Lebron's "breakthrough," Thursday's performance was unbelievable, and during Saturday's Game 7 there was no doubt as to who was leading that team to the Finals, and as a result, the narrative seems to have shifted a bit in Lebron's favor. I mean, you can't blame a guy for 'not closing' when he closes the game out by halftime, a la Game 6. The truth, however, is that Lebron has only made it as far as he did last year, and should he prove ineffective in the Finals yet again, this is going to be last year, amplified. It might could get ugly. He's gotten them here, and now he needs to close.
The Big Three goes out swinging, I'm guessing that this really is the end for the Celtics as we have come to know them these past four years. Just today, this headline was scrolling across the bottom line on ESPN. It's happening already. Now I, being a huge New York fan, have never, ever rooted for Boston sports. That being said, I was incredibly impressed with the heart and character of this Celtics team, and that's putting it lightly. Everytime they were too old, too slow, too injured, they dug deep and shocked us time and time again. This team was under .500 at one point in the season. This team was down to the Hawks, in a Game 7 with the Sixers, and in a 2-0 hole to the Heat. In the four years the Big Three was together they won one world championship and one Eastern Conference championship. I think that if you asked any diehard Celtics fan their biggest regret during their run, or any of the Big Three for that matter, they might point to Game 6, up 3-2 against the Lakers in the 2010 Finals. That, more than the ensuing Game 7, was their chance to win their second title, and almost as important, to deny the Lakers their repeat.
The Celtics will now have the opportunity to build around Rondo, who may be one of the easiest players in the NBA to accommodate. Just put talent around him, and he will find you with the basketball. I think that Rajon Rondo proved to be one of the best players in the NBA throughout these playoffs, just behind Kevin Durant and, arguably, Lebron James.
The 2012 European Football tournament kicks off. Now I don't know if you care about this, and I'm not going to tell you that you should, but I, as the casual fan, am having a good time thus far. There's always one "Group of Death," and this year it is without a doubt Group B, with Holland, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark. This group played on Saturday, and of course, it is the one team whose elimination from the group stage seemed to be the given that sits atop the standings after day one. Denmark, with a 1-0 win over Holland is on top.
The "Group of Debt" kicked off Sunday, beginning with Spain vs. Italy followed by Croatia vs. Ireland. Again, wouldn't you know it, if you watched both games I think it was safe to say that Ireland and Croatia put on a far more exciting show than the early game which featured the two previous world cup winners. Heck, the Irish fans were enough to make the game interesting. Everytime they were on screen they seemed to be facing away from the pitch, jumping up and down. Perhaps that's the best way to get into soccer. They seemed to be having a blast, regardless of getting beat 3-1.
Some things never change, and then again, some things do. The Mets, enjoying a very surprising, hot start (above .500 qualifies as hot in Flushing, NY,) came into Yankee Stadium hoping to make some noise. The Yanks asserted themselves by going back-to-back-to-back off Johan Santana. Saturday and Sunday's games proved to be much more competitive, with the Yankees having to come back to win each game, but in the end, it will go down as a sweep, and a rather disheartening one at that.
Up in Boston, the Washington Nationals were introducing the Red Sox to the new world order. Youth, speed, and defense trumps dysfunctional big name ballclub in this day and age. Prior to this weekend series the Nats were 0-9 in Fenway. Now they're 3-9, while the Sox have plunged two games under .500.
Other highlights around the league include the Mariner's 6-pitcher no-hitter against the Dodgers on Friday, Aroldis Chapman's 102 MPH fastball losing it's way two nights in a row against the Tigers (giving up his first earned runs of the season,) the Orioles walking off on the Phillies, and plenty of other hot hot MLB action you can catch up with over at Fan IQ's TWIB. We've got horses to race over here.
The Belmont takes a hit, losing it's Triple Crown horse in I'll Have Another a day before the race, due to a swollentendon. What I don't get here is how I'll Have Another failed to recognize the moment, her possible place in history, and all the fans it she was letting down when she opted out of the race. Above all else, I question her committment to running in circles, and am forced to ask why she chose the sport in the first place.
Regardless, it ended up another exciting horse race, with Union Rags pulling it out right at the end, and most importantly, only lost 5 dollars. I want to hear who lost/won the most on this race. Post below. Biggest loser gets a patented FanIQ slap on the rear end.
The NHL refuses to budge, puts the Kings Devils Game 5 on at 8 PM and in direct conflict with the Celtics Heat in Game 7. As a result, I have no idea what happened here, except that the Devils must have won because the two teams are playing tonight, again at 8 PM. But seriously, this series just. Got. Interesting. After being up 3-0 in the series, this has become a must-win for the Kings. They can not risk going back to New Jersey in jeopardy of being the first team in history to lose the Stanley Cup in such a fashion. And, best of all, you won't miss any basketball by watching this one!
WTF, is the only way I can sum up what happened between Bradley and Pacquiao. It was bizarre, to say theleast.To sit in a room with a bunch of friends and watch all twelve rounds of that fight, pulling for Bradley but recognizing how consistently he was getting beat, all to hear Bradley's name called at the end as the victor. There were no words. What we had just witnessed, versus what the judges had scored, made zero sense. I felt I had just been robbed of all the truth I had ever known. I'm sure those of you who watched the entire fight felt the same way. The question, in the end, had to be "why the fuck did I just watch this?"