Everything you need to know heading into the weekend in the world of sports.
This is a great time of year to be a sports fan, as the NBA and NHL will crown a champion in the upcoming weeks.
The San Antonio Spurs finished off the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games to advance to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in the Gregg Popovich/Tim Duncan era. Standing in their way of another championship is LeBron James and the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat, looking for their third consecutive title. The Heat beat the Spurs in a great seven game series in which the Spurs led 3-2 and blew a golden opportunity to finish off the Heat in Game 6. Tim Duncan said that they wouldn’t let this opportunity slip through their fingers once again, noting that they had four more wins to get, and “we’ll do it this time.” LeBron James basically responded by saying bring it on.
Adam predicted that the Spurs would win this year’s NBA Finals in seven games, citing Tony Parker’s health, the Spurs being motivated to get revenge for last year, and this Miami Heat team being the worst version of the four since LeBron James “took his talents to South Beach”.
NBA TV analyst Dennis Scott, who appeared in the NBA Finals with the Orlando Magic in 1995, broke down how the Spurs will try to defend LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Scott also believes that home-court advantage will greatly benefit San Antonio.
Scott was more right than he knew, as James left the 4th quarter of the Heat’s 110-95 loss quarter with cramps, thanks in part to a faulty air conditioning unit in the AT&T Center.
Meanwhile in the NHL, the plucky New York Rangers have rode good karma and Henrik Lundqvist to the Stanley Cup Final and appear to be a team of destiny, a notion that Adam says should be reserved for the resilient Los Angeles Kings.
Los Angeles became the 4th team in the history of the NHL to win a series after trailing 3-0, defeating the Sharks in seven games, and then knocked off the top-seeded Ducks and defending champion Blackhawks in a pair of seven game series. The Rangers survived a seven game series against the Flyers, came back from down 3-1 against the Penguins, and vanquished the Canadiens in six games to reach their first Stanley Cup Final since 1994.
The Kings lead the Stanley Cup Final 1-0 after taking Game 1 on a Justin Williams overtime goal.
Interview of the Week
Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone joined the show on Thursday and was very candid on a variety of topics. He confirmed that Sammy Watkins was the top player on the draft board for the Buffalo Bills and explained why they traded up to get him. Marrone said that the expectations for the Bills is to compete for a playoff spot. EJ Manuel is their quarterback and has a chip on his shoulder after an injury-plagued rookie season. Marrone also discussed Marcell Dareus’s legal troubles and how the team is helping him. The Bills have missed the playoffs for 14 consecutive seasons and he talked about not only how much the team wants to end that streak, but how desperate the fans are to get back to the playoffs. This is a must-listen if you’re a Bills fan.
Underrated Story of the Week
Cardinals LB Daryl Washington was recently suspended for the entire 2014 season for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Browns WR Josh Gordon is also facing a season-long ban. Giants safety received a six game suspension for a third failed test for marijuana. Common sense would dictate that an NFL suspension for a DUI or assaulting someone would be just as severe. It’s not, and Adam thinks its ridiculous that Washington’s suspension will be for much longer than the one Ray Rice might receive.
GIF of the week
Royals OF Norichika Aoki was in the wrong place at the wrong time, catching an errant throw by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina on the side of the head. Molina has made countless throws back to the pitcher over his 11-year career, and Aoki was just standing there with his head down, so this is a freak incident. Aoki wound up finishing the at-bat, but left the game later.
5 Things to Watch This Weekend
- The San Antonio Spurs look to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals with Game 2 Sunday night.
- Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final takes place Saturday night in Los Angeles.
- The 146th running of the Belmont Stakes takes place Saturday, as California Chrome attempts to become horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Coverage begins at 5pm Eastern on Saturday.
- Check out the Men’s and Women’s finals of the French Open on Saturday and Sunday morning. On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal is seeking his record 9th championship at Roland Garros. As for the ladies, Maria Sharapova is looking for her second French Open title and 5th major championship overall.
- The Blue Jays have jumped out to a 5.5 game lead in the AL East. They travel to St. Louis this weekend and face an always dangerous Cardinals team looking to keep pace in the NL Central.