Drummond and Monroe, both part of USA Basketball and hopefuls for the 2016 Olympics, pulled off a tandem rebounding feat in Wednesday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks not accomplished by two Pistons since Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman in 1990.
Blazers, Suns poke fun at Eastern Conference
Though this is a league of parity, the difference in talent between the Eastern and Western conferences this year is large and undeniable. The Eastern conference currently only has two teams with a winning record. Teams that aren’t even playoff caliber in the West would likely fight for a 4th seed in the East, and fans and analysts alike have taken notice. You can add teams from the West to the group of people mocking how weak the East is, as the Phoenix Suns joined the Portland Trail Blazers on Twitter in poking fun at the lesser conference.
Jose Mourinho Claims Chelsea Were 2 Corners from Defeat, Hails Eden Hazard
Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea would have dropped three points to Sunderland if they conceded two further corners.
The Blues boss watched on as his side scraped a 4-3 victory against the Black Cats, who scored two of their trio from corner situations.
Despite hailing his side for a “phenomenal game,” the Portuguese manager believes any more set pieces could have punished his team, per Damian Spellman of the Press Association via the Daily Mail:
It was a very good performance. Even defensively, I think we did well, but the set-pieces.
Pele Refuses to Perform World Cup Draw for Fear of Bad Luck for Brazil
Brazilian football legend Pele turned down the opportunity to help with the 2014 World Cup draw on Friday, for fear of handing his country a tough draw.
Expectations are running high and, with any sign of a negative draw likely to bring disappointment, Pele has decided to stay well clear.
Per Reuters, via the Daily Mail, he said:
President Dilma (Rousseff) suggested that I represent Brazil when it came to pulling the balls out of the pots, which I’ve done several times before.
I preferred to turn down the offer because I wouldn’t feel comfortable in picking out balls which are not favourable to Brazil.
Premier League Player Power Rankings: Suarez Stuns, Lukaku Soars, Rooney Falters
Welcome to the latest edition of our Premier League player rankings, a special edition owing to the full midweek slate of action.
We’ve got two new additions this week as some of the established names fall off the list, while we’ve also got two notable risers—no prizes for guessing who they were!
All statistics are from WhoScored.
Paper News & Gossip: Moyes Mauled, Suarez in Real Madrid Transfer Link
Manchester United manager David Moyes would be wise to steer clear of the newspapers on Thursday after his side’s home defeat to Everton.
The Scot failed to win at United in 11 years as Goodison Park boss, but successor Roberto Martinez succeeded on his first attempt with the Toffees.
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has again seen his link with Real Madrid resurface following his hat-trick against Norwich City in an exceptional individual display at Anfield.
Who else is making the headlines on Thursday morning? Read on to find out more.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Washington Redskins: Breaking Down Washington’s Game Plan
The Washington Redskins must be bold enough to attack the Kansas City Chiefs’ opportunistic defense, while their own unit cannot underestimate quarterback Alex Smith.
Use Bunch Sets to Beat Man Coverage
The Chiefs’ heavy reliance on man coverage has been terrorized by bunch formations in recent weeks. Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan must follow the same template to manufacture big plays through the air.
The Chiefs have struggled to react to bunch looks and stay with receivers running multiple crossing patterns.
UFC Fight Night 33 Weigh-In Results and Updates
UFC Fight Night 33 hits the airwaves on Friday night from Australia, but first the fighters must step on the scales on Thursday evening.
The weigh-ins will take place at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 2.
Arsene Wenger Refuses to Write off Manchester United as Arsenal’s Test Looms
Arsene Wenger believes Manchester United cannot be dismissed from the Premier League title race, despite trailing his Arsenal side by a chasm of 12 points.
The French manager is refusing to get excited after United’s 1-0 home defeat to Everton, reported by Laura Williamson of the Daily Mail:
It’s a surprising defeat but it’s still too early. We’ve seen that before – the 12 points are only on us. We have just to keep winning to have a chance and not worry too much about the others.
5 MLB Pitching Prospects Tearing It Up in the Winter Leagues
With the trades that have already taken place this week, as well as those expected to go down next week during MLB’s Winter Meetings, it’s easy to forget there’s actually meaningful baseball still being played.
Many of baseball’s top prospects once again are represented in the various international winter leagues this year as they look to get a head start on the 2014 season. But given the time of year and obvious concerns about pitchers’ workloads, a majority of the big-name prospects playing winter ball are hitters. At the same time, it’s not as though the leagues are completely devoid of promising arms.
Picking a Best Arsenal XI for Every Decade Since the 1960s
Arsenal have been blessed with some magnificent players over the last 50 years.
Every era has had its stars. There have been top scorers, title-winners and even “Invincibles.” There have also been those whose achievements in an Arsenal shirt have since been forgotten, but whose heroics still merit commemoration.
