Wednesday, February 6, 2008


So you're trying to figure out how to pass the time until baseball starts up again (in Tokyo, if you need a reminder, Red Sox and A's fans). In all honesty, that's kind of sad, but it's your perogative. Yet, there are plenty of other sports that give thrills, chills and if you attend live, unfortunate beer spills. It's very easy to just say watch more basketball or hockey or even read a book, but instead, here are five games and events in February to keep an eye on.

Of course, Scribe advises that you should just watch anything where there's a ball and a bunch of people running for it, with it or at it.
  • Saturday, February 9th: San Antonio Spurs @ Boston Celtics - Though the defending champs are not clicking on all cylinders at the moment, these two games will be considered NBA Finals previews. Neither team has played each other this season, but the always-intriguing matchup between Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett will take center stage. With Tony Parker out of the lineup for the Spurs, Rajon Rondo may avoid the same fate as Daniel Gibson suffered in last year's Finals. Parker sped past Gibson so much that the Cavaliers guard is still chasing the Frenchman's shadow. The rematch takes place on Monday, March 17 in San Antonio.

  • [Above] Saturday, February 16th: Kelly Pavlik-Jermain Taylor II, Undisputed Middleweight Championship - Boxing had an outstanding 2007 and much of this can be attributed to this gem of a fight. Back in late September, an undefeated champion, Taylor, had scored a knockdown on Pavlik in the middle of the second round. With still over a minute left in the round, Taylor threw just enough to keep Pavlik at a distance. Big mistake. Pavlik fought himself back into the fight to the point that judges had scored the fight even leading into the seventh round. And then, Arkansas' son crumpled in the corner from a beautiful combo from Pavlik. The Youngstown, Ohio native shocked the boxing establishment with his win and set up this rematch at a catch weight of 166 pounds. Taylor's no bum, but even in his previous fights since defeating Bernard Hopkins for the undisputed championship, he hasn't looked like the anointed boxing star he was supposed to be. With the loss to Pavlik, there are more questions surrounding the former champ than with his two questionable wins over Hopkins. Order the fight, go to a sports bar or get real close with a friend (just not me).

  • Wednesday, February 20th: Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Lakers - You know that ESPN or ABC will scramble to air this game nationally, even if it means telling Lost to get lost for a week. Yes, the whole Shaq versus Kobe angle was played out long before the Disney broadcasters pushed it on us in recent Christmases. However, the Suns, whose up-tempo, seven-seconds-or-bust style has been compromised (to say the least) when they traded Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks for the fourteen-time All-Star and four-time NBA champion. No one knows what to expect from O'Neal - or even if he will play - but expect the Lakers to have worked out some of the kinks as their newest acquisition settles in. Pau Gasol should have two more weeks under him with his new team by then (also helped by the All-Star break). The Lake Show will have its first post-break test against a team still widely considered to be Western Conference contenders.

  • Ongoing: The head coaching search of the Washington Redskins - Giants fans and 'fans' (those bandwagoners that suddenly believed in Eli Manning after the Super Bowl ended), be very, very afraid. Not that the personnel will suddenly forget how to play defense when the new season rolls around, but if first-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is offered and accepts the head coaching position with rival Washington, it may not bode well. Owner Daniel Snyder loves the big splash of free agent signings and coaching hires, even if the success has not followed. Though he would join in on a trend of hiring the hot, young coordinator, hiring the architect of the league's most talked-about defense would put the Giants in a very peculiar spot of having to find another DC who can utilize the players in a similar manner. Spanoulo originally came from Philadelphia, but it is unlikely that New York would look in that direction again. The respect and admiration that he gained from that lockerroom is something that cannot be replicated with just anyone if he departs, and neither will the production if they end up defending their Super Bowl championship without him.

  • All month: College basketball - while Scribe doesn't delve too much into college sports, March Madness is just around the corner. Duke's win over UNC tonight should serve as a reminder of how intense the games are getting right about now. What should also stay on the periphery: top-ranked Memphis host (7)Tennessee and the hopes are that loading the home schedule with big-name national opponents will garner the best possible bracket in the NCAA Men's Tournament. Also, (6)Georgetown and (19)Connecticut command Big East attention, fifth-ranked UCLA has (17)Stanford and (9)Washington State to worry about and Kansas will test their number 4 ranking with some tough outs [Baylor, at (12)Texas, a rematch with Kansas State and (18)Texas A&M]. Can't forget the ladies, either.

Say What?!?!: Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Florida will feature the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers and the AFC Champion New York Jets. No worries, Jets fans. As you have come to expect, the good fortunes are just a cruel joke. They'll find a way to let Alex Smith throw seven touchdowns in the second half for the red-and-gold's sixth championship.

No comments: