Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Basketball, Boston, Celtics, Kevin Garnett, NBA, Sports
Way to go ruin the New Year for me Kevin, nice work.
Seriously, if there is one thing the Boston Celtics could not afford to happen, it was lose Kevin Garnett. With Shaquille O’Neal, Semih Erden, and Jermaine O’Neal all missing time recently and nowhere near the perfect bill of health, it was crucial to have the one cog up front.
That cog was Kevin Garnett, and he has broken down(again).
Downplay the injury all you want. “They haven’t come out with anything yet, it isn’t his knee it’s just a muscle.” I’m pretty sure Doc Rivers has already gone into damage control, announcing that he has deemed this injury something he “isn’t too worried about.”
What? Did I catch that correctly?
Call me stupid, but I’ve seen this before. Kevin Garnett goes up for an alley-oop in 2008 uncontested and comes down with some type of knee injury. As if that isn’t enough, the Celtics turned into the New England Patriots of the NBA downplaying the severity of his injury for weeks. He goes on to miss 25 regular season games and all of the playoffs, seriously hampering the team in terms of production on both ends of the floor.
It’s also been noted that KG is not a quick healer. Look at last season, when it took him 3/4 of the year just to come “somewhat close” to playing at his old level.
The man has played 15 years in the NBA, nagging leg injuries are the last type of injury he should have to deal with. Just ask new teammate Shaquille O’Neal, leg injuries just aren’t the same as you get older.
Optimistically speaking, this isn’t the end all be all of the Boston Celtics. In 2008-09, the team went 18-7 without KG and reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. This year, the front-court is a lot deeper. Shaq, Erden, Jermaine O’Neal, and Glen Davis all play meaningful minutes. An addition by subtraction type deal will unfold in the coming months when Kendrick Perkins returns from his torn ACL.
If anyone is to step up it is most likely Glen Davis. Davis has redefined his scoring options, adding a much improved jump shot to his repetoire. He gives energy minutes and sizes up surprisingly well against bigger opponents. Obviously the man is no Kevin Garnett, but could fill his role if utilized correctly by Doc Rivers.
The biggest concern when losing Kevin Garnett is the leadership/intensity he brings on the defense. He is the floor general, commanding one of the stingiest defense’s in the league year in and year out. 6 million Glen Davis’ could not mask the fallout the Celtics will have on the defensive end without him.
Now I for the life of me hope that I’m wrong. Hopefully this is just a “calf-muscle injury” and KG may miss time this winter, but have ample game time to respond prior to the playoffs. This does not become a nagging injury like the last lower leg injury he suffered, and does not derail the explosiveness he’s regained for this season. Big Baby will fill in for KG proudly, and it will be a full team effort while the Celtics respond from injuries.
Alas, I’ve seen this before. And all the optimism in the world from the Celtics could not tone down the overwhelming feeling of concern. We’ve seen this before, it didn’t end well for KG. Maybe the most important stat missed in all this is that when KG has been in the lineup, this team has reached the NBA finals. Without him, can they seriously compete this season with the Magic or Heat?
Here’s to hoping the MRI reveals just a muscle strain!
- Mark Chiarelli
We’re here at last. Numerous debates and countless full blown arguments have carried the Sports Blast through another entertaining NFL season. Now, with just one week left to go, we unveil our final power rankings.
5. Chicago Bears: 11-4
It was a toss-up here between the Bears and Steelers, but the Bears won out. Able to take down the Jets at home, something the Steelers could not do just a week before, the Bears find themselves in control of their own playoff destiny. With the 2 seed and a first round bye locked up, the Bears are also rewarded at least 1 game at Soldier Field. Is it possible Matt Forte and Jay Cutler are both catching their strides at the same time? Forte has run for 205 yards against the Vikings and Jets, two stout front 7′s. If Chicago’s defense can hold while the offense surges, they’re a scary opponent in the NFC.
4. Baltimore Ravens: 11-4
Despite a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers still in picture, the Ravens look to be the second scariest team in the AFC. Close wins against the Saints and Bucs have validated the Ravens as the season comes to a close. Something tells me Ray Rice’s last two weeks of production is no fluke, and the best of Mr. Rice is ahead of him, not behind. Joe Flacco continues to utilize an improved set of playmakers while not turning the ball over. His relatively low 9 interceptions signal his improved decision making, which is key as the playoffs near. Losses to the Falcons, Steelers should keep fans in Baltimore cautious despite a strong sense of optimism.
