Boston Celtics Draft Talk

Written By: Conner Pack

– Trading the Number 1 Pick? 

After what for the most part was a very boring NBA season, the offseason has been quite the opposite. One of the biggest headlines so far has came out of Boston, with the Celtics deciding to trade the first overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. Some would say it’s shocking, I know I was. But in exchange the Celtics received the third pick in this years draft as well as a future first round pick, which I liked. 

Since Brad Stevens has been the head coach, the Celtics have taken major strides and have gotten better each year. The rebuilding process has been quicker than expected, in large part because of the moves general manager Danny Ainge has made. The trade he made over the weekend is a prime example. Over the last couple years the Celtics have accumulated a lot of draft picks, several of which have been first round lottery picks. 

By trading away the number one pick, the Celtics have decided to stick with Isaiah Thomas as their leader. I say that because, if the Celtics would’ve kept the first pick I’m 99.9% sure they would’ve drafted Markelle Fultz. I liked Fultz and felt like he would’ve been great for the team, but then there would’ve been a controversy or some disfunction with Isaiah Thomas and his future. 

– Why I Like the Trade

This trade long term is very beneficial for the Celtics. One, it gives them a solid draft pick to barter/trade, which I hope they do.  

Two, if you keep the pick you’ll still be able to draft a really good player. More than likely Fultz will go one and Ball will go two. So that leaves you with Tatum or Jackson, either one I think would fit in good with the Celtics. 

Three, they’ll more than likely have another lottery pick next year. So overall, the Celtics are in a great position moving forward. 

The last reason why I like the trade is, the Celtics didn’t really need another young guard. Would Fultz help? No doubt he would. But the Celtics have a solid four guard rotation with Thomas, Bradley, Smart, and Rozier. Throughout the playoffs all four of those guys really stepped up, understood their role, and made impacts. Especially second year player Terry Rozier. 

– Final Thoughts 

Come Thursday we’ll have a better idea of which direction the Celtics are trying to go. Do they want to win a championship now? Or are they planning on being the team to beat two to three years down the road? Last season, the Celtics finished first in the eastern conference and made it to the eastern conference finals. But we all knew the Celtics weren’t the best team in the east, that they’re still a player, maybe two players away. 

Finally, the Celtics are in a great position with some great young talent and one of the best coaches in the NBA. 

– Scenarios (Moves I would Like to See) 

I think, if the Celtics can make a play and trade the third pick to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler. That would show they’re trying to win now and contend for a championship. Because, it seems as though the Celtics are the front runners to sign Gordon Hayward. By adding those two guys that would elevate this Celtics team to another level. 

However though, the Celtics still lack a big man presence down low. You can say what you want about Al Horford, but he doesn’t give you that presence inside. So maybe they try and target a big man either through free agency or trade the third pick for big man instead of Butler. 

Eric Decker to the Titans 

Written By: Conner Pack

Over the weekend, the Titans made yet again another solid offseason acquisition by signing veteran wide receiver Eric Decker. Over the course of Deckers career, he’s proved to be a very reliable and accountable team player. Despite some injury setbacks, Decker has been a major part of each of the offenses he has played in. Decker, started his career as a Denver Bronco and after a couple very successful seasons with Peyton Manning, he would leave and signed with the New York Jets. After three seasons the Jets cut Decker last week. 

With that being said, joining the Titans is great for him as well as for the Titans. It’s great for Decker, because he gets to revamp his NFL career, with what should be a good Titans team. It’s great for the Titans, because he brings veteran leadership, depth, and competition to a young wide receiver corp. Something the Titans haven’t had for sometime now. 

– Final Thoughts 

For several years, the Titans have lacked star power and consistency at the wide receiver position. During the last two off-seasons they have finally really began addressing the issue. Last season, signing Rashard Mathews and drafting Taje Sharpe. Then this year by drafting Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor. 

Now the jury is still out on Sharpe, Davis, and Taylor. But all three look to have promising NFL careers. 

With this signing I believe the Titans are looking to be a more explosive offensive team. Last season was the exotic smash mouth. This season, I think they will open up the passing game and allow Mariota to let it fly. 

Finally, before the signing of Decker I thought the Titans were in the best position to win the AFC south heading into this season, barring injury. Adding Decker, in my opinion has sealed the deal for me. As long as Mariota can stay healthy and the young guys play like we think they will, the Titans should win the AFC south. 

NBA Finals Game 1 Reaction

Written by: Conner Pack

– Quick Summary

After a season of build up, Cavs Warriors round three has begun. What started out as an interesting game quickly turned into a full on blood bath for the Cavaliers. The first half was very entertaining, up and down fast pace game, several awesome dunks, and of course some solid three point shooting on display. Then in the third quarter the Warriors caught fire and never looked back. Scoring the first 13 points of the half, extending their lead to double digits. The Cavaliers were held scoreless for the first four minutes of the third quarter. For the most part after that run the Warriors were in full control. The Warriors would win 113-91. 

– Take Aways 

Going into the game I posted a couple of things I was looking for: how will the Cavaliers match up with the Warriors, will either bench play a factor, rustiness, and will KD rise to the occasion. 

To start the game we got to see LeBron and KD matched up against one another. But, that didn’t last long. After the first quarter there really wasn’t much defense played by the Cavaliers. The Warriors got any and every shot they wanted. 

As for the bench play, the Cavaliers, didn’t get much production. Korver and D Will were both held scoreless. Jefferson scored 9 and had 5 rebounds. That was about it for them. The Warriors bench however would play well. Iggy knocked down some shots and played great defense. Ian Clark stepped up and played some good defense. But, the guy that stood out to me was Javelle McGee. He only played six minutes, but in those six minutes he brought a lot of energy. He scored 4 points, grabbed 5 rebounds 3 offensive, and he had a block. 

Rustiness, the rust was seen very early on. Several missed layups and wide open shots by both teams. One player that really stood out as far as being rusty was, Klay Thompson. Throughout the game he had trouble knocking down shots, unable to get into any offensive rhythm. 

Lastly, would KD rise to the occasion? He stole the show, back in the finals for the first time since 2012, Durant couldn’t be stopped. Finishing the game with 38 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. LeBron may be the best player in the NBA, but Durant was the best player on the court tonight. 

– Final Thoughts 

The Cavaliers have got to learn how to play defense. They cannot score with this Warriors team. Also, the Cavaliers have got to learn ball movement and player movement. Their half court offense is too stagnant, they do too much standing and watching. If you watch the Warriors, they have excellent ball movement and player movement. 

For the most part, the scoring for the Cavaliers comes from fast break opportunities and either LeBron going 1 on 1 or Kyrie going 1 on 1. Every now and then they’ll get a good pick and roll play for a dunk. It’s just a very stagnant offense. 

Besides the Cavaliers terrible offense, the Warriors defense was outstanding. Stoping numerous fast break opportunities for he Cavs as well as defending the half court exceptionally well. Because of the great Warriors, defense the Cavaliers had 20 turnovers to just 15 assist. LeBron had 8 of those turnovers. Turnovers against a great team like the Warriors won’t get it done. 

Overall, after game one I’m curious as to how the Cavaliers will bounce back in game two. Will KD be able to continue playing as good as he did tonight. And can the Cavaliers take care of the ball and get more offensive movement. 

Reaction to LeBron’s Press Conference 

Written by: Conner Pack

Last night after all the games had ended, I was flipping through the channels trying to find something to watch. I checked the usual movie channels, then the sports stations, and nothing was really on that I cared to watch. So I go to ESPN and check out Sportscenter. Luckily, they were showing the Cavs post game press conferences, I typically enjoy watching them during the finals. It’s always interesting what they say and some of the questions. 

Since there wasn’t anything on last night I decided to leave it on ESPN and watch LeBron’s presser. For the most part I’m over LeBron and some of the stuff he does on and off the court. For example, the flopping and complaining about calls on the court. Then off the court, he’s been easily triggered this year and has been very vocal in regards of needing more help etc. So I’m just over all the BS. 

