Who Gave 110% on 4/24/12

After a wave of NHL playoff games, Tuesday night was very quiet across the sports front. There was only one NHL game on tap (Panthers-Devils game six), a hollow Heat-Celtics matchup, and a huge game between the Suns and Jazz to basically determine the last playoff spot in the West. With a gap in television viewing time baseball finally got the chance to make it onto my radar.

Yu Darvish gave 90% in his first ever start against the New York Yankees.

There was a bit of history on display in Texas on Tuesday night. It was the first time that two Japanese pitchers faced each other. While Hirokoi Kuroda was yoi, Darvish was subarashii. He posted this line: 8.1 IP/7 H/0 ER/10 K’s on 119 pitches, 82 of which were strikes. He only gave up two extra base hits (one was to Derek Jeter who is ON FIRE!). He was on my fantasy radar, but was taken in the seventh round (I took Ian Kennedy in that round, but would have taken Darvish on the swing pick). This guy is going to be a stud.

Travis Zajac gave 100% in scoring the game winning goal to force a game seven.

One shot ain’t enough jack you better make it three. There’s nothing better in sports than a game seven and we’re lucky enough to get three in the first round. You could feel the nervous energy in the Prudential Center after the Devils blew a 2-0 lead. Marty Brodeur did his best to give the Devils’ faithful a collective heart attack in the second and third period, but the Panthers just couldn’t quite close the door.

Ilya Kovalchuk set up the game winning goal by bringing the puck into the zone and finding Zajac who found the five hole of Scott Clemmenson. The entire gave it seemed like Kovy would bring the puck just past the blue line and wait for help to come. For a guy that big to wait for everyone else is frustrating to watch, I really think he’s playing with a mid level injury (Kovy!).

Even though no one besides my girlfriend is watching this series, a game seven deserves your attention. This series is a true coin flip, anything can happen (that should have been the tag line for the playoffs instead of because it’s the cup).

TNT/NBA gave 0% by airing a Celtics-Heat game that featured one of the big seven.

I know there was nothing that TNT could have done to change out of the game, but this is something that should be looked at in the offseason. Maybe the NBA could put in a policy that makes it possible to flex a game in the last week of the season if teams are going to rest players. It was the first time this season that I did not care about a game that was going to be broadcasted on Turner Network Television.

Wouldn’t you like to have seen a Clippers-Hawks game that actually had meaning? I know I would have and it would have been a much better lead in for Suns-Jazz. TNT/NBA you gave ZERO percent!

Al Jefferson gave 110% in the fourth quarter against the Suns.

In the night cap of a Tuesday night special on TNT, the Jazz pulled out a victory at home in a must win situation thanks to Al Jefferson. The seven year vet has only been to the playoffs once (his rookie year in Boston) and was determined to return to the postseason. In the fourth quarter last night big Al dominated Marcin Gortat and the other munchkins in the Suns frontcourt. Jefferson made four huge baskets in the last five minutes of the game as the Salt Lake area was sent into a frenzy.

The Jazz are a team that no one should want to play right now. Now that the combination of Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap, and Jefferson have passed the test of playing in a playoff type situation, their athleticism will be tough for most teams to deal with. Favors blocked sure fire dunks from Gortat three times. Combine those three with the renaissance of Devin Harris and the Jazz could push the Spurs to the limit. Al Jefferson you have 110% last night!

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