Maccabees Games

A look at the New York sports scene and the sporting world at large.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Last Second Heroics

I guess three times is the charm. After three heart-breaking last second one point losses, the Nets bounce back with a win against Denver and a last second win of their own against Utah.

It irks me that the Nets who have a ton of talent, are always on the brink of oblivion. Yes, they have injuries. Yes, Coach Lawrence Frank often mishandles the team. Yes, they do not have a premier center. Yes, they do not have a ferocious power forward. Yes, many times they do not play defense.

But Jason Kidd and Vince Carter have at times been outstanding. Mikki Moore has been a terrific replacement for Krstic. Adams and Nachbar give the team great boosts of energy. Clifford Robinson can still play defense.

Moreover, Williams and Boone have shown sparks of development. Even Wright and House helped out last night.

A few moves down the line with an eventual return of a healthy Jefferson and Krstic hopefully will bode well for the future.

In following the Nets all these years I cannot remember a last second win like this one.

Good times to come? I hope so.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Hockey, Boredom and Nostalgia

With all three hockey teams playing at a level of mediocrity, I reminisced about times gone by when a hockey game was played at an entirely different level.

Below for your perusal is a five minute video from a game which took place in the 1980’s in Czechoslovakia between Canada and the USSR.

What talent! What skill! Ah the good old days.

Craziest Hockey Fight

Although this is an old video, this is crazy! EVERYONE's fighting! WOW!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Discipline and Disappointment

The Jets and Giants were both eliminated from the playoffs today. At first glance, looking at the scoreboard, it seems that the Jets, losing 37-16, were blown out while the Giants, falling 23-20, were in it to the last second.

In reality, the Giants were never in their game while the Jets had a chance through the fourth quarter.

Now how could this be, you say? The Giants came back in the game from a first and thirty with a touch down pass to Plaxico Burress. The Jets, on the other hand, let Tom Brady drive down the field in the fourth quarter and score a touchdown while Chad Pennington threw for an interception which gave the Patriots a three touchdown lead.

Yet there were major differences between the Jets’ and Giants’ losses.

The Patriots dominated the Jets through the first half on the field but not on the scoreboard. On offense the Pats, with their quick huddle, were able to avoid most of the Jet blitz attack. On the defensive side the Pats, on occasion, tore into the offensive line, stopped any run attack and hampered Pennington’s passing.

For the entire game the Jets were only 3-11 on third down conversions, while the Pats were 11-16. Despite some good things such as Leon Washington’s 50 yards on 11 carries, Cotchery’s 100 yards and 25 yards per reception average, the Jets total running yardage was only 70 yards.

The Jets lost this game because the Patriots are much better and have more experience both on the field and on the sidelines. Both teams were prepared well but the Pats had more talent and understood how to defeat the Jets defensive scheme.

Yet the Jets played with intensity equal to that of the Patriots. They showed themselves and their fans that in their hearts and their minds they were on equal footing with the more experienced and talented Pats.

Now some may say that Pennington threw a bad lateral and an interception which resulted in scores for the Pats. Moreover, the interference penalty to Poteat also led to a score. Worse yet, the Jets made 3 trips to the red zone, twice within the five yard line and came away without touchdowns.

But that’s the point! The Jets came this far without a running game and a weak secondary.

Dyson had to be pulled out because of injury which left only Rhodes as a dependable member of the secondary.

The Jets couldn’t score in the red zone because there was no real option to run the ball as an alternative to any passing play.

The Jets deserve kudos for this season. They played with discipline. They played smart.
They were disappointed with this loss because they expected to advance. That is the sign of a winning future.

Not so the Giants.

The Giants took nine penalties, three straight in the fourth quarter. They showed no discipline. When the Eagles’ Runyan pushed Cofield and Madison, Cofield’s retaliation negated two possible penalties on the Eagles.

The Giants were 6-15 on third conversions. But that’s not what killed them. Starting at midfield three times in the first quarter and coming away with no scores certainly did. Eli Manning’s usual lackadaisical performance certainly did. The assortment of missed tackles on Westbrook certainly did. The overall poor defense especially from the second quarter on and in particular on the last drive by the Eagles certainly did. And the lousy coaching by Coughlin and his ‘new’ offensive and ‘old’ defensive coordinators certainly killed this squad.

But what’s worse is the ridiculous attitude by all concerned in that everybody tried hard and did a good job; they just were outplayed somewhat and if they played a little bit better next time all will be well.

Coughlin’s focus, during the post game interviews, on the good things in this game is just a crock to save his job.

Where was the discipline? Where was the disappointment in themselves? Where was their focus throughout this game and throughout this season?

Two teams lost today. One was blown out and one was in it until almost the very end. But it didn’t show up that way in reality; only on the scoreboard.

The Jets have a lot to look forward to; the Giants, however, do not.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Nothing but Nets? No, Nothing Doing with the Nets.

The Nets in dealing Jeff McInnis for Bernard Robinson to the Bobcats is much ado about nothing.

Truthfully McInnis did not get along with Lawrence Frank and did not play well coming off the bench in the early part of last year. So essentially, the Nets got something for nothing.

But if the truth be also told, Lawrence Frank lost this team last year and has been going downhill ever since he was hired in the 2004-2005 season. But is it more Frank, or more the players?

When Frank took over for Byron Scott the Nets were playing up to a level of mediocrity.
They then reeled off 14 straight victories, 13 to start Frank’s career. They were fundamentally playing better basketball.

But after losing in the second round against the Pistons, they started off the 2005-2006 season rather poorly, lazily playing poor defense and losing to the Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

This year they have again started off the season poorly.

Now a case can be made that during this period, there had been injuries to Kidd, Jefferson, Mourning and now Kristic. Moreover, a replacement for Kenyon Martin has never been truly addressed; though a case can be made that the Nets had room for Carter once Martin was gone.

But the sad truth is that the Nets are too full of themselves to give a proper defensive effort or to play hard for forty-eight minutes, much less a game that goes into overtime.

Does the fault lie with Frank or with his players?

It probably lies with both.

So what is one to do?

It’s always easier to fire the coach then to go out and acquire new players. However, I’m afraid neither action will truly rectify the situation. I’m afraid the Nets will not be competing for a championship anytime soon.