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The Sports Stache

This Stache Knows Sports

Golden State Get Out Of Two Game Skid, Barely

In a streak that has spanned 146 games, the Golden State Warriors have lost two games back-to-back.  The team held the record for most games in-between consecutive game losses.  They look to end the slump when they face the New York Knicks.

The slump has been part of a bigger problem that the team, and most notably the “Splash BrothersStephen Curry and Klay Thompson shooting slump since the injury to Kevin Durant.  KD became the unofficial leader of the team. 

The team has struggled to adjust without him, after already being adjusted playing with him.  The struggles started the game after Durant’s injury, with a loss to the Washington Wizards.

Curry and Thompson are in shooting slumps, both are putting up horrid shooting numbers and figures.  Both seem to be in a slump that they know they shouldn’t be in.  The team does not know how to react to their team when both their shooters are off.  

The adjustment needs to happen sooner than later, the San Antonio Spurs are right on their heels, and only behind two games heading into Sunday. With the injury to Durant the Warriors are not expected to win the Finals, and in some extreme cases, GS will not even win the Western Division. 

The Warriors are trying to bounce back after a loss to the Chicago Bulls 94-87 on Thursday.  The loss, is the first consecutive loss for the team since April 5-7 2015. 

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Wade taking it to the Warriors Defense (AP)

The 87 points scored by the team were the lowest of the season, they also had a 38.6 % shooting, also a season low against the Bulls. 

The Warriors statistically play better with Durant on the court, but when he doesn’t they struggle.  No big surprise, but it should not be that difficult to try to adjust with someone still working out the kinks in the offense themselves.

The Warriors narrowly beat the Knicks today 112-105 at Madison Square Garden.  The Knicks took a one point lead into the half, and continued to stay close to the Warriors.

Golden State eventually had a 13 point lead, and the Knicks were able to get it to 97-96 before the Warriors pulled away towards the end of the game after some great shots from Thompson and Curry, who looked more or less like themselves. Curry scored 31, Thompson with 29, and also a dagger in the gsme from Thompson in the form of a splendid layup.

The win, even though against a struggling Knicks team shows that the Warriors are able to pull games through even without Durant, who has a knee injury, is expected to return during the playoffs.

The Warriors still have some kinks to work on during the Durant-less months, but the win is a positive sign for the team.  The Warriors have beat the Knicks six straight games, they play the Atlanta Hawks next.  They have a great record against the Hawks.

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Boston Finally Gets Its Revenge On Cleveland

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Isaiah Thomas taking the ball up the court (AP)

In a playoff-like game last night the Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in a thriller at the TD Garden last night 103-99.

The “King of the 4th Quarter” Isaiah Thomas had a stellar 4th quarter to lift the Celtics past the Cavs in a grueling hard-fought game.  The game and the atmosphere had all the makings of great playoff match.

Thomas finished with 31 points and five assists against the defending champs.  The Boston star has taken over the 4th quarter, and has the numbers to prove it with a 10.3 points in the fourth quarter.
He scored six and had two assists.

His confidence is on another level, which is surprising for someone who was the last pick in the NBA draft in 2011.  The 5’4 giant takes control of the game, and when he gets double-teamed, he gets the ball away to awaiting teammates.

The game, a crucial win for morale for Boston, after losing to three of four against current Eastern Conference playoff teams, and they have only been able to beat Cleveland once since the 2014 playoffs.  It shows that the second team in the East can do some damage with the current No. 1 team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Any playoff chances for Thomas and Boston will have to go through Cleveland.  LeBron James and Co. did not have a bad game either.  James had a triple-double with 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists.  Kyrie Irving also had a great game with 28, and so did Tristan Thompson was able to nab 13 boards in the loss.

The Cavs did not rest any players, and all their stars played.  Yet they were pushed to the brink by the surprise team of the East, the Boston Celtics.  They also have the black-sheep of the MVP race in Isaiah Thomas.

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Isaiah Thomas dueling with the Cavaliers Kyle Korver

Thomas had a typical 4th quarter and shared some thoughts on his performance “Nobody holds me in check … I average 30 points for a reason.”   He was able to score five in the final minute of the game.  He had two clutch free throws, and also some key assists to give the Celtics the win.

The Cavs had their chances to pull themselves closer and eventually win the game.  Deron Williams, who was in his second game with the Cavs, missed the wide open 3 after a LeBron James pass.  The Celtics scored to take the lead and eventually seal the deal.

There was plenty of back and forth with 24 lead changes and also 19 ties.   The theme heading into the 4th had a classic game 6, or game 7 in the eastern conference playoff feel.

The Cavaliers had their chances to seal the deal with shots from Williams, James, and Irving, but the shots would not go down.  The Cavaliers should not panic, it was a close game that was decided by 5 or less points.  They could of came away with a win at the Garden.

This just goes to show that Cleveland should not expect an easy ride back to the Finals, they have the Celtics that are trying to make noise, and push the defending champs to a series in the Eastern Conference Finals if they do finally meet.

Last night’s outcome shows that Boston is ready to threaten and take the crown from the kings

The Round of 16 Continues, And So Do The Goals

The UEFA Champions League round of 16 started back up on Tuesday. The matches included Manchester City taking on Monaco, and Bayer Leverkusen versus runner-ups of last year’s Champion League trophy Atletico Madrid.

The games featured some great athletes and plenty of them with great skill as well. The action kicked off before noon.

Manchester City were the favorites coming in.  MC is coached by Pep Guardiola, who took the job at Man City after leaving Bayern Munich last season. 

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(Andy Hooper, Daily Mail)

Raheem Sterling started off the scoring in the 26th minute for Manchester City.  The German born striker received a stellar pass from David Silva.  Sterling was skillfully able to tap in the goal, to give Man City the lead.

Monaco would stay calm, cool, and collected.  They would go on and attack the Man City defense with some great openings. In the 32nd minute, after some questionable goalie throws and passes, Monaco tied the game 1-1 with a header from Radamel Falcao.

In a bit of controversy, what should have been a penalty in favor of Sergio Aguero, which could have gave Man City the lead again, turned out to be a foul against Aguero.

Monaco goalie Daniijel Subasic made contact with the Argentinean, but Aguero would be the one called for simulation, and therefore getting rid of any chance of a penalty. Aguero and his coach were not happy with the call.

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(Andy Hooper, Daily Mail)

Soon after the call, Monaco took the lead with a goal from 18 year old Kylian Mbappe, the youngest ever to score a game in a elimination round of the Champions league, would slam a goal after running behind MC’s defense, to put Monaco in the lead. The young french player is a future star.

Just after halftime, Monaco would have a golden try to take the lead after a penalty was given to Falcao. He would go on to roll the attempt, and would go easily in the hand of the MC goalie.

In the 58th minute Aguero would tie the game after a near post shot that was mishandled by Subasic. Monaco would answer the tie, and take the lead for the final time in the game. 

Falcao, after the penalty mishap, seemed to get redemption, after beating John Stones, was able to chip in a beautiful shot.  Monaco now led 3-2.

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(Andy Hooper, Daily Mail)

Aguero would tie the game again after many Manchester City attempts. The tiebreaker would happen in the 77th minute when Yaya Toure redirected a shot to Stones, after a Kevin de Bruyne corner. MC now led 4-3.

The exclamation point happened in the 82nd minute from star Leroy Sane who was given the ball by Aguero in an empty net to score again and give Manchester City the victory 5-3.

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(Andy Hooper, Daily Mail)

Monaco had moments where they could of sealed the deal, instead MC came back and took advantage of more of the chances presented to them. The next leg is on March 15th in Monaco. 

The next game had last year runner-ups Atletico Madrid defeating Bayer Leverkusen 4-2.

Atletico Madrid for the most part dominated the game against the Bundesliga staple.  By the half, Atletico would be up 2-0 by goals from Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez. Bayer 04 would try to answer, but Atletico would eventually pull away. 

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(Reuters)

The first goal came from Saul in the 17th minute with a score from outside the box. Grizemann would score the second goal in the 25th minute.  The margin going into half time could have been higher, with chances from both Saul and Griezmann to leave no doubt that Atletico would move on.

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(Reuters)

The second half started with Bayer’s response. Bellarabi was able to score a goal on Atletico team that slipped up on defense.  Atletico would add yet another goal in the form of a penalty by Kevin Gameiro in the 58th minute.

