Archive for June, 2014

WATERCOOLER CHAT: SPURS WIN NBA FINALS, NO TIES YET IN WORLD CUP

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, it was Game 5 of the NBA Finals.  The Spurs were up 3-1 headed into the game, and everyone had pretty much written off LeBron and the Heat.  After all, they just lost two games at home… and by a lot.  But they came into Game 5 with a fury.  Before they knew it, the Spurs found themselves trailing 22-6.  Unfortunately for the Heat, it seemed like only LeBron came to play, as he didn’t get much offensive or defensive contributions from his teammates.  The Spurs on the other hand played nearly perfect team basketball — moving the ball around effortlessly.

Kawai LeonardSo after a hard fought first half, the Spurs pulled away in the 3rd quarter to build a resounding lead.  And they lead continued into the 4th.  It got so bad that LeBron even checked himself out of the game with 6 minutes to go.  The Spurs went on to win, and this is now the 5th Championship for Tim Duncan and head coach Gregg Popovich.  And it’s #4 for Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.  Kawai Leonard, the 22-year old, who wasn’t even on the all-star team this year, was voted Finals MVP.  He played perfect defense on LeBron, and was a major contributor on offense.  

The question now is… what happens next?  Does LeBron stay in Miami and give it another run.  Do other stars come and help him?  Does he go back to Cleveland?  Does he go to the Lakers?  The Knicks?  Who knows?  It will be a very exciting off-season to follow.  The Spurs on the other hand will go for another title.  That would give Duncan six — just as many as Jordan.  

WORLD CUP

Finally, in World Cup news, so many teams look fantastic, and even the teams that lost look like a threat to win their next match.  An interesting result was that there were no ties this opening weekend.  That is rather rare.  But, be excited, the United States has their first match of the World Cup against Ghana Monday at 5:30pmET.  

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: SPURS UP 3-1, NEYMAR SAVES DAY FOR BRAZIL

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After a 107-86 win over the  Miami Heat on Thursday night, the San Antonio Spurs are now up 3-1. Game 5 is Sunday night on their home court. Tony Parker contributed 19 points and Kawhi Leonard 20 points and 14 rebounds in this lopsided win. It’s looking more and more unlikely that the Heat will 3peat. And if the Spurs win on Sunday night, they will have avenged their disappointing loss to the Heat in last year’s finals. 

SOCCER

NeymarIn World Cup news, Brazil managed to fend off Croatia in its first match up Thursday night. Brazil, as the host country, was expected to win easily. They’ve won their last 15 of 16 matches and Croatia wan’t considered a real threat. Brazil wasn’t looking particularly strong , however, but got much needed help from their superstar Neymar who contributed two goals for the win.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: RANGERS STAVE ELIMINATION, HEAT WANT CARMELO, WORLD CUP STARTS

HOCKEY

The over-matched New York Rangers faced elimination Wednesday night against a mightier Los Angeles Kings team.  But the Rangers didn’t want the Kings celebrating in Madison Square Garden so they fought tooth and nail to stave off a ferocious Kings team.  And unlike the rest of the games, this time they held on to their 2-0 lead, and didn’t allow the Kings to come back at will.  The series now heads back to LA, where the Kings hope to close it out.  NY Rangers 2, Los Angeles 1.


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Carmelo AnthonyAnd in the NBA, even though the Finals are currently going on, Pat Riley and the Heat are already planning their next big off-season acquisition.  It’s being reported that the Heat fully intend to make a big push for Carmelo Anthony this off-season.  Then, the Big Three would go to the Big Four.  All of this, of course, assumes that LeBron is actually staying in Miami.  And surely the results of this Finals against the Spurs, and whether or not LeBron gets his third ring will have something to do with that decision.  However, if they did get Carmelo, and LeBron DID stay, then the Heat would essentially have all the top picks in the 2003 NBA Draft (LeBron, Carmelo, D-Wade, Chris Bosh).  It will be interesting to see what happens to this team in the off-season.

