Mitch's Sports Report: Rockets Go Cold In Game Seven, Knights Bright Against Caps; Bradley's Web Gem
Apparently the Houston Rockets didn't watch the Boston Celtics game seven performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and see it as a cautionary tale.
Or maybe they did and subconsciously adopted the Celtics shooting touch from that game. Either way, the Rockets went stone cold from the floor on their own home court in game seven against the Golden State Warriors last night, falling to Steph Curry and company 101-92 as Golden State grabs a golden ticket to the NBA finals for a fourth year in a row.
The Rockets led by as many as 15 in the first half, but an atrocious 3rd quarter shooting performance let the Warriors right back in the game. At one point Houston went 0 for 27 from the floor, and as the Warriors climbed back into the game behind 34 points from Kevin Durant and 27 from Steph Curry, Houston's response was to keep trying to hit 3-pointers. The Rockets heaved up 44 attempts from beyond the arc and made just seven of those, a truly staggering exercise in futility that kept the Rockets from making their first appearance in the finals since 1995.
It didn't help that all-star point guard Chris Paul was unavailable for Houston due to a hamstring injury he suffered in game six.
So the finals will feature familiar dance partners in Golden State and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The two teams have already squared off three times previously for the championship with Golden State winning two of those, and they will be heavily favored to win this year's title as well. LeBron James will no doubt hear that, say "hold my Gatorade" and do all he can to carry the Cavs on his back to an upset. But the world's best player is still human, and it would take a superhuman effort for these Cavs to beat these Warriors. The call here is Golden State in five.
Why can't I fall for the storybook fairy tale that is the Vegas Golden Knights? The first year expansion NHL franchise is playing in the Stanley Cup finals against the Washington Capitals, and the Knights are already up one game to none after a 6-4 win over the Caps in game one in Vegas last night.
It feels like too much too soon, especially when the team they're playing has been around since 1974 and has never won a Stanley Cup, and has a veteran superstar on their roster who's aching for one after more than a decade of some heartbreaking playoff collapses.
Alexander Ovechkin didn't score last night, but it was the Capitals defense that looked overwhelmed as Vegas fought back from a 4-3 hole in the third to score three unanswered goals and give their utterly spoiled fan base a thrilling victory.
Tomas Nosek scored the game winner after Ryan Reeves had tied the game on an unassisted goal. Collin Miller, who was deemed expandable by the Boston Bruins when each team had to leave two players unprotected for the Knights to stock their inaugural roster also scored. Reilly Smith, who had an unremarkable year for the Bruins before being traded to Florida and then finding his way to Vegas the same way Miller did, also tallied last night. The Knight's GM said before the season began that he just wanted his team to be competitive, to lose games by a goal or two and not get blown out. Now they're three wins away from winning the Stanley Cup. I guess that qualifies as being competitive.
To major league baseball, and just take a gander at the catch Jackie Bradley Jr. made in center field in yesterday's 8-3 Boston win over the Toronto Blue Jays and you'll see why he's so valuable to the team, even if his offense is sometimes lacking.
JBJ tracked down a ball to the deepest part of Fenway Park, sprinting full out and catching the ball over his shoulder right at the 420 foot marker in the triangle, less than a foot from the padded wall as he gently bumped into it with the ball secure in his glove, a sensational grab that maybe two or three other players in the league could have made. Maybe.
David Price got the win despite issuing four walks, and the offense was provided by J.D. Martinez' 17th home run of the year, tying him for the league lead, and another by Andrew Benintendi, who's been raking the ball of late. Oh, and Jackie Bradley Jr. added an RBI double and scored two runs, so maybe he's ready to contribute with his bat as well as his glove.
The win gives the Red Sox a two game lead over the NY Yankees for first place in the A.L. east after the Yanks were beaten 5-1 by the Houston Astros at the Stadium.
Justin Verlander is having maybe the best season in his already stellar career and he blanked the Yankees for seven innings before Greg Bird took him deep for New York's only run of the day. Verlander's ERA is now at a barely visible 1.11. The Astros got a three run homer from J.D. Davis, and a solo shot by Jose Altuve as Domingo German took the loss for New York.
Verlander was lustily booed by the Yankee faithful when he was taken out of the game, and he tipped his cap to the crowd, happy to be jeered for stifling the opposition. No such tip of the cap for former New York mayor and current attorney for president Donald Trump Rudy Giuliani, who also drew a chorus of loud boos from the crowd when the P.A. announced that he was in the Stadium, and that it was his birthday.
More misery for the NY Mets. They took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the 9th in the first game of a double header against the Atlanta Braves, but Charlie Culberson came up to pinch hit and hit a two out, two- run homer off Seth Lugo to win the game 4-3 for Atlanta. But the Mets did recover to win game two, which ended after 1:30 in the morning due to rain delays. Amed Rosario had three RBI's in the Mets' 8-5 win to gain the split.
Upsets at the French Open tennis tournament. On the women's side as Qiang Wang defeated Venus Williams in straight sets in round one, and Stan Wawrinka was also KO'd in round one on the men's side by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.