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Westbrook hits triple-double average for season

Most NBA analysts and fans expected Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook to light it up this season with Kevin Durant heading to the Golden State Warriors to pursue a championship. But few, if any, expected Westbrook to become a triple-double machine and accomplish a feat only Oscar Robertson did in 1961-62.

Photo: Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA Wiki Commons

Westbrook made the season triple-double average official against the Phoenix Suns last night when he dished out his 820th assist of the season. It was obvious that this milestone was the focus of most everyone in the building with Westbrook going for the mark and the bottom feeding Suns setting out to stop him.

Westbrook started the game averaging a league leading 31.8 per game, 10.7 boards per game and 10.4 assists per game. Westbrook was eying his 820th dish from the start when he forced several plays and had a slew of turnovers – five in the first 10 minutes. He didn’t seem focused on the game itself and missed his first 11 shots from the floor as well.

With all eyes and attention on him late in the game, Westbrook desperately tried to hit the 10 assists mark to break Robertson’s record for triple-doubles in a season.

But he came up short when the Suns, who were well ahead in the game, intentionally sent other Thunder players to the line and later intentionally fouled Westbrook with 2:34 remaining to stop him from passing.

What else did the bottom of the basement 23-57 Suns have for motivation as their dismal season winds to the end?

Westbrook has three more games to try to break the triple-double record held by Robertson before the team can focus on the playoffs.

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Flyers goalie Neuvirth collapses during game

Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth gave his teammates and fans a scare last night when he suddenly collapsed while standing alone in the crease during a game.

The incident occurred in the first period of the game against the New Jersey Devils, with the Flyers up 1-0. As the linesman was dropping the puck on one end of the ice, Neuvirth was in the opposite crease and fell backwards, slamming his head to the ice. The 29-year-old goalie appeared to be unconscious for a few seconds then did start moving his legs. 

Three doctors and Flyers’ trainer Jim McCrossin darted onto the ice and after examining the goaltender, they took him off the ice on a stretcher.

The incident was almost a carbon copy to one that happened in Atlanta in 2010 when Thrashers goalie, Ondrej Pavelec, collapsed in a game without contact.

Pavelec, who had a history of concussions, missed almost two weeks while undergoing extensive tests that all came up negative. He returned to the ice and played several seasons with no recurring incidents ever happening again.

BTW, Pavelec’s incident occurred in a game against the Washington Capitals and who was the goalie for the Caps in that game? Michael Neuvirth.

More NHL:

This hockey fight doesn’t end on the ice – Sports Climax

Penguins clinch but two of Crosby’s teeth won’t be making trip – Sports Climax

Red Wings streak, The Simpsons and Milli Vanilli – Sports Climax

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Red Wings streak, The Simpsons and Milli Vanilli

Sports’ longest playoff streak is finally over. For the first time since 1989-90, the Detroit Red Wings are packing it up after their final regular season game and not advancing to the playoffs.

The Joe where magic happened

Think about that feat in this day and age of salary caps and free agent bidding wars. The Red Wings survived it and skated into the playoffs for a quarter century straight – 25 years!

To put that into perspective, not a single player in the NHL today was playing in the league when the streak started. Not even 45-year-old, graying Jaromir Jagr. Nine of today’s NHL teams weren’t in the league and fifteen of the current Red Wings players weren’t born yet.

Feel free to check that out with a quick Google search on the World Wide Web which BTW was also not existing yet.

When this 25 year streak first started…

The Simpsons was taking TV by storm with their debut season.

People were burning their Milli Vanilli collection after the band admitted lip-synching their hit, “Girl You Know Its True,” and had their Grammy award yanked.

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched.

People were flocking to theaters to watch Born of the 4th of July and Goodfellas.

Joe Montana lead the San Francisco 49ers over the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl 55-10, with Montana taking home the MVP award.

The Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup, defeating Boston Bruins who had to get past the Hartford Whalers earlier in those playoffs. Yeah, those historic Hartford Whalers.

The Detroit Pistons, with coach Chuck Daley behind the pine, defeated the Portland Trailblazers to win the NBA title with Isaiah Thomas taking home the MVP award.

Back to the Red Wings, their impressive streak will probably never be matched.

In that 1989-90 season that started this streak, the Red Wings roster had Steve Yzerman wearing the captain jersey and he was only 24. Yzerman has long since retired and the address for Joe Louis Arena was changed to “19 Steve Yzerman Drive”.

