Meeting for the third year in a row in the NBA Finals, with each team winning once previously, this is the rubber match for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, and in game one in Oakland last night, it was the Warriors who came out to play, beating LeBron James and the Cavs 113-91 behind a dominant performance by Kevin Durant.
The former Oklahoma City stand-out poured in 38 points, added eight rebounds and eight assists and sent notice that it's not just Steph Curry who can put up big numbers when it counts, although it's not like Curry was invisible, contributing six three-pointers as part of his 28-point night. As for LeBron, he did his part, finishing with a double-double of 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, and putting up those numbers just one day after finding that some troglodyte had painted a racial slur on the gate of his Los Angeles home. Sports has never been spared the indignities of systemic racism, from Hitler's refusal to shake the hand of Jesse Owens at the Olympics, to the Boston Red Sox sham tryout for Jackie Robinson before he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers, and too many instances like those in between. But it's more than a little dispiriting that we still find ourselves incredulously saying "how can this still be happening? It's (insert year here)", but as James himself said after this latest incident, it's disturbing, but it shows that an uncomfortable conversation about race in America is still necessary to have.
To Major League Baseball, and the Boston Red Sox were frustrated by one of their former pitchers and pummeled by the long ball in a 7-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Wade Miley, the lefty who pitched for Boston in 2015, gave up just five hits and one run, while his lefty counterpart Eduardo Rodriguez, who was in Baltimore's farm system before being traded to the Red Sox, gave up a career high four home runs and left after five and two thirds of an inning with seven runs scored against him. This was a big step backwards for Rodriguez, who came into the game riding a four-game winning streak. The Sox trailed 7-1 heading into the 9th when Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a three-run homer and Christian Vazquez added an RBI to make the final score look respectable, but the Red Sox struggles against Baltimore this season continue. There are three games left in the series and Boston has only a half game lead over the O's heading into game two tonight, with Rick Porcello hoping to get his fourth win of the year for the Red Sox.
The Toronto Blue Jays had won eight of nine and were back home after a great road trip, facing the first place NY Yankees in game one of a four game series with a chance to climb even further back from the morass of failure that marked the first two months of their season, but that momentum came to a screeching halt at the Rogers Centre last night as the Yankees unloaded on the Jays for a 12-2 win. CC Sabathia got tons of run support and won his fourth straight start. Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez powered the offense, Sanchez homering twice and Hicks driving in a career high six runs. Marco Estrada got knocked around for a season high seven runs on nine hits and couldn't get out of the fourth inning in the loss.
At Citi Field in Queens, where the bizarre has become commonplace of late, there was another can't-make-this-stuff-up incident in the Mets-Brewers match-up when a pop up with the bases loaded that would have been caught by the Mets' Wilmer Flores wasn't caught, because the bat boy got tangled up with Flores, and the 3rd baseman dropped the ball. You have to feel bad for the kid, who was carrying a metal chair near the dugout as Flores ranged over to get under the pop up. The bat boy tried to dodge out of the way but zigged when he should have zagged and clipped Flores with the chair. Luckily for the Mets the second chance for batter Eric Sogard ended up with him hitting into a double play but the Mets still lost the game 2-1. All this happening one day after the team's mascot Mr. Met became a social media sensation for making an obscene gesture at a fan. The Mets end up with a split of the four game series with Milwaukee, the surprise leaders of the National League Central. They got great pitching from Chase Anderson, who threw seven shut-out innings yesterday.
At the French Open, Kevin Anderson of South Africa beat Australian Nick Kyrgios in a five set marathon yesterday. On the women's side, Montreal's Eugenie Bouchard saw her run at Roland Garros come to an end, losing 6-3, 6-0 to Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova.
At the Memorial Golf tournament in Dublin, Ohio, American Jason Dufner is tied for the lead at 7-under with Sweden's David Lingmerth. Jordan Speith is just one stroke off the pace in second place heading into round two today.