What a Game 7 last night. I'm sure many of you watched it or saw highlights/analysis of it this morning so I'm not going to do a deep dive on it (I'll save that for my golf tournament from this weekend) but I did want to hit on couple takeaways. So let's bust out the Quick Hitters:
- Monumental legacy game for LeBron, especially when you consider games 5-7 once he got down 3-1 and faced elimination. Going down 2-5 in life time Finals experiences would have been crippling to his legacy. This performance and 3rd Finals MVP really boosts his place in history. His play already put him their but his results would have dropped him. This will allow people not to drop him as far when they look back on his entire career once he's done.
- Tough series and final game for Curry though. I'm going to hold off a lot of my criticism for Steph (and I have a lot of it) for a couple weeks to see what the injury situation is. There's speculation that his knee is still not recovered and its worse than he's letting on, so I want see what comes of that in the offseason. An injury could explain much of his poor and inconsistent play the past 2 series. If he's not that injured, then it's a terrible, terrible performance from the reigning two-time league MVP who routinely looked like the 2nd or 3rd best player on his own team for large stretches the past month.
- 73-9 is the new 18-0. I called that the night they got to 73 wins but it's always nice to be proven correct.
- Tyronne Lue is an NBA Championship winning coach.
- The Pacers have 125-1 odds to win the championship next season???? That's ridiculous. If anyone is going to Vegas in the near future please let me know, I'd have some money I'd like to send with you.
Maybe the one person not happy with us getting a Game 7 of the NBA Finals last night was Vince McMahon. The WWE put out a great card and PPV Sunday night but had to go up against one of the best and most highly anticipated Finals game of all time. We went two screens at The 808 last night, Money in the Bank on the main screen with the sound on and Game 7 on the small screen without sound. Until the last 5 minutes of the game where WWE strategically placed their Rusev/Titus match in that time frame and we switched it over to the game before switching back to the main event. I wondered why WWE tried fitting 8 matches on the card but now it makes sense, they wanted to spread this PPV out of their huge main event didn't have to go heads up against the final minutes of the NBA Finals Game 7. Smart. Five quick takeaways from last night:
- Glad they went with the Rollins victory and Ambrose cash-in during the main event. It gives Reigns some real purpose now, it gives Rollins credibility by winning the title in his first match back, and it puts the title and more credibility to Ambrose. And it's a sure-fire, money-making feud to set up and build for SummerSlam. Sometimes I think the WWE tries to get too cute and push things off until later or WrestleMania season. Great to see them pull the trigger here and go for the fences now while it makes sense.
- The AJ Styles vs. John Cena match was fantastic. Maybe not from the actual match itself, although it was great especially the last 6 minutes, but just from the atmosphere. It felt like a big match, the crowd treated it like a big match, and it came off as a big match. The ending takes away from the overall match a little but I'd rather have that ending with AJ winning than Cena coming out on top again. And this battle can continue to grow. I don't know if they'll be able to stretch it out to SummerSlam so maybe we get one more match at BattleGround and they can move on. But this was my match of the night.
- Loved the tag team match-up. Just that the tag team division is able to open up the show and it not feel like a disappointing opener is great. Add in some compelling plots and great wrestlers and it's a mix the WWE can do things with. Now it did look like it was a little sloppy in there at times but I don't mind that as much as other people do. It adds a real-life element at times, sports don't go on without a hitch and neither should wrestling at times. But for as fun as 4-way matches can be, and this was, it's time to get The New Day are real feud if they are going to keep the belts. I don't care if it's Cass & Enzo or The Club or someone else. I said in my Money in the Bank preview that they were starting to get a little stale with no true challengers to go against. They need a big feud leading into SummerSlam. If they don't have a significant part on the card then I feel like 2016 is a wasted opportunity for these guys, no matter how great they've been.