Putting all that aside, there’s no doubt LeBron’s the best basketball player in the world. His stats speak for them-self, he’s won three NBA championships, and he’s dominated the Eastern conference for the past seven years. This will be his seventh consecutive NBA finals appearance, eighth total going back to his first stint with the Cavs. What he’s been able to do is crazy. To still be playing at a high level at age 32 is remarkable. 

Now, while I was watching the press conference, a reporter asked a question talking about LeBron’s accomplishment of passing Michael Jordan and becoming the leader in points scored in the playoffs. LeBron’s response in my opinion was great. 

Click to see the interview

What I liked so much was the humble and genuine answer he gave. I grew up watching LeBron play and I’ve heard all the hype and everything surrounding him. Because of the hype and the talking heads comparing him and Jordan, as a regular guy watching from a far you wonder how LeBron feels about the comparisons. His response made it clear to me that LeBron doesn’t care about the comparisons. He knows what he’s done and he is playing the game how he wants to play it and that’s all that matters. 

Obviously he wants to be known as one of the greats, which he will be when it’s said and done. But with all the talking heads comparing and going on and on hearing this from LeBron last night was really good. 

Preds Are Stanley Cup Bound

Written By: Conner Pack

The incredible playoff run continues as the Predators advance to their first ever Stanley Cup Final. Beating the Ducks four games to two in the western conference finals, keeping the dream season alive. This historic run the Predators have been on has been predicated by team hockey and heart. Oh and also, the fans. Which quite frankly might be the most important part. The city of Nashville and the surrounding area have got on board and behind this team. 

As I wrote before, coming into the playoffs the eighth seeded Predators were not favored to make it out of the first round. But they did, sweeping the Blackhawks in round one got the ball rolling for this amazing run. The way they played in that series was incredible. After a long eighty-two game regular season, those four games were probably the best hockey the Predators played all season. From Pekka’s goal keeping, to the great defense they played, to straight up just out skating the Blackhawks. It was great to watch. 

After what was a very up and down rollercoaster of a season, the Predators finally hit their stride once the playoffs started. Clicking and gaining the team chemistry they lacked for the majority of the season. The lack of chemistry during the regular season in large part was due to continuously having guys out due to injury. Because of that they were unable to gel and gain the continuity they have now. The playoff version of Predators is a completely different team. This team playing now is the one many predicted coming into the season would be in the position they’re in now. 

– Final Thoughts 

The team play of this Predators team has been so fun to watch. They’re getting contributions from everyone. You got your big name guys in Forsberg, Johansen, Josi, Subban, and Neal who’ve been good. Along with the big name guys the middle guys have played an even bigger role. Arvidsson, Ellis, Sissons, Ekholm, and Watson have been huge. 

The defense has done great as well. Deflecting and disrupting the passing lanes of their opponents. Also they’ve made Pekka’s life a lot easier by keeping the area close to the net clear. Even though the defense has played well Pekka has been playing out of his mind. He’s had an MVP kind of playoffs. 

With Ryan Johansen out for the remainder of the playoffs it’ll be interesting how the team responds. Obviously in games five and six they won without him. But offensively they lacked his passing and puck handling. In my opinion, other than Pekka, Johansen has been the Predators best player during the playoffs. His play on the ice helped create opportunities for his teammates. 

Finally, the captain Mike Fisher, he missed games five and six of the western conference finals because of a concussion. As of now they are saying he’ll be back and ready for game one on Monday. Let’s hope he is. So far throughout the playoffs he hasn’t done much as far as statistics go. But his presence and the leadership he brings to the team is huge. 

Game one will be Monday night May 29th in either Pittsburgh or Ottawa. 

Philadelphia Eagles Draft Review

Written By: Conner Pack

For NFL fans last weekend was a small slice of heaven, due to football taking center stage with the 2017 NFL Draft. It’s only been roughly two months since the Super Bowl but, were a people who love our football and relish in it any chance we get. We’re only about five more months away from the start of the regular season. Today, I’m going to talk about the Philadelphia Eagles and give my thoughts on what they did in the draft.

Coming into the draft the Eagles had several needs; cornerback, wide receiver, running back, and a speed edge rusher just to name a few. In the draft, the Eagles managed to draft guys at all four of these positions. Time will tell if these guys will pan out.

– First Round Pick 14

With their first round pick the Eagles drafted University of Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett. Barnett, was an absolute monster throughout his college years. During his time at Tennessee, Barnett became the all time sack leader with 33, breaking former Eagle Reggie Whites record of 32. On top of the sacks Barnett was the heart and soul of that Tennessee defense. He will bring passion, intensity, and hard work to what is already a solid Eagles defensive line.

What I like about this pick;  After parting ways with long time Eagle Connor Barwin, the Eagles had to find someone bigger and faster to take his place; and Barnett fits that role. With a defensive line already loaded with talent (Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, Chris Long, and Brandon Graham) adding Barnett just gives them that X factor who can potentially propel them to the next level.

For years the Eagles have had an average pass rush. From time to time they’d have multiple sack games or major tackles for loss plays. But for the most part it’s been hit or miss. With Jim Schwartz entering his second seasons as defensive coordinator, he will have a lot of talent on the defensive line to work with.

Noteable College Stats:

197 Total Tackles, 33 Sacks, 52 Tackles for loss, 31 QBH, 13 Sacks junior year, 19 Tackles for loss junior year

– Second Round Pick 43

With the Eagles second pick in the draft, they selected University of Washington corner back Sidney Jones. Jones, was a projected first round pick coming into the draft but, he suffered a freak achilles injury on his pro day. After the injury occurred his stock began to fall. When the Eagles made this pick, I originally was a little uneasy. But from all the reports he seems to be making a full recover and, if comes back one hundred percent health the Eagles will have gotten a steal.

What I like about this pick; the days of Asante Samuel, Lito Sheppard, and Brain Dawkins have been long gone for some time now. For years, the Eagles secondary was among the league’s best. But as of late the secondary especially the cornerback position has been in shambles.  Adding a skilled explosive corner like Jones will pay dividends for the Eagles secondary.

Finally, last season rookie cornerback Jalen Mills showed he has a ton of potential. Teaming Jones and Mills up on the outside looks to be the move for years to come.

Notable College Stats:

9 Total interceptions, 146 Total tackles

– Third Round Pick 99

With the Eagles third pick in the draft, they selected West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas. Douglas, 6-2 weighing 209 pounds is a bigger corner compared to Sidney Jones. His senior season he had a break out season becasue of his ability to make intercetions. Douglas along with Tarvarus McFadden from Florida State led college football with 8 interceptions for the 2016 season.

What I like about this pick; the Eagles decided to go back to back corners with their second and third picks. Adding Douglas gives the Eagles more depth at the cornerback position. Also, he proved to be a ball hawk and the Eagles defense sure could use some guys who can make game changing plays in the secondary.

Notable College Stats:

9 Total interceptions, 78 Total tackles, 8 Interceptions senior year

– Fourth Round Pick 118

With the Eagles fourth pick in the draft, they selected North Carolina wide receiver Mack Hollins. Hollins, standing 6’4 is a tall receiver who will be a major asset for Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense. During his time at North Carolina he wasn’t a stand out receiver, where he made a name was in special teams. On special teams this guy can get down the field and is able make tackles.

What I like about this pick; it took the Eagles four rounds but they finally addressed the receiver problem that has been plaguing them. Hollins brings size and speed to this receiving corps. The Eagles struggled mightily in the red zone last year. Adding Hollins immediately gives you a big red zone target. Also, his ability to play special teams and make big time Tackles is huge.

