Albany, NY – As the buzzer sounded at the end of regulation a competitive series came to a close. The Edmonton Energy earned their first victory of the season with a well-rounded rout of the Albany Legends 124-108.
Quinnel Brown paced the Energy offense all game. He finished with 26 points and had 7 rebounds. His mere presence in the paint and getting to the hoop helped the Energy shoot an impressive 55% from the field.
North Carolina alum Curtis Nash scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half including 13 points in the 2nd quarter to help the Energy avoid a sweep to the division leading Legends. Nash consistently found his way to the rim, driving the lane with authority picking up numerous fouls. Though he was fouled driving to the basket, Nash muscled a majority of those contested shots in the hoop. He made Albany pay by connecting on 4 of his 7 free throws.
The Energy came out of the gate with a different plan of attack. They made a conscious effort to dictate the pace of the game and put the Legends in the unusual situation of feeling the pressure of an up-tempo offense. Something that the Legends have not been a victim of this entire season.
Rashaun Broadus played over 40 minutes and directed a sound Energy offense that initiated solid ball movement and allowed every Edmonton player to score. Every player on the Energy roster scored at least 3 points. Broadus, who has showcased a phenomenal skill set this entire season, finished with 19 points and 4 assists. During this series Broadus has benefited the Energy with 20.6 points per game and 6.6 assists per game.
The Legends had another strong game from Center Deandre Thomas who scored 15 points while grabbing 5 rebounds. But he was held to a mere 4 points in the second half as the Energy succeeded in containing his inside game. “We wanted to make sure we doubled down on Deandre a little bit earlier. He gave us fits. He’s the biggest load and probably one of the toughest big guys that I’ve seen in a long time, the guy has a great touch. We really respect him as a player and he has caused us problems. That was kind of the difference in the game, we were able to throw him off a little bit” said Edmonton Coach Skouson Harker.
Thomas is a premier inside force in the IBL and a strong candidate to make our very own SportsRantz.com All-IBL Team. Thomas was able to stay out of foul trouble which at times has plagued him this season. But he was unable to respond to Edmonton’s defensive adjustments after the first half.
Unlike Saturday night’s come from behind victory for the Legends, Albany was unable to overcome a deficit that reached over 20 points at certain points in the game. Albany was without Head Coach Ben Smith who sat out this game due to his ejection from Saturday’s contest.
Albany shot only 40% from the field while allowing Edmonton to shoot a series high 54%. In Friday’s victory Albany was able to limit the Energy to only 44% from the field and 48% percent on Saturday.
Saturday’s Star Damone Morris was held to only 5 points after being a contributing factor in Saturday’s come from behind victory where he had 22 points and 5 rebounds.
While the Legends did have 7 players score in double figures (Gallup 13, Mayben 12, Harris 12, Thomas 15, Johnson 13, Morton 11, Grant 13) they were unable to build any momentum or string together any runs that could swing the pendulum their way.
One thing this series proved was that both the Legends and the Energy are elite IBL teams that very easily could meet in the Championship game. Both teams uniquely differentiate from one another which brings out the best in each. Their enthralling contests have many IBL fans and this Journalist in particular anxious to see them meet in the Playoffs.
The Legends (9-3) loss snaps a 5 game winning streak and also lose their 1st place Division lead to the Kankakee Soldiers (8-2).
The Legends hope to rebound from their 3rd loss of the season and build on a strong 9-3 record as they play host to the USA All-Stars in their final homestand of the 2011 season next weekend.
25th Annual Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night, A Charity Knockout Event
The stars came out last night to give, show support, perform, and to continue to raise money and awareness in hopes of one day find a cure to knockout Parkinson’s disease.
Going back to year number 1, The first ever event was held at the Ritz-Carlton operated on a much smaller scale than today, which is now held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.
At the very first Celebrity Fight Night With the help of Phoenix Suns Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle, and the valley of the sun’s very own Louie Espinoza, Tony Baltazar, and boxing champion Michael Carbajal who by the way fought in the ring with over sized boxing gloves.
The ”Puttin on the Fists at The Ritz” first Celebrity Fight Night scored a knockout win and is STILL punching on through today for the Greatest Of All Time, The late great Muhammad Ali.
Last night I was honored to attend and speak to a few of the stars, one was NFL legendary kicker Nick Lowery, Mr. Lowery now spends most of his time at charitable endeavors and advocating for alternative medicine research and is also a spokesman for Kannalife, Inc to raise awareness for CTE and players safety in hopes of one day having intercellular “helmets,” like Kannalife’s CBD and KLS-13019, is so important to potentially treat the brain.
I asked Lowery what is his favorite Ali memory, and Lowery’s response: ” Taking Ali to the NBA All-Star game one year as we sat behind Jay-Z and Beyonce and watching Beyonce wave to Ali, Beyonce spoke to us, she is the sweetest person. Also taking Ali to the locker rooms and watching Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and all the other all stars turn into children at the sight of seeing their hero the greatest of all time Muhammad Ali walk through the doors, what an experience that was.”
In asking the very same question to R&B Singer Brian McKnight, ”I have so many Ali memories but my favorite was watching Ali knockout George Foreman at home with my dad. The odds were against Ali and Ali being the great fighter that he was he beat the odds and stopped a much younger powerful puncher in Foreman. You know, I am still a big boxing fan today, I enjoy watching Tyson Fury out of the current heavyweights.”
And what did legendary former champion boxer, Micheal Carbajal have to say? ”It’s truly an honor to attend this great event, at the very first one proceeds went to my 9th street boxing gym and now 24 years later it’s still going strong, a great charity”. Mr. Carbajal went on to talk some boxing with me,
Carbajal- ” You see Spence/Garcia?”
Me- ” Yes, it was brutal, what did you think?”
Carbajal- ” Not good for Mikey Garcia at all, but he is still my favorite current boxer, and he beats everybody at 135 pounds if he can make the weight there. Mikey would knockout Lomachenko in 4 rounds at 135.”
Me- ”Wow, you really think that? Both are great technical boxers but I can’t see a 4 round fight between them, so you really think it would only take Mikey 4 rounds to stop Lomachenko?”
Carbajal- ” I KNOW so!”
Special honorees for the evening include fabled American music producer and 27-time Grammy Award-winner Quincy Jones, Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow and Dr. Abraham Lieberman, the medical director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at Barrow Neurological Institute and Renee Parsons of the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.
“For 25 years, we’ve treated Celebrity Fight Night audiences to the world’s greatest entertainers and this year will be no different as we welcome Barry Manilow,” said Jimmy Walker, Founder of Celebrity Fight Night. “With the help of our celebrity friends and incredibly generous donors, we are once again excited to raise millions of dollars and make a difference in the lives of those who need our support.”
About Celebrity Fight Night
Celebrity Fight Night has gifted more than $86 million over the past 24 years benefiting the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as several other worthy charities.
The black-tie event features a cocktail reception, silent auction, elegant dinner, and an exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items and experiences. Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker and supports the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visitwww.celebrityfightnight.org.
Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dead at 23
Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who competed in the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games, was found dead in her California home this past Friday due to an apparent suicide, according to an announcement from her father, according to Reuters.
“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” her father, Mark Catlin said, according to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”
Catlin, 23, took the silver medal in Rio and was part of the teams who took home the gold in 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Championships.
Catlin had reportedly struggled with mental health in the past and her sister, Christine Catlin, said that Catlin was “a really special person – kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did, per the Washington Post. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape.”
Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl
A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.
Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic , As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.
The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.
In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”. Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?
I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.
Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.
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