And with that, game one of the NBA Finals is in the books and to the surprise of many I feel, the Spurs are up 1-0. The Stack is here to talk about that and the other big news of the day so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Friday, June 7:
Spurs take game one of NBA Finals
Ten days off? No problem for the San Antonio Spurs. They shook off the rust early on, especially Tim Duncan, and went on to beat the Miami Heat 92-88 despite LeBron James' tenth career postseaon triple-double (18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists). That's the main reason the Heat should be scared now in this series. The Spurs didn't play their best game. Obviously you won't play your best having not played a game in ten days. But the Spurs persevered through mini Heat runs and found a way to win. And they missed a lot of open three pointers. That won't happen in other games in this series. Their defense left Heat players open for threes far more often then you see the Spurs normally do. That won't happen. And Tony Parker was brilliant. He made some fantastic shots in the fourth quarter including the shot to put the game away with five seconds left. How he was able to maintain his dribble on the floor and get up and get a second off that a couple of milli-seconds later would not have counted and got it to go in is really amazing. This is his team now.
James was great for the Heat, but he had some issues. He needs to be better on the offensive end. Drive to the hoop, take more shots. Maybe that won't work against the Spurs and that's why he was passing so much. He got his teammates involved and that's a good thing. Really, LeBron is in a lose-lose situation. By passing it to his teammates as much as he did and the Heat losing game one, critics will say James should have demanded the ball and taken over in the fourth quarter. Yet if he is a ball hog, he'll be criticized for trying to do too much. That's what he gets though for making the decision to team up with other superstars in Miami. At least Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade used to be superstars. Bosh only had 13 points and five rebounds. Wade at least played with some more energy and pep in his step dropping in 17 points.
Key to this game was turnovers. The Spurs had just four. Miami had only eight themselves, but when your opponent turns the ball over only four times, you know you're going against a quality opponent. Miami is in a must win for game two and you can certainly expect them to play desperate and even more energized. Game two is Sunday night at 8 PM ET on ABC.
Blackhawks ice Kings
For the first time this postseason, Los Angeles Kings fans are leaving Staples Center sad as the Kings lost for the first time at home. It may be the last game of the year. Despite not having to go against Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith and riding the momentum of a game three win, the Kings failed to take advantage and lost to the Blackhawks 3-2. Chicago now has a 3-1 series lead and will look to close out the western conference finals Saturday night in Chicago. The Kings are just 1-7 on the road and in big trouble. The Kings held a 2-1 lead, but Chicago battle back to tie the game late in the second period and then took the lead a little over a minute into the third. From there on, they put the clamp down on their defense limiting the Kings to just two third period shots. They couldn't get anything going in the period and now the defending Stanley Cup champion's backs are against the wall. How will they respond. Jonathan Quick is certainly going to need to play better than he did in game four. Don't see it happening. We'll find out Saturday night.
Tonight, the Boston Bruins can close out the Pittsburgh Penguins. Puck drop for game four is at 8 PM ET on NBCSN. Boston leads the series 3-0. Could be bye-bye to Sid the Kid and the rest of the Penguins. Should be interesting.
George Karl done in Denver
Surprising news out of Denver Thursday where the Denver Nuggets decided not to keep the NBA Head Coach of the Year. Instead, the Nuggets are letting George Karl walk, leaving another playoff team without a head coach. The news is surprising in the sense that Karl was the head coach of the year and he did so much with such a faceless roster. In his nine years as Nuggets head coach, Karl won 50 or more games five times. He went to the playoffs in each of those nine years, but failed to make it past the first round all but one of those times. That's why he's out, but he won't be unemployed for long. The Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies are interested and why wouldn't they be? Karl is a great coach and a fantastic man. Denver could be in real trouble by electing not to keep him. Someone is going to get themselves a really good coach.
Coming up Monday: Reaction to NHL and NBA playoffs plus other top stories from the weekend in sports.