Weekend Column: ‘Just give it time, we’ll see who’s still around a decade from now’

By: Leon Hargrove Jr. - Sports Editor

ROCKINGHAM — We all know injuries are a part of sports.

That’s the risk athletes take every time they participate in their respective sports. However, it’s still not easy to accept them when they happen.

Especially in the playoffs.

Seeing Steph Curry, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin all go down with injuries this late in the season deprives NBA fans of what could have been an exciting matchup between two teams that have built up quite a rivalry in the past couple of years.

Curry’s out for at least another week and a half with a sprained MCL, Paul is out indefinitely with a broken hand and Griffin will miss the rest of the playoffs with a quad injury.

It’s almost as if we can never get through a playoff without an important player on a contending team going down with an injury.

The Warriors weren’t that bad off without the reigning — and soon-to-be — NBA MVP, as they faced a team led by an unstoppable scorer (James Harden) who doesn’t play a lick of defense.

But the Clippers are suffering without their two best players. After going up 2-0 over Portland, Los Angeles has lost its last three games and faces elimination Friday.

I’m not taking anything away from the Blazers, but it would’ve been fun to see Paul and Griffin finish out the series.

The comebacks

Although Portland, Charlotte and Boston all found themselves down two games to none in the first round, they refused to go down without a fight.

And for two of those three teams, Portland and Charlotte, it doesn’t look like they are going down at all.

Like I mentioned earlier, the Blazers are now up 3-2 over the Clippers and have a chance to advance to the Conference Semis.

The Hornets are in the same boat.

I honestly thought the Hornets were out of the playoffs the moment they clinched a berth — you can check last weekend’s column for proof.

I just didn’t think they had enough to hang with the Heat, but they have way more than proven me wrong. Kemba is leading the team in scoring, assists, steals and blocks, showing true leadership during this late-season run.

And then guys like Al Jefferson, Jeremy Lin, Nicolas Batum and Courtney Lee are playing big and making plays when necessary. I’m going to give Lin most of the credit, though. Just because of his hair.

Things didn’t work out too well for the Celtics.

They were able to tie the series up at two apiece, but lost the last two games — sending them home for the summer.

I don’t know exactly what my old favorite team (Boston) needs, but I know they just need more. I don’t see the team that they have now ever making it out of the first round.

Aside from the injuries, this week of the playoffs was much better than the first week.

The champions

Lastly, I just want to congratulate the Richmond Senior baseball and softball teams on winning the regular-season conference championships.

I know both teams have bigger fish to fry, but a regular-season title is something to be proud of.

I should know, because that’s all I have on my resumé. I’ve never won a conference tournament, state championship or a national championship in high school or college.

Sad, right?

So when you all go out there and compete in the conference and state tournaments in the coming weeks, do it for the Daily Journal’s sports editor. I would definitely appreciate it.

If you don’t want to do that, then I guess you can play for your teammates and coaches.

That’ll work, too.

The unknown

Everyone knew the Los Angeles Rams were going to take Jared Goff with the first pick of the draft.

And it was no secret that Philadelphia would take Carson Wentz right after that.

The only thing that people did not know — and still don’t — is who will have the better NFL career. And it’s really too early to say, because it’s so hard to predict how someone will fare in the pros.

Of course, Goff played better competition, played more games and threw more touchdowns at Cal than Wentz did at North Dakota State.

But does that mean he’ll be better than Wentz? Not necessarily.

They’ll both have great careers. They’re extremely talented quarterbacks who know and have a real love for the game of football.

But honestly, I hope Wentz has the better career down the road.

I know he plays for a divisional rival (I’m a Redskins fan), but I can’t not root for a guy who went to a school very few know about — like I did.

That’s against the small-school rules.

Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow him on Twitter @_UncleLeon.


Leon Hargrove Jr.

Sports Editor