12.26.16: Merry Hoopsmas

Good Morning, Team SQ! Seeing how it’s the holiday season, we’re kicking things off with holiday hoops and Kyrie Irving’s game winner from yesterday:

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NBA

As we said in our intro, Sunday was all about holiday hoops. The big game of the day was between last year’s defending champions, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors… ya know, the champs from the year before. Anyways, the game came down to the wire and as you also know, Kyrie Irving hit the game winner to help the Cavs prevail 109-108 in Cleveland. Surely this won’t be the last we hear from the best in the east vs. the best in the west.

Other Merry Hoopsmas games included the New York Knicks losing to the Boston Celtics 119-114 and the San Antonio Spurs getting the 119-100 win over the Chicago Bulls, while the later games saw the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-100 with the help of another great performance from Russell Westbrook, and the LA Lakers score a 111-102 win over the LA Clippers.

Because it’s a holiday week — and you may have more time — sharing a few articles to check out from NBA land:

NFL

So, about football this past weekend… let’s just say week 16 did not let us down. Despite losing on Thursday night to the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants clinched a playoff Wild Card in the NFC spot after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the New Orleans Saints 31-24 on Saturday, while the Cleveland Browns got their first win of the season with a win over the San Diego Chargers 20-17. Other notable games included the Green Bay Packers 38-25 win over the Minnesota Vikings after a strong performance by the Green Bay offense, the Pittsburgh Steelers getting a season saving win over the Baltimore Ravens 31-27 and the Kansas City Chiefs’ 33-10 win over the Denver Broncos.

Monday Night Football features the Detroit Lions versus the Dallas Cowboys at 8:30pm on ESPN.

So, what does this mean for the playoffs? Check out the current standings here.

 College Football

Don’t forget that the college football bowl games really get going next week!

JUST FOR FUN

Since next week, it’ll be 2017…
The best moments in sports, from the year 2016

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

38
Playing smarter, because he’s playing a little slower
As the oldest cornerback in the NFL , Terence Newman puts in the behind-the-scenes work to come up with ways to outsmart the others on the field

Family
Especially around the holidays, it’s important to be grateful for those around you
A look into the life of Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings — how he got where he is, and what continues to motivate him every day

12.19.16: OBJ

Good Morning, Team SQ. Let’s start today off with highlights from Odell Beckham Jr.’s game-winning TD for the New York Giants:

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

Lots to discuss coming out of week 15 in the NFL — the Green Bay Packers considered their season revival with a much-needed 30-27 win over the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants got a big win over the Detroit Lions 17-6 with the help of an awesome catch from none other than OBJ, and the New England Patriots defeated the Denver Broncos 16-3 in Denver.

Oh, and the Oakland Raiders clinched a playoff spot with a 19-16 win over the San Diego Chargers, while the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-20 on Sunday night — Zeke got a record, too!

Monday Night Football features the Carolina Panthers versus the Washington Redskins at 8:30pm on ESPN.

NBA

The San Antonio Spurs defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 113-100 on Sunday night in a game where they retired legendary player Tim Duncan’s jersey.

Speaking of legends… Russell Westbrook continues to turn in one legendary performance after another — this time with 22 assists as part of his 13th triple double of the season for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Don’t forget that the NBA Christmas Day games will be here before you know it. ‘Tis the holiday season for holiday hoops!

 

JUST FOR FUN

In memoriam
The NFL GameDay crew dressed up as a tribute to Craig Sager

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Craig Sager
The fight
The colorful 65-year-old sportscaster passed away on Thursday after a battle with leukemia

If you can’t watch all of the bowl games…
Which should you tune in for?
Five Thirty Eight grades all 41 games, so you know which will be the most entertaining

Keepin’ an eye out
Concussion spotters in the NHL
This year, the league hired athletic trainers with concussion training to sit in the New York based war room and watch for concussion symptoms during games

12.12.16: 20/20

Hi Team SQ! Let’s start things off with a look at LA Clippers star PG Chris Paul’s 20/20 (that’s 20 assists and 20 points… and 0 turnover performance) from Saturday night. Oh yeah, and his team beat the New Orleans Pelicans 133-105!

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

Lots to discuss coming out of week 14 in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers (who had 3 TDs and 246 yards) and the Green Bay Packers look to be back on track after a dominating 38-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks while the Washington Redskins got a narrow win over the Philadelphia Eagles 27-22 after Chris Thompson ran for a 25-yard TD in the 4th.

The big match-up of the weekend came down to Sunday night’s very own NFC East showdown between the New York Giants and the 11-1 Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium — where the Giants got a big 10-7 win.

Monday Night Football features the New England Patriots vs. the Baltimore Ravens on ESPN at 8:30pm.

