The Long Awaited Game Again Of Lakers V.S. Celtics

Not long after winning the basketball championship last week, the Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson visited his daughter’s apartment complex. There, improbably, he bumped into Paul Pierce, the Boston Celtics star.

The Celtics beat the Lakers in the 2008 finals but had failed to make it back for the rematch. Phil Jackson had a request. 
I said, ‘Get it back. We want to meet you in the finals,’ ” Phil Jackson said, recalling his moment with Paul Pierce.
Wishes were fulfilled this past weekend, when the Celtics finished off the Orlando Magic and the Lakers closed out the Phoenix Suns. The NBA's most storied rivalry will resume once more, for the 11th time since the Lakers moved West.

The finals will be colored in green and white, purple and gold, and several shades of redemption. The Lakers want payback, after getting pummeled by the Celtics two years ago. The Celtics are seeking validation, after having their title defense short-circuited by injuries last year. 
It’s a great challenge for us, to see how much we’ve improved, how much we’ve gotten better, to be able to go up against this team in a playoff series,” Lakers' star player Kobe Bryant said Saturday night, after the Lakers closed out a six-game victory over the Suns.

The Boston Celtics are seeking an 18th championship to add to their record total. The Lakers are seeking their 15th title, their 11th in Los Angeles, and their fifth since 2000.

If the LA Lakers win the championship, it will also be Jackson’s 11th, further separating him from the Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach (nine).

Kobe Bryant would earn his fifth ring — breaking a tie with Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal, among the biggest stars of the post-Michael Jordan era. He would be one shy of tying Jordan, the league’s modern standard-bearer. And he would further separate himself from LeBron James, who has won the last two Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards but has yet to distinguish himself in the postseason. 
The Lakers were missing two critical players then, center Andrew Bynum and forward Trevor Ariza, who were injured. Andrew Bynum will play this time, although he is limited by a knee injury while Trevor Ariza has departed, replaced by Ron Artest, one of the fiercest defenders in the league.

The Celtics’ starting five from 2008 remains intact, although the power sources have shifted over time. Rajon Rondo was a willing role player two years ago but is now a star, on par with the Big Three of Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen
The Lakers remember only anguish, and an arena filled with the scent of cigar smoke, a tribute to Auerbach.
There’s nothing worse than losing in a finals,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “It’s about as low as you can get after riding a high, getting through three series, going into the fourth one. I had hoped I’d never experience it, but I’ve done it twice now. So I know it’s a real difficult summer after that.”
The finals begin Thursday in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | posted in , , | 8comments [ More ]

Soccer News: Seattle Beat Argentina Boca Juniors

Roger Levesque cleaned up the ricochet of Fredy Montero's free kick late in the first half, Pat Noonan and Michael Seamon both scored midway through the second half and Seattle beat Argentina's Boca Juniors 3-0 in an soccer exhibition match Wednesday.

Having scored just two home goals since a 2-0 season opening win over expansion Philadelphia, the Sounders were hoping the exhibition with the one-time South American soccer powers might be an opportunity to solve some of their offensive woes before returning to MLS play on Saturday at Colorado.

Seattle wore their "Electricity" rave green soccer uniforms for the first time against Boca Juniors. “Electricity” had Fox Soccer Channel spectators all across the country adjusting their television’s contrast settings Wednesday night. In a friendly against Boca Juniors, Sounders FC donned their new Electricity yellow jersey—an audacious color choice that makes Seattle’s Rave Green uniforms look downright drab.

Fortunately for the fans who came out on Wednesday night, the game itself was played at a high-energy tempo that complemented the jerseys. They also saw the best of the mercurial Fredy Montero, who looked sensational against the storied South American club, winning 3-0.

Roger Levesque, Pat Noonan and Michael Seamon notched the goals for the home side, but it was Fredy Montero who set the tone early.

Showing the most energy he has displayed thus far into the 2010 season, the tireless Colombian pestered the Argentine club’s defense in his 45 minutes of action. He also triggered the first goal of the game, coming inches away from a sublime free kick goal before Roger Levesque ushered in the rebound off his midsection.

After a long scoring drought in Qwest Field, Roger Levesque’s goal set off disproportionately delirious celebrations amongst the strong crowd of 40,122. The 1-0 halftime lead was a commendable result against a Boca Juniors team that fielded several starters among its starting 11, including capped players Leandro Aguirre and Fabián Monzón in the starting back line.

Fredy Montero left at halftime, and for a moment it looked like he took the Sounders attack with him. With Freddie Ljungberg not dressing for the match, the departure of the Colombian led to some comically bad finishing.

