IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Bumgarner returns; JR Smith becomes fan favorite | TheUnion.com

IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Bumgarner returns; JR Smith becomes fan favorite

Jim Adams
Sports Columnist

BUMGARNER IS BACK: The San Francisco Giants set a goal to be at .500 once Madison Bumgarner returned. Well, they hit that target on Tuesday night when Bumgarner came back after a broken pinkie finger during a spring training outing. He goes six strong innings, giving up two runs on 82 pitches with three strikeouts. Erratic at times, he puts in a good performance. The Giants lose 3-2 after a ninth inning rally falls short.

WHACKY WEST: At 31-31 going into Friday, it is hard to believe that the Giants are 1.5 games back. However, despite the woes, the win streak and record for this week has saved things for now. San Francisco will embark on a treacherous road trip. Can the bats re-emerge? This is a big week ahead.

FRUSTRATION IN DETROIT: Alexander Rossi leads the Detroit with a mere seven laps to go. However, eventual winner Ryan Hunter-Reay is on his tail and Rossi fails on a critical turn. After a fourth finish at Indianapolis and a victory at Long Beach, this one gets away. Rossi is indisputably a leader on the circuit. On Sunday, he had it is his grasp, but a flat left front tire after the incident plunges him to 12th. Detroit is an unforgiving track. Regardless, it is another positive finish from the pole for Rossi, who sits in third place in the overall IndyCar Series standings.

NBA FINALS: Good teams find ways to win games. The Golden State Warriors are beyond a "good" team. They use their total roster to orchestrate victory. When it seems unlikely they will prevail, they find a way. The NBA is a good example of this. When Stephen Curry and Klay Thomson are off, Kevin Durant finds a way to have a monster game. When they went into Cleveland and won Game 3, it was a dagger.

J.R. SMITH SUDDENLY A FAN FAVORITE: Game 2 of the NBA Finals was surely a treat if you are a fan of the Golden State Warriors. A big win, an impressive night for Stephen Curry, great defense, and a strong 48 minutes. However, J.R. Smith, after his untimely gaffe in Game 1 that helped prevent Cleveland from the win, became a fan favorite. He was cheered heartily as he was introduced prior to the game. There was a hearty "MVP" chant as he approached the free throw line. He is the goat that helped serve up the advantage for Golden State. It was a miscalculation that may stand the test of time.

VEGAS FINALLY GOES BUST: They had many rolls at the Craps table. Their number hit regularly at Roulette. They kept drawing "21." However, Lady Luck finally abandoned the Vegas Golden Knights. The Cinderella story ended with a broken glass slipper. Washington ousts them in Las Vegas on Thursday night. The series goes 4-1. Kudos to both squads. The Washington Capitals finally won the Stanley Cup while the Vegas Golden Knights had an incredible showing for an expansion squad.

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WORLD CUP: The stage for the biggest sports tournaments comes to Russia. The World Cup will be viewed by millions worldwide. Two weeks of riveting soccer drama. Yet, what will it be like without a team representing the U.S.? Unfortunately, our national team earned their way out of the event. A debacle of major proportions. Whereas much could not have been expected of the US squad, it is a travesty that they did not qualify.

THE PASSING OF DWIGHT CLARK: He will most be remembered for his accomplishments on the gridiron. "The Catch" in the playoffs vs. the dreaded Dallas Cowboys was surely an iconic moment for the 49ers star. In 1981, he was an NFL terror, accumulating 85 catches for 1,105 yards. However, he is also remembered for the dignity in which he battled during his three year bout with ALS. He chose to be public and helpful to others suffering from the disease. He was a class-act until the end on Monday in Montana. An incredible Northern California sports figure, Clark will be sorely missed.

SEEKING RELEVANCE: The XFL, again. Yes, WWE mogul Vince McMahon is bankrolling the league to the tune of $100 million for the reboot. It is scheduled to begin with a 10-game regular season in January of 2020. Now they have a commissioner. NCAA executive Oliver Luck will head the reborn enterprise. He calls it a "special opportunity" to lead the new league. Yes, he is the father of NFL QB Andrew Luck. So, can he bring a boost to the fledging league? We will know more in the months ahead.

Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at adamses@inreach.com.