About Last Night: Gophers Drop the Hoosiers

Trevor MbakweIn case you were busy winding down all of your Italian business interests, here’s what you missed in sports on Tuesday.

  • Trevor Mbakwe and the Minnesota Golden Gophers upset top-ranked Indiana, 77-73 in Minneapolis. Mbakwe, who started his college career playing for Indiana head coach Tom Crean at Marquette, said, “Something about Crean brings out the best in me. Maybe it’s his smile that says at once, ‘I care,’ and ‘I know this isn’t forever.’ Maybe it’s that ‘come-hither’ stare, in which worlds are created and destroyed in his irises every time he blinks behind his wire-framed glasses. Maybe it’s his lyrical name, ‘Tom Crean.’ All I know is, when I see his face, I’m compelled to be at once my best and worst self.”
  • The Miami Heat needed two overtimes to win their 12th consecutive game, topping the Sacramento Kings, 141-129, behind 40 points from LeBron James. James also made news by threatening to stop his pregame ritual of entertaining the crowd with an array of impressive slam dunks. And let me just say thank you to LeBron for finally showing some respect for the game. James has been allowed to go too far with his dunking and showmanship for too long. What happened to the great traditions of basketball such as mid-range jump shots, using the glass, not having a shot clock, underhanded free throws, peach baskets, and not playing basketball and instead playing lacrosse? Kudos to you, LeBron, for getting us back on the path to decency.
  • In a game between teams playing without their star point guard due to knee injuries, the Kyrie Irving–less Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Derrick Rose–less Chicago Bulls, 101-98. Shaun Livingston scored 15 points, starting in place of Irving. “It was the rare game for me where I wasn’t the star point guard out with a knee injury; shoe was on the other foot in this one,” Livingston said after the game, “which explains a lot of my past troubles. It turns out shoes fit better when you match them with your foot shape. Really wish someone had told me that years ago.”
  • The Indiana Pacers overcame the ejection of center Roy Hibbert after he scuffled with Warriors forward David Lee, beating Golden State, 108-97, to continue their scorching play at home. Current Laker and former Pacers forward Metta World Peace called the scuffle “an abomination,” before going on to say, “Hibbert didn’t even throw a real punch. Come on. What happened to the franchise I once knew?”
  • Dirk Nowitzki had his first 20-point, 20-rebound game in a decade, but his Mavericks still lost, 95-90, at home to the Milwaukee Bucks. This was due in large part to the disparity in play between the teams’ reserve guards: new Bucks acquisition J.J. Redick had 14 points on eight shots, while Vince Carter’s 0-for-8 shooting left him with only 2 points. Carter, in classic Carter fashion, then added injury to injury as he developed a migraine after the game trying to think up a way to justify his poor performance that didn’t involve admitting to his teammates that he was intimidated by J.J. Redick.
  • Memphis’ poor free-throw shooting was their Achilles’ heel as they went 6-for-18 from the line and fell to Xavier, 64-62, snapping an 18-game winning streak like some sort of foot ligament thing. You know, that ligament in the back of your foot — the one that’s vulnerable but also strong. What’s that called?
  • Red-hot Tennessee moved closer to the right side of the bubble with a 64-58 home win over SEC-leading Florida. Unfortunately for the Volunteers, heat itself leads to instability in bubble structures, according to new research in the field of bubble dynamics by UT associate professor of fluid mechanics Charles Sampson. “This is a nightmare,” said Tennessee ex-head coach Bruce Pearl, who responded to the quandary in the only way he knows how: by recording incriminating phone conversations involving Sampson’s efforts to recruit students into his department, and forwarding those messages to the school’s academic dean.
  • Barcelona remained mired in a poor run of form as they crashed out of the Copa del Rey, losing to rivals Real Madrid, 3-1 (4-2 on aggregate). Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored two goals for the Madridistas as they notched a rare victory at the Nou Camp, was seen after the match slumped in a chair by his locker holding a framed 8-by-10 of Lionel Messi, muttering, “But what is there for Ronaldo to do now?”
  • The Boston Bruins continued their dominance over the New York Islanders, winning, 4-1, at the Nassau Coliseum. Not all the news was good for the Bruins, however, as getting back to Boston after the closure of the discount Fung Wah Bus Company will prove a significant challenge. “I didn’t even know there was another way to get from Boston to New York,” said Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. “Now I’m gonna have to get my mom to wire us all an extra 20 bucks so we can take something called the Megabus. Their rates are brutal when you book this late.”
  • Angels manager Mike Scioscia said publicly on Tuesday that he’s not worried about center fielder Mike Trout coming into spring training 10 to 15 pounds heavier than he did last season. “I remember when Troy Glaus came in 10 to 15 pounds heavier in ’02 and we won the whole thing,” Scioscia said, before pausing long enough for worlds to be destroyed and re-formed in the irises of his eyes. “Yup, not worried about any aspect of his weight gain at all.”

Filed Under: About Last Night, Barcelona, Boston Bruins, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dallas Mavericks, Derrick Rose, Florida, Golden State Warriors, Indiana, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Real Madrid, Sacramento Kings

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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