Monday, May 14, 2012

5/14: Clippers, Heat, etc.

Greetings everyone... let's start with what happened in the Association...

  • Clippers 82, Grizzlies 72 - There's nothing quite like a Game 7 and this one delivered the theatrics even if it lacked in execution or high-level play. Neither team shot north of 40% from the field (38.5% for LAC, 32.5% for MEM), there were 29 turnovers committed, and the teams shot a combined 4 for 30 from long-distance on the night. Nerves? Maybe, but bad execution reigns. Even the immortal Chris Paul wasn't immune as he finished with 5 turnovers and just 4 assists after a pretty dominant opening half turned sour down the stretch. Even with this lack of production (and the disappearing act of Blake Griffin), the Clippers lead kept widening late thanks to a slow of unproductive trips by Memphis, and that was that. On to San Antonio for the Clippers in what could be one of the best days in franchise history... and that's a wild thought.
  • Heat 95, Pacers 86 - Miami is better than Indiana. That was illustrated in full view in Game 1 when Indiana seemed to be winning every battle, and have a decent grasp on the game before Lebron and Wade combined for 22 of the final 23 Heat points, and took control of the game. I thought the decision by Indiana to go away from West and Hibbert (who finished with 17 a piece) was, at best, curious, and when Indiana tried to integrate Granger and Barbosa, things went south. Lebron was the best player on earth yet again here, finishing with 32 points and 15 rebounds after a 16-point fourth quarter, and if he plays like that, good luck to everyone. No real surprises here, and I still think Miami cruises in 5 games.
  • WARNING! SOCCER CONTENT!!! I opened twitter to a barrage of thoughts on Manchester City's apparently epic comeback from a 2-1 deficit with 2 goals in stoppage time to win 3-2 and claim the English Premier League title for the first time in 44 years. If you read this regularly, you know I have no love lost for soccer as a whole, but I can appreciate this on a variety of levels. First, "football" fans are a dedicated bunch, and to have a fan base go 44 years between titles isn't something to sneeze at. And second, 2 goals in 5 minutes with your season on the line? in soccer? Come on... That's incredible. At any rate, big-ups to Man City and their fans...
  • The Braves swept the defending World Series champion Cardinals over the weekend. Granted it's May, but that's fairly impressive, and it culminated with a 7-4 win on Sunday. Tommy Hanson lasted just 3 batters into the 6th inning, but allowed only 1 earned run and struck out 9 while Jason Heyward paced the offense with a bases-clearing double in the 3rd inning in an incredible at-bat that swung the tide of the game. Coming home for 4 games with the Reds isn't an "easy" task, but this was a big weekend for Atlanta.
  • MLB Check - Joey Votto put all concerns about his power to rest with a 4-for-5, 3 home run outing in Cincy's 9-6 win over Washington. The Reds slugger had just 1 bomb entering the game, but his OPS is now over 1.050 for the year and all is well there. Tampa Bay avoided a sweep at the hands of the suddenly-credible Orioles with a 9-8 win in Baltimore. They held on for dear life after leads of 7-1 and 9-6, but came away with the win to stay within a game of the division lead. And finally, Minnesota became the last team to reach double-digit victories with a 4-3 win over Toronto led by Scott Diamond on the mound. I don't think Minnesota is the worst team in the league, but they will very possibly win the least amount of games on the year. How the mighty have fallen in the Twin Cities.
  • There is a wide-spread report that Kyrie Irving will win the rookie of the year award, and there was never any doubt. The Cavs guard averaged 18.5 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.7 rebounds in his initial season, and was far-and-away the highest-impact rookie of all with apologies to my man-crush Ricky Rubio. Congrats to Kyrie.
What to watch for on Monday...
  • NBA - Sixers @ Celtics - 7:00 TNT - Boston leads 1-0 after their 1-point win over the weekend and Philly is in desperate need of a split here. 
  • MLB - Reds @ Braves - 7:00 SportSouth - Bailey vs. Delgado - The red-hot Braves welcome Joey Votto and company. Should be fun.
  • MLB - Cubs @ Cardinals - 7:00 ESPN - Dempster vs. Westbrook - Both starters are having excellente years, and this is one of the best rivalries in the majors.
  • NBA - Lakers @ Thunder - 9:30 TNT - Game 1 of the highly anticipated series. Old vs. Young, Kobe vs. Durant, Size vs. Speed. This series has it all and I can't wait.

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