Brad Evans will be hearing about his egregious miss on an empty net for the foreseeable future. Not to be outdone, Levesque skied a shot over the Boca goal seconds later with a better-positioned Miguel Montano getting ready to take the strike.

However, the Keystone Kops routine ended thanks to Noonan’s left-footed goal in the 64th minute. Taking a pass from David Estrada, Noonan calmly put the ball away after cutting back on his marker.

Minutes later, Seamon put a strong right-footed blast inside the right post. Having recently rejoined the team after finishing his degree at Villanova, the graduation present to himself was greeted with cheers from the Seattle bench.

Boca Juniors now head to Portland to take on the Timbers in the final match of their three-game US tour on Saturday at PGE Park.

Monday, May 31, 2010 | posted in , , | 0comments [ More ]

NFL Super Bowl's Next Destination: New York

NFL owners could award a Super Bowl to the New York area when they conduct their one-day spring meeting Tuesday in the Dallas area. The owners also might consider extending the sport's new overtime format to regular season games. 
New York is bidding to host the 2014 Super Bowl and is regarded by many observers as a strong favorite to get the game. The other bidders are Florida sites, Tampa and the Miami area. The potential cold-weather Super Bowl would be played in New Jersey at the new stadium at the Meadowlands being built by the New York Giants and the New York Jets. The stadium opens next season.

The 2014 game is the next available Super Bowl without a host city. Next season's game is to be played in Dallas, followed by Super Bowls in Indianapolis in 2012 and New Orleans in 2013.

There appears to be strong sentiment within the league to play the sport's biggest game in the shadow of New York City. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he will remain neutral on the topic, but he believes it is an idea worthy of the owners' consideration. Some owners have expressed wariness about playing a Super Bowl at a cold-weather site. 
But the league waived its usual average-temperature restriction for outdoor venues to allow the New York bid to proceed, and some observers consider it a foregone conclusion that the owners will vote to award the game to New York.

The four U.S. senators from New York and New Jersey wrote a letter to Roger Goodell on Monday endorsing a possible New York-area Super Bowl:

"As the nation's most populous metro area with more than 19 million people, and as the nation's top media market, the fanfare of the Super Bowl would be uniquely enhanced by the vibrancy that the region has to offer," said the letter, which was signed by Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). 
"I think it can be very attractive to the ownership and to the NFL in general, and I continue to believe that," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the March meetings when asked about staging a Super Bowl in the New York area.

Owners could also vote on whether to expand the new overtime rules to encompass the regular season. The rules that were adopted at the March meetings — ones that do not allow the team to win with a field goal on the opening possession — are in place only for postseason games.

The NFL Players Association has said the new overtime format must be collectively bargained with the players. The league has rejected that notion, contending that the owners merely must seek the players' input on the matter and have done that. The issue could become increasingly contentious if the owners extend the new rule to the regular season. 
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also is likely to address a Supreme Court ruling against the league Monday in its quest for antitrust protection. Justices said the league must be considered 32 separate teams — not one big business — when selling branded items like jerseys and caps.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 | posted in , | 1comments [ More ]

Phoenix Suns Game Plan Is No Match For Lakers

Basketball excites us especially when the LA Lakers jumped to a 2-0 series lead Wednesday night with a 124-112 victory over the Phoenix Suns, who have provided as much resistance as a collection of Saguaro cactuses. The decisiveness of the Lakers’ victories has already begun to set Los Angeles fans’ sights past Games 3 and 4 in Phoenix, and on toward their nemesis Boston, which opened the Eastern Conference finals by winning the first two games in Orlando. 

Until then, they had turned their affection to Kobe Bryant, who after torching the Suns for 40 points in the opener, turned into Kobe the Facilitator. Bryant had 13 assists to go along with 21 points, while Pau Gasol scored 27 points as the Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter after Phoenix had crawled back from an early 14-point deficit.

Lamar Odom, whose 19-point, 19-rebound performance in Game 1 was called lucky by Stoudemire, managed 17 points and 11 rebounds. The comment drew a shrug from Odom and some head shaking from the Suns. Phoenix Suns Coach Alvin Gentry called Stoudemire’s contention ridiculous on Tuesday, and on Wednesday he said it was probably just a poor choice of words.

Jason Richardson scored 27 points and Grant Hill, who had 23 of his 27 points in the second half, led Phoenix. Steve Nash had 15 assists and 11 points. But the Suns were undone by their matador defense. Kobe Bryant, rejuvenated since having his swollen left knee drained late in the first-round series against Oklahoma City, made Hill look like he was in danger of needing another ankle surgery in Game 1 after Bryant’s crossover dribble sent Hill stumbling backward to the floor.

