The NBA is in the 1st round of it’s playoffs and most series have played 2 or 3 games and a few teams have chances to close out their series today. There is just 1 series where each teams has won a basketball game. That series is the San Antonio Spurs vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers won Game 1 of the series by 15 points, 107-92 and there were quite a few experts saying that the Spurs were done after just 1 game. They seemed to have forgotten that the Spurs were one of the hotter teams heading into the playoffs and the only reason they were facing the Clippers was because the Western conference standings were so tight that when they lost their last game of the season they feel from the 2nd or 3rd seed down to the 6th seed. So with the Spurs being declared out of the series after 1 game they turned around and took home court advantage in the series by winning Game 2 111-107. Game 3 was last night (Friday) in San Antonio and if you would’ve told me that one of these teams would win this game by 27 points I would’ve thought you were crazy. Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points and the Spurs beat the Clippers 100-73 to go up 2 game to 1 in the series. Besides Leonard only 2 other Spurs players scored in double figures and neither of them was named Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili. It was Boris Diaw (15) and Danny Green (11) would scored double digit points in San Antonio’s win. The Clippers shot 34.1% from the field and 6-23 from behind the 3-point line. Blake Griffin going 6-15 from the floor and 2-3 from the free throw line and led the Clippers in scoring with 14 points. Chris Paul struggled from the field going 3-11 and Jamal Crawford had a horrible shooting night going just 1-11 from the floor. Austin Rivers scored 11 points and DeAndre Jordan had 10 points; as the only other Clippers who scored in double figures. San Antonio has found different ways to win Game 2 and Game 3 and with Game 4 Sunday in San Antonio do the Spurs have a 3rd different way to win a game in this series. Does Game 3 become a must win for the Clippers or would they have a shot at winning the series if they went back to Los Angeles down 3 games to 1.
Now when the NBA playoffs started there was a lot of complaining that there were teams that finished the regular season under .500 that made the Eastern conference playoffs. With the way the 1st round of the playoffs have went is that the biggest problem or could the issue be that there are too many teams in the playoffs. Besides San Antonio the Washington Wizards are the only other lower seeded team to win a playoff game. The Wizards went into the playoffs as a #5 seed and were matched up against the Toronto Raptors. It’s not a huge surprise that the Wizards are winning this series as there’s not a lot of difference between a #4 and #5 seed, but the Raptors really struggled down the final stretch of the regular season. If the playoffs went from 16 teams to 12 teams no under .500 teams would’ve made it. The Milwaukee Bucks where 41-41 and are the 6th seed in the Eastern conference. Now lowering the number of playoff teams will never happen, but when the 1st round plays out like this doesn’t it take some of the excitement out of it. Now the Memphis Grizzlies/Portland Trailblazers series has just played 2 games; so maybe something will happen their with Memphis up 2 games to 0 and Game 3 today. The Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets have only played 2 games with Atlanta winning both of them, but does anyone think Brooklyn will win a game in this series. Atlanta is the eastern conferences #1 seed while Brooklyn barely found it’s way into the playoffs. While there has been a game here or there that has been exciting I’m not sure this is the 1st round the NBA had hoped for.
I took a chance last season on my fantasy teams and late in both drafts I managed to get Yordano Ventura of the Kansas City Royals. He had a very good rookie season going 14-10 with a 3.20 E.R.A, in 30 regular season starts and was one of the big reasons the Royals found themselves playing Game 7 of the World Series last season. In the off season the Royals decided not to re-sign James Shields and allow Ventura to become the ace of the pitching staff. So this season Ventura has made 4 starts; he is 2-1 with a 4.09 E.R.A. over 22 innings so far. In what may be some kind of record in his last 3 starts the benches have cleared and he’s been right in the middle of it. Now when this happened in his start against the Oakland A’s in understood it. Ventura hit Brett Lawrie who had taken out the Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar with a slide into 2nd base the game before. The pitch hit Lawrie low and even Lawrie acted like he knew it was coming and just went to 1st base. Ventura escalated the situation by barking at Lawrie who was going up the 1st base line while Ventura was leaving the game. That didn’t bother me too much as Ventura was just defending a teammate. In Ventura’s start before that against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim/ After Mike Trout scored a run and with Ventura was backing up home plate they started to exchange words over something and this led to the benches emptying. Then in his last start against the Chicago White Sox Adam Eaton hit a ball back up the middle that Ventutra fielded. While Eaton was running the ball out Ventura started barking at him more or less because he hit the ball back up the middle which is something I heard Ventura doesn’t like when hitters do. This led to yet another bench clearing for the Royals and there where even some punches thrown. There have also been reports that White Sox pitcher Chris Sale tried to get in the Royals clubhouse to find Ventura and continue the fight. Now I understand that pitchers are going to throw at batters and there’s going to be times when players get upset and it will lead to on field fights, but in your last 3 starts. Kansas City looks like they have a very good team again and may have a shot to get into the playoffs, but can they do that with their best pitcher starting fights every time he takes the mound. Then you also have to wonder how many more times are Royals hitters going to be understanding about getting drilled because of something Ventura did or said. Is it time for major league baseball to step in and suspend or fine Ventura for his actions or will the Royals be able to police themselves and get their ace under control.
Now the 1st round of the NHL playoffs are also going on and 2 of their series have already ended. The Anaheim Ducks swept the Winnipeg Jets 4 games to 0 and the New York Rangers closed out the Pittsburgh Penguins 4 games to 1 last night. I was a little disappointed to see Sidney Crosby go out of the playoffs in the 1st round and his team not even out up much of a fight. There is a chance that 3 more series will come to an end tonight. The Washington Capitals have a chance to close out the New York Islanders. The Chicago Blackhawks can eliminate the Nashville Predators and the Calgary Flames can send the Vancouver Canucks home with a win. The Tampa Bay Lighting hist the Detroit Red Wings as well today, but that series is tied at 2 games apiece.
So how was your week?
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