Mitch's Sports Report: Cavs Get Shot At Redemption After Curry Shoots Warriors Back To Finals
We begin with the NBA playoffs where the Oklahoma City Thunder couldn't drive the final stake through the heart of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, losing in game seven last night 96-88.
The Warriors, who set the NBA record for regular season wins this year, go back to the NBA finals for the second year in a row a year after bringing the title to Oakland for the first time since 1975. And in coming back from a three games to one deficit in the conference finals, the Warriors have a chance to be the first team to do so and go on to win the title since the Boston Celtics completed the feat in 1981.
For last night's deciding game seven, Curry took on his MVP persona and embraced his specialty, burying seven three-pointers as part of his thirty-six point night. The other half of the so-called "splash brothers", Klay Thompson, followed up his playoff record-setting eleven three-point night in game six with a pedestrian-by-comparison six baskets from beyond the arc, but it was enough to keep the Thunder from a late rally that fell just short. OKC pulled to within four with just over a minute to go in regulation, but Curry got fouled on a three-point attempt, made all his free throws, and added another trey to seal the win.
So this sets up a tantalizing rematch of last year's final and fans in Cleveland may be of two minds on this, wanting the chance at redemption after losing to Curry and company, but perhaps wishing they'd drawn the very good but more flawed Thunder instead. The Warriors are likely to be the favorites, and while Lebron James may be the more complete player than Curry, having both a strong game inside and outside the paint, when Curry gets hot he can beat you with math, pouring in basket after basket worth three points instead of two. It may come down to the complimentary players, so Lebron will need Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving to bolster his own efforts.
If you feel at all for sports fans who have suffered, you've got to be rooting for Cleveland in this one. There has been no title for that city in any sport in fifty two years and in that interim Clevelanders have been traumatized by The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, and The Mesa. Ask a sports fan from Cleveland if you're unfamiliar with what those things mean. Game one is Thursday night in Oakland.
Game one of the Stanley Cup Finals went to a team that already has a few Cups to boast on its resume instead of the team that's seeking its first ever. The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in Steel City last night when Nick Bonino broke a two-all tie with just over two minutes to go in regulation, knocking home a centering pass from Kris Letang for the game-winner. The Penguins had blown a 2-0 first period lead but have the jump on the Sharks thanks to Bonino. Game two is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
In Major League baseball the Boston Red Sox got another complete game from knuckleball specialist Steven Wright and home runs from players both new and old to beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 at Camden Yards yesterday. Wright was dazzling in every inning except the fifth when he squandered a 2-0 lead to allow the O's to tie the game, but in the sixth Jackie Bradley Jr. put the Red Sox up for good with a home run to deep center field. David Ortiz then sparked a four-run eighth with his fourteenth home run of the year, a rocket shot to right to make it 4-2, and then with two runners on, rookie Marco Hernandez took a swing he'll never forget, connecting for a three-run homer that put the game out of reach for the first round-tripper of his career. Oh, and Xander Bogaerts has now hit safely in twenty-three straight games, hoping to pick up where his teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. left off, following JBJ's twenty-nine game string that ended last week.
The Toronto Blue Jays have yet to hit their stride this season but they're now winners of five of their last six after beating the NY Yankees 4-2 last night at the Rogers Centre. Marco Estrada went eight scoreless innings to stifle the Yankees offense. Ryan Goins homered for Toronto and Ivan Nova took the loss for the Yankees, who have have now lost four of their last six after rattling off a six-game winning streak.
In Queens, they've been sending up the bat signal to little avail this season, but now it appears the Dark Knight may have returned. For one game at least, Matt Harvey of the NY Mets returned to the form that fostered the Batman nickname in the first place, pitching seven scoreless innings for the Mets in a 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox. The only run of the game came courtesy of Neil Walker, who went yard against one the best pitchers in baseball this season, Jose Quintana. Harvey struck out six, and hit 98 miles an hour with his fastball for the first time this season, and if he really is back to being the ace the Mets have come to rely on, teams in Gotham and beyond had best beware.
All the French Open tennis tournament matches were canceled due to rain yesterday. They'll get back to it again today.