About Last Night: The Moves Like Jagr
In case you were busy giving grudging credit to Rick Barnes for a game well coached, here’s what you missed in sports on Wednesday:
- Jaromir Jagr set the career NHL record with his 122nd game winner in the New Jersey Devils’ 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Unfortunately for Jagr, the possibility for an in-game recognition of his achievement stalled when Senators goalkeeper Robin Lehner refused to take the procedural steps required to pause the game to allow for an ovation or an announcement to be made. Any attempt to overturn Lehner’s decision was thwarted by captain Jason Spezza, who cited the need to respect the team’s procedural methodology before checking Devils winger Patrik Elias into the boards.
- In a battle of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams, the Miami Heat overturned a 15-point deficit to top the Indiana Pacers, 97-94. After the game, the two teams met at midcourt to survey the surrounding area, only to find themselves alone in a desolate wasteland. “It’s just us, huh?” Pacers forward Paul George asked the Heat’s Dwyane Wade as he looked at the Eastern Conference standings. “All the other teams … they’re gone?” Wade shook his head grimly. “Not gone. Undead.” George gasped, but Wade clapped a hand over George’s mouth and whispered, “No, no. They can smell fear. If you don’t watch out you’ll wind up in Brooklyn.” Wade shuddered and added, “But if one of us manages to make it to play the West, I hear that the virus hasn’t taken hold out there.” George’s eyes were wide as he asked Wade, “What virus?” Just then, Heat forward Chris Bosh popped up from behind his teammate and said, “Suck! They all suck. The virus is sucking. They suck so much. Everyone else just sucks so, so much.”
- Despite a horrific blunder from forward Andrea Bargnani that snatched a second overtime from the jaws of victory, the New York Knicks pulled out a 107-101 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. A boy in Queens sat next to his father as the game ended. “So that’s what winning feels like,” the boy said to his father. “It does not feel good.” The father stared straight at the TV as he gripped his son’s shoulder. “No, son,” the father said. “Not good. What does not good feel like to you? Use your words.” The boy looked at him, puzzled, but his father yelled “Now!” and the boy said, “It’s like when mom said she couldn’t take this life anymore and left, and then I’d call her and she doesn’t answer, but then on my birthday she sent me that card. You remember it. It said ‘Happy fifth birthday,’ and I had just turned 7. Why did Andrea take that shot, Dad? Why?” The boy was on the verge of tears. The father held his shoulder. The boy and the man only had each other in this moment. Only each other and the Knicks.
- An eight-member committee has been convened by the University of Texas to aid the school’s pursuit of a replacement for outgoing head football coach Mack Brown. This seems wholly unnecessary, with a high-quality option currently coaching high school football in Philadelphia. Eric Taylor, who was considered the next big thing in Texas coaching when he was hired by Texas Methodist University as its quarterbacks coach, has been known for his ability to wring the most out of his talent through his incredible career as a Texas high school football coach (remember, it was Taylor who mentored Smash Williams before his All–Big 12 career at Texas A&M). And while a play for Alabama head coach Nick Saban or Dillon High School head coach Wade Aikman might be the way a committee goes, the right choice is Coach Taylor.
- Tottenham Hotspur’s woes continued as the team fell, 2-1, to West Ham United in Capital One Cup play, losing their first match since the firing of manager Andre Villas-Boas. “Well, it’s still always good to get rid of those house snakes,” Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said when asked if this result colored his perception of his team’s decision. “I’m still not sure why Andre left, though; he must have misread the house snake memo.” Levy then pulled out the memo and said, “See, it said, ‘NO VILLA BOAS, ANDRE.’ Oh … I see what happened,” before tugging on his shirt collar.
- Bears receiver Brandon Marshall admitted that he almost pulled a Dez Bryant, as he considered walking off the field early during his team’s December 1 loss at Minnesota. “But then,” Marshall explained, “I remembered that I would be letting down Josh McCown. And nobody lets down Josh McCown. Nobody.”
- The Atlanta Braves acquired catcher Ryan Doumit in a trade with the Minnesota Twins as they look to bolster the position after losing Brian McCann in free agency. Doumit will likely back up Evan Gattis, creating a Doumit and Gattis platoon. This new partnership should not be confused with the musical theater writing partnership of Gattis and Doumit, who collaborated on such Broadway duds as Everyone Off the Mayflower, Your Baby? My Baby!, and Where’s Waldo, The Musical!