As much as LeBron James was looking forward to facing his old team from South Beach, I don’t think he minds matching up against the team from north of the border. James scored 24, but Kyrie Irving was the team’s leading scorer on Tuesday night with 27, leading the Cavs to a 9-0 postseason record with the 115-84 blowout of the Toronto Raptors in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Warriors didn’t get off to as good a start as Cleveland did, dropping the first game against Oklahoma City, 108-102, but with Stephan Curry back in the lineup on Wednesday night the results were much different. The MVP scored 28 points and made 5 of 8 3-pointers, shooting 9 for 15 overall, but his most impressive feat came in the third quarter. Stephen Curry scored 15 straight points in less than two minutes and Golden State went on to crush the Thunder 118-91 in game one of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night.
Kenseth Holds off Larson at Dover
Luckily for Matt Kenseth he was able to elude the wreckage that made Dover look like a demolition derby. Kenseth snapped a 17-race winless streak by winning the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway last weekend. Kyle Larson didn’t make things easy for Matt Kenseth to get his 37th victory of his career. However, Larson will have to wait at least two more weeks to win his first Sprint Cup race. Kenseth showed some veteran maneuvering on the mile concrete track and got in position to win the race, but it was another young up-and-comer that may have cost Larson the victory.
Chase Elliot, a second-generation rookie who replaced Jeff Gordon in the famous #24 car, briefly passed Larson with an aggressive run. The battle between the young drivers took enough steam out of Larson’s run at the “old man” that Kenseth was able to create a much-needed gap to become the fourth Joe Gibbs Racing driver to win this season.
Larson could have bumped Kenseth out of his path in the final laps, but opted for the clean pass. Even though Larson didn’t win the race, it was his career-best finish for owner Chip Ganassi and Elliot had the top finish of his first season at Hendrick Motorsports. At 44, Kenseth is older than Elliot (20) and Larson (23) combined. All three drivers were lucky that they weren’t involved in the late-race crash triggered by Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson had won at Dover 10 times, but with less than 50 laps left, he started a pileup that knocked most of the front-runners out of the race. Once again, he was leading at one of his favorite tracks, but Martin Truex Jr. nailed #48 from behind and the multi-car wreckage started. Before the incident, Truex led 47 laps and seemed on his way to his second victory of the season. Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola were among the drivers knocked out of the race. It was reported that Almirola suffered a broken finger in the wreck. That wreck stopped the race for 11 minutes and 22 seconds followed by another caution shortly after action resumed when Larson made contact with JGR driver Carl Edwards and sent him into the wall.
The race ended with only 14 drivers on the lead lap. Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch were able to avoid the mayhem and finished 4th and 5th respectively.
Tony Stewart’s chances at making the chase took another blow on Sunday. A broken track bar punctured the oil tank of #14 and Stewart finished 34th, and now sits at 37th in the point standings. He will need a victory and finish inside the top 30 to advance to the Chase in his final season. Stewart probably didn’t figure his fortunes would turn at Dover where he said that the “place is junk” and that it’s just a “fact I suck here.” However, Stewart’s last cup victory was June 2, 2013 at Dover, which puts his winless streak at 81.
Will New Rules Mean More Passes?
On Monday, NASCAR will be “tweaking” the rules to improve Saturday night’s million dollar All-Star race. The changes are designed to reduce downforce and sideforce that slows the cars, making it easier to pass.
Starting Saturday, brake-cooling fans will no longer be permitted, because the fans generate additional downforce. This rule will continue through the rest of the season, however the sideforce rule will only be used during the non-points All-Star race. Many drivers feel that the changes will cause slower corner speeds and puts a great emphasis on talent. The race for cash has been a time for NASCAR to try new ideas.
Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway is Friday at 7:31pm ET
NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in Concord, NC is Saturday at 9:16pm ET
NASCAR SPRINT CUP
Kevin Harvick (4) 418
Kyle Busch (75) 397
Kurt Busch (41) 386
Carl Edwards (19) 381
Jimmie Johnson (48) 370
Brad Keselowski (2) 368
Chase Elliot (24) 341
Joey Logano (22) 340
Martin Truex Jr. (78) 336
Austin Dillon (3) 315