Dez Bryant Wants His Money

512px-Dez_Bryant_at_training_camp

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is considering not suiting up for the season opener at home against the New York Giants.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Bryant has not signed the $12.83 million franchise-tag tender offered to him by the Cowboys. The two sides have until July 15 to reach a deal.

Apparently, Bryant is attempting to take a similar route to Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith. Smith missed the first two games of the 1993 season (both of which resulted in Cowboys’ losses) before getting a new contract and helping the Cowboys win a Super Bowl that season and establish a dynasty.

However, due to the collective bargaining agreement, Bryant’s only options are to either reach that deal or to not play at all.

Why the Cowboys Should be Careful

 Evidence has shown time and time again that as soon as players in just about any sport get their money, their production just decides to go on a vacation that could last up to years or maybe never return at all. Sometimes athletes just can’t seem to overcome the injury bug once they get their money, but other times, some athletes seem to think their struggle is over when they get a payday. It can be an ugly situation with both sides (team and player) ending their relationship with regret.

Remember that guy Albert Haynesworth, the defensive tackle that essentially ‘robbed’ a football team when he signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Washington Redskins back in 2009. The list goes on and on for players that just disappear from the face of the Earth after getting their money, but I decided to name Haynesworth because his situation was the most memorable and most egregious one to me.

 Why the Cowboys Need Dez

 Dez Bryant has consistently been a productive member of the Cowboys since his arrival back in 2010. He has been a 1000-yard receiver for three seasons now and has already become Tony Romo’s favorite target beside reliable and sure-handed Jason Witten. I mean Romo threw the football deep to him in a 4th & 1 situation in the fourth quarter of an NFC Championship game. If that isn’t trust or chemistry, then what is?

Also, it’s no secret that the Cowboys’ rushing attack this upcoming season is questionable at best. With the signing of injury-prone Darren McFadden and a plethora of other running backs on the roster as well, the Cowboys are desperately looking for a replacement to DeMarco Murray who was arguably their best player last season as well as the reason why the Cowboys even had a shot at the playoffs.

Lastly, Dez Bryant is a once-in-a-generation wide receiver. He wears the number #88 for a reason and it isn’t because he likes the way it is placed on a Cowboys jersey. It is because greats like Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin have worn the number before him. He has carried the proverbial torch and has lived up to the number. He is also the most explosive player on the team and has single-handedly kept Romo’s career intact.

Neither side wants to part ways so they need to do everything in their power to make sure that doesn’t happen and fast because July will be here sooner than they think.

White Lies and Small Guys: How the Warriors won Game 4

 

After game 3, the Finals looked more like LeBron’s personal record-breaking campaign than anything else. The Warriors looked lost and helpless against the world’s greatest player and Cleveland’s physical defense. But then game 4 happened and the Warriors once again looked like the havoc-wreaking, pedal to the floor basketball team we saw all year.

Tempo, Tempo, Tempo:

Throughout the first three games of the series, the Cavs had controlled the tempo. They slowed down the league’s fastest team and LeBron had his way with the league’s best defense. But then again, LeBron tends to do that with any defense. More impressive was Cleveland’s defense, which held the league’s highest scoring offense to under 100 points during regulation in each of the first three games.

In game 4, those things did not happen. Instead, Golden State pushed the tempo on an undermanned and overworked Cavs team. The Warriors turned a basketball game into a mini track meet, pulling down rebounds and sprinting up the court for fast break dunks and corner threes.  The Cavs simply could not keep up, and once you let the Warriors jump out to a lead they don’t lose. Literally. They’re 57-0 this season (including playoffs) when they lead by 15 or more. Injuries to Love and Irving have forced more minutes out of role players.  Dudes are gassed. It showed last night.

White Lies:

Although Steve Kerr said there would be no changes to the starting lineup in game 4, there were.  “If I tell the truth, it’s the equivalent of me knocking on David Blatt’s door and saying ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to do.’ So I lied,” was all Kerr really had to say about it. So the Warriors went small and put the 6’7” Green at the 5 and Iguodala at 4. It was Iggy’s first start of the season and he didn’t disappoint, scoring a season high 22 points on 4 of 9 from three with 8 rebounds. Green finally looked like a better version of himself after a couple off games; more buckets and less chirping. And after seeing a lot of bench during the playoffs, David Lee has been contributing big minutes in the last two games. On the flip side, Festus Ezeli sat and Bogut only got 2 minutes last night.

Cavs gotta go low:

The smaller lineup had been great for Golden State all season and it is what helped them establish and keep tempo in Game 4. But it also hurts their ability to bang with the big boys down low. Mozgov and Thompson had no problems dominating the post when Golden State went small. Mozgov led all scorers with 28 points (a career high for him) and also added 10 rebounds. Thompson grabbed 13 boards and added 12 points. When both your big men get double-doubles, that ain’t bad. And the Cavs will need more of that to win the series. With Love and Irving out, the Cavs lost their two biggest scoring threats behind the King. Although the Delly was open for business and cooking something mean in game 3, he can’t be always be relied on for offense. Last night Dellavedova was 3-14. JR Smith is just as streaky as ever, going 2-12 in game 4. If the guard play can’t be consistent, then the Cavs have to go down low.  It’s only game 4 and LeBron looks tired, understandably. He probably can’t do this all on his own, but if anyone can it is King James.

