Thursday, May 17, 2012

5/17: The Association Leads...

Greetings... let's start with hoops because that's what we do...

  • Thunder 77, Lakers 75 - A very, very intriguing game despite the low score. The Lakers led by 7 points with under 2 minutes to play before imploding before our eyes. After a Harden lay-up, Durant run-out, and repeated stops by OKC, they took the late lead, and when Steve Blake's open 3 with 5 seconds left went begging, LA was in an 0-2 hole. I thought Kevin Durant was the best (and most efficient) player on the floor in his 9-for-15, 22-point, 7-rebound performance for OKC, as he paced that offense. Westbrook (5 of 17 for 15 pts) and Harden (3 of 18, 13 points) had underwhelming games, but the OKC defense and Durant overcame that. For LA, Kobe was a ghastly 9 of 25 while Bynum wasn't much better at 8 of 19 shooting, and it's tough for them to succeed when those guys shoot like that. As a team they finished at 38% and STILL should've won this game if they would've gotten better-quality possessions down the stretch. I think this series is nearly over as Games 3 and 4 are on a back-to-back this weekend, and that certainly favors OKC despite the games being in LA. It's going to take a heroic 48 hours from Kobe and company to stay in the series.
  • Boston 107, Philly 91 - Somebody find the time machine that Kevin Garnett has gotten in the last few weeks. 27 points, 13 rebounds on 12 of 17 shooting in just 30 minutes of game action for Garnett, as he dominated the game and led Boston. He got help from Pierce (24 and 12), Rondo (23, 14, and 6), and a surprising 13 off the bench from Pietrus, but KG was the star of the night and Philly (especially Thaddeus Young) had no answer. It's a really bad sign when Philly shoots 8 of 15 from three (outstanding) in their home building, and gets the doors blown off. Boston is better.
  • Larry Bird wins the NBA's executive of the year award. I'm okay with this one because of the way they overhauled this roster without the benefit of a true super-star. The George Hill move worked out, Darren Collison and Paul George were draft-day steals, and the David West signing proved to be a shrewd move. Well done, Larry Legend.
  • The Braves lost an 8-4 battle with Miami last night. Mike Minor cruised through 3 innings before hitting another disastrous patch and finishing with 6 earned runs allowed in just 4.2 innings. His ERA has escalated to 7.09 and there's some real buzz about whether he should stick in the rotation with Teheran (or Medlen?) waiting in the wings. I'd stick with Minor for another start or 2, but there's no denying the results have been disastrous. On a positive note, Martin Prado is swinging a hot bat right now after 3 more hits including 2 doubles. Keep it going, Martin.
  • MLB Check - Albert Pujols hit a 3-run home run last night. This wouldn't be "leading" news in any other year, but it is now, as the blast led the Angels to a 7-2 win over the White Sox. The Rays halted Boston's 5-game win streak with a 2-1 win in Tampa. On the bright side for Boston, Buchholz surrendered only 2 runs in 5 innings, but he was out-dueled by 6 innings of 1-run ball from Hellickson. And finally, Philly reached the .500 mark at 19-19 with a 9-2 win over the Cubs. I'm still terrified of the Phillies and will remain so.
What to watch for on this fine Thursday...
  • NBA - Heat @ Pacers - ESPN 7:00 - Game 3 (Series tied at 1-1) - This series has taken a turn with the Bosh injury and another shrink job from Lebron, to the point where I'm seriously thinking that Indiana can (not will, but can) win this series. It's crucial that they hold serve here against an ultra-motivated Heat team, however, and remember that their front-court edge is where they should focus.
  • MLB - Marlins @ Braves - SportSouth 7:00 - Nolasco vs. Beachy - Brandon Beachy and his sparkling 1.60 ERA take the hill for Atlanta, and that's not a bad thing.
  • MLB - Red Sox @ Rays - MLB 7:00 - Doubront vs. Moore - Boston has shown life lately and Matt Moore has struggled for Tampa.
  • NBA - Clippers @ Spurs - ESPN 9:30 - Game 2 (Spurs lead 1-0) - San Antonio seemed firmly in control in Game 1 and it'll likely take something special from Chris Paul and company to steal a game on the road.

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