Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rollin',Rollin,Rollin-Cavs stampede Raptors in game five!

After much hand wringing from the media (and me) after two less than stellar efforts in Toronto,the Cleveland Cavaliers just needed a trip home to turn things around as the Cavaliers ran up,down and over the Toronto Raptors 116-78 in Cleveland.
The big three of Kevin Love,LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined for 71 points in the brutal beating.
Cleveland leads the series three games to two and can clinch the series with a win Friday in Toronto...

Swashbucklings

1) I was critical of the play of Kevin Love in Toronto and you cannot deny that,but he was a different player tonight at home.
Love was eight of ten from the floor with three from beyond the line and attacked the basket instead roaming around the perimeter jacking up three's.

2) And as far as a fellow named LeBron James goes,he looked like a man loaded for bear.
His numbers (23,6 and 8) might not have reached triple double country.but he drove the lane and showed an intensity that you knew minutes into this game that it would be Cleveland leading this series when the border was crossed for game six.

3) It was nice to see Tristan Thompson arrive with ten rebounds too.
Points that you can get from Thompson are a bonus,but for the cash you are paying him,you have to get plenty of boards,an inside defensive presence and energy.
They didn't get that in Toronto,they did in game five.

4) The defense stepped up its game as well.
DeMar DeRosian and Kyle Lowry were so effective in Canada and finish with just 27 points combined for the game.
Lowry truly has been two different players in each arena...

5) So,can the Cavaliers clinch in Toronto?
The place will be rocking and loud with the Raptors back against the wall,the environment will be difficult.
However,after watching tonight and the late rally in game four,I like the Cavaliers to pull out a tough game.
Biggest key? Ball movement.
Don't be afraid to keep the ball moving,create open shots and I have a feeling that will be enough...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Podcast;Special Guest-Kaily Russell

Special Guest Kaily Russell discusses Person of Interest,fandom and various issues.

Cavaliers drop game four in Toronto

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn't play up to par for three quarters,before making a huge move in the fourth to erase a two-digit deficit to take the lead for a short time.
It wasn't enough though as the Toronto Raptors escaped with a 105-99 win in Toronto.
The win ties the series at two with game five later this week in Cleveland.
LeBron James finished with 29 points with Kyrie Irving adding 26,but the Cavaliers received little help from anyone else other than Channing Frye in the defeat..

Swashbucklings

1) Let's accentuate the positive -the Cavaliers were down 16 at the half,didn't roll over and played hard until the end.
Were there flaws? Yes,but unlike in game three-I didn't think that they were due to lack of hustle...

2) The Cavaliers were an anemic 13/31 from three point range (31 percent),but considering it was around 15 percent at the half,the number could have been far worse.
I'm beginning to fear that the Cavaliers have fallen into the trap of just jacking up threes..

3) Finally,Channing Frye was a positive as his four three pointers were awfully large in the comeback.
It was nice seeing one of the "4's" being able to stretch the floor a bit and that was exactly why Frye was brought to Cleveland....

4) Kevin Love was just awful for the second game in a row.
After a 1 for 9 clunker in game three,he threw up (literally) a 4 for 14 stinker in this one.
Just cannot dispute the stat sheet....

5) Kyrie Irving rebounded offensively with 26 points,but for the second game in a row was torched on the defensive end by Kyle Lowry,who finished with 35.
Irving is almost to the point of being a defensive liability after these last two games...

6) Tristan Thompson is being paid for defense and rebounds,but isn't 80+ million a lot for a guy with 2 points in 2 games?

7) I wrote in game three's recap that I wasn't worried,but I'd review that after game four.
I know it's a loss,but I think the late charge is going to go a long way in game five.
Cleveland still has home court and almost pulled tonight's game out.
I think they are OK.
At least I hope....

Monday, May 23, 2016

Browns Release Brian Hartline-Mini inbox cleaning

I have tons (and I mean TONS) of stuff building up inside the inbox and I was going to dump some of that today.
That was before the Browns announced the release of the only veteran wide receiver looked to be safe entering training camp as former Dolphin (and Buckeye) Brian Hartline was given his release.

