With the NBA closing in on its All-Star Weekend, the Detroit Pistons have yet to lose 10 games, the Dallas Mavericks have found their defense and the tragedy-plagued New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets are among the NBA's playoff-hungry teams. Ron Artest, Ricky Davis, Wally Szczerbiak and Peja Stojakovic are sporting new colors, while LeBron and his Cavaliers look poised to make a playoff run. So with so much to look forward to in the season's second half, we present our midseason analysis of the glorious game of basketball, composed by our sharpest NBA experts.
When Wally Szczerbiak and Ron Artest met on the court Friday night, they were not in Minnesota, nor in Indiana, where until last week the two had been for seven and five years respectively. Instead, the pair met in Boston, where Szczerbiak's new team, the Celtics, hosted Artest's new squad, the Sacramento Kings. Artest and Szczerbiak found new homes last week via trades that could have a significant impact on the second half of the NBA season.
With the Washington Redskins in the NFL Playoffs for the first time since 1999, local football fans have something to celebrate. To those casual fans who like to share the excitement and learn the game, this means a weekend of social stimulation. But to those supporters who take their fandom seriously, Saturday's matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers means ecstasy or depression, love or hate, life or death. All this banter begs the question, what kind of Redskins fan are you? This short quiz will determine exactly where you lie on the spectrum on Washington football fanatics.
No one would have thought it at the end of last season, when Joe Gibbs, fresh from retirement, led the redskins to a disappointing 6-10 finish. No one would have thought it at halftime of game two, when the Skins were scoreless against their Dallas Cowboy rivals. Yet when Sean Taylor returned a fumble 39 yards for a touchdown to secure a victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in the waning minutes of Sunday's must-win game, it became apparent to all: the Washington Redskins were playoff-bound for the first time since 1999.
While much of the attention in the last two weeks of the NFL season will be devoted to the wild-card chase, the playoff push and the march to the Super Bowl, football's weakest teams will be focused on something much more important—a player so dynamic his name triggers highlights of ankle-breaking moves and breath-taking speed: Reggie Bush.
Midway through the 2005 NFL season, the Minnesota Vikings have been the center of a sex scandal, the Indianapolis Colts remain undefeated, and the NFC East is perhaps the strongest division in football. So with our coverage of the NFL sitting on the 50-yard line, we present our midseason power rankings, awards, biggest stories and second-half predictions for an historic year in football.
Washington is not usually considered a hockey town, but one rookie phenom could bring back plenty of fans. He hasn't been labeled "the Next One" or called the future of the National Hockey League (NHL), but Alexander Ovechkin entered the NHL as the number one overall pick two years ago and with high expectations. One of this season's most intriguing subplots will be the battle between Ovechkin and his fellow rookie, 18-year old Sidney Crosby for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year.
Last week, the NBA announced that it would be implementing a league-wide dress code for all players and personnel, effective at the start of the 2005-2006 season, which tips off on Tuesday. The dress code- stressed as "business casual"- states that players should dress in professional attire during all team and league activities and publicity-related events. The dress code forbids the wearing of hats, "do-rags," chains, medallions, jeans, sneakers and jerseys while players are on the team bench, at press conferences or on team trips.
It's only a week until the NBA begins the 2005-2006 basketball season and for the past 6 months teams have been making moves to get the upper hand in their respective divisions. Remember last year? If you've learned one thing, it's to never completely trust any predictions (Everyone scoffed at the thought of the Wizards making the playoffs). If that means taking these picks with a grain of salt, so be it. Still, teams have changed and talent has shifted from division to division. In order to inform and maybe spark some controversy we have compiled an analysis of all 15 Eastern conference teams, their projected record and rank. Enjoy.
The 2005 World Series is set, and this fall baseball will award its championship trophy to either the American League's Chicago White Sox or the National League's Houston Astros. The superb starting pitching of the White Sox propelled them past the Angels in five games, while the clutch hitting of young superstars and seasoned veterans helped the Astros shake off the defending NL champion Cardinals in six. So as the 102nd World Series gets underway on Saturday, we give you our thoughts on the matchup.
Last year marked the emergence of a new era in the Eastern Conference. Teams like the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and Miami Heat rebounded from years of stagnancy with sudden playoff appearances and a promising future ahead of them. As players' contracts expired and organizations looked at the market for new talent, these teams, along with numerous other organizations around the league, shuffled their lineups in preparation for the 05-06 season. Here before you, are the top three offseason transactions in the NBA:
The Chicago White Sox swept the reigning World Series champ Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series last week, meaning baseball will crown a new champion this fall. The White Sox will face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who are coming off an emotional series-ending victory over the Yankees on Sunday. In the National League, the slugging St. Louis Cardinals face off against the Houston Astros, who beat the Atlanta Braves in a series that included the longest postseason game in baseball history, an eighteen-inning marathon. So as we get going in round two, here are my amended predictions:
The Washington Wizards announced last Wednesday they will not match the offer sheet signed by backup point guard Steve Blake, officially making him the newest member of the Portland Trailblazers. Blake becomes the second Wizard to sign with the Blazers this offseason, joining former Maryland backcourt mate Juan Dixon in Portland.
With steroid scandals, violence on and off the field and embarrassing play (sorry, Royals fans), the 2005 Major League Baseball season could have been marred by bad publicity and mediocrity. But the most compelling storyline of the year turned out to be the great division and wild-card races, which came down to the wire in both the American and National Leagues. The teams who did get in are ready to rumble, and we can't wait to see what happens. In honor of the start of baseball's fall classic, we broke down each series by starting pitching, bullpen and hitting and added a final word about our favorites.
This year is a rebuilding year—literally. The National Hockey League (NHL) is building piece by piece to form a profitable enterprise. Nearly a year ago, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners halted the 2004-2005 season before it began by locking the players out. The NHL was losing money under their current collective bargaining agreement, and the owners were paying too much money to the players to make a profit. Bettman locked the NHL's doors and for months the NHL Players' Association and the owners negotiated. Unfortunately, when the two sides finally reached an agreement, it was too late to save the season. But the NHL has returned and this year it will have to prove to their disenchanted fans that hockey is back and worth watching. Not much is certain regarding what this season will bring for the NHL, but it is shaping up to be another rebuilding year from a financial perspective. However, the NHL has taken steps to reclaim its fan base with new rule changes and what promises to be a faster-paced game.
If the first game is any indication, the Patriots look hungry for what would be a record third straight Super Bowl. On Thursday, September 8, the Patriots began the NFL season with a resounding 30-20 win over the Oakland Raiders at Gillette Stadium in Boston. Other than simply putting the Patriots in the win column, this game sent a message to the rest of the league: the Patriots are still the team to beat.
The NFL is in the midst of a transformation, with young, energetic teams like the Cardinals and Lions will beat out aging, traditionally powerhouse teams like the Rams and Packers for playoff spots. The Patriots are the NFL's defending champions for the third time in four years, and the "dynasty" label has been slapped on Tom Brady, Corey Dillon, and the rest of the Patriots. But in spite of the Pats' dominance, the Indianapolis Colts' top-ranked offense and improved defense will finally beat the Patriots in the playoffs, something the team has never done with Peyton Manning at the helm. Here are the rest of our picks for the NFL in 2005.
As he strolled in from the bullpen in the seventh inning of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game Tuesday in Detroit, Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers was showered with boos from baseball fans disgusted by Rogers' actions during an early July incident involving a group of on-field cameramen.
What happened to the great visionaries in sports? Where did you go, Pete Rozelle? What happened to you, Roone Arledge? Where are the daring, farsighted few willing to look past the minutia of the present in order to create something lasting, something special for the future?
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