Southwestern Christian College Rams v Brookhaven College Bears

National Junior College Athletic Association

Wednesday 30th November 2016

Tip Off 17.00

Southwestern Christian College Rams 108 Brookhaven College Bears 102,  attendance 82

@ G.P. Bowser Gymnasium

200, Bowser Street

Terrell, TX 75160

$3 Admission

No programme.

SCC Rams led by 52-47 at halftime and maintained their lead throughout. It is the first time I have visited a college facility with poor maintenance as there were 7 bulbs not working in the overhead lighting, making it quite dark once the natural light disappeared from the full length windows along court side. It was also unusual to be the only white spectator in attendance.

Golden State Warriors v Atlanta Hawks

National Basketball Association

Monday 28th November 2016

Tip Off 19.30

Golden State Warriors 105 Atlanta Hawks 100,  attendance 19,596

Warriors Starters ;

Draymond Green, 4 pts, 3 reb, 7 ast, 1 stl, 4 blk

Stephen Curry, 25 pts, 3 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl

Klay Thompson, 20 pts, 4 reb, 2 ast1 stl, 1 blk

Kevin Durant, 25 pts, 14 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 2 blk

Zaza Pachulia, 4 pts, 6 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk

Playing Reserves ;

Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Ian Clark, David West, JaVale McGee, Patrick McCaw

Hawks Starters ;

Dwight Howard, 14 pts, 16 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk

Paul Millsap, 14 pts, 14 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl

Dennis Schroder, 24 pts, 1 reb, 6 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk

Kyle Korver, 3 pts, 2 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl

Kent Bazemore, 8 pts, 7 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk

Playing Reserves ;

Thabo Sefolosha, Mike Muscala, Malcolm Delaney, Tim Hardaway

@ Oracle Arena

7000, Coliseum Way

Oakland, CA 94621

Admission $100 + $16.50 fees, Resale, Print at Home ticket

Team Sheet, free.

We hadn’t visited San Francisco for about 10 years, so were surprised to see how far it has gone downhill in that time. Walking around the city was like being an extra in the film ‘Zombies, Dawn of the Dead’ as it is another city plagued by hordes of homeless and drugged up junkies, and this was just during the day. It got worse at night. Thankfully, Golden State Warriors play in Oakland, across San Francisco Bay, to the east. The Oracle Arena is easily reached by subway, taking the blue line from Downtown and getting off at Coliseum, which is also the stop for Oakland Coliseum, home to the Oakland Raiders of the N.F.L. and the Oakland Athletics of M.L.B. The journey took about 35 minutes due to problems on the line, sitting at one station for over 10 minutes, but it was only $4.50 each way.

Oracle Arena was opened in 1966, making it the oldest arena in the N.B.A. It has been home to the Warriors since 1971, except for a one year hiatus during renovations. Talks are currently ongoing for a new arena, which will see a move away from Oakland to San Francisco. The arena is really showing its age, but the atmosphere here is easily the best i have witnessed for basketball. Warriors have sold out for the last 190 odd matches and unlike so many American sports teams, this actually means all seats are taken, rather than a claim that all tickets are sold.

When i first arrived in the States I hadn’t really seen much top level basketball. It was going back to the mid 1980’s when Channel 4 Television had covered the NBA and a much later visit to see Phoenix Suns v Charlotte Bobcats, whilst on holiday 7 or 8 years ago, where the great Shaquille O’Neal played for the hosts, that got my interest. Living in Dallas, or more so, living in the Central Time Zone, means more often than not, Golden State Warriors are the second live match of the evening on television and this rekindled my interest in the game.

Warriors have become ‘my team’, mainly because they have two of the best 3 point shooters ever to play the game, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Known as ‘The Splash Brothers’, they hold the record as the fastest (least number of games) players ever to reach 1000 ‘3s’ in NBA history, with Curry scoring a ridiculous 402 ‘3s’ last season to break the record he already held.

Curry is also the reigning MVP (Most Valuable Player), having become the first player ever to receive 100 % of the votes, having also won in 2015. This season sees the arrival of Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City Thunder and MVP from 2014, so the Warriors are now being seen as the team everyone loves to hate. Last season saw them go 73-9 in the regular season, the best record ever in the NBA, before losing out in the Finals to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in game 7. The addition of Durant should surely see them go one better this time, although both Curry and Thompson seem to have lost a little something as the shots are shared out more.

Warriors made hard work of this one, having trailed the Hawks for over 24 minutes of the game, finally regaining the lead a minute into the fourth quarter and holding on from there. It had taken less than 3 minutes for both Curry and Thompson to shoot a 3 pointer, so at least i had seen them do what they do best. Without doubt, this is by far my favourite sporting event i have been to since living here and i doubt anything else will come close.

