May 25, Week in Sports
:: Magic Jump to 2-1 Lead against Cavs (Pro. Basketball)
:: Castroneves Wins Indy 500 (Auto Racing)
:: Red Wings, Penguins Eye Stanley Cup Rematch (Hockey)
LEBRON, CAVS DAZZLED BY MAGIC
At the beginning of the post-season, almost everyone in the country expected the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers to coast to the NBA Finals. However, both teams are now embroiled in extremely competitive series, and those spots in the Finals, once all but guaranteed for the favorites, are now totally up for grabs.
LeBron James and the Cavaliers were expected to crush the Orlando Magic, but that perception completely changed after the Magic pulled off a huge Game 1 upset in Cleveland, where the Cavs only lost 2 games the whole year. The Magic also won Game 3, to take the 2-1 series lead. Had it not been for a buzzer-beating prayer hurled up by James to win Game 2, the Cavs would be losing this series 3-0.
Out on the West Coast, the Lakers also split their first two games with the Denver Nuggets, which was seen as a huge disappointment for a Lakers team that is virtually unstoppable at home. However, after the Lakers beat the Nuggets in Game 3 of the series in Denver on Saturday night, the Lakers have regained the upper hand.
Quote of the Week: “This time LeBron James couldn’t save them.” — Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel, on Game 3
Further Reading: “Magic pull out Game 3 win over Cavs” — Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel
HELIO WALTZES TO THIRD VICTORY AT INDY
Helio Castroneves, the Brazilian driver and former winner of Dancing With the Stars, won the Indy 500 on Sunday. The Indy 500 is one of the most important and historical races of the year.
Castroneves has now won the Indy 500 a grand total of three times in his career–a feat that has only been accomplished by eight other men. This Indy 500 victory caps off what has been a tremendous month for Castroneves, not least of all because he was recently acquitted of tax charges that could have landed him in prison for 6 years. Castroneves was acquitted of almost all of those charges earlier in the month, and the final count against him was dropped earlier on Sunday.
Danica Patrick made history today, as well, with her third place finish setting a record for the best finish by a woman at the Indy 500. It topped her previous record of fourth place, which she set in 2005.
Quote of the Week: ”This is the best month of May ever.” — Helio Castroneves
Further Reading: ”Winning verdict: Castroneves rolls to third Indy 500 crown ” — Associated Press, via USA Today
The Detroit Red Wings annihilated the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, winning by a score of 6-1 and taking a 3-1 lead in the series, which puts them one win away from a Stanley Cup Finals berth. The matchup between the Red Wings and Blackhawks is one of the biggest rivalries in hockey and the most anticipated series of the Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Hockey analysts often say that a playoff series doesn’t truly begin until one of the teams loses a game at home. Up until Sunday, both Detroit and Chicago had won all their home games, but that all changed in Game 4, when Detroit embarrassed the Blackhawks in Chicago. Now the series returns to Detroit on Wednesday, and it would take a miracle for the Blackhawks to reverse the momentum and capture the series.
In the other Conference Finals matchup, the Pittsburgh Penguins are currently dominating the Carolina Hurricanes 3 games to none. It now appears that the Pens, led by superstar Sidney Crosby, will easily glide to the Stanley Cup Finals. That will mark a back-to-back appearance in the Finals for the Penguins, who lost last year to the Detroit Red Wings.
Quote of the Week: ”The Wings somehow whipped Chicago, 6-1, dominated this game without Lidstrom and Datsyuk — and without Kris Draper and Andreas Lilja and Tomas Kopecky. On the other hand, the Blackhawks were forced to play the Red Wings without Bobby Hull and Tony Esposito. So it was tough for them, too.” — Michael Rosenberg, Detroit Free Press
Further Reading: ”Blackhawks lose 6-1 to Red Wings in Game 4 ” — Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: PRO. BASKETBALL: The Conference Finals of the NBA playoffs continue this week. Check out the schedule at www.nba.com.
:: HOCKEY: The Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs continue this week. Check out the the schedule at www.nhl.com.
:: TENNIS: The French Open, the second of the four Grand Slam tournaments, continues this week. It runs from May 24 to June 7.
MLB (Pro. Baseball): The 2009 season is underway, and it runs through October. [Official MLB Website]
NBA (Pro. Basketball): The 2008-09 NBA playoffs are currently underway. [Official NBA Website]
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): “The Tournament” is now over. The University of North Carolina won the 2009 national championship over Michigan State. [CBS Sports]
NFL (Pro. Football): Now that the NFL Draft is over, things will be relatively quiet until training camp begins in the middle of July. [Official NFL Website]
NCAA FOOTBALL (College): The college football season is now over, with Florida defeating Oklahoma in the national championship game. [NCAA Football, ESPN]
MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. The next Major Championship is the U.S. Open. [Official PGA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson
NHL (Pro. Hockey): The Stanley Cup playoffs are currently underway. [Official NHL Website]
MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. The next event is the French Open, which takes place in May. [USTA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic