- Eric Freeman at Dirty Tackle52 mins ago
The 2014 World Cup has been marked by several controversies regarding head injuries to players and the inability of virtually everyone — the players themselves, coaches, doctors, officials, etc. — to make sure they receive the proper medical care. In Uruguay's group stage match vs. England, defender Alvaro Pereira was knocked unconscious, only to finish the match against apparent medical advice. In Argentina's semifinal match against the Netherlands, midfielder Javier Mascherano took a shot, fell to the ground, received a cursory exam, and played the full 120 minutes despite outcry from various observers on site and watching on TV. Both cases have compelled some serious questions as to FIFA's approach to treating head injuries on the pitch, with many analysts and former players asking for strict guidelines and requirements.
- Eric Freeman at Dirty Tackle1 day ago
Brazil entered Saturday's third-place game of the 2014 World Cup hoping to salvage something from its home tournament after a horrific 7-1 loss to Germany in Tuesday's semifinal. After only a few minutes against the Netherlands, the Brazilians had to deal with more of the same.
In the second minute, defender and captain Thiago Silva — who missed the Germany thrashing on suspension for yellow-card accumulation — pulled down Arjen Robben from the back after the Dutch attacker had sprinted past the Brazilian defense:
For many NBA fans, the surprisingly effective Phoenix Suns were the most watchable team of the 2012-13 season. While they missed out on the postseason in the final days of the regular season, the Suns went from looking like a franchise strategically courting as many losses as possible to an upstart 48-win squad that didn't even need three first-round picks to have a bright future. Better yet, they did it with a very exciting offensive attack led by the point guard combo of All-NBA Third Team member Goran Dragic and highly regarded Eric Bledsoe, a restricted free agent this summer.
This offseason, the Suns appear to be doubling down on the success of last season by adding even more capable backcourt scorers. On Friday, they reached a deal to add another starter-quality point guard. As reported by Yahoo's own Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns reached a four-year, $27-million agreement with Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas. Instead of matching the offer, the Kings facilitated a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns:
Friday was one of the most important days ever in the NBA offseason. The biggest decision obviously came from LeBron James, a Cleveland Cavalier once again, but we also saw Chris Bosh re-up with the Heat (dashing the plans of the Houston Rockets) and several other players move around the NBA. After a long waiting period, we've seen enough activity to keep us analyzing developments right up until the start of the regular season.
Four years ago, the Miami Heat and team president Pat Riley created what looked like the NBA superteam that would challenge the very competitive nature of the league itself. After two championships, four conference titles, and a whole lot of public interest, this particular iteration of the Heat is no more. With the irreplaceable LeBron James heading back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the trio he formed with Chris Bosh (still in Miami for the foreseeable future) and likely Heat lifer Dwyane Wade will no longer strike fear into the hearts of rivals. This group didn't reach the lofty, history-altering accomplishments promised by their union, but they still stand as the dominant figures in basketball — both culturally and on the court — over this relatively short period of time.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie2 days ago
When the Nets moved from New Jersey to their shiny rusty new home in Brooklyn in the fall of 2012, they took it as an opportunity to reform the image of the franchise. They set out to be the hip alternative to the presumably stodgy, tradition-oriented New York Knicks in Manhattan. They would have black uniforms. They would play on a herringbone-patterned court. They would make many bold, financially inadvisable moves to capture a decent playoff seed. These would not be your grandma's Nets.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie4 days ago
After several months of controversy, the saga of Donald Sterling and the Los Angeles Clippers at least appears to be reaching some more tangible development, if not outright resolution. This week, Mr. Sterling and his estranged wife Shelly are in California probate court to determine which of the two has control over the Sterling Family Trust and, by extension, the Clippers. Mrs. Sterling, intent to sell the franchise for a record sum of $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, gained control of the trust after two doctors deemed her husband mentally unable to uphold the duties. Donald and his lawyers fired back by claiming that those tests were administered improperly — you know, because he got drinks with the doctor after it happened, as people normally do — and now they're in court to sort it all out.
- Eric Freeman at Dirty Tackle4 days ago
Heading into Brazil's World Cup semifinal match against Germany, fans of the Selecao must have known that the hosts would be in for a severe challenge. Facing one of the best teams in the tournament without star Neymar and top defender Thiago Silva (also the team's captain), Brazil was always going to need several fantastic performances from individuals and an elite team effort.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie5 days ago
In the midst of the summer's typical free agent frenzy — full of real signings but typified by the frenzy surrounding big-time moves — it can sometimes be necessary to get a taste of real basketball, no matter the quality of play. Thankfully, various pro-am leagues are here to help. While these games would never be mistaken for the NBA, a star-laden pickup game has its own merits. At the very least, they remind us of what can make the pro game so delightful.
This past weekend, Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George brought his talents to the Drew League, the premier pro-am in Los Angeles. George, a native of Palmdale in L.A. County, is a regular participant in the league every summer. But this time he showed off a special highlight:
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie9 days ago
When Vivek Ranadive became the owner of the Sacramento Kings last spring, he did so triumphantly, as the man who had saved the franchise from a relocation to Seattle and kept the NBA in California's capital. However, beyond that very obvious status, he promised a new era of competitiveness simply because he was not a member of the Maloof family. For years, Kings ownership pinched pennies and seemed to have little interest in putting out a quality basketball team. Ranadive would at least make a meaningful effort to return the Kings to glory.
More than a year later, no one can say that Ranadive and general manager Pete D'Alessandro have not made that effort. Unfortunately, the Kings' on-court future looks increasingly average, to the point where a course correction may be required soon.