Friday, June 15, 2007

Here's to Fin

Can you ever remember a time where you almost welcomed an off-season? There is no way America wanted a Game 5. Congrats, Spurs. Now please don’t make us watch anymore for a few month.

By the way, has any team ever under celebrated more? The celebration was similar to a team winning a division title. Come on, boys. I know you win all the time, but these are still rare.

Spurs Win, hardly break a sweat.

Here's to the Big Three, as well as to the big three that's still to come.

Given the MVP ascent of Tony Parker — and the health and continued power of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili — what are the odds they don't win at least one more championship over the next three years?

They will prefer to savor this one for now. They looked finished in January, especially when a trade for Corey Maggette never worked out.

Here's to Maggette for staying in Los Angeles.

But struggling early and finishing strong is part of the Spurs' title pattern. They've also lost in the first round in either the first or second game, and they've often faced their strongest opponent in the second round.

Another part of the pattern is what has awaited them in three of their four Finals: an inferior team. The Cavaliers were the worst the Spurs met in the playoffs this season, and that was especially true at point guard.

Daniel Gibson is too young, Eric Snow too old and Larry Hughes too injured. Into this void came Parker, playing as well as he ever has.

Parker deserves his MVP trophy, but he wasn't always the best point guard in either of the previous Spurs series. Both Steve Nash and Deron Williams could counter. Cleveland couldn't, and Parker sped for another 24 points in the finale.

Still, this will help Parker. He said last month he thinks he will enter his prime when he's about 28 years old, and the 2007 experience will only speed that along. Championship confidence always comes in handy.

Lebron likes Gladiator…A lot

LeBron James, a father for the second time early on the morning of the fourth game of the NBA Finals, said there was no "Rocky moment" after the birth of his son, Bryce Maximus James.

In "Rocky II," the fighter's wife comes out of a coma after having a baby and tells him: "Win." Yo, Adrian. Life does not imitate art. Not when the other team is the San Antonio Spurs.

The Cavaliers lost again to the Spurs, 83-82, in a game that was not really that close. It completed a sweep in the NBA Finals by the heavily favored Spurs. Inspiration anywhere, even from the sickbed, was welcome in light of the Cavs' plight.

The second son of the Cavs' sun was born to James and longtime girlfriend Savannah Brinson Thursday at 12:51 a.m. The baby's middle name is that of the Russell Crowe character (Maximus Decimus Meridius) in "Gladiator." It is James' favorite movie.

At least James did not name him Spartacus (too old a gladiator movie) or Cincinnatus (tough sell in Cleveland), or Antony (too close to ESPN's Greg Anthony) or Cleopatra (Roman equivalent of a boy named Sue).
"King James" was more gritty than regal throughout the Finals.

Lack of rest on the day of the conclusion of the Finals did not help, either, although he denied he was fatigued.

James missed 11 of 13 shots in the middle quarters. This was when the Spurs were waiting to be beaten. But the Cavs could not oblige them.

The jumpers the Spurs dared James to take, he took reluctantly. Once, James threw a third-quarter entry pass to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who was double-teamed by Bruce Bowen, James' principal defender. Z kicked it
back out to James, standing by his lonesome inside the 3-point arc. James then re-posted the ball to Z as Bowen again doubled him. Teams double off a shooter who has no confidence, someone who cannot hurt them.

Here is to Fin

Nobody reveled in the moment more than Finley. After the Spurs had persevered with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker leading the way, it was Finley who stood at center court with both arms outstretched, letting loose with a long, loud "Yeeeaaaaa."
"This one is for Michael Finley," said Parker, the Finals MVP. "He made the right decision coming to San Antonio."

It was a decision that the Mavericks pretty much made for him, waiving him under the amnesty provision two summers ago to save more than $50 million of luxury-tax money. Finley spent most of his career as a star with the Mavericks. Those days were gone forever when he moved south.

"I had my time in the spotlight with all the glory, and I didn't win a championship," Finley said. "We were never the best team.

"But now, my role has changed, and no matter what anybody says about me now, whether they bad-mouth me or anything, they're going to finish that sentence with: He's a champion."

Finley's role was more cameo than critical. He had just four points and two rebounds in 16 minutes Thursday. He's no star on the Spurs' latest championship rendition. But he rode the coattails of Tim Duncan, Parker and Ginobili every bit as well as Robert Horry, who has made a seven-ring career out of partnering well.

In fact, the Spurs are notorious for bringing in crafty veterans who have never won a title and giving them their first ring. Kevin Willis, Steve Smith, Jerome Kersey, Brent Barry and others have come to San Antonio to win a ring.

Finley falls in line now. And when he was celebrating, he didn't take any swipes at the Mavericks. He said Nowitzki and Nash have already congratulated him on a great playoff run and, as he said, "I'm sure they'll be in touch soon about the championship."

In an effort to ease the pain for most of my readers, Please enjoy the blog entry from Game 7’s Mavs win over the Spurs from Last May …And don’t forget, only 1 team has beaten San Antonio in the last 3 seasons in the playoffs. That should be remembered before we blow this thing up…

Kam Loe gives us a quality start!

The plan was for Kameron Loe to go down to the minors, make a few adjustments and return to the Rangers when he was ready to pitch again in the big leagues.

Judging by his performance in a 6-0 victory over the Pirates, Loe came back a changed man -- after only five days.

Pressed into a spot start for the injured Brandon McCarthy, Loe turned in the finest
outing by any Rangers starter this season, throwing eight shutout innings and allowing only five hits while striking out a career-high seven batters.

Could all that have come from just two days with Triple A Oklahoma in Albuquerque, and only one bullpen session with RedHawks pitching coach Andy Hawkins?