Recipe for a W…..for the Dubs

This isn’t rocket surgery.

The Cavs have done what they want and dictated how the Warriors play.  Delly is bodying Steph Curry like it’s a house party dance floor.  Igoudala, Barnes and Green are crying to the refs about LeBron backing them down instead of staying on him.  And Bogut is playing the role of Waldo in the middle while Festus is doing his best to learn on the job.

But all is not lost!  Steve Kerr can get control of this thing if he can get his players to adjust.

  • Man up! – stop looking at the officials and your coach after every whistle. This just in:  LeBron is going to get calls.  Iggy, Harrison and Dray need to change the mentality and switch to playground mode.  Bumping happens and when it does don’t fall away looking for a call.  Recover and keep your hands up so he has to work for his baskets.
  • Tighten Up! – Curry’s loosey-goosey dribble style works in the regular season and on the And1 tour, but defenses are tighter in the playoffs. Steph needs to shorten his dribble and double his rhythm.  He’s not lulling the Cavs to sleep with the Curly Neal routine.
  • Step Up! – Kerr needs to empty his bench. Speights and David Lee get 6 fouls each and both can eat space and grab rebounds.  Barbosa and Livingston have played well when given the chance and Igoudala has been a surprise on offense.  Get these guys in the game and try to exploit the Cavs short bench.
  • Push Up! – Curry, Thompson and Livingston need to push the tempo, even on made shots. Cleveland’s bigs would tire out and that often leads to fatigue fouls.  Golden State has the advantage of a healthy starting backcourt, the one that facilitated the league’s best offense.  A faster tempo would also help Steph and Klay get some space during transition.  And let’s see how King James reacts to 40+ minutes at that pace.

That’s the DO list.  Here’s the DON’T:

  • DON’T play H.O.R.S.E. – In previous series, the Dubs found opponents allowed them to spot up around the arc and launch freely. This ain’t that series.  Curry, Thompson and Green need to attack the basket, try to draw fouls and loosen the perimeter chokehold.
  • DON’T double LeBron – All I’ve heard all week is about sending help on LeBron. That’s exactly what will get everyone else involved even more.  James is one, if not the, best at finding the open man out of a double team.  He’s so used to seeing multiple defenders that it’s second nature for him.  You want JR Smith to get hot – use his defender to double LeBron.  You’re daring Shumpert to cut to the basket – use his defender to cheat on LeBron.  Wanna give Thompson and Mozzie rim-rockers – bring Bogut over to help on LeBron.  Dude isn’t falling for the banana in the tailpipe.
  • DON’T go small – The biggest misconception of this series is that Cleveland can’t match up with the smaller Warriors lineup. The Cavs didn’t bat an eye when Draymond Green was in at center.  They simply kept Mozzie or Thompson in to guard the rim and patrolled the post like Debo.  “That’s my rebound!”  Golden State will not win this series trying to out-small the Cavs.  They’re gonna have to take away the advantage inside and playing a 6-7 center won’t do that.

I’m still not sure where this series is going to go.  It’s entirely possible the Cavs run out of gas and give up the next three games.  It’s also possible the Warriors might not ‘get it’ and go back to San Francisco down 3-1.  One thing’s for sure…..we’ve been treated to an exciting Finals that is filled with moves, countermoves and surprises.

LeBron James, CEO

 

Leadership plays a bigger role for the King

LeBron James has proven in this postseason that he is, without question, the player most capable of LEADING a team to accomplish more than anyone thought possible. His style has defined the Cavs…..in whatever way they’ve needed to be defined to win.

Everyone watching the NBA Playoffs has seen the multitude of ways to win.  The Grizzlies brute forced their way in.  Atlanta’s throwback TEAM concept warm & fuzzed its way into everyone’s heart.  And the Clips slashed and dashed as far as they could.  It’s sort of understood that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.  (no cats were harmed in the writing of this)

  • Cleveland’s first round sweep of the Celtics was just a talent mismatch. Boston didn’t have the players to match up so the King and his Court quickly dispatched them.
  • Chicago had more talent than Boston, but the Bulls had a crisis at point guard (is he hurt? are his feelings hurt? will he shoot well?) and coach on the way out. Jimmy Butler and Co poached two games but that seemed to just piss LeBron off and they were dispatched after three straight Cavs wins
  • Atlanta boasted the best record in the East but were exposed as the frauds they were by a laser-focused Cleveland squad. Mozgov and Thompson swept the Hawks off their shoulders and got ready for plenty of rest before the Finals.

