Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Random Thumbs

So much has gone on in the world of sports in the last couple of months, and I just haven’t had the time to fully devote myself to each topic on its own merits. So here’s a cut price version to rubbish and recognize some of the happenings in recent times:


UP: Dirk Nowitzki: Absolute pantheon performance by the big man to lead the Dallas Mavericks to the Holy Grail and redemption after the 2006 debacle. Snapshot of his fourth quarter heroics in the NBA Finals

Game 1: 92-84 Loss. Dirk scores 10 fourth quarter points (27 points, 8 boards for the game)

Game 2: 95-93 Win: Dirk scores the final nine points for the Mavs including a game tying three and go ahead layup as the Mavs storm back from 15 down…with a torn tendon in his left hand (24 points, 11 boards for the game)

Game 3: 88-86 Loss. Dirks scores 15 fourth quarter points and ties the game coming back from seven points down. Misses a tough look with seconds remaining to tie the game and send it to overtime (34 points, 11 boards for the game)

Game 4: 86 – 93 Win. Dirk scores 10 fourth quarter points as the Mavs come back from 7 points down including a layup with 14 seconds left to put the game out of reach. This with a temperature peaking at 39 degrees during the game (21 points, 11 boards for the game)

Game 5: 112 – 103 Win. Dirk scores 29 points for the game, 8 in the fourth quarter, as the Mavs vaunted offence finally kicks into gear and takes the game away from the Heat (29 points, 6 boards for the game)

Game 6: 105 – 95 Win. After struggling through the first three quarters, shooting a woeful 1 for 11, Dirk shakes off the nerves and puts up another double digit fourth quarter (10 points) and rightly claims the NBA Championship and Finals MVP trophies (21 points, 11 boards for the game)

An absolutely amazing run of clutch performances that will stand the test of time. Congratulations Dirk, J-Kidd, Mark Cuban, Jet, Peja (even though he was bench for Brian Cardinal in the finals!!!) and the rest of the Mavs

DOWN: LeBron James. In an anti-Dirk performance, LeBron posted some decent numbers but had zero impact when it really mattered. I’m not going to break down his performance in detail. That’s been done by all the experts. I’m just going to ask you to watch Alec Baldwin talking about ‘closers’ in one of the greatest motivational speeches ever made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-AXTx4PcKI. LeBron…coffee is for closers!!!

UP: Bernard Tomic. I'll give credit where credit is due. He burst onto the Australian tennis scene as a promising junior a few years ago, but since then his own hype has talked louder than his on court performances. Lleyton Hewitt was similarly annoying at the same age, but with a very large caveat. Hewitt was WINNING tournaments and was on his way to becoming a world number one and two time Grand Slam champion. Tomic has won squat and is ranked in the hundreds. However, he’s in the Wimbledon quarters. He’s taken down some big names in Soderling and Davydenko. He’ll move into the top 100 post tournament. Well done

DOWN: Nole Djokovic. I’ve spent a lot of time praising the amazing run of Nole this year. But when I read that he had a dummy spit because they wouldn’t let his poodle into the country I peaked. If you haven’t read the story… http://m.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/novak-djokovic-in-a-spin-over-poodle-ban-20110627-1gm6m.html. I’m imagining Rafa Nadal laughing his arse off reading that article while he does line sprints with his pet Tiger!!! Focus Nole

DOWN: Women’s tennis. I’ve said too much on this subject already and can only add that the insipid performances of Li Na, the Williams sisters and most of all ‘world number one’ Caroline Wozniaki show the malaise that exists in the sport

UP: Ricky Stuart. I didn’t think Ricky picked the right team for State of Origin 2, and am happy to eat humble pie. I honestly thought the lack of props was going to hurt us big time, and I didn’t believe that Paul Gallen could put in that sort of performance. How wrong I was. Congrats Ricky. Even if the Cane Toads get up next week, and it’s more than likely considering they’ll be primed for Lockyer’s Origin farewell and will have the Greg Inglis & Justin Hodges combination back in the centers, you’ve done a great job in year one

DOWN: NRL. As you know at the start of the year I bought two memberships for the less than mighty Parra Eels. One adult for yours truly and one Sparky Junior Eels membership for the boy. The young lad has been primed to go to a game all season but we haven't been able to go. Because from round 1 through to round 22 Parra has only played one home game on a Sunday arvo....and unfortunately we were out of town that one Sunday. Every home game is a night game. It's awfully difficult to take really young kids to night games in the middle of winter. Whatever happened to taking the family out to the footy on a Sunday afternoon??? If I were an AFL fan I could have scanned the draw in advance, seen that we didn't have any games to go to and would have put the season memberships on hold. That's why the AFL does things the right way.

DOWN: NRL footy fans. I’m a self confessed talkback radio junkie. I get in my Toyota Yaris, flick the wireless to the AM band and tune in to my favourite programs. Mornings it’s the Big Sports Breakfast on Sky Sports Radio. On the drive home it’s Talkin’ Sport on 2SM. Sad I know. What’s really starting to bug me is the number of whinging calls that come in every day about how this ref missed a forward pass in the 23rd minute, or that ref missed a knock on in the 29th minute, or the ref’s socks weren’t pulled up the right way. Get over it guys. There isn’t a single set of tennis innings of cricket, quarter of basketball, half of football etc. without some balls up by the officials. It’s part and parcel of sport. Human error occurs. In the vast majority of cases the better team/player wins. I know the refs are inconsistent. I know there are a sh#tload of mistakes every weekend. Let’s all just agree that they’re sh#te and move on. I urge all callers to consider talking about the coach’s tactics, player’s performances, leagues strategy and so forth. Just stop whinging about the refs

UP: Barcelona FC. A phenomenal performance to win yet another European Cup, and further evidence of the class gulf between English and continental football. As good as Man U has been this year…and need I remind all of my Scouse ‘friends’ we now have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19 league titles…they were totally outplayed, outclassed and outthought by one of the best club teams in the history of the game. Watching Messi in full flight is an absolute delight

UP and DOWN: Sir Alex Ferguson. SAF has obviously recognized that the team needs an injection of youth and class to compete with the likes of Barca. Michael Carrick once again was shown to the limited. Paul Scholes andEdwin Van Der Sar are gone. Ryan Giggs can’t go on forever – and from what I understand his energies lie elsewhere. Berba looks like he’s on the outs. In response to the final drubbing the club has been very active and aggressive in pursuing new talent. Great stuff. But I have to question some of the buys. David De Gea as a new keeper is an inspired move. Ashley Young has a style of play that should fit right in. But Phil Jones? We don’t need another back-up defender. We need a puppet master. Someone to pull the strings in midfield. An Iniesta, Xavi or Schneider type who can control a games tempo. Come on SAF…stop overpaying for English talent and bring in some world class players

DOWN: Cricket Australia. The dumping of Simon Katich from the list of CA contracted players is a joke. Simon, despite his advanced age, has been the bedrock of Australia’s batting for the past couple of seasons. He has transformed his game and has become one of the toughest openers to displace. The fact that Australia doesn’t have a readymade replacement in good nick who can step right in with confidence makes the decision even more bewildering. The much hype review into Australian cricket post Ashes debacle has yet to shine any light on the ills within the sport…but the nonsense from the top down continues to dominate the way the sport is governed

UP: Red Bull Racing. Total domination of the F1 circuit this season. Great car, great driver, great team

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