SportsNet - April 2012
With the news emerging in the last couple of days that West Bromwich Albion boss Roy Hodgson is in talks to become the next England manager, one cannot help but think that the FA have handled the whole situation rather poorly.
Fabio Capello resigned nearly three months ago, and the team has seemed almost adrift in the wake of the announcement on Feb. 8. It is unusual for an association to take this long to appoint a successor, although it could be argued that given the safety of England's position at Euro 2012, urgency was rightfully dispensed with in favour of making the right choice after appropriate consideration.
However, England were without a manager at a time when it needed leadership the most in the wake of the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand racism debacle (it is important to distinguish from the many other cases where Terry has proven himself to be a disgrace to football). In fact, given his recent ill-fated attempt to take Alexis Sanchez out of the Champions League semi-final with a well-placed knee to the posterior, Capello must feel a bit silly leaping to his erstwhile captain's defense so quickly.
Jeremy Lin is looking to make a return to the New York Knicks lineup by Game Four against the Miami Heat, according to recent reports.
After a well-publicized knee surgery, the question of whether or not his potential return would be an added benefit or detriment looms over the heads of Knicks fans everywhere.
As a big fan of Linsanity (even more so with the recent video post for Stuyvesant High School, my alma mater), it would be exciting to see Lin suit up for his first postseason showing. The exhilaration and magnitude of his presence alone may cause a spark in these failing New York Knicks. At the very least, Lin's presence would certainly give hope to many Knicks fans.
Unfortunately, his impact won't be enough to beat the Heat this postseason.
Given his last outing against Miami, where Lin scored only eight points on one-of-11 shooting, his game was effectively shut down by the swarming Heat defense. He was only able to dish out three assists, while racking up eight turnovers. Lin was fully healthy and functional at the time, and had the momentum of Linsanity on his backside.
Rafael Nadal made history once again by capturing his seventh Barcelona Open title with a marathon 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 victory over David Ferrer.
Nadal is now the only man to win two different events at least seven times each.
Last week, he claimed an unprecedented eighth-straight title in his spiritual home of Monte Carlo when he defeated top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
This is Nadal's 34th victory in a row at Barcelona after being defeated by Alex Corretja in 2003, and improved his finals record on clay to 34-4. This is also Nadal's fifth straight title at Real Club de Tenis.
The clay-court specialist has a 14-4 record against Ferrer after winning the 48th trophy of his career.
Up next for Nadal is the Madrid Masters, which is his least favorite clay tournament, as he only has a 24-7 record.
Nadal holds the all-time best winning percentage on clay 241-18 (93%), and will be gearing up to make more history at the French Open. Nadal has been almost unstoppable at Roland Garros with a 45-1 record, and he can surpass Bjorn Borg's total of seven titles if he comes out on top this year.
With a disappointing 100-67 routing by the Miami Heat in Game One of the NBA Playoffs, and the heartbreaking loss of talented defender Iman Shumpert, the Knicks face great challenges in trying to win this series.
Unfortunately, due to the ailments of Tyson Chandler, Jared Jeffries, Baron Davis, and Jeremy Lin, key players on this 2012 Knicks team, facing those challenges will not make things any easier.
But with improved offensive schemes and more emphasis on defensive, the Knicks may just have the chance they need to win.
First and foremost, the Knicks have to increase their energy on the court, while maintaining composure. The Heat showed an excellent display in the balance of intensity and control, as they fought hard for rebounds and steals while laying in elegant basket after basket.
I have a friend who is a Lakers fan, "Larry," and as a result I've learned to ignore most of the things he says about his team.
When the Lakers faced the Mavericks last year in the playoffs, it took Larry until midway through the third game to admit that the Lakers might not win that playoff series. The Lakers were ultimately swept, and all he could say about it was that Andrew Bynum didn't deserve to get suspended for knocking J.J. Barea into next week.
In the offseason, Larry guaranteed that the Lakers would trade for both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul by the end of this current season. And though the Lakers certainly tried to make both of those situations a reality, they instead ended up with consolation prizes Ramon Sessions and Jordan Hill.