The Sports Section

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NBA Playoffs

A few teams showed their dominance and advanced to the second round with ease. The Cleveland Cavaliers seem to be the most complete team, and LeBron James isn’t the only contributor.

The Cavs swept the Pistons by winning 100-98 in game four on Sunday in Detroit. Kyrie Irving, scored 110 points in the series, and was by far the leading scorer on the team in the series. Irving scored 20 of his 31 points in the second half of Sunday night’s nail-biter.

Marcus Morris led the way for the Pistons, but Detroit lost their 12 straight post-season game to the Cavs, tying the NBA record. Their last appearance was in 2009, where they were also swept by Cleveland. Cleveland’s dominance of 12 straight post-season wins tied the LA Lakers, who defeated Seattle 12 straight in the playoffs from 1980-89.

The San Antonio Spurs also swept their series, capped off with a 116-95 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies put up a good fight for most of the series considering their squad was the most injury-depleted team in this year’s playoffs. One could even argue that the Grizzlies were the most banged up in the history of the playoffs. Memphis set an NBA record with 28 Grizzlies taking the court.

It was the Spurs ninth sweep of a postseason series in franchise history. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, the Spurs seem to have their number. It was the third time that San Antonio has swept Memphis. The first was in the 2004 in first round, and most recently in the 2013 Western Conference Finals.

Oklahoma City may not have swept Dallas, but they did win convincingly. The Thunder rolled past the Mavericks on Monday night for the 118-104 victory. They may have gotten a spark of encouragement from an unlikely source: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Before Monday night’s matchup, Cuban said that Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook is an “All-Star, but not a superstar.” It may have been the push that Westbrook needed to prove otherwise.

Cuban said that Durant was the only superstar on the team and when Westbrook was interviewed after the game, Durant interrupted calling Cuban “an idiot.” Durant did have a superstar quality game, scoring 33 points. Westbrook was even better, scoring 36 points, with 9 assists and 12 rebounds. Westbrook may have been the superstar of game five, but it was definitely a team effort. Steven Adams also added 15 points with 10 rebounds for OK City.

The Thunder stumbled a little in game 2, losing 85-84 in a defensive showdown. They came back with three straight wins to move on to the Western Conference semifinals, where they will face the Spurs on Saturday.

NHL Playoffs

The Tampa Bay Lighting were the first NHL team to advance to the next round of the playoffs by defeating the Redwings in game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay’s Vezina Trophy candidate, Ben Bishop was at the top of his game. The Lightning goalie stopped 34 shots, keeping the game scoreless until late in the game. Alex Killorn scored with less than two minutes left in the 3rd period last Thursday for the victory, setting up Wednesday night’s matchup with New York Islanders. Things didn’t start of well for the Lightning in game one, falling to the Islanders. New York knows a little about beating Florida teams.

The Florida Panthers couldn’t hold on to a late 0-1 lead heading into the final minute of regulation in the first round of the playoffs. John Tavares of the Islanders tied the score in the final minute of regulation and got the winner in the second overtime period. The Islander’s matchup with the Thunder is their first trip to the second round since 1993.

The reigning Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks faced elimination 3 times, and up until the final period of game seven, they were successful. The entire series wouldn’t be described as “good hockey.” At times it was downright ugly. As a matter of fact, Troy Brouwer of the St. Louis Blues used that exact word to describe his game-winning goal. He said his goal was the “ugliest and timeliest” goal he ever scored. Brouwer’s first attempt bounced off the post straight back to him. He then whiffed at the puck once and finally hit a backhand shot which turned out to be the game winner and advanced the Blues to the second round for the first time since 2012.

NASCAR

Carl Edwards notched his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory Sunday. After a slight nudge and then a pass on Joe Gibbs teammate, Kyle Busch, Edwards was able to take the lead on the final lap of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond. Busch finished second, giving Gibbs the one-two finish and the team’s fourth straight win; two in a row by Edwards and two in a row by Busch. Jimmie Johnson was third followed by Kasey Kahne and Kevin Harvick.

The Geico 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway is Sunday at 1:19pm ET.

 

Mike Yost

 

NASCAR SPRINT CUP

  1. Carl Edwards (19) 331
  2. Kevin Harvick (4) 324
  3. Jimmie Johnson (48) 310
  4. Kyle Busch (18) 302
  5. Joey Logano (22) 299
  6. Kurt Busch (41) 279
  7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) 278
  8. Denny Hamlin (11) 258
  9. Brad Keselowski (2) 255
  10. Martin Truex Jr. (78) 246