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Historic night for Canadian basketball

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Thursday was a remarkable evening in Canadian basketball history. For the first time ever a Canadian was drafted first overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Anthony Bennett of Toronto, a freshman forward from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels.

The fact that Bennett was drafted first overall was a surprise to many because the consensus first overall pick was Nerlens Noel, a center out of Kentucky, who dropped to number six to the New Orleans Pelicans. Bennett will join Canadian Tristan Thompson of Brampton, Ontario in Cleveland.

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Heat win 2013 NBA Finals

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

For the second consecutive season the Miami Heat have won the 2013 NBA Finals.

On Thursday evening in south Florida, LeBron James scored 37 points and 12 rebounds as Miami defeated San Antonio 95-88 to win the 2013 NBA Finals.

The Heat defeated the Spurs 4-3 in the best out of seven series. It was the third NBA Finals championship for the Heat. In 2006, the Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks 4-2 and last year the Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1.

A major reason for Miami’s win on Thursday was the awful three point defense from San Antonio. Shane Battier had six three pointers, James had five three pointers, and Mario Chalmers had a deep three pointer at the end of the third quarter to put Miami up 72-71. It would be a lead the Heat would not relinquish in the fourth quarter.

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Heat force Game 7 in NBA Finals

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Heading into the fourth and final quarter last night, the San Antonio Spurs were leading the Miami Heat 75-65. The Heat needed to have a significant comeback to salvage their season.

Luckily, they were able to do just that.

At the end of the quarter, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra preached defense. He wanted them to have their best defensive quarter of the season. Well, the Spurs were able to score 20 points, but thnks to a marvelous fourth quarter by LeBron James and Ray Allen, the Heat came back to tie the Spurs at 95.

Then in overtime, James and Allen continued their strong play en route to a 103-100 Miami overtime win. Former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh also came up big for the Heat in the dying seconds as he successfully blocked Danny Green’s game tying three point attempt.

The Miami win will now  force a seventh and deciding game Thursday in Miami. The prize is a NBA Championship.

 

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Spurs take lead in NBA Finals

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

In the fourth quarter, San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich hollered to his players during a timeout to “knock the stuffing out of them”.

In an impressive stretch run by the Spurs they did just that against the Miami Heat in game five of the NBA Finals. Leading 75-74, the Spurs went on a 12-1 run to close out the third quarter and then a 7-0 run to begin the fourth quarter to take a 94-74 lead. San Antonio went on to beat Miami 114-104 to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals.

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Weekend Sports Preview–June 15-16–U.S. Open, Stanley Cup Playoffs, NBA Finals, IndyCar, WMBL _ Volleyball

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Phil Mickelson (Steven Newton, Wikimedia Commons)

There is  doubt after two days of the 2013 United States Open, the course at Merion is winning. As of Friday, only two players were under par for the second major of the year– big game Phil Mickelson and little name Billy Horschel at one under par.

Prior to the tournament there was speculation that the course was goin to play easy because it was a short course of under 7,000 yards. But the course has bee anything but easy, as it has given players headaches on a regular basis. Round two ends Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. on TSN and continues throughout the day. Sunday’s coverage will start at 10:00 a.m.

Here are the other events I’ll be watching:

Saturday–IndyCar Racing–Milwaukee Mile–Sportsnet One–2:00 p.m.– James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario will start second for the ninth race of the year behind American Marco Andretti. Hinchcliffe has had an up and down season as he won two races earlier in the year but has struggled since his win in Sao Paulo on May 5. He is also in a difficult position on Saturdy as he is also starting behind his Andretti Autosport teammate.

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Heat dominate Spurs in Game 4 of NBA Finals

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

LeBron James (Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

The Miami Heat have tied the San Antonio Spurs at two after game 4 of the NBA Finals with a 109-93 win on Thursday night.

And it was the Heat’s big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that deserve the credit.

