What up world! It’s your boy Earl and I’m back with another edition of The Blog About Nothing. The sun is shining in New York City, we just received another big shot of snow, and the City badly needs to defrost but we are still standing. It’s New York. We just keep moving, you know. So a day after a plane slides off the runway at LaGuardia Airport, and many drivers on the road slid their way to work and school, I present to you, the masses, The Blog About Nothing. Let’s do this!
Russell Westbrook sure has been on fire lately, hasn’t he? One of my favorite players to watch and a man I have been defending ever since he came into the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder sure has been lighting up the stat sheets. With Kevin Durant out with an injury, and the Thunder fighting to make the playoffs in the Western Conference, what Westbrook has done since the calender flipped to February 1st has been nothing short of amazing.
During the month of February, Westbrook became the first player since Oscar Robertson to average 30 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds over a single month. Westbrook also joined the illustrious company of Pete Maravich and Michael Jordan to record consecutive triple-doubles where he averaged over 40 points in scoring. With Durant out, Westbrook assumed the scoring role, but he’s also become a do everything player for a team that needed it.
Now, Westbrook’s historic output does come with some criticisms. He shoots the ball far too much, and since the ball is always in his hands the points and assist numbers shouldn’t be so surprising. However, he’s inserted himself into the Most Valuable Player conversation. However, and this is unfortunate, he has no shot at winning the award. Wins and losses matter in the MVP conversation and Steph Curry, James Harden, and LeBron James all play on teams with better records and in the case of LeBron his team would be in the tank without him.
Yeah, Bron plays with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love but the Cavs are 2-9 without LeBron on the court. Honestly, I’d give the award to LeBron at season’s end but as far as Westbrook is concerned I think he should place second in the voting. As far as I see it he is far more valuable than Curry and Harden. If it wasn’t for Westbrook putting this team on his back, the Thunder wouldn’t even be in the playoff hunt.
Both Durant and Westbrook missed time to start the season, both players missed time once they came back to their teams in late November/early December, but if Westbrook wasn’t going out there and dropping 40 every night, and doing it without Kevin Durant, do you really think the Thunder would be in a position where they could make the playoffs? I don’t. For that reason alone I’d merit Westbrook in the MVP conversation, even if his team doesn’t finish with a record as close as the other candidates for the award.
Moving on from pro basketball, I’ll take a look at college ball. With the bad weather that hit New York City recently, I had the liberty of a snow day and I spent most of that day listening to New York sports personality Mike Francesa and his radio call-in show on WFAN. Well, actually I looked at the television simulcast on Fox Sports One but I haven’t had the chance to listen to Francesa in awhile.
Now, sports talk radio is full of guys calling in and pretending they know everything, like myself (LOL) but it’s Francesa’s arrogant dismissal of 99% of his callers that make listening to his show entertaining. The man nicknamed the “Sports Pope” by the New York Daily News (the nickname is meant as an insult really) can be brutally dismissive but one caller on his show yesterday made me stop and think.
The caller in question was a crazy Duke fan, who stated that this was the best season Duke has had in years. First of all that’s false but the guy calling in is 25 years old. He has no memory of the early 1990’s Duke teams of Grant Hill and Christian Laettner. Anyway, the guy kept screaming to Mike that this year’s Duke team with their 27-3 record is a better team than the undefeated 30-0 Kentucky team because Duke plays in a better conference. No doubt the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is better than the Southeastern Conference (SEC) but I sat there listening to this guy and all I could say is “he’s nuts”.
Kentucky, who I blogged about a few months ago in a blog titled Curb Your Enthusiasm, is a good young team. Led by Willie Cauley-Stein and backed by Karl Anthony-Towns the Wildcats are led by two seven footers with unprecedented skills and athleticism. Those two guys can do everything on the floor. Add in some solid contributions from the Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew, as well as Tyler Ulis, and Devin Booker, the Wildcats go at least 9 players deep every game.
Duke has a great player in Jahlil Okafor, and the kid probably is one of the best offensive big men I’ve seen in years, but I’d argue that Karl Anthony-Towns is the better player. Towns doesn’t put up big numbers but I’d argue that he’s more versatile on the offensive end, and far more impressive on the defensive end than Okafor. I’d also argue that Towns will have the better NBA career. I believe in the kid that much. However, as far as this season and that caller I find it hard to believe that the overall depth and talent of Duke is better than Kentucky.
As a matter of fact I’m going to make one of my usual kiss of death predictions: Kentucky will become the first team since Bob Knight’s 1976 University of Indiana Hoosiers to finish the season undefeated. Yup, I’m putting my stamp of approval on John Calipari’s team. I’ve seen Kentucky play a handful of times this season and I think that their defense is so strong behind their talented big men that no team will beat them. No one. Not the caller’s Duke team, not Arizona, not Wisconsin, and not even another real strong defensive squad in Virginia. Kentucky will not be beat.
As any reader of this blog knows, I love the sport of boxing. I’ve shared on numerous occasions of how I got into the sport, and how much I watch the sport. Now, as a boxing fan I have to say that I’m pumped that boxing will make a triumphant return to network television this weekend with Premier Boxing kicking off on NBC this Saturday. Al Haymon, shadowy boxing figure, found a venue to showcase all his fighters and many of them will be seen on either NBC or CBS over the next few months (Al has also agreed to showcase his fighters on Spike TV as well as Bounce TV over the next few months). This Saturday we’ll be treated to Adrien Broner vs. John Molina and Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero. Solid fights, that everyone can watch.
I’ve had cable in my household my entire life, so it’s hard for me to imagine but there are people in this world that don’t have cable. It’s not easy for everyone to watch a fight on HBO or Showtime, or order a Pay Per View so for those people the fact that they can watch major names on network TV is an exciting time for the sport. Boxing has been falling behind MMA in recent years but with PBC on network TV and with Mayweather-Pacquiao on the horizon it is a great time to be a fan of the sport.
Finally, I’ve been keeping up with a sport that I watch but never have been able to understand. That sport: cricket. My family is from Trinidad. Cricket is a sport my father has played, my uncles have played, and I’ll never forget making a trip to England to visit family when I was 8 years old. One day, I picked up an older cousin’s cricket bat and swung it like a baseball bat. I’m an American, a Yankee as some people might call me dismissively so that’s what I knew. That’s when he explained to me the rules of a game called cricket. Let’s just say, I wasn’t paying much attention at 8 years old.
Shit, I barely pay attention now. I can’t tell you how many times my father has tried to explain the game to me. I’m still clueless. However, with the World Cup of Cricket taking place the past few weeks in Australia and New Zealand, I’ve been watching highlights online. Now, while I know the rules a bit better at 33 then I did back when I was 8, I still don’t really get the game. What I do know is I feel like I’m practically living and dying with every West Indies result. I’m happy when the West Indies win, and I’m at a loss when they lose. Got to root for the home team, right?
The Cricket World Cup is a competition of 14 nations (well the West Indies isn’t a nation, but I’ll explain that later) facing off in round robin play. There are two groups of seven. All 14 teams play in the opening stage, then the top four teams from each group make the quarter-finals stage. Clearly the competition goes on until there is one winner, but the reason for the round robin opening stage is to ensure that all teams involved play at least 6 games in the competition. The nations involved are: England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, and the West Indies.
The West Indies as I stated before is not a nation. It’s a collection of 15 Caribbean nations (mainly from the English-speaking Caribbean) that compete together under one flag and under an unofficial anthem of Rally Round The West Indies which was sung by Trinidadian calypso artist David Rudder. I’ve actually taken to tweeting the words Rally Round The West Indies at least once a day, and it’s a song I know by heart but that’s because of my Dad who played a lot of Rudder’s music when I was growing up. Obviously, as an American of Trinidadian parentage I’m going to root for the West Indies, and why I feel like I’ve lived and died by their results.
I still don’t get the game. Not a clue. Overs, runs, who out, I don’t really know. To keep it real I see a man hit a ball and just run. It’s not baseball, but it’s more entertaining to me. If that makes sense? Anyway, for those who are interested the Cricket World Cup it can be viewed on Watch ESPN in the United States, and if you’re interested in the sport you should check it out.
I’m done. I feel like I typed a little more than I wanted to this week, but I hope you, the reader enjoyed it. Thanks for reading. Thanks for checking out www.7poundbag.com.
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