The Evster: The best (and worst) feelings in sports

The Evster: The best (and worst) feelings in sports

Sadly, most of us will never dunk on a dude's neck. Or turn on an inside fastball and send it over the Green Monster. But for some stupid reason, we still love to compete. From skating on ice that's just been Zamboni'ed to having Wes Welker fall to the 6th round of your draft, these are some of sports' simplest of pleasures.

THE BEST

Receiving a "Thank You" Point in Basketball - You're at the Y on a cold Tuesday night, and nothing is goin' your way. Your shot's not falling, your team's lost two straight, and the old dude with the rec-specs keeps lookin' you off. But then something happens that turns everything around, and pretty much validates your entire existence.

An easy layup. Not for you, but for your teammate, set up by you and your Bobby Hurley-like vision. On the way back downcourt, your teammate gives you a nod, and then the subtle point. "Good look," he says, thanking you for the bucket. "Your goddamn right it was," you think, but for now you stay silent. Because no one drops fresh dimes like you do.

Blasting An Opponent's Shuffleboard Disc Off the Court - Why you agreed to play shuffleboard, who can remember? But now it's 95 degrees and you're stuck hanging out with the entire cast of Cocoon. To make things worse, your Uncle Don's in the zone, and if you don't blast him out of that stupid 10-point triangle, victory is his.

You have two options: miss on purpose (so you can get on with your day) or blast that jerk (and live to fight another round). You know what to do. You are a warrior.

Ohhhhhhh baby, this one's on point, zipping along the pavement like a heat-seeking missile. (Or maybe more just like a disc-seeking disc. Yeah, let's not get carried away here, it's just shuffleboard for cryin' out loud. And let's face it, heat-seeking missiles are kinda all over the place anyway.) But then ...WAMMO! Take the walk, Uncle Don, the fat lady ain't singin' just yet.

Opening a Fresh Can of Tennis Balls - The only thing better than smelling fuzzy Penn 2′s is popping open a can of BBQ Pringles.

That Sweet, Perfect 8-iron - Ahhhh, that sound, that feeling, THAT LOFT, you are a natural. Seriously, if you quit your job and moved down to Florida, you could be on the PGA Tour in 6 to 8 months. Maybe 10. You are the next Rick Rhoden.

Unbuckling Your Ski Boots After a Long Day on the Slopes - What the freak were you thinking? This is fun? Paying $96 dollars for severe lower back pain? Pretty much every 11-year-old kid is better than you at this sport. Even the kid with snot all over his goggles. How it got there? You'll never know, but the fact remains that that kid has layers of snot caked all over his face.

But now it's almost over. The lodge is in sight. So very close to a cup of hot chocolate and ultimate relief. Skis off, poles down, heel, toe, heel, toe, heel, toe, snowpants swishing, looking for any bench, ANY GODDAMN BENCH, that can support your cherry red butt. And then you sit down, and unbuckle your boots, OH MY GOD WHY ARE THEY SO TIGHT, HOW DID I EVEN CLAMP THEM ON IN THE FIRST PLACE, and then, release, all is right in the world. Bow down to the king of the mountain.

Picking up a Spare in the 10th Frame - Your wrist is throbbing and your feet are on fire, your high score for the night is a 78. But then comes the tenth, and the extra ball that comes with it, and suddenly the pins need to be punished.

Crushing a Wiffle Ball Over a Fence, Ending the Game Immediately -- You are, without a doubt, the Dave Kingman of your generation. Only handsomer. And with a compact swing that would make Chase Utley jels. "Do I lift weights? Nah, not really. Not really. It's all in the hips. Learned how to take cuts from an old ballcoach. You mighta heard of him, Tom Emanski? Whatever, no big deal, only led his teams to back-to-back-to-back AAU titles. Whatever, only the greatest baseball coach/VHS salesman who has ever lived. You should prolly look him up. If you wanna hit like me."

No one who grabbed that plastic yellow stick before you hit one out of the yard. Not even your cousin's 19-year-old boyfriend, and he played Legion. But you? You jacked that knuckler onto the neighbor's roof, and now it's time to get yourself a cheeseburg.

(For the record, the feeling of smashing anything is amazing. Ping Pong balls, whack-a-mole, watermelons, all fantastic. Any one of them could've been included in this piece.)

THE WORST FEELINGS

Unfortunately, there is no glory without pain. Sometimes we fail. And sometimes we barf. And sometimes we are forced to sleep on the couch after lathering up in Ben Gay. Behold, the 5 worst feelings in sports:

Basketball: Jamming your Finger  - Doesn't matter how it happens, going up for a rebound or deflecting a loose ball, it is the worst thing that can happen in your whole entire life. The absolute worst. Fingers aren't supposed to turn green and purple. And yellow. And orange. And the sound oh good God the sound!

Softball: Misjudging a Fly Ball and Having it Go Over Your Head - Then turning around and having to sprint after it, so far, so far, like "how is it still rolling?" only to finally get there, pivot like Willie Mays and fire it nowhere near the cutoff man, who now stands in shallow center with his hands in the air, totally embarrassed to know you.

Golf: Not Being Able to Find Your Ball - OMG, you didn't even hit it THAT FAR off the fairway, and yet you can't find it? How is that possible? You had your eye on it the whole time. Did someone pick it up? How long are you going to look for it? Seriously you have like, 50 other balls in your bag. Let's just give up. Why are we still looking? I'm so thirsty.

