Pelicans Are Going to the Playoffs

The New Orleans took on the Los Angeles Clippers in the final play-in tournament game. Clippers would need to win without their two stars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Pelicans showed a lot of heart and toughness in last night’s contest.

The Pelicans led by 10 at halftime but that quickly turned the Clippers’ way as they used a 34-6 run over the final minute of the second quarter and into the third quarter to swing momentum their way. Clippers missing free throws down the stretch hurt them big time. Pelicans would beat the Clippers 105-101.

New Orleans advances from the play-in tournament as the No. 8 seed to face the top-seeded Phoenix Suns. Their first-round series begins Sunday night.

The Pelicans become just the fourth team in NBA history to start a season 1-12 or worse and make the playoffs.

Brandon Ingram played his tail off. He caught fire in the first quarter. He finished with a game-high 30 points. Ingram was locked in and showed up when it mattered most. Larry Nance Jr, who came off the bench with 14 points and 16 rebounds, played outstanding and loved his energy.

Sports Throwback Thursday: Derrick Rose’s Playoff Debut

Today’s Sports Throwback Thursday belongs to Derrick Rose and his impressive playoff debut against the Boston Celtics.

In Game 1, Chicago Bulls took on the defending champions the Boston Celtics in one of the best playoff series in NBA history. It all started with Derrick Rose’s amazing performance. The 20-year old rookie looked fearless. Rose dropped 36 points to lead the Bulls to victory on the road.

Before the injuries, Derrick Rose emerged as one of the most athletic players at the point guard position. I miss seeing that Derrick Rose. Knee injuries ruined a great career, but he’s still productive coming off the bench.

Sunday Sports Shorts

by Miguel Mike Medina

Welcome to Sunday Sports Shorts! A recap of this weekend’s Opening Day Weekend and other stories in the NBA, NFL, and NHL.

Four people were injured in a shooting Saturday night near Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., less than an hour after the conclusion of the baseball game against the New York Mets. The injured were all located on different sides of the ballpark.

St Louis Cardinals’ third baseman Nolan Arenado had a spectacular game against the Pirates, tallying four hits and roping three doubles, giving him three RBIs. Cardinals won 6-2.

The 21-year old prospect from the Dominican Republic, Julio Rodriguez, collected his first MLB hit yesterday against the Minnesota Twins. It’s the first of many hits from the young phenom. Mariners won 4-3, and the victory marked the Mariners’ second 2-0 start in franchise history. The last time this happened was in 1996.

Sixers’ big man Joel Embiid erupted with a double-double on Saturday night. He finished the game with 41 points and 20 rebounds in a 133-120 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Embiid has had 41 points or more in three of his last four games.

It’s a sad weekend for the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, and Dwayne Haskins’s family and friends. Dwayne Haskins, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and 2018 Heisman Trophy finalist at Ohio State, was struck and killed by a dump truck Saturday morning while trying to cross a highway on foot in South Florida, police said. Haskins, who re-signed with the Steelers last month, was 24. I hate hearing news like this. It wasn’t his time, and I wanted to see him thrive in Pittsburgh. It’s unfortunate for someone so young to be taken away so suddenly.

Colorado Avalanche took on the Edmonton Oilers. Nathan MacKinnon scored the only goal in the shootout after scoring the game-tying goal in the third period for the Avalanche, who won their sixth in a row and 52nd game of the season, tying a franchise record for the most wins set in 2000-01 and 2013-14.

Is It a Fair Punishment for Will Smith?

By Miguel Mike Medina

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned Will Smith for ten years. He will not be allowed to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually.

I think it’s a fair punishment for Will Smith. He crossed the line, and now he’s facing the repercussions. However, others took to Twitter to complain about the punishment. It’s unbelievable how people are quick to jump to conclusions that it is racially motivated. Why is everything have to be about racism? If you misbehave, you will have to deal with the consequences no matter your skin color. I wouldn’t be surprised if people will start boycotting the Oscars once again.

Understandably, guys like Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein, Casey Affleck, the list goes on that didn’t pay the price that Will had to pay from the Oscars. Hell, some of these guys are still celebrated. The difference is that these guys misbehaved offstage, Will Smith physically assaulted another man on LIVE WORLDWIDE TELEVISION. It’s not a good look. Because of the slap, many projects that Will Smith was attached to are put on hold. That’s a horrible situation for any artist to go through because no one wants to work with you at the moment. Will brought this on himself. Let’s stop all of this nonsense. We can’t defend lousy behavior. Everyone knows how Chris Rock is. If you can’t handle a joke, don’t show up to the venue. This is why Comedy has gotten so corny over the years. Everything is pc.

I hope Will gets the help he needs. It’s never too late for redemption. I hope he takes this moment to get his act together and find some peace in his life. He and Jada are not the “oh my god” couple everyone once admired. At one point in time, they used to be my favorite couple. We want to see him move on and take ownership of his life.

Will Tyler Herro Win Sixth Man of the Year?

The Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro has the best season of his career so far. Herro is one of the big reasons the Miami Heat secured the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Will Tyler Herro secure the Sixth Man of the Year award?

The answer is yes. Herro should win that award. The 22-year old guard is putting up staggering numbers and proving to everyone that his performance in the bubble wasn’t a fluke. Herro received some criticism because he didn’t play too well last season. Overall, the Miami Heat team wasn’t too well last year. They got swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.

On Tuesday, Herro scored a career-high 35 points on 11-of-18 shooting against the Charlotte Hornets. This game solidified Tyler Herro’s case for winning the Sixth Man of the Year award in my mind. I hope he wins the award. I’ve been satisfied with his production this season.

***I am not the owner of the image

The Cleveland Cavaliers Can’t Catch a Break

Injuries are part of the game. We don’t like seeing good players do down. Injuries have cost teams the chances of advancing to the next round or winning it all. No one expected the Cleveland Cavaliers to have that kind of season. It’s the most exciting Cavaliers team since the Lebron James era. However, lately, things haven’t been going their way. The Cleveland Cavaliers can’t catch a break.

Center Jarrett Allen recently suffered a fractured finger; forward Dean Wade is out for the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus. The Cavaliers have gone 4-6 in their last ten meetings. Both Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen are also dealing with scary-looking injuries.

Mobley has been a force for the Cavs this year, as he has averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game in 66 contests. Cleveland fans can only hope that Mobley’s ankle injury won’t keep him sidelined for an extended period. Mobley is a phenomenal talent, and we must see how he will perform in the postseason. Seeing good young players perform in their first year in the postseason excites me.

How will these injuries affect their chances when playoff time comes?

Cavaliers need these young guys to be at full strength in the first round if they go up against teams like someone they would love to compete with – Brooklyn Nets. Cavaliers are currently sitting at the 7th spot for the play-in tournament. The Brooklyn Nets are on the 8th seed, which no one saw this coming. However, they are the dangerous 8th seed in the NBA. Nets are another team who have dealt with injuries. Ben Simmons has not played a game this season yet. How exciting would it be to see the Cavaliers and the Nets at FULL STRENGTH in a first-round matchup?

On paper, the Nets are the better team. But let me remind everyone something. When April comes, anything can happen. Guys like Jarrett Allen and Caris Levert are playing with a chip on their shoulders. They would like to have this dance with the Nets. Allen and LeVert have demonstrated to the Nets this season that they never needed Harden in the first place. Levert and Allen are laughing their butts off at the Nets front office. Cleveland also would put its young backcourt, All-Star Darius Garland, and potential Rookie of the Year Evan Mobley on a national stage against Irving — who hit one of the biggest shots in NBA history to help the Cavaliers win the 2016 championship.

Aside from the Brooklyn Nets, the Cavaliers need to set their eyes on the Philadelphia Sixers. Recently, the Cavaliers took on the Sixers. The Cavaliers played a hard-fought game against a team led by star player Joel Embiid and his counterpart James Harden. Cavaliers lost the game, 112-108, but the effort and mental toughness stood out the most. However, Sixers constantly going to the free-throw line hurt the Cavaliers big time in this game. The Sixers took 11 more free throws than the Cavs, with Philadelphia’s James Harden and Joel Embiid combining for 28 points at the line on 32 attempts. If the Cavaliers can avoid foul trouble and play tenacious defense, they can give Philadelphia Sixers a scare if they can get out of the play-in tournament and advance.

Jarrett Allen nor Evan Mobley suits up against the Philadelphia 76ers. They are 3-7 in games Mobley has missed. Following Sunday’s matchup versus Philadelphia, the Cavs will play their final two road games — Orlando and Brooklyn — before coming home for next Sunday’s finale.

***I am not the owner of the image

Sunday Sports Shorts

Happy Sunday! I hope every one of you had a terrific Saturday. It was a gorgeous day in New York City, but I stayed home. Why? Too many good events in one day. Two Final Four games and Wrestlemania 38.

The first Final Four game was Villanova vs. Kansas. The Jayhawks had an explosive showing from the 3-point line, shooting 13-of-24, making seven in the first half. Ochai Agbaji went 6-for-7 from deep, finishing with 21 points. David McCormack posted a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds. Jayhawks completed their revenge against the Wildcats after blowing out the Jayhawks in the 2018 Final Four.

North Carolina and Duke are one of the greatest rivalries in sports history. It’s still surreal that it’s the first time both teams meet at the Final Four. The game lived up to my expectations. No blowout. A very hard-fought game between both teams. In the end, the Tar Heels prevailed. They are going to the National Championship game. Coach K is one of the best to do it. We will forever be indebted to him and his success and memories. Head Coach Hubert Davis answered the bell. Roy Williams and Dean Smith are/would be proud of him. Coach Davis teared up after the game. During the interview, he talked about how proud he was of his team and its perseverance, toughness, and resiliency. Hubert Davis is now one win from becoming the first coach to win the NCAA championship in his first full year at the helm. Steve Fisher went 6-0 as an interim at Michigan in 1989.

Let’s talk a bit about Wrestlemania 38: Part 1. It’s the first time there’s a two-part Wrestlemania. I’m not too fond of it. It’s a silly idea, but it’s still Wrestlemania. Kevin Owens vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a No Holds Barred match was the main event of last night’s Wrestlemania. Austin hasn’t performed since Wrestlemania 19 in 2003. Austin entered and received one of the loudest pops you will ever hear after Owens continued to talk smack about him and Texas on The KO Show. Austin and Owens brawled in and around the ring before heading through the crowd, taking advantage of the lack of rules and a physically limited Austin. The final payoff was good, with Austin putting Owens down for good with a surprise before celebrating what is likely his “last” match ever in front of his fellow Texans.

Atlanta Braves: Ready to Defend the Belt

Atlanta Braves are trying to do something they haven’t done since the 1996 campaign: defending the title. The Braves brought back almost everyone for the new season. Losing Freddie Freeman was tough, but they gained something back.

The braves signed Matt Olsen to replace Freddie Freeman. It’s a good signing because he’s five years younger and has emerged into one of the best first basemen. Atlanta Braves have a YouTube channel like every team does nowadays. I saw the first episode of Season Two. Braves have togetherness and chemistry that not everyone could have imagined. Dansby Swanson could have a big year for the Braves. His preparation and willingness to get better are incredible. Swanson is putting time and effort into the batting cages. I loved that he said that the team got back into serious business after the parade. Braves want to reach the Fall Classic again.

Ozzie Albies and Ron Washington are the perfect player-coach combo. They work so well together. Washington, former Texas Rangers manager, is a big part of why Albies keeps getting better defensively. Albies and Washington do extensive drills and infield practice at an elite level. One thing that made me happy about their championship run is that Ron Washington got a ring. He suffered back-to-back World Series losses in 2010 and 2011. Everything came to full circle when the Braves won it all. You can’t achieve success without failure.

Let’s go back to Matt Olson. During the first episode of Season Two, we saw the behind-the-scenes when he first entered the clubhouse. Right away, the Braves made him feel welcomed. Olson was taking everything in because now he’s playing for a championship team, and he thinks he landed in the right situation. Olson loves how the players are working hard and communicating with each other.

Team chemistry is vital to team sports. Before they can go all the way, they first have to win the NL East division. Phillies and Mets got better. Braves will need to answer firmly to the challenges.

Miguel’s Friday Thoughts

The 2022 Academy Awards will forever go down as one of the worst awards of all time with the headline called “The Slap Heard Round the World.”

I’ve been very distasteful with award shows for the last few years because I’m extremely tired of this “woke” era. Everything is so sensitive, so political, lots of whining and complaining. Hollywood projects are becoming more mediocre. But something kept telling me to watch this yea’s Academy Awards.

The ceremony host was Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes, and Amy Schumer. I rather have Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as hosts or even Kevin Hart. Oh yeah, that’s right, Kevin Hart didn’t get a chance to host because of old gay joke tweets. Anyways, I wasn’t feeling the hosts of the show. This trio seemed like they were put together for whatever reasons, but the chemistry wasn’t right and wasn’t funny. It wasn’t a good match.

Will Smith became the focal point of the show. He physically assaulted Chris Rock by slapping him after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett’s bald head. Will Smith laughed at the joke, but it seemed as if he decided to take action when he saw Jada’s face or she gave him the order. Jada didn’t look too pleased with the joke. Will conducted himself like a rookie who just got into the business and couldn’t handle a joke. What an embarrassment to the industry and himself. The slap will be attached to him for the rest of his career. Are we expected to believe that he’s a tough guy suddenly? Where was this energy with August, also known as the guy sleeping with Jada Pinkett? If this were a regular person, an arrest would’ve happened, and escorted out of the building. But because Will Smith is privileged and one of the most powerful actors in Hollywood, the Academy did nothing. He still received his Oscar, and his speech made me cringe. The Academy handled this very poorly. Academy is now saying that they told Will to leave the building, but he refused not to do so. I don’t believe this story because this is the Academy trying to cover their ass.

We feel bad for Chris Rock. He didn’t deserve that. Chris should’ve not apologized to Will Smith; Will apologized the following day, but it took for people to criticize him for doing it. It would’ve looked better if he did that when he got up on stage to accept his award. They would’ve reacted differently to the slap if it were anyone else. Chris Rock kept it true professional, and he kept going with his routine. Will Smith would’ve not done that if it were Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or 50 Cent telling that joke. He would’ve stayed seated and cried. Let me remind you that Will Smith and Chris Rock were in one episode together in the hit classic show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” I can’t view that episode the same way after Sunday night.

Will Smith doesn’t deserve to be back at the Academy Awards next year. We are seeing a public figure who seems broken mentally and physically. He’s an Alpha in his career, but not in his marriage. He needs to do some deep soul searching, go to therapy and try to develop some thick skin because he’s allowed Jada to do anything she wants with him. We are all seeing this in front of our eyes.

“Love makes you do crazy things.” WRONG! Stupidity makes you do crazy things.