Notable College Stats:

88 Total receptions, 21 Total touchdowns, 8 Touchdowns in both sophomore and junior season, Defense: 24 Total tackles, 18 solo tackles

-Fourth Round Pick 132

With the Eagles fifth pick in the draft, they selected San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey. Going with Pumphrey the Eagles have officially decided to go all in on the running back by committee system. Basically what that means is you have a collection of running backs and you use all of them. Right now the Eagles have Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Kenyon Barner, Wendell Smallwood, and now Donnell Pumphrey.

(More than likely Mathews will be released or traded before the season, Darren Sproles may have a limited role because of age, jury is still out on Barner and Smallwood, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smallwood become a bigger part of the running game.)

What I like about this pick; With the Eagles using their running back by committee system, Pumphrey fits in perfectly. He’s 5’8 176 pounds, so he’s a lot like Darren Sproles. With Sproles up there in age Pumphrey will be a good replacement for him. Also Pumphrey finished his college career as the all time leading rusher in NCAA history. Finishing his career with 6,405 yards.

Notable College Stats:

6,405 Total yards, 6.0 average, 62 Rushing touchdowns, 5 Receiving touchdowns

– Fifth Round Pick 166

With the Eagles sixth pick in the draft, the selected West Virginia wide receiver Shelton Gibson. During his time at West Virginia, Gibson proved to be a deadly deep threat for defenses. His specialty is being a speedy stretch the field receiver. Some have compared him to former Eagles DeSean Jackson. His speed and ability to take the top off the defense will open up the field for Wentz and the Eagles offense.

What I like about this pick; again the Eagles addressed the wide receiver position. But, Gibson compared to Hollins brings more speed and athleticism. Both guys will be a major asset to Carson Wentz.

Notable College Stats:

1,898 Total receiving yards, 17 Total touchdowns, 22.6 Career average receiving yards per reception

– Fifth Round Pick 184

With the Eagles seventh pick in the draft, the selected Nebraska safety Nate Gerry. In college Gerry played safety but the Eagles plan to convert him into a linebacker. But during his time at Nebraska, Gerry was a solid tackler and ball hawk. Having three straight seasons with four plus interceptions.

What I like about this pick; I like that the Eagles continue adding guys who have shown they can make plays on the defensive side of the ball. My only worry is that he will be too small for the linebacker position. He needs to bulk up some in order to keep from getting hurt. But if he adds the muscle and doesn’t get hurt his ball skills will be great for the Eagles linebacking corps.

Notable College Stats:

13 Total interceptions, 273 Total tackles, 19 Total tackles for loss

– Sixth Round Pick 214

With the Eagles eighth and final pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, they selected University of Washington defensive tackle Elijah Qualls. Again addressing the defensive line which is good. You can never have too many defensive linemen. While at Washington, Qualls, is another big body for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to utilize.

What I like about this pick; adding another bid body to what’s already shaping out to be a top-notch defensive line is great. Qualls probably won’t start but he for sure will be in the rotation.

– Final Thoughts

Overall I like what the Eagles did in the draft. I really like that they added more depth to the defensive line as well as added some cornerbacks. I think the two wide outs drafted will be major play makers on both offense and special teams. The one area I wish the Eagles would have addressed is running back.

Yes, drafting Pumphrey is solid. But is he the future at running back? How long will the Eagles rely on running back by committee? Who knows, but come September we’ll find out.

 

 

Celtics Love the Three Ball

Written By: Conner Pack

The second round of the NBA playoffs are under way, as the Celtics beat the Wizards 123-111 Sunday afternoon, giving  then a 1-0 series lead. So far throughout the playoffs the Celtics have had their share of highs and lows. When the Celtics fell behind 0-2 to the Bulls in round one, many began to question whether or not the Celtics could get back in the series. Fortunately for them, they bounced back and won four straight games to win the series 4-2. Then on Sunday, the Celtics found themselves down early once again, trailing 16-0 to start the game.

Slow starts have been a thing for the Celtics in the playoffs thus far. Whether it’s for a whole quarter or just the first couple of minutes, each game has been different. But, the one thing that has been consistent throughout the playoffs has been their three-point shooting.

