In Case You Missed It… (Weekend Edition)

4 06 2012

Here is the Top 5 sports stories from this past weekend…

 

 

 

1. No More No No-Nos

New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana pulled off something that Mets fans have been craving for a while. A long while. Effectively using the inside the the plate against right-handed batters and hitting all his spots, the 33-year-old put together a spectacular game as he threw a no-hitter in an 8-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. The reason this holds even more significance than any normal abnormal no-no pertains to the fact that this was first in the Mets 50-year franchise history. Even though there was a controversial call on a Carlos Beltran foul ball, this should not take away from Santana and his monumental accomplishment. The way in which this no-hitter came about does not matter; what does hold significance is the achievement, and Santana brought the Mets one, tremendous achievement.

 

 

2. Kings of the Road

Just like that, the Los Angeles Kings have come out on top of two straight overtime games against the New Jersey Devils that ended with the exact same score, following suit with their road superiority during this year’s playoffs. Jeff Carter’s Game 2 overtime goal gave the Kings a 2-1 win that puts them two games away from taking home the prestigious Stanley Cup. At this point, no one should be surprised that the No. 8 seeded Kings are blitzing their way through the Stanley Cup Final so far. Goalie Jonathan Quick has provided the backbone for the defense while Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar seem to be hitting their stride at the right time. The Kings have only lost two postseason matches so far this year and are currently tied for the professional sports record for consecutive road playoff games won (12) dating back to last season. The word “momentum” has been taken to a new level by this group of men that won’t settle for anything short of winning it all. If Darryl Sutter can tell his team to drown out the cheering these next two games and convince them it’s another team’s road arena, this series could be wrapped up very quickly.

 

 

3. Wild Djoker

It can be assumed 75-percent of the time that Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer can be seen in the semifinals of any Grand Slam tournament (don’t ask me how I came up with that number). Well, the world almost saw this prediction fall short when Djokovic had a daunting obstacle to overcome Sunday morning. After looking very sluggish and losing the first two sets against Andreas Seppi, the No. 1 ranked player in the world realized he was the No. 1 ranked player in the world and finally began playing like it. He successfully completed the 0-2 set comeback by stealing a 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 4 victory that took 4 hours, 18 minutes and moved onto the quarterfinals of the French Open. The inability to make up for lost ground is something unique to tennis compared to other mainstream sports. If a basketball team gets down by 20 points or a baseball team can’t seem to put up a run for eight straight innings, there is still an opportunity to change the outcome of the game as a whole. When Djokovic lost those first two sets, he lost those first two sets. Point Blank. That’s why elite tennis players must have excellent psychological strength and have the ability to completely forget about a big lead or big deficit going into a clean slate at a new set. Instead of looking upon this as a negative and the fact that he struggled against a player ranked 24 spots below him, I see this as Djokovic proving his mental toughness in a sport that requires just that. If he continues to push through and win games in which he has 81 unforced errors, the Djoker might find a way to win his fourth straight Grand Slam tournament.

 

 

4. Back in the Woods?

After rallying from four back and birdying three of the final four holes to take home the Memorial for the fifth time in his career, Tiger Woods received the question he has dreaded for the past too-many years – is the old Tiger Woods back? He sarcastically remarked that “I feel like an older Tiger Woods.” However, even though Woods must be politically correct and avoid making a bold statement about the athlete that took golf to a level it has never been to before, this golf player might actually be somewhere in the vicinity of his former self. Why? A fist pump. After making one of the best chip shots ever, Woods showed a level of emotion he has not reached since his downfall. Woods showed a level of passion that has seemed benign to the viewer’s eye. Woods showed he might just be back. He looks to be in outstanding control of his swing, and the way in which he came back Sunday was nothing short of “Tiger-esque.” With this win, Woods now sits right along side Jack Nicklaus – who was at the Memorial as a spectator – for career PGA Tour victories. When the U.S. Open begins next week, don’t be surprised if somebody that you used to know shows up with clear intent to win his 15th major championship.

 

 

5. Rondo the maestro

When will this guy stop growing as a basketball player? Seriously? Even though Rajon Rondo has failed to complete a triple-double as he did three times in his first two playoff series, he has been the most influential basketball player on the court in the Eastern Conference Finals. As the Boston Celtics took down the Miami Heat in overtime, 93-91, to tie up a series with as many foul-outs as weird Russell Westbrook shirts (well, maybe not that many…), a shocking revelation about this series became apparent: for the first time since the Heat’s Big 3 came together, one of their playoff series is not about them. This is about the man that finds a way to put his fingerprints on every single NBA game he plays in, no matter the defense his opponent throws at him. This is about the player that did something no NBA player has ever done in the playoffs when he had 44 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in Game 2. This is about the 26-year-old that has already tied Bob Cousy for most 10+ assist games in Celtics postseason history. This is about Rajon Pierre Rondo. Even though the Celtics have their preset Big 3 that will be the image of their 2008 championship year, they have a new Big 1 that has seemed to mature right before our very own eyes. What will he do next in Game 5? That is the question people can’t wait to see answered. Rondo has created a reason for the nation to watch a Miami Heat basketball game unrelated to the Miami Heat. Wow.

 

 

Honorable Mention: Durant the Closer and Serge the Perfectionist

 

 

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12 06 2012
Kings of the Ice « jay's jems

[…] “Road Kings” never looked back, as they have done since the playoffs began. With this victory, the Kings […]

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