When Pat Summitt was hired by Tennessee in 1974 to coach the women’s basketball team she made sandwiches, washed the uniforms, and the team slept in sleeping bags on the court. She and the Lady Volunteers made women’s basketball what it is today. It is on national television, and their rivalry with University of Connecticut was one of the great match-ups in college sports history. Her 1098 wins are the most in the history of college basketball men’s or women’s. She had a 100% graduation rate at Tennessee in 38 years of coaching.
She demanded a lot out of her players, but there was a method to her madness. She wanted her players to strong self-sufficient women. When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012 there was outpouring of love from former players and other basketball coaches. She started a foundation for research and ending Alzheimer’s disease. When Summitt passed away on Wednesday morning so many stories were about her intensity and her stare that got the players attention. There were also stories about her caring about the players and even helping even after they graduated. I hope that the NCAA honor her career by naming the trophy after her.
Lebron James returned to Cleveland two seasons ago and promised his hometown an NBA title. Tonight, he delivered on his promise with a performance that was worthy of being named the Finals MVP. James had a triple double with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. He had a lot of help as well, Kyrie Irving had 26 points including that 3 pointer that gave the Cavs the lead for good in the fourth quarter. J.R Smith had a great game getting 12 points, and shooting well from the field. Kevin Love had 9 points and 14 rebound. Tristan Thompson had 9 points and made his all of his free throws.
The Golden State Warriors had an amazing regular season winning 73 games, but became the first team to lose a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Draymond Green had 32 points and 17 rebounds, but Stephen Curry struggled with 17 points. Klay Thompson also struggled with 14 points. The Cleveland Cavaliers 93-89 win in game seven not only fulfilled his promise to Cleveland fans, but ended a 52 year drought of the city not winning a championship.
Lebron James had another incredible game with 41 points and became the first player to get back to back 40+ game since Shaquilie O’Neal in 2000. He had a lot of help this evening. Kyrie Irving had 24 points, and Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 16 rebounds. J.R Smith had 15 points coming off the bench. The Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team since the 1966 Los Angeles Lakers to force a game seven in a NBA Finals after trailing 3 games to 1. However, no team has ever won NBA Title trailing 3 to 1. The Golden State Warriors were led Stephen Curry 30 points and Klay Thompson 25 points. Draymond Green had an off night with 8 points and Andre Iguodala had back issues scoring only 5 points.
Now the Warriors 73 regular season wins will be measured by what they do game seven Sunday night at the Oracle Arena with the tip-off at 8:00 P.M.
Sidney Crosby has won everything in his hockey career and now that he is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion. Plus, he is the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff MVP now where does Crosby rank as one of the greatest players in NHL history. He also a finalist for the Hart Trophy, the regular season MVP. Despite missing two years due to a concussion Crosby is in top ten of all-time. He is 28 years old and I still believe that his best seasons are yet to come. He is so dedicated to hockey and is probably already thinking about the World Cup of Hockey that starts on September 10. As for the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup next season that is another subject for another blog entry.
Today was a great day for a parade as the Penguins celebrated winning 4th Stanley Cup. I saw the parade streaming online and the coverage didn’t disappoint. I had the privileged of being there in 2009 when 375,000 was there for the last parade. This afternoon there was between 380 to 400 thousand people at the parade. Don’t be surprised if the Penguins have another one next year or the Steelers have a 7th parade in February.
Gordie Howe passed away last Friday and his body is lying in the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Thousands of fans have paid their respects from early morning until late into the evening. played for 5 decades in the NHL and compete against the likes of Rocket Richard, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, and Jean Believeau. Howe scored 801 goals and played in 1,767 games were amazing accomplishments. There was a hat trick that was named for him, and that consist of a goal, assist, and a fight. The most amazing thing besides Howe toughness is his durability by playing until age 52. His humility made him reliably to hockey fans all over the world.
The U.S Open golf’s second major will be starting this Thursday at the Oakmont Country Club. Their a lot contenders such as Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, and Rory Mcilory who could be the winner this Sunday. Danny Willett who won the Masters in April could also be factor this week. They have been surprising and amazing performances in the past at Oakmont such Johnny Miller’s 63 in the final round in 1973. I see this tournament have a lot of contenders who have something to prove. However, I see Jason Day winning the U.S Open this weekend because he not only the number player in the world, but he has something to prove.
Las Vegas is getting closer to getting a pro sports team because the NHL announced they would get an expansion team. It could get finalized on June 22 and then could get started on getting a team name and colors. They have the T-Mobile Arena already build and 13,500 season tickets paid for. Las Vegas has always wanted a pro sports team and they are close to making that dream a reality. Could the NHL be only the beginning because the Raiders want to move to Vegas as well. Las Vegas has been called the Entertainment Capital of the World and they will have NHL in 2017-18.
The Cleveland Cavaliers faced a must win game and they came out in attack mode. Lebron James and Kyrie Irving each have 41 points giving them a 112 to 97 win cutting the deficit to 3 games to 2. It was the first time that teammates had 40 plus points in a NBA Finals game. J.R Smith was the other Cavalier who scored in double figures with 10 points. For the Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry had a good game with 25 points and Klay Thompson lead them with 37 points.
I was surprised that Cavs Head Coach Tyronn Lue went with 8 players and used Richard Jefferson over Kevin Love. The Warriors went without Draymond Green because he was serving a one game suspension for a flagrant foul on James in game four. James and Irving’s performances would have happened no matter who was in the lineup for the Warriors. The Cavaliers need the same performance in game six Thursday night at the Quicken Loan Arena with the tip-off at 9:00 P.M.
The Penguins came out with a sense of purpose early on in game six. Dainius Zubrus took a tripping penalty and Brian Dumoulin scored on the power play to give the Pens a 1-0. Joel Ward almost scored on a breakaway but Chris Kunitz made a great defensive play. Matt Murray looked early on that he was ready for this game. The Sharks gave some turnovers in the own end and the Penguins almost increased their lead. Martin Jones made some great saves as well to keep the game at 1-0 after the first period.
In the second period, both goalies made some good saves as the ice opened up. The Penguins didn’t sit back on the lead, but Jones made great saves. Logan Couture scored on a wrist shot to tie the game at 1. The tie game didn’t last for long when Sidney Crosby passed the puck to Kris Letang who scored on a slap shot to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead. Kunitz missed on a golden opportunity, and Evgeni Malkin was stopped on the rebound. The Pens were picking up the pace and not sitting back. The Penguins were going into the third period with a 2-1 lead.
The Penguins have lost only two games with the lead in the regular season and playoffs. They knew that the Sharks would throw everything at Matt Murray to get the tying goal. The Penguins had some good chances in early in the 3rd period and almost increase their lead. Conor Sheary was called for a hooking penalty and the Sharks went on the power play. They were able to kill the penalty, and it was done with five defensemen because Justin Schultz didn’t come out on the ice for the third period. Brent Burns was called for a slashing penalty on Phil Kessel. Kessel had a step on him would had a clear breakaway. However, the Sharks killed on the penalty with 6:22 left in the game and maybe the season. Kessel almost made it 3-1 but didn’t elevated the puck on Jones.
The Sharks had only two shots on goal and you had to credit the Penguins defense for making the simple plays. The Sharks pulled their goalie but Patric Hornqvist scored on an empty goal to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 3-1 and their 4th Stanley Cup. I was impressed with the San Jose Sharks effort especially Martin Jones who kept them in the series. Sidney Crosby had an outstanding playoffs and was named Conn Smythe winner as the playoff MVP. Murray and Kessel should had strong consideration for the MVP.