Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Durant’

I’m sure that every Golden State Warriors fan held there breath last night when Kevin Durant went down about one minute into last nights game against the Washington Wizards. There was a loose ball situation early in the game. Wizards center Marcin Gortat ended up fouling Warriors center Zaza Pachulia on the play. Pachulia’s momentum took him into the back of Durant’s legs. Durant jumped away from Pachulia’s contact, hopping while holding his left leg. Durant actually tried to play the next two possesions befiore asking Warriors head coach Steve Kerr to calla timeout so he could come out of the game. After being looked at by trainers on the bench Durant headed to the locker room holding his leg and didn’t return to the game. Durant underwent an MRI after suffering what was being called a hyperextended left knee, but the results have yet to be released. In what has to be an odd coincidence. The last time Durant played in his hometown of Washington, while with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to miss six games.

Durant took only one shot; which he missed, and left with zero points. By not scoring Durant’s streak of 562 regular season games (653 including the postseason) in which he scored at least 10 points came to an end.

In the wake of Durant’s injury the Warriors agreed to a deal with veteran swingman Matt Barnes. Barnes was released by the Sacramento Kings after they made there trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans. Barnes spent two seasons in Golden State, from 2006 to 2008. Since Golden State will be adding Barnes it will be forced to abandon its plans to sign Jose Calderon on Thursday after Calderon clears waivers. It is being reported that the Warriors will sign Calderon to a rest of the season deal and then promptly waive him, ensuring Calderon earns the money he would have received in Golden State but also leaving a roster spot open to add Barnes.

Barnes had played in 54 games for the Kings starting 13 of them before being waived. He was averaging 7.6 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game and 2.8 assists per game with Sacramento. For his career Barnes averages 8.2 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game and 1.8 assists per game. Barnes is in his 14th NBA season including two tours with the Warriors and two with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Here’s the official report on Durant’s knee. Durant suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain, tibial bone bruise. He will be re-evaluated in four weeks, but is out indefinitely. It hasn’t been ruled out that he could return to the court before the end of the regular season.

It appears that a couple of other recently waived players have found new teams. Brandon Jennings who was released by the New York Knicks on Monday has verbally agreed to sign with the Washington Wizards. Jennings asked the Knicks to release him so he could join a contending team. Jennings played in 58 games for the Knicks starting 11 of them. He was averaging 8.6 points per game, 4.9 assists per game and 2.6 rebounds per game this season. On Monday the Cleveland Cavaliers added point guard Deron Williams after he was released by the Dallas Mavericks, Now it appears as though Andrew Bogot will also sign with the Cavaliers when he clears waivers on Wednesday. Bogot was a teammate of Williams with the Dallas Mavericks, but was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline. Bogot agreed to a buyout with Philadelphia on Monday making him a free agent. The Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics where all interested in Bogot’s services, but he chose to sign with the Cavaliers. Bogot had played in just 26 games with the Mavericks due to injury. He started in 21 games for Dallas. Bogot was averaging 3.0 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, 1.9 assists per game and 1.0 blocks per game. Bogot won an NBA championship with Golden State in the 2014-15 season.

The National hockey League trade deadline is today at 3 p.m. Eastern time and there has been quite a it of player movement these last couple of days. Here’s some of the deals that have happened. The Montreal Canadiens picked up Center Steve Ott from the Detroit Red Wings for a 2018 6th round draft pick. The San Jose Sharks got Right Wing Jannik Hansen from the Vancouver Canucks for Left Wing Nicolay Goldobin and a 2017 conditional 4th round pick. The Edmonton Oilers got Center David Desharnais from the Canadiens for Defenseman Brandon Davidson. The Canadiens will play 20% of Desharnais remaining salary. The Chicago Blackhawks got Johnny Oduya from the Dallas Stars for Center Mark McNeill and a 2018 conditional 4th-round pick. Dallas will pay 50% of Oduya’s remaining salary. The Ottawa Senators got Left wing Viktor Stalberg from the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2017 3rd round pick and a 2018 2nd round pick. The New York Rangers picked up Defenseman Brendan Smith from the Red Wings for a 2017 3rd round pick and a 2018 2nd round pick. The Rangers also picked up Center Daniel Catenacci from the Buffalo Sabres for Defenseman Mat Bodie. The Washington Capitals picked up Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, and Goalie Pheonix Copley from the St. Louis Blues for Centers Brad Malone, Zach Sanford, a 2017 1st round pick and a 2019 conditional 2nd round pick. The Canadiens acquired Defenseman Jordie Benn from Dallas for Defenseman Greg Pateryn and a 2017 4th round pick. The Senators picked up Right Wing Alex Burrows from the Canucks for Center Jonathan Dahlen. The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up Center Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lighting for Center Byron Froese and a 2017 2nd-round pick. The Arizona Coyotes got Teemu Pulkkiene from the Minnesota Wild for Future Considerations. The Wild also got Centers Martin Hanzel, Ryan White and a 2017 4th round pick from Arizona for Goalie Grayson Downing, a 2017 1st round pick, 2018 2nd round pick and a 2019 conditional pick. The Coyotes will pay 50% of Hanzel’s remaining salary. The Los Angeles Kings acquired Goalie Ben Bishop and a 2017 5th-round pick from Tampa Bay for Goalie Peter Budaj, Defenseman Erik Cernak, a 2017 7th-round pick and a 2017 conditional pick. Tampa Bay will pay 20% of Bishop’s remaining salary.

There are the deals that have been made so far. How many move trades do you think we’ll see before the 3 p.m. Eastern deadline?