3. Atlanta Falcons: 12-3
Coming off a loss to the Saints this past Monday, the Falcons drop ever so slightly to 3 in this weeks rankings. Their offense looked surprisingly ineffective on their own turf, which could be a reason for concern from here on out. Matt Ryan’s second home loss of his career comes on the doorsteps of the 2010 playoffs, which may not infuse the best “mojo” into the Atlanta locker room. However, their defense played Drew Brees almost perfectly, which should inspire confidence. A strong defense will almost always prevail in the playoffs, and the offensive talent in Atlanta is undeniable. A win against Carolina this weekend locks up home field advantage, which favors Atlanta greatly.
2. New Orleans Saints: 11-4
Is there a hotter team in the NFL right now than the New Orleans Saints outside of New England? Their offense has put up 30+ points 5 times in the past 7 games. They are 6-1 in that tenure with their only loss coming to Baltimore in yet another close game. With all of America watching and huge playoff implications on the line, the Saints hung with the Falcons at “their house”, before Drew Brees orchestrated a game winning drive late in the 4th. If the Saints can demonstrate the same type of defensive tenacity from Monday in the playoffs, the defending champs will easily be the toughest team in the NFC. Be weary however, this Saints team does have some glaring differences from last years. Creating turnovers defensively has been a struggle for the Saints this year, and the rushing attack has been poor. If the Saints can salvage those two areas in time for the playoffs, watch out America!
1. New England Patriots: 13-2
Another victory, check. Another AFC East crown, check. Home field Advantage, check. Despite what Bill Belichick tells you, his regular season goals have all been accomplished. While the feeling in New England is rather “mellow” (Deion Branch’s words, not mine), it’s impossible to overlook the work that has been put in on the Patriots. An offense of “misfits” continues to dominate under the leadership and guidance of Tom Brady, and shows no signs of slowing down. The odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl in the AFC, the Patriots finish the year at #1 in the Sports Blast power rankings. However, it won’t be as easy as many are suggesting, as conference foes such as Baltimore and New York stand in their way.
Listen to the archived version of our 30 minute show today. We air daily at 4PM, Live! We talked a lot of NFL football and also tapped into both the college bowl season as well as MLB off-season!
Ah, we’ve finally made it. It’s finally Christmas time and along with the presents and holiday festivities comes an important date on every NFL fan’s calendar.
The end of the regular season.
It’s been a long run, and most people who read the Sports Blast know how crazy I’ve felt this season is. The greatest thing about it? The regular season is not even close to being decided and there’s still a TON of football to be played.
Without further ado, here are our top 5 teams heading into Week 16.
5. Philadelphia Eagles: 10-4
How could we not include Philadelphia after the mega-comeback which unfolded just 48 hours ago in New York. Michael Vick is operating at a level which is even new to him. Forget his past, forget where he’s had to come from. Look at what he is strictly doing on the football field and outside of Tom Brady, you will not find a more successful player in the game right now. Philadelphia cracks the top 5 following a stranglehold on the NFC East.
4. New York Jets: 10-4
Questionably vaulting back up to 4, the Jets finally produced against another serious contender. After 2 weeks of criticism and uncertainty in the land of gang green, the offense was able to do just enough in poor conditions at Heinz Field. Although I would be concerned with the consistent lack of production out of the offense, the Jets found yet another way to win, this time against an opponent with a winning record.
3. Baltimore Ravens: 10-4
Much like the Jets at 4, Baltimore has just found a way to win in recent weeks. Whether it was just enough from the offense against the Steelers, or one big play away from losing to both the Saints and Texans, the Ravens have held on. While being somewhat contained this year, I still feel Ray Rice has his best games ahead of him as the weather turns and the smashmouth style of Ravens football continues to work to their advantage. Defense has never been an issue for Baltimore, which bodes well come playoff time. Look for the Ravens to continue to turn up the heat as the temperature drops.
2. New England Patriots: 12-2
Dropping to 2 this week despite yet another victory, New England continues to win. A shaky defensive effort against Matt Flynn nearly set off catastrophic alarms in Foxborough, but they were able to muster up multiple stops in the 4th quarter to get by. Tom Brady is more or less a machine right now. It’s not a matter of stopping him, it’s turned into how little damage you can allow him to inflict. With the defense experiencing a not-so-subtle wake up call on Sunday night, expect New England to only improve moving into the playoffs.