Through seven games the Celtics have attempted the most three pointers of any team in the playoffs. Attempting 263 three pointers, that’s eight one more attempts than the next closest team, their opponent the Washington Wizards who’ve attempted 182. While they’ve attempted the most they’ve also made the most, making 95. If you’re wondering that’s 36.1 percent. Not too bad if you ask me. Normally anything above 35 percent is relatively good.

During the regular season, the Celtics were an average at best three-point shooting team. Shooting 35.9 percent and making 985 three pointers, fourth most in the NBA this season. But they weren’t shooting in the way we’ve seen them shoot in the playoffs. During this playoff run, the Celtics have gone on spurts where they catch fire and everybody on the team begins to make three pointers. Whether it’s a transition three or an extra pass or two around the ark to set a wide open three. It’s pretty fun to watch if you’re a Celtics fan. The ball movement they’ve shown is awesome.

–  Final Thoughts

The Celtics have dug themselves several holes so far in the playoffs. But because of their hot shooting they’ve been able to shoot themselves back into games. The Celtics have four games where they’ve made 14 or more three pointers. Also they did something that doesn’t happen that often and that is, having back to back games of 15 or more 3-pointers made. Game 6 vs. Bulls 16-39 and game 1 vs. Wizards 19-39.

Being able to shoot the ball like they are has been a major bonus for them. We’ve seen teams lose because they rely too heavily on the three ball. But from what I’ve seen so far the Celtics really like the three ball but they aren’t living and dying by it. For the most part they’re taking the best shot they can get. They still move the ball and get good offensive movement. Transition three pointers have been a big part of the successful shooting.

Round 1 NFL Draft Reaction

By: Conner Pack

The first round of the NFL draft is officially complete. So far thirty two guys have had their lives changed and many more to come tonight and tomorrow. As for last night, we saw three wide receivers go in the top ten. The top three quarterback prospects go in the top twelve. As well as two big time running backs go in the top ten. Also, the SEC set a record by having twelve first round picks. So there’s a lot to talk about.

Here’s a quick run down of the teams I thought had a good night.

(No specific order)

– Cleveland Browns

With the first overall pick, the Browns took Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. By far the best player in the draft. His strength and pass rushing abilities will be a big help. Then the Browns did some wheeling and dealing and wound up with the twenty fifth and thirtieth picks. At twenty five, they took Michigan safety Jabrill Pepper. Very solid pick for a Browns team that for years hasn’t had much talent. Peppers, brings a ton of athleticism to their defense. With the thirtieth pick they took Miami Hurricanes tight end David Njoku. I’m going to be honestly I really don’t know much about this guy. We’ll have to wait and see how he does.

– Overall

I like what the Browns did because they got two very talented defensive players to team up with linebacker Jamie Collins. That’s the good. As for the rest of the draft, they still need a quarterback and some offensive weapons. But we all know the Browns and how “competent” they are when it comes to finding players. That’s the bad.


– Tennessee Titans

The Titans had two picks in the first round. There was some speculation that they would try and trade back or make a trade in order to get a second round pick. That didn’t happen, so with the fifth pick they took Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis. For years the Titans have struggled at the receiver position. Now with a franchise quarterback in place in Mariota and a solid offensive line they are able to get him some weapons. Then at eighteen, the Titans took USC corner back Adoree Jackson. Once again another solid pick for the Titans. With Jackson you get more depth at the corner back position as well as a return man. And we all know how bad the return game has been for the Titans.

– Overall

I like what the Titans did because they addressed two of their biggest needs in wide receiver and cornerback. As we get deeper in the draft I’d like to see the Titans go after a speed pass rusher and a linebacker.


-Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Since drafting Jameis Winston two years ago the Bucs have been a team on the rise. Finding ways to add new pieces year in and year out. Last night, they were able to take Alabama tight end O.J. Howard with the nineteenth pick. Adding Howard gives Jameis another really good receiver to go along side wide receivers Mike Evans and newly acquired DeSean Jackson.

-Overall

I like this pick for the Bucs because they are continuing to surround Jameis with talent. Going forward in the draft I’d like to see the Bucs get some defensive players and possibly a running back. Since we don’t know whats going on with Doug Martin.


