Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"What If" Wednesday

Boomer is back with another installment of "What If" Wednesday. Today is a unusual Wednesday with it being "Leap Day", 2012 is a Leap Year, so we are blessed with the 29th day of February. ENJOY!

Donovan's Goal vs. Algeria
The 2010 World Cup was something special for the United States Men's National Soccer Team. After two straight draws in their first two group games (1-1 vs. England  & 2-2 vs. Slovenia), Team USA was forced with a Win or Go Home scenario. Facing their 3rd opponent, Algeria, Team USA chances of moving on in the tournament were not looking good after 90 mins of PT. However, after a nice save and outlet pass by Goalie Tim Howard to Landon Donovan, things were in store for one epic play. As Donovan raced down the sideline, he eventually passed the ball off to forward Jozy Altidore, who found a wide open Clint Dempsey in front of the goal. Dempsey's shot was blocked by the Algeria goalie, and it looked like it wasn't going to be USA's day, but on the rebound Landon Donovan buried the ball into the back of the open net, GOAL!!!! Team USA ended up holding off Algeria in the final minutes of stoppage time to win the game, as well, as Group C. Truly, a great moment in USA Sports History, that if you saw it LIVE on TV, you watched on repeat for about an hour after the game (ME). The Men's Team would eventually lose their next game to Ghana (2-1 in extra time) in the Round of 16.

"What If"
Clearly, one the greatest moment in USA Men's Soccer History, might not of ever happened. If Algeria knowing that the USA needed a win to advance in the tourney, where able to just keep the ball away from the USA for a couple more minutes. What about the shot on goal that Tim Howard grabbed, some how split by him? Or the excellent outlet pass doesn't reach a wide open Donovan? If Altidore tries to win it with a cross that would of clearly went right over the net. What if Dempsey's blocked shot goes sky high up into the South Africa air, instead of rolling right on the turf to Donovan's foot? It's truly a great "what if" moment, that as a USA fan you wouldn't of wanted it to go any other way. What If...

Now to refresh your memory of the moment:

Wambach's Goal vs. Brazil
Oh no, she didn't...
Lightning strikes twice? It sure did, just over a year since Donovan and the Men's National team had a impossible finish of a soccer game, the Women's National team would write their own chapter in USA Soccer history. The women facing the Brazilian Women's  National soccer squad, found themselves down 2 goals to 1, with just a little bit of stoppage time left. That's when lightning would strike twice, after receiving a pass on the sideline, Megan Rapinoe took a couple dribbles and fired a beautiful cross, that found the forehead of forward Abby Wambach and the soccer ball went flying into the back of Brazil's goal. With the score now, 2 to 2, the game went into penalty kicks, with the USA women coming out on top, 5 to 3. Again, after Donovan's goal I didn't think I could witness another great soccer moment, but Wambach's heroics proved me wrong. The women would eventually lose the World Cup Final, to Japan, but we will always have that play for Brazil to look back on and enjoy.

"What If"
I'm going to be honest, I actually missed the play when it first happened, turning the game off in just pure frustration, thinking that the women were going to lose this game and be out of the tournament earlier then expected. However, I was back to watch the PK shots and enjoy the multiple replays of Wambach's header. Lets say Rapinoe's pass isn't right on target and is off by a foot or two? What if the Brazilian goalie was able to get just a finger tip and move the ball off course? What if Wambach's header skies over the goal? Again, another great moment in USA soccer history. What if...

I mean what are the chances, that within just over a year, that both the Men's and Women's National Soccer Teams would have moments like this, I still got goosebumps watching the two plays as I was writing this article. Thank you for letting me share with you again, two "What If" moments in sports history. Enjoy your Leap Day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Boomer's Weekly Basketball Full-Court Press

Another installment of the week that was in the world of Amateur/Professional Basketball. Ugh, with this being a Leap Year, we have to wait an additional day till March, I can't wait, but is time running out for some CBB teams leading up to Selection Sunday (March 11th) and the NBA begins its second half of the regular season.

ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top Ten

1) Kentucky 28-1
2) Syracuse 28-1
3) Duke 25-4
4) Kansas 24-5 (25-5, winning @ Ok State Monday)
5) Michigan State 24-5
6) North Carolina 25-4
7) Marquette 24-5
8) Missouri 25-4
9) Murray State 28-1
10) Baylor 24-5

Ohio State Buckeyes (23-6, 11-5 Big Ten)
Notice you do not see the Buckeyes sitting in the Top Ten anymore. After the third straight week of losing the weekend game on their schedule (all three L's coming against Top 20 teams), the Buckeyes are sitting at 11th in the current Coaches Poll. Sunday afternoon, the most disappointing/frustrating defeat for me as a fan, the Buckeyes could not close out the Wisconsin Badgers. After going up 50-42, the Buckeyes were outscored 21-10, losing 63-60 on SENIOR DAY of all things. What was the last game for Senior William Buford, the Buckeyes again had long scoring droughts and missed too many free throw attempts (10-19). Now, this team like I've mentioned before has Final Four talent on paper, but as I watch other games around the nation, its hard to see them getting passed the Elite teams of College Basketball. With two regular season games left, along with the Big Ten Conference Tournament (March 8-11), the Buckeyes need to flip the switch, and flip it fast. Not getting production out of "Sully" the past two games and shooting poorly in the past three marque games, makes you wonder how far to take the Buckeyes in your bracket this season. Was Sunday the last home game for Sullinger? However, with all that said, the Buckeyes still cling on to hope of a Big Ten Regular Season Championship. How that happens is Indiana needs to beat Michigan St (Tonight, ESPN 7 PM) and then the Buckeyes will have to win their last two games (@ Northwestern, Wednesday & @ Michigan State, Sunday) and that would give the Buckeyes a share of the Regular Season Title. At this point, the Buckeyes are sitting as a #2 seed for the NCAA tourney, and probably have to win out, including winning the Big Ten Tourney to hold on to that spot. It's been a frustrating last couple of weeks, but Feburary L's are forgotten, with March W's. LETS GO BUCKS!

Big Ten Standings

Michigan State13-324-5
Ohio State11-523-6
Penn State4-1212-17

Now lets see how the boys of the NBA are doing...

Cleveland Cavaliers 13-18 9th in the East (2 GB of 7th, 1.5 GB of 8th)
Well, what does this team have in store for the second half of the NBA season? With being five games under .500, first things first, you got to find a way to get on the good side of .500. The Cavs had some impressive W's in the first half of the season, but also had some lop-sided L's against the elite teams of the NBA and a couple that they let get away. With the trade deadline coming up (March 15), the Cavs probably won't be looking to add any pieces, if anything depending on how the next couple weeks go they could be sellers and want to continue to rebuild the franchise, by getting some additional draft picks for the future. As a fan, you want to see your team be in contention all the way to the end. The Cavs will be interesting to watch this second half, to see if they have the poise and/or talent to stay in the playoff race. The Cavs start the second half of their season @ home tonight, when the Boston Celtics come to town, concluding the Cavs 9-game home stand (4-4 to this point in the stand). The Cavs then travel to face the Knicks in NY on Wednesday Night. The Cavs have a tough March schedule, depending on how the month of March goes will determine how the Cavs finish down the stretch. Should be interesting, if anything we get to continue to watch the development of the franchise PG Kyrie Irving. LETS GO CAVS!

Check out the current NBA Standings

Monday, February 27, 2012

Boomer's Recap of the NBA All-Star Weekend

Wow, what a full weekend of hoops, now here is Boomer, with the recap of what was the 2012 NBA All-Star weekend.

Friday Night you got a preview of what the NBA (could) look like in the next 10-12 years. The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge was a unique way of showing off the Rookie's and 2nd year players, as Team Chuck came out on top over Team Shaq, 146 to 133. Kyrie Irving (from THE CLEVELAND CAVS) was named the MVP of the game, Irving scored 34 points and made all EIGHT of his 3 point attempts. From what I watched, it looks like there is plenty of young talent in the NBA for years to come.

