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Today is the start of the 2013-2014 regular season in the NBA and many teams have changed rosters and coaches. Here are the teams to watch for and are most likely going to be successful and why:
- Miami Heat- Potential 3-peat as champions. Similar roster as last year.
- L.A. Clippers- New Head coach in Doc Rivers
- Brooklyn Nets- New coach in Jason Kidd, New players in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce
- Houston Rockets- The addition of Dwight Howard to the roster
- Chicago Bulls- Return of Derrick Rose
Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal has been suspended two games by the NHL for charging Edmonton defenseman Jeff Petry. He was called for a charging penalty after he ran Petry into the boards from behind in the first period of Phoenix’s 5-4 win over the Oilers this past Saturday. Martin Hanzal is considered a repeat offender by the NHL after being suspended a game last season as well and will forfeit $75,609.76 of his annual salary. I think that this is a terrible move on Martin Hanzal’s part. It is not a good idea to get suspended for two games when you are such a huge part of the team. Hanzal is Phoenix’s second leading scorer with five goals and 11 points. The Coyotes need him to be back as soon as possible but he will be missing today’s game against Los Angeles as well as Thursday’s game against Nashville.
Jon Lester pitched the Boston Red Sox within a whisker of yet another World Series championship. David Ross hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning and the Red Sox downed the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 on Monday night to take a 3-2 series edge. David Ortiz delivered his latest big hit and put Boston in position to capture its third crown in a decade. In addition, the next game is going to be played at their century- old bandbox. The Red Sox are going back to a place that they love to play in and in front of their own fans. The atmosphere will be phenomenal in Game 6. My prediction is that the Boston Red Sox is going to take it down in Game 6 at Boston. However, if there is indeed a Game 7, it will be played in Boston on Halloween Day!
The Indiana Pacers’s Danny Granger is going to miss 3 weeks due to an injured left calf on Monday. This is not a good sign for the Pacers’ start of the season but the injury is nothing like the one that prevented him from playing all but 5 games last season. The Pacers have a revamped team, signing three free agents, two new assistant coaches, brought Larry Bird back to the front office and traded for Luis Scola. The Pacers are hoping that these changes are enough against Miami after pushing them to a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals. In my opinion, I think that the Pacers will need to get Granger back to playing games as soon as possible. He is such a big part of their team and just adds to their offensive flow. I am expecting a slow to medium start for the Pacers and once Granger is back, the Pacers should blossom.
Williams capped a career year in style this past Sunday by earning her 11th title by coming from behind to beat Li Na 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 for her second straight WTA Championships crown. She has now become the 8th woman to win 11 or more titles in a year. This victory has brought William’s prize money total for the year to $12,385,572. Williams has won 78 of 82 matches this year and will finish the year as the top-ranked player for the third time in her career. It only seems fitting to me that she gets this ranking. With an astounding winning percentage of 95%, Serena Williams has the best winning percentage on the tour since 1990.
After spending most of the first month of the season on the road, the New York Rangers had all the comforts of home. However, the comforts of home was not enough on Monday’s game against the Canadiens. The completely refurbished Madison Square Garden was filled with a full house of their fans but the New York’s offense was just not there. Peter Budaj made an incredible 27 saves for his 11th career NHL shutout. Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk provided the scoring for the Canadiens as they spoiled the Rangers’ long awaited homecoming victory with a 2-0 victory. This was a very disappointing home opener for the Rangers but if Budaj can have 27 saves with a perfect stoppage percentage of 100 percent, then perhaps the Rangers had a tougher time than they have imagined.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s superstar player in Kevin Durant admits that he was too obsessed with leading his team to a championship last season. Even though he had a magnificent season, scoring 28.1 points per game as well as shooting over 50 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from the 3-point range, his infatuation with winning a title affected him personally. Quoting Durant, “Like, I wasn’t going to sleep because I wanted to win so bad. I was screaming at my teammates, at the refs, at the coaches. I got mad because I thought if we have a bad game here, we’re not going to win a championship”. In my opinion, Durant needs to not get caught up in every small detail. Sure, it is great that he wants to strive for excellence, but at some point you have to ask “At what cost?”. Durant is rated as the #2 player in the NBA and in my opinion he is among the top 5 players.