The Pulse: NBA fight, Dodger devil magic and poll results

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Goodmorning! The poll results are in.


The Grizzlies sure do love to stay in the news for things that aren’t basketball plays. There was the Shannon Sharpe chirpfest a couple weeks ago. Last night, it was a crotch shot of the funniest caliber.

Just watch the video of Dillon Brooks “accidentally” hitting Donovan Mitchell directly in the groin. Here’s how we got there:

  • After a layup attempt, Brooks hit the floor,
  • Briefly paused to consider his next action,
  • Rolled very pointedly toward Mitchell
  • And raised his arm up for some reason, striking Mitchell in his nether regions.
  • He then acted surprised when Mitchell was miffed.

A light melee ensued and both players were ejected. Mitchell sounded off on Brooks after the game, saying he’d been “busting (Brooks’) ass for years.” A+. Give me more of this.

The wildest thing about Memphis’ antics is that they’re just really good. Even with the loss to Cleveland last night, the former upstart Grizzlies are 32-20 and sit second in the Western Conference.

They are legitimate title contenders. Surely no Western Conference team has had a title slip away thanks to an intentional groin shot, either. Let’s hope they just got this one out of the way.


Dodger Devil Magic

It is wholly unfair. The Dodgers, perennial spender and contender, have the best farm system in baseball, according to Keith Law’s ranking of all 30 minor-league stables. Some points on our West Coast juggernaut:

  • LA has eight prospects on Law’s Top 100 list, the most of any team. He added they would still maintain the highest number if he’d ranked 50 more prospects. Absurd.
  • They also have elite scouting and coaching personnel. Law notes their second-round pick last year, Dalton Rushing, is exceeding expectations — and already ranks No. 62 on the Top 100.

So they also arguably have the deepest roster in baseball and a farm system to support a big trade or just … replenish that major-league roster as intended. Again, unfair.

There are plenty of other playoff teams in the top 30, too (hi, Cleveland). See the full list here.


Major MLB schedule change
You will probably look up once during the 2023 MLB season and wonder what got into baseball. Games in London? Doubling interleague games? Jayson Stark has a great explainer this morning on all the changes, which include a massive increase in interleague action. Stark calls it “the most dramatic scheduling change in the history of the sport.”

Pulse Judgment: Fantastic idea. Baseball has felt stagnant in a lot of areas for a while now. Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and Julio Rodríguez playing in front of more people is good in our book.

Police issue arrest warrant for Mixon
Bengals running back Joe Mixon is wanted in Cincinnati for one count of misdemeanor aggravated menacing, stemming from an event Jan. 21, one day before the Bengals’ divisional round win over the Bills. Mixon allegedly pointed a gun at the victim and said, “You should be popped in the face, I should shoot you.” See all the details here.

Yeah, the Liberty are a super team
One day after snagging Breanna Taylor, the New York Liberty agreed to terms with Courtney Vandersloot, the star point guard who spent the last decade with the Chicago Sky. The expectation is officially title-or-bust. BetMGM has New York at +150 to win the championship, just behind the defending-champ Aces at +135.

Quote of the Day

‘Not that hot’

Derek Carr looked free last night as he won the precision passing contest at the Pro Bowl Games. It’s funny to remember that his team, the Raiders, are actively trying to trade a Pro Bowl quarterback who’s out-throwing other Pro Bowl QBs, but here we are.

Carr realizes this. Asked after the competition if he’d ever been that good with the Raiders, he simply said, “Not that hot. That’s probably why I’m probably going somewhere else.”

At least he’s in good spirits about it. The Raiders must trade or release Carr by Feb. 15, and he said last night he would not extend that deadline for his soon-to-be-former team. He has a no-trade clause in his contract. Expect some movement soon.

Check out Carr in action, plus all the other wacky events from last night’s Pro Bowl Games here.

Feedback Loops

Football is cancelled

To my genuine surprise, most of you also think there’s too much football. The breakdown:

  • 85 percent said there are simply too many football leagues. Sanity prevails.
  • 15 percent of you are certified football junkies.

While these polls are lighthearted, I do believe there is genuine apathy toward the new spring leagues. It feels certain that one, maybe two of them shutter within the next two years.

Pulse Picks

Remember Earl Bennett? The former Bears wideout retired early, got a Ph.D. and is now back at his alma mater as a bigwig. Jon Greenberg recounts Bennett’s journey of him, which is worth a read.

Chelsea’s transfer window left the rest of the soccer world “dumbfounded.” Inside one of the wildest spending sprees in recent memory.

Alabama is interviewing Notre Dame’s Tommy Rees for its vacant offensive coordinator position. Rees, just 30, is reportedly Nick Saban’s primary target.

MLB season tickets, Netflix style? It’s coming.

Matthew Fairburn and Dom Luszczyszyn profile Tage Thompson, the unlikeliest superstar in the NHL.

What does the Bally Sports bankruptcy mean for your local TV coverage? Daniel Kaplan explains.

College quarterbacks are on the move more than ever. Max Olson looks at the “staggering attrition” of the sport’s most coveted position.

Luka Dončić left the Mavs’ win over the Pelicans last night with a right heel contusion. Dallas is 0-6 without him this year.

(Photo: Ken Blaze/USA Today)


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