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.
The Lakers named Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson their new president of basketball operations shortly before the trade deadline, hoping to jump start a franchise that’s mired in its longest playoff drought ever (three years). The move has already paid dividends, with Magic making some superficially good moves on deadline day. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold – except his Twitter – and LA shouldn’t have trouble landing high-profile free agents with Magic at the helm. Don’t expect them to be the La La Land’s other team for much longer.
Adding Boogie Cousins was, evidently, not a panacea for all of New Orleans’ ills. The team was pasted by Houston in their first game with Cousins, losing by 30 at home. What makes that loss all the more discouraging is that Cousins, himself, played really well, and Anthony Davis wasn’t too shabby either. If this team doesn’t win when its new Twin Towers are on, when will they? Now 2.5 games back of the no. 8 seed in the West, the Pels need to leapfrog three teams in order to make the postseason. They signed Jarrett Jack yesterday, though. So problem solved.
The 76ers announced yesterday that 2016 no. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons would not be making his NBA debut anytime this season thanks to a foot injury. The organization is saying the bone isn’t fully healed yet, and while that’s probably true, they could also be airing on the side of caution and keeping him out until they know he’s 100%. Saying that, Simmons doesn’t have a history of injury, and played all of his college games at LSU last season. The fact that he had to sit out what would of been his first year in the pros only adds fuel to his fire. I don’t seen him missing more than ten games next year, even though the Sixers are wise to be cautious with their young stars.
Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs): 12/13
Patrik Laine (Jets): 11/10
The pair of super-rookies played to a de facto draw when they went head to head this week. Matthews had three assists in a 5-4 shootout win for the Leafs; Laine notched two goals, including a beauty, Brett Hull-esque one-timer, and now has 30 on the season.
If the trophy were handed out today, you would assume Patrik Laine would pick up the honor: he’s had a stellar rookie campaign, scoring more points in fewer games than Auston Matthews. But that’s not how things work in the NHL. The Leafs are the NHL’s poster child, and the league would do just about anything to make that known, including giving an award to a player who may not be the one who deserves it most. I’m not saying Matthews hasn’t been impressive; I’m just saying Laine has been better.
Tom Perez: 3/2
Keith Ellison: 13/7
Pete Buttigieg: 17/3
Sam Ronan: 15/1
Sally Boynton Brown: 75/1
Jehmu Greene: 80/1
Peter Peckarsky: 99/1
It appears to be a two-horse race for the DNC chair. Much of the party’s establishment has thrown its support behind former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, while Keith Ellison has been backed by Bernie Sanders and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. But don’t forget about the others in play: 35 year-old Pete Buttigieg is the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and while he’s a long-shot, he has made his mark over the last couple days and received a few high profile endorsements along the way.
The Academy Awards are this Sunday! Chris did odds for the show a while back but things have changed over the last month, with studios campaigning hard for their nominees. Here’s how I see the major categories heading into Sunday night’s annual gilded fashion show.
La La Land: 1/2
Manchester by the Sea: 8/1
Hidden Figures: 15/1
Hacksaw Ridge: 75/1
Hell or High Water: 99/1
The dancing and singing moves put on display by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land made America forget about everything going on in the world, if only for a couple hours, and for that it will be awarded the biggest prize of all. Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea come in second and third, but Hollywood can’t seem to get enough of the magical love story La La Land showcased just yet.
Emma Stone, La La Land: 2/1
Natalie Portman, Jackie: 5/2
Isabelle Huppert, Elle: 3/1
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins: 9/1
Ruth Negga, Loving: 25/1
What’s not to love about Emma Stone: she’s funny, witty, can dance like hell, and stole the show (“the show” being La La Land). She already has a shelf full of awards, and will likely be adding an Oscar to it. While this award is Stone’s to lose, Natalie Portman and Isabelle Huppert could play spoiler.
Denzel Washington, Fences: 13/7
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea: 2/1
Ryan Gosling, La La Land: 5/2
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge: 50/1
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic: 75/1
Expect Denzel Washington to land his third Oscar on Sunday. He not only directed Fences, but also put in a star turn, a feat not easily accomplished. Many would argue this award should go to Casey Affleck, but I see the Academy honoring Denzel as it strives for more diversity among winners. Also, Affleck is still a relative newbie in the biz. He might have to prove himself a bit more before winning the coveted award. Also, I think many voters will be turned off by the sexual harassment allegations leveled against him.
Photo credit: Vimeo (Dave Alex Films) [https://vimeo.com/106141864]
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