SOCCER


World Cup Finally, in some very exciting news, it has finally arrived.  The World Cup starts Thursday with the home country Brazil kicking things off against Croatia.  This has been a much-anticipated event, and for one month, the entire world pays attention to soccer.  It’s an exhilarating time, as the stakes are high in every single game.  There is practically no room for error.  You simply can not lose.  Plus, even though expectations are high on certain teams, there is always plenty of room for upsets.  Last World Cup, the teams that played in the 2006 Finals (France & Italy) completely fell apart and didn’t even make it to the round of 16.  Get ready for some exciting soccer chatter. 

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: SPURS BLAZE TO WIN, LAKERS COACH STILL UP FOR GRABS, REUS OUT OF WORLD CUP

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In the NBA, it was Game 3 of the Finals.  It was all knotted up at a game a piece, and the Heat were hoping to take a lead now that they were playing on their home turf.  Problem is, you have to be completely prepared to play a veteran team like the Spurs.  The Spurs came out guns blazing, and were unstoppable from behind the 3-point line.  They went into the half leading by a commanding 21 points.  The Heat staged a minor comeback in the second half, but the Spurs were just too strong.  The Spurs now lead 2-1, and Miami faces a much-needed win in Game 4.   San Antonio 111, Miami 92.

Byron ScottElsewhere in the NBA, the coveted Lakers coaching job is still up for grabs.  They have interviewed over 20 candidates, including former Laker Byron Scott twice. On Tuesday, the Lakers reported that they are going to wait until the free agency period is over to hire a coach.  This is likely because they want to negotiate with some big names on the market — telling them that they can be a part of selecting the coach.  This method doesn’t necessarily work, as most champions follow the lead of a confident coach, not a group selected coach, but the Lakers are going to give it a shot.

SOCCER

And in World Cup news, Germany was one of the favorites to win the whole tournament.  Unfortunately, they lost their best player, Marco Reus, just days before the tournament.  Without Reus, Germany is still competitive, but he was their ace. This is good news, however, for the United States, as it makes their “Group of Death” just a little easier to get out of.  It’s going to be a fantastic World Cup!

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: KINGS WIN GAME 3, FISHER TO COACH KNICKS, CALIPARI DECLINED 80 MILL FROM CAVS

HOCKEY

 

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Quick

In the NHL, it was an important Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers.  The Kings led 2-0 coming into this series, having just won two overtime games — both of which when the Rangers originally had a 2-0 lead.  The Kings are just extremely resilient and good at coming back.  But now the Rangers got the Kings in Madison Square Garden.  Unfortunately, in hockey, home ice advantage doesn’t really matter that much.  These guys are tough and come to play.  They can’t be rattled by a crowd, and crowds really only build momentum on goals (unlike basketball where each basket can cause a crowd to go wild and swing the momentum in the home team’s favor).  The Kings boast the best goalie in hockey, Jonathan Quick, and he absolutely shut down the Rangers offense.  The Kings easily cruised to a Game 3 victory, and are now one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.  LA Kings 3, NY Rangers 0.

BASKETBALL

Jason KiddAnd in the NBA, the Knicks were shafted by Steve Kerr last month, as he wound up opting for the Golden State Warriors coaching job.  So the very coveted head coaching position of the Knicks was open.  The Knicks didn’t want just anybody… they wanted to take a chance.  So their new President of Basketball Operations, Former Knick and Hall of Fame Coach Phil Jackson, reached out to one of his former players:  Derek Fisher.  Fisher is actually still a player for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Jackson forced his retirement and hired him as the head coach of the New York Knicks.  It will be interesting to see if Fisher will be a head coach, but if Jason Kidd can do somewhat well, a smart basketball mind like Fisher should be ok too.  

Finally, John Calipari may not have gotten the Lakers job, and opted to go back to Kentucky for the next 7-years, BUT he did get an extremely lucrative offer to be the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Reports said that the Cavs offered him nearly $80million to be their coach.  Calipari declined, most likely because he knew that he would have a much better media reputation as the king of the college basketball’s most storied program.  This is seemingly a much better decision than essentially being an after thought in Cleveland, with a young team still trying to find its way. 

