5Hundred: 23 for Serena (1/28/17)

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Welcome back to 5Hundred, where I give my opinions on five stories of the past few days in 100 words.  Today brings a mix of historic performances, a disappointing return, and well, the worst flop ever.

1. Serena Defeats Venus, Wins 23rd Major: Serena Williams won her Open-era record 23rd Major title in an emotional 6-4, 6-4 victory over big sister Venus.  Seeing the two sisters triumph once again and meet in the finals was a picture-perfect ending to the women’s singles of the Australian Open.  Each sister was feeling the nerves early but transitioned into playing some fantastic tennis, especially in the second set.  It’s always incredible watching the determination of the Williams sisters, especially when playing each other.  Following the match was the award presentation, where both were extremely gracious and joyful in their speeches.  Federer and Nadal, you’re up next.  Don’t disappoint.

2. James Harden Goes OFF: Coming off six losses in nine games, James Harden willed the Rockets to victory over the 76ers last night, dropping a ridiculous 51/13/13 line to become the first player in NBA history to record two 50-point triple-doubles in one season.  Harden entered the game as my favorite for league MVP, and The Beard certainly didn’t do anything to change my opinion.  Even without second-leading scorer Eric Gordon, Harden still managed to have one of the best games of a season defined by incredible individual performances.  Coach Mike D’Antoni said he doesn’t know how to guard Harden.  I don’t think anyone does.

3. Tiger Woods Misses the Cut: In his first PGA Tour action since August 2015, Tiger Woods shot a four-over 76-72, missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open.  Despite playing at Torrey Pines, a course where Woods has won many times, it was more of the same for Tiger, whose injuries have kept him winless since 2013.  At 41 years old and over eight years removed from his last Major title at the 2008 U.S. Open, time is clearly starting to run out for one of the greatest of all-time.  I highly doubt he’ll win a Major again, and at this point, just seeing Woods on the course is encouraging.

4. Pro Bowl Skills Competitions: An incredible 37 players declined invitations to the Pro Bowl this year.  Despite a $61,000 bonus to the winning team and $30,000 for the losers, the risk of injuries, or simply not wanting to participate, has long hurt the Pro Bowl, an event that doesn’t even interest most fans anymore.  What helps make the NBA’s All-Star Weekend so great is all the side events.  The NFL took a big step this year by incorporating five skills challenges, highlighted by the drone drop and dodgeball game.  These events were actually fun to watch, and the NFL should expand them to save the Pro Bowl.

5. “The Worst Flop Ever”: On Thursday, Oregon basketball’s Dillon Brooks committed likely the worst flop of all-time, no exaggeration.  If you haven’t seen it yet, treat yourself .  Seriously, what on earth was that?  The flopping epidemic has long been a big topic of discussion in recent years, and while players like Marcus Smart have their own highlight (lowlight?) reels, Brooks’ untouched double hop and exaggerated fall roughly 10 feet backward take the cake.  Brooks was called for a blocking foul on the play but waited until the play was over to begin his performance for the ages.  Obvious flops like this should be technical fouls.

 

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