1. Atlanta Faclons: 12-2
After weeks and weeks of hearing that the NFC was not good enough to compete thoroughly with the AFC, the Falcons have nabbed the top spot in the power rankings. The idea of Michael Turner churning out bruising run after run in the playoffs is enough to make many defenders bones ache. Throw in Matt Ryan having a much better 3rd year and the emergence of Roddy White and you have match up problems galore. I still feel the Falcons defense may fault them come playoff time, but so far they have yet to back me up. A giant Monday Night duel with New Orleans is on schedule for this week. Winner will most likely head into the playoffs as the favorite to reach the Super Bowl.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Football, Michael Vick, MVP, New England Patriots, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Sports, Tom Brady
2010 NFL Football, remarkable.
Could any word be better apt to describe the season? Every single weekend a dog fight, teams making surprising runs, season’s imploding in teams faces, it truly is a spectacle. If you were to tell me that the Patriots and Falcons would share the best record in the league(as of this post) and that the NFC West will come down to a team with a 7-9 record, I would tell you you’re probably crazy.
If you were to tell me Brett Favre would not make a scheduled start, the Metrodome’s roof would become concave, and that Peyton Manning would struggle down the stretch for a playoff spot, I would tell you you’re crazy. If you were to tell me that Donovan McNabb would sign a 5 year contract and be benched in the same season, well I’d actually have an answer for you. It’s the Redskins.
But there is yet another remarkable series of events unfolding. It is that of the MVP race.
On one hand, you have Tom Brady. He hasn’t cut his hair, he hasn’t lost at home, and he’s done the majority of it with Randy Moss. He has lead his team to the best record in the NFL, choreographed a demolishing of “The NFL’s most feared defense”, to the tune of a 42 point win, and has done it with his primary rushers being BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead. But hey, he’s Tom Brady. Surely Tom Brady could never be counted out in an MVP race.
Now what if I was to tell you that the other half of the MVP equation would be Michael Vick.
The man only in his second season removed from prison has captivated the minds of the entire NFL. Dazzling displays of arm accuracy, power, and pure speed are nothing out of the ordinary for Michael Vick. It’s just how he has gotten to this point that amazes even the most biased of opponents.
Take into account that Vick was not the starter to begin the year. Philadelphia was transitioning between McNabb and Kolb, Vick was thought of as the emergency valve. Yet a shaky start followed by a Kevin Kolb concussion opened the doors for Vick and he never let Kolb back in. Not even after his own bout with injuries did Vick allow Kolb to take the starting job.
Make no mistake about it, Vick was supposed to get this job. Thank god he got the opportunity to seize it.
So who truly is the National Football League’s MVP?
Let’s compare basic stat lines.
- Tom Brady: 66.6% CMP%, 3,561yds, 31TD, 4INT.
- Michael Vick: 63.2% CMP%, 2,755yds, 20TD, 5INT.
Obviously Brady has the statistical advantage in passing. It’s no secret Tom is a better passing quarterback. Vick however has 613 rushing yards and an additional 8TD’s. Vick has been sacked 28 times compared to Brady’s 24, but both are subjective to offensive line talent as well. Add together Vick’s stats and he equals Brady in total yards while coming up only 3 TD short.
Oh yeah, i forgot to mention, he’s done all this in 3 games less.
But the MVP stands for Most Valuable Player, generally associating itself with the player who has the biggest part in bringing success to his team. While the Eagles sit at 10-4, the Patriots sit on top at 12-2 and boast the most powerful offense in the league. Spread them out and no one will be able to match up with all of New England’s weapons.
Ding Ding Ding.
While Tom Brady obviously leads this offense and is the sole reason it runs at such a high level, his weapons around him create just as much of a mismatch as he does. In Philadelphia’s case, the weapons have come on in part due to his ability to create plays. Both quarterbacks are ridiculously instrumental to the success of their offense. Both have shown uncanny accuracy and the knack for the big play. But you have to wonder, has Vick done more with less?
Or has Brady taken a bunch of otherwise replacement level players, and made them house hold names?
As of right now the nudge has to go towards Michael Vick, and by nudge I truly mean the slightest of nudges. In three less games, he’s put up comparable stats to Tom’s while changing the definition of “dynamic player” forever. As much as it kills me to say this, he’s been the MVP. Could it change in the last two weeks of the season? You betcha.
So buckle in, this race isn’t over just yet. This will be one of the most exciting MVP races to date.