By Craig Kwasniewski
Back from Thanksgiving and the longest week of the year coming up. Seriously, does anyone really want to work this week? I'm all for extending the weekend through Monday. Until then, pass the time with some MMPG.
1. The Greatest Stat Ever: Lenovo stat, a great invention with a questionable name, is always fun to check out. I'll probably do a monthly round-up of the results next week, but until then check out the plus/minus stat for the Miami Heat. Here's a few of the players (as of 11/26):
U. Haslem: -5 (Team leader)
S. O'Neal: -7
J. Williams: -11
J. Kapono: -22 (playing 13.1 minutes per game, very efficient!)
D. Wade: -49 (Lebron is +35)
A. Mourning: -62 (he's also -34 in primal screams)
A. Walker: -83 (I knew all those bricks would help!)
G. Payton: -106
Good times all around in Miami!
2. Bad Foreign Policy: "Welcome to Clipper Nation!" Include the Clippers with other annoying sports franchises (Raiders, Red Sox) that embrace the incredibly uncreative and very bland "Nation" moniker. They even have a myspace page. I know that Donald T. Sterling is too busy being sued for housing discrimination, but he couldn't hire a decent promotions department?
Either way, it looks like "Clipper Nation" is having trouble with their foreign policy. They are 0-5 on the road, losing by an average margin of 11.4 points. Does "Clipper Nation" travel by bus?
3. Headband Gate: I thought this was a joke, but Ben Wallace is causing a stir in Chicago by violating team rules and wearing a headband in Saturday's win over New York. Wallace was benched at the beginning of the third quarter for breaking a long-standing team rule on the ban of headbands.
Why ban headbands and who really cares? Of all the infractions one can have (rape, gunplay, "friends" transporting pot), I think the Bulls should look the other way when a player is wearing a 1-inch wide piece of cloth on his head. Evidently the incident was a culmination of a long list of frustrations for Big Ben. (Wallace's frustration finally rears its head by K.C. Johnson)
4. Hangover in Toronto: I TIVO'ed the Indiana-Toronto game on Sunday just to get my early weekend fix of The Association. First off, what the hell was I doing recording a battle of two below-average teams in the East? And secondly, just how many strip clubs did Steven Jackson shoot up the night before? The Raptor’s European contingency was killing the Pacers, losing by 46-19 at one point in the 2nd quarter.
Obviously, the Raps aren't 27 points better than the Pacers on a normal night; this has more to do with the early start time in Toronto. Starting a game at 1:00 PM means that players have to get in the arena by 11:00 AM at the latest. And just imagine if the teams is on west coast time... 8:00 AM is when the player get back from the Spearmint Rhino.
The following games feature west coast teams playing on Sunday at 1:00 PM in Toronto (possible upsets here):
vs. Portland on December 10
vs. Golden State on December 17
vs. LA Clippers on February 4
vs. Seattle on March 11
5. Kobe vs. Vinsanity: Much like last year at Staples, the match-up never materialized in the Laker win over New Jersey on Sunday. Kobe tried to engage Vince by guarding him all over the floor, but Carter didn't bite and had a very quiet night. Unlike last year, where Kobe's antics drew Carter into a shoving match, both players were far from their dominant selves. Kobe's injured knee limits his offensive excellence to little spurts, like the 4th quarter against the Clippers. Whereas The Vinsanity was purely in November mode.