The new KD on the block. Warriors win game 1 of the NBA Finals with dominant performance from Durant 

The Warriors remain perfect in the NBA playoffs (13-0), with dominant, 23 point game 1 victory against the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. The story of the game was the Warriors defense which forced 20 Cavaliers turnovers. The Warriors held the Cavs to 89 points on 35% shooting. You can’t turn the ball over 20 times against Golden State and expect to win. They will make you pay every time. 

As great as the Warriors are offensively, it’s there defense that truly makes them a complete team. Draymond and Klay both do an excellent job setting the tone of defense. Durant’s defense has vastly improved since he joined the Warriors. 

Kevin Durant was spectacular tonight with 38 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assist. Durant is the ultimate difference maker in this series. The Warriors are heavily favorite in the this Finals and it’s has a lot to do with KD and the mismatch advantage he posses. Curry added 28 points, 10 assist and 6 rebounds. 

In last year’s NBA Finals, the Cavs back off of Harrison Barnes and dared him to shoot. Durant took the challenge tonight and torched the Cavs defense all night. 

Even though the Cavs are down 0-1 in the NBA Finals, and got outplayed by the Warriors there still in a good position. The Cavs lost game 1 of the NBA Finals last year, and overcame the first ever 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals to win the NBA Championship. 

Despite Lebron’s 8 turnovers he played a stellar game with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assist. Irving and Love had 24 and 15 points respectively. In order for Cleveland to win game 2, they have to cut down on there turnovers, get more scoring from the rest of the team, and find a way to make life harder for KD. 

This NBA Finals Trilogy is just getting started. Game 2 will tell a much bigger part of the story. 

Warriors Vs Cavs. The Rivalry the NBA and its fans all need. 

Rivalries are what truly defines sports. They provide good entertainment, memorable moments, and classic games that fans can discuss for years to come. The Lakers vs Celtics rivalry changed the course of basketball history forever. What made that rivalry so special was players like Bird and Magic and there hatred, yet respect and admiration for each other. 

The Warriors and Cavs have a chance to make there own history and become the modern day version of the Lakers vs Celtics. In today’s NBA there aren’t too many rivalries which makes this finals matchup all the more special. LeBron vs Curry isn’t quite Magic vs Bird, but with Kobe being retired its the two biggest stars in the game, going head to head on the biggest stage in the world, the NBA Finals. 

Both teams are off to a pretty good start as they will meet in the NBA Finals for a third straight year. No two teams in NBA history have ever accomplished that feat. 

The Rematch. The Trilogy. Warriors vs Cavs Part 3. One of the worst kept secrets in the NBA all season, was the Warriors and Cavs meeting in the NBA Finals for a third straight straight year. All season long that was narrative, and the playoffs became boring and predictable, as we waited for this matchup to take shape. No team could challenge these two juggernauts. It’s was destiny that they would meet in the NBA Finals. 

How did we get here you ask? I’m happy you asked and I’ll be glad to explain it for you. 

Two years ago, the Warriors and Cavs met in the NBA Finals. The Warriors would win the first finals matchup in 6 games, after Love was hurt in the opening round against Boston, and Irving would go down in game one of the NBA Finals. Curry continued his road to superstardom and the Warriors captured there first championships since 1975. 

Then last season the Warriors completed the greatest regular season in NBA history by winning 73 games. They would fall short in there quest to win back to back titles with a heartbreaking lost in game 7 at home to the Cavs. 

LeBron would finally deliver on his promise to win the city of a Cleveland a championship, and end a 52 year championship drought in an epic game 7. That finals left us with memorable moments like “The Block”, “The Shot” and “The Stop.” The Cavs celebrated on the Warriors home court which left a bad taste in the Warriors mouth. 

The Warriors were left to recover from blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. The Warriors not only recovered, they added Kevin Durant during free agency. This move shook up the NBA landscape and put everyone on notice, especially Cleveland. The Warriors were coming back with a vengeance. The basketball world was stunned and upset by this move. 

Fast forward to this season and the Warriors and Cavs were head and shoulders the two best teams in the NBA. They ran through the regular season and postseason with ease. At one point they were both undefeated in the Playoffs, and it looked like they would stay undefeated heading into the finals. 
The Warriors of course are still perfect (12-0), while the Cavs are 11-1, with the only loss coming at the hands of the Celtics in game 3. 

Now we arrive at this year’s NBA Finals with each team winning a championship in this budding rivalry. It’s time for the score to be settled. Who is the better team? Who is the biggest star in the NBA? Is LeBron better than Jordan? Did Durant hurt his legacy by joining the Warriors? Can Curry reclaim his throne as the new face of the NBA? 

All of these questions and more will be answered in the NBA Finals. Legacies will be defined in this series. Careers will be made. Twenty years from now we might look back and see how this rivalry changed the course of history just like the Lakers and Celtics. 