College Football

Over the weekend, QB Lamar Jackson  became the first Louisville player in school history to win the Heisman Trophy — awarded to the best player in college football.

In other news, Bowl Season kicks off next weekend. Get ready!

NBA

In all things NBA milestones, LeBron James became the first ‘frontcourt’ player in NBA history to reach 7,000 assists. In a game against the Charlotte Hornets, LeBron finished with 44 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds (in addition to the record) and his Cleveland Cavaliers team won 116-105. Oh, and LeBron is also the only NBA player to record at least 27,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 10 assists. Amazing.

 

JUST FOR FUN

A guessing game
Where are all of these NFL stadiums?

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

The value of investing in player development
Have you heard of RB Leipzig? How about Naby Keita?
After 7 years of hard work revitalizing their club and bringing along exciting young talents, RB Leipzig is at the top of the Bundesliga table

Extra time – the best part of the game
Most of the 2016 MLS Cup was unremarkable
But, Stefan Frei’s goalkeeping in extra time helped Seattle win without a single shot on goal

One to watch
UCLA basketball’s Lonzo Ball
His height, ball-handling, shooting, and overall athleticism were key contributions to UCLA’s win over Kentucky last weekend

12.5.16: Long December

Team SQ — Seeing how it’s only the beginning of December (and a Monday), let’s get a little energy (or a lot of it!!!) from Russell Westbrook’s fantastic Sunday night slam dunk.

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

Let’s talk football — starting with professional football. In week 13, we saw the Seattle Seahawks dominate the Carolina Panthers 40-7 in a game where Earl Thomas suffered a leg injury and Thomas Rawls had 2 TDs in the first half, and without Rob Gronkowski (out for the rest of the season with an injury) the New England Patriots not only topped the LA Rams 26-10 but Tom Brady also broke the wins record to become the NFL career leader (at 201) in QB-led victories.

Other notable Sunday games included the Pittsburgh Steelers stopping the New York Giants 6-game winning streak with a 24-14 win and the Washington Redskins losing to the San Francisco Cardinals 31-28. Outside of the NFC East, the Oakland Raiders continued their strong season with a 38-24 comeback win over the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs got a close win over the Atlanta Falcons thanks to Eric Berry’s 2 clutch picks.

Also of note, the NFL officially flexed the 11-1 Dallas Cowboys game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the prime time slot on December 18 at 8:30pm as part of NBC’s Sunday night feature.

Monday Night Football features the New York Jets vs. the Indianapolis Colts on ESPN at 8:30pm.

College Football

Moving on to college football where the conference championship games are over and  bowl season has officially begun! The highlight, of course, is that Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington were selected for the College Football playoffs. The match-ups are set and the semis will feature:

  • #1 Alabama vs. #4 Washington in the Chick-fil A Peach Bowl (December 31)
  • #2 Clemson vs. #3 Ohio State in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl (December 31)

The full schedule for all of the bowl games can be found here — including the New Year’s Six.

NBA

As we alluded to in our intro, we’ve got to talk about the amazing Russell Westbrook. The Oklahoma City Thunder star had his 5th straight triple double in a 101-92 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night. This gives him the longest NBA streak since 1989 when Michael Jordan had 7 straight triple doubles. Talk about impressive!

In other NBA news, Sports Illustrated named LeBron James their SI Sportsperson of the Year for the second straight year. Make sure to check out Lee Jenkin’s excellent piece on LeBron here.

College Basketball

Finally, coming out of a great weekend of college hoops – two highlights include:

  • With the help of star guard Lonzo Ball, #11 UCLA stayed undefeated and upset #1 Kentucky 97-92
  • Top freshman Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden are back in the line-up for #5 Duke after recovering from injuries that sidelined them for a few weeks

JUST FOR FUN

Swishmas is coming
Check out the ugly holiday sweaters Kobe Bryant is selling to support the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Rest in Peace
Joe McKnight, the 28 year old ex-New York Jet and KC Chief, was killed in a tragic road rage incident
The running back had spent four seasons in the NFL, before moving to the Canadian Football League. His death is still under investigation in Louisiana.

Making Tiger Woods great again
He’s playing again, but it took a team effort to get him there
There’s no better encouragement than a kick in the butt from your fellow athletes and competition

Anti-cyberbullying
Pro tennis player Madison Keys partnered with FearlesslyGirl to host a summit
The last thing someone wants is to have a tough experience, and then receive hateful comments about it on social media — she knows this, and she wants to be a “big sister” to other young women experiencing cyberbullying

11.28.16: O-H-I-O

Happy Monday, Team SQ. Feeling a little tired from the holiday break? Let’s get energized by reliving Ohio State’s game-winning play from Saturday’s epic double OT win over Michigan.

