In case you were busy walking the plank at the behest of Bill Belichick, here’s what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
- LeBron James and the Miami Heat opened their NBA championship defense with an impressive 107-95 win over Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. An optimistic Rose, who was playing in his first regular-season game since recovering from a torn ACL, said, “I’m disappointed in the loss, but my performance, I can easily change that by making shots and keeping down the turnovers.” When Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau heard his point guard’s comments, however, he flew into a rage, screaming, “He could have made more shots and avoided turnovers? Well, why didn’t he? What the hell was he thinking?” Thibodeau then threw his hands in the air and said, “Jiminy Christmas, he was only out for a year. I have to micromanage everything with this team.”
- An unheralded Lakers bench proved the difference as the Purple and Gold stunned the Los Angeles Clippers, 116-103, in their opening-night crosstown battle. Though the Clippers are still expected to emerge from under the shadow of the Lakers this year, it’s like TNT NBA analyst Reggie Miller always says: “The more things change, the more that they are or are not still what they were when they were the original thing. Unless they aren’t.”
- Paul George had 24 points as the Indiana Pacers pulled away from rookie Victor Oladipo and the Orlando Magic in the second half of a 97-87 home win. “Welcome to the NBA, kid,” George said to former Hoosier star Oladipo as he checked into the game midway through the first quarter. “But you’re not in Indiana anymore.” Oladipo then looked quizzically at George, who, realizing his mistake, quickly added, “I mean, you are in Indiana. But you’re in Indianapolis now. The big Naptown. So, um, yeah, welcome. Did you get the tin of popcorn I sent you?”
- Jonathan Toews netted his third professional hat trick as the Chicago Blackhawks rallied to beat the Ottawa Senators 6-5. “Well, technically my third professional hat trick came at my nephew’s birthday party, when I surprised everyone with my touring magic act, The Am-Toews-ing Jonathan.” Toews’s expression then grew dark, before he added, “So many lawsuits with that act. And so many dead rabbits. So, so many dead rabbits.”
- The St. Louis Cardinals’ flight back to Boston for the final games of the World Series was delayed by more than seven hours, after the navigation system on the team’s plane failed and a second plane had to be brought in. “You guys, it wasn’t a bad nav system at all,” a spooked Cardinals infielder David Freese told his team. “It was a g-g-g-g-ghost in the cockpit.” And while most of the team laughed off Freese’s comments as good-natured Halloween ribbing, after a lengthy investigation and a couple of improbable chase sequences, it became clear that there wasn’t a ghost at all. It was Ol’ Man Rick Ankiel using a couple of overhead projectors in an attempt to get vengeance on his former team. “And I would have gotten away with it, were it not for that meddling kid,” Ankiel said of Freese as he was taken off the plane, which forced Freese to once again awkwardly remind everyone that he is a 30-year-old, 6-foot-2 professional athlete.
- Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL in the team’s 14-9 win over the St. Louis Rams. “What the hell is happening?” said die-hard Seahawks fan Noah Ferron upon hearing the news. “This is the Seahawks franchise! First we look bad in a tight road win, and now we’ll have to play two to three weeks without a marquee receiver until Percy Harvin gets healthy? This isn’t supposed to happen to the Seahawks! What is the franchise that I have loved and followed closely for the past 13 months coming to?” Ferron then shook his head and put on his Sounders scarf before adding, “You’d think we were the Pittsburgh Steelers with the amount of turmoil and bad luck we’ve had to deal with this week.”
- Major League Baseball announced its Gold Glove award winners, highlighted by youngsters Manny Machado and Andrelton Simmons and veterans Yadier Molina and Dustin Pedroia. “If I’m being honest, I’m disappointed,” said Harvard econometrics PhD candidate and lifelong Royals fan Brent Thatcher. “Remember the good old days? When things were crazy? Rafael Palmeiro winning when he DH’d the whole year. Jay Buhner in ’96. Derek Jeter. Oh, how we blogged about Derek Jeter.” Thatcher then turned to the Charles River and tossed the end of his scarf over his shoulder. “Now I have to debate whether Adam Jones’s Defensive Runs Saved number stands in stark enough contrast to his apparent play on the field? I feel like the joy is gone.” Thatcher bent down and picked up a red leaf, considered it, then asked, “Have we reached the autumn of our sabermetric revolution? And if so, what shall winter bring?” And as Thatcher let go of the leaf, the wind whispered “Francoeur” in his ear, reminding the young statistician why he does what he does.