Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta Hawks’

The Atlanta Hawks beat the Chicago Bulls for the 7th straight time, but it took a big time comeback for the Hawks to get a 119-114 victory Wednesday night in Chicago. The win improves Atlanta’s record to 27-19. The Hawks are currently 4th in the Eastern Conference standings. With the loss the Bulls drop back under .500 at 23-24. Chicago is still holding onto the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls are a game ahead of the 9th place Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bulls got off to a quick start as they scored the first seven points of the game. With 4:58 left in the quarter the Bulls found themselves with a double digit lead at 21-11. The Hawks went on a 9 to o run at that point and cut the Bulls lead to just one point at 21-20 with 2:42 left to play in the quarter. The Bulls then made their run as they finished the quarter by outscoring the Hawks 8 to 2. The 1st quarter ended with the Bulls up 29-22.

The 2nd quarter was very even for the teams as the Bulls managed to outscore the Hawks, but just by one point in the quarter 30-29. Every time the Hawks made a dent in the Bulls lead, Chicago was able to battle back. The closest Atlanta was in the quarter, was three points at 44-41 with 5:46 left in the quarter. After Atlanta got that close, the Bulls scored the next six points to make it a 50-41 game. The Hawks knocked just one point off the Bulls lead after that. Chicago went into halftime with a 59-51 lead.

The 3rd quarter played out very much like the 2nd quarter did, but this time it was the Hawks that outscored the Bulls 27-24 in the 3rd quarter. With 3:51 left in the quarter, Thabo Sefolosha hit a 3-pointer and the game was tied at 72 all. After another tie at 74 all, the Bulls went on a 9 to 4 run to end the quarter and took a 83-78 lead headed into the final quarter.

Early in the 4th quarter any time the Hawks cut into the lead the Bulls were able to re-establish the lead. After Dwight Howard made a pair of free throws, Atlanta was within four points at 95-91 with 6:22 left in the game. Chicago scored the next seven points of the game to build a 11 point lead at 102-91 with 5:11 left to play. Atlanta did cut the Bulls lead to five points one more time, but the Bulls managed to get the lead back to double digits at 110-100 with 3:01 left to play. Atlanta made one more run in the game and this time it was a 19 to 4 run to end the game and take the victory 119-114.

Six Atlanta players scored in double figures lead by Dennis Schroder with 24 points. Schroder also handed out a game high 9 assists. Paul Milsap scored 21 points while Thabo Sefolosha added 18 points. Atlanta’s other two starters Dwight Howard and Kent Bazemore each scored 16 points. Howard also grabbed a game high 12 rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. came off the Atlanta bench to score 17 points.

Jimmy Butler (40 points) and Dwayne Wade (33 points) accounted for 73 of the Bulls 114 points in the game. The only other Bulls player to reach double figures was Doug McDermott. McDermott came off the Bulls bench to score 10 points. Butler also led the Bulls in rebounding grabbing 9. Butler also tied with Rajon Rondo and Jerain Grant for the team lead in assists with 3.

The Hawks get a day off as they return home to host the 26-20 Washington Wizards Friday night. After playing back to back games the Bulls also get a day off as they’ll host the 16-30 Miami Heat on Friday night.

It looked as though the outcome of this game well in hand until the Bulls reserves made it close in the 4th quarter. It just wasn’t enough as the Bulls lost there second game in a row and fell to two games under .500 at 21-23. Atlanta picked up there 8th win in there last 10 games as they improved to 25-18 with there 102-93 win over Chicago.

The Bulls tried to stay close early in the quarter, but when you score only 13 points in the quarter you’re going to be in trouble. Jimmy Butler made a technical free throw with 2:41 left in the quarter for the Bulls 13th and final point of the 1st quarter. Atlanta was already ahead by 11 at that point and went on to add 11 more points to there lead. After just one quarter the Hawks where up 35-13.

Dwayne Wade hit a jumper with 10:02 left in the quarter to break the Bulls scoreless streak, but Atlanta scored 8 of the first 10 points in the 2nd quarter to push there lead to 28 points at 43-15. The biggest lead the Hawks had in the quarter was 30 points at 58-28, but had to settle for just a 29 point lead going into halftime ahead 65-36.

The 3rd quarter was actually a tightly played quarter between the two teams. Atlanta just outscored the Bulls by one point 22-21. Of course when you’re down 29 points at halftime a quarter like this is barely even a moral victory for the Bulls. The Bulls closed out the quarter scoring the last four points and found themselves down by 30 points 87-57 after three quarters.

