Category Archives: February
After a few quiet months in the Columbus sports buzz about the NBA, the discussion has heated up again talking about bringing the National Basketball Association to our beloved city. The thought of Columbus getting an NBA team would something exciting and new for the city, a city ruled by Ohio State football in the fall, and on occasion the Buckeye ballers in the winter. The desire to have a major sports team that would dominate the winter would be a great step up from the current state of being forced to watch our beloved Blue Jackets find new and heartbreaking ways to lose game after game. Minus the 2009-10 playoff season, the CBJ have struggled to succeed in the NHL, and with the trade of Rick Nash, popularity of the Blue Jackets will dwindle.
That’s just my minor take on the need to push the NBA to Columbus, but if you are looking for a place that is directly about bringing the NBA to Columbus, check out their site, coincidentally named www.NBAtoColumbus.com.
LeBron? Kobe? Durant? Rose? Say the NBA was initiating a fantasy draft for all teams, and your franchise had the first pick, who would you take to lead your team to glory? Here at Behind The Box Score, we have been pondering this question for some weeks now and decided to pose it to all of our readers. We will give you a list of possible candidates, and leave it up to you to decide in the comment section. So let’s get it started.
After nearly two weeks of Linsanity, Jeremy Lin and the Knicks will get their true test in the Eastern Conference, as New York travels to Miami to play LeBron and the Heat on Thursday. Following a 100-92 loss at the hands of Deron Williams and the Rocafella Nets, oops, I mean, New Jersey Nets, Lin and the Knicks hope to upset the surging Heat. Miami, at 25-7, have won 14 of their last 16 games, with the previous six coming by 10 or more points. The ironic aspect of the Heat’s success this season is the incredible amount of undercoverage the team is receiving. As James continues to have arguably his best season thus far in his career, the successes of LeBron and Miami have been minimized due to Lin’s comet like crash on the scene, taking the entire world by storm. It will be interesting to see the outcome Thursday in Miami when these two meteors collide.
In other news…
- Retired slugger Manny Ramirez has come to an agreement with the Oakland Athletics. The contract is set for one year, at $500,000, a tremendous pay cut considering Ramirez was making $20 million in each of his two years with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramirez, who turned his back on the Tampa Bay Rays following a second positive test for banned substances, was slated to serve a 100 game suspension for the 2011 season. With his retirement, league officials have reduced his suspension to 50 games for this season, saying the retirement was virtually “a 140 game suspension.” ESPN’s Pedro Gomez, who has been around Manny all offseason, says the Manny the A’s signed, is “a changed man.”
- The New York Yankees have handed all of their troubles on the mound over to the Pittsburgh Pirates. New York dealt overpaid pitcher AJ Burnett to Pittsburgh in exchange for two prospects and a signed Terry Bradshaw helmet, according to multiple sources. Burnett, who was 11-11 last season with a 5.15 ERA, has $31 million remaining on his contract, in which New York will pay $20 mill.
- In the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings look to extend their record home winning streak to 24 games on Thursday against the defending Western Conference champion, Vancouver Canucks. Detroit is fresh off a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks, who have lost six straight. All is well in Detroit sports at the moment.
- Boston Celtics PG Rajon Rondo has been suspended for two games following his ejection Sunday night in a 96-81 loss to Detroit. Rondo, who received his second technical foul late in the third quarter after throwing the ball at an official, was upset over a foul not being called. The timing of Rondo’s suspension is detrimental to the Celtics, as the talented point guard will miss games at Dallas and a rematch vs Oklahoma City.
Prior to the 2007 NBA Draft Lottery, the Portland Trail Blazers were a promising franchise. Coming off a 32-50 season, 12 games better than the 2005-06 campaign, the Blazers led by Brandon Roy and LeMarcus Aldridge were in desperate need for a game changer, someone who had the potential to bring them multiple championships. With only a 5% chance of securing the top pick in a presumably deep draft, the Portland front office was hoping for a mid to late lottery pick. But with the NBA, anything can happen.
Just a few hours north, the Seattle SuperSonics were a franchise going in the opposite direction. With obvious talent in 20 point scorers Ray Allen, and Rashard Lewis, the Sonics finished the 2006-07 campaign with a 31-51 record, one game worse than the year before. Hoping to start fresh, obvious changes were going to be made by the front office, and with their lottery chances, Seattle liked what the future had to offer.
