The Heat, Thunder Will Meet in NBA Finals; Nationals Sweep the Sox
June 11, 2012
By Ceci Ferrara
The San Antonio Spurs’ epic collapse was just as stunning as their 20-0 run from the end of their season through the first two rounds of the playoffs. After winning 20 straight games, San Antonio came apart just in time to see their championship dreams unravel. They looked strong at first, winning the first two games of the Western Conference Finals at home. But on the road they were shaky, losing game 3 in Oklahoma City by 20 points.
Even when they returned home, they never regained their dominance, dropping four straight to exit the playoffs. It was a surprising turn of events for the Spurs, whom many thought would go all the way this year.
While the Spurs may have choked, the Thunder should not be discredited. They are led by native Washingtonian Kevin Durant, who finished the series averaging 29.5 points and 53.2 percent shooting against the Spurs. He’s considered one of the league’s best players. Some websites even have Oklahoma City as the favorite to win the finals, despite suggestions that they are too young and inexperienced to win against Miami. Isn’t that what they said about Kentucky before they won the NCAA Championship?
The Heat meanwhile clinched their second consecutive NBA Finals berth after breaking away from the Boston Celtics in the second half of game 7 (101-88) to win the Eastern Conference Finals 4-3. They will enter this year’s championship series eager to avenge their loss to the Dallas Mavericks last year, and avoid the mistakes that lost them the championship in 2011.
Whether or not their inexperience will hurt the Thunder, or if the Heat learned anything since last year, it will play out when the two teams tip off Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
If you had said last year that the Nationals would sweep the Boston Red Sox, you would have probably been laughed at. After all, before Friday, the franchise was 0-9 (They were 0-6 as the Montreal Expos and were swept as the Nationals back in 2006.) at Fenway Park. But it was no laughing matter this past weekend, when the Nats traveled to Boston and won three straight against the Sox in their own home.
Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine, who replaced Terry Francona during the off-season, was ejected in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game (the third and final of the series) for getting into a heated argument with home plate umpire Al Porter. He became angry when Roger Bernadina wasn’t called out on what he felt was a strike. Bernadina won the game for Washington by hitting a double, which allowed Bryce Harper to score.
The Nats’ three biggest starters all got wins at Fenway: Strasburg, Gonzalez and Zimmerman. With the All-Star break on the horizon, the Nats (35-23) are sitting comfortably in first place in their division, two games ahead of Atlanta and eight ahead of last place Philadelphia. It’s safe to say that right now the Nationals look post-season bound…and that’s no joke.