– Philadelphia Eagles

One of my favorite picks of the night goes to Philadelphia who took Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett at fourteen. The Eagles have been a team in limbo since the Chip Kelly days. They’ve been unable to find an identity as to what kind of team they are. But now with coach Pederson, Wentz who looks to be the franchise quarterback, and now what could be the next Reggie White in Barnett. The Eagles look to be heading in the right direction.

– Overall

I like this pick for the Eagles because, it addresses a position the Eagles have lacked for a couple seasons now. Yes, the defensive line and front seven have been solid but they haven’t had a guy with speed and strength coming off the edge in some time. Going forward in the draft I’d like to see the Eagles go after a running back, defensive backs, and wide receivers.


– Houston Texans

Last night, the Texans made a big time trade with the Browns allowing them to get the twelfth pick. With that pick the Texans took Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. After years and years of mediocre quarterbacks, the Texans drafted Watson in hopes he can lead them for years to come.

– Overall

The Texans are a team loaded with talent on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. But they’ve never had consistent quarterback play. This was a really good pick for the Texans and puts Watson in a great position for success. I say that because, Watson’s joining a team with talent already around him. All he has to do it show up and perform.


– Final Thoughts

The first round of the draft for the most part went as many thought. Yes, there were a couple player who slid but nothing too outrageous. Really looking forward how the rest of the draft plays out.

A couple other picks I really liked were:

The 49ers getting Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster at 31. This was a big time steal for them late in the first.

The Cowboys at 28 got a much needed defensive end in Taco Charlton from Michigan. The Cowboys have had their defensive struggles for a couple of seasons now, hopefully Charlton will give them more of a presence on the defensive line.

At 10, the Chiefs traded up with the Bills to get Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Present quarterback Alex Smith in my opinion has reached his ceiling. They’re looking to the future with this pick. Andy Reid is a great coach when it comes to coaching quarterbacks.

 

Fiddler Plays Blues in St. Louis

By: David Hinson

1st Period:  

This is the start I was expecting to see. For about the first 5 minutes, of the period, it was kind of a feeling out for each team on how the other team would play. Then the old school hockey comes into affect. There was hard hitting anytime either team had a clean hit on another player. P.K. Subban taking a slashing penalty was a little worrisome seeing as how the ST. Louis Blues have one of the top power plays in the league. The Preds fight them off to get a successful penalty kill. Then the Preds get a chance on the power play, and are successful when Subban sends a hard one timer towards traffic and Colin Wilson redirects the puck into the top corner of the net.  Even though the Preds come out with a one goal lead, I have to give this Period to the Blues. Their forecheck kept the puck in the Preds zone most of the period.

 2nd Period:  

This was a very long period. Kevin Fiala gets on a one on one with Bortuzzo, and Fiala gets put into the boards pretty hard. Fiala was put on a stretcher and carried off the ice. One of the rules set in place by the NHL if one ambulance leaves, play cannot continue until another ambulance is there. This leads to a near 20 minute break before continuing the period.  Not very long after, Ryan Johansen sets up a one timer for Subban, and he makes the score 2-0. With 11:56 to go Parayko scores to make the game 2-1 giving the Blues life. Parayko comes out with a 4 on 4 penalty, but by tripping Filip Forsberg, giving the Preds a 4 on 3 Power play. Jake Allen shuts down the 4 on 3 PP, but still leaves the Preds with a minute left for a 5 on 4 Power Play. That is until Brodziak breaks the stick of Subban and gives them a 5 on 3 Power Play. Subban fires yet another one timer, and the rebound goes off of Forsberg’s skate to give the Preds there 2nd Power Play goal and to make their lead 3-1. This period goes to the Preds, having to play with mixed lines and wingers having to double shift, they still kept the pressure on.

