COULD THEY GO FURTHER?

COULD THEY GO FURTHER?

Justin Ford/Getty
After a special but short-lived playoff run last season, the New York Knicks would be looking to go further with some key acquisitions made in the offseason. The team from Madison Square Garden finished last season with 41 wins, the most over the last five (5) seasons, before losing out to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. Now with the beginning of the 2021/22 season, the Thibodeau-led Knicks must be looking to go even further.

The Knicks acquired all-star guard Kemba Walker to their young and improving roster in a trade with the Mavericks and the Celtics. Walker, the all-time scoring leader for the Charlotte Hornets joins after an injury-stricken season with the Celtics and is hungry and looking for redemption. Adding his creativity and class to this Knicks roster already with Most Improved Player Julius Randle, star guard Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson, you have a real threat if they are all firing.

Another offseason acquisition that can bolster the team is French star, Evan Fournier. The 29-year-old averaged 19 points and 4 assists, obtaining a 39% rating from 3-point-range. This deadly behind the arc shooting could be critical in a playoff push with the new rules and the style of the NBA, deep shots rule.

Bleacher Report
The returning members of the roster from last season are vastly improving and with a coach as good as Thibodeau, they are a dark horse for the NBA Finals and let me tell you why. With teams such as Brooklyn having issues with Kyrie and playing awful, Boston unable to get into full gear and foolishly trying to replace Walker with Laker reject Dennis Schroder, Milwaukee is the only rampant team and if you can somehow stop the Greek freak, then you have an amazing chance to make the finals. Hell, they may even win the NBA.

The Los Angeles retirement home, I mean Lakers, are dealing with internal issues which could damage their chances, the Clippers who are underwhelming, Dallas who are finding their feet, and the Suns who even though were in the finals last year and looking sharp, could lose their big if they don’t agree on a deal with Deandre Ayton. If the Knocks manage to stay fit with Rose playing like he’s at the Bulls, 2020 Randle, 2019 Kemba, and the other youngsters click, Spike Lee’s ticket may finally be a championship one.

Dodgers, Red Sox Facing Elimination in LCS

Dodgers, Red Sox Facing Elimination in LCS

Will Atlanta and Houston enact sweet postseason revenge and meet in the World Series?

As the calendar turns toward winter, the remaining days of autumn are highlighted by the culmination of the MLB postseason.

In the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers spirited Game 3 comeback victory is the only thing saving their season. Heading into Game 5 at Dodger Stadium tonight, Dave Roberts’ depleted bullpen needs a heroic performance from midseason acquisition Max Scherzer.

The 3-time Cy Young Award winner’s impact on the Dodgers season is undeniable. The 36-year old currently in his 14th MLB season went undefeated (7-0) in his 11 starts with the defending champs, posting a career-best 0.86 WHIP and 2.46 ERA (0.82/1.98 with LAD). Scherzer provided relief for the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS, recording his first postseason save two days after suffering a hard-luck 1-0 loss in Game 3 (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 10 K).

Max Scherzer closing Game 5 of the NLDS just two days after throwing 110 pitches in Game 3.

In the American League, the Red Sox power seems to have dissipated. In losing Games 4 and 5, the Sox offense has hit a wall after connecting for 18 HR, hitting .338, and averaging just under nine runs PG in their previous six games. The vaunted Red Sox offense combined for three runs while hitting .157 overall and going 0-13 with RISP.

Meanwhile, Dusty Baker’s unit finds themselves one win away from reaching the World Series for the third time in five seasons. If his team eliminates Boston, Baker receives another chance to win his first championship as a manager (currently owns the record for most games managed without winning a World Series).

Finally, in recognition of Max Scherzer’s start tonight, here are a few examples of pitchers providing super-human efforts facing elimination along with salvaging their team’s bullpen.

Josh Becket (Marlins) – Game 5, 2003 NLCS

Facing elimination, Beckett threw a 2-hit shutout, striking out 11 Cubs while inspiring Florida to rally and win the series.

Curt Schilling (Phillies) – Game 5, 1993 World Series

Without the former ESPN announcer efforts, one of the most memorable postseason moments in MLB would cease to exist.

Schilling’s 147-pitch, five-hit shutout came after Philadelphia used six pitchers, unable to hold a 14-9 lead in Game 4. Joe Carter would be just another Joe without Schilling’s spectacular performance.

Without multiple inspirational performances by Danny Jackson, the Royals would not have won their World Title in 1985.

Danny Jackson (Royals) – Game 5, 1985 ALCS; Game 5, 1985 World Series.

Jackson sent the ALCS back to Toronto with a brilliant, 8-hit shutout of the Blue Jays. Jackson’s performance came at the perfect moment, provided how poorly the Royals bullpen performed in Games 1-4. The left-hander delivered a repeat of his ALCS performance in Game 5 of the World Series. Jackson’s complete Game, five-hitter at St. Louis, sent the series back to Kansas City, where the Royals completed another series comeback.

