Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Golden State Warriors: 2014-15 NBA Champions



CLEVELAND (AP) Revived by a fresh-faced shooting superstar and a first-year coach who made them believe, the Golden State Warriors again reign supreme.

Their 40-year NBA championship drought is finally over.

A half century of misery in Cleveland drags on. LeBron James just didn't have enough help.

Stephen Curry and finals MVP Andre Iguodala scored 25 points apiece, Draymond Green recorded a triple-double and the Warriors - using a barrage of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter - won their first title since 1975 by finishing off James and the Cavaliers 105-97 on Tuesday night in Game 6.

For the first time since Gerald Ford was in the White House, disco was in vogue and Rick Barry was flicking in free throws under-handed, the best pro basketball team resides in the Bay Area.

And these Warriors are a lot like Barry and his old crew: fluid, balanced, together. Just like coach Steve Kerr hoped.

After falling behind by two points early in the third quarter, the Warriors took control with Curry, the league's MVP, and Iguodala, who made his first start of the season in Game 4, leading the way.

"World champs," Curry said, letting the title sink in. "This is truly special. This group is a special group. From the time we started the season this is what we envisioned and a lot of hard work goes into it, all the way down to the last minute of this game. This is what it's all about. ... We're going to remember this for a long time."

Golden State allowed the Cavaliers to creep within eight points in the fourth before unleashing a flurry of 3s to ensure they would be taking the Larry O'Brien Trophy back to California. Curry's step-back made it 78-68, and after the Cavs closed within seven on J.R. Smith's trey, Iguodala, Curry and Klay Thompson each drained one in a span of 81 seconds to make it 89-75.

Iguodala added another long shot for good measure before he strutted back on defense holding out three fingers on each hand.

He could have shot an index finger into the air at that point - Golden State is No. 1.

James returned from Miami to deliver a title to his home region, but the 30-year-old, left to do most of the work by himself after All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were injured in the postseason, came two wins shy of giving Cleveland its first pro sports championship since 1964.

They city's three pro teams - the Cavs, Browns and Indians - have gone a combined 144 seasons without one of them winning it all.

James had 32 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in Game 6 and was dominant during the series, showing why he's the world's best player.

The Warriors were simply the better team.

James was replaced in the final seconds, but before he left the court, the four-time MVP shook hands with Curry and offered congratulations to Kerr and the rest of the Warriors.

"The sacrifice every guy made from Andre and David (Lee) stepping away from the starting lineup, we just played," Kerr said. "And they were all in it just to win. That's all that mattered. This is an amazing group of guys."

This series, which opened with two overtime games in Oakland, flipped when Kerr employed a small lineup in the fourth quarter of Game 3 and the Warriors nearly overcame a 20-point deficit before losing.

Kerr stuck with revamped lineup in Game 4, giving Iguodala a start, switching Green to center and benching the ineffective Andrew Bogut. The move was as golden as the Warriors, who finished with 83 wins, the third-highest single-season total in history.

Only the 1995-96 and 1996-97 Bulls won more, and Kerr was on both of those teams.

Cleveland fans did all they could to force a Game 7.

They entered the building chanting "Let's Go Cavs!" and joined Marlana VanHoose for the final stanza of the national anthem, a touching moment that showed Cleveland was "All In" to take on Golden State.

The Warriors, though, were ready.

Down early after missing open shots, they began finding their range. Golden State capitalized on nine turnovers in the first quarter, made four 3s and built a 13-point lead when Harrison Barnes knocked down a long 3 - a shot that sent several dozen gold-and-blue Warriors fans sitting near their bench into a frenzy.

This was their night, the one they've waited for 40 years.

While Golden State had some solid teams in the past - the "Run TMC" version coached by Don Nelson and featuring Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond among them - the franchise has been undermined by dysfunction. Along with long playoff gaps, there were bad trades, poor drafts and numerous coaching changes.

The Warriors often made headlines for the wrong reasons. Remember when Latrell Sprewell choked coach P.J. Carlesimo?

Well, those days are gone, washed away by Curry and Thompson - the "Splash Brothers" - and a roster of selfless players who bonded under Kerr and have returned basketball glory to Oakland.

These new Warriors have been a model team: sharing the ball, defending together and sacrificing individual goals.

"Strength in Numbers" was their motto as the Warriors used depth and balance to jump from 51 wins to a franchise-record 67 during the regular season.

Kerr molded them. Hired last summer after spurning an offer from the Knicks, the 49-year-old former NBA guard who won three of his five titles as Michael Jordan's teammate in Chicago and two playing for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, Kerr brought out the best in his team.

From the first day of training camp, he emphasized unity. A California-born kid who still surfs and would prefer to wear jeans and a pair of Vans on the sideline, he kept things loose by taking the Warriors bowling and letting them blare music during practices.