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: HEAT BOUNCE BACK, CALIF CHROME CONTROVERSIAL OWNER, NADAL STILL TOP OF GAME, RANGERS DOWN 2-0.

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James, Wade, and BoshIn the NBA, it was Game 2 of the Finals.  San Antonio took Game 1 in what is no being known as the Heat Game (no pun intended), and LeBron James and the Heat needed to bounce back in Game 2 in the hope of stealing home court advantage.  This game was neck and neck most of the way, with the teams still looking fatigued from the effects of Game 1.  But, late in the 4th quarter, LeBron turned it up into high gear again.  The Spurs kept it close, but a late 3-pointer from Chris Bosh sealed the deal for the Heat.  The series is now tied heading back to Miami.  Miami 98, San Antonio 96.

HORSE RACING

In horse racing, all eyes were on California Chrome to win the coveted Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes.  No horse has won the Triple Crown since 1978.  It’s extremely difficult, and while many horses have won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, they tend to slip up at The Belmont Stakes on account of its length.  Also, California Chrome is the underdog story of the year.  The owners bought this horse for $10,000, and have already won a couple million dollars off of him.  Unfortunately, the joyous adventure came to an end, as California Chrome finished in 5th place.  The winner, Tonalist, did not race in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness so after the race, Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn complained on national TV that it’s not fair to his horse that fresh horses who didn’t run in the other two major races get to run against his more fatigued horse.  His comments created a huge controversy particularly as he made an insensitive and utterly ridiculous analogy that a horse not running in the two prior races is like him (at over 6 feet tall) playing basketball against a boy in a wheelchair. 

TENNIS

Nadal and FedererWe are witnessing some truly masterful play from Rafael Nadal.  This guy is currently proving that he is one of the greatest of all time. On Sunday, he won his 5th straight French Open title.  This is also his 14th Grand Slam title, and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.  New stars are emerging in the tennis world, but it’s still Nadal typically at the top. 

HOCKEY

The New York Rangers are down 2-0 to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Series shifts to Madison Square Garden for game 3, Monday the 9th at 8:00 pm.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: SPURS WIN GAME 1, TIMBERWOLVES OWNER TO COACH, CALIPARI TO STAY WILDCAT

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Lebron JamesIn the NBA, it was Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.  LeBron was going for 3 championships, and Tim Duncan/Gregg Popovich were going for 5.  This one started out all Heat.  Then the Spurs pulled ahead at the half.  However, there was a big problem in the building, as the air conditioning broke.  So the arena was hot, muggy, and over 90 degrees.  Sure, it affected both teams, so it was still fair, but it’s still brutal conditions to play in.  Unfortunately for the Heat, they were hurt more, as LeBron James suffered some serious cramping with just over 5 minutes to play.  And when he went out of the game, the Spurs pulled away to win Game 1.  San Antonio 110, Miami 95.

Elsewhere in the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves were looking to turn things around next season, but they were still without a coach.  So their part-time owner, Flip Saunders, stepped up yesterday and said that he would coach the team.  Saunders was the T-Wolves coach during their glory days with Kevin Garnett.  With him taking the reigns, the T-Wolves are hoping that he can revive some of the spirit in Minnesota.  They Wolves are going to need it, as they will likely lose their star Kevin Love this off-season.  


John CalipariFinally, in college basketball, people thought that Kentucky coach John Calipari might be bolting for the NBA, especially if he were offered a good position like skipper of the Los Angeles Lakers.  However, it doesn’t look like that will pan out, so he will be sticking with Kentucky.  And Kentucky is made this a very easy decision for Calipari, offering him a 7-year $52.5 million contract.  With this type of money, they will of course expect the best recruiting and expect the Wildcats to be in the Final Four year-after-year. 

