Western Confrence Finals predictions

The Golden State Warriors, and Houston Rockets, will play a seven game series for a trip to the NBA Finals, and a chance to play either the Celtics or Cavaliers.

The Rockets are coming off of two series that they won handily in five games a piece. These series were against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz.

The Warriors also played two five game series against the San Antonio Spurs and the New Orlean Pelicans. The Rockets will have home court advantage in this series after finishing the regular season with the best record in the entire NBA. This means that should the series go seven games, the Rockets will play the last game at home.

The Warriors were happy to get Stephen Curry back in game two, of the second round, against the Pelicans. Curry has had some very good games in this last round, including a 28 point performance in his return to the lineup.

The Rockets are still reveling in their acquisition of Chris Paul this offseason.

This last offseason was all about dethroning the Warriors. Teams like the Thunder acquired stars in order to compete with the Warriors super team, of course the Thunder’s “super team” was not very super as they were knocked out in round one by the Utah Jazz.

The Celtics acquired Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, who has been injured for the playoffs, and the whole year, respectively. The Celtics still managed to make the Eastern Conference finals, and may be the favorites if not for their injuries.

It is very likely that this Western Conference Finals champion will be the NBA Finals champion, as the Cavs do not have the talent to defeat either the Warriors or Rockets, and the Celtics would would need their players to magically heal right now.

The Warriors are looking to win their second straight championship, and their third championship in four years. And the Rockets are looking to win their first since the mid 90s, when Hakeem Olajuwon was the best player in the league (remember that Jordan was retired).

After everything that has happened to the city of Houston this year, the people there deserve a championship. Will the Rockets win? Will the Warriors go back-to-back? We will have to wait, but let’s hope it’s worth is.

NFL draft

Well, the Browns managed to mess up their draft again. The Browns are gaining a track record of drafting quarterbacks who have off the field problems. The Browns drafted Johnny Manziel only a few years ago. Manziel is still trying to work his way back into the NFL. The Browns could have easily taken running back, Saquon Barkley, with the first pick and taken Mayfield three picks later.

The New York Giants ended up getting Barkley, from Penn State. Barkley has wowed the NFL scouts with his combination of speed and cutting ability. Running backs in the NFL now have to be able to block, run, and receive passes. This is why Barkley will make a great NFL player.

One of the biggest stories in the draft was the potential selection of a one handed linebacker. Shakeem Griffin was drafted in the 5th round by the Seattle Seahawks. It just so happens that his brother is also playing for the Seahawks. Griffin has been through a lot. If he had been born with two hands, he might have been a first round pick. If I know anything about Griffin, it is that his low draft selection will only fuel his in his future career.

The NFL Draft is always very interesting, but the best part of this year’s draft was probably when the Eagles’ former kicker stood in front of Cowboys fan and pointed out to them that the last time they (the Cowboys) won a Super Bowl, the current draft format was not even in existence. Sports are fueled by competition, and sparking more hatred from the Cowboys fans may be the best way to insure that you will lose to them the next season.

The draft is over, and I for one am ready to see the season start back up. We have an interesting new crop of rookies, and with any luck they will add some intruding to this already interesting season.

 

NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are starting. We will see round one matchups of: Rockets vs. Timberwolves, Thunder vs. Jazz, Warriors vs. Spurs, Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers, Raptors vs. Wizards, Bucks vs. Celtics, Cavaliers vs. Pacers, and Heat vs. 76ers.

This year’s playoffs should be much more interesting than last year’s. Last year, the playoffs were made up of predictable series, and a very predictable finals. Some series this year are very exciting. The Heat should be able to force the 76ers to 6 or 7 games, and New Orleans should have an interesting time trying to slow down Damian Lillard. I personally believe that we will see the Rockets play the Warriors in a very exciting 7 game Western Conference Finals series.

This may be the first time in four years where we will not see LeBron James in the NBA Finals. The Cavs will have a very difficult time trying to reach the Finals. They will likely have to face Indiana, Philadelphia, and a Toronto team that looks ready to redeem their last few playoff losses. We seem prepared to see Houston play talented teams such as Minnesota, Oklahoma City, and Golden State.

NBA fans are gearing up for an interesting and unpredictable playoffs. With any luck, injuries will not ruin the postseason as they have the regular seasons. Injuries cost teams like the Timberwolves, Warriors, and Spurs, who were hampered by injuries. The NBA Playoffs will be very fun in 2018, and NBA fans will have a lot of fun watching.

NFL free agency

The NFL free agency started of with a few key players moving around. First, the Denver Broncos signed quarterback Case Keenum. The Broncos are hoping that Keenum can emulate his success from last year, where he lead the Minnesota Viking to a heartbreaking NFC Championship game loss.

The Viking continued the theme of losing all of their quarterbacks as Sam Bradford signed with the Cardinals and Teddy Bridgewater signed with the Jets.

The Vikings picked up Kirk Cousins from the Redskins. The Vikings believe Cousins can be their quarterback of the future.

Drew Brees also re-signed with the Saints. This move keeps New Orleans in the hunt for the playoffs and maybe the Super Bowl.

