Usually, a “Hat Trick” consists of only three hot topics. But sometimes, you have to make exceptions. There are quite a few hot topics from the sports world to get to this week that there wasn’t room for just three. I guess we can call it cleaning out my dumbbell bag while mourning the tragic loss of one of the best athletes of all time, Muhammad Ali.
– The Golden State Warriors look unstoppable, and the Cleveland Cavaliers look lost. Basketball pundits expected the 2016 NBA Finals to be a competitive series with a healthy Cavs team surrounding LeBron James, but through two games, it appears we’re seeing a Warriors team destined to etch its place among the greatest teams in NBA history.
Sunday’s Game 2 served as a must-win for Cleveland, but the deeper, more talented Warriors ran the Cavs out of Oracle Arena and into Wine Country with a 110-77 thrashing. Golden State is showing they are much more than Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors are unselfish, move the ball fluently, and their defense is very underrated. You think old-time physical guys like Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone would be impressed with the way Andre Iguodala is frustrating LeBron? I also have a feeling Dennis Johnson is smiling down from heaven the way the Warriors move the ball.
I hate to say it, Cleveland fans, but the championship drought will continue another year, with the Warriors again adding to the likes of “Red Right 88,” “The Drive,” “The Fumble,” John Smoltz and Edgar Renteria. Perhaps lost in all that is the fact that the Red Sox broke Cleveland’s hearts in 1999 and 2007. Anybody remember Pedro getting hoisted off the mound at The Jake on that cool October night? Also, remember when the Sox came back from that 3-1 deficit against the Indians in the 2007 ALCS, and subsequently dispatched the Colorado Rockies with ease in the World Series? This Golden State team did just rally from such a deficit against Oklahoma City to reach the finals. Sound familiar?
Golden State is a T-E-A-M. Cleveland is all about that guy who wears No. 23. We all know great teams beat good players, and it’s looking that way again.
– There has been a mixed bag of reactions from UMaine hockey fans regarding the Black Bears playing three games in Portland this season. For the most part, reaction has been positive, but of course, some Bangor-area fans aren’t too happy. We have to remember that the program belongs to the entire state, and we’re only talking about a trio of games. The Bears have played in Portland for generations, so this should be no different. As for my wife and I, any excuse to go to Becky’s Diner and the Holy Doughnut the morning after Black Bear victories. So there’s that!
– Maine high school athletic directors and baseball and softball coaches have been blessed with fabulous weather all spring, and with postseason play scheduled to start Monday night, they should cross their fingers to the weather gods for more cooperation. If there’s anything that gets high school athletes antsy, it’s waiting to play championship games, especially when the weather won’t oblige. I remember in 2009 the Calais and Dirigo softball teams had to wait a few days to play their Class C state championship game, with the Blue Devils making the 100-mile trip to Brewer’s Coffin Field only to get news of another rainout. Calais made the best of it and wound up winning its first state championship on the diamond that spring.
– How about the track and field dynasty Chris Libby has created at Orono High School? His Red Riot girls won a fifth consecutive Class C state championship on Saturday, with the boys winning their second in a row.
Libby carved his niche under the legendary Dave Jeffrey at Brewer. He was even my head coach for a couple of outdoor seasons. Even being a 15-year-old kid, I saw a young man with a bright future. He has some of the best athletes in the state such as record-setting discus thrower Jake Koffman, and distance ace Tia Tardy, who became the first girl in the history of the Eastern Maine Indoor Track League to crack the 5-minute barrier in the mile last winter. Libby is one of the best coaches in the state without question, and he has built a juggernaut program. Much like his old head coach did in Brewer.
– I know it doesn’t seem like it, but we’re just three short months away from kicking off another NFL season. Hopefully, some right things will happen and Tom Brady will be under center when the Patriots kick off the season against old friend Chandler Jones and the Arizona Cardinals in the desert.
– To all the state’s high school athletes who have earned their diplomas, congratulations. Celebrate with pride and joy but do it in a responsible fashion.