And The 2011 Oscar Winners Are…

I’ll make this short and sweet, after all what matters more than my usual commentary is the list of winners in Sunday’s Oscar awards, for your reference.

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
 

Actor in a Leading Role: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

 

Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale, The Fighter

Actress in a Supporting Role: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech

Original Screenplay:  David Seidler, The King’s Speech

Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Foreign-Language Film: In a Better World (Denmark)

Documentary Feature: Inside Job

Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland

Cinematography: Inception

Film Editing: The Social Network

Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland

Original Song: “We Belong Together” (Toy Story 3), music and lyrics by Randy Newman

Original Score: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network

Animated Short: The Lost Thing

Documentary Short: Strangers No More

Live Action Short: God of Love

Makeup: The Wolfman

Sound Editing: Inception

Sound Mixing: Inception

Visual Effects: Inception

Houston Rockets Rally To Beat New Orleans Hornets 91-89

Kevin Martin of the Houston Rockets has stepped it up further after losing former teammates Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier to player trades. On Sunday night, Martin came up with another good offensive game, scoring 33 points to help the Rockets overcome the New Orleans Hornets 91-89 despite trailing by 16 points in the second half.

Martin gave the Rockets a 90-87 lead when he sank two free throws with 18 seconds to play. The Hornets failed to tie the score when Willie Green missed on a three-point attempt. Courtney Lee grabbed the defensive rebound and was fouled with five ticks left, making one of two free throws for the final count.

The Hornets led 55-40 at halftime and even led by 16 at one point. They were held to 34 points in the second half against the Rockets’ 51 points.

The Rockets now have won four consecutive games.

Starting point guard Kyle Lowry finished the game with 18 points. Goran Dragic, who was acquired in a trade with the Phoenix Suns for Brooks, did not see action due to flu-like symptoms.

 

LA Lakers Get Past Oklahoma City Thunder 90-87

The Los Angeles Lakers moved further away from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference standings by beating the Thunder 90-87 on Sunday. The Lakers’ starting big men finished with double-doubles to keep their firm hold of third spot and moving four and a half games ahead of Oklahoma City.

The Thunder had the chance to tie the game in the final seconds when Lamar Odom missed two free throws but Kevin Durant and James Harden missed their three-point attempts.

Pau Gasol had 18 points and 11 rebounds while Andrew Bynum finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Kobe Bryant finished with 17 points and seven assists for the Lakers.

New Thunder acquisition Kendrick Perkins form the Boston Celtics has not seen action due to a sprained knee but he could provide the interior muscle in the playoffs.

Russell Westbrook paced the Thunder with 22 points while Durant finished the game with 21 points. Thabo Sefolosha scored 10 points while Harden had 14 points off the bench.

 

Frye Nails Buzzer-Beater, Suns Beat Pacers 110-108

Channing Frye nailed a long jumper at the buzzer, lifting the Phoenix Suns to a 110-108 overtime win against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

He made up for an earlier foul he committed on Josh McRoberts that resulted to a three-point play that allowed the Pacers to tie 108-108 in the final 24 seconds of overtime. Phoenix called timeout with 3.5 ticks to go in the game and found Frye open for the shot.

Frye had 14 points, making 5 of 11 shots from the field and 3 of 7 from three-point area. Grant Hill led all Phoenix scorers with 34 points, his season-high, along with 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Hill scored the Suns’ first seven points in overtime but the Pacers came back to tie the score in the dying seconds.

Steve Nash had 10 points and 13 assists for the Suns. Marcin Gortat had 17 points while Jared Dudley scored 15 points off the bench.

Danny Granger led the Pacers with 25 points. Brandon rush had 11 points and 8 rebounds.

UFC 127 Penn vs Fitch Ends With Majority Draw

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has just brought UFC 127: Penn vs Fitch to Sydney, Australia. The fight card featured local Aussie fighters mixed with some new mixed martial arts fighters from Asia trying to break into the UFC scene. The main card showcased contenders in the lightweight, middleweight and welterweight divisions.

The path to being the top contender in their respective divisions may have been derailed for Chris Lytle and George Sitoropoulos after suffering upset losses.

The trash talking between Michael Bisping and Jorge Rivera ended with a second-round technical knockout win for the Brit that was marred by an unsportsmanlike illegal knee strike.

The main event between BJ Penn and Jon Fitch ended with a draw.

UFC 127 Preliminary Fight Card

Lightweight bout:  Curt Warburton def. Maciej Jewtuszko- Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Heavyweight bout: Mark Hunt def. Chris Tuchscherer- KO (Punches), 2nd round 1:41

UFC 127 Preliminary Fight Card (Facebook)

Featherweight bout: Zhang Tie Quan def. Jason Reinhardt- Submission (Guillotine), 1st round 0:48
Light Heavyweight bout: Anthony Perosh def. Tom Blackledge- Submission (Rear Naked Choke) , 1st round 1:45

UFC 127 Preliminary Fight Card (TV Card)

Middleweight bout: Nick Ring def. Riki Fukuda- Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Light Heavyweight bout: Alexander Gustafsson def. James Te-Huna- Submission (Rear Naked Choke), 1st round 4:27
Lightweight bout: Ross Pearson vs. Spencer Fisher- Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

UFC 127 Main Fight Card

Middleweight bout: Kyle Noke def. Chris Camozzi- Submission (Rear Naked Choke), 1st round 1:35
Welterweight bout:  Brian Ebersole def. Chris Lytle- Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Lightweight bout: Dennis Siver def. George Sotiropoulos (29-28, 30-28, 30-27)
Middleweight bout: Michael Bisping def. Jorge Rivera- TKO (strikes), 2nd round 1:54
Welterweight bout: BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch- Majority Draw (29-28 Fitch, 28-28, 28-28)

Houston Rockets Hand D-Will and New Jersey Nets 123-108 Drubbing

The new-look Houston Rockets beat the New Jersey Nets and Deron Williams 123-108 on Saturday. Since losing Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier to trades, they won their first game behind big games from Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger and Luis Scola.

Martin had 30 points, six rebounds and four assists. Budinger, who took the starting spot from Battier who has been traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, scored 27 points by going 8-for-11 from the field and 3 out of 4 from the three-point area. Scola finished with 23 points and seven rebounds for the Rockets.

Williams paced the Nets with 15 points and a season-high 17 assists. Brook Lopez led the Nets in scoring with 21 points. Kris Humphries contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets.

The Rockets acquired Goran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns for Brooks while Battier was shipped to Memphis for center Hasheem Thabeet. Dragic scored 6 points and issued an assist in his first game as a Rocket. Thabeet saw brief action but was hardly a factor. It may take some more time for Houston head coach Rick Adelman how Thabeet fits in the team.

Atlanta Hawks Acquire Kirk Hinrich In Trade With Washington Wizards

The Atlanta Hawks made some moves before the trade deadline, sending veterans Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans, rookie Jordan Crawford and a first-round pick for Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong of the Washington Wizards.

The Hawks are currently at fifth-place in the Eastern Conference but the sixth-place New York Knicks are making a push after the All-Star break following the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.

Bibby at age 32 has slowed down on the defensive end of the court and the Hawks may be better off with the entry of versatile guard Hinrich in their lineup. He can play both guard positions, play solid defense, pop from long-range and feed his teammates with timely assists.

The Hawks are giving up experienced players in Bibby and Evans but they are hoping that Hinrich would be an upgrade to the roster especially in the backcourt. The entry of Armstrong adds inside muscle to Atlanta given their size disadvantage when playing against bigger teams.

Rookie Lifts Houston Rockets to 108-100 Win Against Detroit Pistons

The Houston Rockets leaned on Patrick Patterson to pull off a 108-100 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. The rookie forward scored 20 points with 11 of them coming in the fourth quarter to push the Rockets ahead for good after several lead exchanges.

Patterson scored seven straight points in a crucial stretch in the final quarter. His tip-in basket gave the Rockets a 95-94 lead. Patterson’s three-point play and two free throws gave Houston a six-point lead with less than three minutes to play.

Kevin Martin, the only starter to score more than ten points, scored 16 points. Luis Scola had 8 points and 9 rebounds while Chuck Hayes had 8 points and 8 rebounds. Chase Budinger scored 10 points off the bench.

Will Bynum came off the bench to score 21 points for Detroit. Starters Rodney Stuckey had 19 points, Greg Monroe finished with 12 while former Rocket Tracy McGrady had 10 points. Ben Gordon had 15 points off the bench.

Kobe Wins 4th All-Star MVP, Lifts West Over East All-Stars

Kobe Bryant showed his younger colleagues in the NBA that he still has it in him on Sunday night. In what would be his final NBA All-Star Game at home, Bryant scored 37 points to lead the West All-Stars to a 148-143 victory over the East All-Stars on Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

The West team led by as much as 17 points in the fourth quarter but LeBron James led the East in cutting the lead down to four in the final seconds. At that point, 32-year old Bryant looked running on empty after 30 minutes of action. Chris Bosh missed on a three-point attempt off a feed from James while Kevin Durant scored five straight points to keep the East at bay.

James came up with a superb all-around performance and could have been the MVP had the East prevailed. His performance of 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists is only the second triple-double output in an All-Star Game. Hall of Famer Michael Jordan accomplished the same feat in the 1997 edition of the NBA All-Star Game.

2011 NBA All-Star Weekend Updates

The 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend culminates with the All-Star Game featuring the East and West teams on Sunday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  All-Star activities such as the Rookie Challenge, Skills Competition, Three-Point Shootout and Slam-Dunk Contest have provided great entertainment so far leading to the All-Star Game.

Former Kentucky teammates John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins teamed up as the Rookies beat the Sophomores for the second straight year, 148-140, in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge. Wall had 22 assists to earn MVP honors while Cousins had 33 points and 14 rebounds.

In the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors beat Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the finals to capture this year’s title. He overcame a strong field of highly skilled competitors such as Derrick Rose of Chicago, John Wall of Washington and Chris Paul of New Orleans.

James Jones of the Miami Heat won the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, beating out Paul Pierce and Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics. Jones scored 20 points, hitting all but one colored ball worth two points,  in the final round against 18 by Pierce and 15 by Allen.

In the Sprite Slam-Dunk Competition, rookie sensation Blair Griffin made two-handed slam over a Kia Optima to win the contest against Javale McGee of the Washington Wizards. Early favorite DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors and Serge Ibaka did not make it past the elimination round.

The All-Star Game on Sunday is seen as Kobe Bryant’s stand against the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. Four players from Boston and three from Miami, Eastern Conference rivals, will play together against Bryant who is playing his final All-Star Game at home.