It’s rare to look back on a run-of-the-mill summer weekend and realize you’ve witnessed sports history. The Belmont Stakes gave us American Pharoah and the Triple Crown. And LeBron James had the best triple double in recent memory in the NBA Finals. Two feats that hadn’t been accomplished since ’78 and ’88 respectively.
The Triple Crown largely speaks for itself. The over/under on the amount of horse races I watch per year is 1.5 – I watch the Kentucky Derby and if there’s a shot at the Triple Crown, I will catch the Belmont if there’s nothing particularly interesting on my Netflix queue. In my lifetime watching the Belmont, there have been several opportunities to see that third win in five weeks, but I’ve only been let down. Saturday I was lucky enough to watch American Pharoah take the Crown and join the pantheon of horse racing greats like Secretariat and Seattle Slew.
Then on Sunday night, I spent most of the early evening getting mentally prepared for the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones. That takes precedent in my mind over Game 2 of the NBA Finals and certainly the 69th Annual Tony Awards. But other than my one hour hiatus for Thrones, Cavs/Warriors was also a slice of history, albeit less obvious than that of the Triple Crown. By way of @mikeandmike, “LeBron James had 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. That’s a stat line that had never been accomplished in any NBA playoff game.” The last time a player had 35-15-10 in the NBA Finals was James Worthy in 1988. The Cavs OT win was all LeBron – firing on all cylindars powering a less than high-octane team.
LeBron James reminds me of Tyrion Lannister as he’s trying to sit on the Finals Throne. Despite their shocking physical resemblance, they share similar qualities. LBJ takes mediocre men and makes them better (see Timofey Mozgov, the second leading scorer last night). He watches as his supporting cast drop like flies (two All-Stars now spending the remainder of the season in their finest Zegna suits) and manages to surge on. And of course, his own family can prove to be a threat to his survival. J.R. Smith’s three late fouls last night were the basketball equivalent of multiple flesh wounds bleeding the life out of an 11-point lead.
So, to sum it all up, sports history was made over the weekend. We may not see another Triple Crown winning horse for decades. Who knows how the NBA Finals will end, but if LeBron James can drag the Cavs to the title, it may be the best effort by a single player in basketball history. And if you don’t already, watch Game of Thrones.
The Colts have successfully sucked for Luck this season, though they did their best to suck at that with wins against Tennessee and Houston. Now, all they are left with is questions. Take Luck? Peyton play? Peyton trade? Pick trade? Manning neck good? Use articles in sentences? The huge “if” is whether or not Peyton is healthy enough to play. If he can, you don’t replace a known asset with a question mark. However, the Painter/Orlovsky combination of mediocrity isn’t exactly the future. Take a project and have Peyton develop them for the future.
Dear Carolina Panthers,
Don’t take Cam Newton. You aren’t going to the playoffs whether you draft him or not. And you have much larger needs, especially on defense. When Jon Gruden asked him to randomly name a play set they ran at Auburn, he froze. It was Palin-esque. Steve Smith is out the door and drafting Cam won’t raise his spirits. Go for a free agent QB (eventually) and start rebuilding. Or draft Mallet, Dalton or Kaepernick in the second and develop them.
Carmelo Anthony closed last night with 42 points and 17 rebounds. The last Knick to have 40 points in the playoffs? Ewing in 1990. Last night underscores why the Knicks gave up so much to get ‘Melo. Not because he can score, but because you can’t win without multiple stars. If either Billups or Stoudemire were available, the end of that game would have looked very different. The Celtics wouldn’t have been able to double ‘Melo thirty feet from the basket and you wouldn’t have to rely on Jared Jeffries for two late buckets.
Even with a loss, Knicks fans should be pleased with what they saw in Boston last night. New York hasn’t won a playoff game since 2001 and they were a couple calls a three from ‘Melo away from stealing a win on the road against the superior Celtics. What you saw last night was a competitive game and the Knicks playing actual defense, a concept that is foreign to D’Antoni teams. That being said, Billups is “very doubtful” for Game 2, and going down two games to a team that’s experienced in the playoffs isn’t the best position to be in.
Glad ‘Mel-o-rama is finally over, but even more glad he landed on the Knicks. Despite “reassurance” from NBA insiders, after LeBron-a-thon last year, there’s no trusting anyone, including Chris Broussard. I love Gallo, but you give up what you have to to get a top 5 player in his prime. Analysts (and Knicks alike) have been saying all season that basketball is back in New York; I want to see the Garden rocking again like Ewing and Starks are on the floor.
Before the trade became official, the Carnegie Deli had already announced they are launching the Melo Sandwich (roast beef, pastrami, bacon, salami, plus the trimmings on rye) for $21.95.
Back to football. The Saints released Jeremy Shockey today. He was once every Giants fan’s favorite, but due to many injuries and an overall attitude problem (part of the attitude that fans loved to see on the field) he was shipped out for second and fifth round draft picks. In typical Shockey fashion, Jeremy said, “whoever gets me it’s going to be a steal.” Doubt it will happen, but the Giants have a void at backup tight end…
Vick Factor (not a show on Fox). In a statement yesterday, Michael Vick canceled his appearance on Oprah set to air later this month. The guy’s clearly not getting quality advice; an Oprah endorsement could almost fully exonerate the him in the eyes of the Real Housewives of the Midwest. Although, it’s doubtful he’ll ever be on the short list to judge the Westminster Dog Show. Apparently, owners of the Vicktims of Vick’s dogfighting wanted to be heard on O’s show, so Vick scrambled. Meanwhile, Vick was franchised by the Eagles this week, which guarantees him an average of the top five highest paid QBs in 2010. In completely unrelated news, “#GoodLuckChrisBrown” was trending in the US on Twitter during the Grammys this weekend; how quickly some forget.