January 23, 2013
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By MICHAEL DAUBER STAFF WRITER
Leaving out all natural biases for anyone involved, and my own proclivities towards the purple and gold, did you ever think you would see a season quite like this? Seriously, Knicks fans, I know you thought the Knicks were going to be a little more solid this year, but in your wildest dreams did you ever think they would be riding second place? Tell that to the Clippers, a franchise with such a dismal past that its current second-place standing in the Western Conference would suggest somebody keeps on punching numbers into the wins column by mistake. And did you ever think an NBA playoff discussion would largely ignore the Lakers and the Celtics in the same year, except to say that the odds don’t look yellow or green in Vegas? Well, neither did I, but there you go. Folks, the world did not end in 2012, but the Maya never said it wouldn’t get just a little bit weirder than it already was. Oh, how the West has been won, with some old faces and one quite startling new one. Last year saw the addition of Chris Paul to the Clippers, a franchise which used to bring almost as many laughs to our ears as Charlotte. That campaign resulted in a second round exit after finishing second in the division and fourth overall in the West. This year, the Clippers follow the Thunder closely…very closely. The two are tied for the top spot. Earlier this month the Clippers held first place for a few games after going 17-0 in December, a feat few teams have ever accomplished before. Denver sits in sixth, and as I noted earlier this year, its season has been very interesting to watch: the Nuggets acquired All-Star Andre Iguodala in the offseason to compliment a deep, young roster. Well, that deep, young roster upset OKC in Denver Sunday night in a close overtime win, with Durant and Westbrook both missing threepoint attempts that would have tied the game at the buzzer. Oh, how the West was lost in rather cataclysmic fashion, with the Lakers sitting at 17-23, twoand-a-half games out of playoff contention with a tough schedule ahead and 10 of the next 13 games on the road. Kobe tweeted on Sunday that he takes full responsibility for the loss in Toronto, using “#brickcity” to describe his poor shooting performance (10/32), despite catching fire in the fourth quarter. Dwight Howard was ejected before the end of the first half after drawing two technical fouls. As usual, the Lakers came from behind to make the score
close, only losing 108-103. I have said this to many people over recent weeks: the Lakers are not a bad team, they just lose most of their games. Can they really be that bad if they lose to almost every team, regardless of standings, by less than ten points? Clearly they can, and have, run with the best in the league; they just can’t beat them. The Beast of the East? In this cold, cold winter the East is led by a hot, hot team in ability and name: the defending NBA Champions, the Miami Heat. This one is no surprise. LeBron has picked up where he left off from last season, averaging MVP numbers as usual. The Heat are a little bit different this year, perhaps a little colder? Pardon the pun, it is just that the defending champs do not exactly look like themselves. After all, they have lost to Charlotte and Washington, and have lost to the Knicks twice by about 20 points each time (in one game the Knicks were even without Carmelo Anthony, who is among the league leaders in scoring). The Heat still dominate the league, but they go through stretches where their defense breaks down, where LeBron himself seems to embody the entire Big 3 and where they just cannot score. This happens to everyone sooner or later, and my only major concern for them is that they need to tighten up their defense. Not many teams have a problem scoring; it is the ones that can contain the Durants and Westbrooks of the league that are going to be right there in June. The Knicks stand only a game behind Miami — not bad. Carmelo Anthony has been playing great, Iman Shumpert has returned from his ACL injury and the Knicks seem to be firing pretty much on all cylinders. My big surprise for the East? The Chicago Bulls. It seems to be about right to hear about the Bulls doing well, but something feels funny here. Oh, yes, that’s right: they are just three and a half games behind Miami without the services of Derek Rose, who will return soon from an ACL injury sustained in the first round of the 2012 playoffs. I was not quite sure how that was possible, so I took a gander at the second half of a Bulls-Celtics game the other day and saw outstanding play from Kirk Hinrich, Rose’s 2013 replacement (for now). Marco Belinelli hit the game-winning shot in overtime to lift the Bulls past the Celtics, a turning, falling shot in the closing seconds. They looked to have a good flow and shot extremely well. Perhaps we’re returning to an era dominated by talk of the Bulls? It feels right.
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Varsity Scores & Stats Men’s Basketball Massachusetts 40 37 77 Fordham 26 47 73 (MASS) C. Williams 22pts 7asts (FOR) C. Gaston 20pts 13rebs
Richmond 20 20 40 Fordham 26 21 47 (RICH) K. King 14pts 9rebs (FOR) M. Strickland 20pts 5rebs
Fordham 27 41 68 Charlotte 31 43 74 (FOR) B. Frazier 23pts 4asts (CHA) D. Mayfield 18pts 4rebs
Men’s Swimming Iona 76 Fordham 134
Women’s Basketball Fordham 25 34 59 Charlotte 28 28 56 (FOR) E. Rooney 19pts 5rebs (CHA) J. Hailey 22pts 22asts Massachusetts 26 31 57 Fordham 32 37 69 (Mass) C. Cloutier 13pts 3asts (FOR) E.Rooney 19pts 4rebs
Women’s Swimming Iona 93 Fordham 140 Richmond Fordham
Men’s Tennis BYU 6 Fordham 1 Men’s Indoor Track Yale Invitational Men’s 3000m Nick Synan 2nd-8:40.60 J. Anelli 5th- 8:46.62 400m Sam Houston 5th-50.66 Mile Run Mike Turi
Women’s Indoor Track Yale Invitational Women’s 800m M. Lieberman 3rd-2:19.26 S. Forlenza 5th-2:23.73 4x800 Relay
Athletes of the Week Shintaro Noguchi
Noguchi received A10 Performer of the Week honors, winning three events in Fordham’s victory over LaSalle and helping win two relay events in the win over Iona.
Strickland scored 9,14 and 20 points in the Ram’s three A10 wins, and reached the 1000 point milestone in the Rams’ win over Richmond.
News & Notes •
Fordham seniors Ryan Higgins and Lloyd Morrison participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl game on Jan. 19. Higgins threw for 42 yards, including a 21 yard connection to Rice tight end Luke Wilson. Former men’s basketball coach Johnny Bach was named to the inaugural class of Atlantic 10 Basketball Legends. Bach coached from 1950 to 1968, and is the Rams’ alltime leader in wins, taking Fordham to two NCAA tournament appearances and five trips to the NIT in 18 seasons. Fordham assistant track and field coach Ed Joyce passed away Jan. 13 at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, following a long battle with cancer. The Fordham baseball team was picked 9th in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s coaches. The team opens their season Feb. 22 against Michigan in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Three Fordham swimmers received an Atlantic 10 Performer of the Week award. Senior Brienne Ryan was named Women’s Co-Performer of the Week for the fifth time, while junior Shintaro Noguchi received Men’s Performer of the Week for the second time. Freshman Steve Sholdra was named Men’s Rookie of the Week for the sixth time. The Fordham track team qualified in three ECAC/IC4A events at the Yale Invitational on Jan. 12. The team of Melissa Higgins, Jillian Brooks, Kristen Stuart and Titi Fagade won the 4x800 relay event in an ECAC qualifying time of 9:18.45.