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(Getty Images)

With the score 3-1, Bayer got a break, Atletico goalie got rid of the ball, only to see it bounce back from his own teammate Savic. The score was now 3-2, and Leverkusen would continue to look for the equalizer.

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(Getty Images)

They would continue to press on to try to tie, but in the 86th minute Fernando Torres sealed the deal with a header.

Leverkusen took the necessary steps to catch up, but Atletico Madrid would not be denied. 

The next match is on March 15th at the Estadio Vicente Calderon in Madrid. 

The round of 16 first leg concluded today with Juventus defeating FC Porto 2-0, and Sevilla defeating Leicester City 2-1. The round of 16 picks back up in 2 weeks.

The Pelicans Get DeMarcus Cousins Via Trade

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The New Orleans Pelicans have acquired DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins from the Sacramento Kings.

The move, that will send Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and a first and second round pick this year’s upcoming draft.

The move, an unexpected one, after the Kings have been claiming up and down that they would not trade Cousins, despite all his recent issues with the coaches, staff, and the refereeing officials, they moved him. 

He is now reconnected with former University of Kentucky Wildcat teammate Anthony Davis. The move seemed like a long time coming.  Cousins’ has expressed his feelings about the front office moves during the free-agent market, and also the trade deadline. 

He got into a verbal altercation with former coach George Karl.

Despite all the baggage, Boogie Cousins is one of the best big men currently in the NBA.  He is a three time All-Star including this past Sunday’s game. 

Cousins’ is truly great. But his off the court and in some cases on the court issues were growing concerns for the Kings. 

With the move the Kings are looking forward to build a young, yet solid squad.  The Pelicans have instantly propelled them to be one of the best teams in the league.  They now have two of the most dominant big men in the past 5 years. 

Davis is coming off a phenomenal All-Star game, where he claimed the MVP honors for the night.

The Pelicans are now looking to add to their offense with Cousins who is putting up career high numbers in points, rebounds, and also three-point shooting. 

New Orleans is three games out of the final playoff spot in the West. They have a chance to make a solid push for a spot as well as a run in the playoffs now that Cousins has been added to the team.

The Kings with these new pieces plan to rebuild and have a young squad that is ready to contend in the West.

Kings management particularly took a liking to rookie Buddy Hield, a standout last season at the University of Oklahoma, who has struggling so far for the year, but having breakout games where he can score easily.  He is averaging 9 points and almost three rebounds per, and has started more than half of the Pelicans games.

The moves look positive for the teams that made them.  Both teams have the potential to be playoff regulars. The Kings are focused on the future, while the Pelicans are focused on the now and adding future talent along the way. 

Tyreke Evans is returning to the team that originally drafted him in the first round in 2009.  He is averaging career lows after coming back from various knee surgeries. 

The Kings have also waived Matt Barnes to make room for the pieces in the Cousins deal. 

Cousins becomes a free agent in 2018, and the Pelicans are expected to offer him an extension with an upwards of $180 million next season. 

Cousins will be persuaded to stay since he will be alongside his fellow Wildcat Anthony Davis, and Cousins, who originally is from Alabama should feel comfortable with the change in scenery. 

The Los Angeles Lakers were also in talks for Cousins, but were not willing to send No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram in the deal. The Lakers should of. 

Cousins would have been an instant help for the struggling Lakers.  They are in need of a solid big man to hold down the paint and get big rebounds when necessary. I digress. The inner Lakers fan in me wanted to come out.

Casspi has been averaging 20 minutes, 6 points, and 4 rebounds. 

There were also talks that included Indiana Pacers star Paul George heading to the NOLA, but those talks also dissolved.  The dust has settled, and now Cousins is a Pelican. 

There are two big men in the Big Easy now.  The possibilities are endless.

The only concern is keeping Cousins actions in check.  He can be great, but his actions on and off the court keep weighing him down.

Questions For The Second Half Of The NBA Season

With the NBA All-Star Game wrapping up today in New Orleans, there are a lot of questions to ask for the second half of 2016-2017 NBA season.

Can The Cleveland Cavaliers repeat?

I think so.  They have most of the pieces necessary minus the current injury issues to Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, who should be returning to the ring before the playoffs. They can still use another piece to their staff, a proven veteran who knows how to handle playoffs and stress.  

They are having a much better February after a tough January.  They are currently 7-1 for the month.  Their current record and performance would tell you that they are ready to make a playoff push.  

I see them definitely making the Eastern Conference Finals, with a visit to the Finals after.  With that being said, I do not see the Cavs repeating again this season.  

They will be winded when they battle the even better Golden State Warriors, or a San Antonio Spurs team that will be waiting for them on the other side. 

Their injuries and the large minute load for Kyrie Irving and LeBron James will catch up to them.  Their bench can also gain some key pieces to make it deeper than its current state that it is in.  No, the Cavs will not repeat. My opinion. Deal with it.  

If not them who?

The obvious choice would be the Warriors. After their stunning defeat after being up 3-1 will haunt that Warriors roster for the rest of their lives.  They have since added Kevin Durant, and they blew out the Cavs after a close loss on Christmas Day.  

They are still hot.  They do have their occasional slip ups like a Sacramento Kings, or a Denver Nuggets team that surprises them from time to time.  There are times they go on surges or runs where they look unstoppable and no team can touch them, then they lose to team that is below .500.  

They are still growing and learning how to adapt with a defense that can still improve, and an offense that can still improve, as scary as that sounds. Their stars Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant are ready to take the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to Oakland.   The Warriors staff is is ready to make a third straight run to the Western Conference Finals.

The other teams, besides the two previous defending champs, that can take it all come June is still up in the air.  

The Western Conference is stacked with talent that includes the Spurs, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Los Angeles Clippers.  The Finals goes through the Western conference.  

The Eastern is still in a discovery phase.  The Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and the surprise Washington Wizards that have been playing well and are on the heels of the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.

One can never count out the San Antonio Spurs. They are going through a rebuilding phase after the departure of Tim Duncan, and the adding of Pau Gasol and Lamarcus Aldridge has them being some serious contenders for the West.  

They are only a few games behind the Warriors and one of the best records in the NBA, yet nobody talks about them until its playoff time.  The Spurs are okay with that.  

They let their success do the talking.  They should make a deep run in the playoffs. They will be tested throughout and with the ultimate test, the Warriors waiting for them in the Western Conference Finals.

If it has not been figured out yet, I am thinking the West will win the Finals. The Cavaliers could repeat, but they are looking for help.  Besides them, I cannot see another team in the west that will be able to hang with the Warriors or the Spurs, could be the Celtics, but they are young with little playoff experience.  

The Toronto Raptors after recently adding Serg Ibaka look like threatening.  The jury is still out on them, come playoff time they struggle like you would not believe.  

I expect a tougher road for all teams in the East.  I see no sweeps that were abundant for the past few playoffs.  The West always has tough playoff pushes with unexpected teams moving on.  

On the East, for the most part the lower seeded teams will lose to the higher seeded teams.  The West is a different story. The competition there is abundant. Most of the top 10 teams are from the West.  There are two teams that have a losing record but are in the playoffs in the East. 

There is one team one game above .500 that is in the 6th seed, compared to the only team in the West that has a losing record, and the next best team is 7 games above .500. 

The Next Round Of 16 Matches Exceed Expectations


The second pair of matches in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 had some expected outcomes, competitive first halves, and some statements made in the second halves.

The teams involved included German superstars Bayern Munich taking on Arsenal, and Real Madrid versus Napoli.

At the beginning of both games, and throughout the first halves, it looked like the games were going to be close. The second half changed any doubt about the power-houses that are Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

The first game featured underdog Napoli visiting the reigning Champions League Cup winner Real Madrid, and their bevy of stars. “Los Blancos” were able to defeat Napoli 3-1, after an interesting first half Madrid was able to pull away with some great shots.

The game seemed evenly matched at the start until the 8th minute when Lorenzo Insigne from Napoli got the action started with a goal in the 8th minute via a long-range shot that bounced in the back of the net.  

A shock, Napoli continued to play and keep up with Madrid’s attack. Instead of defending the Spaniards continued their attacks.