Yzerman’s team and the ones following his tenure accomplished a lot in their run. Hoisting four Stanley Cups while making it to the Stanley Cup Final six times. I had the honor of attending seeing them hoist the Cup after defeating the Flyers in 1997 and the Hurricanes in 2002, both at The Joe. During this run, they also took home the Presidents Trophy six times, including the 1995-96 season when they set a league record with 62 wins.

During the run they also were locks in the playoffs 21 times, finishing top four in their conference 18 of those times.

On a flip note, the Red Wings 25 year streak isn’t the longest in NHL history. The Boston Bruins made the playoffs 29 straight times and the Chicago Blackhawks 28 straight, but times were much different back then without tight salary caps and players being known to stay with their teams for longer period of times.

The NHL salary cap was born in 2005-06 and the Red Wings were forced to cut their payroll in half! How can an elite team remain competitive with that challenge thrown into the mix? Somehow Wings’ GM Ken Holland figured out a way to remain competitive over another 10 seasons.

More NHL:

This hockey fight doesn’t end on the ice – Sports Climax

Penguins clinch; Crosby loses two teeth – Sports Climax

 

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Raiders move to Vegas becomes reality

Well it’s official. The NFL owners stuck a knife into the backs of the City of Oakland and Raiders fans and voted to move to team to Las Vegas. 

Only 24 votes were needed but Raiders owner Mark Davis received 31 of 32 votes with Miami owners being the only ‘nay’ vote at the table.

The timing of this is brutal for Raiders fans. After dealing with season after season of bad drafts, rebuilding fails and bottom of the standings performances, the team finally found a groove, played dominating ball and made the playoffs.

Davis faced the media after the vote, saying:

“I understand Oakland fans will be angry and disappointed. I want them to know that I do understand that it’s emotional. I also want them to give as much support to the team as possible as we attempt to bring a championship to the Bay Area.”

Well, maybe, but good luck with that. Davis seems to think the fans and city will show up opening kickoff and act like nothing happened? That may be far from the reality.

A longtime fan of the Raiders, Oakland City Council President Larry Reid said he plans to speak with attorneys to see if the city can legally force the Raiders out of the Coliseum early. Meaning forcing owner Davis to scramble to find a stadium to play in this and the next few season while the Vegas stadium is being built. Reid added:

“You will never ever see me wearing anything that says the Raiders.”

So what we have here is a weird situation. It’s like a divorce with a couple still living together under the same roof while they wait years to officially split.

With the Raiders’ planned $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium scheduled to be completed and opened in 2020, Davis said he plans on staying in Oakland the next two seasons with his team having a couple of one-year options at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum where they currently play but that option is the item Reid is referring to.

Davis went further, saying he’d consider adding yet another year lease if necessary and staying in Oakland for the 2019 season too. But the fans and city are heartbroken, bitter and very pissed off right now so the Raiders may become a very unwanted guest.

“If they want us, we’d seriously consider it.” – Mark Davis

Well, Mark they may not. Time will tell if this initial reaction to your move will last. But Raiders fans are a crazy bunch. Imagine if they do boycott the team, or if the city finds a loophole and forces Davis to scramble to find a place to play.

More NFL:

Two NFL defensive backs arrested and tasered for “interference” – Sports Climax

Cowboys Elliott exposes woman’s breast in public – Sports Climax

Former Raiders star Marinovich pleads guilty to public nudity – Sports Cliamx

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Penguins clinch playoffs, Crosby loses two teeth

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins secured a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, but two of Sidney Crosby’s teeth will not be making that trip.

Late in the game, Crosby was hit with an Evander Kane high-stick and had two teeth knocked out. The incident landed Kane in the penalty box, called for a double-minor for high sticking at 18:35 of the third period.

This marks the 11th straight season the Pens have made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Back to Crosby, the Penguins team captain also opened the scoring in the game with an insane goal. Crosby made an end-to-end rush, split the defense and lifted a one-handed backhand into the top corner, and he made it look easy.

That goal was the league leading 41st for Sid No Longer the Kid and here is a look at it:

With the win, Pittsburgh improved their record to (46-17-9), have now won three straight and are only one point behind the Eastern Conference leading Washington Capitals. Can almost hear Alex Ovechkin moaning, “Those guys again?!”

Another injury note: Penguins forward Jake Guentzel left the game about halfway through the first period with a concussion after taking a hit by Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. The zebras slapped a five-minute interference major and game misconduct to Ristolainen.