The teams empty there benches in the 4th quarter as the game looked to be decided. Believe it or not the Bulls reserves went on a 33 to 8 run and the Atlanta lead was down to just five points at 95-90 with 1:08 left to play. The Hawks re-entered a couple of there starters back into the line up and the Bulls comeback came to an end. Atlanta finished the game on a 7 to 3 run to get the game to it’s 102-93 final.

Dennis Schroder was Atlanta’s and the games high scorer with 25 points. Schroder also handed out a game high 6 assists. Paul Milsap had 14 points, Dwight Howard scored 11 points and Thabo Sefolosha added 10 points for Atlanta. Kris Humphries tied Milsap for the game high in rebounds with 9.

Jimmy Butler was the Bulls leading scorer with 19 points. The only other Bulls starter to hit double figures was Robin Lopez with 10 points. Three Bulls came off the bench to score in double digits led by Jerian Grant with 12 points. Bobby Portis and Paul Zipser each scored 10 points while Portis also grabbed a team high 7 rebounds. Butler, Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo all tied for the team lead in assists with 3 apiece.

This was the start of a three game home stand for the Hawks and they don’t get a day off. Tomorrow (Saturday) night the Hawks face the 15-26 Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls don’t get a day off either as they return home to host the 16-26 Sacramento Kings tomorrow night.

On Tuesday night the Atlanta Hawks knocked the Cleveland Cavaliers from the ranks of the unbeaten. They must’ve carried some momentum from that game into there Wednesday night match up against the Chicago Bulls as they came through with a 115-107 victory.

Nikola Mirotic made 2 free throws to tie the game at 24 with 1:40 left in the 1st quarter. The teams had played pretty even with each other as neither team could build more than a 3 point lead. Then in that final 1:40 Atlanta went on a 11 to 3 run to open up a 35-27 lead after one quarter.

Paul Millsap gave the Hawks a 17 point lead at 50-33 with just under 9 minutes to go in the quarter. Then it was the Bulls turn to make a run as they put up 28 points for the remainder of the quarter to Atlanta’s 18 points. The Bulls actually ended up outscoring Atlanta in the 2nd quarter by 1 point 34-33. The Hawks headed into halftime with a 68-61 lead.

The Bulls run kept going into the 3rd quarter and with 7:48 left in the quarter a Dwayne Wade lay up tied the score at 76. The Bulls continued on to build a 5 point lead at 85-80, but Atlanta bounced back with a run of 14-8 to take a 94-88 lead head into the final quarter.

The Bulls where never able to get closer than 6 points in the 4th quarter. The Hawks went on to outscore the Bulls in the 4th period 21-19 and that got the game to the final score of 115-107.

The Hawks had 8 players score in double figures led by  Thabo Sefolosha who came off the bench to score 20 points. Dwight Howard had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Howard even made 6 of the 9 free throws he shot. Paul Millsap also had a double-double with 16 points and a game high 11 rebounds. Dennis Schroder had 13 points while Kyle Korver, Mike Muscala (off the bench) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (off the bench) each had 11 points. Malcolm Delaney was the final Hawks player in double figures with 10 points. Kent Bazemore handed out 7 assists for the Hawks which tied him for the game high in assists.

The Bulls where led by Jimmy Butler who scored a game high 39 points tied Bazemore with 7 assists and also had 6 steals. Dwayne Wade added 25 points for the Bulls and Taj Gibson out up 13 points and grabbed a team high 6 rebounds. The Bulls bench combined to score just 18 points in the game.

With the win the Hawks improve to 6-2 and they’ll get a day off before hosting the 0-7 Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. The Bulls drop back to .500 at 4-4 and they have to turn around and head to Miami to play the 2-4 Heat tonight.