Kobe Bryant wasted little time in reaffirming his superiority in Game 2. On the opening possession, he backed Hill down and hit an 18-foot jumper over him. Then, with the Suns sending another player at him, Kobe Bryant spent much of the rest of the night setting up his teammates. With the ball in his hands as the first-quarter clock ran down, he started toward the basket, then dished the ball to a wide-open Ron Artest in the corner. Artest, with the crowd on its feet, made the shot as the buzzer sounded and Bryant celebrated a 36-24 lead by pointing both his index fingers at Artest.

Phoenix Suns would fall behind by as many as 14, then close even late in the third quarter, but as the night moved on, it was increasingly clear that despite their improvement — and interest — in playing defense, they may as well held up an S.O.S. sign — Same Old Suns. When the Suns knocked the Lakers out of the playoffs in 2006 and 2007, it prompted the Lakers to retool, and they have repeatedly hammered Phoenix. It was the Lakers’ ninth victory in 11 meetings since they acquired Gasol.

So, no matter how slick the Suns’ offense looked at times — Steve Nash was effective in creating dunks for Stoudemire or open 3-pointers for Dudley and Richardson — they only rarely stopped the Lakers. And those stops mostly came when the Suns’ reserves were on the court.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | posted in , , | 0comments [ More ]

Tiger Woods Add Up British Open This Summer

Even if he is not fully recovered from neck injury, Tiger Woods added the British Open to his summer schedule. The golf legend filed his entry form, according to Golf Digest, and added the British Open to the schedule on his website Monday.

Tiger Woods has a chance to become the first player in the 150-year history of the British Open to win three times at St. Andrews, where golf's oldest championship will be held July 15-18.

Tiger Woods, the 2000 and 2005 British Open winner, withdrew from the final round of the Players Championship on May 9 after a week in which he was seen stretching and rolling his neck. Woods said his neck had been bothering him since before he returned from a five-month layoff at the Masters, and that it was not related to the Nov. 27 car accident when he ran into a tree, setting off revelations of infidelity.

Tests last Wednesday showed an inflamed neck joint that causes pain and makes it hard for him to turn his head, an injury that will require little more than medicine, massages and rest. Tiger Woods had an MRI exam that revealed inflammation in a facet joint of his neck. He said on his website that when facet joints are inflamed, it causes pain in the area along with headaches and difficulty rotating the head.

"I now need to take care of this condition and will return to playing golf when I'm physically able," Tiger Woods said last Wednesday.

The British Open entry marks the third tournament commitment Tiger Woods has made for this summer. He has already committed to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the AT&T National at Aronimink, where he is the defending champion.

Tiger Woods said in a news conference last week that he hoped to be able to defend his title at the Memorial, which starts June 3 at Muirfield Village in Ohio. His next tournament will be his first without swing coach Hank Haney, who stepped aside last Monday.

According to his Web site, Woods will compete in the year’s third major, July 15 to 18 at St. Andrews in Scotland. He has committed to the United States Open in June 17 to 20 and the AT&T National in July 1-4. Tiger Woods has won the British Open the last two times it was held at St. Andrews — in 2000 and 2005. 
Moreover, and if by chance, Tiger Woods has a chance to become the first player in the 150-year history of the British Open to win three times at St. Andrews, where golf's oldest championship will be held July 15-18.

Back in 2000, Tiger Woods became the 5th golfer to win the Career Grand Slam. Along with the '00 Open, Tiger Wood's slam is made up of the 1997 Masters, 1999 PGA Championship and 2000 US Open. In winning the 200 British Open at the age of 24, Tiger Woods became the youngest ever to compete the slam. Tiger Woods has won a total of 14 major championship thus far on his career.

Friday, May 21, 2010 | posted in , , | 0comments [ More ]

Who's Tiger Woods Next Swing Coach?

After an MRI on Wednesday in Orlando, Florida, it was determined that golf legend Tiger Woods has an inflamed facet joint in his neck. When the facet joints are inflamed, it causes pain in the affected area as well as headaches and difficulty rotating the head. Physical therapy, including soft-tissue massage, rest and anti-inflammatory medicine will be used to treat the injury.

"I want to thank everyone for their caring and concern, I now need to take care of this condition and will return to playing golf when I'm physically able." Tiger Woods said. 
The prognosis for Tiger Woods is a full recovery, although a return date to competitive golf is contingent on how quickly the condition heals. The layoff is not expected to be extensive but can vary. Healing his neck isn't the only problem Tiger Woods faces. After his series of pop-ups and minimalist drives at The Players Championship he also needs someone to patch his swing back together.

