Thursday, April 16, 2015

Trying To Win In Philly

TigerBlog wanted to start out writing about the NBA draft lottery situation and then get into the women's lacrosse game against Penn from last night.

He even knew how he was going to segue. Talk about the Sixers. How they played in Philadelphia last night. And then mention how the Princeton-Penn women's lacrosse game was in Philadelphia as well.

Maybe say something about how there were two big games in Philadelphia last night, except in one of them both teams were trying to lose.

Yeah, that's how he was going to do it.

Instead, though, he feels the need to start with something serious. The Aaron Hernandez case.

It wasn't that long ago that Hernandez was considered a better NFL tight end than his New England teammate Rob Gronkowski. And now?

Hernandez is a convicted murderer. He is now serving a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.

Ironically, the prison in which he will serve that sentence is located two miles from Gillette Stadium, the home of the Patriots. As he begins his life sentence after his conviction yesterday, Hernandez is barely past his 25th birthday.

This is an awful story all around. TigerBlog cannot imagine how someone can go from where Hernandez was - a rising NFL star with a contract that was to pay him $40 million - to where he is now. How can anyone make the kinds of decisions he made, with the kinds of outcomes that resulted.

And now look at him. Again, TigerBlog long ago tried to give up on the idea that sports stars are automatically smart, well-adjusted, heroic people. In fact, as he's said before, he knows exactly when that started, back when he found out that Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were hooked on cocaine.

These days, he doesn't put much faith in any athletes. That way he can't be let down.

But this? This is so beyond the pale that he can't even comprehend it. He can't even begin to imagine how something like this is even possible.

And, as he sits in a prison cell having completely flushed his life away, what is Aaron Hernandez thinking?

Anyway, that's enough of that.

As for the NBA draft lottery, TigerBlog's memory is that it began to prevent two teams who were heading to the worst record in the league from tanking. Now? It's all tanking all the time for teams that are out of it. 

Worse, these teams gut their rosters to make it happen. And then they make trades that have picks that are protected under certain circumstances and not under others.

Look at the Knicks. They got hammered the other night by the media and their fans - by winning. 

The result of the lottery last night was a game in Philadelphia between the Heat and Sixers that both teams desperately needed to lose. Of course, the players still go and play hard. It's not like they shoot the ball in the wrong basket or anything.

The easiest solution is to get rid of the lottery. It lessons the incentive to tank, at least for most of the teams.

And that's enough of that.

As for the game that was played in Philadelphia last night that both teams actually tried to win, it was the women's lacrosse game, between No. 13 Princeton and No. 11 Penn. That was, by the way, a pretty good segue.

Princeton and Penn were both 4-0 heading into the women's lacrosse game last night at Franklin Field. The winner had the inside track to winning the Ivy League and hosting the Ivy tournament.

And the winner was Princeton. The Tigers erased a one-goal halftime deficit and pulled away to win 9-7.

It's a huge win for the Tigers.

Princeton is now 5-0, with home games against Columbia and Brown, beginning Saturday at 1 against the Lions. A win in either of those games means that Princeton clinches at least a share of the league title and the host role for the Ivy tournament.

Columbia and Brown are both 1-4 in the Ivy League. Brown did defeat Princeton in the Tigers Ivy opener a year ago.

Since then, Princeton has not lost an Ivy League regular season game, winning the final six last year to earn home field for the Ivy tournament and now winning the first five this year.

Princeton is already in the Ivy tournament. There are four other teams - Penn, Harvard, Cornell and Yale - in the running for the other three spots.

Had Penn won last night, it would be the Quakers who would need one win in the last two to get a share of the title and home field for the ILT. Penn led 5-4 at the break, but Princeton's Olivia Hompe scored twice to start the second half. Penn tied it at 6-6, but a 3-0 Princeton run basically ended matters.

The first of those three goals, by the way, was from Erin McMunn, who became the sixth player in program history to reach 200 career points.

It was a big night in Philadelphia for the Princeton women's lacrosse team, who won the game it needed to win. It was a big night for the Sixers too. They lost when they need to lose.

Both teams went home happy, TB supposes.

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