Hartline broke his collarbone late last season after catching 46 passes for 523 yards,which was decent production,but not tremendous numbers.
The release comes right after mini-camp and the Browns drafting four wideouts to the roster.
I'm mildly surprised only by the timing.
Hartline would have been a veteran pass catcher that might been useful with rookies,but the writing was on the wall for the future and the money savings was likely a factor.
The main thing that I take issue with was once again,the Browns waited far too long to release a veteran player and as a result hindered his chances of finding another team.
After the Donte Whitner waiving,I would have thought that the Browns might have learned a lesson in how to handle players-Apparently that lesson hasn't take hold yet....

Another Browns note from the inbox as the Browns made an unusual move in their search to challenge incumbent kicker Travis Coons.
I wrote a while back about the signing of Maryland kicker Brad Craddock as that challenger,but after camp,the Browns released Craddock and claimed another rookie undrafted free agent in TCU's Jaden Oberkrom off the wire from Jacksonville.
Oberkrom must have been really impressed with Cleveland,the Browns or pro football in general as he promptly retired and left the Browns still looking for another kicking contender...

We are still loaded with inbox notes,so I'm going to slide a few in here!

From the feel good department,Donnell Alexander,the son of former Chief Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas,went undrafted and was given a tryout by his dad's team.
The former Akron Zip runner was invited by the team and the odds are against him,I have no word on whether he was given an invitation to the full camp or not....

The Canadian Football League has left Nike and went with Adidas as its apparel source and announced their uniform changes.
Some I like as Winnipeg went back to its classic royal blue,some was meh as Hamilton went all black (I like black jerseys,yellow pants),some stayed the same and some revamped helmets that were pretty bad (British Columbia)....

Howie Rose,the long time voice of the Mets and Islanders has trimmed his responsibilities down to one as Rose will not be returning to the Islanders next year.
Rose has always been one of my favorite hockey announcers and back in the days before Rachel cared about hockey,I would watch the Devils games on occasion on the opponents networks,if the announcers were of quality.
The Islanders were one of those teams.
Rose will still remain in his role as the TV voice of the Mets.

We wrap up with an article from SABR on Santo Alcala,who went 11-4 in 1976 with the World Champion Reds as a rookie and would win just three more games in his career afterward.
Guys like Alcala were a big deal to stat hungry kids like me in the 70's because you had to dig his information out from obscure sources and he was one of many "common" players that their names are memorable to me from this day from the "wonder years" of baseball that everyone has from childhood.

Podcast tonight-Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Can't win them all-Cavaliers dusted in Game three

The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn't shoot well forever and the time ran out in Toronto as the Raptors defeated Cleveland 99-84 in game three of the Eastern Conference finals in Toronto.
LeBron James scored 24 points with J.R.Smith adding 22 to lead Cleveland.
Game four is Monday in Toronto...

Swashbucklings

1) Asking the Cavaliers torrid shooting to continue was asking a bit much,but I had thought all along (and posted in last recap) that if the Cavaliers were going to lose a game-it would be game three.
I'm not worried a bit,lose game four Monday and the worry quotient goes up.

2) Kyrie Irving shot 3 of 19 and Kevin Love was just 1 of 9 from the floor.
Again,you couldn't expect shooting at the level that Cleveland was shooting at,but you could reasonably expect better than that!
I'd bet on a bounceback tomorrow night.

3) Tristan Thompson isn't paid for his offense (good thing 0 points) and finished with eight rebounds,but was out-Thompsoned by Toronto's Bismack Biyombo with 26 rebounds!
Now,26 boards is a massive amount for one player,but it takes a lot of missing for a guy to finish with 26 rebounds!

4) The Cavaliers did make a few runs in the second half as twice they were able to get as close as five points,but could never sink the basket to really put the pressure on the Raptors..

5) The biggest worry was not just missing so often,it was how they were missing.
The Raptors tried to do the tactic that Atlanta tried by just hanging back in the paint and challenging the Cavaliers to hit from the outside.
For the first time in these playoffs,they couldn't.

Dull night in Vegas-Boxing Challenge

On a busy day in boxing,the boxing challenge had five fights on the slate and saw R.L.Malpica and I each add seven points to our totals.
I lead the challenge 62-52.

The day started with two fights from outside America that I didn't get to see live,but did watch through the wonder of YouTube.
The most meaningful fight on a day with four world title fights,might have been the one without a title on the line as New Zealand's talented young heavyweight Joseph Parker earned a unanimous decision over veteran Carlos Takam to become the mandatory contender for IBF champion Anthony Joshua,should Joshua defeat Dominic Breazeale as he is heavily favored to do next month.
Takam tested Parker in the type of way that is good for young fighters to take a step forward and I think it will serve Parker very well in his challenge of Joshua.
I scored Parker a 116-112 winner.
R.L and I each scored one point for the Parker win...

