April 19, 2007

2nd Round Pick Important, Too

Jon Elliott has a good point:

Amid the rumors circulating and all of the so-called "experts" weighing in with their opinions, it has been lost in the mix that the Raiders will have the first pick of the second round, too. While that choice obviously isn't nearly as dynamic as No. 1 overall, there are several positions that need addressing, and the 33rd pick could certainly help.
Nobody is thinking too much about the first pick of the 2nd round, but they should be. I have selected Michael Bush as the man to pick up there, but wouldn't be surprised if he was taken in the first round, and not surprised if he wasn't picked until the third round. In other words, he could go anywhere. But he would be a great pick there, perhaps not a true needs pick right now, but he will be the man years from now. Also, many people predict Dwayne Jarrett of USC will be taken there, due to needs at wide receiver if Calvin Johnson is not picked as well as the Lane Kiffin ties. Either of those picks would be just fine.

The interesting thing about Elliott's article is that he doesn't advocate either of these positions - instead, he argues for the Raiders to maybe look at QB with that pick, getting a sleeper pick. It's an interesting possibility, but he is clearly in the minority in that regard.

Mock Draft

Derek Harper (wait, wasn't he jacking up 3's for the Mavs in the 90's?) picks JaMarcus for the 5.0 version of FOX Sports:

Calvin Johnson remains a strong possibility if the Raiders can land a veteran quarterback to compete with Andrew Walter. Josh McCown skipped the Lions' minicamp and reportedly wants out of Detroit. But the Lions are highly unlikely to ship McCown to the Raiders, only to watch Oakland pick Johnson and hurt Detroit's chances of trading out of the No. 2 spot. The Raiders bolstered their offensive line by signing OG Cooper Carlisle last week. The bet is still that they take the big-armed Russell unless they deal WR Randy Moss in the next two weeks.

Devils 4, Lightning 3 (OT)

With the Devils up 3-1 during the 2nd period, I jokingly made a comment that the game would go into overtime. When that happened, I was a little surprised. When overtime started, I made the comment (again, somewhat jokingly) that the Devils were guaranteed the win since Tampa Bay only scored thrice a game. Once again, I was right. Very weird. There it is again. Tampa Bay scored 3, the Devils just need to find a way to get more goals. They have done that twice out of the four games thus far and hopefully can find two more times in their soul.

Those self-seeking comments aside, just a HUGE sigh of relief right now. With the Devils up 3-1 and looking alright, goals in middle-to-late stages of the second period for Tampa Bay made it seem like the inevitable loss was coming. Brodeur was able to batten down the hatches in the third period and in overtime as the Devils got the overtime goal to even the series. What a huge goal. What a huge game. It just had to happen, and it did. There is quite a difference between a series being at 2-2 as opposed to 3-1. And we find ourselves tied, quite luckily I might add.

Even though they got the win, the Devils still did not inspire me. They just happened to win. They didn't quite accomplish many of the things they set out to do, namely being more physical as well as keeping St. Louis & LeCav in check. But they did win, and that makes it all the more better. If they would have lost, I would be harsher, it's true. As would we all. But I don't see much in the win to get excited about, it was the same story, just ended up with New Jersey scoring more often this time. Not anywhere as promising as Game 1, but that doesn't mean we can't get back there. I think it will help going back home, but maybe not. Nobody goes to watch.

It started off promisingly enough. There was no real fire from the Devils, but they caught a break and Oduya made a sweet play to get Gionta the puck and he was able to score early. Tampa Bay was able to get a goal not long after that, but then Zach Parise scored his 5th late in the period for a 2-1 Devils lead. The second period was just the reverse with 1 Devil goal and 2 Lightning goals. Parise started it off with a power play goal midway through the 2nd for his 6th of the playoffs (most of any skater). That was followed by the inevitable goals from St. Louis & LeCav back-to-back to tie things up. The third period was a stalemate, 10-7 in shots on goal favoring Tampa Bay as Broduer was able to stop them all. Overtime was fairly even, though the Devils finally looked awoken for a moment: realizing they were able to weather the storm through regulation, they knew there was a big difference between a loss and a win and they went after it in overtime. Brodeur stopped all 5 shots he faced, most of which came on an early power play. That could have been disastrous, but Marty was there to answer the call. Holmqvist stopped the first 7 until Gomez caught a nice bounce off a blocked puck and raced down the length of the ice, shooting it past Holmqvist for the win.

Not sure how the Three Stars system works, but Parise is nowhere to be found. In scoring two goals, his 5th & 6th of the playoffs, most of anyone (all things I've already said), his name is nowhere to be found. Gomez is the first star, because he won the game, so you give him that. Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist, so maybe. And Holmqvist found his name there again, with 33 saves. Sad to see Holmqvist on there twice during the series and Brodeur not once. But that's how it goes sometimes. I think this game, particularly the late stages where Brodeur stopped all 15 late shots, will help him immensely heading into Game 5. That's the idea, anyway. Still didn't see a whole lot to get excited about, though the overtime was pretty decent. More of that mentally would be helpful, as well as even more physicality. And maybe some way to stop the two best shooters in the game? It's a tough task, but it can be done. Go Devils.

