We interrupt your regularly scheduled sports reading to remind you that in the sporting world, no matter how much some things change, they always stay the same. The past weekend was proof of that axiom, or whatever you want to call it.
The biggest example of how certain trends always seem to follow the same suit was in Boston, where the New York Knicks fell to the Boston Celtics yet again, 115-111. Boston beat New York for the 11th consecutive time at home, and sixth in its past seven meetings. Despite some fourth-quarter heroics by Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce threw a major dart at New York again when it counted most, nailing a key three-pointer with just under five seconds remaining to send the game into overtime, where Ray Allen’s five-point burst that included a three-pointer and a layup put the game away for good.
Pierce has long been a Knicks-killer, and yesterday, he conjured up memories of Larry Bird ripping their hearts out when it counted every time. While New Englanders must face the facts that the Giants own the Patriots, they can bask in the knowledge that the Celtics will always own the Knicks, until further notice.
In New York Mets spring training, optimism surrounded the breaking of camp, and the team talked about exceeding expectations as pitchers and catchers reported. Yet over the weekend, news broke that two key players for the 2012 season had suffered health setbacks. Ike Davis, the promising young first baseman, was diagnosed with Valley Fever. David Wright, the face of a downtrodden franchise, yet one who toils away admirably, has a rib problem that will at least cause him to miss the start of exhibition play, and his return date is uncertain, although he said he would play if it were the regular season. Still, with the Mets, a Jets-like doom and gloom mentality has enveloped the fan base in recent years, and any news seems to be bad news, and maybe worse than it actually appears.
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The New York Yankees saw Alex Rodriguez homer off Roy Halladay in their Grapefruit League victory over the Phillies. Even though it’s early in the spring, such a bomb should signal that A-Rod is still very much a superstar when healthy, even if not quite to the lofty levels as in the past.
Chris Johnson tweeted that he is going to lead the NFL in rushing. An offseason boast from Johnson is nothing new, either. He does not pound his chest nearly as much as Rex Ryan, but it has not gone unnoticed. Word of advice, this year, Chris. Try running with more authority and stop hesitating as much as you did last year. Just get back to most of what you were, and that’s enough.
In NASCAR, Kasey Kahne smacked the wall early in the race and finished 34th. All week long, I had heard this guy was the favorite, and he messed up yet again. Outside of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kahne may easily be the most overrated and overhyped regular on the Sprint Cup circuit. Now Hendrick Motorsports is home to both Earnhardt and Kahne, and Jeff Gordon, who is clearly not a true championship contender anymore. Jimmie Johnson is definitely their only hope. He did rebound nicely after his Daytona fiasco.
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But Johnson will always be near or at the top, it seems. That isn’t likely to change any time soon. But heck, if you want to control your own destiny, keep playing Fantasy Sports. It certainly sometimes takes the pain out of being a spectator.