On Monday the night the NHL season came to an end as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lighting 2-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals to win the series 4 games to 2. Then last night the NBA season came to an end as the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97 to win that series 4 games to 2.
Golden State pulled out to a 13 point lead after the 1st quarter 28-15. The Cavaliers cut into the Golden State lead in the 2nd quarter going into halftime down just 2 points; 45-43. Golden State stretched their lead to 12 points by the end of the 3rd quarter; 73-61. The Cavaliers did outscore Golden State in the final quarter 36-32, but it wasn’t enough as the Warriors held on for an 8 point victory and their first NBA title since 1975. Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry led Golden State in scoring with 25 points apiece. The move of Iguodala into the starting line up by Golden State coach Steve Kerr not only help the Warriors win the NBA title, but Iguodala was named finals MVP Iguodala added 5 rebound, 5 assists and 2 steals in Game 6. Draymond Green scored in double figures with 16 points and had a triple double adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 6. Festus Ezeli and Shaun Livingston came off of the Golden State bench to score 10 points apiece. LeBron James was led the Cavaliers in scoring with 32 points, rebounds with 18 and assists with 9 missing another triple double by just that 1 assists. J.R. Smith added 19 points. Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson had double, doubles for the Cavaliers. Mozgov had 17 points and 12 rebounds while Thompson cored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. In Game 6 Golden State was the better shooting team from the field making 43.5% of their total shots and hit 38.2% from behind the 3-point line. Cleveland made 39.0% of their total shots and 23.1% from behind the 3-point line. Cleveland was the better free throw shooting team making 27 of 39 (69.2%) of their foul shots while Golden State hit 18 of 29 (62.1%) from the foul line. It was quite surprising that the finals M.V.P. went to Iguodala as James was the best player on the floor even in a losing effort. You have to wonder if James coming out yesterday (Tuesday) saying he didn’t want to be named M.V.P. if the Cavaliers lost the series had an affect on the M.V.P. finals voting. James logged a ton of minute in this finals series and he did everything he could to help the Cavaliers win, but with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving missing significant time with injuries it proven that one great player couldn’t carry a team to a title.
On Monday night Duncan Keith scored in the 2nd period to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead and it turned out to be the only goal they would need, but Patrick Kane did add another Chicago goal in the 3rd period to give the Blackhawks a 2 goal lead and get to the score the game ended at 2-0. It was the Blackhawks 3rd Stanley Cup victory in 6 season and Keith won the Conn Smythe trophy given to the outstanding player in the playoffs. Keith became the first defenseman since Bobby Orr in 1972 to score the Stanley Cup winning goal and win the Conn Smythe trophy. Orr actually pulled this feat off twice; he did it in 1970 as well. Corey Crawford came up big for the Blackhawks when they needed him as Tampa Bay had some quality scoring chances and Crawford even stopped Steven Stamkos on a breakaway. The victory tied Crawford with Tony Esposito for career playoff wins by a Blackhawks goalie with 45. It seemed to have been a series where experience triumphed over youth. Throughout the series it seemed as Tampa Bay was the better team and was outplaying the Blackhawks. Chicago never seemed to panic and never found themselves down by more than 1 goal at any time in the series. Actually the 2-0 win by the Blackhawks in Game 4 was the only game decided by more than 1 goal. It was a good time for Kane to come through with his 1st goal of the series.
After their Stanley Cup victory there were a few experts debating on if the Blackhawks were a dynasty. Some have pointed out that they’ve never won the Stanley Cup in back to back seasons, but the counter is that even in the seasons were they didn’t win it all they went to the conference finals. The Blackhawks are also the first team to win 3 Stanley Cups in the salary cap era. Remember the salary cap is designed to make the teams even. The Blackhawks have sustained their success the same way the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings did: with a stable and special group of players and some of the best coaching in NHL history. If the Blackhawks find a way to win another Stanley Cup or two in the next few seasons; would that make them a dynasty? While there will be some changes in the off season for the Blackhawks their core group of player is intact and young. The Blackhawks have been involved in the Stanley Cup Playoffs every season since 2009. The Blackhawks have reached the Western Conference Final five times and the Stanley Cup Final three times in those seven seasons. They were within an overtime goal of being a favorite to win the Stanley Cup against the New York Rangers last season; so is another Stanley Cup or two out of their reach. Being a dynasty is subjective to each person, but dynasty or not the Blackhawks are a Cup contender and should be for the
I’m getting a kick out of the American League All-Star balloting. As of yesterday the Kansas City Royals had 8 players that would start the All-Star if voting ended right now. I’be heard a lot of the experts complaining about this and I actually heard one suggest that if Omar Infante wins the vote at 2nd base he should decline the honor. Infante isn’t having the best season; he’s hitting .221, but it’s fans vote and if that’s who wins the vote he should play in the game. Royals manager Ned Yost was asked about this situation and was told about some of the complaining and he had a great response. Yost told everyone who didn’t like the way the voting was going to “go out and vote”.
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