Pacific University Boxers v Redlands University Bulldogs

National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III

Scotts Valley Hilton Classic

Saturday 26th November 2016

Tip Off 14.00

Pacific University Boxers 61 Redlands University Bulldogs 59,  attendance 77

@ Kaiser Permanente Arena

140, Front Street

Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Admission $8 + $1.40 fee

Programme free, 8 pages.

Having driven down the Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Cruz was an ideal stop off heading back north en route to dropping the hire car back at San Francisco Airport. It looked like it might be a nice seaside town, but was another place blighted by homeless types roaming the streets. In fact, the area around the basketball arena was particularly grim and i chose my car park carefully, going for the one with the least dodgy characters in the vicinity, although there were still two homeless living out of shopping trolleys camped there !

The Kaiser Permanente Arena is home to Santa Cruz Warriors, of the N.B.A. Development League. They are affiliated to the Golden State Warriors of the N.B.A. Since 2013 it has also hosted home games for University California Santa Cruz Banana Slugs basketball team. It was opened in December 2012, having cost $3.5 million to build and has a seated capacity of 2,505.

The Scotts Valley Hilton Classic is a 3 team, round robin tournament, with UC Santa Cruz acting as host. Last night, Boxers beat the hosts, so a win today would see them as tournament winners, which they achieved. They had trailed 28-30 at halftime and survived being taken to overtime when the Bulldogs attempt on the final buzzer rolled round the rim of the basket and back out.

It was unusual to buy a ticket on the day and still pay a fee on top of the admission price. It was also disappointing that the ticket was printed upside down. A minor detail, but annoying all the same.

Sacramento Kings v Oklahoma City Thunder

National Basketball Association

Wednesday 23rd November 2016

Tip Off 19.30

Sacramento Kings 116 Oklahoma City Thunder 101,  attendance 17,608

Kings Starters ;

DeMarcus Cousins, 36 pts, 13 reb, 2 ast,

Rudy Gay, 17 pts, 9 reb, 4 ast

Darren Collison, 21 pts, 6 ast

Aaron Afflalo, 8 pts, 1 reb, 4 ast

Matt Barnes, 0 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast, 1 blk

Playing Reserves ;

Garrett Temple, Ty Lawson, Ben McLemore, Kosta Koufos

Thunder Starters ;

Victor Oladipo, 18 pts, 6 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 2 blk

Andre Roberson, 10 pts, 5 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 2 blk

Russell Westbrook, 31 pts, 11 reb, 9 ast, 2 stl

Steven Adams, 11 pts, 4 reb, 2 blk

Domantas  Sabonis, 4 pts, 3 ast, 1 stl

Playing Reserves ;

Jerami Grant, Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow, Semaj Christon, Joffrey Lauvergne, Alex Abrines, Kyle Singler

@ Golden 1 Center

500, David J. Stern Walk

Sacramento, CA 95814

Admission $42 + $8.60 fees, Resale, Print at Home Ticket

No programme.

Sacramento Kings are bucking the trend somewhat, moving from an out of town venue,  to the brand new Golden 1 Center in the heart of downtown Sacramento. It is nice to see this in a way, but i have to say, considering it is the state capital, Sacramento is an absolutely awful place and very run down. The streets are crawling with homeless people, which certainly doesn’t help, and it could definitely  benefit from a clean up.

We had flown in to San Francisco yesterday afternoon and after collecting a hire car it was a little over 2 hours drive, once you get through the clogged up roads of the Western Bay Area, to Sacramento. Having been into the city and seen the location of the arena, it was apparent that parking was at a premium, especially if you wanted the car to still be there after the game. No problem though, as it was possible to book online, with a walk of 0.7 miles to the arena, costing $10.

Golden 1 Center was opened on 30th September 2016 and cost $558.2 million to build. Capacity here is 17,608 and despite this being a ‘sell out’ it certainly wasn’t as there were loads of empty seats.

As for the game, something of a surprise home win. Thunder are finding it tough going to adapt to life without Kevin Durant, although Russell Westbrook is dragging them along single handedly and if he could only get some help then another shot at the play offs should easily be achieved. Kings could also make the play offs, especially if DeMarcus Cousins can turn in these sort of performances on a regular basis.

Central Texas Lobos v Twin Cities F.C.

Texas Premier Soccer League

Saturday 19th November 2016

Kick off 16.00 Actual 16.06

Central Texas Lobos 1 Twin Cities F.C. 1,  attendance 60

85′ 1-0

90′ + 1, 1-1

@ Gregg-Clarke Park

1300, West Center Street

Kyle, TX 78640

No admission or programme.

