All Hail the Kings! 2012 Stanley Cup Champs
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where the locals are celebrating the return of Princess Katie. No one is more happier about that than Princess Jasmyne.
Princess Katie visits me every summer from Arizona, (She will be a junior in high school this fall) her little sister absolutely adores her...
NHL: The Kings are Kings of Hockey
After racing out to a 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the Kings would win the Cup, but a couple wins by a gutty Devils team had some pundits saying that they could be only the second team to blow a 3-0 Finals lead. But when the Devils took a silly boarding major in the 1st and the Kings cashed in 3 times on the power play, it was all over but the coronation. The Kings cruised to a 6-1 win and a lot of rarities occured with the win. Jonathan Quick was the spot on lock for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP becoming only the 3rd American to win the award. Dustin Brown became only the 2nd American born captain to hoist the Cup. LA will never be mistaken for a hockey hotbed, but their loyal contingent of long suffering fans have finally got the holy grail of hockey. My favorite image was the NBC shot of the little boy holding the sign saying " My Daddy waited 44 years to see this, Im 1 for 1" All the bearded players hoisting the cup is always the most amusing thing to me and reminds me when the Wings won the cup in 2008, I was made immediately to shave my beard by the girl I was dating who could never understand why I was growing a thick beard in June.
NBA: Finally the Finals
The basketball world gets another week or so to snipe at Lebron James. I think that his performance in the Eastern Conference Finals especially the last two games were about as big money as you could ever hope for. He scored 25 points or better in each of the seven games. He didn’t average 25 ppg he scored 25 or more in each of the 7 games. The only other players to have done that were Kareem for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 74 Finals and Elgin Baylor for the Lakers in the 62 Finals. Keep in mind that neither one of those teams won their series, so Lebron is not only in high company, he led his team to the series win.
The NBA may not have its big markets for the Finals but OKC and South Beach are decent sized markets. The Thunder has a home court advantage support that is getting near feared status. Chesapeake Energy Arena gets and stays loud, as the poor (lol) San Antonio Spurs who came in with a 2-0 series lead and left tied, seriously questioning their cajones. After the Thunder won a taut game 5 in San Antonio, the Spurs looked like a team headed for the gallows. I know, I know they raced out to a huge first half lead but the Thunder had a look like “We got this, man” The rolled right Spurs right out of the building in the 2nd half and left some to wonder if the salad days are over in Spursland. The West might be going through OKC for a minute.
Anyway, lets look at the matchup between the teams and what I think of them
2012 NBA Finals
Best of 7 Series (2-3-2) all games on ABC at 9p except Games 3 and if needed 6 which are 8p games
Miami Heat (46-20) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (47-19)
How They Got here
Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder
Coach Scott Brooks 4th Season (174-125 regular season, 197-140 overall)
2012 Northwest Division Champions #2 Western Conference Seed
Defeated #7 Seed Dallas 4-0
Defeated #3 Los Angeles Lakers 4-1
Defeated #1 Seed San Antonio 4-2
Leading Scorer Kevin Durant 28.0 ppg (Led NBA)
Fast Fact: Defeating the Mavericks (2006 & 2011) The Lakers (2000-2002. 2004, 2008-2010) and Spurs 1999, 2003, 2005, & 2007) the Thunder beat each of the three teams to have represented the Western Conference in the Finals since 1999
Previous Finals appearances in 1978 runner up, 1979 Champions & 1996 runner up as the Seattle Supersonics
The Thunder are the fast riser in the NBA, where many looked to Chicago as the team poised to take the next step the Thunder have made the bold statement with its youthful core that plays so much older than they are. Of course this team flows from the dynamic yet low key superstar Durant. He is the type of franchise player that everyone thought he would be coming out of Texas. His well rounded game makes him a matchup nightmare. But you miss the essence of the team by just thinking of Durant. High speed guard Russell Westbrook is a scorer in his own right and James Harden is the reigning 6th man of the year. This is a talented and deep team
Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat
Coach Erik Spolestra 4th Season (194-118 regular season, 224-129 overall)
2012 Southeast Division Champion #2 Eastern Conference Seed
Defeated #7 New York 4 games to 1
Defeated #3 Indiana 4-2
Defeated #4 Boston 4-3
Leading Scorer: Lebron James 27.1 ppg
Previous Finals 2006 Champions, 2011
Fast Fact: LeBron James leads the NBA in playoff scoring at 30.8 ppg, his scoring average has increased in each round 27.6, 30.0 and 33.6 in the respective rounds.