More hockey coverage:

This Fight Doesn’t End on the Ice – Sports Climax

NHL Rookie H0-Sang and His Controversial No. 66 – Sports Climax

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NHL enforcer Scott went toe-to-toe with NHL and won

NHL All-Star voting, like other sports, many times comes under fire because the best performers don’t always get in. Well, welcome to NHL All-Star voting 2016, but this time that cliche controversy escalated when NHL boss Gary Bettman stepped in and tried to stop a popular player from getting in.

Enforcer John Scott was voted in as a start by fans in a scenario that started out as a joke. The “joke” went viral in social media and BOOM! We had ourselves a guy with a career total of only five goals over nine seasons (285 games) lining up to start.

So after being named Pacific Division captain, Scott was suddenly traded from Phoenix to Montreal, a team that then immediately demoted him to their minor league AHL team — a move many thought was made to end his NHL career.

Reminded us of ancient times when NHL union organizer, Hall of Fame and Red Wing great, Ted Lindsay, was dumped off to the struggling Chicago Blackhawks after he fought to form the player’s union.

The Scott dumping set off an obvious rash of theories that the Coyotes and Canadians conspired to make Scott ineligible to play in the All-Star game.

Only after an onslaught of pressure through social media, did Bettman bow down to the fans and announce that Scott could play in Nashville this weekend.

This incident backfired on Bettman!

Instead of burying a player more known for his fists than putting on the red light, the 33-year-old journeyman become hero among all sports’ fans. In fact, his All-Star shirt sold out at the NHL store.

But the coolest thing about this incident is how Scott exposed Bettman and the NHL . . .

Scott wrote this in a column for The Player’s Tribune:

From The Player’s Tribune:

I’m not some random person off the street, and I didn’t win a golden ticket to “play hockey with the stars.” I won an internet fan vote, sure. And at some point, without question, it was a joke. It might even finish as a joke. But it didn’t start as one. It started with a very small pool, out of a very small pool, out of the very, very smallest pool of hockey players in the world: NHLers.

That was the vote. A fan vote, an internet vote — but a vote from among the 700 or so best hockey players in North American professional sports.

And I’m one of them.

If the league thought this was an embarrassment, pretty much all of the players I’ve encountered have thought otherwise. I’ve gotten texts from so many guys saying the same thing: “You should go.”

And that didn’t happen because of the internet. I busted my ass to be one of them. I’ve skated every day since I was three years old to be one of them. I’ve persevered through Juniors roster cuts, Alaskan bus rides, Advanced Dynamics exams, and — yes — fights, to be one of them.

But I’m one of them. And that means a lot to me.

It means a lot to my family.

So when someone from the NHL calls me and says, “Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?”

… That’s when they lost me.

Scott added, “Because, while I may not deserve to be an NHL All-Star, I know I deserve to be the judge of what my kids will — and won’t — be proud of me for.”

NHL politics got bent over hard on this fiasco.

We expect that Bettman opened a can of worms on this one and expect next season to bring on another vote for the least likely candidate to don an All-Star jersey.

 

Posted in Features, NHL, Recent Buzz0 Comments

Grizzlies Barnes and Knicks coach Fisher brawl

Memphis Grizzlies player Matt Barnes and New York Knicks coach, Derek Fisher, were once Los Angeles Lakers teammates.  It appears they have another thing in common. They both may have courted the same woman.  That alleged courtship is said to have led to a physical brawl between the two.

Fisher is said to be dating his buddy Barnes’ ex-wife, Gloria Govan — which is on our standard guy’s code of ethics “don’t go there” list.

Witnesses said that Barnes felt berated by his friend Fisher and made it clear that night both verbally and with his fists.

One witness said Barnes hit Fisher with a punch to the face and Fisher fought back, leaving both fighters bleeding from the fracas.

The New York Post reported that Barnes allegedly sent a text out about the fight, which occurred at the Redondo Beach home of Barnes’ ex-wife, Gloria Govan:

“I kicked his ass from the back yard to the front room, and spit in her face” – Grizzlies’ Matt Barnes alleged text.

It does not appear that Fisher will press charges against his former teammate and friend . . . at least he has not up to this point.

When Fisher and Barnes went back to work for their regular scheduled NBA week to face the shit storm from the media, they both said, “It is what it is…” Well it’s really a lot more than that. It’s the type of incident that won’t go away any time soon, these seldom do.
Barnes explained his side of the story adding that after seeing his children looking distressed during a phone call, he went over to his ex-wife’s house to see them, and that’s when the situation escalated to Barnes allegedly throwing punches and allegedly spitting in Govan’s face.

Barnes was at the Grizzlies training facility in Santa Barbara at the time of that phone call and sources said he actually hopped in his car and drove about 100 miles to Govan’s house.