James had 33 points, Wade had 32 points, while Bosh had 20 points. James and Bosh also had double doubles, with James recording 11 rebounds and Bosh 13 rebounds. Bosh played exceptionally defensively as he seemed the most determined on both ends of the floor in quite some time.

According to Jeff Van Gundy of ABC, Ray Allen also deserves significant credit as he had 14 points and was a +19 while on the floor.

After a completely lackluster performance in game three, the Heat bounced back with a dominant second half in game four where they outscored San Antonio 60-44.

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Spurs completely dominate Heat in NBA Finals

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

 

Gary Neal (Wikimedia Commons)

The San Antonio Spurs are just two wins away from their fifth championship in franchise history.

And it was their role players that came to the fore, and stepped up their game, just like the Miami Heat’s role players did in game two.

Danny Green had 27 points and Gary Neal scored 24 points as the Spurs clobbered the Heat 113-77 to take a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Neal was exceptional from three point range as he scored six baskets from downtown, including a shot from 25 feet with no time left on the clock to end the first half. At the time it put the Spurs up 50-44.

However it was the entire second half where the Spurs were dominant, as they outscored the Heat 63-33.

It was extremely shocking that the Heat lost by 36 points with the amount of talent they have on the floor and the fact they beat the Spurs by 19 points in game two. Game four of the series is Thursday.

 

 

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Canadian connection to NBA Finals

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Joel Anthony (Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

As the 2014 NBA Finals shifts to San Antonio for game three this evening, two Canadian players are playing a role for each of their teams off the bench.

Center Joel Anthony of Montreal, Quebec, who won a NBA Championship with the Heat last year, is seeing some time backing up former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh. Anthony, who has played in 12 postseason games so far, only has a total of four points, but is making a stronger contribution on defense where he has 18 rebounds, four blocks and two steals in the playoff so far.

His task for the rest of the series will be to defend Spurs star Tim Duncan when Bosh needs some rest.

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Heat tie NBA Finals at one

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Mario Chalmers (Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

The NBA Finals are now deadlocked at one game apiece.

Sunday night in Miami, Mario Chalmers led the Heat with 19 points as Miami defeated San Antonio 103-84.

The Spurs actually had a one point lead at 62-61 with 3:16 left in the third quarter before the Heat took complete control. They went on a 14-3 run to end the quarter and then a 19-2 run to begin the fourth quarter to go up 94-67.

Five Heat players were in double figures with Chris Bosh recording a double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Chalmers also performed exceptionally defensively as he was a superb +30 throughout the contest.

The series now shifts to San Antonio with the Spurs needing to stop the Heat as a whole, and not just their star player LeBron James.

In other NBA news the Detroit Pistons have named Maurice Cheeks as their new head coach. Cheeks went 284-286 while coaching the Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers from 2001-2009. He most recently has been an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

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Weekend Sports Preview–June 8-9–French Open, Canadian Grand Prix, NHL, NBA Finals, MLB, WMBL, Equestrian _ LPGA

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Serena Williams (Katherine Shann, Wikimedia Commons)

Back in 2004, Russian newcomer Maria Sharapova shocked the tennis scene when she beat the great  Serena Williams 6-1, 6-4 in the final of Wimbledon. Sharpova, who was only 17 at the time, proved her victory was no fluke when she beat Williams at a tournament in Los Angeles later that summer.

However over the last nine years, it has all been Williams in their head-to-head battles. Serena, who is currently ranked number one in the world, has defeated Sharapova, currently ranked second, twelve straight times. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Williams gave Sharapova a 6-0, 6-1 beatdown in which it was quite possibly Williams’s best tennis match ever.

Now Williams has not won the French Open since 2002 when she beat her sister Venus, but should go into the final as the clear favourite (Saturday, NBC, 7:00 a.m.).