On the college landscape, Ohio State C Greg Oden was dominating all draft chatter, and right up there with him was Texas SG/SF Kevin Durant. Oden and Durant were the obvious top two prospects for the draft, and rightfully so. As both players were leading their teams to successful seasons, each represented a different style of play. Oden, averaging 15.7 ppg, and 9.7 rpg was an obvious force to be reckoned with. Causing havoc for any defender opponents tried to throw his way, most NBA scouts saw the next great big man in the making.
In the Big 12, Kevin Durant was the catalyst on an explosive Texas offense. Averaging 25.8 ppg and 11.1 rebounds, Durant was of a different breed. Measuring in at 6’9″ and 225 pounds, the forward showed remarkable shooting touch along with incredible ball handling skills for someone his size. The only knock against Durant among scouts was his frail frame, which many thought would be an obvious determent to his development once he reached the NBA.
As June 28th approached, fans in each city were anxious to see how their respective teams’ futures were to be changed for the better. Portland would go on to draft the consensus #1 pick, Greg Oden, and Seattle had an even greater day, as the Sonics not only drafted Durant, but in the process, traded star player Ray Allen to Boston for the rights of the fifth overall pick, Jeff Green. With the move, Seattle initiated an obvious youth movement, and the Celtics after acquiring not only Ray Allen, but Kevin Garnett that day, became one of the premier forces in the league. As we reflect on the monumental moves made that day, one can only wonder how the league’s landscape would have been changed had Portland changed it’s mind. Let’s take a look at what could have been.
June 29, 2007
NEW YORK, NEW YORK- With the first pick in last night’s draft, the cellar dweller Portland Trailblazers drafted Kevin Durant. Durant, with his superior shooting ability and versatility looks to pay dividends for the Blazers offense, only adding to the length of LeMarcus Aldridge and Channing Frye. With Roy at the point, and Durant on the wing, the Blazers look to have one of the youngest and most talented offenses in the league. With an adequate balance of inside and outside scoring, the future is bright in Portland.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK- Selecting second in last night’s NBA Draft, the Seattle SuperSonics were blessed to acquire the talented center out of Ohio State, Greg Oden. Oden, who brings obvious length to the Seattle front line, hopes to return the Sonics to the glory days of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. Along with Oden, Seattle looks to rely on F Jeff Green to bring more scoring to an offense that looks to be depleted following the departures of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.
November 16th, 2007
PORTLAND, OREGON- Squaring off against the West perennial power and defending champion San Antonio Spurs, the young Blazers took down the defending champs, 108-94. Led by rookie Kevin Durant’s 27 points and 6 rebounds, the Blazers did a great job at containing Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. With the victory, Portland improved to 4-3 on the young season. Durant is off to a wonderful start in his career, averaging 17.3 ppg, while Brandon Roy (19.4 ppg) and LaMarcus Aldridge (15.8 ppg) are each averaging double digits.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON- In a 94-78 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Sonics suffered an even greater loss Friday night. Midway through the 2nd quarter, rookie big man Greg Oden went down with an apparent knee injury. Oden, who had injury problems in his only season at Ohio State, is waiting on x-ray results to see whether or not his season is in jeopardy. For Seattle, Oden’s injury is threatening to not only the team’s immediate future, but the long term future as well. Coach PJ Carlesimo said following the loss to Atlanta, “Greg’s a strong kid, and we hope he can get back on the court very soon. We need him out there if we want to make any moves this season.”