Eventually, the constant attack would pay off. A brilliant cross from Carvajal to Karim Benzema for a great header in the 17th minute would tie the game at 1-1. The half ended with more attacks from Real Madrid that had chances to do some serious damage.

Benzema’s header ties the game. (BPI)

The second half kicked off, and Napoli was able to show some type of potential to keep the score tied, or try to take the lead.  Toni Kroos answered in the 48th minute for Madrid.  He belted in a shot from the outside of the box, Cristiano Ronaldo go the assist for the Kroos goal.

Toni Kroos celebrates, as Los Blancos take the lead. (AP)

Ronaldo continues his drought in the Champions League.  He had a close shot late in the first half that bounced off the bar. He would not have a better chance to score after that miss. He is bound to bounce back.

The final shot came in the 58th minute from Brazilian Casemiro, with a bullet from 25 yards out, the score could be one of the top goals of the this year’s Champions League. Real Madrid looked unstoppable, there were also chances where James Rodriguez and Marcelo to notch a shot in the back of the net.  

Napoli had a chance to score again in the final minutes, after a shot from Jose Callejon.  He would go on to be called for the offside.

Casemiro with a bullet from outside for a goal. (BPI)

Real Madrid now has enough breathing room with the comfortable win.  They now head to Italy to try to seal the deal on March 7th for the second leg.

The other game was one that had similar beginnings with a tied score in the half, then an explosion by the other team. Bayern Munich took on Arsenal, and defeated them easily with a 5-1 victory at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

The game kicked off with domination by Bayern in the Arsenal half for the most of the first half. The scoring began with a beautiful Arjen Robben shot that curved into the top-right corner after a beautiful left-footed shot from outside the goalie area.

Arjen Robben’s curves one in the top right corner. (EPA)

The Gunners were quick to respond. They began attacking, and pressing with precise passes. They got rewarded via a penalty kick after a Robert Lewandowski mistimed kick on Laurent Koscielny’s leg. That opportunity was set up after Bayern defender Mats Hummels received a yellow card for fouling Alexis Sanchez near the penalty area.

The penalty was missed by Sanchez, rebounded by him, blocked again, kicked out, only to be knocked in by Sanchez to make the match equal at 1 all. Mesut Ozil had a close shot blocked by goalie Manuel Neuer. The second half brought a completely different Munich and Arsenal team.

Arsenal had a tough break after defender Koscielny went down with a hamstring injury in the 49th minute. It proved to be costly for the Gunners.  

The goals in the second half for Bayern started after a beautiful pass from Phillip Lahm to a waiting Lewandowski who headed it in over two Arsenal defenders in the 58th minute.

Next, Lewandowski was able to connect with Thiago after a beautiful back-heel, and a great breakaway from Thiago in the 56th minute. A few minutes later Thiago was able to double-up after a kick outside the box, which deflected off of a corner that touched both an Arsenal defender, and their goalie Kieran Gibbs.

Thiago celebrates his first of two goals. (EPA)

Lewandowski hit the bar, Robben had his shot blocked, and the chances were there for Bayern. Thomas Muller, who was the late sub, came in and scored; on a shot that Thiago could have easily had his hat trick for the game, instead passed to the struggling Muller to make the lead 5-1, and has the Germans one foot in to the next round.

Thomas Muller scores to make lead 5-1. (AP)

Critics were not impressed with Bayern’s recent overall performance in both league play, and the Champions League.  

The mood changed after the remarkable performance, Bayern looked sharp, and their attacks were consistent. The total goal count could have been 7 or 8. Arsenal looks like it will again be eliminated by Bayern in the Champions League after their performance, reminiscent of their exit a few years earlier.  They play again on March 7th in London.

Bayern Munich Real Madrid performances today, and Paris Saint-Germain’s performance yesterday, have propelled them into favorites to win it all in Cardiff on June 3rd.

The round of 16 continues next week with matchups that include Bayer Leverkusen taking on Champions League Cup runner up Atletico Madrid, Manchester City versus Monaco, and also Porto taking on Serie A standout Juventus.

The Champions League Round Of 16 Is Off To A Stunning Start

Two titans of European soccer played in the elimination rounds of the UEFA Champions League. The round of 16 has some notable matches that kicked off this afternoon.

