Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jason Kidd: Triple-Double #100 and A Spice of Drama

April 16, 2008.

American Airlines Center. Dallas, Texas.

New Orleans Hornets versus Dallas Mavericks.

With playoff positioning on the line during the last day of the regular season (If the Dallas Mavericks lost to New Orleans Hornets that evening, they would be relegated to the eighth seed and have to face the very hot Los Angeles Lakers (#1 seed) instead of the Hornets (#2 seed)), the Mavericks goal was to win and secure the 7th seed.

And they did and more.

The more being Jason Kidd’s 100th triple-double.

In just under 37 minutes of play, Kidd was 5-8 from long distance and finished with 27 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

In all honesty, I didn’t think J-Kidd would be able to record his career-high 13th triple-double of the season following the mid-season trade that brought him to the Dallas Mavericks.

Among other things, Jason had to reacclimatize himself to the Dallas weather, familiarize himself with his new teammates, and internalize Head Coach Avery Johnson’s offensive and defensive schemes.

Plus, it seemed as if J-Kidd’s numbers somewhat dipped (which was expected following the trade)—he was rebounding less (more solid “bigs” to gobble up those rebounds) but the points and assists were still there.

So it was a matter time—with a lot of drama to boot—it came down to the last day of the regular season in what was arguably their biggest game of the season.

And it almost didn’t happen.

Kidd said that he didn’t expect to get it because he was just concentrating on staying in front of MVP candidate Chris Paul.

Mavericks’ teammate Jason Terry added that they were trying to help J-Kidd get triple-double #100 during their last two outings (prior to the New Orleans match up) but came up short.

Now here it is—triple-double #100. A feat that puts Kidd in the same category as Oscar “The Big O” Robertson (181) and Earvin “Magic” Johnson (138)—the only other players to record over 100 triple-doubles in their respective careers.

Kidd, is of course, already third all-time in this category.

But you knew that already.


• Jason Kidd recorded his thirteenth triple-double of the season, a feat that serves as his career high (his previous high was twelve that he set last season) as well as the total number of triple-doubles he amassed during his first stint (a little over two and a half seasons) with the Dallas Mavericks.

• Jason Kidd is only the third player to accumulate 100 triple-doubles after Robertson (181) and Johnson (138).

• With 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists in their 104-92 Game One loss to the New Orleans Hornets the other day, Jason Kidd missed out on what could have been his 12th post-season triple-double. Currently Kidd is sandwiched between Hall of Famer’s Earvin “Magic” Johnson (30) and Larry Joe Bird (10) for 2nd place in NBA Playoff triple-doubles with 11.

Now playing: Ray J - Sexy Can I (Featuring Yung Berg)
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, April 17, 2008

UFC Fight Night 13: One to remember…One for the books...

April 17, 2008.

It’s about six in the morning and I turn on the tube to the Balls channel over Sky Cable.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was on. And anything and everything that is UFC is good in my book as that is pretty much all I can watch these days with the exodus of the Solar Sports network (that carries most (if not all) of the NBA and WWE telecasts).

A replay of the recently concluded UFC Fight Night 13 that happened last April 2, 2008 at the Broomfield Event Center in Broomfield, Colorado is on and about to “get it on” at that moment are James “The Sandman” Irvin and Houston "The Nebraskan Assassin" Alexander (Don’t you just love it when people give themselves monikers and just don’t seem to ever live up to the hype?).

Both competitors were highly touted by the announcers (they always are. And I wouldn't know them from Adam outside of Chuck "The Ice Man" Liddell, Ken "The Most Dangerous Man" Shamrock, Randy "The Natural" Couture, and Tito "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Ortiz) and rightfully so.

At that point in the light heavyweight match up, Alexander (who debut in 2001) held a UFC career record of eight wins, two losses, and a one no contest, while Irvin (who entered in 2003 but has more career UFC fights) had a thirteen win, four loss, and one no contest record.

I turned to my computer as the opening bell rung.

Eight seconds went by.

And it was all over (click here to see the fight in its entirety).

Referee Steve Mazzagatti called the match a T.K.O. (punches) in favor of “The Sandman” who felled Alexander with what the commentators called “A Superman Punch” followed by three ground strikes.

Irvin went on to mimic “shooting a pistol” several times at Alexander who was tended to by referee Mazzagatti.

Eight seconds. (Tied a 12-year old record for the fastest knockout in UFC history when Frye knocked out Thomas Ramirez at UFC 8 on Feb. 16, 1996.)

That’s all it took to best a man who most likely trained for several months for this event…everyday…three times-a-day.

But those are the breaks of the game so to speak, as (they always say that) the safety of the fighters is paramount in such a physical sport and even for a brief moment Alexander was in no position to rationally protect himself.