Just for the record, Barnes was arrested in 2010 on suspicion of domestic violence against Govan, and filed for divorce from her back in January while Fisher filed for divorce in March.

 

Posted in Features, NBA, Recent Buzz, The Mosh Pit0 Comments

Debate is over…Suh is a dirty player (Video)

The NFL debate that dominated the airwaves a few weeks ago is over . . . Ndamukong Suh is a dirty player.

After being voted the Defensive Rookie of the Year last season, Suh came into camp this season with a chip on his shoulder, an attribute most teams, coaches and players love to see in their locker room. Unfortunately, that chip may be affecting his behavior and causing him to cross the line.

Suh has been chasing Steelers LB James Harrison regarding fines and at the pace Suh is going, he’s not only going to pass him, he can now look forward to missing some games after the classless act that led to an ejection during yesterday’s nationally-televised Thanksgiving Day game against the Packers.

While the nation huddles around their plasma screens, surrounded by the aroma of turkey, the Lions were on their way to their ninth loss in a row on Thanksgiving Day. In the second half, Suh’s frustration got the best of him and after a play the defensive tackle pushed the head of Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith into the ground three times. After getting on his feet, he stomped on Dietrich-Smith’s arm with his spikes, and that’s where the line was not only crossed, but jump over.

Out came the flag for a 15-yard penalty and justifiable ejection. After seeing the video replay of the incident and listening to Suh’s explanation following the game, the combination is sure to draw more criticism from players and media around the league

Maybe Suh’s frustration is being caused by his stats sheets dwindling from last season. After 11 games Suh has 30 tackles and three sacks while last year in 16 games he finished with 66 tackles, 10 sacks, one interception and a fumble recovery that he returned to the house while shooing away a pesky Redskin on his way the end zone; a play that made several highlight reels.

Highlights like that seem like a distant memory with Suh changing his image of being a dominating force in the trenches to being dirty. Recent highlight reels have included pulling the helmet off an opposing quarterback after a play, and body-slamming another adding additional 15 yard flags and fines.

People love smash-mouth football but Suh’s action against the Packers was far from that.

Last time I saw an intentional spike was when Titans’ controversial problem child Albert Haynesworth stepped on the face of Cowboys’ center Andre Gurode; an act that led to an unprecedented five-game suspension by Roger Goodell who had been in his commissioner position for only about a month.  Goodell went on to say, there is “absolutely no place in the game, or anywhere else” for actions like Haynesworth’s. That said, how will the Commish respond to Suh.

Although Haynesworth’s spiking caused 30 stitches to the face of Gurode and Suh targeted an arm with Smith staying in the game, whenever you take a play out of Albert Haynesworth’s book of nasty, it’s sure to lead to time on the sidelines. If Suh receives any less than a one-game suspension without pay, players and fans may lose faith in Goodell.

Earlier this season, Suh spent his bye week in New York meeting with NFL officials and Goodell wanting an explanation of the rules to better understand what side of the line certain hits were on.  Many including myself gave the young player the benefit of the doubt. He’s a charitable guy who strives on helping the less fortunate. In fact, recently he heard about a school on budget cuts in desperate need so he wrote a check to provide football equipment for the players.

While Rex Ryan has a lock on staying in the controversial headlines on the AFC side of the fence, the Lions have taken that position in the NFC. Whether it’s Jim Schwartz chasing down Jim Harbaugh after an offensive handshake or Suh raising eyebrows with his antics on the field, it really needs to stop. The Lions are becoming a national favorite after sitting in the cellar of the league for several years but their style really needs to change; there’s a fine line between smash-mouth and dirty and fans and the media are beginning to think they are crossing it.

Originally from Detroit, Tom is an Atlanta-based sportswriter whose work has been published in the New York Daily News, Washington Times, Detroit Free Press and national hockey mags including The Hockey News (Canada) and USA Hockey Magazine. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomFerda

Copyright ©2011 Sports Climax, LLC

 

Posted in Features, NFL, Recent Buzz, The Mosh Pit0 Comments

“Cardiac Cats” lighting up the NFL

The Cardiac Cats are at it again.

One week after setting a franchise record by erasing a 20-point deficit on the road to win 26-23 in Minnesota, the Detroit Lions staged the largest road comeback in the history of the NFL to defeat the Dallas Cowboys 34-31.

This win rewrote the NFL history books in more ways than one. In addition to overcoming the largest road deficit ever, the 4-0 Lions became the first team in NFL history to erase 20-point deficits in back-to-back weeks.

