The always-stylish Ali Larter was once again working her mojo while out & about running errands yesterday afternoon. The 38-year-old Hollywood mommy was spotted feeding a parking meter with her credit card before running off to do her biz.
2014 might be a very fruitful year for Ali if her upcoming TNT series ‘Legends‘ takes off. The series was picked up last year for 10 episodes and will premiere sometime this summer. Ali scored the series female lead alongside actor Sean Bean, so let’s hope all goes well. If you think she’s dressing well right now, wait until she gets a lot of TV-money flowing into her fashionista coffers.
Coming into the season, NBA circles were wondering if fans would see a repeat of last year’s Finals. San Antonio was a bigger question because of their age, but like they do every season, the Spurs are once again contending for a top spot in the conference and continue to be in the circle of title contenders. When will people learn that there’s no reason to write off the Spurs? Even as they’ve been dealing with injuries throughout the season, San Antonio continues to play their style of basketball and continues to win lots of games. Last night’s victory over the Heat proves that despite whatever the Spurs are going though, they will contend for the top seed in the western conference and be a favorite to be the last team standing in June. Tim Duncan was great (23 pts, 11 reb) as he continues to defy all aging logic but the biggest reason for the Spurs end-to-end victory was their fast start. If a team with strong fundamentals and great coaching gets off to the 15-point first quarter lead, there’s not a lot that the opponent can do to recover. It also helped that Kawhi Leonard was very effective in defending LeBron last night, holding the red-hot reigning MVP to 6-18 shooting from the field. James tried to put some of their fault on the jerseys they were wearing but i’m not buying it. Every player on the court was wearing them and every player had to make adjustments to their shooting technique. My personal opinion is not in favor of the jerseys but the old “when life gives you lemons…” phrase comes into play when I hear complaints about them from players.
In other news last night: the Lakers are a really bad team. Quick shout out to Kendall Marshall because without his 3-pointer late in the game, the Lakers would have suffered their first 50-point loss in franchise history. Despite that last minute effort, the purple & gold still managed to make history after losing by a total of 48 points. That’s the new record and that’s also the new standard of Lakers’ basketball. Did I mention that last night’s loss came to their cross-town rival Clippers? Last night’s big win by the Clippers over the Lakers pretty much sums up what these two teams have been going through this season. The Clippers and more specifically Blake Griffin continue to impress, battling in a western conference that gets tighter and tighter as the weeks go by. I know the Rockets have a better record than the Clips as of today but right now, i’m taking the Clippers as the team to break up a Thunder-Spurs clash for the conference title. Speaking of the Thunder, Durant and Westbrook both had great games last night in Phoenix. Quick tangent: why didn’t TNT flex away from the battle in LA and show this game instead? Anyways, the Suns had a better team effort as they took the victory 128-122 in a nice, high scoring game. Things are led by Gordon Dragic, who continues to be the breakout star of this season, but the rest of the Suns squad has been just as impressive. Phoenix is very fun to watch and could make some serious noise come playoff time.
Lots of good games tonight and lots of good games this weekend. ESPN’s double slate should be solid tonight with Memphis at Chicago plus Indiana at Houston. The action slows down a bit on Saturday but Sunday has plenty of action to ignore whatever things you’re supposed to get done. ABC’s showcase Sunday might be a bit lopsided but there are other games to watch. Sunday’s night action could feature three of the best games we’ll see all season with: Blazers at Rockets, Pacers at Mavericks and Suns at Warriors. A great slate and a great way to end the weekend.
The headlines are going to feature LeBron James and his mask, wearing it after suffering a broken nose last week against the Thunder. Yes, the mask looks plenty cool and the various nicknames trending around Twitter were fun, but that wasn’t the best story line in the NBA last night. It’s a shame that NBA TV can’t just cut away from their regular programming when there’s something like a triple overtime game going on. That’s what we were getting last night when the Wizards were visiting the Toronto Raptors last night. But no, let’s keep watching re-runs of a “classic game” from 40 years ago. I understand that it’s more complicated than that but can’t TV executives just make a judgement call there? Anyways, once I knew the game was heading into double overtime, I went online and found a way to “legally” watch the game on my computer instead. One thing really stuck out at me from the Wiazards-Raptors triple overtime marathon: John Wall can bring it on any single night when the game is on the line, he brings his best and makes his teammates better. Wall and Marcin Gortat (combining for 62 pts, 15 reb and 10 ast) led the way for Washington as they outlasted Toronto to take a triple overtime victory on the road. Gortat was signed during the off season and may wondered whether or not he was going to be a solid addition. The Wizards big man has been inconsistent at times but last night proves that he can certainly be a significant part of the this team. For the Raptors is was more about losing personnel as the game went on. As the game gets longer and longer, there’s a bigger chance of teammates fouling out and depleting your chances of playing at full capacity. Still, DeMar DeRozen (34 pts, 4 reb, 6 ast) and the rest of Toronto should hold their heads up because last night was a battle. Who knows, we might see these two teams square off in a playoff series and have ourselves a sequel of sorts.