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The Chicago Bulls had won two of there first three games on there road trip. Last night they ran into what could be there biggest challenge of the season. A road game against the team with the best record in the NBA the Golden State Warriors. The Bulls came into the game very short handed as they played without there top two players Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade. Jimmy Butler missed his third straight game with a bruised heel and Dwayne Wade also sat this game out with an upper respiratory illness. As it turned out the short handed Bulls didn’t stand much of a chance as they dropped a 123-92 game to the Warriors.

With the game tied early at 11 apiece Golden State went on a 15 to 2 run to take a lead that they wouldn’t give up. The Bulls managed just 17 points in the 1st quarter as Golden State put up 30 1st quarter points to take a 13 point lead after one quarter 30-17.

The Bulls hung together with the Warriors in the 2nd quarter. Golden State did outscore the Bulls in the quarter, but just by one point 25-24. The closest the Bulls could get in the quarter was eight points when Isaiah Canaan hit a jumper with 8:15 left in the quarter to make the score 32-24. The Warriors pushed the lead right back to double digits. Draymond Green hit a lay up with :08 seconds left to send the Warriors to the locker room with a 14 point lead 55-41.

Chicago played another tough quarter in the 3rd as this time the Warriors only outscored them by two points in the quarter 31-29. Golden State took there first 20 point lead of the game when Klay Thompson hit a 3-pointer with 10:34 left in the quarter to give Golden State a 63-43 lead. While the Bulls weren’t able to get the lead down to single digits they did cut the Warriors lead down to 11 points at 75-64 with 4:09 left in the quarter. The Warriors scored the last points of the quarter to take a 16 point lead at 86-70 after three quarters.

After playing tough on the 2nd and 3rd quarter the Bulls couldn’t stay with the Warriors in the final quarter. Golden State outscored the Bulls 37-22 in the 4th quarter to pull away for an easy victory. Golden State took a 21 point lead when Kevin Durant hit a jumper with 5:03 left in the game to make the score 106-85. Damian Jones then put the Warriors up 31 points when he hit a jumper with 2:15 left in the game to make the score 119-88. The teams managed just seven points combines in the final couple of minutes of the game, but the outcome was pretty much decided by then. Golden State ended up with a 123-92 victory.

Klay Thompson was Golden State’s and the games high scorer with 28 points. Kevin Durant scored 22 points and tied for the game high in rebounds with 10. Draymond Green had 19 points while Stephen Curry and JaVale McGee each scored 13 points. Kevon Looney came off the Warriors bench to score 10 points. Durant was also the Warriors leader in assists handing out 7 in the game.

Without there top two scorers the Bulls where led by Robin Lopez who put up a double-double with 17 points and tying for the game high in rebounds with 10. Taj Gibson just missed his own double-double scoring 15 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Jerian Grant scored 12 points while Rajon Rondo came off the Bulls bench to score 12 points and hand out a game high 8 assists. Nikola Mirotic also reached double digits off the Bulls bench with 10 points.

The loss drops the Bulls back under .500 at 26-27. They’ll continue there road trip Friday night as they face the 16-37 Phoenix Suns. It has yet to be announced if Jimmy Butler or Dwayne Wade will play in this game. With the win the Warriors improved there NBA best record to 44-8. The Warriors also play next on Friday night, but they head out on the road to face the 33-22 Memphis Grizzlies.

Did Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors ruin the upcoming NBA season? I’ll be the first to say that I don’t like what Durant did, but in the end it was his choice. I’m not a fan of players chasing a championship and I like to see them earn them where they’re playing at. Now I’ve seen a lot of experts and just other people I know that are saying let’s just skip the NBA season and get right to the finals of Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers. Now the Warriors are coming off the best regular season in the history of the NBA, but a failure to win the title more or less makes the season an asterisk. Now Golden State has added Durant to a line up of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Now Golden State did have to trade Andrew Bogut to get Durant’s contract under the salary cap. This Golden State team could end up being the highest scoring team in NBA history and I actually heard one expert say they wouldn’t lose a regular season game next season and sadly he wasn’t kidding.

What I am wondering now is if the way to beat the Warriors is to beat the Warriors up. Physical play isn’t really something you see in the NBA anymore, but Golden State is going to be a small team and you have to wonder if teams will see that and try to go that route. While Bogut wasn’t any type of offensive force with the way the Warriors play he was a true rim protector on defense. Now Durant is a 7-footer he now that type of a defender. Can Festus Ezeli fill that role of rim protector or will Golden State need to try and resign Marreese Speights or Anderson Varejao to try and do that job. It wouldn’t be a big surprise to see either Speights or Varejao brought back as Ezeli is the only center currently listed on the Warriors roster. There really isn’t a big time center left on the free agent market.It is possible that a veteran like Kendrick Perkins would take a low dollar contract to play with the Warriors and have a chance at another title, but how much help would he be?  I’m sure there are NBA head coaches especially in the Western Conference that are already looking at ways to beat Golden State. Would physical play be the answer and would the referees allow a tam to play physical enough against Golden State to beat them. Right now the only thing I’m looking forward to this coming NBA season is to see how a team beats Golden State. Is there anything else to look forward to?

After sitting out the last two NBA seasons there are reports that Ray Allen could be interested in returning to the league. The report said that Allen’s representatives reached out to two teams; the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Allen turns 41 on July 20th and while he’s not absolutely sure he wants to return he is intrigued by the possibility of playing for another championship. While the Warriors and Cavaliers have been contacted to see if they are interested in Allen’s services the report said that Allen would also consider joining the Los Angeles Clippers or San Antonio Spurs. Allen averaged 9.6 points per game for the Miami Heat in 2013-14, his final season. For his career Allen averaged 18.9 points per game and shot 40 percent from the 3-point line. Allen is a 10-time All-Star and won championships with Boston in 2008 and Miami in 2013.

