MIXING IT UP

Raheel Ramzanali: Some off-the-wall ideas to save NBA All-Star weekend

Lebron might be interested in the dunk contest in Raheel's new world. NBA.com

Well, another NBA All-Star Weekend has come and gone, but the discussion regarding the weekend is not over. There was once a time when the Saturday night festivities were must-watch TV, but now because we’re desensitized to dope ass dunks or because I’m just older, the night just doesn’t have that oomph it once had growing up. So, being the visionary I am, here are some ways to improve the NBA All-Star Saturday Night festivities.

  • Team Flight Brothers vs Team NBA Dunk Contest: NBA players are so proud to be the best in the world that they hate being challenged for that title so it would be an interesting twist if we had a Team Flight Brothers vs Team NBA Dunk Contest. Simply put, Team Flight Brothers are professional dunkers that travel from show to show. These guys throw down stuff that we haven’t even imagined and mostly do it for YouTube views. Here, I’ll wait as you go down the YouTube rabbit hole of Team Flight Brothers dunks. You back? Yep, now you know why this would shatter ratings and bring the best of the best in the NBA to protect the crown.

  • The Markelle Fultz Rule: The 3-Point Shootout is one of the coolest things to watch, but it gets so boring seeing the best shooters go at it. That’s why every year we need to put in the perceived worst shooter in the game as one of the shooters so we get a point of reference showing how good these shooters really are in the game. Just imagine the cringe factor of Markelle struggling to hit the rim while Devin Booker easily strokes in 24 plus points.

  • One Free Throw Bet: This one is one of my favorite questions to post on Twitter: You have one free throw and if you make it, you get $50,000, BUT you can choose Dwight Howard to shoot it for you and if he makes it, you get $75,000! Pick five fans and they come out and get to decide on national TV how they want to go at this bet. Look, Howard struggles from the line, but he knows the pressure of shooting from the line on national TV. Do you risk missing it all OR go for it all and let Howard get you $75,000?!

  • King of the Court: One of the best games to play with friends after a grueling practice is king of the court. Simply put, this is 1-on-1 with as many guys as we want. The goal of this game is to score 15 on a revolving group of defenders. If you make it, you stay on. You miss? GET OFF and wait your turn to play defense and force a stop. Could you imagine LeBron, Westbrook, James Harden, Durant, etc. going at it for a million dollars to the charity of choice?! This would get a bigger rating than the All-Star game, honestly.

  • Twitter Dunk Contest: Simply put, right before the Team Flight Brothers vs NBA Dunk Contest, we get four of the biggest trash talkers on Twitter to compete in a 8-foot dunk contest. So you can talk smack from your couch, but can you entertain on national TV on a lowered goal?!

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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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