What Happened Last Night: The Ravens Stifled The Pats, The Lakers Lost, Roger Federer Didn’t
Busy evening o' sports, but you were probably mostly paying attention to Ravens-Pats. A recap of that, plus what you missed while overloading on football, below.
The Harbaugh Bowl is complete. Ugh.
OK, better get my complaining about the Harbaugh Bowl in before complaining about nonstop Harbaugh Bowl talk is as tired as the Harbaugh Bowl coverage itself. So: seriously, is anyone going to be able to take these next two weeks of constant Harbaugh talk? It was bad enough hen they played each other in the regular season last year. Oh, and speaking of bad: that Niners-Ravens game last year sucked. Good thing we get a rematch of that instead of a rematch of this. Far be it from me to question you, football gods, but I'd much rather have a good-sounding game than easily-digestible storylines (Harbaughs, Ray Lewis). Hope you knew what you were doing here.
Alas, personal bitterness aside, the Ravens fully earned last night's win. Outscoring the Pats 21-0 in the second half on the road with a Super Bowl trip on the line? Holding Tom Brady to 29-of-54 passing and picking him off twice? That's good stuff, as was the performance of Joe Flacco (21-for-36, 240 yards, three TDs, no turnovers). Yeah, we're sure having no Gronk hurt the Pats, but with Brady off his game, having him around might not even have mattered. The Ravens were the better team, and that's why
endless, insufferable human interest stories about the Harbaughs growing up are on the way the Ravens are Super Bowl XLVII-bound.
Speaking of the Harbaughs, though, Jim gets most of the publicity because of tantrums like this and the spectacular job he's done reshaping the 49ers into a contender, but if John isn't considered one of the NFL's best at this point, I'm not sure what else he has to do. The Ravens are 54-26 in the regular season during his tenue - and perhaps even more impressively, 8-4 in the playoffs. They've not only reached the playoffs in each of his five seasons, they've won at least one playoff game each year, and reached three AFC title games. And now they're playing for the Lombardi trophy. The only thing left to accomplish for Harbaugh is to win it. Not bad for a guy who nearly lost his team during the season.
Around the Association...
Yeah, the Raptors are decent at home, but any potential Lakers resurgence should probably not involve them losing to Toronto, as they did 108-103 yesterday. (OK, it didn't actually happen last night; it was an afternoon game. Just work with me here.) Of course, when Dwight Howard gets ejected in the first half and Kobe shoots 10-for-32, the Lakers aren't going to beat much of anyone. Not that they were exactly running roughshod over the rest of the league without those things happening, but they're sure not going to help the team turn things around. At least Kobe knows he needs to do better.
Elsewhere: the Lakers' loss meant it was a bad day for preseason title contenders, but it was a bad day for actual season title contenders, too: the Nuggets topped the Thunder 121-118 in overtime. It's not exactly a bad loss, considering the Nuggets are now 16-3 at home, and something tells us that when Kevin Durant gets to the line 21 times, OKC will win more often than not. They'll be fine. The Celtics kept struggling, losing 103-88 to the Pistons. Rajon Rondo's stat line was all over the place, overflowing with both good (15 assists, nine rebounds) and bad (4-for-16 shooting, nine turnovers). And Glen Davis continued his return to form with 24 points, but the Mavs used a balanced attack (seven players in double figures) to beat the Magic 111-105.
On the ice...
The Penguins look tough in the early going - they're 2-0 after tagging Henrik Lundqvist for four goals on 18 shots and eventually dismissing the Rangers 6-3. The same can be said of another champion of recent vintage, the Blackhawks, who are 2-0 themselves after scoring six goals of their own in beating the Coyotes 6-4. Oh, and the Oilers are off to a 1-0 start after beating the Canucks in Vancouver, 3-2. Maybe that SI guy wasn't high after all.
Aussie Open update:
Still on track for a great final couple rounds. Novak Djokovic was almost derailed over the weekend, but he's moving on, as are Roger Federer and Andy Murray, both of whom vanquished their fourth-round opponents in straight sets (neither has dropped a set at the tournament). In addition, the always-dangerous Jo-Wilfried Tsonga remained in the fold, beating Richard Gasquet in four sets. Things are going pretty much according to plan in the women's draw as well: most recently, top seed Victoria Azarenka and third-seeded Serena Williams each throttled their round of 16 opponents, dropping a total of two games each.You can safely assume the semifinal and final rounds will be great, is what we're saying.
It's MLK Day.
ESPN's Chris Palmer tweeted the above speech - MLK's last - earlier this morning. Seems only fitting to post today.
Photos via Getty
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