Today in Sports: 6/12/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120: The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers to win the 2017 NBA championship. This is the first championship for Finals MVP Kevin Durant. Although this helps his legacy, it’s hard to overlook that he joined the best team in NBA history (a team that he lost to in the playoffs) to win the title.  Durant was fantastic in these finals, scoring 30 or more points in all five games. He finished this game with 39 points on 14-20 shooting from the field. Stephen Curry added 34 points of his own. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson didn’t consistently put up points, but they were fantastic on the defensive end of the floor all series. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love picked a bad day to struggle. Although Irving’s 26 points seems impressive, he struggled down the stretch when his team needed him most. Kevin Love finished the game with only 6 points. That’s not even close to good enough. J.R. Smith backed up his “Cavs in 7” tweet with a fantastic game, scoring 26 points on 9-11 shooting from the field. He shot 7-8 from three-point range. LeBron James was the best player in this series. He became the first player in NBA Finals history to average a triple-double. He’s now 3-5 in his 8 Finals appearances, but it’s hard to blame him. He’s been the underdog in six of the 8 Finals matchups. LeBron finished game five with 41 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists. Congrats to the Golden State Warriors!

Today in Sports: 6/12/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Cavaliers in game five of the NBA Finals. After losing their first game of the playoffs, the Warriors have a chance of winning the championship in front of their home crowd. Now up 3-1 in the series, the Cavaliers hope to have the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history, just one year after having the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history. Imagine if the “Warriors blew a 3-1 lead” turned into “Warriors blew a 3-0 lead.” Although it’s unlikely, nothing is impossible for LeBron James. He’s the best player on the planet. The Warriors will try to force someone else to step up, something that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are capable of doing. This will either be the last game of the NBA season, or a horrifying reminder to the Warriors that a series isn’t over until it’s over.

Today in Sports: 6/9/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Golden State Warriors 137-116: Well, I was wrong. Although the series is still likely over, the Cavaliers should be proud of the fight they put up in game four. The Cavaliers scored an NBA Finals record 49 points in the first quarter. If they didn’t miss a bunch of free throws, they could’ve scored nearly 60 points. They ended up leading 86-68 at halftime, which was also a record for most points in the first half of a Finals game. To put that into context, scoring 68 points in a half is extremely impressive. But the Warriors were losing by 18! WOW! Kevin Durant had another fantastic game, scoring a team-high 35 points. Draymond Green got two technical fouls, but for some reason wasn’t ejected. Zaza Pachulia punched Iman Shumpert in the groin, but for some reason wasn’t ejected. This officiating crew should be suspended and ashamed of themselves. The NBA has to take action, watching the game made me extremely angry. Stephen Curry had 14 points on 4-13 shooting, and nobody was talking about it. If LeBron James had a similarly horrible performance, the media would never forget it. Talk about double standards. The aforementioned James had 31 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had 40 points of his own. Kevin Love had 23 points. Tristan Thompson finally showed up, only scoring 5 points but was dominant rebounding the basketball and playing defense. Now that the Warriors are up 3-1 in the series, cue the “Warriors blew a 3-1 lead jokes.” With Golden State hosting the next game, the Cavaliers will need a herculean effort to push the series to a sixth game. These two teams will play game five on Monday in Oakland.

Today in Sports: 6/9/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers host the Warriors in game four of the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers will need to win the last four games of the series to win their second consecutive championship. But they won’t, the series is over. Golden State is too good. Thanks Kevin Durant for ruining the competitive balance in the NBA. Even the second best team in the league looks like a high school team against the Warriors. It’s over, better luck next year. But if Durant is still on the Warriors next year, then the same thing will happen. Lame.

Today in Sports: 6/7/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 118-113: The Warriors stole game three from the Cavaliers to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Warriors were losing after three quarters, but outscored the Cavaliers 29-19 in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. The Warriors would score the game’s final 11 points. LeBron James had a fantastic game, but seemed to run out of gas down the stretch. He hasn’t gotten enough help from his teammates. LeBron’s stat line of 39 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists shows how much of the burden he had to take offensively. Kevin Durant has been better in this series, but he’s had a lot more help than LeBron. Durant finished the game with 31 points and 8 rebounds. Klay Thompson has found his stroke after a disappointing first game. He finished with 30 points and played stellar defense once again. Stephen Curry had 26 points and a staggering 13 rebounds. Kyrie Irving finished with 38 points, but his “hero ball” mentality at the end of the game cost the Cavaliers. Kevin Love only had 9 points, which was a major disappointment for Cleveland. Irving and Love haven’t been able to both put together great games in the same game. LeBron needs them both to play at an extremely high level to beat the Warriors. But for all intents and purposes, this series is over. These two teams will play game four on Friday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 6/7/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers host the Warriors in game three of the NBA Finals. After losing the first two games on the road, the Cavaliers return home and need to use last year’s Finals as an example of what they need to do this year. The Cavaliers were blown out in the first two games of last year’s Finals before winning the championship. But this is a different year and a different Warriors team. Last year’s team may have broken the regular season record for victories, but they didn’t have Kevin Durant. This year’s Warriors look poised to win their second championship in three years. The Cavaliers will need to find a way to slow down Durant and get some quality production from their bench. Otherwise, they will get embarrassed once again. This is a must win game for the Cavaliers.

Today in Sports: 6/4/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 132-113: The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals. With the Warriors holding serve at home, both teams will fly to Cleveland to play games three and four of the series. The game was close at halftime, but the Warriors took over in the second half. LeBron James had a great performance, but was outplayed again by Kevin Durant. James has a lot less to work with, so it takes more out of him to outplay Durant than vice versa. LeBron had a triple-double, scoring 29 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds. James was in attack mode in the first half, which was both effective and impressive to watch. He was in facilitator mode in the second half, which was somewhat impressive and extremely ineffective. LeBron didn’t seem to have the energy to attack the entire game due to the hectic up-and-down pace both teams were playing at. Kevin Love had an impressive game, scoring 27 points on 12-23 shooting from the field. Kyrie Irving had an awful night, scoring 19 points but shooting an abysmal 8-23 from the field. Durant scored a game-high 33 points on 13-22 shooting from the field. Curry almost matched his total with 32 points. Draymond Green had a nice all-around game. Klay Thompson broke out of his shooting woes and dominated on both ends of the floor. He scored 22 points on 8-12 shooting from the field, including making four of his seven three-point attempts. Neither bench was extremely productive, but the Warriors got more out of their bench than the Cavaliers did. J.R. Smith was terrible once again. He scored zero points, and has more turnovers than points in this series. Iman Shumpert didn’t shoot well, but played his usual tenacious defense. He should probably start in game three instead of Smith. These two teams will play game three of the Finals on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 6/4/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Cavaliers in game two of the NBA Finals. After a dominating win in game one, the Warriors will attempt to take a 2-0 lead and keep home-court advantage in this series. The Cavaliers will be looking to even the series at one game apiece with an upset win in Oakland. LeBron James had a poor performance in game one, and will need to rebound and be the best player on the court if the Cavaliers are going to keep the game competitive and possibly steal a game on the road. They’ll also need to find a way of slowing down Kevin Durant, who was unstoppable in game one. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but it’s a pivotal game that could set the tone for the remainder of the series.