Can the Denver Broncos and Von Miller come to a contract agreement before the July 15th deadline for franchise players to come to terms on long-term deals. Broncos General Manager John Elway reached out to Miller over the 4th of July holiday weekend and the two had a 10-15 minute conversation on the phone. Elway wanted to let his franchise player know that the Broncos still love him and still want to re-sign him, league sources said. Elway told Miller that Denver would reach out to his agents this week in an effort to jump start talks and procure a long-term deal, a source said. Until this weekend, the last time the two sides spoke was June 7. About a month ago Miller stated that he would not play this season under the franchise tag, and all contact between the sides had ceased. The Broncos placed the exclusive franchise tag on Miller March 1st. Unless Miller and Denver can reach agreement on a long term deal by July 15, Miller will make the average of the top-five salaries of his position for this year. And since it’s an exclusive tag, that will prohibit Miller from talking to any other teams. Miller had 11 sacks, 35 tackles and four forced fumbles and was elected to his fourth Pro Bowl selection in 2015. He has 60 career regular-season sacks. Miller was the MVP of the Super Bowl 50 as the Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers. Miller had 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in the Super Bowl. Miller also recorded also had 2.5 sacks and an interception in the Broncos’ win over the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

The Major League Baseball All-Star teams where announced yesterday. As always there where players that belong on the team that didn’t make it, but when you use fan voting like baseball does you’re going to get that. There is still one open spot on each roster and there are five players in each league up for it. In the American League it’s between Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers, Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, Michael Saunders of the Toronto Blue Jays and George Springer of the Houston Astros. Over in the National League the five are Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Jake Lamb of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Starling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies. Who do you got for the last spot in each league?

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NBA free agency kicked of yesterday (July 1st) and to say the least it was Lin-sanity. I meant insanity even though Jeremy Lin was one of the players to verbal agree to a contract. None of these deals can become official until July 7th and you wonder if there will be another DeAndre Jordan moment like last season. In case you forgot what happened with Jordan he agreed verbally to a contract with the Dallas Mavericks, but after a visit from former team the Los Angeles Clippers he changed his mind and ended up resigning with them.

 With the salary cap going up to close to $93 million per team it seems like everyone who got a contract yesterday was overpaid, but it just seems that’s how it’s going to go in the NBA. I believe the minimum salary total a team can have is $83 million; so there are teams scrambling just to make that number. Out of all of the signings yesterday the two biggest names to come off the board may have both ended up with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies resigned their point guard Mike Conley to a 5-year $153 million dollar deal. They also agreed with free agent Chandler Parsons formerly of the Mavericks to a 4-year $94 million dollar deal. 

Looking at those contract numbers what are players like LeBron James or Kevin Durant going to get when they sign with a team. There have also been reports that Dwayne Wade wants a contract worth $20 plus million a season and looking at the contracts that where handed out that shouldn’t be a problem; even if that contract isn’t with the Miami Heat.

 The new television contract the NBA signed with ESPN/TNT has really put more money into the game. The salary cap is due to go up over $100 million next season; so we may go through something just like this again.

 Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck just signed a new contract this week. Luck got a 6-year deal worth $140 million dollars. There where two deals signed yesterday worth more in total than Luck’s and there where  9 players signed to contract who will make more per season than Luck does. Now Luck is in the top tier of quarterbacks in the NFL; I’m not sure if some of the guys who where signed to these huge deals yesterday are in the top tier of their positions in the NBA. I’ll be very interested to see what kind of deal the Cleveland Cavaliers end up giving James and just what kind of money it’s going to take for Durant to sign with a team. I guess if you’re a parent with a young son who hasn’t found a sport he likes basketball might be the way too go.

Speaking of Durant; he has met with 3 of the 6 teams he had planned to meet with. His current or possible former team the Oklahoma City Thunder had the first meeting with him. After that meeting, there where reports that said there was a 90% chance that Durant would resign with Oklahoma City. Then Durant met with the Golden State Warriors. Golden State had there owner Joe Lacob, General Manager Bob Myers, head coach Steve Kerr as well as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala at the meeting with Durant. Golden State’s meeting with Durant ran longer than it was scheduled to and that caused NBA insiders to report that the Warriors where now the front runner to sign Durant. 

Yesterday it was the Los Angeles Clippers turn to meet with Durant  and they made a four hour presentation to him. The Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, Coach Doc Rivers and front-office executives Lawrence Frank and Dave Wohl attended the meeting along with star players Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Point guard Chris Paul could not make it because of a scheduling conflict with his vacation in Spain but had spoken with Durant about his hopes of becoming teammates. Durant is still scheduled to sit down with the San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and the Thunder a second time before reaching his decision next week.

There hasn’t been much talk or any meetings involving where LeBron may play next season. It appears as everyone is convinced that he’ll resign with Cleveland. Remember Cleveland can offer James more money than any other team can and that appears to be what James is interested in right now. The only real question coming up regarding James was a tweet he sent out congratulating Matthew Dellavedova on his new contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. Was James unaware that Dellavedova was a restricted free agent and that the Cavaliers have a right to match Milwaukee’s offer or was he implying that Cleveland won’t match the offer to Dellavedova. Of course given the fact the James is pretty much the ipso facto general manger of the Cavaliers you’d think Dellavedova will be a former James teammate.

