1. 10 Years After the Deluge
Today is the 10th anniversary of the Boxing Day Tsunami that reportedly claimed approximately 230,000 human lives across Indonesia, Thailand and 12 other countries. The earthquake that caused it, with an epicenter beneath the Indian Ocean, registered a 9.1, the third-largest ever recorded on a seismograph.
2. Speaking of Tsunamis…
…Western Kentucky led Central Michigan 49-14 after three quarters of the inaugural Bahamas Bowl, which took place in one of those stadiums that you typically see in Third World nations where a ruthless dictator wrests control from the democratic government and then marches all of his political foes into it and executes them. But I digress…
Anyway, it was a 35-point lead after three when my friend Dan Wolken at the USA Today tweeted, “Despite having watched the WKU defense’s work a few times this season, I think they can hold this lead.”
He was correct–but barely. I came aboard when it was 49-28 and WKU completed a screen near midfield in which Willie McNeal ran 56 yards after the catch down to the 9-yard line (the game is OVER if he scores) but McNeal fumbled. And WKU Keystone Cop’d the tackle –the first of many such KC moves I’d witness in the last 6:30 of the game.
(When McNeal fumbled, from that moment on, I was riveted. You just had that feeling…)
Even after CMU scored –you knew they would– it was still 49-35 with 3:06 left. Literally, all WKU has to do is the victory formation on consecutive drives –force CMU to call all three timeouts on first drive, then end game on latter, assuming they recover insides kick–but NOOO! Jeff Brohm is too crafty for that.
Fast forward to WKU, now up 49-42, punting with 0:10 to play. Ball nearly gets downed at the 1, but there’s a touchback. And an offsides. There’s now 0:1 to play and CMU is 75 yards away from a tying TD. And then THIS HAPPENS.
And then CMU blows it all with a lame fade route for the 2-point conversion. That, as my friend Moose said, was hubris. Get it into overtime, Chippewas. You have all the Mo’.
Still, a 5-touchdown fourth quarter—and you still lose.
Anyway, the spread was 3. This was the best backdoor cover/worst bad beat I’ve ever seen.
3. Hee Hawes
That’s seven-foot-one Spencer Hawes of the L.A. Clippers taking “will not dress for the game” to a new level yesterday. The NBA Store should be selling this (bonus points if they put “SPENCER” on the back).
Other thoughts from yesterday’s five-game set:
–The Knicks are now 5-26 and Walt Frazier is running out of synonyms for “ghastly.” I’m appealing to you, Guardians of Peace. Put the Knicks out of our misery.
–Everyone making a big deal about the Quincy Acy-John Wall kerfuffle seems to be missing the origin. I was watching and it appeared to me what when Wall took an outlet pass he backed right over Jose Calderon of the Knicks, knocking him ass-over-teakettle But Calderon is not an All-Star (and Wall is), so no call (there was a lot of that going on yesterday in the five games). And watching, I felt as if some Knick was going to make Wall pay for that. And about a second later came Acy’s hard foul. Which may not excuse what Acy did to instigate this, but you can at least appreciate the why of it.
–I don’t know what Kevin Love’s role on the Cavaliers is. I don’t think he does, either.
—Right now, when he is not allowed to get away with traveling (I know, like they’ll ever call it), LeBron James is not even one of the top three (top five?) players in the league. Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are all having better seasons to this point. So is Derrick Rose, when healthy (Merry Christmas Susie!)
–I really like Bulls’ 6-10 rookie Nikola Mitotic. who scored 13 points in 15 minutes. The better bearded big man in the East thus far (as opposed to Love). Chicago is the best team in the East and, as Sir Chuck said, maybe the best team in the NBA. And they’re doing this without the Heinrich Maneuver or Dougie McBuckets right now (yes, the latter is not yet a key contributor).
–When seven Spurs score in double figures, that should be Pop’s dream. But they still lost to an OKC team missing the reigning league MVP. Russell Westbrook is an alpha male.
—Stephen Curry put on an absolute show in the first four minutes, then sorta disappeared (foul trouble was partly to blame). Steve Kerr got his fifth technical of the season as a rookie NBA coach. That equals the number of technicals he received in 15 seasons as a player.
–A really nice piece by TNT on Craig Sager and his leukemia odyssey…
4. American Sniper
Boffo reviews for the new Bradley Cooper film, based on the life of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who had 160 confirmed kills in Iraq, making him the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history (as far as anyone knows). If you don’t know how Kyle’s story ends, I won’t spoil it here.
Meanwhile, Medium Happy’s crack(-loving) staff must now recalibrate its all-time rankings of films with “American” as the first word in the title (American Gigolo, American Pie, American Beauty, American Movie, American Psycho, American Anthem) as well as its all-time rankings of film with “American” in the first word of the title that star Bradley Cooper (American Hustle).
Directed by Clint Eastwood, who seems to get more prolific with age. It’s as if the 84 year-old is racing against time to put out as many movies as he can
as an act of contrition for Million Dollar Baby before he dies.
Meanwhile, before the film was made, Kyle’s dad went all Dirty Harry on Eastwood…
I should say something about The Interview, but why? Didn’t we all know it was going to be another lazy Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy that probably seemed funnier when Rogen and his writing partner were stoned and writing it?
5. Christmas Lists…
So many year-end lists, and only one week left. Here’s Mediaite’s (I’m beginning to spell it correctly on the first try) “24 Most Cringeworthy TV News Moments of 2014” (not all were from FOX News and CNN).
Premier League Boxing Day Derby
NBC Sports New 7:40 a.m.
It’s England’s response to America’s NBA Christmas cornucopia, as a flurry of football kicks off with league-leading Chelsea hosting surprising West Ham, currently in 4th place. At 10 a.m. it’s Newcastle at second-place Manchester United. Good footy. If you’re up and if you’re off today…