MISS anything in the past week? Don’t worry here’s the complete SBF wrap-up from the biggest stories in sports from the last 7 days.
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- WE LEARNED…IT IS BACK!
17 points in 19 minutes later and the comeback is complete. Playing in his first game as a Cavalier and his first NBA action since May last year, Isaiah Thomas showed flashes of promise in his return to the floor against the Blazers. With a nagging hip injury hopefully behind him, it’s onwards and upwards for IT and the Cavs now.
Image from sbnation.com
- WE LEARNED…NBA OFFICIATING REMAINS A HOT TOPIC OF DISCUSSION
WHETHER it was the missed out of bounds call on Giannis Antetokounmpo against the Thunder, or the consecutive offensive fouls called on James Harden against Boston, the officiating in the NBA is still a massive talking point. After the Christmas Day no calls on Lebron James were dissected by NBA fans across the globe, the last thing the league needed was more controversy surrounding the officials. Right or wrong, the refs in the headlines doesn’t usually translate to a good thing in sport.
- WE LEARNED…SATURDAY WAS BOTH WILD AND HISTORIC FOR COLLEGE BASKETBALL
FOR the first time since 1948-49 every single Division I school has a loss entering the New Year. How did it happen? Well on Saturday the last three undefeated teams TCU, Villanova and Arizona State were all in action. To start, Trae Young went HAM on the then 12-0 Horned Frogs, dropping 39 points and 14 dimes in a 90-89 W. Butler then used a barrage of 3’s to topple the teams top country Villanova 101-93. Finally, shortly after led by freshman phenom Deandre Ayton (23 points, 19 rebounds), the Sun Devils became the final undefeated team to fall. Wow.
- WE LEARNED…IT’S A TERRIBLE TIME TO BE A RAVENS FAN
POOR Baltimore. All they had to do was win at home against the Bengals and they would find themselves in the playoffs. Eight point favourites heading into the game, that was the script we all expected to be written, but they found themselves fighting for their lives late in the game up a field goal 27-24. Then Andy Dalton connected with Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard TD and broke the hearts of Ravens fans around the globe.
- WE LEARNED…IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A BILLS FAN
OF course, Buffalo fans were having a very different reaction to Dalton’s game-winning touchdown. Having failed to make the playoffs in the 21st century the Bills were looking to break their hoodoo and see postseason action for the first time in 18 seasons. They took care of business against Miami 22-16 and then needed Cincinnati to knock off Baltimore, which they managed to do much to the elation of Buffalo fans. Time to party like it’s 1999!
- WE LEARNED…JUST TWO REMAIN
TWO very different College Football Playoff semifinals helped set the stage for an epic National Championship game on Monday. Alabama made light work of Clemson 24-6 in the Sugar Bowl with Nick Saban’s program taking bragging rights in the epic rivalry between the two schools. The Rose Bowl between Oklahoma and Georgia was much closer with offense the flavour in the 54-48 double-overtime epic. It was the first time a Rose Bowl has gone into overtime and the heart-stopping contest delivered from start to finish in what was Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield’s final collegiate game.
- WE LEARNED…CRIS CYBORG MAY ACTUALLY BE A CYBORG
WHO’S next? Holly Holm shaped up as the best challenger to Cris Cyborg in the UFC and many weren’t sure what to expect in this epic bout at UFC 219. We should have known. Cyborg (19-1) retained her featherweight belt in a decision victory, leaving us wondering if she will ever lose. In the co-main event, Khabib Nurmagomedov put his injury issues of the past behind him to move to 25-0 with a win over Edson Barboza.
Image from mmamania.com
- WE LEARNED…DEMAR’S CASE AS THE BEST RAPTOR IS EVER IS NOW QUITE COMPELLING
FOR years it was Vince Carter, now we aren’t so sure. Of course, DeMar DeRozan still has some fuel in the tank and will likely dethrone ‘Half-Man, Half-Amazing’ as the greatest Raptor in Toronto history over the coming years. If (and let’s be honest when) he does, we may look back at his franchise-record 52-point outburst against the Milwaukee Bucks on New Year’s Day as the tipping point for the argument to fall in DeRozan’s favour.