It's becoming absurd how often officiating has been the story in these NBA Playoffs. The Spurs-Thunder game last night was marred by a bizarre 13 second sequence with multiple missed calls, resulting in the Thunder winning the game. To be clear, the sequence resulted in the Thunder win, not the officiating blunders.
It's amazing how much focus there is on one of these calls considering the direct result of it not being whistled was a 3-on-1 fast break for San Antonio. Dion Waiters, who was inbounding the ball, nudged Manu Ginobili (guarding the inbounds) to create space. It's an offensive foul. It absolutely should've been called.
However Waiters then through the ball away! He threw a jump ball, which Kevin Durant lost to Danny Green, resulting in a scramble situation. The Spurs turned that situation into a good look for Patty Mills from the right corner, where he shot nearly 40% during the regular season. The look was good, not great thanks to Steven Adams running out to contest. It's a shot Mills hits with regularity though. It's why I don't feel as bad for Oklahoma City as I do for Indiana for the blown call in Game 7 that helped lead to them losing. The Spurs got the ball. Did they get it in an organized, side out of bounds situation? No, but they could've called timeout if they wanted that. Gregg Popovich declined that option and got a good shot. It just didn't go in. That's basketball. That's sports.
Of course I wish the call would've been right. The idea is that the players decide the game within the confines of the rules properly enforced by the officials. However, while this might've been one of the most obvious missed calls in recent memory, it didn't play out in a way that you can call it one of the most egregious.
A Hockey Thought? A Hockey Thought!
Basketball is my favorite sport to play because I largely feel in control of the result. Of course there are defenders, but in the end if I can get free and cleanly get off a shot, it's up to me whether it goes in. It's what's always frustrated me about baseball. A hitter can smoke a ball, but if it's hit right at someone, the hitter is out. By the same token, a pitcher can throw an ideal pitch and a hitter can squib it through a hole and wind up on base. It's the beauty of that sport, but it also drives you crazy as a player.
Hockey has that effect as well, except it all comes down to one player. If a goalie is hot, it really doesn't matter what the other players on the ice do. The Capitals out-shot the Penguins 49-23 last night and lost 3-2. Penguins goalie Matt Murray had 47 saves in his 13th NHL game.
The preceding sentence was not a typo. Matt Murray is a 21 year old rookie and that was his 13th NHL game.
The NHL has stories like this all the time. It's amazing how young players come out of nowhere and impact the playoffs. It would be like an NBA team bringing up someone from the D-League and that player averaging 20+ points per game in a playoff series. It doesn't happen. It happens occasionally in baseball (probably thanks to the similar minor league systems), but it seems to happen in the NHL every year.
When that player is a goalie, the impact is even greater because they can completely change the outcome of a game. The Capitals can completely outplay the Penguins, double their shot total and still lose.
This is becoming concerning for the Capitals, the NHL's best team in the regular season, because this is two series in a row where this has happened. In the final three games versus Philadelphia, after the Flyers changed goalies, the Caps outshot Philly 105-62 but could muster only two goals. The NHL's second best offense in the regular season needs to rediscover how to put the puck in the back of the net and not just on it or they'll extend one of the most astonishing streaks in sports.
No Washington, DC area pro sports team has made the conference finals since the Capitals did so in 1998. No city with at least three teams has a longer streak.
My girlfriend and I are headed to New Orleans this weekend which is terrifically exciting. It's one of my favorite places on earth, so long that I can leave before I eat myself into feeling like an oompa loompa. We're there for four days. That's a risky long time. I'm excited for that risk!
It was my brilliant idea to wait until this week to plan our trip, so I've been charged with doing it. Obviously everything is being planned, on some high level, around food. That means significant chunks of the last three days have been spent scouring menus to find where we want to go. Today was spent on Google Maps trying to figure out where everything is so that we can actually plan when we want to go where.
The moral of this story is not that I'm quitting my search for a radio job to become a food-based vacation planner, although I'd probably be good at that. It's that I'm really hungry. Three days looking at some of the best food on the planet? Can I get on the plane already?!
The point in sharing it though is actually more purposeful. There are so many places to eat in New Orleans that it's been tough to narrow down. What I really want more than places are the best singular dishes in New Orleans. For instance, I want to go to "place X" and order their special po boy because it's the dish I HAVE TO HAVE before leaving the Crescent City. So with that in mind, if you have any recommendations of must-eat dishes in NoLa, please tweet or email me!