NBA Draft Lottery results. Celtics and Lakers back on top. 

The NBA draft lottery results are finally in. Every draft wouldn’t be fun without some type of conspiracy theory. Frozen envelope anyone? This year it’s the Lakers keeping its pick and more than likely drafting Lonzo Ball. Now if you remember his outspoken and attention seeking dad, Lavar Ball predicted his son would be drafted by the Lakers on several occasions and would “only play for the Lakers.” Either he’s a prophet, mad genius, or something in between.

The Celtics won the lottery and have the number 1 overall pick. Thanks Brooklyn. Number 1 seed in the conference. First overall pick. Life is good in Boston right now.

The Lakers will be picking second and get to keep the pick since it didn’t fall outside of the top three. If the pick fell outside of the top three it would have went to the 76ers, the team picking third overall.

Let’s all take a minute to appreciate the greatness of former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie. ‘The Process’ is indeed working. Salute to the 76ers fans who raised the Sam Hinkie banner last night at the draft lottery. http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2017/5/16/15650426/sixers-fans-sam-hinkie-banner-nba-draft-lottery-party

Rounding out the top five is the Suns picking fourth overall, and the Kings picking fifth overall.

In other news from the draft, the Knicks will be picking 8th overall. Not exactly what Knicks fans wanted, but they can still select a good player overall at number 8. The last two times the Knicks picked 8th overall they selected Jordan Hill (Curry went 7th in that draft) and Channing Frye.

Okay that doesn’t instill the most confidence, but this is a deep draft and players like De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr and Frank Ntilkina might still be available.

The Legend of Kelly Olynyk. Celtics KO Wizards in game 7 with the help of Olynyk.

Legends and Heroes are made in game 7’s. All it takes it one shot, one play, or one spectacular performance from an unlike source. Tonight the legend of Kelly Olynyk was born.

Olynyk a backup stretch 4/5 for the Celtics is probably more known for breaking Kevin Love’s arm in the first round of the playoffs a few years back, and tangling with Wizards forward Kelly Oubre in this series.

None of that matter tonight, as Olynyk scored a career playoff high 26 points, with 12 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Those 12 fourth quarter points came during a three minute stretch that put the game away for good for the Celtics.

His 26 points is the most points scored by a Boston reserve since Eddie House went for 31 points against Orlando in 2009.

All season and postseason long Isaiah Thomas has carried the Boston Celtics. Whether is playing though pain or tragedy, or taking over in the four quarter. Thomas finished with 29 points tonight, but the story of the game is Kelly Olynyk.

Because of Kelly Olynyk’s heroics the Celtics are moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals for a date with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bradley Beal was also spectacular tonight and scored a new playoff high as well with 38 points. He single handily kept the wizards in the game on a night where John Wall struggled shooting 8-23 for 18 points.

Washington biggest weakness all season long was a lack of bench production. Tonight the Wizards reserves scored a measly 5 points. That wasn’t enough and the Wizards season is over.

MLB and it’s race problem.

Racism has absolutely no place in society or in sports. Unfortunately, some Boston Red Soxs fans didn’t get the memo. Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was serenaded and targeted with racial slurs by Boston fans. He was called the N-word on several occasions during the game, and had peanuts thrown at him by a fan.

Jones said “it’s unfortunate that people need to resort to those type of epithets to degraded another human being.”

Jackie Robinson broke baseball color barrier in 1947 and 70 years later where still dealing with some of the same issues he faced. For a sport that prides itself on diversity, it’s time to address the elephant in the room, about African American players and their place in baseball.

As an African American, fan of MLB, and a fan of all Boston teams, I am completely disgusted and outraged about what transpired at Fenway Park. It’s unacceptable on all levels and should be met with the proper consequences. Jones is one of 62 African Americans players on an MLB roster, and one of the most popular faces in MLB. He was also the starting centerfielder for team USA in the World Baseball Classic this past fall.

Jones is a five time all-star, four time golden glove winner, and a three time winner of the Roberto Celemente Award, which recognizes players who represent the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions both on and off the field. If a player of Jones caliber, pedigree and stature is the target of racial slurs then no one is safe.

Jones recently spoke Colin Kaepernick’s protest and why baseball players haven’t spoken up about the racial issues affecting our country like other athletes in other leagues.

“Baseball is a white man’s sports,” Jones said. “We already have two strikes against us already. So you might as well not kick yourself out of the game. In football you can’t kick them out. You need those players. In baseball, they don’t need us.” http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/17533600/adam-jones-baltimore-orioles-says-lack-african-americans-why-mlb-seen-no-protests

MLB has struggled for years to attract African American players, executives and viewers. Part of that has to do with the culture in MLB, where African Americans players feel like they don’t have a voice or they don’t matter. This unhealthy environment has trickled down to fans who now think they have a right to disrespect African American players.