With Hank Haney having resigned as Tiger Woods' swing coach the New York Times suggests the frontrunner may be little-known Sean Foley, who is based in Orlando, near Tiger Woods' home. Hank Haney started working with Tiger Woods in 2004, and they combined to win six major championships together. 
Sean Foley coaches two young PGA Tour players who are friendly with Tiger Woods, Sean O'Hair and Hunter Mahan. Sean Foley also drew attention when he followed those two pupils as they played a practice round with Woods at the TPC.

Rumors are already flying around PGA Tour locker rooms -- not to mention the blogosphere -- that Foley is next in line to become Tiger Woods' main man. Currently the coach for Hunter Mahan and Sean O'Hair, who is considered a friend of Tiger's, Foley issued a statement last week in rebuttal: "I have not talked to Tiger about coaching in any form whatsoever." 
Also possibly in the mix is Billy Harmon, which would make for a good story. Billy's brother Butch is Tiger's former coach, but moved on to Phil Mickelson after an unhappy split with Woods. Billy Harmon is said to be funny and a quipster, and who wouldn't like to see a little joy return to Tiger Woods' game?

Tiger Woods has transformed golf with a combination of power, touch and tenacious resolve. His astonishing success, often accompanied by his signature fist pump after holing clutch shots, has even placed him on many people's short list of greatest American athletes, alongside figures like Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan
Tiger Woods is thanking Hank Haney for his six years as swing coach. He is not saying, however, who his next coach might be. Hank Haney said in a statement on his website Monday night that he has resigned. Tiger Woods posted a short comment on his website Tuesday that they have agreed Haney will no longer work with him.

He calls Hank Haney an outstanding teacher who has helped him and a great friend. He says their friendship will not change. Tiger Woods missed the cut at Quail Hollow and withdrew in the final round of The Players Championship with a sore neck. It was the first time he played consecutive tournaments without earning official money.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | posted in , | 0comments [ More ]

Top 10 UFC Female Fighters

Fighting isn't for everyone, and fighting women have had their fair share of detractors over the years. But as UFC becomes more accepted, more and more women are taking to the cage. Now UFC president Dana White created a new octagon not for the boys but for the girl. He introduces the UFFC (Ultimate Female Fighter Championship).
Here are the top 10 of the best known and most promising ladies in the UFC female fighters:

Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson – Absolutely smoking body, pretty little face, absolute perfection. Ladies please try not to cut her gorgeous face in the cage. She is also more than just a pretty face, she is clearly the best choice for the number one spot in the top ten hottest female MMA fighters.

Gina “Conviction” Carano – She is arguably one of the most famous female MMA fighters in the world, and not without good reason. Along with being absolutely drop-dead-gorgeous, she is clearly one one of the most dangerous out of the top ten hottest female MMA fighters.

Kyra Gracie – You read that right, Gracie. Not only would you have to deal with her if you hurt her, but you would have to deal with the whole Gracie family who are responsible for what the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is today. A native to Brazil, but lives and trains in the U.S.

Cris "Cyborg" Santos – Cris Santos is a fighter pure and simple. If you watch Cris fight, you can figure out where she got the nickname "Cyborg". Before getting into UFC, Cris Santos was a national-level handball player in Brazil. Cris trains at the Chute Boxe Academy with her husband, fellow UFC fighter Evangelista Santos. Her primary fighting styles are Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Her MMA record is 8-1-0, her only loss being in her very first fight against Erica Paes.

Kerry Vera – The wife of UFC great, Brandon Vera has had quite the start to her professional MMA career, including a win against fellow top ten nominee Kim Couture. The funny thing about that fight was that shortly before the wives went at it in the octagon, their husbands battled it out and Randy Couture came out victorious. In the case of the women, well payback was served and Kerry Vera earned the win.

Julie “Fireball” Kedzie – This bombshell holds an impressive professional record as well.

Leiticia Pestova – Although she has a terrible record, what she lacks in victories, she makes up with her looks. Her claim to fame in a way came from being the first fight and victory for Gina “Conviction” Carano. She was knocked out by the beauty and has not done much else since.

Kim “Sugar Free” Couture – Yes, Couture, as in the very beautiful wife of UFC hall-of-famer, Randy “The Natural” Couture. Her record doesn't quite shout impressive just yet, but you all know that her future in the sport looks very bright, especially considering who she has in the gym and in her corner come fight night.

Molly Helsel – She possesses some very technical skills that set the bar high for the future of women's UFC She definitely throws the stigma out the window that women's UFC is just placed into events for the attraction of watching hot girls roll around together in the cage. She truly has a love and passion for the sport and is strong force in the sport aside from her beauty.

Debi “Whiplash” Purcell – Although she doesn't have much experience yet, she is still a force to be reckoned with in the octagon.

Monday, May 17, 2010 | posted in , | 1comments [ More ]