July 1st also meant that NHL teams could begin signing unrestricted free agents and even with Steven Stamkos off the board there where sign quite a few players signing with teams. Stamkos received an 8-year deal worth $8.5 million annually from the Tampa Bay Lighting before he ever reached free agency. Besides Stamkos the Lighting also signed defenseman Victor Hedman to an 8-year $63 million dollar deal. Some of the other bigger free agent goal scores signed yesterday as well. Milan Lucic signed a 7-year $42 million dollar deal with the Edmonton Oilers. Kyle Okposo got the same contract as Lucic did, but from the Buffalo Sabres. Loui Eriksson got a 6-year $36 million dollar deal from the Vancouver Canucks while Frans Nielsen got 6 years and $31.5 million to join the Detroit Red Wings. For us locally in Chicago the Blackhawks did sign defenseman Brian Campbeel for 1-year at $2.25 million dollars, but they saw Andrew Ladd leave for the New York Islanders on a 7-year $38.5 million dollar deal.

There are still plenty of NHL and NBA free agents out there. Did you like the moves your team made? Or where they one of the teams that didn’t make any moves yet?

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Even though the Golden State Warriors came back from being down 3 games to 1 in the Western Conference Finals and advanced with the chance to win the NBA title for the second straight season. It seemed that the talk turned pretty quickly to where Kevin Durant will be playing next season. Durant is entering free agency for the first time in his career and has played his entire career for the Oklahoma City Thunder. You have to figure that just about every team in the NBA will contact Durnat’s agent to see if there’s a chance he’d be willing to come t there team. Don’t forget the Washington Wizards hired Durant’s former head coach Scott Brooks hoping that might give them an inside track. Even the top Western Conference teams have been mentioned as a posssible landing spot for Durant. Golden State has been mentioned as being interested as well as the San Antonio Spurs would be interested in Durant’s services. There’s also been mention of the Boston Celtics who have a ton of draft picks and could build the team around Durant. Then there was some talk of Durant going to Los Angeles, but not to play for the Lakers, but for the Clippers. Of course I believe that might have to be a sign and trade with a player like Blake Griffin heading to Oklahoma City, but it could be possible. Not I’m sure between now and when NBA free agency kicks off in about a month there will be even more teams added to the Kevin Durant derby. Now if I had to put my money down on something happened I’d go with him staying wit the Thunder. I’m guessing he’ll sign a short term Max deal with an opt out like LeBron James has done with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Durant could get just under $26 million a season from the Thunder; so maybe he signs a 2-year deal with an opt out after the first year and then he could get even more money as the NBA salary cap continues to go up. Don’t forget that Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are both under contract with Oklahoma City for one more season. Wouldn’t it make sense for Durant to return to the Thunder for one more run at the NBA title; especially after as close as they where to knocking Golden State out of the playoffs this season. It could be quite a situation for Oklahoma City if Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka all hit free agency at the same time after the 2016-17 season. Would it be worth it if they won the NBA title next season and then those three players headed into free agency?

The NBA Finals tip off tomorrow and it’s rematch of last season with the Golden State Warriors defending their title against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The biggest difference between this season and last is that the Cavaliers will be healthy than last years finals. Both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are 100% this time the two teams meet for the title. Even with the Cavaliers being in better health it appears as though Golden State is still the trendy pick. On the Sports Time radio podcast Ben Beeken from DunkinWithWolves.com has the Warriors winning the series in 6 games. Even though Dan the Man didn’t give a number of games for the series he also has Golden State repeating as champions. I didn’t make a pick on the podcast yesterday, but I believe that Golden State will will the series in five games. It seems that everyone I’ve heard predict the series has Golden State winning in five or six games. Who do you have winning the NBA title?

Here’s an odd stat for you and maybe you can win a bar bet or two with it. Anderson Varejao is the first player to play for the teams meeting in the NBA finals in the same season. Varejao started the season with the Cavaliers where he played 31 games. After being realeased by Cleveland he signed on with the Warriors where played in 22 regular season games. and 11 playoff games so far.

The Stanley Cup Finals dropped the puck on Monday night as the San Jose Sharks where in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. Pittsburgh jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the 1st period on goals by Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary.The Penguins really looked like the better team throughout the 1st period. Pittsburgh had 15 shots on goal in the 1st period while San Jose could only muster 4 shots on goal. In the 2nd period it appeared as though the teams switched roles. Goals by Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau even the game at 2-2 after 2 periods of action. The game stayed at 2-2, but the Penguins where getting quite a few shots on goal and you had to wonder if soponer or later if the puck would find it’s way into the back of the net. At 17:27 of the 3rd period Nick Bonino beat Sharks goalie Martin Jones and give Pittsburgh the 3-2 lead and as it turned out the game winning goal. The Penguins doubled up the Sharks shot totals in the 3rd period as Pitttsburgh had 18 shots on goal to San Jose’s 9. The Penguins did go 0 for 3 on the power play while the Sharks went 1 for 2. So Pittsburgh won Game 1 at home and tonight the Penguins look to win Game 2 at home before the series shifts to San Jose.

While the St. Louis Blues didn’t quite make there goal of winning the Stanley Cup the team did well enough for them to want to bring back head coach Ken Hitchcock for next season. During his press conference;  Hitchcock announced that the 2016-17 season will be his final season coaching in the NHL.Hitchcock guided the Blues to the Western Conference finals this year following a regular season in which St. Louis finished with 107 points, the fourth-highest total in franchise history. Four of the top five regular-season finishes in St. Louis franchise history have come with Hitchcock behind the bench. Next season will be Hitchcock’s 20th as an NHL head coach. He won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and has a career record of 757-453-194. He ranks fourth all-time in regular season wins and is likely headed to the Hall of Fame when he’s done.