Today in Sports: 6/1/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91:  The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals. Although the first half of the game was relatively close, the Warriors took over in the third quarter and never looked back. LeBron James’ stat line of 28 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists looks impressive, but they don’t coincide with the performance he put out on the court. James was responsible for 8 of Cleveland’s 20 turnovers and struggled on the defensive end of the floor. On the contrary, Kevin Durant had 0 turnovers in 38 minutes of play. His impressive stat line of 38 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists matched what I saw during the game. He was clearly the best player on the court. In order for the Cavaliers to win, LeBron needs to be the best player on the court. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson struggled with their shots, but played stellar defense all game long. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love had solid games, but nobody for Cleveland stepped up besides their big three. The Cavaliers will need a bigger contribution from their other two starters and bench players. These two teams will play game two on Sunday in Oakland.

Today in Sports: 6/1/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals. This is the third consecutive year that these teams are meeting in the Finals, which hasn’t ever happened before in NBA history. The Warriors haven’t played in more than a week, and the Cavaliers haven’t played in exactly a week. Since both of these teams dominated in their prior playoff series, they’ve been used to the long layoffs before starting the next series. The key to this game will be how each team is affected by the long layoff. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game will set the tone for the rest of the series.

The Draft Combine: NFL vs. NBA

The Draft Combine, depending on the sport, could be the most important days in an athlete’s life or a few slightly meaningful days that will have a minor impact on an athlete’s draft stock. The NBA and NFL both have combines where athletes display their measurables and athletic abilities. They run different drills, but these drills have the same purpose of measuring an athlete’s athletic abilities and limitations. Some athletes have more at stake at the combine than others. It depends on their skill set and questions surrounding their athletic abilities and health. Every athlete has their own unique experience, but there’s one thing universally agreed upon by NFL and NBA draft experts; the NFL Draft Combine has a greater impact on a player’s draft stock than the NBA Draft Combine. Continue reading “The Draft Combine: NFL vs. NBA”

Today in Sports: 5/25/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Boston Celtics 135-102: The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals. This is the third consecutive year that the Cavaliers will face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 23 points. He’s been their most consistent player on both ends of the floor throughout the postseason. LeBron James had another stellar game, scoring a game-high 35 points on 13-18 shooting from the field. He’s proven all postseason that he’s still the best player in the world. The Cavaliers will face the Golden State Warriors in game one of the NBA Finals next Thursday in Oakland.

 

NHL:

Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Ottawa Senators 3-2 (2OT): WOW, what a game! This is why the playoffs are exciting. There are no two words more exciting in sports than game seven, and this game was more exciting than most game sevens. The Penguins scored the first goal of the game in the second period, but the Senators responded with a goal twenty seconds later. The Penguins took the lead again in the third period with a power play goal. Once again, the Senators responded with a goal to tie the game a few minutes later. Neither team would score again in regulation, so the game would head to overtime. Neither team scored in the first overtime period, so the game headed to a second overtime. Chris Kunitz would score the game-winning goal in the second overtime, which was his second goal of the game. This goal clinched a Stanley Cup Finals berth for the Penguins. The Penguins will host the Nashville Predators in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday.

Today in Sports: 5/25/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Cavaliers in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals. With a 3-1 series lead, the Cavaliers have a chance of finishing the series and clinching their third straight trip to the NBA Finals. With star point guard Isaiah Thomas sidelined for the remainder of the postseason, the Cavaliers will be heavy favorites to win this game. If the Cavaliers do win the game, they’ll play the Warriors for the third straight year in the NBA Finals. This is a must-win game for the Celtics to keep their season alive.

NHL:

Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins host the Senators in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. There are no two words more exciting in sports than game seven. Although the Penguins are favorites to win the game, anything can happen in a game seven. This is what makes sports exciting. The winner of the game will face the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/23/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Boston Celtics 112-99: The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics to take a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics led by 10 points at halftime, largely due to the stellar play of Avery Bradley. Bradley scored a team-high 19 point and played at a high level on the defensive end of the floor. But the second half belonged to the Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James took over the game in the third and fourth quarters. Irving and James scored 42 points and 34 points, respectively. Kevin Love tallied 17 points and 17 rebounds. This was a pivotal game for the Cavaliers’ big three. With Isaiah Thomas out for the remainder of the season, the Cavaliers will be favorites to finish the series in the next game. These two teams will play game five on Thursday in Boston.

Today in Sports: 5/21/17 Review

NBA:

Boston Celtics defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 111-108: The Celtics shocked the Cavaliers in Cleveland to win their first game of the Eastern Conference Finals. They won the game without their All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas. Marcus Smart stepped up in his absence and scored a team-high 27 points on 7-10 shooting from beyond the three-point line. The Cavaliers had a 21 point lead in the third quarter before collapsing down the stretch. LeBron James had his worst playoff performance in years, scoring 11 points on 13 shots. Avery Bradley hit the game winning three-point shot with 0.1 seconds remaining. Celtics coach Brad Stevens drew up a great play to get Bradley open. The last two threes by Boston were made because of defensive miscues by J.R. Smith. He continuously makes boneheaded decisions and has lapses in judgment during key moments of games, especially on the defensive end of the floor. It’s shocking that Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue continues to keep Smith in the game in key moments. He shot the ball well, but has been a defensive liability throughout his career. The Cavaliers are still favored to win the series, but losing this game in the manner that they did seems like something a championship caliber team wouldn’t do. These two teams will play game four on Tuesday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 5/21/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers host the Celtics in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals. After two dominating performances in Boston, the Cavaliers return home to play in front of their home crowd. Boston’s star point guard Isaiah Thomas has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Boston’s chances of defeating the defending champions were already decimated when they got embarrassed in game two, but now it seems like a foregone conclusion that the Cavaliers will be playing in their third straight NBA Finals. This game will give the Celtics an opportunity to show what they’re made of. They’ll have to find a way to slow down LeBron James. He’s had ten straight fantastic games, and seems to be using the playoffs as an opportunity to remind the world that he’s the best player in the NBA. This is a must-win game for the Celtics.

Today in Sports: 5/20/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 120-108: The Warriors defeated the Spurs to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs were playing without their superstar Kawhi Leonard for the second consecutive game. They weren’t able to win the game, but they put forth an impressive effort without their leader. The Spurs were counting on LaMarcus Aldridge to bounce back from his pitiful game two performance. He led the Spurs with 18 points, but wasn’t effective enough to help lead San Antonio to victory. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were dominant, scoring 33 points and 21 points, respectively. The Warriors look poised to advance to their third straight NBA Finals. These two teams will play game four on Monday in San Antonio.

