May 25, 2011
Amid the excitement of the NBA playoffs, 14 of the less spectacular professional basketball teams met for the draft lottery last Tuesday. While the Wizards won the lottery last year, going on to nab Kentucky guard John Wall, this year’s talent pool was lacking a standout player such as Wall or 2009’s Blake Griffin. Nevertheless, the Wizards could have used a good spot in the lottery to get the best pick of players. But like a good ending to a bad story, the Cleveland Cavaliers were won the draft and will get the No. 1 and No. 4 picks come draft day in June; while the Wizards have the No. 6 pick.
Whether you love them, hate them or couldn’t care less, the matchup between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls has been an exciting ride so far. Coming off an embarrassing first game loss, the Heat have come back with a vengeance in Games 2 and 3, winning both by margins of 10 points or more. Game 4 is tomorrow, the outcome of which will possibly foreshadow how the series will end. If the Bulls can pull out a win in Miami before heading home for Game 5, there’s a better chance they will have the momentum they need for a home-court win. If not, they may go into Game 5 dejected and face elimination in front of their own fans. Unless of course, LeBron and Bosh let their heads get in the way and celebrate too early. I am honestly surprised that the Heat is winning so big against the Bulls; I thought that if anyone could kick the trifecta out of the playoffs it would be Chicago. The Mavericks meanwhile are not having as easy time against the Oklahoma City Thunder as they did with the Lakers; though they are ahead 2-1 going into Game 4. By this time next week, we will know who is championship bound, as we prep for the last best-of-seven game NBA series of the season.
The Nats seemed to have hit a rough patch, losing 4 of their last 6 games and falling again to that familiar last place. Back-to-back losses to the division rival Mets last week have left the Nats all alone at the bottom; New York is a full game ahead of them in the standings. It’s not all bad, though. Going into Friday night’s game, the Nationals were statistically the worst offensive team in Major League Baseball with a sad batting average of .223. But the team’s bats came alive in a spectacular way on Friday, proving that there is power and talent in the lineup. They combined for 17 runs on 19 hits, beating the birds 17-5. The big hitters of the night were second basement Danny Espinosa, catcher Wilson Ramos and big-buck first basement Jayson Werth. Ramos scored five runs, while Espinosa drove in five. Werth hit two home runs with four RBIs.
The Nats scored in every inning except the first and third with the majority of runs – six – coming in the 5th inning. “We had a good night. We swung the bats extremely well,” manager Jim Riggleman said afterwards. “We played good baseball, but we haven’t had too many offensive nights where we really put a couple of games together. Hopefully, this will be the start of something.” Players echoed this sentiment with Werth telling reporters, “It has been a long time coming. We have a good team. Hopefully we can build on this and keep going.” Unfortunately, the rest of the weekend didn’t go as well, as the Nats lost both Saturday and Sunday’s games to Baltimore, their recording falling to 21-25. But perhaps Friday was the spark we’ve all been waiting for. We can only wait and see.
As the weather gets warmer and the knowledge that it will be fall too soon, the thought of a lost NFL season is becoming more and more daunting every day. It’s been 69 days since the lockout began, and — barring a short lived court injunction that lifted the lockout and allowed players on team property — there has been no visible attempt at a resolution. In an interview with ESPN over the weekend, Baltimore Raven star and football vet Ray Lewis stated that he believes the loss of a football season will have repercussions far beyond the field. “Do this research. If we don’t have a season, watch how much evil — which we call crime. Watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game,” Lewis told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. He said that he believes that it’s just pride that’s getting in the way of a resolution, and that it needs to be put aside, because the lockout affects “way more than us” (meaning the owners and players). “There’s too many people that live through us; people live through us,” he said. When posed the question whether or not crime would increase if there is no NFL season this year, Lewis said: “There’s nothing else to do.” Let’s all hope the lockout ends peacefully – and soon!