Wednesday, December 29, 2010

After a Day Away

I must apologize for the absence of a Tuesday High Five, as a dental emergency not only floored me in the morning hours, but made work difficult for most of the day.  I’m back in the game today with a couple days worth of action to get to.


5. The suddenly sagging Denver Nuggets hosted the suddenly surging Portland Trailblazers last night in Denver.  The home team was able to build a big lead and was able to snap their three-game slide with a relatively easy 95-77 win over their Northwest Division foe.  Another 4th-quarter collapse was not in the offing as the 17-13 Nugs took a 20-point lead into the game’s final 12 minutes.  Balance was the key (and will be, if/when Melo is permanently gone) getting double-figure scoring from all five starters, in addition to an 8/12 night from Birdman Anderson.  Al Harrington is still out and will miss tonight’s game in the Twin Cities, but Melo should be back in the mix after missing the last four games.  Now 30 games in, and Head Coach George Karl has still not had his full compliment of players.

4. Two nights ago, a group of a dozen or so of us took in the Avalanche game versus the Detroit Red Wings.  An amazingly fun time was aided by (stadium drafts) exciting back-and-forth play that ended in a 4-3 overtime loss.  Oddly enough, the Avs were the better team through out the night, putting forth almost twice as many shots on goal (including almost 50 on the veteran, Chris Osgood) and having the lion share of the puck control.  In the end though, the Avs have only guy named, Matty Duchene who was without question, the best player on the ice all night long.  The 19-year-old broke the game’s “ice” with a goal just minutes in.  With about 2:30 left, Matty knotted the score at 3 with his 15 goal of the season, sending the fans into a frenzy and the game into OT.  Alas, however, the home team came up one goal short on the night, but still secured one point against the Western Conference’s top team.

3. While some of the power conferences in college basketball are still getting their “cupcake”-on, the titans of the Big East and Big Ten are kicking off conference play.  Monday night saw an impressive (if not to be expected) win by Pittsburgh over Connecticut.  Both teams came in with top 6 rankings (these arbitrary/useless rankings are even more annoying than the BCS stuff) and the Panthers proved to be the class, getting a big performance from Ashton Gibbs.  Last night, the Big Ten had a gem with the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Madison to face the Wisconsin Badgers.  The visitors trailed for much of the game but fought back to knot things up late in the second half.  Fortunately for the Kohl Center habitants, the Badgers were able to lean on their stars as Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor took control (after each had tough shooting nights), sparking their team to a 68-60 win.  Both of these teams are loaded with experience and talent and should be primed to make some noise in March after enduring a grueling conference schedule.

A rare night of victories for the Front Range Mountain West trio of Wyoming, the United States Air Force Academy and Colorado State; as all got wins in their last tune-ups before conference play.  It was the fifth in a row for the 8-4 CSU Rams, getting an impressive 8-point road win over San Francisco.

2. Speaking of Air Force, the Zoomies finished its season in grand style, getting their 9th win of the year with their 14-7 Independence Bowl victory over Georgia Tech.  The news is continually good for this team, as not only will Head Coach Troy Calhoun be returning almost his entire team, but it appears that the former Falcon quarterback is in it for the long-haul.  He has continually denied rumors of leaving for possible NFL jobs (including a vacant one right up I-25) and he seems content with his current situation which was just “upped” towards the end of the season.  (He might also like the fact that he is one of, if not THE, highest paid government employee in the ENTIRE country.)  In addition, this team is a realistic threat to win a Mountain West title next year, with the departure of BYU and Utah and the addition of Boise State.

1. The Daily Broncos’ Looksie would like to introduce you to Clemson defensive end Da’Quon Bowers.  The 6-4 275 junior is considered by many as the top prize for teams looking for a pass-rush from the edge.  Again, with the Broncos’ future defensive scheme still up in the air, Bowers is a perfect fit as either a defensive end in a 4-3 or an outside linebacker in the 3-4 format.

PS-Best of luck to my friends, the Silas family, as the father-son tandem take over the reigns in Charlotte for the departing Larry Brown.  Big Paul was long overdue for another head coaching gig and my former college teammate, Steve, is one of the league’s up-and-coming young coaches.


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