While the sports scene in Detroit has been anything but stellar over the last couple of years, if you look hard enough, you can still find a teeny-tiny light at the end of the tunnel. For instance...
- As George Blaha would say, "Don't look now, but the Pistons are only six games back in the loss column for the 8th and final playoff spot!!"
Is it a long shot? Sure.
And if they somehow did manage to sneak in, is there any way in hell that they would keep even one of those games with Cleveland under 35 points? Probably not.
But when you're 15 games under .500 and the only team you ever beat is the 4-48 New Jersey Nets , you look for a little silver lining somewhere. I'm going with the "loss column" angle. Feel free to jump on board...
- Justin Verlander just signed a major extension that will keep his prized right arm in Detroit for the next five years. And while many are writing the Tigers off in the upcoming season, Verlander himself said this could be an excellent club if guys like "Bondo, Nate, and Dontrelle" get back to their old form. Way to play the "glass is half full" card, JV!
We'll just casually look past the fact that the aforementioned trio of hurlers are either extremely banged up (Bondo), completely washed up (Nate), or irreparably screwed up (Dontrelle). Can't wait for Spring Training!
- Michigan State may have lost their third straight game on Tuesday night, but at least brick-tossin' Derrick Nix knocked down 1 of his 2 free throws. That puts him at 8 for 41 on the year, which is just a hair under 20 percent! A couple more splits at the line, and he could be knocking on the door of 30 percent. Look out, Rick Barry!!
- The Red Wings are on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs are concerned, but they sit just two points out of the last spot in the West. This is due to the NHL's new rule where the losing team is still awarded at least one point in the standings if the officials determine that they put forth an honest effort in trying to get the W. Maybe that's why 27 of the 30 teams in the league are still realistically fighting for a postseason berth.
Parity and excitement are good things, but isn't this a little ridiculous? If you're gonna have shootouts to decide a winner in every single game, you can't continue to award points for losing games, especially the ones lost in the actual overtime period. Okay, I'm off the soapbox.
Plus, if I go on about the NHL any longer, I fear that my keyboard could get angry and stop working, just like the night that I wrote a 10,000 word love letter to yellow Skittles and my whole computer burst into flames upon completion.
- The All-Star Game will be played this weekend, and for the first time since 2002, no Detroit Piston will be involved. However, you can still get your Stones fix on Friday night by watching Jonas Jerebko in the Rookie-Sophomore affair, or as it has come to be known in recent years, the "If you are watching this garbage for more than 15 or 20 minutes, then chances are your life isn't quite where you hoped it would be" game. Enjoy!
(Sidenote: Did you know the Sophomores have won 7 straight games in this series?? And that those wins included victories by 20, 24, 27 (twice), and 41 points?!? In a game where defense is frowned upon and virtually every bucket is an alley-oop, it's pretty strange that the contests have been so lopsided.)
- Last year, the Michigan hoops squad invaded The Barn in Minnesota and took down the Golden Gophers for a season-saving road victory. The Wolverines, coming off losses in five of their last six games, make that same trip tonight with faint hopes of possibly turning this campaign around as well.
But unlike last year, when Beilein's boys walked around with a little bit of a swagger, this year's version lacks any confidence whatsoever and displays on-court chemistry similar to that of a thrice-divorced couple trying to figure out where to go out to eat on a busy Saturday night. Oh, wait, there was supposed to be some kind of silver lining here.
Okay, got it: one month from now, the season will be over and the utterly useless tandem of Stu Douglass and Zack Novak will have officially used up half of their total college basketball eligibility. U of M hoops...catch the fever!
- The Pistons might be among the worst teams in the NBA, but hey, at least we don't have to watch lazy Rasheed Wallace jack up ridiculous 25-footers anymore. I was chattin' with my buddy Beantown Al tonight, a die-hard Celtics fan, and these were his three observations after half a season watching our boy Sheed on a nightly basis.
3. I was looking forward to his defense more than his offense...and even that has been $#*%.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the big fella.
I still think the Pistons should have completely cut ties with Rasheed immediately following his unforgivable defensive mistake at the end of Game 5 against San Antonio. Or at least told him to stay home for the rest of the Finals.
In Game 7 of that series, with the Pistons on the verge of back-to-back championships, the 6-foot-11 Rasheed played 28 minutes and grabbed one rebound.
For the entire seven-game series, he made one free throw.
You're telling me those are the numbers of a guy playing his absolute hardest and leaving it all on the court? Give me a break. Sheed's counterpart in the series, Tim Duncan, converted 36 times at the line over the same stretch while averaging over 14 boards a game.
I'm not suggesting that Rasheed has ever been blessed with the same talent or skill level as Duncan, but those previous numbers (rebounds, free throws) are basically effort numbers. How bad do you want it? How much does this title mean to you?
To play 28 minutes at power forward in Game 7 of the Finals and come down with one freaking rebound is simply inexcusable, and points a bright light at the lack of focus and passion that has come to define Sheed's game since the day he entered the league 15 years ago. Duncan had a difficult time shooting the ball that whole night, but he found a way to will his team to the title. He got himself to the line, scrapped for offensive boards, and came up with clutch assists in the final quarter.
It's what a champion does. It's what a guy like Rasheed Wallace never did.
He's all yours now, Al. Good luck keeping your sanity, brother...
- Todd McShay's most recent mock draft on ESPN.com has the Rams selecting Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy with the first overall pick, meaning the Lions could get the chance to snap up Ndamukong Suh from Nebraska, where with any luck, he will one day become an injury-riddled love child of Luther Elliss and Kerwin Waldroup. I know that doesn't sound like much, but it's the best I could do in terms of positivity for a squad that is 2-30 over the last two years and has not had a .500 season since 2000.
I get a kick out of the fact that in that 2000 season, when the Lions somehow grinded out a 9-7 campaign with Bobby Ross and Gary Moeller patrolling the sidelines, they scored 307 total points on offense...while allowing exactly 307 points on defense. Even Steven. The one year out of the last 12 that the Lions won more games than they lost, and they were still unable to actually outscore their opponents for the season. Makes ya wonder...
If only Stoney Case hadn't fumbled that ball against Chicago...
Then they woulda made the playoffs...
They might not have fired Moeller...
And they never would have hired Mill...
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