I will be taking a break from the “Today in Sports” column of my blog. I will occasionally post a “Today in Sports” preview and review article when there is an important sporting event happening. But now that the NBA and NHL playoffs have concluded, I will not be posting a “Today in Sports” column every day.
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!
Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Nashville Predators 6-0: In what was an embarrassing beatdown for the Predators, the Penguins took a commanding 3-2 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Penguins scored three goals in the first and second periods. For some reason, Pekka Rinne has been great at home and terrible on the road in the Stanley Cup Finals. Once again, he let his team down. But Rinne’s teammates didn’t do him any favors. They were not able to score a single goal. With the home team winning the first five games of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Predators will be favored in game six at home. They’ll have to win to keep their season alive. These two teams will play game six on Sunday in Nashville.
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.
Washington Nationals defeat Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1: The Nationals won 2-1 to complete a series victory over the Dodgers. They’ve won the first two games of the series, with game three coming tomorrow in another stellar pitching matchup between Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw. The Nationals and Dodgers would both score a run in the first inning. Max Scherzer would strike out 9 batters in the first three innings (a batter would advance to first on one of the strikeouts because the ball got past the catcher). Brandon McCarthy was also impressive, but was outdueled by Scherzer. The Nationals would score the game’s final run in the fourth inning on a Daniel Murphy sacrifice fly. These two teams will play the third and final game of the series tomorrow in Los Angeles.
Nashville Predators defeat Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1: The Predators defeated the Penguins 4-1 to even the Stanley Cup Finals at two games apiece. Through four games, both teams have won their two home games. Pekka Rinne looks like a different goalie in Nashville, after struggling during his two games in Pittsburgh. He made a number of unbelievable saves that were key in this game four victory. The Predators started the scoring with a goal late in the first period. Pittsburgh would answer a minute later with a goal by Sidney Crosby. Nashville would respond by scoring twice in the second period. Late in the third period, the Penguins would pull their goalie and allow a fourth and final goal. These two teams will play game five on Thursday in Pittsburgh.