This battle is not Adam Jones battle to face alone. More ongoing dialogue needs to happen in order to bring about change.

Baseball is recognized as America’s past time, but it’s time to stop living in the past. It’s time to change the culture in baseball and end this racist cycle.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/19294487/boston-red-sox-apologize-fans-racial-taunts-baltimore-orioles-adam-jones

 

 

 

Recapping the first round of the NFL Draft.

Before I dive into the madness of all the trades and draft picks in the draft, I just want to shine a light on the two best moments from the first round of 2017 NFL Draft.

The powerful, visual and heartfelt stories of Garrett Boles and Takkarist McKinley. Boles was kick out or expelled out of five different school, and his parents home. He went to live with his lacrosse coach who helped shaped and mold him into a man worth of being drafted in the NFL. Watching him walk across the stage with his son in hand was adorable and moving.

McKinley lost his grandmother and brought a beautiful portrait of her to the draft, as a reminder of the promise he made to her. He then delivered a passionate and heartfelt speech about all the adversity he overcame to make it to the biggest stage the NFL Draft.

Those two moments were the highlight of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Trades, Trades and more trades

The first round of the 2017 NFL Draft was full of surprises and trades. We didn’t even have to wait long for the first trade of the night and a SHOCKER of a pick.

Coming into the 2017 NFL Draft, most of the talk was about how this was one of the deepest draft for defensive players in recent memory, but offense stole the show for most of the night. Eight of the first fourteen picks were offensive players.

The Browns had the number 1 overall pick and did the wise thing by selecting DE Myles Garrett. There were talks on the Browns being torn between Garrett and Trubisky, who wouldn’t have to wait long to hear his name called.

The Bears traded up one spot with the 49ers to select North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky. The 49ers received the 3rd overall pick, as well as the 67th, 111th and a third round pick next year. That was a steep price to pay for a QB who has only been a starter for one year.

Both the Chiefs and the Texans also traded up to select a QB in the first round. Breaking News: The NFL is still a QB driven league.

The chiefs traded the 27th pick, a third rounder, and a 2018 first rounder to Bills for the 10th overall pick and selected QB Patrick Mahomes II.

The Texans traded the 25th pick and a 2018 first rounder to take QB Deshaun Watson at number 12.

These trades for QB’s set the tone for the first round of the draft and allowed other teams to scoop up quality defensive players that might not have been around.

Draft day slide and character concerns

Every year during the draft it’s always a player or two, who experiences a draft day slide due to inures, character concerns, or teams going in a different direction. Ohio State CB Gareon Conley slipped all the way to the Raiders at number 24 due to an ongoing rape accusation. Reuben Foster slipped all the way to the 49ers at number 31 after a diluted sample and injuries concerns surrounding his shoulder.

Day 2 of the NFL Draft continues tonight and it has a tough act to follow after last night exciting start.

 

Russell Westbrook: Explosive, Enigmatic, Exuberant.

Let’s all take a minute to appreciate the greatness of Russell Westbrook. Westbrook receives more criticism than praise and that’s truly unfair for a player of his caliber.

“He shoots too much. He turns the ball over too much. He chases triple-doubles. He caused Kevin Durant to leave. He’s too arrogant.”

Let’s talk about Westbrook’s heart and passion for the game of basketball. Let’s talk about him going out there every night and leaving it all on the line. Let’s talk about him become the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season.

When I look at Russell Westbrook, I see a warrior always prepared for battle. A leader who takes charge. A relentless and fierce competitor that never gives in. A superstar who is misunderstood and oftentimes taken for granted.

Everything about Russell Westbrook is different. The way he plays. The way he dresses. The way he carries himself and doesn’t care what others think of him. In so many ways Westbrook reminds me of Allen Iverson. That once in a generation, enigmatic superstar who shifted the paradigm and culture of the NBA. Both players are not afraid to be themselves, and that should be celebrated, not chastised.

Don’t get me wrong, Westbrook has flaws in his game just like every other player. There are times when he tries too hard to take over games, instead of trusting his teammates. There are times when he chooses to ignore the simple play for a highlight play.

Whether you love or hate Westbrook, you have to respect what he accomplished this season. Becoming the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. Recording the most triple-doubles in a single season in NBA history. Securing the most 50 point triple-doubles in NBA history. Not to mention he guided the Thunder back to the playoffs, and the number 6th seed in the west, after losing one of the three best players in the world in Kevin Durant.

To know Russell Westbrook is to love Russell Westbrook. Knowing him means accepting and appreciating him for who he is. He may not be the superstar everyone wants, but he is the superstar we all need.