Today in Sports: 5/20/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs host the Warriors in game three of the Western Conference Finals. After losing the first two games, the Spurs need to win this game to keep their NBA Finals hopes alive. Kawhi Leonard will not play in this game, which seriously cripples the Spurs’ chances of defeating the heavily favored Warriors. The Spurs need LaMarcus Aldridge to step up in Leonard’s absence. Golden State hasn’t lost a game in the playoffs, and looks like a team on a mission to redeem themselves from last year’s collapse in the NBA Finals. In all likelihood, the Warriors are going to win and it won’t be close. Hopefully the Spurs can keep the game close, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Today in Sports: 5/19/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Boston Celtics 130-86: WOW! The Cavaliers are a team on a mission. This game was over at halftime. Actually, this game was over before either team arrived to the arena. LeBron James decided that they would win by a lot, so King James made it happen. He proved again that he’s the best player in the world and it’s not even close. The Cavaliers led 72-31 at halftime, which was the biggest halftime lead in NBA playoff history. This was embarrassing for the Celtics and boring for casual fans. We should skip the rest of the Conference Finals because we are all tired of these boring games. The Cavaliers are going to play the Warriors for the NBA championship, let’s just get it on right now. Unfortunately, these two teams will play game three on Sunday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 5/19/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Cavaliers in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals. After getting dismantled in game one, the Celtics need to rebound and even the series. They cannot afford to lose the first two games at home in this series. They were able to win their first round series after losing the first two games at home, but this Cavaliers team is a lot more talented than the Chicago Bulls. LeBron James has increased his intensity during the postseason. He is showing everyone that he’s still the best player in the world. He’s been dominant in all nine games this postseason. Boston will need to find a way to limit his impact. This is a must-win game for the Celtics.

Tall Ball: How the Milwaukee Bucks are Separating Themselves in Today’s Small Ball Era

In a league that is predicated on teams copycatting championship-caliber teams’ recipe for success, it’s not surprising to see the majority of teams buying into Golden State’s small ball strategy. The Warriors are the best team in the National Basketball Association, and they might be the best team of all time. After having the greatest regular season of all time and coming up short of winning a championship last season, the Warriors added future Hall of Famer Kevin Durant to their roster. Although there have been a few bumps along the road, the Warriors look poised to win their second championship in three seasons. Teams around the league are using Golden State as a case study for creating a dynasty.

The Warriors start Zaza Pachulia, a 6’11” center whose primary job is to rebound and play with physicality. Although Pachulia is considered a starter, he plays roughly eighteen minutes a game and isn’t part of their small ball lineup. Their 2016 small ball lineup was dubbed the “death lineup” because of how easily they would kill the other team’s chances of winning. Now in 2017, the death lineup is even deadlier with the addition of Kevin Durant. The lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green has taken the NBA by storm. This lineup includes five players that can dribble, pass, and shoot on offense and defend at a high level on defense. Other than Curry, the other four death lineup members can switch any pick and roll. Curry is 6’3”, but the others are all between 6’6” and 6’9” tall (although Durant is rumored to be nearly seven feet tall). They play a positionless style of basketball that other teams are mimicking.

This brings us to the Milwaukee Bucks. Continue reading “Tall Ball: How the Milwaukee Bucks are Separating Themselves in Today’s Small Ball Era”

Today in Sports: 5/17/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Boston Celtics 117-104: The Cavaliers dominated the Celtics in Boston to take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavaliers had this game won by halftime. The Celtics were outscored by eleven points in each of the first two quarters. LeBron James and Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with 38 points and 32 points, respectively. Isaiah Thomas struggled in this game, scoring 17 points on 7-19 shooting from the field. Avery Bradley scored 21 points and was gritty on defense, but didn’t get enough help from his teammates to help get the Celtics back in the game after a horrible first quarter. The Cavaliers didn’t care about getting the number one seed. After this game, it seems like they made the right decision to rest their starters during the final games of the regular season. The Cavaliers now have the home-court advantage in this series. The Celtics cannot afford to lose game two. These two teams will play game two on Friday in Boston.

Today in Sports: 5/17/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Cavaliers in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. After conceding the number one seed by resting their starters in the final games of the regular season, the Cavaliers have to go on the road to Boston to start this series. The Cavaliers cared more about resting their starters than owning home-court advantage over the Celtics. The last time these two teams played in Boston, the Cavaliers won in convincing fashion. The Cavaliers haven’t lost a game yet in the playoffs and are heavy favorites to win the series, but they’re facing their toughest challenge yet this season. The Celtics have been called the worst number one seed in NBA history by many NBA experts. They will definitely use this as motivation. The Celtics are one of the deepest teams in the NBA, and have multiple wing defenders that they can put on LeBron James. If they want to win this series, they’ll have to find a way to limit King James’ impact. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game can set the tone for the rest of the series.

Today in Sports: 5/16/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 136-100: The Warriors dominated the Spurs to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. The Spurs have looked shell shocked after their superstar Kawhi Leonard re-injured his ankle in the first game of the series. Jonathon Simmons was the only player that stepped up for the Spurs, leading the team with 22 points. LaMarcus Aldridge only scored 8 points. He’s been a major disappointment since joining the Spurs. He looked timid all game. He’s the best player on the Spurs now that Kawhi Leonard is injured. His lackluster performances this postseason are inexcusable. The Warriors dominated the game from the start. The game was over before halftime. The Spurs will need to step up their intensity in game three if they want to keep their season alive. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in San Antonio.

Draft Lottery:

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Los Angeles Lakers
  3. Philadelphia 76ers
  4. Phoenix Suns
  5. Sacramento Kings
  6. Orlando Magic
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves
  8. New York Knicks
  9. Dallas Mavericks
  10. Sacramento Kings
  11. Charlotte Hornets
  12. Detroit Pistons
  13. Denver Nuggets
  14. Miami Heat

NBA Mock Draft: Pre-lottery

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  1. Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz: PG – Washington

With the first pick in the draft, the Celtics need to draft the best player. Markelle Fultz is the best player in the draft. They already have Isaiah Thomas, but he has only 2-3 elite seasons left. It’s better to get rid of a star a year too early than a year too late. Thomas and Fultz may be able to coexist, but the long-term point guard for the Celtics should be Fultz. He’s the obvious choice.

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  1. Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson: SF – Kansas

The choice for the Suns is between Josh Jackson and Lonzo Ball. If the Suns are ready to trade away Eric Bledsoe, the choice should be Ball. If they want to keep Bledsoe after his career year, the choice should be Jackson. They are both similarly ranked players, so this pick will be made because of need. The Suns have emerging star Devin Booker as their shooting guard, but he’s not a good defender. They need a wing defender to start with Booker. T.J. Warren is a great offensive small forward, but he doesn’t fit in a starting lineup with Booker. He’d be a better sixth man off the bench. Jackson needs to improve his offensive game, but he has the potential to be a 3-and-D superstar.

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  1. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball: PG – UCLA

Continue reading “NBA Mock Draft: Pre-lottery”

NBA Combine Recap – Winners and Losers:

Winners:

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  1. Hamidou Diallo: SG – Kentucky

Although Hamidou Diallo didn’t play for Kentucky last season, there’s a chance that he enters this year’s NBA Draft. He had a dominant performance at the combine. His wingspan measured at nearly 7 feet, and he posted a 44.5 inch vertical leap. He’s an intriguing boom-or-bust prospect, but some team will likely take a first round flier on him because of his skill set and combine performance.

