Well, by now we all know that Golden State and Cleveland secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs by posting the top record in each of their conferences. Right away both teams came out firing on all cylinders. Le Bron James and the Cavaliers have been more than the Pistons could handle in the first two games of the series. Detroit defeated the Cavs in the season finale, but Cleveland’s stars were sidelined to prepare for the playoffs. Cleveland leads the series 2-0 and they go to Detroit to face the Pistons on Friday.
Even though Stephen Curry was sidelined with an ankle injury, the Warriors haven’t missed a beat. Curry’s supporting staff is proving that they can win without their MVP. There is no arguing they are nearly unstoppable when Curry is part of the mix, but the defending champions have relied on their depth all season long. Although Curry won’t hurry back and risk injury, the team will need him down the road. Like the Cavs, as of now the Warriors lead the series 2-0. History isn’t on Houston’s side either. The Rockets are 0-5 all-time in the postseason on Golden State’s home court and 1-6 overall in the playoffs.
The Miami Heat weren’t as impressive during the regular season as the aforementioned Warriors and Cavs, but they have come out of the gate with an early playoff offensive outburst of their own. On Wednesday night Dwayne Wade scored 28 points and Hassan Whiteside had a franchise playoff record 8 for 8 from the field, finishing with 17 points. The Heat defeated the Charlotte Hornets 115-103, and like the Cavs and Warriors, took a 2-0 lead in their first round series. The San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks and L.A. Clippers also got off to a 2-0 start in the first round of the playoffs.
(1) Cleveland @ (8) Detroit -Friday at 7pm ET
(4) Atlanta @ (5) Boston -Friday at 8pm ET
(2) San Antonio @ (7) Memphis -Friday at 9:30pm ET
It’s only two weeks into the season and for the most part the teams that were predicted to do well are playing pretty good baseball. The Cubs look like the powerhouse team that the experts told us they would be and the Dodgers and the Nationals also lead their respective divisions as expected.
In the American League however, there are a few surprises. Success was definitely predicted on the north side of Chicago, but few “experts” saw the team on the south side of the city having the success they are currently having. The Chicago White Sox have pitched their way to the top of the AL Central and local flamethrower Chris Sale has been a major contributor to this point.
Chris Sale, who was born in Lakeland, FL and attended FGCU, pitched a gem on Wednesday afternoon and became MLB’s first four-game winner of the season. The victory put the Sox a half game ahead of last year’s World Series champs, the Kansas City Royals.
Another surprising team with a hot start is the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. The O’s started the season 7-0 and even though they have lost 4 of their last 6 games, they were still in first place as of Wednesday night, but then again, they are the only team with a winning record in the East.
Carl Edwards hadn’t done one of his famous backflips in quite a while. After winning the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway Sunday, Edwards did one of his incredible flips and nailed the landing. Edwards considered not doing it, saying he hadn’t “done one for a while.”
Edwards started on the pole for the second straight week and led eight times for 276 of 500 laps. It was his first victory since September at Darlington and fourth at Bristol. His 26th Sprint Cup career victory virtually qualified Edwards for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Playoffs. The victory was the third for Joe Gibbs Racing this season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. needed to pit on the first lap and lost two laps due to power issues. Even with the issues, Junior was able to finish second for the second week in a row. Kurt Busch finished third, followed by Chase Elliott and Trevor Bayne.
Many drivers at Bristol were having tire issues for most of the race. Defending series champion, Kyle Busch had trouble throughout he race and finally exited after his car ran into the wall on lap 259. Heavy damage kept Busch from finishing a race for the first time since last year in Michigan.
Kurt Busch will try to improve on his 3rd place finish on the track he won on last year. The Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway is Sunday at 1:13pm ET.
NASCAR SPRINT CUP
- Kevin Harvick (4) 287
- Carl Edwards (19) 286
- Jimmie Johnson (48) 271
- Joey Logano (22) 266
- Kyle Busch (18) 262
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) 250
- Kurt Busch (41) 247
- Brad Keselowski (2) 224
- Denny Hamlin (11) 222
- Martin Truex Jr. (78) 214