This free agency shook things up quit a bit. Above were the big moves made by teams, but every team made moves that will be significant next year, whether we know it or not. NFL teams are still signing players in free agency even though all the star players are signed. At this point of the year, teams are looking to fill in holes in their team. Most of those holes are at positions like offensive lineman, and getting a third cornerback that fits your system.

After free agency, teams look to secure their future through the draft. The draft allows teams to take risks, and potentially draft a star player. Some teams will be making smaller moves later in the draft while other teams such as the Cleveland Browns will be attempting to draft a franchise player in order to give themselves a glimmer of hope that things will get better.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.twincities.com/2018/03/25/after-spending-84-million-on-kirk-cousins-a-good-draft-would-be-just-what-vikings-need/

The Oscars 2018

The Oscars of 2018 did not include the fiasco of last year’s Best Picture award blunder. The Oscar, this year, for Best Picture, went (unsurprisingly) to The Shape of Water. The Shape of Water is basically the story about a girl who falls in love with a fish (man). That does sound weird without the art involved, but it’s good. Don’t worry. The other nominees for Best Picture were: Get Out, The Post, The Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, Lady Bird, Call Me by Your Name, Dunkirk, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

The Oscar for Best Actor went to Gary Oldman, because he wore a fat suit, and gave one of the best Winston Churchill performances ever.

The award for Best Actress went to Frances McDormand for her stunning performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Best Supporting Actor went to (one of my personal favorites) Sam Rockwell for his performance as a cop in Three Billboards.

Best Supporting Actress went to Allison Janney for her performance in I, Tonya.

One of the most interesting Oscar winners was Kobe Bryant, who won an award for his short film Dear Basketball. Dear Basketball was a short film that played at Kobe’s jersey retirement ceremony, and it details some of the hardships that Kobe went through in his career.

(As always) we had some of what we call “snubs” at this years Oscars. While Jordan Peele did win Best Original Screenplay for Get Out, he could certainly have won Best Director over the actual winner Guillermo Del Toro. Star Wars The Last Jedi got no love, despite its amazing visuals and music. Luckily, at this year’s Oscars, there were no Oscars that went out undeservingly, so these are just my little nitpicks.

It seemed Dunkirk got every award that didn’t include: director, actors, or Best Picture. Dunkirk won in sound design, sound mixing, film editing, and was nominated for Best Original Score.

The Oscars this year were good. They were funny, and just fun all around. It is pretty easy to have more fun when the Academy doesn’t hand out their biggest award to the wrong people.

Flip Saunders Night in Minnesota

On Thursday, Feb 15, the Minnesota Timberwolves raised Flip Saunders name to the rafters of the Target Center. The ceremony began at 7:15PM with speeches from family and friends of Flip Saunders.

Flip Saunders was head coach of the Timberwolves during their best years as an organization. He coached the Wolves in the 03-04 season where they lost to the Lakers in a dramatic Western Conference finals. If it hadn’t been for some injuries, there is a possibility that Flip could have lead the Wolves to the NBA Championship.

Saunders took a team that had a great player, in Kevin Garnett, and a few other good players, like Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell, into the Western Conference finals. The Wolves have not made the playoffs since that historic season. Flip Saunders left the Timberwolves a few seasons later. These years, after Flip left, were not good years for the Wolves. Sure, they had All-Star Kevin Love, but he was constantly injured and the talent around him was not very good.

Saunders returned to the Wolves and started his comeback by drafting Super-Star Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns has been the Wolves best offensive player in just his first three years. Saunders coached Towns to a Rookie-of-the-Year Award. At the start of Town’s second season, Saunders was diagnosed with cancer and died on October, 25, 2015. Flip’s legacy is now remembered in the players he coached, the people he affected, and now the banner that hangs in the rafters of the Target Center.

Teachers vote to possibly go on strike

The teachers of St. Paul have spoken. The St. Paul school district will be attempting to prevent, or potentially endure a teacher strike. The teachers are asking for a 2.5 percent pay raise, along with more non-teacher staff, and smaller class sizes. SPPS (St. Paul Public School District) has had a hard time coming to meet the needs of our teachers.

On Wednesday, Jan 31st, our teachers voted to authorize a strike. This means that we have ten days before the strike possibly begins. This “cooling off” period ends Monday the 12th, and the potential strike will begin on Tuesday the 13th. If the strike has not ended after four school days, then we will have to add more days to the end of the school year.

Some teachers and non-teacher staff in the district do not believe that this argument will result in a strike; however, their opinion is becoming less and less likely every second that ticks by. The clock has started, and it seems to most that this clock will run out well before the teachers and school district come to an agreement. The thought of adding more days to the end of the year could be difficult for students and families, as some may have vacation plans, or plans for their children to work over the summer. It could be time consuming and potentially expensive for some families to shift their plans back farther into the summer.

One thing is for sure, the teachers, staff, and (most) students do not want to take a couple weeks off, and push their plans back into summer. This strike could shorten our summer break, were most of us relax, enjoy some free time, and work to make some money. With any luck, our teachers and school board can come to an agreement that would make a strike unnecessary. We all know how bad a strike could be for our students and staff.

*UPDATE: It was announced Monday morning, Feb 12th, that the union and district had come to a tentative agreement, thus preventing a strike.