Mickey Lolich (Tigers) – Game 5, 1968 World Series

The Tigers watched 30-game winner Denny McClain, and five relievers allowed ten runs on 13 hits in the Cardinals 10-1 win in Game 4.

Needing to save an extended bullpen, Lolich allowed nine hits and three runs but went the distance in the Tigers 5-3 victory.

Deathwish Confirmed

Deathwish Confirmed

Getty Images
WHAT A FIGHT! To be completely honest though, did anyone see this outcome any different? Because I need to know what you’re smoking if you did. Tyson Fury completely embarrassed Deontay Wilder on Saturday night. Wilder was left bloody, disoriented, and had a broken eye socket the last time he went up against the Gypsy King and for some reason scheduled a trilogy fight to just compound what we already know; Fury is far superior. The fight was electric with both fighters trading punches, Wilder actually looked like he was up for the fight. At one point Fury even went down, but that was not for long. The Englishman picked himself up, dusted himself off, and took the game back to the American landing 150 punches to Wilder’s 72. Fury went down twice in the fourth round and it seemed as if the Bronze Bomber would have his way on the night, with most of the English fans, and from other nations worried that we may have been too relaxed. Then again, the sport proved to be a marathon and not a sprint, and Wilder was flat-lined in the 11th round to once again lose the WBC title. Honestly, we all know why the 35-year-old Wilder lost and it’s purely because he cannot box as good as he thinks.
Getty Images
The American throws his punches so rapidly, wasting energy and not even doing it with direction. This disadvantages him as he loses stamina very quickly and weakens him for the latter rounds, as we saw on Saturday. His style of “fast and furious” does not work in the sport he plays. I would rather see Money Mayweather in the ring with Fury because that would’ve been a much better tactical fight. His accuracy is just atrocious; all-around inaccurate. The fight was intense from the off and never lost that intensity throughout the 11 rounds it lasted. I’m not going to claim to be a boxing aficionado, but if the divisions were based on technique and style, Wilder should not be a Heavy-weight boxer. Fury goes 31-0 in his career and looks unbeatable, but is he? There is one person who he must fight to eclipse that title: Anthony Joshua.
Record Breaker?

Record Breaker?

Dallas Cowboys Corner-back Trevon Diggs (Roger Steinman)
With the NFL Season approaching the midpoint of the season, we usually begin looking at awards such as MVP, Most Improved, and what we’re talking about, DPOY. I believe that if the season was to be halted today that Trevon Diggs would undoubtedly become Defensive Player of the Year. The former 2nd round draft pick in 2019, has been putting up numbers that have led many to believe he is the best Corner in the league right now.

Diggs has begun the season on fire as he has a league-leading five(5) interceptions in the opening four games of the season. Only Devin McCourty (2019), has done the same over the last 15 seasons. Only one team has more than Diggs and that is the New Orleans Saints (6). The 24-year-old is making waves on the more than impressive Dallas defense that is much improved than it was 12 months ago. The stats and all are good, but why is Trevon Diggs DPOY? Simply because the numbers he puts up, and the performances he puts in so far have been utterly ridiculous.

Getty Images
To win this award as a CB then picks, forced fumbles, blitz’s, and air-tight coverage are what would guarantee that award to not go to a lineman, and right now Diggs has it all. The NFL Record for interceptions is 14 set in 1952 by Los Angeles Rams player Dick Lane. Trevon, currently with five, is on course to make record TWENTY-ONE interceptions. If that were to happen, or anything close to that, the historical impact of the second-year player would be tremendous for his career.

Gonna be watching that NFC East clash keenly to see the #7 against the Giants, and the upcoming fixtures (Patriots 10/17, and Vikings 10/31) to see if this is a fluke, or if he means business. Another intriguing thing this weekend is the Fury vs. Wilder Trilogy fight so look out for that article from me as well.

Struggles in The Bay

Struggles in The Bay

Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
After losing 21-28 against the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers fall to 2-2, making them the 4th seed in the NFC West.

However, games aren’t the only thing they’re losing; with Josh Norman, Robbie Gould, Raheem Mostert, Jimmy Garapolo, among others on the injury reserve list, this is familiar territory for 49er fans who have witnessed not only the dreaded 2018-2019 but also the 2020-2021 season. Spoiler alert, they both ended badly because of injuries, and this season isn’t looking any better.

Screen Shot pulled from https://www.49ers.com/team/injury-report/
On top of Injuries, this team is struggling to close out games and score points. We saw a bit of this in week one, where the niner’s defense allowed 16 points despite putting in the second team DBs. Not to mention the 49ers only put up a measly 10 points to the Lion’s 23 points in the second half. In week two against the Eagles, the Niners put on the worst performance of this season, only scoring 7 in the first half and 10 in the second. Then in week three against the Packers, the Niner’s offense looked extremely flat again, leaving the defense tired and barely able to stop the Packers explosive offense. Although the Niner’s almost pulled off a remarkable comeback, terrible time management and defensive playcalling let this team’s performance down. Lastly, in week four against the Seahawks, in the first quarter, the 49er’s defense looked stunning, completely shutting down Seattle’s offense. This only lasted one quarter. After the offense scored 7 points in the first half due to mistakes and missed PAT attempts San Francisco’s offense began to struggle a lot even though they scored 14 in the second half, primarily because of the Seahawks subbing in their second team.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
This team has a lot of potential; however, both head coach Kyle Shannahan and defensive coordinator Demeco Ryans need to step up their playing calling and call better plays. Yes, it’s easy to blame coaches for terrible team performances, but in this case, it’s necessary. On offense, Shannahan is playing too passive and doesn’t seem like he trusts his offense to pull off plays that he has stored deep in his brain. Defensively, Ryans seem scared to throw blitzes at teams which is also the Niner’s greatest downfall against the packers to where they should’ve been blitzing a lot more since Aaron Rodgers isn’t the best scrambler.