There were two matches on the schedule today.  The first involved the European powerhouses Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona.  Also on the schedule was Bundesliga standout Borussia Dortmund taking on SL Benfica from Portugal.  

The two matches were played simultaneously. Before the start of the games Barcelona and Dortmund were favorites to win their respective games.

That was not the case for either.

Dortmund began the game extremely aggressive and seemed to be in control. Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moved the ball around steadily and had plenty of chances in the first half. The only problem is that they wre not able to make anything of the abundant chances that were created.  

The Dortmund side played a solid game, but was unable to score any goals.  There was also a golden chance that presented itself as well in the 58th minute via penalty kick.  Aubameyang lined up to take the shot.  This opportunity looked like the Germans chance to get back in the game.  

Aubameyang has his penalty shot blocked (Reuters).

Unfortunately, the penalty kicked was blocked by Benfica’s goalkeeper Ederson, who also made some key saves throughout the game, and Dortmund did not have a better chance then that to score.  Benfica switched up the layout of their team and that proved effective as they were able to take the 1-0 lead after a goal from Kostas Mitroglou

Kostas Mitroglou after scoring a goal from a corner kick (EPA).

Aubameyang would be subbed out soon after. Reus also had some chances, but couldn’t get through the Brazilian goalkeeper from Benfica.

Dortmund definitely lost the game. They had enough chances that they did not take advantage of to either tie the game or take the lead.  Benfica is now 90 minutes away from moving on the round 8, Dortmund will need to make adjustments to try to avoid an early exit.

In the other match of the day, and let’s face it nobody expected the outcome, the juggernaut that is Barcelona was crushed by the under-dog Paris Saint Germain at the Park des Prince 4-0.  

PSG never let up, every single counter-attack looked threatening at several points throughout the game.  

Barcelona struggled to get shots off; Neymar Jr. seemed to be seriously injured during the game. Barcelona did not look like a four-time Champions League Cup winner.

Even the fans at the stadium were surprised by the large margin of such a celebrated team like Barca.  The loss ties the biggest deficit in the Champions League that the Spanish team has faced.  

Their stars Neymar Jr,, Lionel Messi, and Luis Suarez were essentially shut down by PSG’s impeccable defense.  Their attack was spot on.  There was four shots on goals before the 10th minute of the game.  

The onslaught started with Angel di Maria scored with a brilliant free kick in the 18th-minute.  The kick went clear over the Barcelona wall that curved its way in, after Suarez attempted to head the ball away.

Angel di Maria’s bending free kick for a goal (EMPICS Sports).

The newest PSG signee, and German star Julian Draxler, scored on a beautiful shot in the 40th minute.  After the break, the goals continued.

Di Maria scored his second goal on the night, after breaking away and shooting a beautiful shot from 25 yards out that curled in to make it a 3-0 lead at the 50th minute. He had an amazing game, and his mind was on attack and his passes were precise.

Edinson Cavani, who was celebrating his birthday, along with di Maria, scored in the 72nd minute with a power shot to the side of the goal.  The performance of PSG was spectacular; Barca’s was lackluster to say the least.  Their defense was non-existent, and so were their stars.  

Messi’s face says it all for Barcelona’s performance (Getty).

Barcelona was essentially shut down, and now facing a daunting task heading back to the Camp Nou on March 8th.  If not, it looks like PSG will be moving on after a stunning, yet beautiful performance from the Parisian underdog.

The Unfortunate Case Of Russell Westbrook

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 1130-114 last night. It was apparent from the beginning of the game what the outcome would be.

The outcome of the game showed that Kevin Durant made the right decision, and that Russell Westbrook continues to play like a MVP candidate, yet he and OKC continue to lose games. Westbrook finished the game with 47 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists.  He still had 11 turnovers.

Kevin Durant was returning to the Chesapeake Energy Arena for the first time since leaving last season for Oakland, leaving Westbrook and the city, was received with a mix of cheers and boos.  Durant finished the night with 34 points, and nine rebounds. He led the Warriors in points.

Aside from the obvious trash-talk that was expected from other players and fans, Westbrook eventually joined in on the jawing.  

Durant and Westbrook exchanged words after a Thunder 3, as the Thunder called a timeout, it is possibly the most the two have spoken since Durant’s departure.  