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The Pittsburgh Penguins evened up there Eastern Conference finals series with the Tampa Bay Lighting at 3 game apiece with a 5-2 win in Game 6 last night. It looked as tough Pittsburgh was headed for an easy victory. Phil Kessel scored the only goal of the 1st period to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead. Then in the 2nd period a goal by Kris Letang and then another by Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead and it seems as the game was pretty much settled. Then in the 3rd period Brian Boyle scored unassisted for Tampa bay t make it 3-1. Then a second goal by Boyle cut the Penguins lead to just one goal at 3-2. That was as close as the Lighting would get as Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino added 3rd period goals for the Penguins to make the final score 5-3 and send the series to a Game 7 Thursday night in Pittsburgh. The Penguins went back to Matt Murray on goal and he stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced in Game 6. You have to figure he’ll get the call in net for Game 7. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been solid in goal for the Lighting, but you have to wonder if we’ll see Ben Bishop in Game 7 if he’s close to being ready to go.

Over in the Western Conference the San Jose Sharks took a 3 games to 2 lead in there series against the St. Louis Blues with a 6-3 win in St. Louis. San Jose will have a chance to close out the series tonight as they host the Blues in Game 6. With there season on the line tonight the Blues announced that Brian Elliott will be the starting goalie for Game 6 in San Jose. Jake Allen started the previous two games against San Jose. Elliott is undefeated this postseason in elimination games, winning a pair of Game 7’s against the Blackhawks and Stars. Overall, Elliott is 9-8 with a .925 save percentage this postseason. San Jose will stick with Martin Jones in goal. Jones is 11-6 with a goals against average of 2.13 and a save percentage of .918.  Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture are leading San Jose in points this post season with 21 apiece while the Blues are led by Robby Fabbri who has 15 points. If St. Louis wins tonight and forces a Game 7 it will be played back at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Friday night.

Are the Golden State Warriors in trouble? Last night the Oklahoma City Thunder took a 3 games to 1 lead in the Western Conference finals over the Warriors with an easy 118-94 victory. This is the second game in a row that Oklahoma City has won the game by 20 plus points. While it was a 24 point margin of victory last night in Game 4 in Game 3 they won by 28 points 133-105. Oklahoma City got out to a double digit lead early, but by the end of the 1st quarter Golden State had cut the lead to just 4 at 30-26. The 2nd quarter is where the game really swung Oklahoma City’s way as they outscored Golden State 42-27 in the quarter and took a 72-53 lead into the locker room at halftime. Golden State did manage to knock 7 points off the lead by outscoring Oklahoma City 29-22 in the 3rd quarter, but it was already to little too late. With a 94-82 going int the 4th quarter Oklahoma City actually added to there lead outscoring Golden State 24-12 in the final quarter.

All five of the Thunder’s starters scored in double figures led by Russell Westbrook’s 36 points. Those 36 points where part of Westbrook’s triple-double as he added a team high 11 assists and 11 rebounds. Kevin Durant had 26 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds. Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson each scored 17 points while Roberson grabbed a team high 12 rebounds. Steve Adams chipped in 11 points for Oklahoma City while Dion Waiters scored 10 points off the Thunder bench.

Golden State was led by Klay Thompson with 26 points. Stephen Curry scored 19 points, but was just 2 of 10 from behind the 3-point line. Curry did hand out a team high 5 assists. Harrison Barnes was the only other Golden State player to reach double figures had 11 points. Draymond Green who let’s face it shouldn’t even of been playing in this game led the Warriors in rebounds with 11. Golden State shot 9 of 30 (30.0%) from behind the 3-point line in the game. Golden State does head home for Game 5 facing elimination, but as we know they’re very good at home.

In the Eastern Conference finals; who had the Toronto Raptors winning both of there games at home and evening the series at 2 games apiece. There where people who thought that the Raptors wouldn’t win a game in this series and now they’ve won two. Are they a real threat to win this series? Game 5 is tonight in Cleveland and it’s going to be tough for the Raptors to win there as the Cavaliers get a large disparity in fouls called. I did get a chuckle out of the huge flop LeBron James took when he git hit in the face in I think Game 3. The referees being incredibly stupid called a technical foul on one of the three Toronto players standing there when as it turned out it was LeBron’s own teammate Tristan Thompson who hit him in the face. Does the NBA still fine players for flopping? and would there dare try and fine LeBron for his terrible flop?

The NFL handed out the Super Bowl for the 2019, 2020 and the 2021 seasons. For 2017 the game will be held in Houston’s NRG Stadium. The other Super Bowl that was already on the books was 2018 and that will be played in the Minnesota Vikings new U.S. Bank stadium. For 2019 the Super Bowl goes to Atlanta and will be played at the Mercedes-Benz stadium. The 2020 game will be at the New Miami stadium, Miami Gardens home of the Dolphins. I’m not sure why, but for some reason the NFL listed this game as being played in South Florida with no details of which city it would be in. Then finally the 2021 Super Bowl will be played at the home of the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, California as long as the stadium is ready; which hopefully it will be by 2021.

 

 

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With the Oklahoma City Thunder hanging on to the 8th and final playoff seed in the Western Conference it was announced that last seasons M.V.P. Kevin Durant will miss the rest of the season. Durant has missed large chunks of the year after having “Jones fracture” surgery back in October, and the latest operation will see him sidelined for another four-to-six months. Durant returned to action in early December, but by the middle of February he started to feel pain again, and had a minor procedure to replace a screw that was rubbing against another bone. Durant consulted with multiple specialist and the decision was made that he will have bone graft surgery. This surgery is needed in five to eight percent of Jones fracture surgeries that do not initially have success or experience setbacks sometime within the recovery period. This latest operation will see Durant sidelined for another 4 to 6 months. Durant’s 2014-15 season saw him play in 27 games averaging 25.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 4.1 APG while shooting 51% from the field and 40.3% from behind the 3-point line. Durant will be entering the final year of his contract next season and the Thunder will have a big decision to make. Oklahoma City will have a year to decide if Durant is a max contract player or if they’ll actually let him walk away as a free agent. The Thunder have given themselves a little bit of a lead for that 8th playoff spot. They are 3 games ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans and 3 1/2 games ahead of the Phoenix Suns. Oklahoma City has 10 games left while the Pelicans have 9 games left and Phoenix has 8 games left in the regular season. In Durant’s absence Russell Westbrook has played at an M.V.P. type level, but going into the playoffs as the 8th seed the Thunder will match up with the Golden State Warriors. When there was a chance that Durant might return this season there was a lot of talk that the Thunder might ne able to upset the Warriors in the 1st round, but with just Westbrook what are the Thunder’s chances of that still happening. Is it time to start wondering that if your name isn’t LeBron James it’s a curse to win the M.V.P. award. Since 2008-09 James has won the M.V.P. award 4 times. Derrick Rose won the award in 2010-11 and Durant won it last season. Rose has pretty much had injury issues ever since and now Durant has a foot problem; just saying.