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: KING RALLY IN OT FOR WIN, KAEPERNICK BIG PAY DAY, HEAT/SPURS REMATCH

HOCKEY

Justin Williams

Justin Williams

In the NHL, it was Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings.  This is the big market final that the league could only dream of — LA vs. NY.  The Kings were heavily favored in this game on their home ice, but they quickly found themselves down 2-0.  However, the Kings rallied and in overtime, the Kings’ Justin Williams scored a beautiful goal to give the Kings the win.  They now lead 1-0.  LA 3, NY 2.

FOOTBALL


In the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers feel that they have found their man at quarterback in Colin Kaepernick.  It was reported that Kaepernick signed a 6-year extension worth up to $126 million dollars.  Now that’s not a bad pay day.  The Niners have fallen short of a Super Bowl title the past 3 years, but they are still slowly building into a powerhouse.  Having that steady presence at QB enables them to come up with even more complex and intelligent offensive schemes.  The are going to be very dangerous these next few seasons.

BASKETBALL


And finally, the NBA Finals begins Thursday night.  It’s a rematch of last year’s finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.  The Spurs badly wanted this opportunity, while the Heat are in search of their third straight title.  This is now a rivalry.  On top of this, the Heat are feeling very slighted that everyone says their win last year was on account of luck.  The Spurs made some mistakes late in Game 6 and 7 that gave the Heat the title.  The Heat strongly disagree with this claim, and will come out firing on all cylinders tonight to prove that they are, in fact, the best team in the league.  This is a must watch series. 

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MARINO JOINS CONCUSSION LAWSUIT, PARKER WILL PLAY IN NBA FINALS, VIRGINIA LOCKS UP COACH

FOOTBALL

 

Dan Marino

Dan Marino

In the NFL, there were some major developments in the NFL concussion law suits.  Many ex-NFL players are claiming they suffered serious concussions and have had troublesome medical issues over the past few years.  They were seeking to sue the NFL to collect damages for their injuries.  Nobody thought much of it, but then former Hall Of Fame quarterback Dan Marino joined the lawsuit, saying that he too is concerned about needing future medical coverage due to some hard shots he took as a quarterback.  This is a major development for the concussion lawsuit.  However, it’s being rumored that Marino may pull out of the suit, which would be a PR blow to the other players.  We will see how this develops.  

BASKETBALL


Tony Parker and Eva LongoriaIn the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs are ready for their Finals rematch against the Heat.  Both these teams are clicking on all cylinders right now, but the Spurs were very worried that their star point-guard Tony Parker might be nursing an ankle injury throughout the Finals.  On Tuesday, however,  it was reported that Tony Parker is a go for Game 1, which is a huge life saver for the Spurs.  The Spurs need Parker at the top of their game if they want to topple the Heat.  Plus, head coach Gregg Popovich is trying to become the 4th coach to win 5 titles.  This is going to be an excellent series.

Finally, in college basketball, Virginia is very happy with their reemergence as a threat.  They decided to lock up their basketball coach Tony Bennett to a 7-year deal.  Virginia won the ACC last year, and hope to be a steady presence in the field of 64 every year.  Their #1 seed last year will definitely boast well for their recruiting on the east coast, and they will likely be a perennial competitor to the other ACC power houses like Duke and North Carolina.  Smart move by Virginia. 

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: NBA AND NHL FINALS SET!

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The NBA Finals are now set and no big surprise it’s a rematch of last year’s big game. The Miami Heat rallied to beat the San Antonio Spurs last year in seven hard fought games. As you can imagine, the Spurs are motivated to revenge their disappointing loss and will come out strong to try and prevent the Heat from winning yet again. Game 1 of the Finals is Thursday 9;00 pm.

HOCKEY

LA KingsIn other Final news, the LA Kings edged the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime to win the Western Conference final. They will now take on the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday evening. This is an NHL and network dream…a matchup of LA versus NY. Kings 5, Blackhawks 4.

 

 

 

 

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