On Sunday, the NBA announced a decision to hit Green with a flagrant-one. Green got his fourth flagrant foul point after he struck LeBron James in the groin late in Golden State’s 108-97 win over the Cavaliers in Game 4, and yes, his absence was big.
The record-setting Warriors were obviously more limited and played well below what we’ve come to expect from best team in NBA history. Without Green to free up Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to go on one of their famous scoring runs, the team fell flat. Golden State’s 36.4 percent shooting from the field ranks as the teams worst output of the season since a horrible game in Detroit in January against the Pistons. It wasn’t just offense that was sub par, the team was also defensively vulnerable. Green had a hand in holding Cleveland’s big stars in check until game 5. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James put up huge numbers in the 112-97 win on Monday night. James scored 25 points while grabbing 9 rebounds in the first two quarters.
The loss wasn’t a surprise to the Warriors either. Coach Steve Kerr stated that he knew the team would have to “play better, and we didn’t.” Things aren’t going to get any easier for Coach Kerr and the Warriors as Andrew Bogut went down in Monday night’s defeat, and will not return to the Finals this year.
Bogut’s injury will keep him from helping the team win their second straight championship, but on the bright side, Green was back for game 6. Unfortunately, writing a sports article for a weekly paper sometimes makes it impossible to report on events that are “up to the minute.” As this paper hits the newsstands, the Warriors may have won game 6 and are the NBA champions for two years in a row. If Cleveland was able to hold of the Warriors on Thursday with Green back in the line up for Golden State, then Game 7 of the NBA Finals will be on Sunday at 8pm ET in Oakland.
Penguins Win Stanley Cup
Unlike the Warriors in the NBA, few “experts” picked the Pittsburgh Penguins to go far this year. Pittsburgh started the season as a team without an identity, but as the post season loomed, the team pulled it together. Head coach Mike Sullivan was brought in to the mix during a mid-season shakeup to replace Mike Johnson. Sullivan added some “horsepower” to the lineup and a game plan was put into place with an emphasis on speed.
Not only did the Penguins make the playoffs, but they went on to defeat the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup Finals in Game 6 (3-1) on Sunday, winning the series 4-2, and it was time to celebrate. On Wednesday, a victory parade was held in Pittsburgh.
Fans lined the parade route more than ten fans deep as the players, coaches, staff and their families cruised by in pickup trucks, convertibles and amphibious duck boats. The Parade was held seven years to the day that the 2009 team celebrated its Stanley Cup championship. The ’09 parade drew about 375,000 spectators, and it was reported by city officials that this year’s parade drew over 400,000.
Sports Loses Two “GOATS”
The sports world just lost two of the “GREATEST OF ALL TIME”: Boxing legend Muhammad Ali and Hockey great, Gordie Howe. They were definitely two of the best in their respective sports. Both had nicknames that reflected their importance to the fans. “Mr. Hockey” and “The Greatest” may seem arrogant, but when followed by their names, the tags drew only respect and admiration for athletes that lifted their sports to new levels. Howe died on the day of Ali’s funeral.
Ali, an Olympic and professional champion, was known for his “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” approach in the ring, but he was also remembered, sometimes scorned, and eventually celebrated for his stand on war, racial integration and civil rights.
Meanwhile, Howe grew up during the depression with his father earning 40 cents an hour and even when he made it to the pros, he was vastly underpaid for most of his career. Howe set NHL records with 801 goals and 1850 points (most with the Detroit Red Wings). “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, who wore #99 in Howe’s honor during his career, went on to break Howe’s records. Gretzky got to know Howe as a kid and said he was “embarrassed” to break his records, saying that he played in an “incomparable era.” Howe’s family said that he will be cremated and asked that donations be made to the Gordie Howe Traumatic Brain Injury Initiative, the Howe Foundation or the Gordie Howe Fund for Alzheimer’s Research.
Logano makes NASCAR History
Pole-sitter Joey Logano pulled away from the rest of the pack to win the Fire Keepers Casino 400. 20-year-old Chase Elliot and 23-year-old Kyle Larson followed Logano. It was the youngest top three in NASCAR Sprint Cup history.
NASCAR SPRINT CUP
1. Kevin Harvick (4) 526
2. Kurt Busch (41) 496
3. Brad Keselowski (2) 480
4. Carl Edwards (19) 472
5. Joey Logano (22) 455
6. Chase Elliott (24) 453
7. Jimmie Johnson (48) 441
8. Martin Truex Jr. (78) 433
9. Kyle Busch (18) 417
10. Matt Kenseth (20) 409