February 23rd, 2008
CLEVELAND, OHIO- In a 104-99 loss to the defending Eastern conference champ Cleveland Cavaliers, the Blazers saw significant contributions out of their young stars. Led by Kevin Durant’s season and career high 34 points, the Sonics fell just short to LeBron James and the Cavs. James, who earlier in the week was asked about the remarkable season Durant was having, was quoted as saying, “Kevin reminds me alot of myself. He has really put that team on his back, and I’m excited to play against him.” Cleveland jumped out to an early 56-38 halftime lead, but a surge in the final period led by Durant and Brandon Roy evened the score at 94 with three minutes to play. Cleveland would rely on James for scoring in the 4th, and a 10-5 run proved to be the final nail in the coffin. James, who finished with 41 points and 12 rebounds, had his way all night in the lane, getting by Durant and LeMarcus Aldridge. With the loss, Portland falls to 24-20, while Cleveland improves to 28-16.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON- Brutally outmatched by the size and scoring of the Los Angeles Lakers, the league worst Sonics fell to a 10-36 record Wednesday night, after a 110-88 loss. Greg Oden’s season ending injury is excruciating for the Sonics, as the young and inexperienced team has looked for more contribution out of Nick Collison and Jeff Green. The Sonics struggled to score in the paint, as newly acquired Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum dominated Seattle on the boards. Green led Seattle with 20 points, but Kobe Bryant’s 38, and Gasol’s 32 proved to be too much for the home team. Along with the apparent struggles on the court, Seattle fans have been even more troubled lately, as reports are surfacing that team owner Clay Bennett has been exploring options to move the team to Oklahoma City. Bennett had been adamant about the deteriorating Key Arena, and unless a new arena is in the works, odds are the team’s bags are packed. This is the team’s 41st season in Seattle, and many fear it will be their last.
April 17th, 2008
PHOENIX, ARIZONA- Although the Portland Trail Blazers were on the wrong end of a 100-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns, the young team is on their way to the playoffs. Finishing the season with a 50-32 record, Kevin Durant is the consensus pick for Rookie of the Year. Behind Durant’s 22 ppg, the Blazers featured one of the league’s best offenses, ranking sixth in points per game at 103. Coming in to the playoffs as the sixth seed, Portland will be squared off against these same Suns. Coach Nate McMillan likes his chances against Phoenix and it will be interesting to see how this inexperienced squad responds to the pressure the playoffs tend to bring.
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA- The Sonics wrapped up a horrendous 2007-08 campaign and their history in Seattle with an embarrassing 103-70 loss at the hands of the mediocre Sacramento Kings. With the loss, the Sonics finished the season with a 17-65 record, including a 14 game losing streak to end the year. Without rookie Greg Oden in the post, the Sonics suffered on both sides of the ball for the majority of the year. The fans in Seattle were visibly distraught as the year progressed, as the rumors in February became truth regarding the team’s future. Watching your team lose 65 games is one thing, but to watch your team leave your city on such terms is another. Maybe someday a franchise will return to the great state of Washington.
Back to the present day….
It’s quite interesting to think about how one draft could have changed the fortunes of two franchises. Portland, who has been competitive for years, is still lacking a franchise game changer to become a contender. With Durant, that certainly would have happened, and it’s crazy to think just how good that team could have been. Barring injury, Greg Oden’s presence in the paint could have also paid huge dividends for Portland, who is still to this day searching for a true center. Seattle’s selection of Durant is arguably the best draft pick the team has ever had. Durant, a two time scoring champion, has led the now Oklahoma City Thunder, along with Russell Westbrook, to the best record in the Western Conference. This was only a sneak peak at what we could have seen in the NBA had Portland chosen Durant ahead of Oden. It is also difficult to predict that Oden would have had the injuries that he has suffered from. What do you think would have happened in the league had Portland been given the chance to rethink their decision?
atching hours of basketball a night the past two weeks, there is one major thing that is sticking out to me: the inability for teams to close games. Now with that statement, all of you are going to point back to the Duke-Carolina game from last night, in which the Tar Heels
Waking up every morning before dawn, many at the Mansfield YMCA see a legend in the making. In the wee hours of the morning, before most people start their day, one man, and one dream are in the making. After graduating with the class of 2010 at Central Crossing High School, Mansfield YMCA PF/C Jason Morrow has surpassed unlikely odds to get to the position he is in now.
Before Trey Burke takes his talents to Ann Arbor to become a Michigan Wolverine next fall, the senior guard of state powerhouse Northland looks make a run for a championship. Following a stellar regular season campaign in which Burke was second in all scorers in the region, at 23.9 ppg, the sharp shooting guard has his team in position for another deep postseason run.
With a game that featured two of the better big men in Central Ohio, it was no surprise that the two teams only combined for 76 points and a wealth of rebounds. Led by Dane McLoughlin, St. Charles
Here on BtBS the next few weeks vote for your favorite sports memory in an 8-team bracket. Vote for your favorite memory and see if it wins! Voting for this round will be closed on Sunday night.
A majority of 15+ point victories, combined with a couple close games and near upsets made this another great night to be a fan of the Ohio Capital Conference.
Mount Vernon survived a test last night, avoiding the near upset from