Kyrie Irving with his MVP trophy
Saturday Night NBA fans in Orlando and around the world were entertained with the NBA All-Star Shooting Stars Competitions. Here are the results from those events, some were fun to watch (Three Point Contest) others are in need of some serious re-booting (SLAM DUNK CONTEST).

Haier Shooting Stars Competition

City/StateMembersTeamFirst roundFinal round
New YorkLandry FieldsNew York Knicks38.737.3
Cappie PondexterNew York Liberty
Allan HoustonNew York Knicks (retired)
TexasChandler ParsonsHouston Rockets42.747.6
Sophia YoungSan Antonio Silver Stars
Kenny SmithHouston Rockets (retired)
AtlantaJerry StackhouseREPAtlanta Hawks55.3 —
Lindsey HardingAtlanta Dream
Steve SmithAtlanta Hawks (retired)
Joe JohnsonINJAtlanta Hawks
OrlandoJameer NelsonOrlando Magic1:04 —
Marie Ferdinand-HarrisPhoenix Mercury
Dennis ScottOrlando Magic (retired)

Team New York with their Haier Shooting Stars trophy

Taco Bell Skills Challenge

Pos.PlayerTeamHeightWeightFirst roundFinal round
GTony ParkerSan Antonio Spurs6-218029.232.8
GRajon RondoREPBoston Celtics6-118632.834.6
GDeron WilliamsNew Jersey Nets6-320928.341.4
GJohn WallWashington Wizards6-419532.8
GRussell WestbrookOklahoma City Thunder6-318733.8
GKyrie IrvingCleveland Cavaliers6-319142.2
GStephen CurryINJGolden State Warriors6-3185
Tony Parker with his Taco Bell Skills Challenge trophy

Foot Locker Three-Point Contest

Pos.PlayerTeamHeightWeightFirst roundTiebreaker
(24 seconds)
Final roundTiebreaker
(60 seconds)
FKevin LoveMinnesota Timberwolves6-102601851617
FKevin DurantREPOklahoma City Thunder6-9235201614
FJames JonesMiami Heat6-82152212
GMario ChalmersMiami Heat6-2190184
FRyan AndersonOrlando Magic6-1024017
GAnthony MorrowNew Jersey Nets6-521014
GJoe JohnsonINJAtlanta Hawks6-7240
Kevin Love with his Foot Locker Three-Point Contest trophy

Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

FChase BudingerHouston Rockets6-721828%
FJeremy EvansREPUtah Jazz6-919429%
G/FPaul GeorgeIndiana Pacers6-8215
FDerrick WilliamsMinnesota Timberwolves6-8241
GIman ShumpertINJNew York Knicks6-5220
Jeremy Evans with his Sprite Slam Dunk Contest trophy
61st NBA All-Star Game

And now for the actual NBA All-Star game played last night. For the most part it was a game of high flying dunks and wide open 3-pointers, with some sort of defense down the stretch during "Money Time". The winners this year came from the West with the aid of the games MVP Kevin Durant (36 points) and now All-Time points leader in All-Star history, Kobe Bryant (27 points) to hang on to beat Lebron's (36 points) East squad, 152 to 149. Overall, I watched the whole 1st quarter and the majority of the 4th quarter, just to watch :) Lebron again, lose in the closing seconds. I mean, come on its the All-Star Game and TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager (nice suit by the way) is asking LBJ questions afterwards, as if he just lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals. To the winners goes $50,000 a piece to each player and for being a loser, well you got a nice 25K as well. 

Check out the Box Score

Kevin Durant with his All-Star Game MVP award
A preview of what to expect come June? Stay tune...

Well, folks that wraps up the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend down in Orlando, FL, who's got their tickets booked for next seasons NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston, Texas?