Need some quick odds on the week’s biggest storylines? (“Need” might be an overstatement; kind of want?) You’ve come to the right place. Let’s run through the newsworthiest happenings and transpirings from the world of sports, entertainment, and politics from the last seven days.
Playoffs in both the NBA and NHL have taken over most of the televisions in America (and Canada), with point battles, unbeaten streaks, overtimes and sadly concussions dominating headlines. Even golf is making news with the return of Dustin Johnson, who hasn’t played since being forced to pull out of the Masters last month.
But let’s not forget about the forgotten … namely Jay Cutler. Cutler has been on the hunt for a new NFL team, but no one has taken the bait. That is, until now … kind of. Fox (the TV channel) has brought Cutler on as a color commentator. He’s a face every football fan knows and one most love to hate. Will that equal big ratings for Fox?Curiosity, alone, should pull in some viewers. How will one of the most glum people in sports fare when he’s forced to smile for the camera?
Here are the odds on both Cutler’s TV career and everything else that is keeping me distracted.
Isaiah Thomas, Boston: 2/3
John Wall, Washington: 6/1
James Harden, Houston: 7/1
LeBron James, Cleveland: 7/1
Steph Curry, Golden State: 19/1
In the first round, Russell Westbrook put up 51 points. In the second, Isaiah Thomas two-upped him with 53, a playoff career high. And he did it just two days after undergoing six hours of surgery on his mouth after being hit in the jaw with an elbow.
Thomas’ 53 points puts him third on the all-time single-game playoff points list behind Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson, who both had 54-point nights.
Will we see more of that kind of brilliance from Thomas or others? Probably not; there’s a reason Michael Jordan/Allen Iverson haven’t been kicked off their perch.
While we’ve seen other monster games this playoffs (like a 40-point night from John Wall), you can generally expect lower PPG totals from big names. As games get more intense, fatigue will start to set in.
That said, James Harden has the ability to challenge Thomas, but his second-round numbers are down, playing the stingier Spurs.
So while it is kind of cheating since Thomas already put up his monster night, I can’t see anyone else sinking more than that in this year’s playoffs.
Any hockey fan would agree it was disappointing to see Sid the Kid leave Game 3 against the Caps with a concussion. Crosby sat out Game 4, but took part in a full practice with the team Friday. Afterwards he said “when it’s time, I’ll be ready.” Pens coach Mike Sullivan called him “day-to-day,” which pretty much means he’ll return soon.
The problem is that Crosby has dealt with so many concussions, so the team doesn’t want to push him. Being the poster boy for the NHL doesn’t help. With a million eyes on Crosby, it would be bad optics for both himself and the sport if he returns too soon. Gone are the days when we praise the toughness of players who battle through head injuries. One wrong move can cut short a career far too early.
Not being on an NFL roster isn’t stopping Jay Cutler from ensuring his lovable visage remains on TV. The new Fox color commentator will start in a three-man booth, giving him the chance to get comfortable. That paradigm also saves Fox’s butt if Cutler decides to head back down to the field to play, which is a definite possibility.
Cutler made it clear he’s not retiring. It sure sounds like, if the right opportunity opens up, he’d be all ears. Hanging out in the broadcast booth is just his way of staying connected to the game until a team needs him. We’ve seen in recent years how important it is to have a competent backup (cough cough 2015 Cowboys). Yet, a few potential contenders are heading into 2017 with no QB depth (cough cough Cardinals, Colts, Bills). Maybe Cutler will have all his equipment on hand in the booth in case a QB goes down during a game he’s calling!
Dustin Johnson returned to play at the Wells Fargo Championship following a month of recovery. As you probably remember, Johnson was forced to withdraw from the Masters last month after falling down the stairs of his rental home on the eve of the major. The world number one didn’t practice much over the last 30 days, but in his first round back, he shot two-under 70, putting him in contention.
While his first round was a success, will we see the same Johnson that got the golf world so excited earlier this year? Prior to the Masters debacle, the 32 year-old had three consecutive tournament wins.
Three majors remain on the calendar, and his best bet is to repeat as US Open champ. That was his first major victory after finishing the last two years second and tied for fourth, respectively. He also usually plays fairly well at The Open, but the PGA Championship will likely be a wash.
Photo credit: Mike Morbeck (flickr) [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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