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  1. Jordan Bell: PF – Oregon

Continue reading “NBA Combine Recap – Winners and Losers:”

NBA Playoffs Conference Finals – What I expect to see

Western Conference:

1573504_1280x720.jpg(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (2) San Antonio Spurs: Warriors in 4

The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA and it’s not even close. Although I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Warriors lose a game in this series, I wouldn’t bet on it. They have been dominant all season, and seem even more locked in during these playoffs. The Warriors came up short in last year’s NBA Finals, and seem to have redemption on their minds. They dominated the Trail Blazers and Jazz in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and now have an opportunity to defeat coach Popovich’s Spurs. Gregg Popovich might be the best coach in NBA history, but his team isn’t talented enough to beat the Warriors. I think he’ll make adjustments every game, but he doesn’t have enough defenders to slow down the Warriors’ death lineup. Kawhi Leonard is the best defender in the NBA, but he can only lockdown one player. The Warriors seem to be on a mission to complete the greatest postseason in NBA history. They already own the greatest regular season in NBA history, but they left that season without the championship. They are way more talented than last year’s record-breaking team. There might be a few competitive games in this series, but I expect the Warriors to complete their third straight series sweep. Continue reading “NBA Playoffs Conference Finals – What I expect to see”

NBA Playoffs Conference Finals – What I want to see

Western Conference:

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(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (2) San Antonio Spurs: Warriors in 4

I want to see the Golden State Warriors enter the NBA Finals undefeated in the playoffs. The Warriors are probably the best team in NBA history, so it would be awesome to see them chase history. I think it’s a forgone conclusion that the Warriors will be this year’s NBA champions, so having them chase history will make these games compelling. The Warriors made history during last year’s regular season, now it’s time to see if they can make history during these playoffs. Having the greatest regular season and postseason in NBA history under their belts would make these Warriors the greatest collection of talent that the NBA has even seen. Coach Gregg Popovich might be the best coach in NBA history, but he’s no match for the Warriors. Kawhi Leonard is the best defender in the NBA, but he cannot guard Golden State’s death lineup by himself. Although it would be exciting to see these teams compete for seven games, I’d much rather see the Warriors chase history in the NBA Finals. Continue reading “NBA Playoffs Conference Finals – What I want to see”

NBA Playoffs 2nd Round – Results

Western Conference:

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(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (5) Utah Jazz: Warriors in 4

The Golden State Warriors completed a four game sweep of the Utah Jazz. Although Utah was competitive at times in every game, they weren’t able to stop Golden State from going on runs that put the games out of hand. The Warriors’ death lineup was too much for Utah to handle. Point guard George Hill missed the last three games of the series. Although he doesn’t get the notoriety that Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert receive, he’s the glue that holds the Jazz together. Utah has faced a number of injuries this season, so they were used to playing without Hill. Although others played admirably in his absence, they weren’t able to overcome his loss. The way that the Warriors were playing, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if Hill was healthy in all four games. Draymond Green was a monster on both ends of the floor. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were scoring at will. The Warriors look poised to return to the NBA Finals for a third consecutive season. The Warriors will face the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.   Continue reading “NBA Playoffs 2nd Round – Results”

Today in Sports: 5/16/17 Preview

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Spurs in game two of the Western Conference Finals. After a controversial game one, the Warriors look to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. The Spurs will be playing without superstar Kawhi Leonard because of an ankle injury that he re-aggravated in game one. Zaza Pachulia injured Leonard on a questionable play that many people (including myself) think was dirty and intentional. Given Pachulia’s history, he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. The Warriors were being dominated before Leonard’s injury. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were fantastic in game one, and will have a better chance of dominating again without Leonard’s presence on defense. This should be an easy win for the Warriors.

Draft Lottery: The NBA Draft Lottery will determine the draft order for the 2017 NBA Draft. The Miles Files will have all of your NBA Draft needs covered.

Today in Sports: 5/15/17 Review

NBA:

Boston Celtics defeat Washington Wizards 115-105: The Celtics eliminated the Wizards in game seven to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. John Wall had his worst game of the series when it mattered most, but the Wizards would’ve been swept without him. Bradley Beal put up 38 points on 12-22 shooting from the field. He had a great game, but wasn’t enough to overcome Isaiah Thomas and Kelly Olynyk. Thomas was his usual self, leading the Celtics with 29 points. Olynyk had the game of his life in the most important game of his life. He scored 26 points on 10-14 shooting. The Celtics’ bench combined for 48 points, which was the deciding factor in the game. The Wizards’ bench has been terrible all season. Their starters played more minutes than any starting unit during the regular season because of their horrible bench. Washington’s bench only scored five points in the most important game of their season. They’ll need to improve their bench next season. The Celtics will face the Cavaliers in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 5/15/17 Preview

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Wizards in game seven of this second round series. The home team has won the first six games of this series. Although the Celtics are favored to win this game, anything can happen in game seven. The Wizards’ bench has struggled throughout the playoffs, especially in the three games in Boston. John Wall has been the best player in the series, but he cannot win this game by himself. The Wizards need to keep the game close when their second unit is on the floor. The Celtics’ backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley has played at a high level in this series. If they are able to outplay the Wizards’ backcourt, they will win the series. The winner of this game will face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 5/14/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 113-111: The Warriors defeated the Spurs in game one of the Western Conference Finals. Down by more than twenty points, the Warriors outscored the Spurs by 22 points in the second half to steal the game from the San Antonio. Kawhi Leonard re-injured his ankle in the third quarter when Zaza Pachulia contested his jump shot. With the way that Leonard was dominating, it seems curious that Pachulia’s foot ended up under Leonard’s foot. Although Pachulia and Leonard both claim it was an accident, the move by Pachulia didn’t seem natural or accidental. The Warriors dominated the Spurs once Leonard was ruled out for the remainder of the game. Hopefully Leonard will be able to return for game two. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant scored 40 points and 34 points, respectively. The Spurs will need to limit their impact in the series if they want to pull off the upset. These two teams will play game two on Tuesday in Oakland.

Today in Sports: 5/14/17 Preview

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Spurs in game one of the Western Conference Finals. After missing game six of their last series, Kawhi Leonard should be healthy enough to play in this game without any limitations. The Warriors swept their first two series, and are heavy favorites to advance to the NBA Finals. The Spurs have Gregg Popovich, arguably the best coach in NBA history. Although they have the coaching advantage, the Warriors have the personnel advantage. If the Spurs are going to win this series, they’ll need to steal a few games in Oakland. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game can set the tone for the rest of the series.

