Mitch's Sports Report: A Dubious First For LeBron James; Consecutive Start Streak Ends For Manning
In the NBA, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers has been in the league for 15 years and has achieved nearly every milestone, award, and accolade a player can, but last night in Cleveland's 108-97 win over the Miami Heat King James accomplished something he never had before, and accomplished is exactly the wrong word for what happened: He got thrown out of a game.
James argued with the refs in the third quarter, complaining about a foul he felt should have been called but wasn't, and pleaded his case perhaps a bit too passionately and was ejected for the first time in his career. It didn't affect the game's outcome, as Kevin Love picked up the slack, scoring 22 of his 38 total points in the first quarter to lead Cleveland to the win.
Defenseman Roman Polak scored his first goal of the season, aided by a double deflection, and the Toronto Maple Leafs continued to play road warriors, scoring a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome in Alberta. The Czech defenseman, who's battled injuries and healthy scratches that have kept him out of the lineup, took a shot from just inside the blue line that deflected off one Calgary player and was headed wide of thenet when it hit the knee of another, changed direction, and got behind Calgary goalie Mike Smith for a lead the Leafs would not relinquish. Nikita Zaitsev, Nazem Kadri and Leo Komarov also tallied for the Leafs, who are now 4-0-1 in the last five road games.
The NY Rangers had been on quite a roll, winners of ten of their last twelve games, but the Florida Panthers eked out a 5-4 win over the Bluehsirts in Sunrise, Florida last night when Dennis Malgin picked the right time to score his first goal of the season, breaking a 4-4 tie with just about a minute left in regulation for a 5-4 win. The Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead early but the Rangers clawed back and tied it late in the 3rd on Chris Kreider's second goal of the game before Malgin rescued the Panthers.
The NY Giants made it officials yesterday: Quarterback Eli Manning will not start for the Giants in Sunday's game against the Raiders in Oakland, breaking a streak of 210 consecutive starts that stretches back to 2004. Giants coach Bob McAdoo told Manning that he would allow him to start the game and keep the streak alive but that he would be replaced quickly by one of the Giants back-up QB's in order to get them some reps in a season that at 2-9 is already well down the drain, but Manning, to his credit, said he didn't want to tarnish the streak by having it continue on a technicality and told McAdoo to go ahead and start either Geno Smith or rookie Davis Webb in his stead.
Manning has very quietly been a rock solid starter for New York in his tenure calling the signals, and has won two Superbowls, both slaying the other giants known as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, and has not deserved much of the teeth gnashing from fans and the media that have marred this terrible season for the Giants. McAdoo is part of the problem, and he will not be back as head coach next year, but a bigger issue has been the spate of injuries that have rocked the team, including the loss of superstar wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr., and Brandon Marshall, and most critically, the Giants porous offensive line, which has been about as useful in protecting Manning about as an umbrella in a hurricane. Manning has been sacked 26 times already this season, and that's five times more than he hit the turf all of last year. That's on general manager Jerry Reese, and fans should direct their displeasure toward him rather than Manning when it comes to this season of the blues for the team affectionately known as Big Blue.
Locally in men's college basketball Johnson State scored a come from behind victory over the Castleton Spartans 82-70 at Carter Gym in Johnson last night. Senior Tondi Mushandu did notch his seventh career double-double for Castelton with with 18 points and 13 rebounds, but the Badgers found their scoring touch in the second half, shooting 55% from the field, and Marqwon Wynn led all scorers with 22 points for Johnson State in the victory.
It was a much better result for the Castleton women over their Johnson State counterparts, as they routed the Badgers 68-14. Amanda Beatty led the Spartans with 16 points and eight rebounds in the lopsided victory.