Here are the other events I’ll be watching:

Saturday _ Sunday–LPGA Championship–Golf Channel–1:00 p.m.–Women’s golf second major is this weekend from Rochester,  New York. Once again, a South Korean is in the lead. Currently in first round action, Chella Choi at -6 leads American Morgan Pressel by two strokes. Choi is trying to become the fourth consecutive South Korean to win a major, following Na Yeon Choi, Jiyai Shin and Inbee Park. Round one was on Friday because action was rained out on Thursday. Organizers are expected to have round two on Saturday and then 36 holes on Sunday.

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Spurs take early lead on Heat in NBA Finals

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Tony Parker (Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

The San Antonio Spurs got a remarkable performance late in the game from point guard Tony Parker in game one of the NBA Finals Thursday night.

With the Spurs leading the Miami Heat 90-88 with five seconds left, Parker successfully executed a very difficult shot while he was completely off balance. His shot just barely beat the 24 second clock and extended the Spurs lead to four points at 92-88, an insurmountable lead with only five seconds left in the game.

Parker also led the Spurs with 21 points, six assists, two steals, and was a +9 while on the court.

Another San Antonio Spur who played at a high level was the Spurs’ other guard, Danny Green. Green, the starting shooting guard, had only 12 points, but had a huge three pointer in the fourth quarter that put San Antonio up by seven points, 88-81 at the time.

The Heat lost despite the fact that LeBron James had a triple double (18 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists). Game two of the series is Sunday in Miami.

 

 

 

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Karl resigns from Nuggets

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

George Karl (David Herrera, Wikimedia Commons)

Could George Karl be coming to Toronto? There is actually a high possibility.

On Wednesday Karl announced his resignation with the Denver Nuggets, and it is only natural to think he could be on the sidelines with the Raptors next season.

Ok. Dwane Casey is still the Raptors coach. But wih Karl, Lionel Hollins and Vinny Del Negro on the market, it is ridiculous for one to think that Casey is in the same calibre of coaches as those three mentioned.

Karl is the reigning coach of  the year in the NBA. He did remarkable things with little to work with in Denver. He has made the playoffs only once since 1992, and has an outstanding regular season record of 1131-756. Oh yes. And he has close ties to the Raptors GM Masai Ujuri who was the NBA Executive of the Year last year in Denver.

It is simply Ujuri’s time to shine. He needs to fire Casey this week and go after Karl!

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Heat advance to NBA Finals

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

LeBron James (Keith Allison, WikimedIa Commons)

There was an interesting trend in the last three games of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Final. The team that dominated a particular quarter won the contest.

On Monday evening in Miami, the Miami Heat hammered the Indiana Pacers 33-16 in the second quarter after trailing the Pacers by a bucket after the first quarter, and went on to beat Indiana 99-76 in game seven of the Eastern Conference Final to win the series 4-3.

The Heat were led by LeBron James, who notched 32 points, and star guard Dwyane Wade, who had 21 points. It was the second time in the series the Heat blew the Pacers out. In game three, Miami beat Indiana 114-96.

Miami will now play the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday in the NBA Finals.

The Spurs are heading into the NBA Finals well rested. They have not played a NBA game since last Monday when they swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Final.

In other NBA news, Jason Kidd, who is third all-time in NBA assists with 1263, retired yesterday at the age of 40. Kidd was an NBA All-Star ten times and led the NBA  in assists during five seasons.

 

 

 

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Pacers force game seven with the Heat

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

The Indiana Pacers will have a lot of sports fans rooting for them Monday night when they take on the big, bad Miami Heat in south Florida.

The Pacers played an exceptional game Saturday night in defeating the Heat 91-77. For the second consecutive game in the series, the team that won the game dominated the third quarter. On Saturday, it was Indiana, who outscored Miami 29-15.

Paul George led the Pacers attack with 28 points, while Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 11 rebounds.

In other NBA  news, the Toronto Raptors have finally named Masai Ujuri as their general manager. Ujiri was the NBA Executive of the Year this  year while with the Denver Nuggets. Ujiri was highly credited for the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster with the New York Knicks, and maintaining the Nuggets success despite the trade. This past season, Denver was 57-25 without any legtimate star players.

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