 3rd Period:  

The Blues come out firing in this period. They get on the board again with a goal from Schwartz to pull them back to within one goal with about 13 minutes left in the 3rd. At this point you can see the double shifting starting to wear on the Preds they are not forechecking as well as they normally do, and are getting beat to the middle of the ice. Noticing that, Sobotka takes advantage of it by putting the tying goal on the board with 10:38 left to go. At this point, I will take overtime just to give our guys a little bit of rest. Pekka has to play lights out because the Blues are staying in our zone and getting tons of shots off. Then comes the name you haven’t heard since the regular season, and even then it wasn’t all that often, Vernon Fiddler puts the puck in the back of the net with 5:03 left in the period. This gives the Preds the lead once again, 4-3. The Preds D and Pekka shut down the Blues and go on to win game one! I give this period to the Blues as well. They controlled the whole period except for the one goal they gave up.

 Final Thoughts: 

I am actually excited about this series after tonight. It is going to be a tough one for sure. Lots of hard hitting, but the one thing that I saw tonight, is how good we did even having to run mixed lines, I can’t wait to see what we can do with a full roster on the bench. I will say that we need to stick to our game, and do not let the Blues get in our head. We saw what that can do in the 2nd period, they will take a lot of penalties, and we need to capitalize on those chances. I say, if you are the best in the league at killing power plays then you have had to take a lot of penalties to get there. So let them take their penalties and find a way to score on them. I am not all that worried bout the hard hitting because I think we can either out skate them or hit them as well. We aren’t the most physical team, but we can play physical too, most people forget that.

 3 Stars:

3rd- Pekka Rinne (27 Saves)

2nd- Vernon Fiddler (1 Goal)

1st- P.K. Subban  (1 Goal/2 Assists)

 

 

Celtics Bulls Game Five Thoughts

By: Conner Pack

Falling behind 0-2, then going on the road and winning two games to tie the series up 2-2, the Celtics head back to Boston for a crucial game five. The team that wins game five in a series tied 2-2 has a greater chance of winning the series. With that being said, tonight’s game should be entertaining.

Yesterday, I wrote about game four and the turn around the Celtics made by winning back to back games. In games three and four it was evident that the loss of Rondo is hurting the Bulls. The offense for the Bulls hasn’t been as fluent as it is when he’s playing. Also, they’re having to rely heavily on Jimmy Butler to be the play maker. Yes, Butler is the best player on the team but he’s a scorer. I say all that because, when Jimmy Butler is scoring he creates for others. He’s not a facilitator.

On Sunday during the second half of game four, the Bulls seemed to be using Butler as their facilitator. The Bulls had some success over that period. But, that’s not his game. Butler is great when he’s attacking and scoring the basketball. We’ll see if the Bulls try and use the same idea tonight. 

For the Celtics, all series long they’ve been shooting a lot of three pointers. In games one and three they shot very well from down town. In game one, they were 14-38 from three, that’s 36.8 percent. Granted they lost game one. Then in-game three they were 17-37 from three, that’s 45.9 percent. As for games two and four, they hit ten in each game but they weren’t as efficient.

Outside of Rondo being out and the three-point shooting, what’s really helped the Celtics is the contributions from the role players. Obviously Isaiah and Horford will get theirs. But in both games three and four, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart were key contributors. Another guy who stepped up was Gerald Green, in-game four Green caught fire and scored eighteen points. Letting it be know he’s somebody you have to watch out for as well.

But Marcus Smart in my opinion has been the role player making the biggest imapact. His contributions have been across the board, whether its scoring, rebounding, or assitsing. Smart, hasn’t been scoring all that many points but he’s found a way to impact the game with rebounding and assisting. His play has really helped the Celtics get back in this series.

-Final Thoughts

In tonight’s game, I see the Celtics getting another win to take a 3-2 series lead. With all the momentum and the home crowd behind them I think it will be hard for the Rondo-less Bulls to win. All though the Bulls won’t go down without a fight will show, D Wade and Butler will find a way to stay in the game. So the Celtics need to continue getting strong minutes from their role guys Olynyk, Smart, Crowder, and Green. As well as keep the Bulls off of the offensive boards.