With Oklahoma City looking to have grabbed the last playoff spot in the Western conference teams can get ready for the playoff to start, but over in the Eastern conference there are 5 teams looking for those last 2 playoff spots. The Miami Heat gave the 7th playoff seed right now and the Boston Celtics are holding on to the 8th playoff seed. The Brooklyn Nets are 1/2 a game out of the 8th spot and 1 1/2 games out of the 7th spot. The Indiana Pacers are 1 game out of the 8th spot and 2 games out of the 7th spot and the Charlotte Hornets are still in the playoff hunt. The Hornets find themselves just 2 1/2 games out of the 7th spot and 1 1/2 games out of the 8th playoff spot. Even the Detroit Pistons haven’t officially been eliminated, but they are 4 games behind the Celtics and things would have to fall just right for the Pistons to find there way into the 8th seed. Do you think it would be better to finish 8th and play the Atlanta Hawks in the 1st round of the playoffs or finish 7th and draw the Cleveland Cavaliers in the opening playoff series?

On the Sports Time Radio podcast last night (Friday) we previewed to American League Central teams. We talked with Nick Dudukovich from FactoryofSadness.com about the Cleveland Indians upcoming 2015 season then Tony Fischer from DetroitJockCity.com came back on the podcast to preview the Detroit Tigers 2015 season. While both teams seem to have their everyday line ups ready to go both teams have pitching questions coming into the season. The Indians have Corey Kluber last seasons Cy Young award winner to anchor the starting rotation. Carlos Carrasco looks to be the #2 starter, but after that they’re filling the rotation with young talent. Trevor Bauer and lefty T.J. House look to be in the rotation and the last spot should come down to a choice between Josh Tomlin and Zach McAllister. Most experts had Danny Salazar penciled in as the 5th starter, but the Indians demoted him yesterday after a difficult spring. If Salazar can get righted quickly in the minors he’ll be back and in the rotation for Cleveland. The Tigers starting rotation is set and ready to go for the season. David Price gets the opening day start with Justin Verlander behind him. Verlander left his spring start yesterday, but it’s being reported that there are long injury concerns and he’ll be ready for his 1st start of the season. Anibal Sanchez is #3 with newcomers Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene filling the #4 and #5 spots. The Tigers have a good rotation the problem will be who makes a start if there’s an injury. The Tigers would look to 24 year old Kyle Lobstein or 23 year old Buck Farmer. While it looks like the Tigers are in a little better shape in the rotation the Indians may hold the advantage in the bullpen. Detroit is looking for Joe Nathan to return to the form that made him one of the games best closers. Nathan has a 5.79 ERA over 9 1/3rd spring training innings. How quickly would the Tigers turn to Joakim Soria if Nathan struggles early in the season. Or would they turn to Bruce Rondon. Rondon was considered in 2013, but had control issues. He’s only walked 2 guys in 6 1/3 rd innings this spring; so could he be the next in line to close games in Nathan has issues. The Indians bullpen and their roles look set to open the season. Cody Allen will close with Brian Shaw, Scott Atchison and lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski in front of him. Can these 3 relievers repeat their performances from last season and will the fact that they made a combined 223 appearances affect them at all. As both the Indians and the Tigers go into the season both of our guests last night had their teams right at the 91-92 win area; so will they both compete for the A.L. Central title?

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Schaumburg Stu won Week 6 with a record of 11-3-1. Mr. Fantasy and I finished a game behind at 10-4-1. Dan the Man had an 8-6-1 record and went from 1st overall on the season to last with a record of 53-37-1 for the year. Mr. Fantasy took over 1st place and has a record of 55-35-1. Mr. Fantasy has a 1 game lead over Schaumburg Stu and I. We have records of 54-36-1. Will see what Week 7 brings us.

While I’d have to say that picking games went well; if you are a fantasy football player it might not have been such a good week. Just to start off Week 6 in the NFL the top two wide receivers in the game Cincinnati Bengals A.J. Green and Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson where inactive. Johnson teammate running back Reggie Bush was also inactive for Week 6. Bush was added to a list with 5 other starting running backs that wouldn’t play in Week 6. Rashad Jennings of the New York Giants, Monte Ball of the Denver Broncos, DeAngelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers, Toby Gerhart of the Jacksonville Jaquars and Donald Brown of the San Diego Chargers. Brown was actually filling in for 2 other injured Chargers running backs; Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead. If you’re in a deeper league you may have had to work around injuries to Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jarrett Boykin and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglass. While Boykin and Douglass aren’t the main targets on their teams they both do see a lot of time on the field as the third receiver in three receiver sets that their teams use. All of these players where out going into the Week 6 games. During Week 6 fantasy owners lost a couple of running back and a top wide receiver. Victor Cruz of the New York Giants is done for the season with a torn patellar tendon during which he got the 3rd quarter of the Giants game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Stevan Ridley of the New England Patriots both his ACL and MCL against the Buffalo Bills and is done for the season. Knowson Moreno just came back from an elbow injury and Moreno on Tuesday as he was put on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury. He has been bothered by injuries all season and played in just three games. We can also add Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles running back. Sproles has a medial collateral ligament sprain and the timetable for his return is 1 to 3 weeks. As I’ve mentioned on Sports Time Radio and here a time or two we have two 20 team leagues where you start 2 running backs. So at a minimum 60 running backs were drafted and now if you own one of these players out for the season you have to try to fill that roster spot. you can add in suspend running backs Adrian Petersen and Ray Rice who were both drafted in our leagues.