Today in Sports: 5/12/17 Review

NBA:

Washington Wizards defeat Boston Celtics 92-91: The Wizards won game six at home to force a game seven against the Celtics in Boston. John Wall hit a clutch three-point shot with three seconds remaining to win the game. Wall has never been a great jump shooter, but he confidently made the biggest shot of his life to keep Washington’s season alive. Wall struggled in the first quarter, but ended up with 26 points and 8 assists. Bradley Beal scored a game-high 33 points. Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley both scored 27 points. Bradley had a much more efficient night shooting the basketball, and played at a high level on the defensive end of the floor. He was the Celtics’ best player all game. The last minute of the game was back and forth with both teams hitting clutch shots. Most playoff games have been blowouts this postseason, so it was nice to see a competitive game come down to the last shot. Hopefully game seven is as exciting as game six was. These two teams will play game seven on Monday in Boston.

Today in Sports: 5/12/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards: The Wizards look to keep their season alive in this must-win home game. The home team has won the first five games of this series, which is a trend that the Wizards must continue if they want to avoid being eliminated from the playoffs. John Wall has been the best player in this series. He had his first poor playoff performance in game five, but has been dominant in every playoff home game. Wall will likely play at a high level in game six, but will need help from his teammates to force a game seven. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter are the second and third best players on the Wizards. They’ve been inconsistent throughout the playoffs. When they have a good game, the Wizards are hard to beat. With Washington’s terrible bench consistently struggling, the starters will need to play at a high level. Isaiah Thomas has been the star for the Celtics this postseason. Thomas doesn’t have a sidekick that he can consistently depend on, but he has multiple role players that have stepped up at key moments throughout the playoffs. Avery Bradley played like a superstar in game five. Al Horford and Jae Crowder have played like stars during key moments of games. Boston’s depth has been a major key to their success. Thomas is the engine that keeps them going, but he has a lot more help than John Wall does. Although Boston will be favorites in game seven if Washington wins this game, the Celtics cannot get complacent. Both teams will be fighting for their playoff lives in this pivotal game six.

Today in Sports: 5/11/17 Review

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs defeat Houston Rockets 114-75: What an embarrassing way to end your season! The Houston Rockets got humiliated at home by the Spurs. With Tony Parker out for the season and superstar Kawhi Leonard sidelined with an ankle injury, the Rockets should’ve won this game easily. LaMarcus Aldridge looked like the star that San Antonio thought he’d be when they signed him. He’s struggled with consistency since joining the Spurs, but he scored 34 points and had 12 rebounds in this blowout victory. Dejounte Murray was the best point guard in the game. His stat line of 11 points, 10 rebounds, 5assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 24 minutes was more impressive than MVP candidate James Harden’s stat line. Harden was horrible all game. I can excuse his bad performance if he seemed like he was trying, but he looked defeated before the game started. He only shot the ball twice in the first half. You’re supposed to be a superstar. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON! Harden finished with 10 points on 2-11 shooting and reverted back to playing pathetic defense. He should be embarrassed by this performance. This choke job was worse than his 2012 NBA Finals appearance. The Spurs will face the Golden State Warriors in game one of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday in Oakland.

Today in Sports: 5/11/17 Preview

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets: The Rockets look to keep their season alive at home in a must-win game against the Spurs. Facing a 3-2 series deficit, the Rockets need to win the last two games of the series to advance to the Western Conference Finals to face the Golden State Warriors. In overtime of game five, James Harden single-handedly cost the Rockets the game by forcing up terrible shots and having costly turnovers. Kawhi Leonard was too injured to play in overtime, and the Rockets still lost the game. Harden will have to play like an MVP candidate in the next two games. Kawhi Leonard is questionable for game six. He said that he would play after game five ended, but coach Popovich isn’t as sure. If Leonard isn’t able to play, the Rockets shouldn’t have any issues forcing a game seven.

Today in Sports: 5/10/17 Review

NBA:

Boston Celtics defeat Washington Wizards 123-101: The Celtics defeated the Wizards at home to take a commanding 3-2 series lead. Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 29 points on 12-19 shooting from the field. Al Horford scored 19 points and both Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder scored 18 points. The Celtics defeated the Wizards in the first two games in the series largely due to their bench, but this game was won by their starters. John Wall scored 21 points and only had 4 assists. This was by far his worst game of the series. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter had decent games, but they didn’t play well enough to help pull off the upset. The Wizards have struggled in Boston, but will now have to win game seven on the road if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. But they’ll have to win game six at home to force a game seven. These two teams will play game six on Friday in Washington.

Today in Sports: 5/10/17 Preview

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Wizards in a pivotal game five. With the home team winning the first four games, the Celtics are favorites to win game five in Boston. But John Wall has been the best player in this series. In the two games that Washington won in this series, the other starters have helped Wall lead the Wizards to victory. The key to this game will be the other four starters on the Wizards. The Celtics are one of the best defensive teams in the league. They don’t have an answer for John Wall, but they do have the talent to slow down Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat. The Wizards’ bench has been terrible all season, so it’ll be up to the starters to win this game. Isaiah Thomas has been fantastic throughout the playoffs. The Celtics has one of the deepest benches in the league that should be able to feast on Washington’s putrid bench. Washington’s starters have outplayed Boston’s starters in this series, but they haven’t always been able to overcome the runs Boston goes on when both team’s second units are on the floor. With these contrasting styles of play, it’ll be interesting to see which team will step up and play at a higher level than usual. With the series tied at two games apiece, the winner of this game will be overwhelming favorites to head to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Today in Sports: 5/9/17 Review

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs defeat Houston Rockets 110-107 (OT): In the best game of the series, the Spurs defeated the Rockets in overtime to take a commanding 3-2 series lead. With Tony Parker sidelined for the remainder of the postseason, Patty Mills stepped up and scored 20 points in 43 minutes in his absence. Danny Green and LaMarcus Aldridge both played their best games of the series. Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points, but was too injured to play in overtime. With Leonard sidelined in overtime, the Rockets had a phenomenal opportunity to steal the game and take a 3-2 series lead back home to Houston. Although James Harden scored 33 points, he choked in overtime. He had multiple costly turnovers and was bricking shots left and right. The Rockets play their best ball when they are pushing the pace. But for some reason, Harden dribbled the ball 30 feet away from the hoop until there were five seconds left in the shot clock on multiple overtime possessions. He’d then try and make a quick move before launching up a contested three point shot. The Rockets deserved to lose the game because of their pathetic overtime offense. They’ll have to regroup and win the next two games if they want to advance to the Western Conference Finals. These two teams will play game six on Thursday in Houston.

Today in Sports: 5/9/17 Preview

NBA:

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs: The Rockets and Spurs will play a pivotal game five in San Antonio. With the series tied at two games apiece, the winner of this game will be overwhelming favorites to advance to the Western Conference Finals to face the Golden State Warriors. Although the Spurs are the home team, the Rockets proved in game one that they can win on the road. With Tony Parker out for the remainder of the postseason, the Rockets have a good chance of pulling off another road victory. James Harden hasn’t been shooting as consistently as he did during the regular season. Kawhi Leonard has done a fantastic job on the defensive end making Harden take difficult and contested shots. The Rockets typically win when they are making three pointers. The Spurs will need to limit the amount of uncontested three point shots Houston takes if they want to hold serve at home.