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

Let’s talk about this weekend’s games in the NFL (assuming you followed Thursday’s games, but if notCowboys, Cowboys, Cowboys!), starting with the New York Football Giants. The G-Men got their 6th straight win of the season after defeating the win-less Cleveland Browns 27-13 and with the strong performance of Odell Beckham Jr.. Outside of the NFC East, Tom Brady (who got his 200th win slash tied the league record) and the New England Patriots took down the New York Jets 22-17, and the Oakland Raiders beat the Carolina Panthers 35-32. Of note, the Oakland Raiders were also the first team since 2014 to get a roughing the passer penalty against QB Cam Newton.

One surprising loss from the weekend was the Seattle Seahawks, who lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14-5, who held Russell Wilson scoreless (aka no TDs). Oh, and in Sunday night’s game, the Kansas City Chiefs topped the Denver Broncos 30-27 after Tyreek Hill led the way with 3 TDs.

Monday Night Football features the Green Bay Packers at the Philadelphia Eagles at 8:30pm on ESPN.

College Football

College football had a few notable moments this past weekend — As we mentioned in our intro, #2 Ohio State defeated #3 Michigan in Columbus in a thrilling 30-27 2 OT game (the first OT/2OT game in the history of the rivalry) with the help of Curtis Samuel’s 15 yard TD. Outside of that, #1 Alabama held off #13 Auburn in the Iron Bowl 30-12 after a shaky offensive start to the game, and #4 Clemson looked dominant in a 56-7 win over South Carolina.

Coming out of week 13, the top 5 shifted slightly with the new rankings as follows: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Washington and Michigan.

Next Saturday, it’s all about the conference championships including:

  • SEC Championship — #1 Alabama vs. #15 Florida at 4pm on CBS
  • ACC Championship — #4 Clemson vs. VTech at 8pm on ABC
  • Big Ten Championship — #6 Wisconsin vs. #7 Penn State at 8pm on FOX

NBA

Can you believe we are already a month into the NBA season? Over at the Ringer, check out a fun recap into what top players have given us something to talk about so far.

Specifically, in NBA-land, a few fun things to discuss coming out of last weekend and this past weekend — the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to look strong, not only with wins (and dance moves) but with strong performances from both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Of note, Kevin Love had a 34 point quarter in last week’s win against the Portland Trail Blazers. As always, LeBron James has been pretty unstoppable too — In Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers he had a triple double to help the Cavs build up their 13-2 record.

Speaking of triple doubles, it’s  been all about Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. Westbrook had his 44th triple double of his career (tying LeBron) in Saturday’s 106-88 win over the Detroit Pistons with a 17 point, 15 assist, 13 rebound performance.

College Basketball

Moving on to college hoops – let’s take a look at the week ahead featuring the Big Ten ACC challenge. Notable match-ups include:

  • #24 Michigan State vs. #6 Duke – Tuesday at 9:30pm on ESPN
  • #4 North Carolina vs. #3 Indiana – Wednesday at 9:15pm on ESPN

The first weekend of December also brings some excitement as #1 Kentucky takes on #14 UCLA on Saturday at 12:30pm on CBS.

 

JUST FOR FUN

Senior Day Moment
Lawrence Erekosima’s mom is stationed with the Army in Kuwait — so, to say he was surprised to see her at Alabama’s senior day… that’s an understatement

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Revolution
Although Jurgen Klinsmann was let go from the USMNT, his legacy will live on
By overhauling and elevating the team, he drew the public eye towards soccer in the United States

Keep an eye on the Lakers
They started out the season strong, but are starting to falter
First-year coach Luke Walton has built up a young team, and the fans are excited — but, if they don’t make the playoffs this year, are the improvements good enough?

Happy 99th!
The NHL became official on November 26th, 1917
Since their goal was to perpetuate the game of hockey, what’s better than looking at the best moments of the sport through Wayne Gretzky’s eyes?

11.21.16: Thanksgiving Football

Happy Thanksgiving week, Team SQ. Because there will be lots of football to watch this week, we’re starting today off with one of the best plays from the weekend — see: Seattle Seahawks here:

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

Let’s kick things off with this weekend’s NFL highlights  — Coming out of week 11, we saw the Seattle Seahawks defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 26-15 with the help of a trick play (see above) from Doug Baldwin to Russell Wilson for a TD, the New York Giants took down the Chicago Bears 22-16 for their 5th straight win in a game where Eli Manning had 2 TDs, and the Dallas Cowboys got a 27-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens and Ezekiel Elliott set the rookie record for rushing yards a season for the Cowboys.

On Sunday Night Football, the Washington Redskins defeated the Green Bay Packers
42-24 after Kirk Cousins’ big night (3 TD, 375 yards.)

