What Happened Last Night: The Magic Juggernaut Was Finally Slowed (Oh, And That Election Happened Too)
OK, fine, I can’t really blame you if you took the night off from sports last night. It wasn’t a huge night of games, and there was that other thing happening that a few people were talking about too. But it wasn’t a totally barren night, either (I’ll never forget you, night of October 23), so let’s catch you up in case you missed out – which, let’s face it, most of you probably did.
The Magic runs out.
Of the many (very) early-season NBA storylines worth following, none stood out to me quite like the Magic winning their first two games – and winning them convincingly. Of course one draws conclusions from two games at one’s own peril, but it was hard not to be impressed by a team most figured would be terrible winning its first two games of the year by a combined 34 points. Alas, it was an unsustainable pace, and last night, the Magic fell to the Bulls, 99-93.
It was a road game, and despite being Rose-less, the Bulls are off to a 3-1 start, so the loss was far from a shock – not to mention the Magic were without both Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu. When the team is that short-handed, it needs better than combined 11-for-33 shooting from Glen Davis and J.J. Redick. And despite those absences and those struggles from two of the team’s most important players, the Bulls needed a fourth-quarter comeback at home to beat this Magic squad. If the Magic can rebound tonight with a win in Minnesota, consider us duly impressed once again.
Elsewhere in NBA action: the Thunder blew out the Raptors 108-88 and Kyle Lowry went down with a sprained ankle, so not a positive night for the Raps on several fronts. One bright spot for Toronto, though: Jonas Valanciunas, the No. 5 pick in last year’s draft, posted 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting. And in Denver, the Pistons continued their run of generously allowing talented-but-struggling teams to get on track, providing the Nuggets with their first victory of the year, 109-97.
Nothing like some Tuesday football.
Well, for Ball State, there really wasn’t: they upset Toledo, which had been No. 25 in the BCS rankings (No. 23 AP), 34-27, delighting alums in the process. It wasn’t quite that 63-60 Northern Illinois-Toledo game last year, but there was still plenty of MACtion to be had, with the teams combining for nearly 1,000 yards of total offense. Ball State moves to 7-3 on the year, while Toledo is now 8-2. While they won’t be in the Top 25 anymore, look out for Toledo’s next game next Wednesday against Northern Illinois. The Huskies’ quarterback, Jordan Lynch, is second in the nation in rushing yards. There will be offense.
In sadder college football news: former Texas coach Darrell Royal, after whom the school’s football stadium is named, died at age 88. Royal coached at Texas from 1957 to 1976, posting a 167-47-5 record and winning national titles in 1963 and 1969. And he did something you don’t see highly successful coaches do too often now: walk away from coaching at a relatively young age (52) and never coming back. Royal suffered from Alzheimer’s. RIP.
Photos via AP