Happy Thursday everyone! Just warning: this is possibly the most dramatic newsletter I have ever written.
Let’s get right to the point.
Hello everyone but especially to …
THE BROOKLYN NETS AND THEIR NEW STARTING POINT GUARD (PART-TIME)
Happy to see you again, Kyrie Irving. The superstar playmaker made his season debut on Wednesday night, scoring 22 points as the Nets overcame a 19-point deficit for beat the Pacers 129-121 in Indiana.
Irving, Kevin Durant and James harden handset for 79 points, and the Nets wasted no time getting back to the offensive juggernaut we saw last year on the rare occurrences that all three were available, writes our NBA expert Brad Botkin:
- Botkin: “With Durant and Harden, you can get by on defense. But with a third marksman / marksman, you can’t stay attached to all of them. You have to make choices. Who do you stay with and who do you go with? ? will not be a good answer, and that’s when Brooklyn becomes indefensible. “
Of course, the reason the team didn’t spend a lot of time at full blast is Irving’s own. By remaining unvaccinated, Irving cannot play in home games and will only be available on the road. Considering the headaches caused by Irving and the immense accommodations the Nets are making, Irving’s presence must more than ever lead to victories writes NBA columnist Bill Reiter:
- Reiterate: “Either Irving makes the Nets claim him for the title they’re meant to be, pushing them to another level and helping them run a really deep run once we reach the playoffs. Or that’s what he’s been referring to for years: it’s not worth it. “
And not so good morning for …
In a shocking turn of events, Novak Djokovic’s ability to play at the Australian Open is in danger again after his visa is canceled.
This one needs some explanation, so please indulge me:
- Djokovic is not vaccinated against COVID-19, and Australia requires vaccination – or an accepted exemption for not being vaccinated – to enter the country.
- Tuesday, Australian Open officials granted Djokovic medical exemption, and he traveled to Australia.
- However, when Djokovic landed in Australia he was refused entry and his the visa was canceled due to insufficient evidence for a medical exemption. In addition, according to reports, the visa requested by Djokovic did not allow medical exemptions.
The next steps remain unclear, even though, according to reports, Djokovic’s lawyers are contesting the country’s decision and the world number 1 was being held in a hotel room on Wednesday evening.
Djokovic has won 20 Grand Slam tournaments, tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal mostly by a man. Djokovic’s tally includes a record nine Australian Open titles, the most recent of which dates back to last year.
This year’s Australian Open begins on January 17th. It remains to be seen if he will be able to defend his title.
Not so honorable mention
Antonio Brown shares his side of the story, claims Bucs have “continuous coverage” for ankle injury
Antonio brown at broke his silence to his shocking, shirtless outing in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Jets.
In a lengthy statement released by his attorney, Sean Burstyn, Brown alleged several things against Tampa Bay, including:
- An MRI on Brown’s ankle revealed “broken bone fragments stuck in my ankle, ligament torn from the bone and loss of cartilage. “
- The Buccaneers forced Brown to ask for a second opinion with “a more junior doctor” after Brown had scheduled an operation to fix the ankle after the first MRI.
- The Head Coach Bruce ariens and general manager Jason licht was aware of Brown’s injury.
- Buccaneers staff used “a strong and sometimes dangerous pain reliever which the NFLPA warned against “ to help Brown handle the paint
- The team “promotes a totally false story this [Brown] acted at random without any explanation. “
Arians denied there were any issues with the way the team handled the injury and maintained the injury had nothing to do with the wide receiver coming out.
Brown, who ended his statement by saying he will have surgery and hopes to return next season, is still technically on the Bucs list as the team works with the NFL to determine next steps to part ways with him.
Who will clinch the last spots in the Week 18 playoffs? ??
Seven teams. Three spots. The longest regular season of all time has one week left to determine the playoff field.
In the AFC there is two free places and five potential teams to fill them: Colts, Chargers, Raiders, Steelers and Ravens.
Overall there are 256 different seeding scenarios in AFC alone.
Fortunately, we have Stephen Oh from SportsLine.com to handle the numbers and John Breech to make sense of it all. Here’s what the algorithm predicts the AFC playoff field will look like:
These last two projections make sense to me. All the Colts have to do to make the playoffs is beat the Jaguars, which seems likely (although Indianapolis has lost six straight games to Jacksonville). If all goes according to plan in Jacksonville, the Chargers-Raiders winner is also tied for the playoffs.
On the NFC side, the 49ers and Saints are competing for a free space. The 49ers just need a win over the Rams while the Saints need to beat the Falcons AND take down the 49ers. I leave you with a cliffhanger here: You will have to read the story to see who likes the numbers in this one.
You can still check out the full picture of the playoffs – and the storylines of the seven teams still looking for a spot – here.
Note the hires of college football coaches. Who got an A? ??
CBS Sports Graphic
The college football season is still not over, but the “offseason” has already been crazy for the Coaching Carousel which includes:
In all, 28 schools have hired a new head coach this cycle, and Dennis Dodd handed over notes for each. It is not surprising to know who is the top of the class:
- Dodd: “Lincoln Riley, USC: A + – As sudden and swift as Riley left Oklahoma on the West Coast, prospects at USC improved in the blink of an eye. Riley carries the future of not just USC but the Pac-12 in his playbook. The league’s flagship program will begin to keep the California five-star at home. Riley has the coaching skills to bring the Trojans back to the top. “
It’s been a tough offseason for Oklahoma with the departure of Riley and Caleb Williams in the Transfers Portal, but Sooner devotees can trust the new regime:
- Dodd: “Brent Venables, Oklahoma: A- – It’s a perfect fit with Venables having worked with or for Bob Stoops for 16 seasons. The Sooners will be better defensively. Since the offense is assigned to Jeff Lebby, the air raid concepts will remain in place. This is an impressive lineup for the transition to the SEC. “
What we’re watching Thursday 📺
?? No. 13 Ohio State in Indiana, 7 p.m. on FS1
?? Celtics at the Knicks, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
?? Iowa to Wisconsin No.23, 9 p.m. on FS1
?? Suns Lawn Mowers, 10 p.m. on TNT