Stephen Curry sat out last nights games because of the left ankle he hurt on Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. With Curry out of the Warriors line up the game may not have went the way anyone expected it to go, but Golden State still got a win over the Atlanta Hawks 109-105 in overtime. It was the 6th win in a row for Golden State and they also stayed perfect at home (Oracle Arena) this season. The last loss Golden State had at home was January 27, 2015 (113-111) against the Chicago Bulls. Golden State was up 32-26 after the 1st quarter and extended the lead to 59-48 at halftime and it started to look like the Warriors would cruise to another home win. The Warriors managed just 16 3rd quarter points and Atlanta was able to cut the lead to 5 at 75-70. Of course since the game went into overtime it means that Atlanta outscored Golden State 27-22 in the 4th quarter. The Warriors put up 12 points in overtime to Atlanta’s 9 points to get the victory. With Curry out injured Klay Thompson stepped up to lead the Warriors in scoring with 26 points. While the Warriors have become known for “small ball” last night there center Andrew Bogut chipped in 19 points. Bogut made 8 of the 9 shots he took from the field. Draymond Green had   15 points and led the team on rebounds with 13 and assists with 9. Harrison Barnes was the 4th Warriors starter to score in double digits with 12 points. Marreese Speights added 10 points off of the Golden State bench. Speights went 2 for 2 from behind the 3-point line making both of them in the 4th quarter. Golden State turned to Shaun Livingston as a starter and Leandro Barbosa off the bench to help fill the void with Curry out. Livingston played the bulk of the minutes (34), but Barbosa added the offense with 11 points. Livingston added 6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assist and 2 steals in the game. Atlanta was led in scoring by Paul Milsap with 19 points. Al Horford and Dennis Schroder (off the bench) each had 17 points. Kent Bazemore had 15 points and tied with Horford for the team lead in rebounds with 9. Kyle Korver and Mike Scott each had 11 points and did their damage from behind the 3-point line. Korver went 3 of 6 while Scott was 3 of 5 from behind the 3-point line. Jeff Teague was the Hawks team leader in assists with 6.With the win Golden State improved to 54-5 on the season. Atlanta fell to 33-28 and are holding on to the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference right now. Atlanta will stay in California and play the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. Golden State will play host to Oklahoma City on Thursday. It’s a rematch of Saturday nights game that the Warriors won 121-118 in overtime.

If you’re playing daily fantasy or your fantasy league is still going on here are some of the guys I hope you had in your line up last night. D’Angelo Russell scored 39 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in the Lakers 170-101 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Brook Lopez had 23 points for the Nets in a losing effort. Damian Lillard had his 3rd consecutive 30 plus point night in a row scoring 30 points exactly as the Portland Trail Blazers cruise to a 104-85 win over the New York Knicks. Carmelo Anthony put up 23 points for the Knicks. Hassan Whiteside had 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls 129-111. Kemba Walker also had a 26 point night in the Charlotte Hornets 126-92 win over the Phoenix Suns. Wesley Matthews scored 21 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks as they beat the Orlando Magic 121-108. Ersan Ilyasova scored 22 for the Magic in the loss. Hopefully some of these guys where in your winning line up last night.

Jimmie Johnson used a pit strategy to win the 2nd race of the NASCAR season at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kevin Harvick had led the most laps and he appeared to have the car to beat, but Johnson pitted as soon as he could get enough gas in the car to make it to the end of the race. For some reason Harvick and the other drivers at the front of the field stayed on the race track longer than expected and with Johnson on new tires he was able to build a lead that no one could cut into. While there was a late caution giving the rest of the field a shot at Johnson; he took the inside lane and was able to hold the field off for the win. Johnson’s teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. came 2nd with Kyle Busch in 3rd his brother Kurt in 4th and Carl Edwards rounding out the Top 5. Harvick led 131 of the 330 laps, but ended up coming home in 6th place. Kyle Busch was one of Chris Olmstead’s choice on the Sunday morning edition of Sports Time Radio; so he did have a Top 5 finish. Now his other two choices; that’s a different story. Chris had Matt Kenseth who did lead 47 laps, but had a pit road penalty and then was black flagged. Even with all that Kenseth finished 19th. Kasey Kahne was Chris’ other choice and he never really factored in the race and came home in 23rd place. With 2 drivers locked into The Chase with wins the series heads out to Las Vegas for the Kobalt 400 Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Will we have a new drivers name entered into The Chase or will Johnson or Denny Hamlin get their 2nd win of the season?

With a win last night the Edmonton Oilers improved to 24-34-7. With last nights loss the Buffalo Sabres are 23-31-8. Now neither of these teams are a threat to make the playoffs this season, but their match up last night drew some interest because it featured Connor McDavid the #1 overall pick in the 2015 draft taking on the #2 draft pick in the same draft Jack Eichel. The Oilers beat the Sabres 2-1 in overtime last night and McDavid scored both of the Edmonton goals in the win. It was almost Eichel who had the game winner in overtime as he spun an Oilers defenseman around, but missed a backhanded attempt on goal. Just seconds later McDavid raced by the Buffalo defense and beat Sabres goalie Robin Lehner for the game winner. While right now this match up might not mean anything as far as a playoff race might go, but are we looking at two guys who could become long term stars in the NHL.

