Sports

After Game 1 thrill ride, what’s ahead?

Reading time, two minutes:

▪ If the rest of the NBA Finals is as good as Game 1, we’re in for a thrill ride.

▪ LeBron James (44 points) and Steph Curry (26) underline a major point in all sports: The show elevates from “good” to “wow” when the superstars deliver.

▪ Like they say at the Las Vegas sportsbooks: The Warriors are a lock when they reach the finals (5-0 since 1975!).

▪ It all points toward the Warriors: Beating Cleveland on James’ best night, Kyrie Irving limping off the court, their bench outscoring the Cavaliers’ 34-9.

▪ A caveat: Game 2 always seems like the best chance for the visiting team.

▪ The purist wants it thus: Irving healthy and both teams at full strength, because it looked so sweet Thursday night.

▪ Always the Warriors’ parallel between 1975 and 2015: An insanely deep bench, and it showed in overtime.

▪ Right now: Curry owns the Bay Area, though Buster Posey owns the hardware.

▪ What Barry Bonds missed: Curry plays with joy, and he’s likable.

▪ The average ticket price was a Game 1 NBA Finals record: $1,023 according to Ticketmaster, $1,535 according to StubHub.

▪ Somehow, my couch has become more comfortable.

▪ ESPN’s Trent Dilfer on Charles Barkley’s golf swing: “I got a lot of voices in my head yelling at me all the time. I can’t imagine the voices he has in his head to create that move.”

▪ Barkley picked the Cavaliers in six. I’ve got the Warriors in six. I like my chances.

▪ Something is missing in the TV coverage of the NBA Finals and the Warriors overall in the playoffs: The word “Oakland.”

▪ The world to the networks: More Jack London Square, less Golden Gate Bridge, please.

▪ Why? Because the Warriors have played in Oakland for decades.

▪ I’m sure Modesto’s Bob Piccinini, a minority owner of the Warriors who died just before the playoffs, would’ve sat in his courtside seat and loved this.

▪ Planning your summer? For celebrity watching, there’s nothing better: The 26th American Century Championship, July 14-19 at Edgewood Tahoe.

▪ Can’t imagine more deserving red cards waved in the faces of FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his henchmen. Methinks we’ve only heard about half of the mess.

▪ The cleanup of FIFA won’t be serious until these words are heard: “The World Cup will not be contested in Qatar in 2022. Our bribes, hush money and other dirty cash steered us toward a dumb decision. We’ll pay for all expenses in Qatar and move elsewhere.”

▪ A country that can handle such a project on short notice: England.

▪ One-third of the way into the season, and one truth is emerging about the Giants: They don’t rally from behind. At least not yet.

▪ President Barack Obama welcomed the Giants into the White House for the third time. One more, and he’ll get a World Series share.

▪ Obama may start thinking Hunter Pence does eat pizza with a fork.

▪ Fifteen years ago: James played for the Oakland Soldiers’ under-17 team, and one of his teammates was Chuck Hayes (Modesto Christian).

▪ The inside word back then: James was younger than the rest, he would not go on to college and – after he dropped 30 on an unsuspecting opponent in one half – everyone knew the kid from Ohio was special.

▪ James chats with the officials like he’s saying, “You must call the foul when I say so.”

▪ He’s also the first player since Bill Russell to reach five straight NBA Finals. Which means he’s got the cache Curry doesn’t.

▪ Watch Hayes sweat with the kids at his camp next week at Big Valley Christian.

▪ While we’re on the subject: Nate Costa (Hilmar, Oregon) again will hold his football camp June 24-26 at Hilmar High.

▪ A super-knowledgable horse racing friend insists American Pharoah will win the Triple Crown Saturday. Funny, but we heard this with Smarty Jones, War Emblem, Real Quiet, Silver Charm, etc.

▪ About NCAA champion golfer Bryson DeChambeau (Clovis East, SMU): His first swings were taken at Ripon’s Spring Creek Country Club, where his father, Jon, worked.

▪ Bryson’s first legit par was made at Spring Creek’s sixth – safely over the water off the tee and into the cup with his fourth. He was 5 or 6.

▪ Shelley, daughter of yours truly, soon will be packing for UCLA as Bruin blue creeps into my wardrobe. Looks odd next to all that Fresno State red.

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