Recapping Nashville’s Historic Run

nashville.jpgI’ll be honest, even though I’m a Blackhawks fan, I was really sad to see the Predators fall to the Penguins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Nashville had entered the Playoffs as the second wildcard team in the Western Conference facing off against the heavily-talented Chicago Blackhawks. Out of nowhere, the number one seeded Blackhawks were swept right out of the series and right into the offseason, as the Predators eliminated the Blackhawks in just four games. Although I was very angry with Nashville (more of my anger was towards the Hawks), I was very certain that St. Louis (who I hate even more) would knock them out just as fast as they had done to my beloved hometown team. I was so wrong.

Once Nashville stole Game 1 in St. Louis (meaning they were 5-0 in the Playoffs), I knew that this team was no fluke. With players like P.K. Subban and Pekka Rinne leading the charge, they eventually went on to win the series on their home ice in just six games, but they were now facing the second best team in the west. Anaheim was entering the series following a dangerously close series with the Edmonton Oilers, but they had proven their talented team was capable of anything. It was a clash of the titans, as the Predators and Ducks dueled for the rights of the Western Conference, with the Predators winning the series in six games.

The final stage was a lot different however. The Cinderella story was nearing the final chapter as the Predators were now facing the defending Stanley Cup Final Champions in the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the star Captain Sidney Crosby leading the way for the Penguins, it was clear that this was going to be the hardest challenge the Predators would face in this year’s postseason. It was home ice advantage throughout the first five games, as the Penguins led the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Nashville (no home team had lost a game yet). Game 6 was very close, with a very controversial call against the Predators that would have given them a 1-0 lead late in the game. Unfortunately, the Penguins would later score two goals and win the game and the Stanley Cup Final altogether.

One of the great things about sports is the “what-ifs” that come with them. Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final had a great “what-if” that could have changed the entire series and its’ outcome. Regardless, the Predators had a historic run through the playoffs and they reminded sports fans all over the world why Playoff Hockey is one of the best sports to watch. I’ve said this before, but the NBA Playoffs could really take a page out of the NHL Playoffs’ book, because the Stanley Cup Final was definitely more entertaining than this year’s’ NBA Finals (don’t worry, that’ll be coming up shortly). It will be very interesting to see what happens this offseason with the Nashville Predators, because they just put their team back up on the map, and now, they have unfinished business with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Grab your popcorn everyone, because the Predators just found new prey.

 

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The NBA Playoffs Still Suck

warriorscavsI’d bet you any amount of money that Adam Silver is biting off his finger nails right now at the thought of the Warriors sweeping the Cavaliers right off of their own court. For all of you who haven’t been paying attention to basketball over the past month or so, the Warriors have still yet to lose a game in the playoffs, with a record of 15-0 and only one more win to go. The Cavs have been absolutely shocked with the amount of force that the Warriors have demonstrated upon them throughout the series. Not only that, but even Lebron James himself has said that “this is probably the most firepower he’s played against in his career” and that he gave that Game 3 loss “all that he had” (via BleacherReport). It’s hard to say exactly what I’m thinking, but to generalize, the Warriors might just sweep the Cavs Friday night in Cleveland.

However, this prediction is only possible if Adam Silver and the NBA don’t intervene. Let’s be honest for a second, Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals would have been completely different had Draymond Green not been suspended. Game 6 would have been different had the refs not called such awful fouls on Stephen Curry and the Warriors. That’s two games that could have been won by the Warriors that weren’t, due to some “controversial” calls/suspensions. I’m not a Warriors or Cavaliers fan, but I can admit that it was a little suspicious that as soon as the Warriors had a commanding 3-1 series lead, the calls all went in the direction of the Cavs. Now that the series is 3-0 in favor of the Warriors, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see some questionable calls throughout the rest of the series.

All that being said, I must admit the Warriors are playing some great basketball. Kevin Durant is redefining the debate between Michael Jordan and Lebron James as Durant has continuously shut down James and the Cavs’ momentum, dagger after dagger. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are doing great as well, filling in the few blanks that Durant misses. On the other hand, the Cavs played a poor Game 1 and 2, but showed great potential in Game 3, until Durant placed the knife right back into all Cavalier fans’ hearts. As the Warriors scored the final 11 points with no response from the Cavs to seal the Game 3 victory, the Cavs have very little hope for a good rest of the series.