Each series featured teams with different styles and strengths.  After losing Kevin Love in the first series, the Cavs held up against the Bulls bigs with Thompson and Mozgov and attacked their lack of depth on the perimeter with LeBron shooting almost 50% from two point range.  He and Kyrie got their usual numbers, but JR Smith and Shumpert also started contributing on offense in that series.  As they moved on to Atlanta, it was evident that Kyrie wouldn’t be able to play.  Once again, the Cavs adjusted and exploited to knock off an opponent.  Using Mozgov and Thompson to rule the paint, James shot his highest percentage of the playoffs and averaged over 11 rebounds a game.

In Game 1, LeBron dropped 44 and lost in overtime.  Kyrie played well in regulation but when he went down the Cavs weren’t ready to adjust.  Game 2 brought a new approach and a new LeBron.  He passed more, was more active around the rim and finished with a triple double and a win.

When LeBron passes, gets his teammates involved and goes after rebounds the Cavs win.  JR Smith draws on the confidence when James gives him the ball in scoring positions.  Shumpert flies around the court and gets open looks. Delly grinds it out on defense and then gets and open look from the arc late in the game.   Each pass is like a vote of support.  So when LeBron’s supporting cast laces them up this series, they know how much better he makes them.  They know that if they follow his direction and come along for the ride, he’ll set them all up for success.

Like a seasoned CEO, LeBron knows he’s only as good as the people around him and will only go as far as the weakest link takes him.  Luckily, he’s got awesome COO’s in Mike Miller and James Jones who help convey the message to the young players on the team.  Watch the three of them in timeouts and quarter changes.  They’re always showing, changing and discussing what moves need to be made…..like good leaders do.

 

 

Lebron Ties up Finals, 1-1 against Warriors

 

LeBron James by Keith Allison, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Keith Allison 


Along with giving his teammates Apple watches and haircuts before the NBA Finals. Lebron James carried his teammates to a 95-93 victory in OT in Game 2 against Golden State Warriors.

With several failed attempts including 18-23 missed shots, Stephen Curry missed the opportuny to keep the  Warriors in the lead in the playoffs.  Curry said. “I don’t expect to shoot like this. I’ve got to play better, find better shots and be more in a rhythm throughout the course of the game for us to really assert ourselves as a team.”

The Finals are now tied 1-1.  Game 3 will be on Tues night at 9pm EST.

 

UFC Fight Night 68: Boetsch vs. Henderson live – Dan Henderson is 44-years-young!

UFC

What a wild night it was at UFC Fight Night 68 in New Orleans, LA! Tons of finishes is all UFC fans ever ask for and that is exactly what we got at this event. With 10 finishes on record, 6 of which came from the whole main card, it seemed like just about every fighter took the old saying ‘don’t let it go to the judges’ very serious. Before we get to the main event between former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan “Hendo” Henderson and UFC veteran Tim Boetsch, here is a summary of the preliminary card and main card fights leading up to it:

Preliminary Card

Leonardo Morales vs. Jose Quinonez: Quinonez defeats Morales via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:34 in the first round.

Main Card

  • Alex Caceres Francisco Rivera (bantamweight bout): Rivera defeats Caceres via KO (strikes) at 0:21 in the first round. Rivera’s knockout is officially the third fastest knockout in bantamweight history.
  • Joe Soto Anthony Birchak (bantamweight bout): Birchak defeats Soto via KO (strikes) at 1:37 in the first round.
  • Thiago Tavares Brian Ortega (featherweight bout): Ortega defeats Tavares via TKO (strikes) at 4:10 in the third round. This fight received Fight of the Night honors.

Dustin Poirier vs. Yancy Medeiros (lightweight bout): The hometown fighter Poirier defeats Medeiros via TKO at 2:38 in the first round.

Co-main eventMatt Mitrione vs. Ben Rothwell (heavyweight bout): Rothwell defeats Mitrione via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:54 in the first round.

Main event – Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch

 Round 1: Boetsch comes out throwing a combination of punches and Henderson counters him with a hard right hand. Boetsch is staggered and Henderson clinches him and lands a left knee. Henderson pushes Boetsch against the cage, lands a right uppercut that drops him, and just keeps punching until the referee pulls him off. The fight is all over.

Henderson defeats Boetsch via KO at 4:33 in the first round. With that win, Dan Henderson now has the fourth most knockouts (14) in UFC/Pride/WEC/Strikeforce history and the second most wins (24) in UFC/Pride/WEC/Strikeforce history. Don’t mention it to him, but he is now the oldest fighter (44) to win via KO/TKO in the octagon.

 

 

 

Flying bat leaves woman battling life threatning injuries

 

The Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox  game at Fenley Park came to an abrupt halt on Friday when a fan was violently hit by Oaklands A’s Brett Lawrie broken bat.
Observers have identified the fan as a woman, who was sitting by a young child and a man who was trying to tend to the woman’s injuries after she was hit.
Boston police spokesman David Estrada confirmed the woman was seriously injured.
”First and foremost, our thoughts and concern, and certainly our prayers, go out to the woman that was struck with the bat, her and her family,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.