Lobos are a very well organised club. They have an excellent Facebook page, bang up to date, and even sell club scarves, which seemed popular. They are the only club I have visited in this league that have a refreshment stand, which is set back about 50 yards from the pitch in a building that also houses the toilets.

The first thing you notice is the odd looking goal frames, which no one seemed to know the reason for their appearance. Apparently the ‘soccer’ goals were only put in on Thursday afternoon due to the American Football posts being set in concrete which caused quite a bit of work to get them out of the ground.

I was convinced this would end 0-0, although it wouldn’t have been due to a lack of chances. Lobos will be the less happy of the two teams, having gone ahead so late in the game and I can only assume the stoppage time equaliser for the visitors had something to do with the mass brawl that took place seconds after the final whistle ?

Eastfield College Harvesters v Temple College Leopards

National Junior College Athletic Association

Friday 18th November 2016

18.00 Tip Off

Eastfield College Harvesters 118 Temple College Leopards 121,  attendance 72

@ 3737, Motley Drive

Mesquite, TX 75150

No admission or programme.

This was quite a comeback for Temple as they trailed 35-12 at one point and were still down 66-59 at halftime. Eastfield notched up the ton first, to lead 100-97, and with 59.5 seconds left on the clock it was tied at 116-116. Eastfield edged back ahead with 32.5 seconds left at 118-117, but Temple regained the lead with 3.4 seconds left to go 118-119 then made a final basket to finally make it safe with just 1.6 seconds left. It is hard to beat entertainment like this, especially when it’s free !

Weatherford College Coyotes v Brookhaven College Bears

National Junior College Athletic Association

Thursday 17th November 2016

17.00 Tip Off

Weatherford College Coyotes 111 Brookhaven College Bears 92,  attendance 114

@ Betty Jo Crumm Graber Athletic Center

225, College Park Drive

Weatherford, TX 76086

No admission or programme.

Weatherford always looked like they had something in hand and came on strongly in the second period. The 5pm kick off enabled me to miss the rush hour traffic in Dallas and Fort Worth in both directions.

Lone Star Republic v F.C. Knights

North Texas Premier Soccer Association

Division 4 (Fall Season)

Play Off Semi Final

Sunday 13th November 2016

Kick off 14.00 Actual 14.09

Lone Star Republic 3 F.C. Knights 1,  attendance 22

45′ + 3, 0-1

53′ 1-1

60′ 2-1

73′ 3-1

@ Premier Park, Pitch 4

11115, Elam Road

Balch Springs, TX 75180

No admission or programme.

Once again the semi final pitted 1st v 4th from the league table. LSR certainly made things difficult for themselves, having a man sent off after 23 minutes and then conceding in stoppage time at the end of the first half, but in the end they turned it around and the result was never in doubt once they went in front.

This game completed seeing a match on all seven pitches here at Premier Park.

Young Guns v Goodfriend United

North Texas Premier Soccer Association

Division 2 (Fall Season)

Play Off Semi Final

Sunday 13th November 2016

Kick off 11.00 Actual 11.09

Young Guns 3 Goodfriend United 1,  attendance 13

18′ 0-1

50′ 1-1

72′ 2-1

90′ 3-1

@ Premier Park, Pitch 7

11115, Elam Road

Balch Springs, TX 75180

No admission or programme.

Today, I had the opportunity to see games on the only 2 pitches I hadn’t yet done at Premier Park. This was 1st v 4th from the final league table, going the way of the top seed, gaining revenge for a 2-3 defeat that I saw them suffer a month ago for their only defeat of the season.

F.C. Knights Killeen v Twin Cities F.C.

Texas Premier Soccer League

Saturday 12th November 2016

Kick off 19.00 Actual 19.01

F.C. Knights Killeen 2 Twin Cities F.C. 4,  attendance 26

20′ 0-1

25′ 0-2

29′ 0-3

49′ 0-4

63′ 1-4

76′ 2-4

@ Summit Soccer Complex

401, North Amy Lane

Harker Heights, TX 76548

No admission or programme.

It had been an easy 44 mile drive north from Georgetown and was less than 10 miles off route back to Dallas. Plenty of time to go to the ground to make sure the game was on, getting there just as the away team were arriving. I then headed off for something to eat.

Knights are new to the league, having been formed by the coach of now defunct Temple United from last season, hence the move south to Harker Heights. Twin Cities, who are top of the league, were coasting it until Knights got their first goal and despite conceding a second, were never likely to throw it away and even missed a penalty two minutes from the end which would have given them a greater winning margin.