Today in Sports: 5/8/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 121-95:  The Warriors completed a four game sweep of the Jazz to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The Jazz were playing without point guard George Hill for the third straight game. Shelvin Mack scored 18 points in his absence, but wasn’t able to provide the leadership that Hill does when he’s on the floor. Gordon Hayward scored 25 points in potentially his final game as a member of the Jazz. Although he had a decent game offensively, his team was outscored by 32 points with him on the floor. Hayward is set to become a free agent. Getting swept by the Warriors doesn’t help Utah’s chances of signing him to a long-term contract. Draymond Green had another fantastic game on both ends of the floor. He registered a triple-double and only had one turnover. The “splash bros” backcourt of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson scored 30 points and 21 points, respectively. If the Warriors’ starters continue playing at a high level, they’ll likely coast to the championship. The Warriors will face the San Antonio Spurs or Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/8/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz: The Warriors look to sweep the Jazz in Utah. The Jazz have dealt with injuries all season, and have missed their point guard George Hill in the last two games. He may return for this game, but it’s too late to make much of a difference. No team has ever won a seven game series after losing the first three games. It’s hard to imagine that the Jazz will pull off this feat against the heavily favored Warriors. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert have played at a high level during this series, but they haven’t gotten enough help from the Jazz’s role players to win any of the first three games. The Warriors haven’t been consistent in this series, but they have enough stars on their team to overcome these inconsistencies. This is a must-win game for the Jazz if they want to keep their season alive.

Today in Sports: 5/7/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Toronto Raptors 109-102: The Cavaliers completed a four game sweep of the Raptors to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Kyle Lowry missed the game due to an ankle sprain. His backcourt mate DeMar DeRozan was dominant in his absence. DeRozan, Serge Ibaka, and Corey Joseph all scored at least twenty points. P.J. Tucker scored 14 points and competed at a high level on the defensive end of the floor against LeBron James. The starters played well enough to win, but they didn’t get enough help from their bench. The Raptors’ bench scored a combined 15 points. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving scored 35 points and 27 points, respectively. Kevin Love only scored 5 points, but the Cavaliers didn’t need him to contribute in this game. They were the dominant team all series. Cleveland has won their first eight playoff games. They look poised to return to the NBA Finals, but have one more team standing in their way. The Cavaliers will either play the Boston Celtics or Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Washington Wizards defeat Boston Celtics 121-102: The Wizards held serve at home against the Celtics to tie the series at two games apiece. John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter led the way with 27 points, 29 points, and 18 points, respectively. If they all play well, the Wizards are nearly impossible to beat. John Wall has been fantastic all postseason. He’s been scoring at will and gets double-digit assists on a regular basis. Markieff Morris battled through an ankle sprain to score 16 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. The Wizards’ bench struggled again, but their starters dominated the Celtics’ starters. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 19 points. The rest of the starters scored eleven points or fewer. Boston’s bench played well, but not well enough to overcome the starters’ lackluster performance. These two teams will play game five on Wednesday in Boston.

Houston Rockets defeat San Antonio Spurs 125-104: The Rockets dominated the Spurs to even the series at two games apiece. After a poor performance in game three, the Rockets rebounded by shooting 44.2 percent from three point range. Since they shoot so many three point shots, the outcome of their games usually depends on how well they shoot. The Rockets did a great job of penetrating the Spurs’ defense and kicking the ball out to open shooters. This was their recipe for success in game one, but they got away from this strategy in games two and three. James Harden led the Rockets with 28 points and did a fantastic job of getting his teammates involved.  The Spurs struggled without Tony Parker, even though his backups did a solid job replacing him in this game. They could’ve used his veteran leadership in the second half when they were struggling. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 16 points. The Spurs needed a greater contribution from their two best players. These two teams will play game five on Tuesday in San Antonio.

Today in Sports: 5/7/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors: The Cavaliers look to sweep the Raptors in Toronto. Raptors’ All-Star Kyle Lowry will miss this game with a left ankle sprain. Without Lowry, DeMar DeRozan will have to pick up the slack. He’s been inconsistent throughout these playoffs. The Raptors traded for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline to try and knock off Cleveland in the playoffs. So far this plan has backfired. Ibaka and Tucker are both free agents after the season, so they may have wasted their one opportunity. LeBron James has played at an extremely high level in all seven postseason games. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have been inconsistent, but have shown flashes of brilliance. They’ll need to be more consistent if they want to repeat as NBA champions. This is a must-win game for Toronto, but even they know the series is over.

Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards: The Wizards will attempt to hold serve at home and even the series at two games apiece. After losing the first two games in Boston, the Wizards dominated the Celtics in game three to keep their chances of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals alive. They cannot afford to lose game four at home. Although it’s possible to win a series after falling behind 3-1 (Warriors blew a 3-1 lead!), the Wizards are not talented enough to pull off that feat. John Wall has been fantastic throughout the playoffs, and will need another fantastic performance to help even the series. Wall’s teammates have been inconsistent during the playoffs. They cannot afford another poor performance. Isaiah Thomas has elevated his game in these playoffs, which has been an amazing feat because of the tragic loss of his sister before game one of their first round series. Thomas and the Celtics have an opportunity to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. This is the most important game for the Wizards this season.

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets: The Rockets look to rebound after a game three loss at home to even the series at two games apiece. After losing Tony Parker in game two, the Spurs pulled off a shocking upset in game three on the road. The Rockets have struggled from behind the three point line in the last two games. They’ll have to make these open shots if they want to advance to the Western Conference Finals. After game one, coach Gregg Popovich decided to put Kawhi Leonard on James Harden. Leonard has done a fantastic job of limiting Harden’s impact. Harden has struggled with his shot in the last two games, but he’s had a tough time finding open looks. He’s getting to the hoop but is having trouble finishing over the Spurs’ bigs. Harden will need to do a better job of putting the ball in the hoop when he gets near the basket. His teammates will have to help him by knocking down open threes. The winner of this game will be favorites to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/6/17 Review

Horse Racing – The Kentucky Derby:

Always Dreaming was the winner of the 143rd Kentucky Derby. This is the fifth straight year that the favorite has won the Kentucky Derby. The results from the Derby are as follows:

  1. Always Dreaming
  2. Lookin At Lee
  3. Battle of Midway
  4. Classic Empire
  5. Practical Joke
  6. Tapwrit
  7. Gunnevera
  8. McCracken
  9. Gormley
  10. Irish War Cry
  11. Hence
  12. Untrapped
  13. Girvin
  14. Patch
  15. J Boys Echo
  16. Sonneteer
  17. Fast and Accurate
  18. Irap
  19. State of Honor
  20. Thunder Snow

 

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 102-91: The Warriors took a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Jazz in Utah. Kevin Durant was the most dominant player on the floor. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson struggled all game, so Durant picked up the slack and led the Warriors to victory. Steph Curry scored 23 points, but he had an off-night shooting the ball. He shot 6-20 from the field and 3-11 from behind the three point line. The Jazz really missed George Hill in this game. They kept the game close until the fourth quarter, but Durant and Curry were too much to overcome. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert scored 29 points and 21 points, respectively, but that wasn’t enough to overcome Durant’s performance. The Jazz’s bench only scored 10 points in this game. Utah will try to become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit. These two teams will play game four on Monday in Utah.

