Saturday, June 9, 2018
Sports Hodge Podge
The Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship yesterday, destroying the Cleveland Cavaliers, 108-85 for a four-game sweep of the series. It was the second straight title for the Warriors and their third in four years, which enters them into the dynasty talk among NBA franchises.
The Cavs were swept in the NBA Finals for the second time, the other time was in the 2007 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.
LeBron James is one of the greatest NBA players ever and showed it once again this past season in leading this team to the finals against mighty Golden State. However, please stop with the talk he is the GOAT (Great Of All Time) comparisons to one Michael Jordan. There is only one MJ and he never lost in six trips to the NBA Finals. Enough said. (Yes, Bill Russell of the bygone era Boston Celtics won more titles than Jordan, but he also lost in the championship series, so there.)
Golden State is a phenomenal team, but would like to see how they would have fared against some of the other great teams in the NBA when the roster talent was not so diluted as it is these days with so many teams in the league. The same could be said of the other three major sports as well.
Speaking of other sports, the Washington Capitals finally won a Stanley Cup title the other night. However, it should be pointed out they did so against an expansion team (Las Vegas Golden Knights) in five games. That tells a lot regarding the state of the NHL currently as far as strength is concerned.
The only other expansion team to reach the Stanley Cup Finals was the St. Louis Blues (in 1967-68 season) and that was because the six new teams were placed in one conference while the Original Six of the NHL were in the other conference, thus guaranteeing an expansion team would make it there. (By the way, the Blues were swept in four games by the Montreal Canadiens in that final.)
Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark (age 61) died of Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) this past week. He is known for "The Catch" which was quite possibly the most memorable play in NFL history along with the "Immaculate Reception" by Pittsburgh Steelers great Franco Harris. The game winning touchdown catch thrown by quarterback Joe Montana to Clark started a dynasty run for the 49ers in the 1980's, when they won four Super Bowl titles in that decade, including back-to-back championships in 1988 and 1989 seasons.
Major League Baseball phenom Shohei Ohtani (pitcher and designated hitter/outfielder from Japan) looks like he will be shelved for the remainder of the 2018 season as Tommy John surgery could be in order after he experienced elbow pain in his throwing arm. He also is the Los Angeles Angels' designated hitter, so he could still do that should he be able to after possible surgery. That's a shame because this kid has shown a lot as a two-way player and was on his way to possibly being named the American League Rookie of the Year.
Back to LeBron James . . . will he stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers or bolt town for a second time via free agency and look to get a fourth championship ring for himself (he is 3-6 in NBA Finals with Cleveland and the Miami Heat combined) elsewhere?
Which team will emerge as the favorite to win the World Series this year?
There are numerous teams vying for the World Series title, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, defending champs Houston Astros, among others. Surprise teams so far include the Seattle Mariners (American League West leaders), Milwaukee Brewers (National League Central leaders) and the Atlanta Braves, who lead the NL East so far.
Look for the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and perhaps the Los Angeles Dodgers to emerge as the top dogs in the National League once October rolls around to represent the senior circuit in the World Series. In the AL, the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros and perhaps the Cleveland Indians should be there once all is said and done in the regular season. Stay tuned.
One last thing, NFL training camps open in roughly six weeks as football will get it going once again.
Will the Philadelphia Eagles be able to repeat as Super Bowl champions? How about the ageless Tom Brady and the New England Patriots? Can they dominate the AFC and return to the Super Bowl once again? Stay tuned.