Let’s jump from fantasy football to fantasy basketball since we have a draft coming up in about 10 days. How much would you pay for an injured Kevin Durant? Durant has been diagnosed with a Jones fracture in his right foot that could sideline the 2013-14 MVP for six-to-eight weeks. I also heard a report that this injury could keep Durant out 12 weeks. Durant is the #1 rated player in Yahoo’s pre-season rankings. We used an auction format for our league and you have to figure out what Durant would be worth to you if he doesn’t come back to play until the middle of February. I never thought I would say or write something like this, but I think it might be a good year to pass on Durant and save your auction money for other players. Even when Durant gets back he’ll have to get into game shape and back into the flow of the Oklahoma City Thunder offense. While I’ll be the first to admit that basketball isn’t my best fantasy sport and it may even be my worst, but I think I’ll stay away from Durant this season and that’s tough to say and or write.

Be honest; who had the Kansas City Royals up 3 games to 0 in their American League championship series against the Baltimore Orioles. A 2-1 win last night (Tuesday) gave the Royals their 3-0 lead in the series. Hopefully the game will start in about an hour depending on how the weather is in Kansas City. Miguel Gonzalez is the starting pitcher for the Orioles today with their season on the line. Jason Vargas takes the mound for the Royals looking to close out the Orioles. Even if Kansas City does sweep the Orioles out of the playoffs this has still been a very good series.

In the National League championship series the San Francisco Giants took a 2 games to 1 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals with a 5-4 win in 10 innings yesterday (Tuesday). The Giants won on a Randy Choate throwing error in the bottom of the 10th inning. I had never seen a playoff game end on a throwing error before. The Cardinals try to even up the series tonight with Shelby Miller as the starting pitcher. Miller is opposed on the Giants side by Ryan Vogelsong. While he’s only missed one game will have to see if the Yader Molina injury has a big effect on the series.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

Are you surprised that Tiger Woods missed the cut yesterday at the PGA Championship? I think I was more surprised that he decided to play than I am that he missed the cut. It was the last tournament of the season for Woods and I wonder if that played into his decision to go out and try to play. Woods played in just seven PGA tournaments this season and won’t qualify for the Fed Ex Cup playoffs that start in two weeks. There was some talk of Woods playing in the Ryder Cup, but you’d have to think that right now it’s better for him to rest and try to recover. I just kind of have a feeling that we’re not going to see Woods in a tournament for a while.

Rory McIlroy is leading the PGA Championship at -9 and has a one shot lead over Jason Day and Jim Furyk. Ryan Palmer, Rickie Fowler and Mikko Ilonen are just two shots back at -7 under. Phil Mickelson is tied for 7th place going into Saturday’s round and is three shots behind McIlroy at -6 under par. McIlroy has been the hottest player on the tour lately and will see if he can add a second major win in a row during these next two rounds.

Kevin Durant left Team USA this week citing mental and physical exhaustion. Durant likely would have split his time between the two positions, starting at small forward. Now Team USA’s best options there are first-timers Gordon Hayward, Chandler Parsons and Kyle Korver, none of whom have made NBA All-Star teams. Anthony Davis, a 21-year-old, is the only All-Star frontcourt player left for Team USA, unless Love decides to play now that his trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers is agreed upon. I have to wonder if the Paul George’s injury had anything to do with Durant’s decision. Durant plays a lot of basketball and you can’t blame him for wanting some time off. His team; the Oklahoma City Thunder goes to the NBA playoffs every season and that adds games to his year as well as these tryouts and basketball camps. You can see where it could get mentally and physically draining on a player. Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay has been added to Team USA’s roster to replace Durant.

The NFL pre-season got up and running last night. I know there’s been a Hall of Fame game then the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens played Thursday night. Friday had more of a full slate of games. Just some quick take a ways from last nights action. The Chicago Bears defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 34-28, but Bears tight end Martellus Bennett did not participate do to his suspension. Blake Bortles was solid in his preseason debut Friday night, throwing for 117 yards and leading a second-half drive for a field goal in a 16-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bortles went 7 for 11 for 117 yards in the game. Matt Cassel outplayed rookie Teddy Bridgewater in the Minnesota Vikings’ opener a 10-6 win over the Oakland Raiders. Cassel went 5-6 for 62 yards while Bridgewater was 6-13 for 49 yards. Derek Carr went 10-16 for 74 yards on the Raiders side, but did throw and interception. Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl quarterback Cam Newton did not play in Friday night’s preseason-opening 20-18 victory over the Buffalo Bills. This is not a setback for Newton, who underwent surgery in March to tighten tendons in his left ankle, as much as it is precautionary. In St. Louis Michael Sam got an extended look at defensive end in the St. Louis Rams’ pre-season opener in a 26-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Just a quick little NFL pre-season wrap up from last night.