Today in Sports: 5/6/17 Preview

Horse Racing – The Kentucky Derby:

The most exciting two minutes in sports will be held at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby has been run every year since 1875. It’s the first leg of the American Triple Crown. The Miles Files will have all of the Kentucky Derby analysis that you’ll ever want!

 

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz: The Jazz host the Warriors in a must-win game for Utah. Although they are at home, they’ll be underdogs against the NBA’s best team. The Jazz had flashes of brilliance in the first two games of the series, but they weren’t able to limit Golden State’s runs. There are multiple times in every game that the Warriors go on crazy runs full of three pointers and fast break dunks. Their high-octane offense is hard to stop, so it’ll be a challenge for Utah to slow them down. George Hill missed game two and should be returning for game three. They don’t have any chance of winning this game without him. The Warriors haven’t lost a game this postseason, so Utah will need multiple players to step up. Gordon Hayward is extremely talented, but he cannot win this game by himself. If the Warriors win this game, they’ll have a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Jazz need to play their best game of the season if they want to keep their championship aspirations alive.

Today in Sports: 5/5/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Toronto Raptors 115-94: The Cavaliers took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Raptors. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers had a two point lead. Cleveland outscored Toronto 36-17 in the fourth quarter to essentially end the series. Although Toronto isn’t eliminated yet, they would have to become the first team in NBA history to win a playoff series after losing the first three games if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto added P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka at the trade deadline in an attempt to knock off Cleveland. With both players becoming free agents after the season, it seems like these trades will end up being a waste. Kyle Lowry didn’t play due to an injury, but his “trash bro” backcourt mate DeMar DeRozan picked up the slack by scoring 37 points. But he didn’t get enough help from his teammates to overcome LeBron James’ fantastic performance. LeBron has increased his level of play in the playoffs on both ends of the floor. He scored 35 points on 16 shots and played fantastic defense throughout the game. These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Toronto.

San Antonio Spurs defeat Houston Rockets 103-92: Without the services of Tony Parker, the Spurs were able to pull off the road upset of the Rockets in Houston. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge both scored 26 points. Rookie point guard Dejounte Murray started in Parker’s place, scoring only two points and looking lost at times. Although he didn’t always seem to know what he was doing, his team outscored Houston by 11 points when he was on the floor. He gained valuable experience and played at a high enough level to help his team win. James Harden struggled in the first half, but was able to rebound in the second half and help keep the game close. He finished with 43 points but his team was outscored by 14 points when he was on the floor. Harden didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates. Houston’s bench scored 10 points, which isn’t nearly enough to help win the game. They’ll have to play better in game four if they want to even the series at two games apiece. These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Houston.

Today in Sports: 5/5/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors: The Cavaliers look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in Toronto against the Raptors. This is a must-win game for the Raptors, not only to keep their season alive but to validate the moves they made at the trade deadline. They traded for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker to help them defeat the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Both of these players are free agents after the season, so it’ll seem like a waste if they don’t give the Cavaliers a challenge. The “trash bros” backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan need to play at a high level. They’ve been inconsistent throughout the playoffs, which has been their Achilles heel. LeBron James has been fantastic all postseason on both ends of the floor. The Raptors will need to find a way to limit his impact if they want to win their first game in this series.

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets: Both the Rockets and Spurs are trying to take a 2-1 series lead in Houston. After losing the home-court advantage and point guard Tony Parker to a season-ending injury, the Spurs are facing adversity that they haven’t faced all season. They have veterans on their roster with championship experience, but that may not be enough to beat the Rockets. After dominating the Spurs from the three point line in game one, the Rockets were missing three point shots at a high rate in game two. The outcome of this game will depend on Houston’s ability to make three point shots. James Harden was fantastic in game one but struggled in game two. Kawhi Leonard struggled in game one but was fantastic in game two. The superstar that plays at a higher level in game three will likely lead his team to victory. This is a pivotal game for both teams.

Today in Sports: 5/4/17 Review

NBA:

Washington Wizards defeat Boston Celtics 116-89: The Wizards defeated the Celtics in a must-win home game to win their first game of this series. After losing the first two games in Boston, the Wizards needed to fight back (I see you Kelly Oubre) against the heavily favored Celtics. All five Wizards starters scored in double figures, led by John Wall’s 24 points. The Wizards’ starters needed some help from their bench, and Bojan Bogdanovic stepped up to the challenge. He scored 19 points on 4-7 shooting from behind the three point line. Isaiah Thomas struggled all game after scoring 53 points in game two. Thomas scored just 13 points on 8 shots. He’ll have to put up more shots in game four if they want to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Washington will need another strong performance to even the series at two games apiece. These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Washington.

Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 115-104: The Warriors defeated the George Hill-less Jazz to take a 2-0 series lead. Draymond Green played another fantastic game, scoring 21 points to go along with his 7 rebounds, six assists, four steals, and stellar defensive effort. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson all played at a high level, but none of them dominated on both ends of the floor like Green. Gordon Hayward bounced back from a disappointing game one to score 33 points on 11-21 shooting from the field. Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 16 rebounds to go along with his stellar defensive play. Utah missed their floor general George Hill in this game, and will need him going forward if they are going to pull off this monumental upset. After a terrible first quarter, the Jazz outscored the Warriors by seven points in the final three quarters. They showed that they can play with the Warriors if they limit their fast break offense. But that’s much easier said than done. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in Utah.

Today in Sports: 5/4/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards: The Celtics look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Wizards. Since no NBA team has ever won a seven game series after losing the first three games, this is a must-win game for the Wizards. John Wall has been fantastic in the first two games, but he hasn’t gotten much help. He’ll need his backcourt mate Bradley Beal to be more consistent for the rest of this series if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Wizards have one of the worst benches in the NBA, so they’ll have to play above their talent level to defeat the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas has been fantastic all postseason, which has been extremely impressive to watch due to the difficult circumstances affecting his personal life. Thomas has gotten help from him teammates in ways that John Wall hasn’t, which is why the Celtics have a 2-0 series lead. The Wizards need to defend their home court to keep their chances alive of advancing the Eastern Conference Finals.

Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Jazz. Both teams had poor performances in game one, but the Warriors still won the game comfortably. The only chance that the Jazz have of winning against this stacked Warriors team is by playing at a high level during an off night for Golden State. If both teams play at a high level, the Warriors will win convincingly. If both teams struggle, the Warriors will win convincingly. The Jazz have the personnel to give the Warriors fits, but cannot win if Gordon Hayward has another poor performance. George Hill is arguably their most underrated player, and he won’t play because of a toe injury. This is a huge blow to the Jazz. They have enough problems trying to beat Golden State when healthy, so losing a key starter will make this a nearly impossible task. If they are able to even the series without Hill, they should be confident going into game three. If Utah struggles again, Golden State might put the game away in the first half.

