About Last Night: Here Come the Mavs

In case you were out all night looking for the afikomen, here’s what you missed in sports on Tuesday:

  • Dallas got a crucial win in the Western Conference playoff race, beating the Los Angeles Clippers, 109-102, at home. Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who had a potential game-winning shot waved off at the end of regulation after he fouled Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, said after the game, “Dirk, man, respect his game, but the guy’s a real Batusi dancer.” When told of Griffin’s comments, a puzzled Nowitzki asked, “Wait, is he calling me old? Like Adam West? Or lame? Is he saying I cheated? I don’t get it. We won the game. What the hell is this? Ask him what he meant by that.” When asked, however, Griffin responded, “Nah, guy just dances the Batusi, you know” before winking at the gathered media and jutting out his mouthpiece with a half smile.
  • The United States Men’s National Team earned a rare road point at the Estadio Azteca, holding Mexico to a scoreless draw in a World Cup–qualifying match. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann credited his team’s resolve to their prematch preparation, in which Klinsmann himself berated his team in Spanish and threw bags of unidentifiable liquids at them as they attempted corner kicks. When asked if his own experience winning matches in Mexico with West Germany led him to that training technique, Klinsmann responded, “Um … sure. Yes. Let’s go with that.”
  • In a potential Eastern Conference playoff preview, the New York Knicks thrashed the undermanned Boston Celtics, 100-85. The Celtics, who have now lost five straight, were apparently unmoved by head coach Doc Rivers’s pregame speech, in which he told his team, “You guys have to pull it together. Kevin Garnett is not walking through this door. Rajon Rondo is not walking through this door.” Rivers’s already ill-conceived speech was then further undermined as both Rondo and Garnett walked through the door that Rivers had been gesturing at so that they could sit with their teammates during the game. “It was awkward,” Celtics forward Jeff Green said after the game. “Kevin could smell something was up, but no one told him what was said.”
  • Sidney Crosby netted the only goal of the game as the Pittsburgh Penguins stretched their winning streak to 13 games with a 1-0 win over Montreal. Pittsburgh is only four games away from tying the NHL record, held by the 1992-93 Penguins, captained by current owner Mario Lemieux, who has purchased copious amounts of champagne he plans to drink with either his former teammates or his current employees, depending on when the streak ends or doesn’t end.
  • The Edmonton Oilers, keyed by a 43-save night from veteran goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, beat the St. Louis Blues, 3-0, on the road. “I have felt blues before,” said Khabibulin after the game. “I was a young man, before I came to America, playing for Motorist in Yekaterinburg. Things were different then, and my family, we were not party members. We were loyal, yes, but we had not been given opportunity to move into the party itself. I am saving goals for Motorist, and man comes to me. Clearly a very important man. He tells me big game against CSKA is coming up. Asks me if I’m aware. I am. Asks me if I’m aware they may be interested in procuring my services. I am not. Asks me if my father wants access to party membership. He does. But I do not say that. I say nothing. And I do nothing. And nothing happens to my father. And I felt such great sadness. Knowing what I could have done for my family. But I also know old Russian saying, ‘Better to say nothing and live.’ So I swear that day that I hate the blues. And as these things happen, soon enough I am in Moscow, and then America, and soon enough there is no more party. Eh? And I make a new Russian saying: ‘Hating the blues can be very very powerful.’”
  • Elena Delle Donne had 33 points, and the Delaware Blue Hens made their first women’s Sweet 16 with a 78-69 win over North Carolina. The win was the most interesting thing that’s happened in Delaware since the Kinkos on Market Street in Wilmington became a FedEx Office. “Well, this wasn’t that interesting,” Delle Donne said after the game. “But wow, to even be considered in the pantheon of great Delaware events like that. Wow.”
  • Free agent quarterback Jason Campbell signed with the Cleveland Browns to provide competition for incumbent second-year quarterback Brandon Weeden. Rookie head coach Rob Chudzinski said of the signing, “This is exactly the sort of dynamism Browns fans can expect from the Cleveland organization going forward. Campbell and Weeden, competition. Hell, J.P. Losman’s out there to be signed. Kevin Kolb’s out there. We might bring them in, too. Every day, we’re looking for Cleveland quarterbacks, and we’ll fight tooth-and-nail to bring them in. That’s the Chud way, and I know fans are really excited for the season to begin.”
  • Tommy Haas became the oldest man to beat a world no. 1 in over 30 years, upsetting Novak Djokovic in the fourth round of the Sony Open. It had been 14 years since Haas had beaten a player ranked no. 1, when he beat Andre Agassi. “It was a more innocent world back then,” Haas said. “People beat the world no. 1 all the time. Back before the darkness. Back before Roger. Did I think it would take 14 years to get back here? No. But Swiss tyranny has a way of moving swiftly.”

Filed Under: About Last Night, Blake Griffin, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, North Carolina, Novak Djokovic, Pittsburgh Penguins

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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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