IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Warriors storm past Portland; Blues sink Sharks
FIVE IN A ROW: The Golden State Warriors are again poised to play for the NBA Championship after ousting the Portland Trailblazers in four straight.
In many aspects, this was a mind-boggling series. Game 4 was a 119-117 OT win in another crushing defeat for Portland. The Warriors became the first team in 20 seasons to come back from 15-plus point deficits in three straight games. For Steph Curry, it was his fifth straight 30-plus point contest. Game 4 also featured the first time that two players posted a triple-double in an NBA playoff game as Curry and Draymond Green stood out.
Down 17, Curry noted, “We’ve been here before and we’ve seen everything…Everyone stepped up.” Guarded largely by brother Seth Curry, he added, “We’ll remember this the rest of our lives.”
This is Golden State’s fifth straight NBA Western Conference Championship, a fete that has not been accomplished in 53 years. The Trailblazers simply could not figure out the Golden State puzzle. All done without Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, they are expected back for the Finals. There were moments that their mettle was doubted during the regular season. However, here they are back for the final “dance.”
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SHARKS BEACHED: What initially looked like a huge break became the rallying cry for the St. Louis Blues. The San Jose Sharks took a 2-1 lead with a 5-4 win in overtime of Game 3 on a play that should have never been rendered a goal. It put San Jose in a good position. However, it merely became the last gasp. The Blues rattled off three straight wins to take the series 4-2. San Jose could only produce two goals in the final three-game stretch. Eric Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl were all leveled by injuries and could not answer the bell for Game 6. What looked like the most promising season for the Sharks dissipated into what might have been. After two hard-fought seven-game series, they succumbed to St. Louis. It will be the Blues and the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup title.
A’S TRYING TO GET BACK IN THE RACE: It is a six-game win streaks that allows the A’s to finally get back to .500. A suspended game while leading in Detroit could have taken it to seven. The Houston Astros have a 33-17 record. They lead the third place A’s by eight games. The A’s are eighth in home runs, but the rest of the vital statistics are middle-of-the-pack. Khris Davis and Matt Chapman have 12 and 11 home runs respectively. The pitching is beginning to hit a positive stride. The Seattle Mariners visit Oakland this weekend with the hopes that the A’s can eclipse the .500 mark while moving towards a wildcard spot.
GIANTS STILL IN NEED OF RUN PRODUCTION: This have improved a tad as the team is two games under .500 for May. However, there are still storm clouds. San Francisco is 27th in batting average and 28th in runs. Joe Panik leads the team with a paltry .254 average going into Thursday. Equally as alarming is that Pablo Sandoval leads the team with seven homers. The pitching is 18th with a 4.42 ERA. They are immersed in a run where they win one and lose one. Is there hope in sight? Only if the bats come alive.
RAPTORS FAR FROM EXTINCTION: It may be the surprise of the NBA Playoffs. The Toronto Raptors now lead the Milwaukee Bucks 3-2 following a rousing 105-99 Toronto road win on Thursday. After going down 0-2 in games, the Raptors have roared back with 3 straight wins. They trailed by 10 after the first quarter and 3 at halftime and the 3rd quarter. However, Kawhi Leonard was not to be denied with 35 points. He noted, “We are taking it one game at a time.” Surprisingly, Toronto led Milwaukee in bench points 35-15. Fred VanVleet also contributed with 21 points. It is back to Toronto for Game 6. Toronto can close it out with a win. The NBA Championships begin Thursday at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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