January 28, 2007

USC-Raiders pipeline begins

Lane Kiffin, who just got done teething, has hired two football minds with USC ties:

Yogi Roth (USC Graduate Asst) - Oakland Offensive Asst
Mark Jackson (USC Dir. FB Operations) - Oakland "Front Office Role"

I guess a lot of things could be worse than the Oakland Raiders becoming the University of Southern California NFL team. I just happen to think variety has the potential to be more than just the spice of life.

Panthers 4, Devils 2

This was a highly forgettable game. And one that I marked way back at the beginning of the year as a must-win game. Not this game specifically, but every game against the Florida Panthers because they had the goalie with the 2nd-most wins (Ed Belfour) and I wanted Brodeur to get that mark (which he currently does hold) and to ensure that this wouldn't be a problem, Brodeur needed to beat "Eagle Ed" every time they went up head-to-head. That did not happen last night, but Brodeur has a nice cushion of 8 wins that he can sit on for now. Just because he surpassed Belfour earlier in the year and just because he racked up his 11th 30-win season doesn't mean he can mentally check out. Don't get me wrong, that is certainly NOT what I am accusing him of doing. If anyone is practically mentally flawless, it's Martin Brodeur. Last night seemed to be an abberation though. Things just didn't seem to work, the Panthers figured out Marty pretty easily. It started off well enough, with Gionta getting his usual goal, but it fell apart from there. John F calls it like he always does in talking about patience and how the Devils are content with playing over-patiently (not a word) when they score first or when it's tied because they have so much faith in Brodeur. Usually it works out. But sometimes the offense, ODDLY ENOUGH, needs to carry the day. They had an opportunity when they were put down 3-2 halfway through the second period. They just couldn't come up with any answers. Those things are going to KILL them in the playoffs where offensive intensity must and will pick up. They better start scoring some goals.

Mavericks 106, Kings 104

Hard-fought victory last night. Made me think of the Dallas/Sacramento games of old, when they were bitter rivals and slugged it out night after night. I don't know what happened to those days. Dallas got a heckuva lot better and the Kings have gotten worse. I guess that's how the story goes. But tonight was back to old-school Kings/Mavs with the Mavs squeaking it out by two points at the end of the game. Tough stuff. Nowitzki had his 8th-straight double-double last night, pouring in 32 points and racking up 11 boards. Josh Howard had an off night with 13 points, but the Terry/Harris combo put up 32 points as well as 13 assists. Stackhouse contributed a solid 16 points with good shot selection yet again. This man is going to be HUGE in the playoffs. Field goal percentage was dead even, 53% a piece, which really makes me think it was a Kings/Mavs game of old. For the Kings it was Ron Artest with 25 and Kevin Martin with 21, but ultimately it was not enough. Good thing, too.