Love em or hate em, the Miami Heat are never boring. Teetering on the brink of playoff doom in the last two rounds the Heat ripped off three straight wins in the conference semis then won a crucial road game 6 against the Celtics behind a staggering 45 point performance by James then pulled away to win a penultimate 7th game on Saturday. The Heat are led by the iconoclastic James and the often mercurial Dwayne Wade who has been battling injuries on the quiet to keep the Heat chugging toward what they feel in their manifest destiny. The return of swingman Chris Bosh have given them a dynamic extra scoring punch and enough of a versatile scoring threat with range to keep a big man otherwise occupied.
How it shapes up
This will not be a slow motion series. Both teams are high energy and can run. Durant and James are scorers of the first rank. The key will be the health of Wade if he is able to carry his part the Heat have a edge. If Chris Bosh puts up points and keeps Serge Ibaka honest the Heat have an even decided edge. But if Wade is still fighting these nagging injuries and Russell Westbrook repeatedly abuses him, and James Harden gives him no rest coming off the bench. The Thunder make this a fairly even series. Many pundits knock James and say he lacks a clutch gene. I think the basketball gods will make the King stew at least one more year. The Thunder play the Heat to a draw through the 1st four games then Durant wins a thriller in game 5 and finish it out in OKC on a Sunday night. Spolestra will have to pay the piper for back to back Finals losses with his job. Thunder in 6
Boxing: Pacquiao got the shaft
Im no Manny Pacquiao fan, I think hes ducking Floyd Mayweather and a fight that could be the biggest of the past 25-30 years. But I think the Pac Man got the shaft as he outboxed a so-called unbeaten fighter in Timothy Bradley yet lost a split decision on Saturday. The numbers say that Pacquiao hit Bradley more. Compubox has him with a 253-159 overall punch edge and a 190-109 power punch edge. Pac Man landed more punches in 10 of 12 rounds. That’s not an opinion, Those are the raw numbers. So what the fuck did two of the three judges see Saturday night? I had the fight 119-109 in favor of Pac Man, AP had it 117-111. He wobbled Bradley twice early and seemed to be in control of the fight till late. Bradley made a nice charge but never hurt Pacquiao. What were these guys thinking? Bradley even looked and sounded like he got something that he didn’t deserve in the post fight presser. Promoter Bob Arum tried to sound outraged but he got exactly what he wanted. Controversy and a rematch, anything to avoid the now jailed Mayweather. When Pac Man beats the crap out of this palooka in November they will talk of a third fight to settle it and Money will have to continue to wait.
Phat Dap/Head Slap
Phat Dap to Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova. Nadal won his 7th French Open a mens record Monday beating Novak Djokovic in a rain delayed finale. Sharapova completed a career grand slam on Saturday whipping Sara Errani in straight sets Saturday. These are two of the worlds best and they proved it on the unforgiving clay courts of Roland Garros this weekend. A dap and best wishes to Greg Willard the long time NBA ref who was supposed to work the game 6 of the Western Finals but was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The refs working the Finals will be wearing a #57 patch in his honor. Hoodwood sends its best and prays that Willard will take the fight to the cancer.
To Hoodwood’s least favorite wonk Skip Bayless who still refuses to give James any kind of dap or credit for leading the Heat back to the Finals. Bayless has repeatedly bashed James and says that he is not a clutch player. He pooh-poohed his 45 point performance in game 6 of the Eastern Finals and openly doubted that he could carry the Heat to a win in game 7. When proven wrong for the umpteenth time (how does this numbnuts stay on the air?) He suddenly became a honk for “his” Thunder, wasn’t this the same jackass that was saying that “his Spurs” would teach the still too young Thunder a lesson? Someone put a sock in this dipshits mouth…I so want Stephen A Smith to beat his ass on live TV one day.
Thats all from the Hoodwood, Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!