Later on, Alexander said in a post-fight interview that his child “punches harder” and that of the number of blows that Irvin did or didn’t connect on—only the last one really was of any merit.

In the end, a win is a win.

James “The Sandman” Irvin has put yet another opponent to “sleep.”

Now playing: Mariah Carey - Heartbreaker (Featuring Jay-Z)
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Is your life Stranger Than Fiction? A Guitar and Playing Ball


Our lives usually begin and end with just an act.

But for Internal Revenue Service agent Harold Crick, it begins with the ticking of his (spruced up Hollywood) Timex T56371.

Stranger Than Fiction is a story about a man named Harold Crick and his wristwatch.

But it’s more than that. It is potential a story about you as well.

A serious Will Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a meticulous, introverted, unconventional, obsessive-compulsive who goes about his monotonous way of life without much fanfare for the last twelve years.

Crick’s quirks are apparent from the onset of the film as author Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) recounts (in her very prominent British accent) a number of them ranging from the precise hour he snoozes his Timex T56371 in the morning to the diligent precision he takes when he gets dressed, brushes his teeth (76 times broken down into 38 vertical and 38 horizontal strokes), and promptness to make it to the bus stop for the 8:15 that he takes to work.

It’s a preferred albeit poignant existence that Crick has chosen to live in.

Redundancy. A life of solitude. Hey, the man eats alone. And sadly, doesn’t even have time stand up and go to the bathroom to take a leak. (I guess that is another way to utilize an empty plastic jar).

Could this be your life as well?

Well maybe not as eccentric as Harold Crick’s, but are there any similarities?

Usual routines. Frequenting familiar haunts. Or my personal favorite, “I just don’t have time to do that.”

More like, you chose NOT to make time for that activity.

So, do you make the most of your day? Better yet, are you willing to stretch yourself to do just that?

As for Harold Crick, he did just that when he experienced an epiphany when Eiffel alluded to his impending death.

Crick began to live his life. He began doing things that he had always been putting off because of one thing or another.

He learned to play the guitar, be more daring and open, and most of all—move away from his tedious existence.

On my end, I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar—it’s been on my wall for the last 11 ½ years—so…all I just need to do is what I mentioned earlier—that is…to make time. The desire is there, all I need is time (I’m sure we have all heard that line at least once in our lives).

Time to act on it. And I think I’ve taken a right step in that direction.

On my way home this afternoon from work, I decided to swing by our village park. I hadn’t stepped foot there in quite some time but I had a lot of pent up energy and was looking for a friendly basketball game. And with some luck, I found one.

The 3-on-3 teams weren’t really spread out fairly and the odds didn’t look too good for my squad. I mentioned this once to my opponents but then I turned to my young teammates and told them—“don’t worry guys, we will win this one.”

This is coming from a guy who is in pretty good shape but not basketball shape. As you all know, there is a salient difference between the two mediums. In fact, it has been awhile since I’ve dribbled and shot a basketball in a game setting—so this truly was a challenge.

Our opponents were raring to go but I told them that I had to confer with my teammates first (both of whom, I had just met that afternoon). After watching the game that most of these guys played earlier, I was able to ascertain some of our opponents’ tendencies. I quickly shared my insights with my teammates and told them—“Play defense.” “Get your hands up when they shoot”. And “Cut, I’ll get you the ball.”

The advantage of youth. They are eager to learn and more importantly, willing to listen.

I wasn’t even dressed to play. Absolutely no gear. I sported a pair of jeans, had a pair of low-cut Jordan III’s rubber shoes, and I removed my short-sleeved polo in favor of a white shirt. That was about it.

Our opponents ran out of the games to start our match and at one point the score was 5-12 and we were playing till 20—two’s were considered a point while three’s counted as two points. Losers’ outs.

It would be an understatement to say that things certainly weren’t going our way. But we caught up and we did it as a team. With crisp passes as well as everyone helping out to find the open man brought us within striking distance—16-17.

My shot also started falling and I hit a three (two points) to make it 18-17. After some good defense, we got another possession and a chance for a potential game winner.

My teammates trusted me to take this shot (by this point in the game, I had hit about three long distance shots (6 points) and two drives to the basket (4 points)) and after signaling for a pick—I faked right, went left, and launched the game winner.

Game over! Final score 20-17.

My team had overcome adversity and I kept my promise to them. We had won. It was a great feeling.

One I haven’t had in quite awhile. And one that I really enjoyed after I exchanged pleasantries with both my teammates and opponents.

Much like Crick, I could have simply set aside any thought of deviating beyond my regular routine and headed home.

But today, I fought it.

And I feel I am a better person for it.

How about you guys?

Examine your lives today and take a chance.

Make that change! Even for a moment.

Believe me, it will be well worth it—whatever it is that you decide to do.

Now playing: Maroon 5 - If I Never See Your Face Again
via FoxyTunes