With 10 games in the books, we figured it was a good time for a subjective ranking of their relative greatness. We’ve assigned a score of 1 to 10 in three categories for each outdoor game. There’s Environment, which covers the novelty of the venue and the elements that challenged teams during the game; there’s Hype, which covers the buzz leading up to the Winter Classic as well as the allure of the teams involved; and then there’s the Game itself, and whether it was competitive, boring or rendered unwatchable by the conditions.
The matchup was a course correction from the 2015 edition, as the NHL jumped back into the rivalry business with this Original Six battle. The fans ate it up: 67,000 tickets were sold for the Winter Classic and there were 42,000 in the house for the alumni game held the same weekend in Foxborough.
Walton wisely didn’t go after ESPN over publishing the quotes. The Lakers didn’t threaten any credentials or suggest reporters should side with coaches over critics. In fact, in true Waltonian fashion, the coach joked with reporters after the game, claiming that he pulled Lonzo earlier than usual because his dad was talking s—t. He deflated the elephant in the room with ease and aplomb.
And that’s someone who’s caught between two truths. Hurts’ numbers — 59 touchdowns and 6,442 total yards the past two seasons — say he’s a superstar. But his actions — or lack thereof — suggest otherwise.
The moment Alabama lost to Clemson in the national championship game last January, doubt crept in. Now, Hurts has gone from the Next Big Thing to the most criticized 24-2 starting quarterback on the planet. The back-and-forth is enough to cause whiplash.
Paul George makes his first appearance as an opponent at Staples Center this season when Oklahoma City takes on the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday and then the Clippers on Thursday night. This will likely be the only two times he plays at Staples Center this year, but if PG-13 has it his way, he could end up on the West Coast after this season.
George has been outspoken about his desire to play in Los Angeles, for his hometown Lakers team, donning the same purple and gold his idols wore while he watched them growing up in Palmdale, Calif. He can, and is expected to, exercise his player option and opt out of the final year of his contract and enter unrestricted free agency this summer.