Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nice Day

Today's Topics:
Ravens 33, Pats 14
Maryland 77, Florida State 68
Juan Dixon is Out at Aris (not so nice)

Ravens 33, Pats 14
Good day for the region's sports fans my friends, this doesn't happen all that much, so let's enjoy it.
First, let's talk about the feeling of satisfaction that accompanies drubbing the Patriots. The feisty Baltimore fan in me is perhaps most pleased to see our team go to the Boston area and beat the living crap out of their team, very much like what the Red Sox have been doing to the Orioles for the past decade or so; and certainly the Pats had owned the Ravens in the Belichick era. Until today, of course. That was a beat down.

The invasion and outright takeover of Camden Yards in recent years by Boston fans when the Sox are in town has been sickening to watch. They take over our building and root for their team and usually win. It's humiliating. Therefore, I am particularly grateful to the Ravens for going to New England and not just beating the Patriots, but pummeling them. I was nervous for much of the game, like probably every other Ravens fan, but that game was over five minutes in. Ray Rice for 83 yards. T-Sizzle gets to Brady for the strip... and Baltimore had its way with a team EVERYONE in the national media picked to win the game.

The Ravens have had a crazy season. They really only lost badly once - at Cincinnati. Literally every other game they coulda/shoulda/woulda won down to the last few plays of the game. So it was nice to see the Ravens put together a complete effort and do so at the Pats' expense. Now, of course, Joe Flacco is gonna have to throw for more than 34 yards to win in Indy... but that's another discussion for another day. Today is a day to smile and enjoy the win.

Terps 77, FSU 68

An hour or so after the Ravens game ended, the Terps took the court at home vs. Florida State. Florida State came in ranked 19th, with some good wins on their resume - Auburn, Alabama, Marquette, and Ga. Tech. They were 13-2 entering the game. So... definitely a great test for the Terps. But let's be serious for a second here. It's Florida State basketball. The last time they were really legit was when Sam Cassell played there in the early 90s. If you are going to be a good basketball program - and Maryland should be a good basketball program - you don't lose to Florida State at home.

To Maryland's credit, the Terps came out and played hard from start to finish, controlled the boards against a bigger team and got the win. Great shooting day for a change, especially from 3, where Maryland went 10 for 16. Greivis led the way with 22, Hayes had 17 and Milbourne 13. Looks like Grevis has his game back, he's been very good the last 6 or 7 games, averaging well over 20 points.

Bottom line is that GV is the only truly big-time player Maryland has. When he's playing well, Maryland can win anywhere, against anyone. When he mopes and misses shots and makes bad decisions, the Terps are a pretty mediocre team.

I also liked Gary's rotation better for this game. His 3 big men - freshmen Jordan Williams and James Padgett and Junior Dino Gregory, got 18, 10, and 18 minutes respectively. Bowie and Tucker both got double digit minutes as well. It's a nice mix right now.

Just one day off and then it's Maryland at Wake Tuesday night. A 2-0 start in the ACC would be great to see.

Juan Dixon is OUT at Aris
Because Juan Dixon is my all-time favorite athlete, I bookmarked the Eurobasket page where you can check out the boxscores for his games. Last year, after getting cut by the Hawks, Juan was signed by a Greek team called Aris, which plays in the Greek national league of course; and another league called Eurocup, which competes against other teams from different country leagues.

Juan had some big games, including a 31-point outburst on Dec. 19th against AEK, a Greek power. But after scoring those 31 points in 33 minutes, Juan scored just 1 point in 14 minutes the following game. I thought that was weird.

And then when I looked back to see how he was playing in the first games of the new year, I didn't see any new numbers or his name in the boxscore. Uh Oh.

So a little looking around on the Ineternets revealed that Juan was released by Aris on Dec. 30th.
The post said, in part:

Juan Dixon couldn't conform to the european style of basketball so it was time for him to leave.

Juan Dixon(1.91-SG/PG) and Aris Thessaloniki mutually parted ways today and it was announced via the official site of Aris. The NBA veteran was brought to Aris to provide a much needed scoring touch to the team but his recklessness was too much for his coach to handle and so the decision was made for Dixon to be replaced.

Dixon was the top scorer of Aris in the last few games averaging 14.3 points 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 7 games in the A1 league and also 11.6 points 1.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 4 games in the Eurocup but his focus in the game was questionable.

Hmm.... not sure what to think here. Doesn't completely shock me to learn that Juan - after playing 7 seasons in the NBA - perhaps didn't see eye to eye with his new coach. I mean imagine if you are Juan and you've been playing against Iverson and Lebron and Kobe all these years and all of a sudden, your coach is Fotis Katsikaris and he's telling you to pass more to make sure Prodromos Nikolaidis gets a few more looks... you might just play like, forgive me, 'that's Greek to me...'

Because yours truly is a Facebook member of the group previously called "Juan Dixon Fan Club Greece," [now named "Juan Dixon Fan Club"] I posted a question on the board. Please understand that this is/was a fan club started by a Greek league fan named Nikos Sfakianos. I joined it a few weeks back and here's how it is described on FB:

A group dedicated to a great player..JUAN DIXON ....who this year signed with ARIS Thessaloniki GREECE, one of the most famous European basketball teams.several great players played for ARIS in the past: Nikos Galis (the top European Scorer of all times), Roy Tarpley, Gary Grant, Walter Berry, Jose Ortiz, Reggie Theus, Abdul Rauf, Harold Ellis etc.

Prior to Juan getting released, all the posts on the wall of the page were written in Greek; so it was a place for Greek fans to get their Juan fix. After Juan got released, I posted a question, "Can someone please tell me in English what happened with Juan and Aris?"

And here's the reply I got:

Nikos Sfakianos
sure....Well, nobody really knows. Basically during his last 2 or 3 games he scored 20 to 30 points but he missed a lot of crucial shots and didn't pass the a result the team lost these games. When the coach told him to be a more "team" player and pass the ball...he got it the wrong way or was simply pissed, in the next game he ... See Morepassed the ball all the time (most of the passes were bad) and attemped only 2 shots !!! the end of the game the coach complained to him and Juan swore (he said 'Fuck you" )..this is what the Press said..but I think it has to be more than that..the mistake was basically that ARIS signed Jeremy Richardson, Aaron Miles and we also have Kiki Clark and several other good Greek players..someone had tp leave so that we could sign a power forward or a center..unfortunately it was Juan who left..too bad..but ARIS has a great history in Europe and doesn't depend on a player. we will always support Juan and we wish him good luck in his present and future career. thanks for asking Greg. take care !

So, to the extent that we can trust the reporting of Nikos, the head of the Juan Dixon fan club in Greece, that's what happened with Juan and Aris.

Go Terps. Go Ravens. See you next time,


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