In darkness, there is light; remember when I said there was potential? Well, the potential is in the youth, which you may ask? Trey Lance, Deebo Samuel, Trey Sermon, Brandon Aiyuk. The two main takeaways from these four are Trey Lance and Deebo Samuel. Analysts all over can all agree that the ceiling for Lance is extremely high, and it’s beginning to show. With three passing and one rushing touchdown, Lance has a chance this Sunday to prove how good he is against the Arizona Cardinals.

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Now on to Deebo Samuel; he’s currently leading the league in receiving yards and almost has the most receiving touchdowns. ESPN even has him projecting to have his first 1000 reception yard year. If he can stay healthy and consistent, Samuel can shape up to be a top 10 receiver and have his breakout year this year. Some call him a gadget receiver, but this is his year to prove the doubters wrong.
https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-deebo-samuel-aj-brown-why-yac-ability-is-valuable-but-limited

What Can Save The Youths?

What Can Save The Youths?

Photo Credit: Tremayne Cherrington
The most popular sport in the world with billions of followers is something every child dreams of doing when they are growing up. Commonly known as football, or soccer in America has been the most fascinating topic of the past month because of the extraordinary transfers taking place. From Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona after 17 years to Jack Grealish becoming England’s most expensive player ($139 million), to Cristiano Ronaldo re-joining Manchester United after 12 years away, football has been ridiculous this year. However, for all these transfers that occurred, each of these players had rags to riches story. Messi from a poverty-stricken community in Argentina, Grealish who up to 4 seasons ago was playing in England’s fourth tier of football, and Ronaldo who was shunned by his teachers for wanting to play and lost his father at an early age. Everyone loves an underdog, but in my home country of Jamaica, rags to riches are something you rarely see.
Sure you all know of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and even Tajay Gayle but in this country, the sports ministry is biased towards the sport of Track and Field. When you compare the high school athletics championships have the whole country plus sections of the United States watching (estimated 3-5 million) while for a game of football at that level, only a fraction of that is watching the game. The way the game is perceived in the country is worst than amateur level as players are either unfit, lack desire or just outright are not good enough
Speaking with a couple of aspiring players hindered by the pandemic of Covid-19, there are requirements to competing at age groups that are difficult to maintain. Goalkeeper Oshane Walton, 19, is someone that I saw from a personal standpoint, arguably the best old-fashioned ‘keeper I have seen in High School said that trying to make the team at the U-19 level was the hardest because of the merit used to qualify. When competing for a U-19 level in High School, on the playing side talent and determination win, however on the academic side, you slip and you’re off. Sure the schools are teaching you balance but when training has you going home 3-5 hours later than normal, not having time to properly study for exams, or get enough sleep if you do which results in sleeping in class.
Photo Credit: Oshane Walton
I know what you’re thinking, “just play for a club and develop properly,” well dumbass don’t you think that was tried by many? No matter how good the excuse is all the same; they are too young. Fun Fact, if Mason Greenwood was brought up in Jamaica no one would know of him to this day because of their ageist behavior. Walton was asked about what could be done about this for schools and professional level; he stated “the federation could reach out to the clubs and FIFA to get more scouts, not just from Scandinavian nations but from the “big boys” in Europe to notice the talent in smaller countries even once per year to then give chances, not necessarily contracts, to those who they deem ready.” Tremayne Cherrington, a former schoolboy player for St. Georges College, is also in accordance with Walton’s statement. “Programs!” Cherrington said. “Coaches can create a professionalized business page for the players to be seen by overseas scouts.” One example of these could be the page on Twitter that helps youths across the world “@FTalentScout” a similar page could be implemented for the youths of this country.
In the hypothetical world where these players could venture abroad and live their wildest dreams, contrasting accounts were given of how they would take advantage of those dreams. When speaking to Oshane Walton on Wednesday, he took the more conventional route. “Manchester United or Real Madrid. If I could choose would be United because my Spanish is not good, but if I could be a world-class Goalkeeper at any club it would be one of those two.” Tremayne on the other hand had a different and more surprising answer. “West Ham, Wolverhampton, or even Real Sociedad. That’s because my favorite position (attacking midfielder) is loaded so going to a big club where there are already 3 or 4 other players in that position, going to a mid-level club where there are 2 players for each position would be better for playing time,” said the 19-year-old.