June 8, Week in Sports
:: Lakers Take 2-0 Lead over Orlando Magic (Pro. Basketball)
:: Federer Wins French Open (Tennis)
:: Red Wings Poised to Win Stanley Cup (Pro. Hockey)
HALFWAY HOME: LAKERS TAKE 2-0 LEAD IN L.A.
The Los Angeles Lakers won the first two games of the 2009 NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic over the course of the past week. Winning the first two games of an NBA Finals series virtually guarantees a series win, which means that the Lakers are poised to bring home a championship to Los Angeles.
While the Lakers blew out the Magic in Game 1, the second game of the series was much closer. The Lakers ultimately won the game by a score of 101-96 in overtime. However, were it not for a missed layup by Orlando rookie Courtney Lee at the end of regulation, Los Angeles would never have had that chance. The Lakers went on to dominate in overtime, and now they head to Orlando for Game 3 with a very solid series lead.
As this series moves forward, there will be an even bigger focus on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. Though Bryant has a reputation as perhaps the best player of his generation, he has drawn criticism because he has never won a championship without Shaquille O’Neal as a teammate. Now Bryant is in prime position to silence his critics by bringing home another championship for the Lakers.
Quote of the Week: “If Orlando doesn’t come back and win a game in the series, Lee’s miss may go down as one of the biggest gaffes in finals history.” — Associated Press
Further Reading: “Point Taken” — Associated Press, via ESPN
AT LAST! FEDERER WINS FRENCH OPEN
Roger Federer, arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, won the French Open on Sunday, handily defeating Robin Soderling. This is Federer’s first victory at the French Open–the second of the four Grand Slam tournaments in professional tennis.Though the 27-year old Federer had already firmly established his reputation as one of the all-time greats before Sunday, his victory at Roland Garros further padded his tremendous resume. With a victory at the French Open, Federer has now won each of the Grand Slam tournaments at least once. Only five other men have ever accomplished that feat. Sunday’s victory also marked the 14th Grand Slam title of Federer’s career, tying Pete Sampras for the most titles ever by a male tennis player. The past few years, the only barrier between Federer and a win at the French Open has been Rafael Nadal, who, fortunately for Federer, was upset earlier in the tournament.
In the women’s singles final, Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Dinara Safina, the No. 1 female player in the world. Though Safina continues to be the top ranked woman in the sport, she has yet to win a Grand Slam tournament.
Quote of the Week: ”It’s maybe my greatest victory, or certainly the one that removes the most pressure off my shoulders. I think that now and until the end of my career, I can really play with my mind at peace and no longer hear that I’ve never won Roland Garros.” — Roger Federer
Further Reading: ”Slam Complete ” — Associated Press, via USA Today
RED WINGS WIN AGAIN AT HOME SWEET HOME
The Detroit Red Wings won Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night to take a a 3-2 lead in the series over the Pittsburgh Penguins. With one more win, Detroit can win the Stanley Cup.
The Red Wings jumped out to a quick lead in this finals series, winning the first two games in Detroit. However, the Penguins responded with two wins of their own in Pittsburgh, evening up the series. The trend of the home team winning every game continued in Game 5, as the Red Wings completely dominated the Penguins by a score of 5-0. That is bad news for the Penguins, who would need at least one victory on the road to win the championship.
If the Red Wings win either Game 6 on Wednesday or Game 7 on Friday, they will have won the Stanley Cup two years in a row. The last time that happened was in 1997-1998, when the Red Wings raised the Cup in back-to-back years. But this series is not over just yet, and Detroit still has to win one more game over Sidney Crosby and the Pens to make it happen.
Quote of the Week: ”The situation is pretty clear for us. We have to go home and be desperate now.” — Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Further Reading: ”Datsyuk, Wings now on Cup cusp” — Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: HOCKEY: The Stanley Cup Finals continue this week, as Detroit hopes to close out the Penguins on Wednesday night.
MLB (Pro. Baseball): The 2009 season is underway, and it runs through October. [Official MLB Website]
NBA (Pro. Basketball): The 2008-09 NBA Finals 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 Grand Slame tournament is Wimbledon. [USTA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic