The Big Story – Xmas Arrives: With the holiday season a time of joy, the focus for the big story is the early success of the Celtics and Bruins. The C’s start this week with the best record in the NBA, on pace to win 65 games. Time will tell if the pace can be maintained, since a tough five-game western swing lies ahead, ending vs. LeBron and the Lakers in the marquee national TV game on Christmas Day. The Bruins are tied with the Rangers for the best record in the East after Saturday’s tough 2-1 OT loss to the New Yawkas. They close the year with a mixed bag of six games, some tough and some easy. As for the other two Boston teams, thank them for great thrills over the first 20 years of the century and leave it at that.
Sports 101: Name the only full-time NFL kicker to be named MVP.
News Item – NBA Scores Going Through the Roof: Something is in the water in the NBA and it’s affecting the scoring. There were six games last Monday night and the lowest total by a winning team was 129 by Denver in a seven-point win over Atlanta. In the others, two had 131, in addition to a 132, 136 and the Sixers crushed Washington 146-101. At the top is Indiana, who won 131-123 over Detroit and are on a 129-points-per-game pace that would be more per game than any team in history.
News Item – Five Christmas Wishes: Five presents under the tree for the New England sports fan.
(1) Coach B steps down and the Patriots get the next hotshot GM from the SF or Philly organizations to shop for the groceries.
(2) John Henry sells the Red Sox. Thanks for the memories but he no longer has the fire that’s needed in the owner’s box to win big.
(3) The Celtics (somehow) find a big under the tree to give them needed depth up front.
(4) Seats with cushions and more leg room in the stands at Fenway.
(5) Trip to the Finals for the Celtics. Not wishing for a championship, because I want to see them earn that on their own.
12 – all-time Saint Anselm record for 3-balls made in game as Josh Morrisette went for a career-high 44 points in an 84-77 over Franklin Pierce.
18 & 23 – team record losing streaks for the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistonsrespectively. The Spurs’ streak ended on Friday with a win over the Lakers, but Detroit’s rolled on with Sunday’s 146-104 blowout to Milwaukee.
64 – points scored with no box score-inflating 3-balls by Giannis Antetokounmpo, by going 20-28 from the field and making 24 of his astonishing 32 free throws to go along with 14 rebounds in Friday’s 140-126 win over Indiana.
A Little History – Giannis’ 32 Foul Shots: In case you’re interested, Wilt Chamberlain also had 32 foul shots that day in March 1962 when he went for 100 points vs. the Knicks, making 28. Dwight Howard holds the record for most FT’s in a game (twice) when he only made 25 and 21.
… Of the Week Awards
Biggest Joke: Warriors Coach Steve Kerr saying they want to “help” Draymond Green rather than “punish” him after his latest cheap shot got him suspended. Are you kidding me? If anyone needs to be sent to his room without supper it’s this dirtbag. You’re enabling him with that nonsense.
Late Xmas Present: Even though it was done in the early 1990’s, if you’re stuck for a present for a real baseball history fan it’s hard to find a better one than a boxed set of the baseball documentary from Ken Burns that originally aired on PBS.
When did playing back-to-back games in the NBA become the equivalent of scaling Mt. Everest in a Speedo and wearing flip-flops?
Earth to Adam Silver: Enough is enough with Draymond Green. Suspend that blight on your game for the rest of the year.
Sports 101 Answer: Paul Hornung (1961) and George Blanda (1970) were kicker MVPs, but it was also for a combo of duties as a running back and off the bench backup QB/savior for Green Bay and Oakland respectively. The Redskins’ Mark Moseley was just a kicker when he somehow was MVP during the strike-shortened nine-game 1982 season.
Happy holidays to one and all.
Email Dave Long at email@example.com.