With Curry, the team's first MVP since Wilt Chamberlain, leading them, the Warriors outgunned everyone in the rugged Western Conference and entered the postseason as a No. 1 seed. They swept New Orleans, rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat Memphis and then blew through Houston in five games to make the finals for the first time since `75.

They then held off James and the undermanned Cavs, who just didn't have enough.

Not against a team as golden as the trophy its taking home.

BoBA ISML 2015 Predictions: Aquamarine Match Day 5

ARENA 01: Ayase Eli [Tina Sprout]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 02: [Konno Yūki] Yazawa Nico
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 03: Shokuhō Misaki [Stephanie Dola]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 04: Asada Shino [Onodera Kosaki]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 05: Miyazono Kaori [Aihara Enju]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 06: Shichimiya Satone [Jibril]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 07: [Himeragi Yukina] Akame
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 08: [Yaya] Sonoda Umi
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 09: Yuigahama Yui [Sakura Chiyo]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 10: Nishikino Maki [Shiro]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 11: [Yukinoshita Yukino] Kurousagi
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 12: Tobiichi Origami [Azuki Azusa]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6200
Under

ARENA 13: Terminus Est [Latifa Fleuranza]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6200
Under

ARENA 14: Kuriyama Mirai [Tsutsukakushi Tsukiko]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 15: Yatogami Tōka [Tokisaki Kurumi]
by <=1500
Over/Under: 6400
Over

ARENA 16: [Yoshino] Tachibana Marika
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 17: Minami Kotori [Kirisaki Chitoge]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 18: Shiba Miyuki [Sento Isuzu]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 19: [Yui-nyan] Nyarlathotep
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over


ARENA 20: [Itsuka Kotori] Nakamura Yuri
by <=1200
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 21: [Aragaki Ayase] Nibutani Shinka
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 22: Yuzuriha Inori [Eucliwood Hellscythe]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 23: Takanashi Rikka [Chitanda Eru]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 24: [Aisaka Taiga] Saber
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 25: Aoyama Nanami [Kuroyukihime]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 26: Holo [C.C.]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6200
Under

ARENA 27: [Kashiwazaki Sena] Kōsaka Kirino
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 28: Suzumiya Haruhi [Shiina Mashiro]
by >=1200
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 29: Senjōgahara Hitagi [Makise Kurisu]
by >=1100
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 30: [Charlotte Dunois] Hasegawa Kobato by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 31: Oshino Shinobu [Shana]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 32: [Hirasawa Yui] Sengoku Nadeko
by <=800
Over/Under: 6200
Under

ARENA 33: Yūki Mikan [Tōsaka Rin]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 34: [Nakano Azusa] Nagato Yuki
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 35: [Yūki Asuna] Konjiki no Yami
by >=1300
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 36: [Illyasviel von Einzbern] Momo Belia Deviluke
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 37: [Archer] Emiya Kiritsugu
by <=500
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 38: [Katsuragi Keima] Aikawa Ayumu
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 39: [Kanie Seiya] Itsuka Shidō by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 40: Edward Elric [Kyon]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 41: Kanda Sorata [Gilgamesh]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 42: Akasaka Ryūnosuke [Okazaki Tomoya]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 43: [Hikigaya Hachiman] Maō Sadao by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 44: Yato [Otonashi Yuzuru]
by >=1200
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 45: Sakata Gintoki [Araragi Koyomi]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 46: Ichijō Raku [Kamijō Tōma]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 47: Mikoshiba Mikoto [Takasu Ryūji]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 48: [Accelerator] Okabe Rintarō
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 49: Nozaki Umetarō [Sakamaki Izayoi]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 50: [Satomi Rentarō] Orihara Izaya
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 51: [Sora] Shiba Tatsuya
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 52: [Togashi Yūta] Heiwajima Shizuo
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Over

ARENA 53: L Lawliet [Emiya Shirō]
by >=1000
Over/Under: 6300
Under

ARENA 54: Levi [Kaneki Ken]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6200
Under

ARENA 55: Chocolat [Roromiya Karuta]
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6000
Under

ARENA 56: [Kotomine Kirei] Producer (Cinderella Girls)
by <=1000
Over/Under: 6000
Over

Chicago Blackhawks: 2015 Stanley Cup Champions



CHICAGO -- There was a moment in the pause before the Stanley Cup arrived on the ice when Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews skated away from his teammates, looked up to the roaring, raucous crowd, and started applauding.

Cameras followed him, showing him on the scoreboard.

"Unbelievable," Toews said with his arms raised, hands clapping. "Unbelievable."

The 22,424 standing, hugging, cheering, selfie-taking, red-clad and relieved fans applauded back at their captain, loudly. Toews smiled and pumped his fists.