Lionel Messi Has Beaten Cristiano Ronaldo to Ballon D’Or, Claims News Agency
A Spanish news agency that has form in predicting the Ballon d’Or winner, Agencia News, has reported that Lionel Messi will win a fifth crown next month, per the Mirror’s John Cross.
Last year, the same agency correctly established the contest’s top five players prior to the award’s announcement. It has now made a similar forecast this year, with the betting market also swinging in the Argentine’s favour.
Per Cross, William Hill spokesman Tony Kenny commented:
It seems the momentum is behind Messi.
New Zealand vs. West Indies, 1st Test: Scorecard, Report from Dunedin Day 3
New Zealand closed in on victory in the First Test against the West Indies in Dunedin after the Caribbean batting collapsed in the face of some probing New Zealand bowling.
Trent Boult and Tim Southee both bowled the ball full and straight, but that aside conditions looked ideal for batting and there could be little excuse for the West Indies folding for 213 all out in their first innings—a full 397 runs short of the follow-on target.
They fared better when New Zealand put them in again, scoring 168 for two by stumps, but saving the match looks a near-impossibility from this point.
There was the occasional ray of sunshine for the West Indies—Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s breezy 76 bore witness to his 11,000th Test run.
Luis Suarez Super Show Staggeringly Blamed on Norwich Defence by Chris Hughton
Norwich boss Chris Hughton found a way to blame his own team after Luis Suarez produced one of the greatest all-time Premier League performances to lead Liverpool to a 5-1 win at Anfield.
Suarez netted four times to take his personal tally to 11 in five games against the Canaries. Three of Wednesday’s strikes were close to unstoppable.
However, that did not stop Hughton pointing the finger at his defenders, per David Maddock of the Daily Mirror:
Yes he has incredible talent, but if you afford him that space then he will do that.
David Moyes Reacts to Everton Fans’ Abuse After Manchester United Defeat
David Moyes endured arguably the toughest night of his Manchester United career on Dec. 4, a day that will be forever remembered for Everton breaking their 20-year curse at Old Trafford with a late goal from Bryan Oviedo.
The Scottish manager—who failed to beat the Red Devils on their own turf in 11 years with Everton—was helpless as the Toffees punished his squad of strugglers for failing to capitalise on earlier chances.
Away supporters made the most of the situation and chanted that Moyes was “full of sh*t” throughout the match, something their former boss didn’t take seriously, per Alan Nixon of the Mirror:
“It wasn’t important,” said Moyes.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Top Candidates to Replace Todd Haley This Offseason
The cries to fire Todd Haley quieted somewhat when the Pittsburgh Steelers won three straight games after a 2-6 start.
However, last week’s 22-20 loss at Baltimore was a debilitating blow to the Steelers’ playoff chances.
If the Steelers miss the playoffs for a second straight year, people will lose their jobs. The offensive coordinator likely will be one of the assistant coaches who takes the fall.
Australia vs. England Ashes 2013: Day 1 Scorecard and Recap from Adelaide
Australia moved to 273-5 on what was an even opening day’s play in Adelaide, although three dropped catches from England will frustrate Alastair Cook and his side.
On a day which started with the surprise selections of Ben Stokes and Monty Panesar, England made steady progress through the Australian batting lineup on a fairly lifeless pitch at the Adelaide Oval.
After a morning in which the headlines were dominated by another racism storm, reported by the Daily Mail’s Phil Gradwell, England passed up the opportunity to take full control on Day 1 with a disappointing day in the field.
Australia began the second Test in confident style, with David Warner racing to a score of 29 off just 32 balls before a strange shot selection saw him lob the ball gently to point—with Shane Watson joining Chris Rogers at the crease.
5 MLB Players Who Have Already Been Way Overpaid This Offseason
With the new ESPN television revenue deal kicking in this season, MLB teams have noticeably been spending a lot more money this offseason compared to years prior. In fact, to date, teams have spent approximately .5 million per 1.0 bWAR, which is significantly more than the standard five percent year-to-year spike.
Michael Jordan Finally Doing Something Right as Bobcats Owner
Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats are not a good NBA team. But for the first time in a long while, they’re respectable.
Perhaps the fact that the preceding sentence counts as something of an accomplishment is a good indicator of the low bar MJ has set in his reign as team owner.
Outside of an impressive 2009-10 season that resulted in the organization’s only playoff berth, there’s been almost nothing to enjoy about the Bobcats.
Moves the Dodgers Must Try to Pull off at the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings
Ned Colletti’s Los Angeles Dodgers will head into the winter meetings out of the public eye. They have laid low for much of the offseason so far. However, the Dodgers are still at the center of some rumors.
Matt Kemp’s name has come up in connection with the Boston Red Sox, per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.