If the Warriors actually sweep the Cavs, I’m going to be beyond upset, but not surprised. It already pains me to see Durant betray his former team and have huge success in the playoffs with the NBA’s bandwagon, but to see the Warriors not even lose one single game… that would kill me. It’s funny to compare the NBA playoffs with NHL playoffs and see how much more entertaining the NHL playoffs have been. With the Stanley Cup Final tied at two a piece, the NBA Finals could really take a page out of the NHL’s book. Let’s make the NBA playoffs fun again, without having Adam Silver rig the rest of the series.

 

Warriors Skip Past Cavs For Game 1 Victory

durantIn all honesty, I was not surprised by the result of Game 1. The Warriors were heading into the game undefeated in the Playoffs and on their own court (thanks to the toaster revolution). It would’ve been a huge blow if they had given the Cavs an upperhand in the series heading into Game 2.

 

Durant dominated the game with 38 points and 8 assists while Curry poured in 28 points with 10 assists as well. It was amazing to watch as Durant seemed to part the red sea almost every fast break. It just shows how much the NBA has changed when a Cleveland defender is more worried about a three-pointer than a wide-open dunk. Regardless, Durant put on a show for basketball fans Thursday night and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to be slowing down anytime soon.

On the other hand, Lebron James and the Cavs were not ready for the brand of basketball that the Warriors brought. James finished with 28 points and 8 assists and Irving was able to add just 24 points. Not only that, but the Cavs finished with 20 turnovers for the game which only increased the momentum for the Warriors.

It was a pretty lopsided Game 1, but in my opinion, I think things are going to be a lot different in Game 2. We know that this is the third consecutive year that the Warriors and Cavs have met in the NBA Finals, and this year could be the deciding factor for which superteam trumps all.

I have complete confidence that James will respond in Game 2 and lead the Cavs to a victory, ultimately tying the series heading back to Cleveland. Although the Cavs have been in a situation similar to the one they could be in they were to lose Game 2 (2016), I doubt the Cavs will let themselves fall behind two games again. Only time will tell, I just know that Sunday couldn’t come any faster!

 

Every End Has A New Beginning

File_000Hello all! Surprisingly, I will not be writing about the sports world today. Instead, I will be reviewing my high school career and previewing the next four years of my life. As today is the last day of school for me and my graduation is just five days away, I think it is appropriate for me to look back on the last four years that have made me the person that I am today. As I embark on my next journey, I must remember and thank the people that have helped me fall in love with what I love today. After all, if it wasn’t for all of these people, I would never have started this blog and began writing in general. Also, to avoid anything awkward, to anyone who reads this and is not mentioned in a positive way, I will say thank you now, because you definitely had a positive influence on my life. With all of that being said, I would like to thank the following people for their help in making me the Jack Phillips that writes before you this day…

My Parents: Mom and Dad, if it wasn’t for you, I would have never had the confidence to be myself and take chances throughout my life. You guys constantly worked with me, comparing right from wrong, lifting me up when I was happy, and picking me back up when I was down. You guys are the reason that I fell in love with sports in the first place. My love for baseball, hockey, football, and basketball all started with my mother and father. Whether it was my dad’s on the field coaching of these sports, playing catch with me everyday, and watching sports games with me, or my mom’s off the field coaching, showing me the right attitude to have in sports, or taking me to Bulls games every year, these two great people helped get me to where I am today. I will never be able to repay them for all they done, all I can say is thank you and just know that I will be forever in both of your debts for as long as I’m alive.

My Radio/Broadcasting Teacher: This man is the reason that I’m here writing about sports in the first place. This man is the reason that I am continuing my education in sports journalism at Marquette University. This man is the reason that I want to be a broadcaster and continue to improve myself each and every single day. He has taught me how to write news, how to create productions, and how to project my personality over the radio in an appropriate, yet entertaining way. If I had never had him as my Intro to Broadcasting teacher my Freshman year, then I would be going to a different college majoring in business (scary, I know). All in all, I am very thankful for this man because he has made me the young broadcaster that I am today. For that, I say thanks and wish him the best of luck in continuing to influence the young and hopeful broadcasters after me.

All of You: Thanks to everyone who has influenced me towards who I currently am (as I write this piece). Without all of the people that did the little things, then the big things may not have mattered as much as they did. I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Thanks for all the little things that you guys have done for me and I look towards your continuing support and admiration as an inspiration for my future endeavors.

I’ll be walking out of Glenbrook South High School today with four years of hard work under my belt. All of the memories that I’ve made are greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten, but I’m very excited to continue to make more over the next four years. As I walk into Milwaukee this upcoming August, I carry with me all of the knowledge and understanding that I have absorbed over the last 18 years. I will try to make the name Jack Phillips a brand, and it all starts with this blog. Continue to follow along and read the sports pieces, because without you guys, I’m just another excited fan with a computer.