"Maybe something subconsciously clicked," Loe said, "and honestly, I think it was just raising my arm angle a little bit, throwing a bullpen in front of Hawk and noticing that.

"I did a lot of thinking... I had some time on plane rides -- a lot of those lately."
McCarthy is certain to miss at least one more start while he's on the disabled list, but Loe probably could have guaranteed a return to the minors with a dismal start Wednesday.

Instead, Loe likely earned himself another big-league start, and if it's anything like his start Wednesday, those minor-league lessons might not be necessary.
"I don't want to go back down there, that's for sure," Loe said.

Loe relied heavily on his sinker Thursday and commanded his breaking pitches well. He looked more like the pitcher who led the majors in spring training with a 0.92 ERA and not the one who had an 8.57 ERA in his previous nine starts.

"He showed us what we knew he always had," manager Ron Washington said. "Previous to this point, he just never had it for the whole time he was out there."

Sidney Crosby wins everything

The NHL awards ceremonies turned into The Sidney Crosby Show as the 19-year-old superstar scored an impressive off-ice hat trick Thursday night.

The youngest player in league history to win the Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion won the Hart Trophy from writers as most valuable player and the Pearson Award from his peers as most outstanding player. Crosby was recently named captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins and after winning the most coveted individual awards in hockey he was asked if he'd just had the best two weeks of his life.

"I haven't won the Stanley Cup yet so ask me after that," he replied during the post-awards news conference. "But this has been a couple of memorable weeks."

The Cole Harbour, N.S., teen became the seventh player in league history to pull off the Ross-Hart-Pearson hat trick.

Crosby amassed 120 points last season and he did it while playing the last six weeks with a broken bone in a foot. He'd gone away with empty hands after losing the top rookie award to Alex Ovechkin one year ago. This time he went away with his hands full.

"That wasn't what drove me to play this year," he said. "I just wanted to be better than I was before."

He thanked his parents.

"The sacrifices of my parents, the early mornings, the practices . . . I owe a lot of thanks to them," he said.

There were four repeat winners.

Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings won the Norris Trophy for the second year in a row and fifth time overall, teammate Pavel Datsyuk won the Lady Byng Trophy as most gentlemanly player the second year in a row.

Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils won the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender for the third time, and Carolina Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour won his second straight Selke Trophy as top defensive forward.

The Vancouver Canucks' Alain Vigneault received the Adams Award as top coach, and Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin got the Calder Trophy as top rookie.

Vinny Lecavalier, a finalist for the Pearson, got the Maurice Richard Trophy for scoring a league-high 52 goals.

Phil Kessel of the Boston Bruins, who completed his rookie season after being diagnosed in December with testicular cancer, received the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for humanitarianism for his work with charities. Koivu battled and beat non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The Hart was last in the order of presentation and Hockey Hall of Famer Gordie Howe, a six-time winner, handed it to Crosby.

Oduro with late winner for FC Dallas

Despite missing a number of key players, FC Dallas continues to get results, this time a 1-0 victory on the road at struggling Real Salt Lake, who have yet to get a win this season.

The Hoops pressed from the opening whistle with little to show until three minutes into second-half stoppage time when Dominic Oduro pelted a low rocket past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando and inside the far post.

It's a scenario that Dallas is familiar with in Salt Lake City. FCD opened the 2007 season grabbing a tie at Salt Lake when Carlos Ruiz evened things up late in stoppage time. And in July 2006, Abe Thompson slipped in a game-winner at Rice-Eccles, also in the 93rd minute.

FCD head coach Steve Morrow wasn't surprised his team could grind out the result.
"I think that's the third time we've done it to them here -- scored late in the game," said Morrow. "To be honest with you, I think it was just exactly what we deserved."

The game's goal scorer also thought Dallas was the better team on the night.
"It's always hard to play away from home," said Oduro. "It was a tough game -- nice competition -- but at the end of the day we were the best team and we deserved to win."

It was the second consecutive win for a depleted Dallas side who are missing a number of players to injury -- most recently Kenny Cooper, whose leg was broken last Sunday against the Galaxy -- and national team duty, as Carlos Ruiz is with the Guatemalan national team for the Gold Cup.

Click Here to see the Goal and the game highlights

Kobe goes to Barcelona

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant made a surprise visit to watch FC Barcelona in training Thursday before the team's final game this weekend.

Bryant, who lived in Europe for eight years and is an avid soccer fan, watched quietly from the sidelines and hugged Barcelona midfielder Ronaldinho after the training session.

"I came to enjoy my favorite football team," Bryant said after security guards let him into the Nou Camp stadium. "It is a privilege to be able to watch Barca train."

Plan your trips now: 2007-08 Premiership Schedule is released

Eastern Motors (From Monday’s Blog) behind the scenes

I wish I could do this


Andy D. said...

Maybe it was supposed to happen this way...

1. Nellie takes out his old team that he brought back from the doldrums..
2. Dirk tanks in front of his American daddy.
3. Fin has the last laugh.

Before there was all this, there was Michael Finley. He was classy from day 1 with Dallas and represented our franchise with dignity in the spotlight. Good for you dude.

Phil K. said...

whoa...was there supposed to be a "RIP" in the credits somewhere? that last jump didn't look so good.

Rangers + Kam Loe Quality Start = Season Turn-around?

I'll start the fierce slow-clap right now for that one.

Robin said...

Yeah, these guys didn't celebrate at all...

BACM said...

NBA Finals? Yawn.

I actually caught myself watching FC Dallas last night. Are you kidding me?

Bring on the beating of Micky's ranch reports until late August when my sports weiner can come out of hiding.

Do the Rangers still have a team?