Basketball: Missing a Free Throw When Shooting Up Teams and Having to Sit Out a Game Because of It - Not only did you miss, but the dude who made it after you shoots with two hands. Ugh, just leave the courts and/or stop playing sports forever.

Football/Hockey/Lacrosse/Boxing/Basketball: Getting Blasted - There is nothing worse than getting blasted. Any type of blast, really. I know I just said that jamming your finger is the worst, but I was wrong. Getting blasted is the worst. It's interesting because blasting is so fun, and yet getting blasted is so horrible. Can you imagine blasting someone whilst getting blasted? Rocky II was the best movie EVERRRRRRR.

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Best of NBA: DeRozan scores career-high 43 points in Raptors' win

Best of NBA: DeRozan scores career-high 43 points in Raptors' win

TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart (see full recap).

Westbrook triple-double lifts Thunder over Lakers
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook scored 17 points in his 28th triple-double of the season, and his new teammates fit in seamlessly as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 110-93 on Friday night.

Westbrook also had 18 rebounds and 17 assists for the 65th triple-double of his career.

It was the first game for new Thunder players Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, acquired Thursday in a trade with the Chicago Bulls. Gibson scored 12 points and McDermott added eight, even though they arrived Thursday night and weren't even available for shootaround on Friday.

Alex Abrines and Andre Roberson each set a career high with 19 points, and Steven Adams added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder.

D'Angelo Russell scored 29 for the Lakers (see full recap).

Pacers beat Grizzlies to snap six-game skid
INDIANAPOLIS -- CJ Miles made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points, Paul George had nine points and nine rebounds after remaining with Indiana following the trade deadline, and the Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 102-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

Monta Ellis finished with 16 points, Myles Turner scored 12, and Lavoy Allen, Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young each added 10 for the Pacers.

The Pacers outscored the Grizzlies 64-42 across the middle two quarters and never relinquished their lead, leading by as many as 27 points in the second half. The Grizzlies finished the game shooting 41 percent from the floor (35 for 84).

Troy Daniels had 13 points for Memphis and Marc Gasol scored 12. Indiana outrebounded Memphis 50-39 and scored 29 points off 17 Grizzlies turnovers (see full recap).

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

BOX SCORE

For as much as the Sixers’ bigs are talked about, Richaun Holmes often is left out of the conversation. 

He’s not the centerpiece of the team like Joel Embiid nor was he heavily involved in trade talks like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. He is the backup center who bides his time on the bench and quietly stays ready when he gets the nod.

And on Friday, he was the standout player in the Sixers’ 120-112 win over the Wizards (see Instant Replay)

“He’s been sort of the person that people forget about because of the logjam of five men,” Brett Brown said. “We all sort of think, ‘Well, he should just accept it because he’s behind Joel and Nerlens and Jahlil. Good ol’ Richaun. Go to the D-League and it’s OK.’ And that doesn’t work. He’s a pro, he’s competitive. He’s handled it. He’s really been a wonderful teammate.”

Holmes was bumped up in the rotation following the trade of Noel to the Mavs. He moved into the second-unit role while Okafor started in place of the injured Embiid. 

Holmes recorded his first double-double with 12 points (6 for 9 from the field) and 10 rebounds (three offensive). He also blocked a career-high five shots, tying Embiid for the most by a Sixer this season. The second-year big man put together this impressive performance in 26 minutes off the bench (see feature highlight).

“Just play hard,” Holmes said of his approach. “Just go out there, show what you’ve been working on, play hard every second you’re out there. That’s the motto I’ve got.”

Holmes is averaging 16.1 minutes and has appeared in just 32 of the Sixers’ 57 games. This season, he also spent time with the Delaware 87ers of the Development League to get playing time. Holmes embraced an opportunity similar to Friday’s a month ago when he scored 18 points in as many minutes against the Clippers. 

“I try to approach every game this season the same way, whether everybody was playing or people were hurt,” Holmes said. “Prepare like I’m going to play 30 minutes a game. I think having that mindset helped me to stay ready at all times and be aggressive when I had a chance.”

Brown did not rule out the possibility that Holmes could start at some point if he continues this production. The Sixers are limiting Okafor to 20 to 24 minutes per game, according to Brown. That, combined with Embiid’s injury, could lend itself to an increased role for Holmes. 

“I think in that environment, it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for Richaun to get a start from time to time,” Brown said. 

Even if he remains on the second unit, Holmes proved he can provide a spark off the bench. Dario Saric noted how Holmes’ impact on both ends of the floor bolsters the frontcourt in addition to a more offensively-minded Okafor (11 points, two rebounds). 

“I think he played unbelievably good in both ways,” Saric said. “Everybody knows he’s an elite guy finishing around the rim, and he stepped in Nerlens’ place, he replaced him unbelievably good. I hope he will get the same minutes for the next game because we have Jahlil, who is more like a post-up player, who likes more to score from the low-post block, and we for sure need some guy like Richaun who will play in both ways." 

Perhaps the person least surprised by Holmes' game was Holmes himself. It was the result he puts in long hours to produce.

“It’s all about the grind,” he said. “All about keep working, keep trying to move up, keep trying to get better every second and it’ll pay off.”