“I’m coming, I’m coming” can be heard from the OKC captain. Durant did not seem to mind, but he did say something, but he mostly let his playing do the talking.   

Surprisingly, there were little to no times when both were covering one another.  The Warriors depth and bench was too much for the Thunder.  

Westbrook’s performance was not enough. The closest OKC got was 12 points in the 4th, but could not cut the deficit, and the Warriors eventually pulled away.  

With the win last night Durant can explain his departure.  At the time, when it was himself and Westbrook, they would play great games, but the help around them was not there. 

If either of them struggled, there was a possibility that the team would lose.  If both of them have an off night it is an almost-guarantee that they did not win those games.

Durant could no longer deal with that.  Who could blame him?  He had to escape as soon as there was a chance to.  

He wanted to see changes, and he felt that OKC did not do enough to retain his talents for another 2-3 years.  Westbrook recites loyalty to the team and the city as the reason he stayed, but is it more to it than that?

Westbrook, in essence stayed with OKC to see the Thunder re-visit the Finals visit glory from a few years ago.  He expected Durant to be there too when he signed his contract last year.

It’s hard to look at their now non-existent relationship.  They weren’t best of friends during their time together, but towards the end of last season it reached its peak, the departure sealed the deal.

Durant wants rings, wins, and success.  Westbrook wanted to put on a show and attempt to get a win, even if that means turning the ball over, or missing key shots or pays.  The differences only grew.

According to Westbrook, the beef or their situation is non-existent. Durant is with the Warriors, Westbrook with the Thunder. They were never friends, but they were never enemies, they just had different views.

Durant’s views now look golden; Westbrook’s views look cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms.

Phillip Lahm Announces Retirement 

One of the greatest careers in European soccer history is coming to an end. Bayern Munich captain and the Germany National Team defensive star Phillip Lahm, after 18 years with the club and national team. The 33-year old is ready to retire at the end of the season.

He played with, and was captain of the German national team when they won the World Cup 2014, in Brazil.  His team dismantled Brazil 7-1, before they defeated Argentina in the final 1-0.  He is a legend in the Allianz Arena in Munich. He has been the captain of Bayern Munich for the past six seasons. 

The team has been the most successful team in the Bundesliga.  He has spent his entire career with the club, barring two years on loan with Stuttgart from 2003-2005.

Lahm just completed his 500th game for the club.  The news of his retirement came as kind of a shock to the team. According to him, he has been planning to leave the team since last year.  Bayern expects him to stay in some sort of management or chair role.

Lahn has been involved in three UEFA Champions League Finals, where his team was finawlly able to win the title over their rivals in the Bundesliga Borussia Dortmund in 2013.  They were runner-ups in back-to-back Champions League Finals.  

The team has claimed the Bundesliga title for the past four years, The DFB-Pokal 6 times, DFL-Super Cup 3 times, UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2013.  

His stellar career and consistency has earned him prestigious individual awards both professionally, and also internationally.

When it came with Bayern Munich, Lahm was chosen to the UEFA Euro All-Time 11, and the UEFA Ultimate Team of the year.  The award goes to players that have had stellar performances, and selected to various All-Star teams throughout UEFA play.

The list includes stars Carlos Puyol, Xavi, Steven Gerrard, Thierry Henry, and Lionel Messi.

Lahm has also had a lucrative international career as well, with the German National Team. He has been on the FIFA World Cup All-Star in 2006 and in 2014, the FIFA World Cup Dream team in 2006, FIFA Club World Cup Silver Ball, and the list goes on and on for this amazing German.  

He has done and won it all.  He has had an amazing career professionally and also internationally.  He will continue to play with Bayern Munich for the rest of season.  They are in the round of 16 in the CL this year.  They will face the team they love to eliminate, Arsenal.  

After it is all said and done, Phillip Lahm will go down as one of the greatest soccer players in the world. It was a privilege to watch him play and dominate the pitch with his defense and alertness.  

He is expected to take an office role, but that is still to be confirmed, or announced. 

He is a perfect example of a marvelous, yet consistent player. He may not play a position that is considered flashy, but the position he did play, he played it damn-near perfect.

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