In Moscow Denis Lebedev impressively unified his WBA cruiserweight title with the IBF belt with a second round knockout of Victor Ramirez.
Lebedev knocked Ramirez down in the second and then hammered Ramirez around the ring before the referee jumped in to end the fight.
A Lebedev-Murat Gassiev fight (Gassiev is the IBF number one contender) might be one of the best action fights that can be made....
I added two points for the Lebedev knockout win with R.L.gaining one..

In Las Vegas,three of the four junior middleweight titles were on the line and at the end of the night,all three resided in the same stable in Houston.
That's not great news for boxing fans when none of the three have the slightest interest in fighting each other.
The 154 pound class is one of the weakest in the sport and that didn't change in Vegas.

The main event saw a rematch of a fight that few wanted to see the first time,let alone a second as Erislandy Lara retained his WBA title with a unanimous decision win  over Vanes Martirosyan in a fight that was reminding no one of a good action battle.
I had Lara a narrow 115-112 winner.
R.L and I each collected two points for the win.

Jermall Charlo kept his IBF title with a unanimous win over Austin Trout.
I've been critical of the Charlo brothers,but Austin Trout is an excellent name to have on the resume and I give Charlo credit for taking Trout on.
I had Charlo a 115-113 winner as Trout came on in the late rounds,but started too late.
R.L grabbed two points for the Charlo win to my zero as I picked Trout..

Jermell Charlo won the vacant WBC title with a sudden eighth round knockout of John Jackson.
Jackson was leading on my card when Charlo struck seconds into round eight to stun Jackson,who turned his back away just before the referee stopped the fight.
Charlo gave me two points and R.L one for the win....

The Charlos and Lara aren't fun fighters to watch and I suppose we'll have some boring fights to look forward to.
Lara's the top fighter in the division until beaten,but Demetrius Andrade and Julian Williams are boxing fans best hopes to break the Houston stable's chokehold on the division....



Saturday, May 21, 2016

Boxing Challenge

Five fights on the Boxing Challenge this weekend with three of them on Showtime featuring the junior middleweight division with three of the four titles in the division on the line in fights that don't seem all that great on paper.

The best fighter in the division-the tediously dull Erislandy Lara defends his WBA belt against Vanes Martirosyan in a rematch of a fight that few wanted to see once,let alone twice..

Jermall Charlo defends his IBF title against former champion Austin Trout (who holds a win over Miguel Cotto) in a bout that looks good on paper,but may wind up being a dull fight due to styles and the other Charlo-Jermell shoots for the vacant WBC championship against John Jackson in what might be the best action fight on the card.
The issue here is with Jackson having fought just two quality opponents and losing both to receive this opportunity...
Not a great card of fights,but perhaps one that could clean up some issues in the division,if only someone made the next step instead of another questionable card...

The best two fights of the day aren't on U.S. television as Denis Lebedev and Victor Ramirez meet in Moscow to unify the WBA and IBF cruiserweight titles.
The fight was originally going to be the co-feature to the Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin before Povetkin flunked his PED test last week.
The other is an IBF heavyweight eliminator between New Zealand's talented Joseph Parker and veteran Carlos Takam.
The winner will get a title shot against IBF champion Anthony Joshua,should he defend successfully against Dominic Breazeale.
Should it be Parker,a Joshua-Parker bout matches the best two young heavyweights in the world...

The scorecard on the boxing challenge has me ahead 55-45

WBA Jr.Middleweight title.12 rds
Erislandy Lara vs Vanes Martirosyan
Both:Lara Unanimous Decision

IBF Jr.Middleweight title.12 rds
Jermall Charlo vs Austin Trout
R.L;  Charlo Unanimous Decision
TRS: Trout Unanimous Decision

Vacant WBC Jr.Middleweight title.12 rds
Jermell Charlo vs John Jackson
R.L;  Charlo Unanimous Decision
TRS: Charlo KO 4

WBA-IBF Cruiserweight title unification.12 rds
Denis Lebedev vs Victor Ramirez
R.L; Lebedev Unanimous Decision
TRS:Lebedev KO 9

Heavyweights.12 rds
Joseph Parker vs Carlos Takam
R.L;  Parker KO 5
TRS: Parker KO 8