Sports That Matters
July 6th, 2019
Welcome back hope you are having a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by!
1. National Basketball Association news and notes.
As fears mounted that the Los Angeles Lakers had pushed to the cusp of creating an unprecedented Big Three, the LA Clippers made a blockbuster trade for Oklahoma City‘s Paul George and cleared the path for free-agent Kawhi Leonard to sign a four-year, $141 million contract with the Clipper. The Thunder were getting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari from the Clippers.
jerry west continues to get the job done…
Jerry West has a nickname Mr. Clutch despite the fact that he only won one title. The NBA designed its logo on his likeness. Now he has pulled off the biggest coup not just getting Kawhi Leaonard but Paul Goerge to make the LA Clippers odds on favorites to win the NBA Title.
West won three titles as the GM of the Lakers, making moves like drafting James Worthy and trading Norm Nixon for Byron Scott, before being promoted to executive VP of Basketball Operations. The next summer, he cleared cap space and convinced Shaquille O’Neal to come to Los Angeles, and at the same time targeted Kobe Bryant out of high school to be the Robin to Shaq’s Batman.
He left the Lakers in 2000, he went to Memphis in 2002 and built another force in the Western Conference, helping the Grizzlies advance to the postseason three times in his five years.
In 2011, West joined the Warriors. He famously opposed trading Klay Thompson to Minnesota for Kevin Love in 2014, helping to save the Splash Brothers, after lobbying to draft Thompson in 2011. West is also widely credited with helping seal the deal with Kevin Durant in free agency in 2016. Back-to-back titles ensued.
The Clippers add West as a consultant in 2017, now at 81 years young, turned down retirement and embraced the challenge of building another contender. Who knew it would happen this quickly.
more off-season news…
Oklahoma City All-Star guard Russell Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, are engaged with Thunder general manager Sam Presti about the next steps of Westbrook’s career, including the possibility of a trade before the start of next season.
2. US Women’s Soccer set to be on the biggest stage.
The U.S. women’s soccer team will meet the Netherlands in the Women’s World Cup final Sunday.
The U.S. are looking for their fourth World Cup title, while it’s the first time the Netherlands will be in the final match. The U.S. are also in their third straight World Cup final. The Americans defeated Japan in 2015, avenging defeat from the same team in 2011.
FiveThiryEight.com has the USA with a 66% chance to win the World Cup Final.
The U.S. has the tournament’s joint top scorer in Alex Morgan who has six goals. The U.S. also has Megan Rapinoe, who has scored five goals in the tournament and is expected to play in the match despite suffering a hamstring injury in the match against France.
Here’s how I think the U.S. will line up: Alyssa Naeher (GK); Kelley O’Hara (DEF), Abby Dahlkemper (DEF), Becky Sauerbrunn (DEF), Crystal Dunn (DEF); Lindsey Horan (MID), Julie Ertz (MID), Rose Lavelle (MID); Tobin Heath (FWD), Alex Morgan (FWD), Megan Rapinoe (FWD)
But all eyes will be on their goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal, who had five saves against Sweden in the semifinal. The U.S. has been very aggressive in the first half of play in each of their games and it will be up to Van Veenendaal to really step up if the Dutch defense breaks down.
Women’s World Cup Final: USA vs. Netherlands
- Date: Sunday, July 7
- Time: 11 a.m. ET
- Location: Stade de Lyon in Lyon, France
- TV channel: Fox and Telemundo
- Streaming: fuboTV (Try for free)
- Odds: USA -1 (-145) | Netherlands +1 (+125) | O/U: 2.5
3. Boston Red Sox struggled out of the gate defending their 2018 World Series Championship but haven’t gotten back to championship form.
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
At just 44-40 on the season, the Sox are far behind the pace set by their 2018 World Series team, which won 108 games in the regular season and then went 11-3 in the playoffs to capture the franchise’s fourth Commissioner’s Trophy since 2004.
The Red Sox haven’t won back-to-back titles, however, and Henry noted that following up a championship run has been a challenge.
But Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez haven’t pitched well, while the fifth starter’s spot has been a revolving door of shaky performances since Nathan Eovaldi has spent much of the year on the injured list.
The Boston Red Sox have had a terrible habit of blowing late leads this season, and they appear intent on fixing that. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Red Sox are “quietly” surveying the market for relief pitching, and many executives expect them to make a move by the July 31 deadline.
With the July 31 trade deadline coming up, the Red Sox are candidates to acquire an established closer for the stretch run, but it appears they’re primed to turn to a more unconventional in-house solution to succeed Craig Kimbrel. They’re planning to use starter Nathan Eovaldi as their closer when he returns from the injured list, Tom Caron of NESN reports.
Red Sox will have a tough time with the Yankees and Rays taking two playoff spots in their own division.