- I really don't know what they can do with Dolph Ziggler at this point. He seems like such damaged goods after his 3rd straight PPV loss to Baron Corbin. Great for Corbin, I'm glad to see him get some run since I think he's one of the few actual heels in WWE. I don't know how high on the card he'll ever get but at least they are giving him a strong, continued push out of the gate, that's more than most NXT callups have gotten recently. But I don't know what you do with Ziggler. I think the best thing for him would be to take 6-months off TV and return at the Royal Rumble. But now with the brand split coming up and WWE needing to fill two separate shows they will need all hands on deck you'd imagine. Which means more mid-card floundering is in Dolph's immediate future and he deserves better.
- Interesting turn of events at then end of the women's tag match. I don't know if it leads to a full Natalya heel turn or just a feud with her and Becky but at least it's something. Anything the women can do that leads them to getting more segments on RAW/Smackdown, the better. The division is full of women who can go and are interesting characters. But if they are only getting 1 match or segment per show, they aren't going to grow. They need their title feud to get screen time and then at least one more, if not two more, feuds to get screen time each week. If Natalya can get away from the title picture but still require getting screen time and matches on TV then it helps the division. Get Sasha Banks back in the mix give them women multiple matches and segments on each show.
I got my first best ball tournament of the year in on Saturday afternoon. A little four man best ball with The Four Horsemen. For those of you not familiar with The Four Horsemen of golf, there's a picture below but we are the only team to ever win the Miller family Ryder Cup. We hadn't golfed a best ball event since that Miller Ryder Cup victory so other than Golden State not winning a championship after a 73 win season, our reunion was probably the most historic thing that happened in the world of sports this weekend. But, as is the case with many things some people just want to deny greatness.
Remember back when Tiger Woods was in the midst of his prime and courses would try to "Tiger-proof" their tournaments by making holes longer than they had been previously? He could out-drive everyone consistently so they tried to make it a little longer to give more players a chance? Well, that's basically what the tournament did to The Four Horsemen this weekend. We were playing in a 4-person best ball tournament and our playing partners were playing as a group of SIX!! Now, I love the sign of respect the tournament committee gave us there but come on, we had to play against 6-people in a 4-person best ball tournament? Kind of ridiculous. Now granted, out of those six people four were women in their 50s or 60s, one guy was playing in sandals, and the last guy made me look like an athlete. But still, six people??
Anyways, to the actual event.....you could tell that The Four Horsemen hadn't played much best-ball together in the past three years as we struggled a little bit. Not off the tee, we consistently had 2 or 3 drives in the fairway most of the day and most of those were inside of 110 yards. Where we struggled was that 2nd shot. We couldn't get anything close to the pin from there to get us decent birdie looks. So we had to settle for more pars than you'd expect for a 4-person best ball tourney. And part of that is just a learning experience, especially for me. Sometimes you gotta get out of your comfort zone to get better. Most people that know me call me a "Best Ball Specialist" on the golf course. I really thrive in best-ball scenarios. But generally I am hitting from the 1 or 2 hole. If I'm in that one spot, I'm not trying to hit perfect shots but trying to get something usable early so my partners can try to go big, or I'm trying to give my partners the great read on the green so they can finish up behind me. It's called being a good teammate.
Well I played from the 3-spot on Saturday and had to make some adjustments and I didn't play as well as I'd like. You know from that 3-spot you really gotta hit some great shots and some clutch shots to keep your team alive and put them in great positions. I did that occasionally but not as often as you'd expect from someone who people call a "Best Ball Specialist." But that's the thing about all the greats in sports, they don't settle with their greatness they try to push the envelope and become even greater, and that's what I did on Saturday. Remember when Tiger Woods was in the middle of his peak years and he ditched Hank Haney as his swing coach? Or remember when LeBron James left Cleveland to go to Miami to achieve greatness, only to then come back to Cleveland? We all saw how that worked out for him last night. He left and came back even better than when he left. I see the same thing happening to me now. I left that 1- or 2- spot, tried out the 3- spot and will undoubtedly be a better player the next Best Ball Tournament we play in. Championships will probably follow me like they did for LeBron, too.