Good morning, New York!
See? It really is different when you’re the host city of a champion (take another bow, NYCFC!). Suddenly, on the 12th day of December, there isn’t a cloud in the sky — not one! It is a crisp, clear, 47 degrees.
And look what we have: a full Sunday of every team but two — the Islanders and Devils, who spent the day in the whirlpool after battling each other in Elmont on Saturday night — on the schedule.
Let’s settle in and stack our remote controls and viewing devices, crack open a cold one or two and a bag of chips or three and have ourselves a New York sports day!
12:02: St. John’s wins the opening tip against Colgate at Carnesecca Arena. This should be a breeze for the Johnnies but beware: The Raiders can shoot it.
12:12: Knicks walk onto the floor at Madison Square Garden to take on the defending champion Bucks without RJ Barrett, without Alec Burks, without Obi Toppin. The Bucks are at full strength. Asking for a friend: Has there ever been a shutout in NBA history?
12:17: The good news at MSG: Evan Fournier makes a free throw after a defensive three-seconds call; no shutout! The bad: more than four minutes in, still no field goals. Bucks 9, Knicks 1. Timeout, Thibs.
12:31: Colgate can shoot. But the Johnnies have come to play today. It’s 35-21 in Jamaica.
1:03: Saints kick off to the Jets at MetLife, Braxton Barrios, fearless, runs it from the 3 yards deep to the 25. More good news on a busy day: We get an old-school local football day where the Jets and Giants aren’t playing at the same time so you can watch them both! (Um, that is good news, right?)
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1:04: Halftime at the Garden. No surprise — Bucks 61, Knicks 48. Nice surprise: Quentin Grimes, 13 points, 5-for-7, three assists, four turnovers. He’s everywhere.
1:15: The Saints are still the only team in the NFL this season who haven’t scored a touchdown on an opening drive. They do get a field goal. Jets trail, 3-0.
1:23: Grimes! Heat check!! Knicks within 10.
1:25: Nothing to see in Queens. Johnnies are trucking Colgate, 70-48.
1:36: Poor James Lofton is watching one Jet after another drop footballs, and you can tell he’s not saying anything close to what he wants to say.
1:37: Kevin Knox, out of witness protection, hits his third 3.
1:38: (More and more it’s becoming clear Kemba Walker may require a court order to take his warm-ups off again.)
1:46: St. John’s 82, Colgate 64. Ballgame.
1:50: The Jets, who go through kickers the way Spinal Tap went through drummers, trot out Eddy Pineiro, third one in three weeks, for a 36-yard field goal. Crowd goes berserk when Pineiro’s boot splits the uprights. It’s 3-3.
2:01: The Quentin & Kevin Show was nice while it lasted. Bucks by 19.
2:08: Alvin Kamara vs. the Jets’ defense: varsity vs. JV. Saints, 10-3.
2:12: Bucks 112, Knicks 97. Ballgame.
2:16: “Appreciate the birthday gift,” says St. John’s coach Mike Anderson, who turned 62 Sunday.
2:23: An amateur-hour, two-minute drill is rescued by team MVP Eddy Pineiro, good from 46. Saints 10, Jets 6 at the half.
2:46: Grimes on his 27-point first career start: “It was surreal.”
2:51: I keep pressing the fast-forward button trying to get to the end of the Jets-Saints game. No luck so far.
3:02: When was the last time a Jets defense wasn’t fooled by a screen pass? 1982? Saints, 13-6.
3:16: How many more days till pitchers and catchers?
3:18: How about strikers and midfielders?
3:43: Ten-year contract for Eddy Pineiro! Who says no?
3:54: Text from Giants-fan friend: “Zack Wilson stinks. If I were a Jets fan I’d be highly concerned.”
4:04: Saints 30, Jets 9. Ballgame.
4:05: Text from Giants-fan friend: “Chargers win toss and defer. Translation: please let Mike Glennon get the ball as soon as possible.”
4:06: Chargers kick off to the Giants and we’re underway at SoFi Stadium in LA. Let’s see how a week worth of Arizona bonding can yield some California dreaming.
4:19: Jets coach Robert Saleh on Wilson: “I’m not concerned about the long-term view of whether he can complete the short ball.” That is a small group photo, right there.
4:29: Giants ponder providing resistance on Chargers’ easy-as-pie nine-play, 60-yard drive; decline to do so. LA 7, NY 0.
4:38: Look at the plucky lads in blue (actually white & red): 7-7. Someone needs to find an oxygen mask for Kyle Rudolph.
4:52: Just a hunch: It probably doesn’t stink to be Justin Herbert. Chargers, 14-7.
5:09: Chargers offense vs. Giants defense: Varsity vs. JV. Chargers, 17-7.
5:27: In a season of appalling football sequences, both sides of town, this takes the cake. Giants are gifted ideal field position, under two minutes. Three-and-out. Then allow Herbert to go 57 yards to Jalen Guyton. It’s 24-7, Chargers. It’s 59-0, opponents, for the season in the final two minutes before the half. FIFTY-NINE to ZERO!!!
5:36: Let’s take a peek at how the team that actually plays in New York is doing in its game in Tampa and … yikes. Never mind. The Bills Mafia has become the Tattaglia Family.
6:00: They’re outlining the field in Los Angeles with yellow police tape.
6:11: No James Harden for the Nets, who tip it off in Detroit looking to hand the Pistons their 12th loss in a row.
6:22: Chargers strip-sack Glennon, putting Giants right into their comfort zone.
6:34: Joe Judge is going to have a hard time happy-talking this one away.
6:52: Somehow the 4-21 Pistons are on a 16-1 run against the Nets.
7:04: Chargers 37, Giants 21. Ballgame.
7:09: The puck drops at the Garden. Rangers vs. Predators.
7:39: Joe Judge: “They made more plays than we did.” Indeed.
7:17: The New York State Bills are making things interesting …
7:37: Rutgers and Seton Hall, in a little bonus for our day, both coming off huge wins, tip it off at Prudential Center.
7:51: We feel you, Bills fans. Tampa is a tough town for them.
7:53: The Pistons are leading after three, 91-86. This is not a typo.
7:56: Kevin Durant knocks down a 3. He has 43. It’s 91-91.
8:02: We have a nice little Jersey turf war going on at The Rock. Rutgers trying to slay a second ranked team in a week. Even game all the way.
8:05: Philip Tomasino, all of 20 years old, fires one past Alexandar Georgiev and gives Nashville a 1-0 lead.
8:13: Nets are on a 19-1 run to start the fourth. Durant has 47. This is more like it.
8:18: Seton Hall rips off 14 straight points. Rutgers needs its Purdue mojo back, STAT.
8:25: Fifty-one for Durant. Highest in the NBA this year. Nine assists and seven boards too. That is some show.
8:28: Nets 116, Pistons 104. Ballgame.
9:01: Durant, told that his 51 points broke the Little Caesars Arena record of 50 by current teammate and ex-Piston Blake Griffin: “It’s a new arena. I’m sure someone will break it again pretty soon.”
9:09: Can a goalie stand on his head in the regular season? Because Juuse Saros just committed several grand larcenies, stifling a Rangers power play. Predators still up, 1-0.
9:17: Rutgers creeps within five of Seton Hall. Some of that Rutgers mojo percolating?
9:26: Predators 1, Rangers 0. Match. Highway robbery by Saros, 32 saves.
9:30: In a time when most basketball coaches opt for gym-teacher sideline attire. Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard looks downright resplendent in jacket and tie. His team looks pretty good, too.
9:35: Pirates 77, Scarlet Knights 63. Ballgame. Let’s call it a day.