"I was just trying to absorb every moment, and I'm still trying to do it," Toews said on the ice, long after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman handed him the Stanley Cup for the third time in six seasons. "It doesn't feel real. Even in the dying minutes, I can't really remember anything that happened to be honest with you. It was a dream, start to finish.

 "This is pretty awesome."

There is no better way to describe the scene that unfolded inside United Center on Monday. Chicago's 2-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 gave way to the first on-ice Stanley Cup celebration in Chicago since 1938.

The Blackhawks won the Cup in Philadelphia in 2010, and in Boston in 2013. Those were great, special, and meant everything to this team and its players. They were topped by the memories created inside the building appropriately called the Madhouse on Madison.

"There's nothing like it," Blackhawks president and Chicago native John McDonough said. "Being from here, hailing from the city of Chicago, not the suburbs, and going with the ebb and flow of sports teams my entire life; I was around for the Bulls run and I never thought I'd see anything like that ever again. Maybe you never will. I mean, six championships in eight years, that's amazing. But we're really fortunate. This fan base gave us a chance. They came back and we're thrilled that we're able to reward them."

The Blackhawks had a 1-0 lead on Conn Smythe Trophy winner Duncan Keith's goal at 17:13 of the second period. But the crowd was still tense as the third period started to unfold, even though the Blackhawks simply don't lose when they enter the third period with a lead.

They were 25-0 in those situations during the regular season. They were 8-0 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It was obvious in the first few minutes that they weren't going to lose this one.

Chicago started to execute what essentially was a perfect game plan. Every time the Lightning got the puck into the offensive zone, the Blackhawks knocked it right back out. The tension in the building slowly began to fade.

With 9:34 remaining and a whistle for a hand pass that led to a television timeout, it finally cracked. The fans stood, just about every single one of them, and started cheering during the timeout.

Play resumed, and less than a minute passed before the "Let's go Hawks" chant started to reverberate through the arena with 8:47 remaining. They were excited, eager, but patient. Remember, it was still just a one-goal lead.

Then it happened.

Brandon Saad broke out of the defensive zone and down the left wing. The crowd surged. Saad put a drop pass onto Brad Richards' stick. The crowd sensed what was coming.

Richards froze goalie Ben Bishop with a shot-fake that led to a perfect pass to Patrick Kane. The crowd rose.

Kane slammed home a one-timer, the D.J. cued up "Chelsea Dagger," and at 14:46 of the third period there was bedlam in the building and presumably around all the bars and restaurants and homes and office buildings in the city of Chicago.

"At the 10-minute mark the crowd sensed the Hawks were going to win this, and you just had a feeling somehow the Hawks were going to score that second goal," Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said. "And if you could have a storybook ending, it was Patrick, the guy who could do it."

It appeared that nobody who entered the building with a coveted and expensive ticket Monday night sat down for the final 5:14.

There was no more tension, not with a two-goal lead. There was only a celebration with chants of "We want the Cup," and "Corey, Corey, Corey" after goalie Corey Crawford made back-to-back saves on Ondrej Palat's two chances in the slot at 16:37.

They sang along, "You gotta fight, for your right, to party" as the D.J. played the Beastie Boys' classic. The shots were 32-19 in favor of the Blackhawks at this time. The score was 2-0. Masterful.

"Everybody was standing up," forward Marian Hossa said. "What a moment."

They were hugging each other, holding each other arm in arm.

Finally, once the clock bled down to 10 seconds, the countdown was on. Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one …"Chelsea Dagger" again. Bedlam. Insanity.

Fans sitting in the last row below the press box were high-fiving former Blackhawks forward and current radio color commentator Troy Murray. They were standing on seats. They were taking pictures of the ice, of themselves, of the crowd, the scoreboard, of anything.

They went bonkers when Keith was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. They sang along to "Sweet Home Chicago" as they watched the Blackhawks and Lightning go through the traditional handshake line.

That the Stanley Cup's arrival was delayed by the flooded streets of Chicago, a result of a massive storm that blew through the city prior to the game, mattered very little.

The party was on.

"I don't think there's going to be much sleeping tonight," Kane said.

In the middle of the sea of people on the ice, players with family members, credentialed media with cameras and microphones and recorders and notebooks, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman found Saad, the best of Chicago's second-generation core, and embraced him.

Saad, remember, can become a restricted free agent on July 1. He could well be targeted with an offer sheet by one of 29 other teams.

"I gave a hug and I said, 'This is the [second] of many, we're going to win a lot together,'" Bowman said. "He gave me a big hug and said, 'Let's go.'

"I don't think he would want to leave after this scene here."

Nobody did. Nobody wanted to miss a moment.

"Incredible," Toews said. "Incredible."