With the Lions trailing 27-3 with about 25 minutes left to play, it was looking like a mercy killing with Romo ignoring the pain of his broken ribs while slicing and dicing through the defense like a “Ginsu Knife”.

The scene at Jerry’s House was celebratory with the Cowboys cheerleaders posing on the sidelines for the cameras; Jerry pacing with his patented shit-eating grin and Romo adding to his “injured hero” portfolio.

But then the NFL stars realigned in the third quarter.

Former Cowboys linebacker, Bobby Carpenter, who now dons Honolulu Blue, snatched a Romo pass and scampered 34 yards to the end zone to narrow the gap to 27-10. Carpenter was a groomsman in Romo’s wedding so maybe the quarterback was delivering the customary gift that goes along with that. Not wanting to be upstaged by Carpenter, Lions defensive back Chris Houston copied the feat and took another  Romo pass to the house to close the gap even more.

The offense who may have been feeling a bit guilty and embarrassed for not contributing suddenly came to life in the final quarter with quarterback Matthew Stafford connecting with the Calvin Johnson for two additional second-half scores; one into triple coverage. The man known as Megatron is now in the record books with four consecutive two-touchdown games and after watching game tape, opposing defenses may want to consider quadruple coverage in the future; the man is a beast.

On a 31-3 run and with a three-point lead, the Lions positioned themselves to shock the football world for the second week in a row.

During the post game interviews, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said:

“Any time you come back from 20-something, you’re doing some kind of stealing.”

Not always, not when you are given presents like Romo was gift-wrapping.

With an opportunity to put the game away, Romo dropped back to pass and floated a jump ball over the middle that landed in Lions linebacker, Stephen Tulloch’s hands. It was a lame duck that Pop Warner coaches would have been justified to scream at a 13-year-old about.

Romo’s stats were as up and down as a roller coaster on this Sunday afternoon. He finished 34-of-47 for 331 yards and three first-half TDs but the bigger story was his three second-half interceptions. A text I received from a loyal Cowboys supporter during the Cowboys historic implosion summed it up. It read:

“Romo is the Lions best player right now”

And not to take anything away from a hard-fighting Lions team that plays with a lot of heart and never quits, that was hard to argue with.

After last week’s comeback win in Minny, Lions charismatic center Dominic Raiola, who has been through years of agony including the record-setting 0-16 season, said the win was the biggest since he has been with the team. So how does that match up to this win in Dallas? “This is bigger. It’s definitely bigger because of the type of team they are. This is the biggest win since I’ve been here.”

“We haven’t done anything yet,” Lions second receiver Nate Burleson added.

Sure you have.

You’ve erased your team’s reputation of being losers while winning the hearts of football fans across the country and BTW, your Lions are the only team besides Green Bay to remain unbeaten this season.

This win also set a Lions’ franchise-best mark. It was the team’s fifth straight road win and that follows an NFL-record 0-26 road loss streak.

See what I mean about the stars realigning?

Originally from Detroit, Tom is an Atlanta-based sportswriter whose work has been published in the New York Daily News, Washington Times, Detroit Free Press and national hockey mags including The Hockey News (Canada) and USA Hockey Magazine. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomFerda

Copyright ©2011 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, NFL, Recent Buzz0 Comments

Cam Newton has record-setting debut

Cam Newton silenced any doubters, at least for a week, after having a record-setting NFL debut and becoming the first rookie to ever throw for over 400 yards in an inaugural game.

Although the Carolina Panthers went on to lose the contest to the Arizona Cardinals 28-21, the Panthers can certainly breathe a sigh of relief and know they may have their franchise guy behind center.

Newton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, showed flashes of dominance and finished 24-of-37 for 422 yards, two touchdowns and one INT.

Visiting the same field where he led his Auburn Tigers to the BCS national championship while locking up the Heisman Trophy, Newton silenced critics who said he wasn’t worthy of being the No. 1 overall pick and would have too difficult a time learning to stand in and throw from the pocket.

Panthers’ wide receiver Steve Smith looked like the S.S. of old, hooking up with Newton for eight catches for 178 yards and two TDs; one a 77-yard sprint and another for 26 yards.

Ironically, the 422 yards in this game far surpassed any game Newton had all last season at Auburn where his top two performances that season included finishing with 335 and 317 passing yards.

Originally from Detroit, Tom is an Atlanta-based sportswriter whose work has been published in the New York Daily News, Washington Times, Detroit Free Press and national hockey mags including The Hockey News (Canada) and USA Hockey Magazine. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomFerda

Copyright ©2011 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, NFL, Recent Buzz0 Comments

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