Now we can go ahead and focus LeBron (or LeBane, LeBat etc.) and how the Heat took care of the Knicks at home pretty handily. If I had to describe the Heat’s performance last night it would be: effective. I mean, the team combined to shoot just over 60% from the field. James (31 pts) and Wade (23 pts) themselves alone were 23 of 32 from the field as they led Miami to a 108-82 victory, their 9th in the last 10 games. Carmelo Anthony, who scored 29 points, and Tyson Chandler (19 pts, 16 reb) were the lone bright spots for New York last night, as their dark season continues to unfold without a real ending in sight. Melo’s scoring in the 2nd quarter kept the Knicks in the game but once the 3rd quarter was over, Miami stepped up their defense and took the game out of reach. It’s clear that Miami is on a different level and as the season has progressed, is forming into the favorite once again. Questions still remain on defense but right now, the Heat are playing some of their best basketball of the season. Other games around the NBA included a surprisingly close game between the Bucks on the road in Indiana. The Pacers did well to close the game out but may be without George Hill for a couple of games, after suffering a shoulder injury. He’s listed as day-to-day right now but we’ll have to see how much the Pacers are affected by it. The late night match up on TNT had the Nets visiting Denver, two teams that are very much underachieving this season. What in the world was Denver doing last night? The Nuggets should be embarrassed after only managing to score 9 (yes, NINE) points in the first quarter. Let’s remember that Brooklyn hasn’t exactly been known for their “lock-down” defense at any point this season. Shout out to Reggie Miller (part of the announcing crew) who did a good job to call out Nuggets coach Brian Shaw during their pathetic first half performance. The Nets took care of business and went on to rout Denver and we even saw Jason Collins get some playing time, notching 3 points.
In case you aren’t tired of LeBron yet, here’s a funny bit with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show:
There’s not a single doubt in my mind that some sort of selfishness will come off as I choose to make a post about the NBA the day after Dirk hits a game-winning shot. Let’s add that to the fact that it was a “lucky” shooters bounce and that it happened over Moe’s Knicks. At least, if Moe is still a fan of a Knicks team that continues to baffle their fans and any other neutral observer. How does a team with one of the best forwards in the league manage to be five games behind the 8th seed in a terrible eastern conference? Carmelo Anthony’s best efforts (44 pts, 9 reb) weren’t enough to lift the Knicks past the Mavericks, who took the victory with a buzzer-beater. Dirk’s game-winning shot was unorthodox but like Dallas seems to have all season, the bounce just went in their favor. And to anyone wondering: no, Dirk’s shot was not pure luck. When the shot went in and I finally stopped celebrating, my thoughts immediately went to a similar shot he made against the Bucks a few years ago. It’s a shooter’s bounce, plain and simple. There is some luck involved but like Durant, Stephen Curry, Dirk and any other great shooter in the league can attest to, the technique and touch are what creates the odds in their favor. While #41 was the hero for Dallas, what’s being overlooked is how well the supporting cast was for the Mavericks. Particularly the back court of the Mavs (Ellis, Calderon and Carter) who combined for 65 points and pretty much matched the Knicks’ barrage of 3-pointers. The somewhat cast-off squad of Dallas continues to battle for a playoff spot in a tough western conference while the Knicks try to avoid an implosion that’s too significant to recover from.
It wasn’t a particularly busy night in the NBA (only five games) but one thing that stood out to me when scanning the scores last night was the Bucks’ trashing of the 76ers in Philadelphia. How does the worst team in the league go into another team’s building and handle business so effectively? Especially a team that has been as horrible as Milwaukee has been all season. To the Bucks’ credit, the Sixers are the second worst team in the league record-wise but it’s still worth a look. Philly hasn’t been shy about their tanking efforts this season and with a ten-game losing streak in their hand, the tanking hats were fitted nice a tight last night. The result was a dominant win by Milwaukee, at one point leading by 29 points. If that doesn’t indicate how bad the game was, maybe this picture of a court-side fan sleeping from the 3rd quarter will do the trick. When’s the last time we saw something like that? It’s always been a dream of mine to sit court side at an NBA game but this guy must be so used to the seats or the basketball was so bad that a nice nap was inevitable. I fully understand why a team would tank because if you’re going to be bad, one might as well be really bad. That’s the life of an NBA team that doesn’t attract a major superstar to their team. Get some nice picks in the draft, hope their gems in at least one way and add the pieces from there. But at a certain point, how much does the product get compromised? People pay some hard earned money to go and watch pro basketball in person. How much obligation does a team have to put their best possible product out there all while knowing that this season is a sacrifice/investment for the future? It’s a debate that can go on forever but if there’s a fan sleeping right in front of a game, then we might have gone too far with “tanking” or whatever one will call it.