Did you have the Baltimore Orioles leading the American League East by 5 games at this point in the season? Well that’s right where the Orioles are. A 5 game lead over the New York Yankees. I guess you could see the Orioles in 1st place being led by first base man Chris Davis; no. Davis has had some injuries this season and is having a down year coming off of 2013. Davis does have 20 home runs and has driven in 55, but he’s hitting .198 for the season. Then you’re thinking catcher Matt Wieters is having a break out season; no. Wieters is on the disabled list having playing in just 26 games for Baltimore this season. So how have the Orioles gotten themselves into 1st place. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis lead the offense as full-time players and a great free agent signing of Nelson Cruz have helped. Makakis is hitting .287 with 10 home runs and 39 RBI’s and has been a great defender in right field. Jones is hitting .284 with 22 home runs and 70 RBI’s while being a top defensive center fielder as well. Cruz is supplying the big power numbers for Baltimore this season with 29 home runs and 77 RBI’s. Shortstop J.J. Hardy;s power numbers have been down, but he’s gotten his average up to .281 and leads the team in doubles with 25. Wei-Yin Chen is leading the pitching staff in wins with 12, but Bud Norris and Chris Tillman have 9 wins apiece. After Tommy Hunter’s injury Zach Britton has stepped in and locked down the closer role. Darren O’Day has been a top set up guy with 18 holds and the Orioles went out and added left-handed pitcher Andrew Miller at the trading deadline. Will see if the Orioles can hold off the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays down the stretch in the A.L. East.

So how was your week?

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

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Baseball is coming up on one month into it’s season. The NFL is preparing for the draft. While the NHL playoffs started earlier this week the NBA playoffs get under way today.

The NBA 1st round match ups look like this. In the Eastern conference; #1 Indiana Pacers vs. #8 Atlanta Hawks. #2 Miami Heat vs. #7 Charlotte Bobcats. #3 Toronto Raptors vs. #6 Brooklyn Nets. #4 Chicago Bulls vs. #5 Washington Wizards.

In the Western conference it’s #1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #8 Dallas Mavericks. #2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #7 Memphis Grizzlies. #3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. #6 Golden State Warriors. #4 Houston Rockets vs. #5 Portland Trailblazers.

There are some good 1st round match ups, but all the talk seems to be centered around the #3 seed vs. the #6 seed in both conferences. A lot of experts think the Nets may have tried to work their way into the #6 seed to get the match up against Toronto. The Nets have been one of the top teams in the NBA since January 1st and there veterans seem healthy and rested for the playoffs. Will they be the surprise team in the East? The talking has started in the Clippers/Warriors series already. Klay Thompson said that Blake Griffin flops and I believe he called him a bull in a china shop as well. The Warriors Andrew Bogut is out for this series and while that provides some inside match ups for the Clippers to take advantage of it will give the Warriors a chance to play small and make it tougher on the Clippers DeAndre Jordan or maybe even limit his minutes.

In the East it’s tough to see any other team except Miami going to the finals. Indiana has such struggles down the stretch you have to wonder if they’ll be able to get ready mentally for the playoffs. The Nets had a great regular season record against the Heat, but that was the regular season. I don’t have the guts to call a Bobcats upset over Miami in the 1st round either. Out West I really think you could put all eight teams names in a hat and pick the winner out of it. I really believe that any of these eight teams could come out of the West, but I think the winner of the Rockets/Trailblazers series might surprise a 2nd round opponent and go to the conference finals. With the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers all missing the playoffs you’d have to think the NBA itself is rooting for the a Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder match up for the finals. The best possible outcome for the NBA would be the two best players, LeBron James & Kevin Durant, matching up.

The NHL playoffs got started this week and here are the match ups we’re looking at. In the Eastern conference it’s the Boston Bruins vs. the Detroit Red Wings; Detroit leads the series 1 – 0. Tampa Bay Lighting vs. the Montreal Canadians; Montreal leads the series 2 – 0. The Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets; Pittsburgh leads the series 1 – 0. New York Rangers vs. the Philadelphia Flyers; New York leads the series 1 – 0. In the Western conference it’s the St. Louis Blues vs. the Chicago Blackhawks; St. Louis leads the series 1 – 0. The Colorado Avalanche vs. the Minnesota Wild; Colorado leads the series 1 – 0. The San Jose Sharks vs. the Los Angeles Kings; San Jose leads the series 1 – 0. The Anaheim Ducks vs. the Dallas Stars; the Ducks lead the series 2 – 0.

While these series have started and it’s hard to call upsets and stuff like that Dan the Man and I did talk some hockey on Wednesday’s show. We both like to see the Blackhawks repeat as we live in the Chicago area, but will have to see if they can bounce back from a triple overtime loss in Game 1. I was leaning towards the Wild as kind of my surprise team, but they lost a tough Game 1 to Colorado. I thought Jonathan Quick was going to come up big for the Kings and they would be a Stanley Cup contender, but they dropped Game 1 as well. Pittsburgh had a tougher Game 1 than I thought they would, but they came out of it a winner. Detroit is a tough 1st round match up for anyone and might be able to get past the Bruins in round 1. There’s a long, long way to go in these series; so will see how they play out over this weekend and into next week.

As we get closer and closer to the NFL draft I see more and more mock drafts. I caught one the other day, but I don’t remember which expert it was who out it out, but he had quarterback Teddy Bridgewater dropping all the way to the 1st pick in the 2nd round going to the Houston Texans there. It was an interesting choice of a quarterback who would drop. In most of the experts eyes it’s Johnny Manziel being the quarterback that will drop out of the 1st round. As we all know none of this is a science. I saw a draft a few weeks ago that had Khalil Mack being the 1st player chosen, but then expert released another draft a week later and had Mack just outside the top 10. My guess was, he took out Mack in his #1 spot, so people would talk about his mock draft and it worked; his is one of the drafts I remember. Maybe we can get Dan the Man or Mr. Fantasy to put together the first ever Sports Time Radio mock draft.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

So how was your week?