The Week In Sports
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
It's time for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WERTHEIMER: NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman is still reeling from last night's Warriors game.
Good morning, Tom. How are you holding up?
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Reeling.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) Now we've gotten used to the NBA's Golden State Warriors being involved in a rout. But last night, it was Golden State on the losing end. What happened?
GOLDMAN: The Portland Trail Blazers and guard Damian Lillard happened. The Blazers pounded Golden State 137-105. That is a pounding.
Lillard is a two-time All-Star, but he wasn't chosen for last Sunday's All-Star Game. Against the Warriors, he played like a man snubbed. He had a career-high 51 points. He outdueled Golden State's reigning league MVP Steph Curry. Portland's defense forced Golden State into a ton of turnovers, and a Blazers team people were starting to notice before the All-Star break suddenly has everyone's attention, at least today.
WERTHEIMER: The Warriors do still have a pretty good record. So how are you - what do you think their chances are to have the greatest regular-season record in NBA history as we have assumed they would?
GOLDMAN: Yeah. Well, 48-5, which is what they are now, isn't bad. But every loss is significant when you're trying to beat the Chicago Bulls' record of 72-10. There are 29 games left. Now, all of the Warriors' losses have been on the road. And they still have a string of tough road games after Portland, starting tonight against the LA Clippers and then against Miami, Atlanta, Oklahoma City. This long, coast-to-coast road trip could tell us a lot about whether Golden State can break the record.
WERTHEIMER: On from basketball to baseball, baseball fans have been waiting for this week all winter. Teams are reporting to spring training camps. And preseason reports are saying the Cubs are great. But of course, that's on paper. What are you thinking?
GOLDMAN: (Laughter) I'm thinking preseason reports are notoriously wrong. You can look it up. It's incredibly hard to predict a winner in February.
But yes, on paper, the Cubs look really good. They made it to the National League Championship Series last season and then appeared to get better. They signed several top players from other teams. They have everything. They've got great pitching, hitting, power, speed - a great front office, a great manager in Joe Maddon.
But remember, Linda. It's the Cubs.
GOLDMAN: They haven't won the World Series since 1908. To be a Cubs fan is to wait for things to go wrong (laughter).
WERTHEIMER: Now, some seasons are just starting now, of course. But other players are announcing their retirement now, specifically, Jared Allen of the Carolina Panthers. Yes?
GOLDMAN: Yeah. You know, it's so hard for many top athletes to retire gracefully - or even with humor - and Jared Allen did both this week. He's the defensive lineman who entertained fans with his play and his enthusiasm. He'd celebrate tackling quarterbacks by pretending to rope a calf. He grew up on a ranch.
So this week, he offered a fitting video goodbye wearing a cowboy hat, a thick winter jacket and sitting on a horse. He totally looked like a cowboy. Here's what he said.
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JARED ALLEN: Well, everyone, I just want to say thank you for an amazing 12-year career. This was the part where I was going to ride off into the sunset. But seeing how there's no sunset, I'm just going to ride off.
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GOLDMAN: (Laughter) So he galloped off on a cloudy day. And Linda, wouldn't it be great to have an exit like that?
WERTHEIMER: NPR's Tom Goldman. Thank you, Tom.
GOLDMAN: You're welcome.
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