down 3:1, being up 4:3, conceding an extra-time equalizer, and then snatching victory from the jaws of a certain draw with a 95th minute winner from Adam Llalana last Saturday. They followed that up with a penalty-kick win over Stoke in the Capital One Cup semifinals to set up a finals showdown against Manchester City at Wembley in late February, and also take to the pitch at Anfield this Sunday against West Ham in FA Cup 4th Round action. They should win that game, but it’s also the kind of match that they have been losing regularly in recent years.
I haven’t watched a team as good as the Golden State Warriors play basketball since, well, ever. Thankfully they are on a national broadcast seemingly 3 times a week, so I have the privilege of regularly witnessing basketball artistry in action. The speed with which they play, move, and work together is dizzying, and Stephen Curry’s transcendent talent is, well, transcendent. I mean, he abused the Spurs. He toyed with them. It was incredible.
With that being said, the Celtics are also fun to watch, and it’s actually not a stretch to envision them making the Eastern Conference finals. Of course, it’s equally likely that they could lose in the first round, and given the volatility of their place in the standings, it could definitely go either way. And let’s also give a special to Isaiah Thomas for making the All-Star Game; the undersized scoring machine certainly deserved it. Too bad the game itself is a mockery of the sport of basketball and I won’t be watching it- I’ll put the over/under at 311 points and take the over.
Remember the Red Sox? The last-place Red Sox? They’re baaaaack… can you feel the excitement? Will the additions of David Price, Craig Kimbrel, and the continued emergence of Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts lead the way towards the top of the AL East again? Color me skeptical. But at least it should keep the month of April entertaining.
Finally, my doppelganger Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer (again) in the Australian Open semis, setting up a finals showdown against Andy Murray. Novak’s my boy. Do you think we look alike? Check out the final match live at 3:30 IN THE MORNING on Sunday, Boston time. Or not.