The Cleveland Cavaliers easily won Game 4 of the Eastern conference finals to sweep the Atlanta Hawks out of the NBA playoffs. While I wasn’t surprised to see the Cavaliers win this series as I like a lot of people had them going to the NBA finals, but I was a little surprised they swept this series. Atlanta was the best team in the Eastern conference during the regular season and I thought they would find a way to win a game or two in this series. Game 4 ended up being the biggest blowout of the series a 30 Cleveland win 118-88. The Cavaliers took a 12 point lead at the end of the 1st quarter 32-20 and that was pretty much the end of the Hawks. Cleveland added 5 points to their lead going into the half at 59-42. The Cavaliers just kept pulling away as they added 8 points to their lead by the end of the 3rd quarter 85-60 and even in the 4th quarter when the game was pretty much decided the Cavaliers still added another 5 points to their lead to get to that 118-88 final score. LeBron James led the Cavaliers in scoring with 23 points, but 5 other Cleveland players scored in double figures. J.R, Smith scored 18 points, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson scored 16 points, Timofey Mozgov had 14 points and Matthew Dellavedova added 10 points for Cleveland. Thompson pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers and Smith also grabbed 10 rebounds in the Game 4. James lead the Cavaliers with 7 assists. Irving was returning from injury and played just under 22 minutes and it was good for Cleveland to get him into a game before the finals. There was a lot of talk of if he should play or if the Cavaliers should just hold him out until the finals started. As long as Irving came out of Game 4 healthy it was the best thing for him to get a game and some minutes under his belt before the NBA finals start. Jeff Teague led Atlanta in scoring with 17 points in Game 4. Paul Millsap had 16 points and 10 rebounds 8 assists while Kent Bazemore had 12 points and 8 assists, Shelvin Mack and John Jenkins both added 10 points for Atlanta. With Kyle Korver missing Game 4 with an injury Atlanta shot 15.6 % from behind the 3 point line going 5 for 32. The only Atlanta player to make more than one 3 pointer was Jenkins and he had 2. It was a rough end for a team like Atlanta that played so well during the regular season and this will just add to the playoff failures the Hawks have had over the years.
The first chance for Cleveland to learn who it’s finals opponent might be is Friday. Game 5 between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets tips off at 8:00 p.m. Central time on ESPN with the Warriors leading the series 3 games to 1 and looking to close it out. I’m sure every Golden State fan was relieved to see Stephan Curry come back on the court and play some minutes after the horrible fall he took earlier in Game 4. This was another situation where there was talk of if Curry should’ve returned to the game. I don;t see it being any issues as long as he was medically cleared to return to the game by a doctor. You’d have to think if Curry isn’t have any lingering issues from the fall you have to think they’ll be able to close out the Rockets tonight, but Houston did come back from being down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in their last series. Not that my predictions ever work out; so sorry Warriors fans, but I’m taking them to win on Friday.
NASCAR had it’s longest race of the season last Sunday. It was the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards used a fuel mileage strategy to get a win and propel himself and his Joe Gibbs Racing #19 into The Chase. Greg Biffle also running a fuel mileage strategy had his best finish of the season finishing 2nd. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 3rd, Matt Kenseth finished 4th and Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps (131) during the race, but came in 5th. Now I’m a fan of NASCAR, but I have to say that I don’t enjoy the races that are won with fuel mileage. I understand that strategy is all part of NASCAR and wins are of the up most importance with The Chase set up, but I didn’t enjoy it. NASCAR has had 9 different winners so far this season; so those 9 drivers look good for The Chase. Now the Sprint Cup series goes to Dover International Speedway this Sunday for the Fed-Ex 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. Will there be a repeat winner? or will NASCAR get it’s 10th different winner this season?
There were a couple of other races on Sunday. Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 trading the lead with Will Power a few times late in the race before he pulled away for the win. Power had to settle for 2nd place. The F1 series had the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday and for the 3rd consecutive year Nico Rosberg won. It appeared that Lewis Hamilton was on his way to victory in Monaco, but some poor strategy cost him and he ended up in 3rd place. Besides Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel was the other driver to take advantage of Hamilton’s issues and finished 2nd. I saw very little of the Monaco Grand Prix, but I did get to see quite a bit of the Indianapolis 500. Did you watch ither race? or are you a fan of either of these racing series?
The New York Rangers evened their series with the Tampa Bay Lighting last night with a 7-3 victory. The win by the Rangers forces a Game 7 for this series Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Central time. New York had a 2-1 lead going into the 3rd period and then out scored the Lighting 5 to 2 in that 3rd period to pull away for the win. Derick Brassard had a hat trick for the Rangers scoring the 1st, 5th and final goals. Nikita Kucherov had both of the Tampa Bay goals in the 3rd period. We’ll see if the Chicago Blackhawks can extend their series against the Anaheim Ducks tonight. Anaheim leads the series 3 games to 2 with Game 6 being played tonight in Chicago. The Game is on the NBC Sports Network starting at 7:00 p.m. Central time. Will we get two Game 7’s in the NHL conference finals?
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