NBA

Give the Nets’ big three some time to gel, plus who will be the next QB of the Colts?

Well, today’s not quite the big day that yesterday was, but hey … it’s Thursday and we’re one day closer to the weekend! That’s gotta count for something, right? 

I’m on a New Radicals kick after the band re-established itself in my brain leading up to the inauguration and, honestly, their stuff has held up incredibly well. That one album? It’s pretty damn good. “You Get What You Give” gets all the love (and rightfully so considering it’s almost impossible to not love that song) but “Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough” is tremendous, too. I certainly wouldn’t hate a worldwide New Radicals comeback/resurgence in 2021. 

Oh, you came here for sports? Ah, yeah … that makes sense. I guess I’ll press pause on being brainwashed and hit you with the sports news you’re craving this AM.


📰 What you need to know

1. Nets’ big three finally makes its debut 🏀

It’s been a full week since the Nets shook the landscape of the NBA with their blockbuster trade for James Harden, and Brooklyn’s “Big Three” finally all took the court together for the first time last night. Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were all in the lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. For better and for worse, the debut was everything we thought it might be. 

  • Durant put up 38 points and 12 rebounds, Irving had 37 points and Harden posted a triple-double (21-10-12)
  • The trio of stars made their first 10 shots in the game, but the Nets gave up 147 points to the Cavs in a double-overtime loss
  • Cleveland’s Collin Sexton had 42 points (15 of them coming in the second OT) 
  • Nets coach Steve Nash: Look, this is the first night … We seemed a little lost at times. We were a little flat and disjointed at times.”

The Nets overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter and obviously got some major performances from their trio of stars, but it was also pretty apparent that these guys are still getting used to playing with one another. There were moments of offensive brilliance, and there were also moments of confusion and awkwardness. Our Colin Ward-Henninger broke it all down:

  • Ward-Henninger: “In their debut we saw both the blessing and the curse of having Harden, Irving and Durant together. It’s going to take a while for them to figure out how to play together and how to distribute the opportunities. At times, it’s going to be very ugly. Defensively, we can already see that it’s going to be a struggle — they’ve allowed 117.4 points per 100 possessions in three games with Harden.”

It’s going to be incredibly interesting to monitor how this three-headed monster grows and adapts as the season progresses, because, as our Bill Reiter pointed out in his column last night, Brooklyn is the most interesting team in basketball but presents the largest question mark. Having three elite creators on the floor is an incredible luxury, but it’s also a balancing act when they have to share one basketball and occasionally check their egos.

Oh, and sometimes play defense. 

Wednesday’s game essentially confirmed what we already know: This team can be incredible, but there’s a lot of work still to be done.

2. What should the Colts do at QB? 🏈

The NFL lost a gem yesterday when Philip Rivers officially announced his retirement from the league, meaning we have to say goodbye to the only player who would dare sneak a “dadgummit” into his retirement statement

It also means the Indianapolis Colts are now without a starting quarterback. If you’re asking who might be the next QB of the Colts, our Cody Benjamin is way ahead of you. He put together a list of logical candidates yesterday. Here’s his top three:

  1. Sam Darnold – Darnold could be out in New York if the Jets plan to draft a new franchise quarterback with the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft. The 23-year-old is under contract for just $9.8M in 2021 and has a fifth-year option in 2022, so the Colts could take a relatively low-risk, high-reward shot on him and see if he can flourish under Frank Reich
  2. Matthew Stafford – Indy could replace one veteran QB with another in Stafford. The longtime Lions QB could use a change of scenery (and a better shot at winning) and, at 32, he could provide more than a one-year rental. His price tag is a bit expensive but his resume is impressive and you know what you’re getting in Stafford
  3. Carson Wentz – Jalen Hurts is the man in Philly now and Wentz wants a chance to revitalize his career. What better spot than in Indy, where he can reunite with Reich, who was Wentz’s offensive coordinator during the most promising stretch of his career? Wentz has reportedly already said he would prefer a trade to the Colts

As for Rivers, he says he’ll be moving on to coach high school football next year. I can only assume his offense will be made up entirely of his own children.

3. NHL already dealing with COVID-19 issues 🏒


Getty Images

After pulling off a flawless postseason bubble that had zero positive COVID-19 tests last year, the NHL is already enduring several pandemic-related issues just one week into its 2021 season. The Dallas Stars have still yet to play a game after a big COVID outbreak leading up to last week’s opener. The Carolina Hurricanes have postponed multiple games due to an outbreak of their own this week.

And yesterday, the league issued its first major fine to a team for breaking COVID protocols. 

  • The Washington Capitals were fined $100,000 on Wednesday after several players apparently broke the league’s safety protocols
  • The players apparently were hanging out together in a hotel room without masks 
  • A number of key Caps players were also placed on the “protocol absences list,” including Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov
  • Ovechkin, in a statement: “I regret my choice to spend time together with my teammates in our hotel room and away from the locker room areas. I will learn from this experience”

That statement from Ovechkin essentially screams “screw this, I’m only apologizing because the team is making me.” To be fair, I know that the league has strict protocols because A) they want players to stay safe and healthy, and B) they want to carry out the season with as few hiccups as possible. But, with that being said, it seems kind of crazy that these guys can’t hang out with each other on the road when they’re playing alongside one another every day — sharing locker rooms, sitting next to each other on the bench, celebrating with each other on the ice. That doesn’t make a ton of sense to me.

Seems a little harsh to hit the Caps with a $100K penalty for just a few teammates hanging out, but they did break the protocols and the league probably wants to make an example of them in order to send a message to the rest of the league. 

4. Larry Scott out as Pac-12 commissioner 👋


Getty Images

Some big news hit the college sports world last night when the Pac-12 announced it has mutually agreed to part ways with longtime commissioner Larry Scott. Of course, anytime you hear the term “mutually agreed to part ways,” you can pretty much assume that someone was politely fired. 

  • Scott, in charge of the Pac-12 since 2009, helped oversee its expansion to 12 schools and the launch of the Pac-12 Network
  • His tenure will end on June 30, one year before his current contract is set to expire
  • Scott is the highest-paid commissioner in college athletics at $4.8 million per year

It’s no real secret that the Pac-12 has fallen behind most (if not all) of the other Power Five conferences in recent years, especially when it comes to football. There have also been plenty of issues with the Pac-12 Network and its distribution, so the decision to part ways isn’t a complete shock — especially considering the money Scott is commanding. 


📝 Odds & Ends


📺 What to watch today

🏀 Lakers vs. Bucks, 7 p.m. | MIL -1 | TV: TNT

🏒 Canadiens vs. Canucks, 9:30 p.m. | VAN +104 | TV: NBCSN

🏀 Pelicans vs. Jazz, 10 p.m. | UTA -6.5 | TV: TNT  


📝 Top scores from last night


USATSI

🏀 76ers 117, Celtics 109

Joel Embiid had 42 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
💵 Winning wagers: PHI -5, Over (220.5)  

🏒 Canucks 6, Canadiens 5 (OT/SO)

Tyler Toffoli had a hat trick against his former team but Bo Horvat scored the shootout winner for Vancouver.
💵 Winning wagers: VAN +111, Over (6.5)

🏀 Providence 74, No. 11 Creighton 70

Nate Watson scored a career-high 29 points for the Friars.
💵 Winning wagers: PROV +422 , Under (146.5)



 

Source link

Back to top button
SoundCloud To Mp3