Today in Sports: 5/3/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Toronto Raptors 125-103: The Cavaliers held serve at home to take a 2-0 series lead over the Raptors. Toronto’s “trash bros” backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan haven’t played up to their potential so far this postseason. They’ve made a habit of underachieving in the playoffs, which happened again in this game. Although Lowry scored 20 points on 7-12 shooting from the field, his Raptors were outscored by 22 points when he was on the floor. DeRozan had a horrible performance all game. He scored five points on 2-11 shooting and was a major defensive liability. If the Raptors are going to win the series, they’ll need dominating performances in every game from their backcourt. LeBron James was the best player on the floor in this game (and every game), scoring 39 points on 14 shots. He’s increased his defensive effort in the postseason, which has helped the Cavaliers win all six of their postseason games. He’ll have to continue this dominating level of play if they are going to repeat as NBA champions. These two teams will play game three on Friday in Toronto.

San Antonio Spurs defeat Houston Rockets 121-96:   The Spurs bounced back from a humiliating defeat in game one to dominate the Rockets in the second game of this series. This game proves that the NBA is a make or miss league. In game one, Houston was knocking down threes at an extremely high rate. In game two, Houston was missing the same three point shots that they were making in the first game. James Harden dominated in game one, but struggled in this game by scoring 13 points on 3-17 shooting from the field. Kawhi Leonard struggled in game one, but was dominant in game two on both ends of the floor. He scored a game-high 34 points and was a big reason for James Harden’s offensive woes. The Spurs lost point guard Tony Parker to a devastating quadriceps injury. He’ll need surgery and will miss the remainder of the postseason. Although the Rockets lost this game, they own the home-court advantage in this series after winning game one in San Antonio. These two teams will play game three on Friday in Houston.

Today in Sports: 5/3/17 Preview

NBA:

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Raptors. Toronto’s trade deadline additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker were a direct response to the Cavaliers’ dominance in the Eastern Conference. To defeat the best, you need the personnel to defeat the best. Toronto was missing a rim protector and wing defender, and was able to add both in lopsided trades at the trade deadline. These two additions will not win the series for Toronto, but they can help them get over the hump if Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan play up to their potential. The “trash bros” backcourt often struggle in the playoffs, but cannot afford to take a single game off in this series if they are going to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron James has been dominant in all five games this postseason, but needs his teammates to pick up the intensity on defense. The Cavaliers have enough offensive firepower to run through the Eastern Conference, but they’ve struggled to defend all season. Toronto will need to exploit their defensive lapses if they want to even the series at one game apiece. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but the winner will have the home-court advantage in this series.

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs:  The Spurs look to rebound against the Rockets after an embarrassing defeat in the first game of this series. The Spurs were punched in the mouth early, and didn’t have the heart to respond. Their defensive effort was poor, and they seemed to give up in the second quarter. Gregg Popovich is one of the best coaches in NBA history, and he won’t let his team get away with another lethargic performance. The Rockets were moving the ball and finding open shooters all game, which is the way they need to play to defeat the Spurs. If their shots are falling, they’re nearly impossible to beat. San Antonio has the experience advantage, but they don’t have the personnel to matchup with the Rockets’ pick-and-roll action. Popovich will need to make adjustments including benching Pau Gasol and David Lee when they’re getting exposed defensively. The Spurs cannot afford to lose the first two games of this series in front of their home crowd.

Today in Sports: 5/2/17 Review

NBA:

Boston Celtics defeat Washington Wizards 129-119 (OT): The Celtics defeated the Wizards in one of the most exciting playoff games in recent memory to take a 2-0 series lead. This was the battle of the point guards, in which Isaiah Thomas and John Wall combined for 93 points. All five Wizards starters scored in double figures, which was impressive because Markieff Morris was playing with a bad ankle sprain. The Wizards were worried that he wouldn’t be able to play. Otto Porter and Bradley Beal scored 13 points and 14 points, respectively. But Wall needed more help from Porter and Bradley. John Wall scored 40 points and had 13 assists, but seemed to tire towards the end of the fourth quarter and overtime. Isaiah Thomas single-handedly led his team to victory by scoring a game-high 53 points. He played his best basketball when his team needed him most – in the fourth quarter and overtime. Thomas didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates, but they did just enough to win the game. These two teams will play game three on Thursday in Washington.

Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 106-94:  The Warriors won the first game of this series at home against the Jazz in a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggests. Neither team played a great game, but the Warriors did enough to maintain a double-digit lead throughout most of the second half. George Hill and Gordon Hayward both struggled with their jump shot. They combined to score 19 points on 7-24 shooting from the field. Rudy Gobert scored a team-high 13 points, which isn’t nearly enough to challenge the heavily favored Warriors. Steph Curry scored a game-high 22 points, but could’ve scored a lot more if the game was close. The Warriors spread out their minutes and points because they had a comfortable lead for the majority of the game. Draymond Green was the best player in the game, dominating on both ends of the floor. These two teams will play game two on Thursday in Oakland.

2nd Round NBA Playoffs – What I expect to see

Western Conference:

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(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (5) Utah Jazz: Warriors in 7

Before the season started, I picked the Utah Jazz as my sleeper team in the NBA. I said the Jazz were the only team in the Western Conference that could beat the Warriors in the playoffs. I liked the Jazz because they are two-deep at every position. Although depth isn’t as important in the playoffs because teams typically play their bench less minutes, I think the Jazz have enough overall talent to give the Warriors fits. They have the personnel to go big or small, which means they can matchup with any lineup that the Warriors throw their way. Gordon Hayward is one of the most underrated players in the NBA, and should be able to score against all of the Warriors’ wing defenders. Rudy Gobert is a defensive monster and clogs the lane offensively, which will open things up for shooters. The Jazz have enough shooters to space the floor, and have one of the most underrated floor generals in the league in George Hill. I don’t expect the Jazz to win the series, but I think they can push the series to seven games. If the Jazz win, I’ll look like a genius. But I’ll give the Warriors the benefit of the doubt in the seventh game at home.

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(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (3) Houston Rockets: Rockets in 6 Continue reading “2nd Round NBA Playoffs – What I expect to see”

NBA Playoffs 2nd round – What I want to see

Western Conference:

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(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (5) Utah Jazz: Jazz in 7

Before the season started, I said the Jazz had the best chance of any Western Conference team to knock off the Warriors before the NBA Finals. I would look like a genius if the Jazz were able to pull off this monumental upset. The reason I liked the Jazz is because they are two-deep at every position. Depth is a less important factor during the playoffs, but it still should give the Jazz a boost. They’ve had to play a ton of lineups throughout the season because of injuries, so their bench players should be experienced enough to make a difference against a stacked Warriors team. An upset of this magnitude would entice Gordon Hayward to re-sign long-term, and should help the Jazz stay as one of the best teams in the NBA for years to come.

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(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (3) Houston Rockets: Rockets in 7 Continue reading “NBA Playoffs 2nd round – What I want to see”