By Josh Kramer
We could quite possibly be watching history in the making in regards to NBA Playoff basketball. 94% of teams that have gone up 2 to 0 in best-of-seven NBA series have gone on to take the series. Only 14 teams in NBA history have ever climbed out of a 2 to 0 hole to win a best-of-seven game series. Both conference finals series began with the higher seed taking a 2 to 0 lead. Things appeared to be over. Then both lower seeded teams miraculously defended their home floors (and OKC won one on the road last night).
Can Boston and/or Oklahoma City pull off the unthinkable? Oklahoma City can. Yes, I am going to keep doubting San Antonio. I wouldn’t count on it from Boston. The Thunder have been the team to watch out West all year. Despite a very slow start in the conference finals, their bigs (Ibaka namely) awoke in Game 4 and James Harden hit the shot of the year in Game 5. Remember, Westbrook and Harden combined for a mere 18 points on Saturday. OKC still won. Last night, the OKC bigs, Ibaka and Perkins combined for just 13 points. OKC still won. The Thunder will knock off the Spurs and become team number 15 to climb out of a 2 to 0 hole.
As for the Celtics. Their win on Sunday night was truly remarkable. The guts that this “older” team has shown is inspiring. I am sure you have all heard the saying that hard work beats talent any day of the week. In this case, that statement is false. Not only is Miami far more talented than the Celtics, they also are far less fatigued. Had Boston found a way to avoid having to go six games and then seven games in rounds one and two, they would have a legitimate shot. But a team led by three guys over the age of 34 and the outstanding Rajon Rondo, energy and endurance are not exactly at a premium. Plus, word on the street is Chris Bosh could return for Game 5. Bosh spells game over for Boston.
Though I am not counting on Boston to pull off the unthinkable and take down the mighty Miami Heat, we will at least see the Thunder become the 15th team to climb out of a seemingly insurmountable 2 to 0 hole. OKC will finish the job on Wednesday in Oklahoma City. After 20 straight wins, San Antonio will suffer four straight losses to end their year.
Tiger back from the Woods?
Jack Nicklaus said it was “The most unbelievable, gutsy shot I’ve ever seen (referring to Tiger’s birdie shot on 16).” Was it a career changing shot for Tiger? Don’t count on it. There are just ten days until the US Open and Woods still would love nothing more than to catch the Golden Bear and his 18 majors titles. Tiger caught Nicklaus with PGA win number 73 in Columbus, but four more majors will be a much more difficult task. It was refreshing Sunday to watch the Tiger of old at his best. Sadly, that Tiger is long gone. Glimpses may return here and there, but the Tiger we once knew will forever be out in the woods.
I don’t want to be number one
Sunday was almost an epic day at Roland Garros. First, the top ranked female player in the world went down to a player that she had defeated seven of eight times. Then Novak Djokovic, the men’s number one, was on the ropes down 2 sets to 0. Djokovic survived and conquered though, as usually is the case. Had Djokovic failed to overcome the large deficit, Sunday would have been the first time since 2004 that both the men’s and women’s number one seeds lost before the quarterfinals and on the same day at Roland Garros.
At least we own soccer
Hockey is and always will be the Canadian pastime. In the United States, we have always run the “Big Three” sports (baseball, basketball, and football). In regards to our northern neighbors, we also were far superior at soccer. On Sunday, for a 15th straight time, Canada failed to defeat the US, but did play the red, white, and blue to a 0 to 0 draw. Overall, the Americans are now 13-8-10 versus the Canadians in Men’s soccer. A win would have been nice for the Americans, but a draw is still respectable. Besides, the Americans did defeat the Canadians 5-3 in hockey back in February of 2010.
LA on another stratosphere
In regards to NHL hockey this year, the Eastern Conference was far superior to the Western Conference. Oddly enough, the last team to make the playoffs (8th seed) out of the Western Conference are on the verge of hoisting Lord Stanley. This recent LA run proves the theory about the hottest teams thriving in postseason play. Just ask Brad Stevens and Butler about getting hot at the right time of year. The Kings are currently playing on another stratosphere led by their terrific trio of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Jonathan Quick. When this team does eventually return to earth, it will be too late for the Devils and the rest of the NHL. LA will have its first Stanley Cup.
Just some “Food for Thought.”
Let me hear your thoughts though. Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.