Monday Night Football features the Houston Texans vs. the Oakland Raiders on ESPN at 8:30pm.  Additionally, there will be plenty of football this Thursday on Thanksgiving including:

  • Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions on CBS at 12:30pm
  • Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys on Fox at 4:30pm
  • Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts on NBC at 8:30pm

College Football

In week 12 of college football, #1 Alabama continued their dominance, this time over Chattanooga 31-3 while #2 Ohio State narrowly defeated Michigan State 17-16. #3 Michigan rolled against Indiana 20-10 while #4 Clemson got an expected easy win over Wake Forest 35-13.

With this weekend’s result, the new AP rankings has 3 teams from the Big Ten — the first time in 56 years — with Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin all getting in with Alabama and Clemson.

All of this sets up next weekend for some top ranked action heading into week 13 — of note, #3 Michigan and #2 Ohio State face off next Saturday at noon on ABC.

College Basketball

Things are heating up in College Basketball land as the season starts to really get underway. This past weekend, #1 Duke overcame last week’s tough loss (and ongoing injuries) to #8 Kansas to get two straight wins and the Tip Off tournament championship after defeating Rhode Island 75-65 on Sunday.

This week, tune in for tons of college hoops as the Thanksgiving holiday tournaments kick off this week. We’ll be watching!

NBA

It may still be on the early side of the NBA season, but here are a few stories to check out this week:

Other

On Tuesday, Leg 1 of the MLS Conference Finals begins. At 8pm EST, Montreal Impact will take on Toronto FC, and at 10pm EST, Seattle Sounders FC will play the Colorado Rapids. Then, on Sunday the 27th, Seattle and Colorado will play again for Game 2, and on Wednesday the 30th, Montreal and Toronto will play their Game 2, before the finals on Saturday, December 10th.

JUST FOR FUN

Let it snow
After Michigan beat Indiana in their last home game of the season, they made snow angels to celebrate

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Making History
The oldest player to play in a D1 football game
Joe Thomas Sr., the 55-year-old RB, played in South Carolina State’s win over Savannah State on senior day

Come together
When DraftKings and FanDuel merge…
As the daily fantasy sports industry is plagued by financial difficulties, the two companies seek to provide services to a larger and stronger client base by working together

“How do we feel about football right now?”
For many, it’s a beloved escape from reality, and it’s an American institution
But, SI questions whether declining ratings and increasing concerns over player perception and player safety are showing that the sport has already peaked

 

11.14.16: Triple Double

Good Morning. Kicking things off today with highlights from Russell Westbrook’s 8th triple double (including 41 points and 16 assists) of the season in last night’s game:

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

Another week in the NFL and much to discuss.  The Dallas Cowboys topped the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-30 after a great performance from Ezekiel Elliot (114 yards, 2 TDs) and Dak Prescott (319 yards, 2 TDs). Of note, Dak Prescott will likely be the starter next week even with the return of Tony Romo to the line-up.

In other news, the Philadelphia Eagles topped the Atlanta Falcons 24-15 with the help of Ryan Matthews’ 2 TDs and 108 yards, and the Minnesota Vikings had their fourth straight loss of the season, this time against Washington in a 26-20 game.

In Sunday night’s game, the Seattle Seahawks topped the New England Patriots — Seattle’s Doug Baldwin had 3 TDs in the the impressive 31-24 win.

Monday Night Football features the New York Giants versus the Cincinnati Bengals on ESPN at 8:30pm EST.

College Football

As we head closer to the playoffs, college football was all about upsets this past weekend. On Saturday, 3 of the top 5 teams lost to their opponents, creating a bit of a shake-up in the rankings. While #1 Alabama had a convincing win over Mississippi State 51-3, #2 Clemson lost a very close game to Pittsburgh 43-42, #3 Michigan was defeated by Iowa 14-13, and #4 Washington fell to #20 USC 26-13.

On the other hand, #5 Ohio State had a dominating win over Maryland 62-3 in College Park.

What does all of this mean for the rankings? Well, in the new top 5, we see #1 Alabama per last week followed by Ohio State, Louisville, Michigan and Clemson.

Basketball

What a night for Andrew Wiggins. The Minnesota Timberwolves star had a career high 47 points on Sunday in a game against the LA Lakers.

This week, college basketball begins to really heat up with two great games — Kentucky versus Michigan State and Duke versus Kansas  — both at MSG on Tuesday night.

 

JUST FOR FUN

Thirteen
Take a shot by shot look of Steph Curry’s record 13 3-pointers in one game

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

College Basketball Predictions
Now that the season has started…
We can start to guess who’s going to win it all

Must Win
World Cup watch
Will Team USA qualify for the World Cup?

After Hoops
Kobe Bryant moves on
Micah Peters interviews Kobe Bryant on the next phase of life in The Ringer