Thursday, June 7, 2012

6/7: The Zombies Advance


  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are headed to the finals after a 107-99 victory over San Antonio. This was yet another fantastic game in this series, and I'm kind of baffled by how it unfolded. The Spurs led by as many as 18 points in the 1st half including 15 points at halftime, but OKC blitzed them with 32 points in the 3rd quarter to virtually even things, and another 27 points in the final frame. Kevin Durant was masterful throughout with 34 points (on just 17 shots) and 14 rebounds, while Westbrook (25 pts, 8 boards, 5 assists) and Harden (16 points on 9 shots, 5 boards, 4 assists) were exactly who they usually are. It felt as though the lead absolutely evaporated for the Spurs in the 3rd quarter, and while they didn't play that poorly, they simply couldn't overcome the Thunder offense in the 2nd half. Tony Parker finished with 29 points and 12 assists, but after putting up a 20 & 10 in the 1st half alone, he ran out of gas until very late, and once again, the Diaw/Leonard/Green trio that had been so huge for the Spurs during their 20-game win streak went silent with just 12 points combined including a donut from Diaw. Tim Duncan was outstanding with 25 and 14 including 2 back-to-back buckets late to keep it close, but it wasn't enough. I can't emphasize how crazy it is that San Antonio followed up a 20-game win streak with 4 straight losses including a home loss, and yet, I don't think San Antonio played that poorly. OKC went to a different level in the last 4 games, and if they maintain it, the Miami/Boston winner has no chance. Is this the end of the Duncan era? We've been trying to bury him/them for 3-4 years now, but I won't do it yet. I can't do it.
  • The Devils beat the Kings to stay alive in the Stanley Cup Finals last night. I didn't see a second of it, but this will become a big deal if they win the next one at home.
  • Braves 2, Marlins 1 - A really, really nice win for the Braves last night if for no other reason than Randall Delgado was outstanding. The rookie starter threw 6.1 innings of 1-run ball including being perfect in his first 4 frames. He touched 96 on the gun at one point last night, and his stuff looked far more electric than I've seen from him on a regular basis. Could be an outlier, but for one night, he looked tremendous. One more encouraging sign is 3 hits from Brian McCann, as he's currently sitting at a .255 BA (after the 3 hits) and .750 OPS. He's better than that and maybe that's unfolding.
  • MLB Check - Brandon Morrow is ever-eclectic. The Blue Jays right-hander threw a 2-hit shutout with 5 strikeouts last night against the Konerko-less White Sox. This is crazy because a) Morrow is a strikeout pitcher that only struck out 5, and b) I wouldn't have been any more shocked if he allowed 9 earned runs. Hilarity. Bartolo Colon and the A's shut out the gauntlet lineup that is Texas last night with a 2-0 win. 8 innings, 5 hits, 1 walk for Big, Fat Bartolo, and not even a complete game from Colby Lewis could change that. 
What to watch for...
  • Eastern Conf. Finals Game 6 - Heat @ Celtics - 8:30 ESPN - FYI, I'm covering this game over at this evening. That said, I anticipate an epic battle and there isn't much that would surprise me. With a gun to my head, I think I'd still take Miami here, but it's tough to bet against Boston with KG playing how he is. 
  • MLB - Dodgers @ Phillies - 1:00 MLB - Harang vs. Hamels - Cole Hamels has been one of (if not the) best pitcher in the NL this year. Worth taking a look at 1:00 pm.
  • MLB - Braves @ Marlins - 7:00 SportSouth - Minor vs. Buehrle - This is the biggest start of Mike Minor's career IMO, with Medlen being stretched out and Delgado coming off of a great start last night. We'll see.
  • MLB - Rays @ Yankees - 7:00 MLB - Price vs. Sabathia - The #1 starters of two elite AL teams facing off. Really nice match-up.

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