ISML 2015: Shino, Asuna lead Aquamarine

ISML 2015: Shino, Asuna lead Aquamarine

By Jo-Ryan Salazar
The Bedlam on Baltic Avenue
June 16, 2015


Match Day 4 of the 2015 International Saimoe League Aquamarine Period concluded, and Shino Asada leads the Nova Division while Asuna Yuuki is at the top of the Stella Division. In the Nova Division, Tsukiko Tsutsukakushi romped past Tina Sprout 3564-2419, Yui Yuigahama rolled past Miyuki Shiba 3658-2529, Tohka Yatogami hammered Kotori Minami 3512-2574, Marika Tachibana dismantled Maki Nishikino 3570-2706, Enju AIhara slammed Eli Ayase 3786-2376 and Yukino Yukinoshita flattened Latifa Fleuranza 4353-1928.

Shiro pummeled Terminus Est 4373-1792, Azusa Azuki defeated Umi Sonoda 3125-2781, Yoshino froze Origami Tobiichi 3820-2064, Chiyo Sakura routed Satone Shichimiya 4117-2195, Kurumi Tokisaki shot down Akami 4240-2089 and Isuzu Sento gunned down Yaya 3449-2582.

Wrapping up Nova action, Chitoge Kirisaki destroyed Nico Yazawa 3807-2394, Shino Asada whipped past Mirai Kuriyama 3428-2786, Kurousagi bounced past MIsaki Shokuhou 3341-2639, Stephanie Dola annihilated Kaori Miyazono 3475-2648, Jibril hammered Yuuki Konno 3828-2449 and Kosaki Onodera dismantled Yukina Himeragi 3967-2090.

In the Stella Division, Saber slashed past Nadeko Sengoku 4009-2231, Asuna Yuuki tore past Inori Yuzuriha 3604-2715, Mikan Yuuki defeated Yui Hirasawa 3158-2794, Illyasviel von Einzbern rolled past Shinka Nibutani 3656-2836, Konjiki no Yami scored a 3043-2635 win over Kobato Hasegawa and Ayase Aragaki whipped past Azusa Nakano 3523-2810.

Momo Veila Deviluke defeated Holo 2935-2750, Yui-nyan rocked Haruhi Suzumiya 3519-2808, Kuroyukihime flew past C.C. 3684-2355, Rikka Takanashi routed Charlotte Dunois 3609-2409, Yuri Nakamura gunned down Sena Kashiwazaki 3462-2726 and Taiga Aisaka roared past Kirino Kousaka 4030-2158.

Wrapping up Stella play, Eru Chitanda stunned Eucliwood Hellascythe 3321-2918 in the Upset of the Round making it two for Hyouka's finest. Mashiro Shiina throttled Yuki Nagato 4137-2315, Nanami Aoyama slammed Nyarlathotep 3653-2391, defending champions Kotori Itsuka rolled past Shinobu Oshino 3541-2792, Kurisu Makise pulled off a 3632-2876 statement victory over Shana and Hitagi Senjougahara was hammered by Rin Tohsaka by the score of 3892-2344.

In the Male Division, Gintoki Sakata crushed Umetarou Nozaki 3085-2375, Edward Elric defeated Sadao Mao 2883-2593, Kyon defeated Rintarou Okabe 2812-2650, Izayoi Sakamaki routed Ryuunosuke Akasaka 3415-2101, Touma Kamijou prevailed over Ryuuji Takasu 3159-2608 and Yuuta Togashi dismissed Raku Ichijou 2952-2618.

Shirou Emiya defeated Ayumu Aikawa 2893-2674, Koyomi Araragi defeated Seiya Kanie 2886-2705, Sora routed Izaya Orihara 3808-1998, Tomoya Okasaki rolled past Mikoto Mikoshiba 2998-2499, Hachiman Hikigaya leveled Ken Kaneki 4044-1767 and Archer dominated L Lawliet 3562-2179.

Wrapping up Male Division play, Accelerator accelerated past Shizuo Heiwajima 3739-1891, Kiritsugu Emiya defeated Sorata Kanda 2996-2784, Yato defeated Levi 2804-2640, Tatsuya Shiba scored the closest victory of the day: a 2795-2789 thriller over Gilgamesh, Rentarou Satomi defeated Shidou Itsuka 2959-2407 and Yuzuru Otonashi defeated Keima Katsuragi 3085-2682.

In special exhibition play, Arslan defeated Asuna Aria von Reiji 2266-1535 and Akira Takizawa defeated Shinobu Morita 1964-1212.

Match Day 5 of the 2015 International Saimoe League Aquamarine Period is scheduled for June 16, 2015. Vote for your favorites at InternationalSaimoe.com and join the ongoing debate.