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

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The Cleveland Cavaliers easily won Game 4 of the Eastern conference finals to sweep the Atlanta Hawks out of the NBA playoffs. While I wasn’t surprised to see the Cavaliers win this series as I like a lot of people had them going to the NBA finals, but I was a little surprised they swept this series. Atlanta was the best team in the Eastern conference during the regular season and I thought they would find a way to win a game or two in this series. Game 4 ended up being the biggest blowout of the series a 30 Cleveland win 118-88. The Cavaliers took a 12 point lead at the end of the 1st quarter 32-20 and that was pretty much the end of the Hawks. Cleveland added 5 points to their lead going into the half at 59-42. The Cavaliers just kept pulling away as they added 8 points to their lead by the end of the 3rd quarter 85-60 and even in the 4th quarter when the game was pretty much decided the Cavaliers still added another 5 points to their lead to get to that 118-88 final score. LeBron James led the Cavaliers in scoring with 23 points, but 5 other Cleveland players scored in double figures. J.R, Smith scored 18 points, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson scored 16 points, Timofey Mozgov had 14 points and Matthew Dellavedova added 10 points for Cleveland. Thompson pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers and Smith also grabbed 10 rebounds in the Game 4. James lead the Cavaliers with 7 assists. Irving was returning from injury and played just under 22 minutes and it was good for Cleveland to get him into a game before the finals. There was a lot of talk of if he should play or if the Cavaliers should just hold him out until the finals started. As long as Irving came out of Game 4 healthy it was the best thing for him to get a game and some minutes under his belt before the NBA finals start. Jeff Teague led Atlanta in scoring with 17 points in Game 4. Paul Millsap had 16 points and 10 rebounds 8 assists while Kent Bazemore had 12 points and 8 assists, Shelvin Mack and John Jenkins both added 10 points for Atlanta. With Kyle Korver missing Game 4 with an injury Atlanta shot 15.6 % from behind the 3 point line going 5 for 32. The only Atlanta player to make more than one 3 pointer was Jenkins and he had 2. It was a rough end for a team like Atlanta that played so well during the regular season and this will just add to the playoff failures the Hawks have had over the years.

The first chance for Cleveland to learn who it’s finals opponent might be is Friday. Game 5 between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets tips off at 8:00 p.m. Central time on ESPN with the Warriors leading the series 3 games to 1 and looking to close it out. I’m sure every Golden State fan was relieved to see Stephan Curry come back on the court and play some minutes after the horrible fall he took earlier in Game 4. This was another situation where there was talk of if Curry should’ve returned to the game. I don;t see it being any issues as long as he was medically cleared to return to the game by  a doctor. You’d have to think if Curry isn’t have any lingering issues from the fall you have to think they’ll be able to close out the Rockets tonight, but Houston did come back from being down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in their last series. Not that my predictions ever work out; so sorry Warriors fans, but I’m taking them to win on Friday.

NASCAR had it’s longest race of the season last Sunday. It was the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards used a fuel mileage strategy to get a win and propel himself and his Joe Gibbs Racing #19 into The Chase. Greg Biffle also running a fuel mileage strategy had his best finish of the season finishing 2nd. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 3rd, Matt Kenseth finished 4th and Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps (131) during the race, but came in 5th. Now I’m a fan of NASCAR, but I have to say that I don’t enjoy the races that are won with fuel mileage. I understand that strategy is all part of NASCAR and wins are of the up most importance with The Chase set up, but I didn’t enjoy it. NASCAR has had 9 different winners so far this season; so those 9 drivers look good for The Chase. Now the Sprint Cup series goes to Dover International Speedway this Sunday for the Fed-Ex 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. Will there be a repeat winner? or will NASCAR get it’s 10th different winner this season?

There were a couple of other races on Sunday. Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 trading the lead with Will Power a few times late in the race before he pulled away for the win. Power had to settle for 2nd place. The F1 series had the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday and for the 3rd consecutive year  Nico Rosberg won. It appeared that Lewis Hamilton was on his way to victory in Monaco, but some poor strategy cost him and he ended up in 3rd place. Besides Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel was the other driver to take advantage of Hamilton’s issues and finished 2nd. I saw very little of the Monaco Grand Prix, but I did get to see quite a bit of the Indianapolis 500. Did you watch ither race? or are you a fan of either of these racing series?

The New York Rangers evened their series with the Tampa Bay Lighting last night with a 7-3 victory. The win by the Rangers forces a Game 7 for this series Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Central time. New York had a 2-1 lead going into the 3rd period and then out scored the Lighting 5 to 2 in that 3rd period to pull away for the win.  Derick Brassard had a hat trick for the Rangers scoring the 1st, 5th and final goals. Nikita Kucherov had both of the Tampa Bay goals in the 3rd period. We’ll see if the Chicago Blackhawks can extend their series against the Anaheim Ducks tonight. Anaheim leads the series 3 games to 2 with Game 6 being played tonight in Chicago. The Game is on the NBC Sports Network starting at 7:00 p.m. Central time. Will we get two Game 7’s in the NHL conference finals?

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Let’s call it Wednesday.

Posted: February 18, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, sports
Tags: , , , ,

2/18/15

Since the NBA is on its extended LeBron James All-Star break let’s take a peak at what might be. Each team has under 30 games left and as the playoff match ups get clearer imagine a #1 seeded Golden State Warriors taking on a #8 seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the 1st round. How would the Warriors season be looked at if the lost in the 1st round of the playoffs even if it was to a team with the talent level of Oklahoma City. It could be a potentially great series with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson leading the way for the Warriors against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for the Thunder. Now Oklahoma City still has some work to do though as the Phoenix Suns are the #8 seed in the Western conference right now. Phoenix is 29-25 while Oklahoma City is 28-25; so that #8 seed may come down to the wire. There are a couple of other possible Western conference playoff match ups that we could see. How about the #2 seeded Memphis Grizzlies against the #7 seeded and defending champion San Antonio Spurs. You have to figure the veteran Spurs team isn’t worried about their seeding and just want to be in the playoffs. Memphis would be a tough match up for any team in the Western conference, but this would be another great 1st round match up. We could also see the #3 seeded Portland Trailblazers against the #6 seeded Los Angeles Clippers. LaMarcus Aldridge has put off thumb surgery until the end of the season and it doesn’t seem to be affecting him too much. The Clippers of course are the “Lob City” team in the NBA. Just another great match up we could get in the 1st round. In the Eastern conference how interesting would it be to see the #5 seeded Cleveland Cavaliers go against the #4 seed Washington Wizards. It seems like the Cavaliers have worked out a lot of their issues, but Washington matches up well against anyone in the Eastern conference. The Chicago Bulls would be the #3 seed and they would face the upstart #6 seed Milwaukee Bucks. Now the Bulls are playoff tested and Derrick Rose looks healthy, but the Bucks are young and haven’t been in the playoffs in a few seasons; so they might be loose and ready to play. Could you imagine a scenario where we see the #!, #2 and #3 seeds go out in the 1st round of the Western conference playoffs. How about in the Eastern conference where the Bulls could go out in round 1 along with LeBron  James and the Cavaliers. These type of scenarios should make the end of the season interesting to see who gets what seed and who’s on the outside looking into the playoffs.

Now the Atlanta Hawks are 43-11 at the All-Star break and have the best record in the Eastern conference by 7 games over the Toronto Raptors, but even with a #1 seed ill they be the favorites to go to the NBA Finals. Interestingly the Raptors play in Atlanta the first game out of the break this Friday, February 20th. Could this be an Eastern conference finals preview? After Friday’s game the Hawks will face to more potential playoff teams. They’ll play the Milwaukee Bucks on February 22nd and then the Dallas Mavericks on February 25th. There still seems to be quite a few talking heads on the television who aren’t sold on the Hawks. In a way I can see this as no one had the Hawks playing like this at the start of the season and they’ll need to prove they belong with the elite clubs come playoff time. Jeff Teague is the Hawks leader in scoring with 17 Points Per Game (PPG) and 7.5 Assists Per Game (APG), but is he considered a superstar in the NBA. The Hawks reflect a team concept that I’m not sure a lot of fans are used to in the NBA where most teams are refered to by one or two top players on that team. How would the NBA handle the Hawks in the NBA finals against the Spurs. We’d get to see Mike Budenholzer coach against his mentor Gregg Popovich, but lets not get to far ahead of ourselves.

The NBA trade deadline is tomorrow February 19th. Goran Dragic has been the hot name rumored to be dealt, but where will he end up. Dragic will be a free agent at the end of the season; so he’s looking like a rent a player type of pick up. There have been a lot of playoff teams associated with Dragic’s name, but one non-playoff team that has come up is the Boston Celtics. While I don’t understand why the Celtics would be interested in Dragic or if he would consider stay with Boston after this season their name has come up. With  Amar’e Stoudemire being bought out by the New York Knicks and signing with the Dallas Mavericks you have to wonder if any other big men will be changing teams. Could someone like the Los Angeles Lakers Jordan Hill help a playoff contender. I heard a couple of interesting names pop up in trade talk; David Lee of the Warriors and Jamal Crawford of the Clippers, but I’d be very, very surprised if either of those players were traded.

Jeff Gordon started off his final full-time season in NASCAR by winning the pole for this Sunday’s Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway. The Budweiser Duel races will be run tomorrow (Thursday) to set the rest of the field. The Duel races are two 60 lap, 150 mile races. Jimmie Johnson qualified 2nd for the 500 and will start next to his teammate Gordon on Sunday. The Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s biggest race of the season and it always seems a little odd that it’s the first race of the year, but it works for them. NASCAR didn’t make any changes to their Chase format; so they must’ve liked it. We’ll see if we get the same excitement we got last season where winners automatically move into the Chase and the rest of the field is filled in by the drivers with the highest point totals for the season. Gordon will lead the field for Sunday’s race and maybe in his last full-time season he leaves as the Sprint Cup champion.

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2/7/15

For the first time last night (Friday) we started the podcast with an interview. Eric Huysman from Climbing Tals Hill came back on Sports Time Radio to discuss some Houston Astros baseball, but mostly to talk about the MLB Networks Top 10 2nd baseman rankings. On Eric’s first visit to the podcast he learned what big fans of Jose Altuve we where and tweeted out that MLB Network had him 6th on their Top 10 list. You have to look at the source of the list and try hard to not take fantasy baseball into consideration when making a list like this. That can make it tough and I try not to be to fantasy bias, but I think 6th is quite low. I’m sure the list had a lot of Sabermetics involved in it and there is some East coast bias. Then add in the fact that the Astros have been bad for a few seasons now and I’m sure those are some of the reasons they held Altuve down. Here’s the MLB Network list:

#1 Robinson Cano Seattle Mariners

#2 Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox

#3 Ben Zobrist Oakland A’s

#4 Neil Walker Pittsburgh Pirates

#5 Ian Kinsler Detroit Tigers

#6 Jose Altuve Houston Astros

#7 Howie Kendrick Los Angeles Dodgers

#8 Chase Utley Philadelphia Phillies

#9 Brian Dozier Minnesota Twins

#10 Scooter Gennett Milwaukee Brewers

Besides the error in ranking Altuve; where is Dee Gordon? I have no issues at all with Cano at #1 and I don’t think even Astros fans would argue that ranking. I would’ve had Altuve as the #2 2nd baseman. I like Zobrist at #3 and Gordon would be #4 for me. Give me Kinsler at #5, Walker at #6  with Utley at #7 with Pedroia at #8. Kendrick would be solid at #9 and I would have Jason Kipnis at #10. Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals would’ve been on this list, but he’s playing 3rd base this season.  Am I a little bias towards Altuve; yeah I’m sure I am. If you follow this blog you know that I believe he was the MVP in the American League last season. While Houston was 70-92 in 2014 I think you could make a case that Altuve is just as important to the Astros as Mike Trout is to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Where would the Astros of ended up last season had they not had Altuve. Not only did he win a batting title; which with Sabermetrics doesn’t mean a whole lot, but he also hit clean up at times for the Astros. While Trout is the best player in Major League Baseball, Altuve hung with him stat wise in 2014. Trout scored more runs 115-85, had more triples 9-3, more home runs 36-7, more RBI’s 111-59 and walks 83-36. Altuve led in hits 225-173, doubles 47-39, strikeouts 53-184, stolen bases 56-16 and batting average .341-.287. You can just pick the stats that you like best and run with them. Now if Altuve’s numbers can compare with the best player in baseball and last seasons MVP award winner; how is just the 6th ranked 2nd baseman in M.L.B. for the 2015 season.

We where hoping to have some breaking news on the podcast last night, but it never happened as James Shields is still unsigned. Shields camp was saying that he’d sign with a team by the end of the week. Now depending on what the end of the week is to you maybe he has until tomorrow (Sunday) to sign with a team. Now that Shields contract terms appear to have changed the Chicago Cubs have shown some interest in him according to reports. I found it funny that on Chicago sports radio fans where calling in and complaining about this signing if it happened because Shields has a bad post season record. Did I miss the Cubs repeated trips to the post season and all those World Series titles that they’ve been winning. I guess since the Cubs are the trendy pick this season and in the coming seasons I guess their fans think they can be picky. I would think as a Cubs fan that you’d be excited to add a pitcher of Shields quality. Shields takes the ball every five days as he’s made 31 or more starts every year since 2007. Now at 33 years old I can understand that a team wouldn’t want to go four or five years on a contract with Shields, but you could go three years with him and maybe an option for a 4th depending on how he pitches. I guess we’re still waiting for the “end of the week” to find out where Shields pitches in 2015.

The two best teams in the NBA played last night as the Atlanta Hawks (42-9) defeated the Golden State Warriors (39-9) 124-116 in Atlanta last night. Jeff Teague led the Hawks in scoring with 23 points, but seven Hawks where in double figures. Paul Milsap had 21 points, Kyle Korver and Mike Scott had 17 points, DeMarre Carroll and Al Horford had 12 points while Kent Bazemore added 11 points. Scott and Bazemore came off the bench for the Hawks last night to add scoring. Horford grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the team while Korver had 7 boards. Dennis Schroder tied Teague for the team lead in assists with 7 while Horford also handed out 6 assists. Korver was 5 for 9 from behind the 3-point line while Bazemore and Scott both went 3 for 3 from behind the 3-point arc.  Atlanta shot 55.6% from behind the 3-point line last night going 15 for 27 in the game. Klay Thompson led the warriors in scoring with 29 points, Stephen Curry added 26 points and Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green add 12 points for Golden State. Green also had 20 rebounds and handed out 6 assists as Curry led the Warriors in assists with 9. Thompson was 4 for 8 and Curry was 4 for 9 from behind the 3-point line, but the Warriors shot just 36.4% from behind the arc. The game was tied at 52 all at halftime. The Hawks where able to get a 4 point lead after 3 quarters and outscored the Warriors 35-31 in the 4th quarter for the win. Did we get an NBA finals preview last night; it’s still to early to tell, but we did get a good game. With the win Atlanta now has the best record in the NBA Golden State is in the midst of playing four games in five nights and take on the New York Knicks tonight in New York. The Hawks get a day off before visiting the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

If you’re in a fantasy hockey league like Dan the Man and I are it was a good night to play all of your Columbus Blue Jackets and a bad night to start the St. Louis Blues Brian Elliott in-goal. Elliott gave up four of the seven Blue Jackets goals and was pulled for Jake Allen; who gave up the final three Columbus goals. Nick Foligno was the only Blue Jackets player with multiple goals scoring two to bring his season total to 20. Cam Atkinson, Ryan Johansen, Corey Tropp, Matt Calvert and Scott Hartnell where the other Blue Jackets who put the puck in the back of the net last night. Brandon Dubinsky and Johansen also picked up two assists for Columbus. Paul Stastny was the only Blues player to score a goal. Curtis McElhinney got the win on goal for Columbus stopping 33 of 34 St. Louis shots. The Blue Jackets turn right around and play the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa tonight while St. Louis has a rivalry game with an early Sunday start (11:30 a.m.) against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

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So how was your week?

