Love, Lust and Broken Hearts: Valentine’s Weekend
It was a drama-filled Valentine’s weekend as far as all sporting codes were concerned. We witnessed some heart-breaking moments as well as sheer brilliance leaving some fans with an overwhelming sense of euphoria. Needless to say, all sports supporters were left satisfied by the weekend’s biggest fixtures, where all of the drama fittingly unfolded on Valentine’s Day.
It was not an easy choice to pick the top 3 moments of the weekend, as there was an abundance of options to choose from, ranging from the NBA All-Star weekend to the Winter X-Games. However, we have come to a decision that was influenced by Cupid’s fickle arrow, as the knockout blows were appropriately delivered on the day of love.
Number 3: LaVine still Flying High
It was that time of year again when the NBA regular season comes to a close and the best players are selected to form the Eastern and Western Conference teams. Alongside the main event (the NBA All-Star game) that took place in Toronto this year, there was a host of other forms of entertainment such as the Rising-Stars game, the celebrity match, the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest, which is arguably the most anticipated and popular of all of the events.
Despite the All-Star game boasting all of the biggest names that the NBA has to offer such as LeBron James, Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook just to name a few, it was not the most watched event. Not even the fact that one of the game’s biggest legends, Kobe Bryant, marked off his final game in his career, nor the fact that the match saw an all-time of the highest scoring All-Star game being broken (West 196-173 East).
The weekend was dominated by the Slam-Dunk competition and it did not disappoint. Many were left by the mind-blowing, gravity defying, powerful dunks with some finesse. The contest was won by the Minnesota Timberwolves guard, Zach LaVine who at only 20-years of age, has two back-to-back wins of the competition. LaVine pulled off a number of outstanding dunks from the free-throw line.
However he did not go unchallenged, as Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic had completed some unimaginative dunks, which forced the contest to a dunk-off. Many will claim that the 6’9” small forward should have won the competition, as Shaquille O’Neal may have made some harsh judging decisions. Despite that, no love was lost between the two competitors as LaVine acknowledged Gordon’s efforts after he was awarded the title.
Check out the highlights of the contest below in order to see what these incredible athletes achieved over the weekend.
Number 2: The Blooming of the Proteas in the wake of the Fire
Most South African cricket supporters had already lost hope after the boys in green were 2-0 down after losing the first two ODIs against England. Prior to those losses, they had just come out of the 3-match Test series where they displayed a sub-par performance in their own backyard.
The remarkable fight-back began in the 3rd ODI in Centurion where each of the South African openers, Hashim Amla and Quentin De Kock, reached their centuries to help their team record a 7-wicket victory.
Yet, there was still much work to be done in the 4th match where the Proteas wore pink in support of World Cancer Day. The colour seems to be a lucky one for South Africa, as they had not lost a game while playing in pink. The South Africans bowled the Three Lions out for a total of 262, which could have been a lot lower if it wasn’t for the valiant effort of the talented Joe Root, who hit 109 runs to repair his side’s early collapse.
What seemed an easily gettable target became a Herculean task as the home team were troubled after losing their 7th wicket for 207. However, the night was saved by the heroics of Chris Morris in which he blasted 62 off 38 balls to get the Proteas to their target with a wicket to spare. With that knock, he more than justified the large sum that was paid for him by the Delhi Daredevils.
The final ODI took place at Newlands, which is dubbed as the world’s most beautiful cricket ground. The South Africans looked suffered an early collapse when the visitor had the home team at 22/3. However, the home side looked relatively comfortable throughout most parts of the match, but credit is due to Alex Hales who scored his first hundred in the series. He also notched up four successive fifties to see him claim the Man-of-the-Series award. The headlines were however stolen by the South African skipper, AB de Villiers, with his fantastic knock of 101 from 97 balls, which completed the great comeback, as the Proteas beat England by 5 wickets.
Number 1: Super Sub on Super Sunday
If you have been following the English Premiership League closely, one would have been extremely excited for the fixtures that had occurred on Valentine’s Day. One can be sure that many relationships had ended, as many guys would have chosen football over their wives or girlfriends. Or should we say ex-wives and ex-girlfriends? Just kidding.
However, hearts were broken on Super Sunday as the top four locked horns in what could probably be the most pivotal day of the season. Let us not take any credit away from Liverpool that hammered in six goals to beat Aston Villa 6-0.
The most anticipated game of the weekend was the match between the log-leaders, Leicester City, and the Gunners who were in third ahead of the fixture. The Foxes have been outstanding this season with players such as Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy playing exceptionally well to help their team stay at the top. Arsenal, however were under immense pressure, as they desperately needed the win to stay in the title race, had only recorded one win in th last 4 league games.
Everyone expected a hard-fought match, as Martin Atkinson booked 5 players and sent Leicester’s Danny Simpson off after his second yellow, which was questionable. Prior to the red card, Vardy won a penalty on the stroke of half time, which he converted to cap his 19th goal of his dream season.
Later in the second half, Wenger had put Theo Wallcott on for Francis Coquellin. The attacking option paid off 10 minutes later, when Wallcott scored in the 70th minute. Leicester did exceptionally well to keep Arsenal at bay after they had conceded the Wallcott goal, which saw Danny Welbeck’s first game since April as he came on for Oxlade-Chamberlain. What a change it turned out to be as Welbeck marked his return with the winning goal in the dying moments of the game.
Talk about being fashionably late. If you want to check out the dramatic happenings of what could be the cause of Leicester City’s fall, check out the highlights below:
In the other final game of Super Sunday, Tottenham Hotspur responded in appropriate fashion as Christian Eriksen netted an 83rd minute winner to see Spurs edging out Manchester City 2 goals to 1. Tottenham are now in second place only 2 points behind the Foxes and are ahead of Arsenal on a significant goal difference.
Whether you like the results or not, one thing one can certainly say is the weekend’s moments were amazing to witness. From the NBA Slam-Dunk contest to Danny Welbeck’s title-saving goal, they were all amazing!