Mavericks 106, Sonics 75

As much as the Warriors game was a meaningless loss, this was as meaningless win against the Supersonics tonight. The Mavs played all their stars in a "tune-up" game for the playoffs and showed their dominance, which I think helps going into the playoffs after playing weak as of late. Good to see this outcome. But also easy to see because the Mavs have dominated the Sonics over recent years, and I doubt much was on the mind for Seattle players except for ending their dang season and taking some vacation.

Apparently there isn't going to be a team in Seattle next year. How did I miss that? Did you miss it? Let me know. If so, sad to see it end after such a horrible season and a horrible final home loss. That won't leave a good taste in the mouths of Seattle's fans, especially since they won't be able to redeem themselves. Better turn to the Mariners or college sports instead.

Hard to understand such domination when the leading scorer for the Mavs had 20 points. That would be Nowitzki, who ends another year without a triple-double, but is leading the pack of MVP candidates according to the world. He also had 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Josh Howard had 15 and will need to pick it up if the Mavs are to have any chance of winning during the playoffs. Nothing else very noticeable, just that the Mavs took 81 shots which is a lot, and made 43 of them, so they were shooting smartly. On the other end, Seattle only shot 69 times and made only 29 of them. Yikes. Superstar Rashard Lewis had a team-high 14 points for Seattle. Team-high. 14. Yuck. They were interested in making free throws, grabbing rebounds, or recording assists. It was pretty obvious.

So there it is, folks. The end of the regular season 2006-07. The Mavericks tied for the sixth-best record in NBA history at 67-15. That's pretty sweet stuff. They will play the Golden State Warriors, and like I said, I'm worried that they will take them lightly. I don't think they will, but there's a chance. It's sort of like the Devils with the Tampa Bay Lightning right now, #2 vs. #7 but the Lightning knew how to beat the Devils up. This could be similar, but let's hope not. It's playoff time, so maybe another first-round sweep is in order, which would be amazing. Clippers are out and the Lakers stay in #7 although they tried desperately to fall to #8. So here we go. Good stuff. See you when it counts.

Astros 7, Reds 2

The bullpen, oh the bullpen. What has happened to thine bullpen?


Pitching: Harang pitched well enough to get the win and was on his way to doing that very thing, but it wasn't meant to be. He went 6 innings, giving up 3 hits, 2 walks, and 8 K's for an earned run. Very well done. He got 2 strikeouts when the bases were loaded in the 4th, that was very awesome. Nothing quite as cool as that, just like Lohse the other day. Then he gave up a run in the 6th, but it was earned through effort on their part. Santos came on in the 7th and did his magical thing, going 1-2-3. Then the trouble started in the late innings and it was Todd Coffey as the culprit again, though not as much as Rheal Cormier. The first guy he hit, and he's been doing that lately. Very odd. He got the next two guys, and then it was an RBI single that tied the game. Coffey then walked Lee and in came Rheal Cormier to give up an RBI single and a 3-run homer to Jason Lane. That about ended it on this day. But then he got the final out of the 8th and did so well that Narron gave him the 9th to work and he gave up another run there as well. Does anybody like Cormier? Does anybody want to see him pitch? He is clearly the weakest link right now and thankfully we haven't seen him that much. This is the most we have seen him and that's about enough for me. Gotta get the guy out of here. Any thoughts on Coffey? Where is his edge? Wasn't he pretty dang good the past couple years? That's what I thought anyway. Tough stuff. He didn't do that badly, and probably would have done a much better job than Cormier in finishing that inning.

Hitting: Freel & Hamilton did not have the type of success they enjoyed last night, but that's to be expected. Freel had a single. Hamilton had a leadoff homer in the bottom of the 4th which was pretty awesome. The guy is just cranking out homers left and right. That was all those guys did though. Dunn was 0/4 with 2 K's. Griffey was 0/3, and I don't know about putting them back-to-back, especially when they become such black holes offensively. Phillips had a home run of his own, and those two homers were the only runs of the day. Hatteberg had 2 singles, and that was all for your hitting, folks. Sampson & Wheeler pretty much shut us down on this night.

Fielding & such: Freel had another error at 3rd, and one that let in a run. Not sure what that means for EdE. Some are speculating that he is on the trading block, but I find that difficult to believe. He does find himself in Narron's doghouse easily, and the big talk is how Narron holds him to a different standard of hustle than anybody else. If Krivsky is a big EdE fan and Narron does something else that displeases him, Narron could be watching his back pretty soon. Phillips & Gonzo turned a nice double play after Freel's error.

Mock Draft

Murphy goes for 6, comes up with JaMarcus again:

The Raiders will hear plenty of trade proposals in the next 10 days, but they are putting on a strong game face by letting observers believe they are committed to Russell. Any potential deal likely would not occur until teams are on the clock.
You can bet that the closer we get to Draft Day, that the rumors of a trade for the top pick will pick up steam and then go through the roof. Anybody excited to hear, "The Oakland Raiders are on the clock?" I know I am.