1/21/15

Are the Atlanta hawks the best team in the Eastern conference of the NBA? With a 34-8 record and on a 13 game winning streak you could make that argument. Under 2nd year head coach Mike Budenholzer the Hawks are playing more of an uptempo style and have been compared to the team that Budenholzer worked for 16 or 17 seasons the San Antonio Spurs. Yesterday on the Sports Time Radio podcast Brad Rowland from ATLallday.com talked about the fact that the hawks are just one win away from tying the team’s all-time record for wins in a row. They’ll get their chance to tie that record tonight (Wednesday) as they host the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are in last place in the Central division of the Eastern conference at 15-28 coming into tonight’s game. This could be considered a classic trap game for the Hawks as they have a big match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday and if they’re looking ahead to that game the Pacers may surprise them. If the Hawks can get their 14th win tonight and they find a way to get past the Thunder for #15 they’ll have a couple of winnable games Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves and then a week from today against the Brooklyn Nets. Could the Atlanta winning streak be at 17 when they go up against the 2nd best team record wise in the Western conference the Portland Trailblazers. Now if you don’t consider Atlanta to be the best team in the Eastern conference; you’d have to say they’re the biggest surprise right now. Stat wise you wouldn’t know how well this team is doing. They don’t have a player who averages 20 points a game. Jeff Teague is averaging the most points per game with 17.2. Paul Milsap isn’t far behind at 16.9 points per game. Milsap is the teams rebounding leader with 7.9 per game. Al Horford is 2nd in rebounding at 6,6 per game. Teague is easily the team leader in assists handing out 7.3 per game. You can’t talk about the success the Hawks are having without mentioning the role that Kyle Korver has played. Korver is shooting 53.6% from behind the three point line and adding 13.2 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game and 2.9 assists per game. The Hawks have avoided a major injury to a star player this season and still may have some issues inside against bigger teams, but their isn’t a team in the NBA on a better roll right now.

The team in the Eastern conference that might give the Hawks the most problems could be the Washington Wizards. While the Chicago Bulls are struggling right now and the Cleveland Cavaliers are still trying to find their way the Wizards have the 2nd best record in the Eastern conference at 29-13. The Wizards have what the Hawks struggle against; bigger player who can move. The Wizards have Marcin Gortat, Nene as starters with Kris Humphries and Kevin Seraphin coming off the bench. While I think everyone is expecting the Cavaliers or the Bulls to represent the Eastern conference in the NBA finals, but don’t be surprise if you see the Wizards vs. the Hawks for the right to play for the NBA title.

7 years and $210 million is what it took the Washington Nationals to land Max Scherzer. Scherzer turns 31 in July; so that means the back-end of this contract will be terrible for Washington. There was a lot of money deferred; so does that make Schrezer the new Bobby Bonilla? While the contract says seven years he’ll be paid over a period of fourteen years. Schrezer was 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA last season for the Detroit Tigers. The knock on Schrezer is the fact that he’s had one complete game in 198 career starts, but that complete game was last season. Schrezer is also one year removed from a Cy Young award-winning season. Schrezer joins the nationals starting rotation along with Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister. They also have Tanner Roark, but you’d think if the Nationals don’t make another deal Roark may be ticketed for the bullpen. There is talk of the Nationals looking for a bullpen arm, but would they deal Zimmerman to get him or would Roark be the starter that gets dealt. Either way with the Schrezer signing the Nationals have on paper what appears to be the best starting rotation in Major League Baseball but will it win them a World Series.

I was a little surprised to see the Milwaukee Brewers trade Yovani Gallardo. He had been the ace of their pitching staff and even though his stats where in decline I didn’t think they would trade him. In return for Gallardo Milwaukee received a group of young players. Infielder Luis Sardinas and right-handed pitchers Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan. There was some talk that the Brewers would be interested in Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals, but it doesn’t appear that will happen; so it looks like Jimmy Nelson is the guy tab to move into the Milwaukee starting rotation. We’ll have Phil Watson from DairylandExpress.com on the podcast today (Wednesday) and you know this topic will come up.

The Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs made a deal as the Astros have traded outfielder Dexter Fowler to Chicago for infielder Luis Valbuena and right-handed pitcher Dan Straily. The Cubs had reportedly been seeking an outfielder, and Fowler will take over in center and join an outfield mix that also includes Jorge Soler, Chris Coghlan, Chris Denorfia and Arismendy Alcantara. Alcantara is just 23 and struggled in his first big league season in 2014, so perhaps the Cubs will have him start the season in the minors, or maybe they’ll also have him play infield, perhaps using him at third base until Kris Bryant arrives. Mike Olt and Tommy La Stella could also be in the short-term mix at third. If you’ve ever heard the podcast you know I’m all in on Kris Bryant and thought he should’ve been with the major league team at the end of last season. Sadly the Cubs are looking for control of Bryant for as long as they can; so I won’t be surprised at all if the Cubs keep Bryant in the minors until July just for that one extra year of control. Where Bryant starts the season at will tell you exactly where the Cubs think they are. If he’s in Chicago with the big club the Cubs think they have a shot at a playoff berth. If Bryant starts the season at Triple A Iowa the Cubs feel they won’t be a playoff team and hold Bryant back.

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