Posts Tagged ‘UCLA’

Monday Medley

What we read while Duke became a football school…

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Monday Medley

What we read while voting for Richie Incognito…

Live Blogging ESPN’s 24 Hours of College Basketball: Overnight

Tim has already announced his excitement for the start of the college basketball season. Well, he’s not the only one who’s excited: ESPN is covering college basketball throughout its family of networks on Tuesday, including 12 different games on ESPN itself. Well, if ESPN is up for 24 hours of college basketball, then so is NPI. In Part I of IV, we’ll cover the 2 AM game (San Diego State at Saint Mary’s), and the 4 AM game (Northern Colarado at Hawaii).

6:10 AM: Well, Northern Colorado holds on to win 81-75. It’s probably for the best: I didn’t have another great pun about Jeremy Lay’s name lined up. I’m handing off to Tim now, as he covers the 6 AM game, featuring his hometown Monmouth. Be sure to stay with us throughout the day.

6:06 AM: Williams’ legs just aren’t holding up down the stretch. He air balled a shot a few minutes earlier and was short on his second free throw. That may spell the end for Hawaii, as they fall back down five with 11.9 seconds left.

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Breaking Down Breaks of the Game

Breaks of the GameThere is a quote from Bill Simmons on the cover of my copy of The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam, calling it “the perfect book about the perfect team.” Unfortunately, neither superlative is accurate.

Calling a book “perfect” is generally an overstatement, but it’s less often that an appraisal gets the subject of a book wrong. The problem is that The Breaks of the Game is a book about the 1976-1978 Portland Trail Blazers that covers the 1979-1980 Portland Trail Blazers.

The Portland Trail Blazers began the 1970s as a feeble expansion team, winning 47 total games in its first two seasons. They tried an array of players and coaches, but could never quite put it together—until, that is, a brief run at the end of the 1976-1977 season, when they won the championship, and the first 60 games of the next season, in which they went 50-10.

For that brief stretch, Bill Walton, a college star at UCLA who had struggled in his first two years in Portland, was the best rebounder and defensive center in the league; for that brief stretch, Maurice Lucas became a dominant offensive force; for that brief stretch, Lionel Hollins and Dave Twardzik were a dynamic guard combo. For that brief stretch, the team seemed perfect.

And then Bill Walton got hurt and the team pretty much fell apart. Continue reading