It's finally Friday and The Stack is here to talk game two of the NBA Finals, U.S. Open and more. So let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Friday, June 15:
1. Heat rebound to win game 2 against Thunder
The Miami Heat wanted to make a statement after their game one loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night. And boy did they make a statement...for about three-and-a-half quarters before things got a little uneasy. For whatever the reason, the Thunder once again got off to a poor start at home, falling behind 18-2. Dwayne Wade looked far better than he did in game one and LeBron James seemed far more assertive. The Thunder tried to get closer in the second quarter and they did, but the turning point in the quarter came when Kevin Durant was called for goaltending when it was clear that I believe Serge Ibaka blocked the initial shot and Durant came and hit it off the backboard. Regardless, it gave the Heat two points and then after the Thunder failed to score the Heat came back down and hit a three. Boom! Five point swing and momentum back in favor of the Heat. That was one of the turning points in the game no question.
With the Thunder trailing by twelve at halftime 55-43, ABC analyst Magic Johnson said that Russell Westbrook played the worst first half of basketball by a point guard in NBA Finals history. Yes Westbrook played bad, sloppy and out of control, but I think Magic was being a prisoner of the moment in that statement. Westbrook came out in the second half and played very well ending with a total of 27 points to go along with seven assists and eight rebounds. Durant also came to play in the second half hitting his first seven shots from the field and hitting a big three to cut the lead to two at 98-96. The Thunder had a chance to tie the game later and it looked like James got a piece of Durant, but not call was made and the Thunder's rally fell short, losing the game 100-96. The series is now tied 1-1 heading into game three which is Sunday night at 8:00 PM ET on ABC.
The unsung heroes for the Heat without question were Chris Bosh and Shane Battier. Bosh had a double-double by halftime and consistently provided the Heat with second chance opportunities which the Heat took full advantage of. Bosh finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Battier was once again brilliant from three. He hit five threes in the game including a bank in the fourth quarter that gave the Heat a comfortable lead. If Battier can continue to knock down threes and if Bosh can continue to give the Heat the type of play he showed in game two, the Heat will win.
The Thunder cannot start out any game in Miami like they did at home in games one and two. Otherwise this series will be over in five. I'm not sure why they've started out so cold in the first two games. Maybe they're too amped up. I don't know. But it's definitely something for Thunder fans (the best fans int he NBA) should be worried about. We'll see how they play in game three.
2. Tiger in contention after first round of U.S. Open
The tough course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco lived up to its reputation. It tamed some of the best in the world.
- Phil Mickelson 76 (+6)
- Rory McIlroy 77 (+7)
- Bubba Watson 78 (+8)
- Luke Donald 79 (+9)
But the story of the day was Tiger Woods who shot at one under (-1) 69 to move into a tie for second place behind the leader Michael Thompson who sits with the lead at four under (-4). For Tiger to be right up near the leaderboard is a testiment to his hard work and maybe a sign that he is back. But today will tell us more. The morning was a little brutal for players with the marina layer hovering over the first few holes. After that, conditions cleared up and the course played decent, but as the day wore on, the greens got faster and the rough got rougher. Day two promises to be higly entertaining. Coverage at ESPN begins at noon eastern and continues during the day on NBC and back on ESPN.
3. Euro Cup update
Group C was back in action yesterday with each team playing their second match of the tournament. In the first match, Italy and Croatia battled to a 1-1 draw. In the second match, Spain trounced match Ireland in a 4-0 beatdown. Spain and Croatia are looking pretty good to make it out of the group. Here are the standings for group C:
1. Spain- 4 pts.
1. Croatia- 4 pts.
3. Italy- 2 pts.
4. Ireland- 0 pts.
Today, group D hits the pitch once again. The first match will be between Ukraine and France at 11:45 AM ET on ESPN2. The second match on ESPN2 at 2:30 PM ET is Sweden vs. England. Should be some good games.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers 2012-13 NFL schedule highlights
The 2012-13 season will have some new changes for the Steelers. Hines Ward is retired. A new offensive coordinator is in town as Todd Haley takes over for Bruce Arians. Then there's the Mike Wallace contract saga. But the Steelers won't make any excuses. They'll go out and play the game. Their full schedule can be found here. Now here are some interesting notes from the Steelers upcoming season.
- Remember that epic playoff game last year between the Steelers and Broncos? The two teams meet week 1 @ 8:20 PM ET on NBC.
- That Tim Tebow that beat the Steelers in the playoffs? The Steelers face him and the New York Jets week 2 in Pittsburgh.
- The Steelers play the rival Ravens twice in three weeks (weeks 11 and 13).
- The Steelers play in-state rival Philadelphia week 5 in Philadelphia.
- Five of the final seven games are within the division.
- The Steelers are once again made for primetime with five nationally televised games (week 1 @ Denver, week 6 @ Tennessee 8:20 PM ET NFL Network, week 7 @ Cincinnati 8:20 PM ET NBC, week 10 vs. Kansas City 8:30 PM ET ESPN and week 11 vs. Baltimore 8:20 PM ET NBC).
Monday's team: St. Louis Rams
Enjoy the weekend. With game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday and the U.S. Open, it makes for a pretty good weekend. And wish your dad a happy father's day.
Coming up Monday: Reaction to weekend's biggest sports stories plus thoughts on the Jerry Sandusky trial.
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.