"The Stack" 5-25-16

It's all high-fives in OKC as the Thunder thrashed the Warriors 118-94 to take a 3-1 series lead. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
It's all high-fives in OKC as the Thunder thrashed the Warriors 118-94 to take a 3-1 series lead.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Turner Sports reporter Craig Sager will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs in July.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Stack is back on this Wednesday and we are one loss away from seeing the best regular season in NBA history fall short of reaching the NBA Finals.  Reaction to that and more so let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Wednesday, May 25th:


Thunder storm ahead to 3-1 series lead


The Golden State Warriors are on the brink of elimination.  And karma may indeed be a b**** with Draymond Green being allowed to play and he did not have a good game finishing with as many points (6) as he did turnovers (6).  Steph Curry’s poor shooting night did not help matters at all either and the second quarter really doomed the Warriors yet again as the Oklahoma City Thunder ran away with this one 118-94 to take a 3-1 series lead.  The Warriors started very slow to start the game and fell in a deep hole early, but closed the gap fairly quickly in the second quarter before the Thunder went on another deep run at the end to push their lead to 19 going into the locker room.  The Warriors to their credit and as you would expect came out fast and focused in the third quarter to close the gap to about six, but the Thunder answered every time the Warriors got close.  The Warriors have no answer for the Thunder when they go big.  All five Thunder starters finished in double figures and Russell Westbrook had a triple-double (36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists).  This isn’t a fluke.  The Thunder are running the Warriors out of the building.  They are absolutely dominating the Warriors and their confidence is sky high.  We’ll see if the Warriors can find any answers at home in game five on Thursday.  Game five of the eastern conference finals is tonight.


Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers 8:30 PM ET ESPN (Series tied 2-2)


Penguins force a game 7


The Pittsburgh Penguins backed up their talk that the Eastern Conference Finals would come back to Pittsburgh for a game seven thanks to a 5-2 crushing victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The Lightning started out good it looked like with a 1-0 lead when Jonathan Drouin scored, but the Penguins challenged the goal saying that Drouin was offsides.  Replay backed their claim up and the goal was disallowed.  That may have let the wind out of the sails of the Lightning because the Penguins dominated there on out.  They outshot the Lightning 26-11 the first two periods and Andrei Vasilevskiy did his best to keep the Lightning in the game, but the Penguins were relentless in building up a 3-0 lead through two periods.  Crosby’s goal with 26 seconds left in the second period was a blow to the Lightning though they did battle back to make it 3-2 with a little over seven minutes late, but the Penguins added a couple of goals in the final three minutes to win 5-2.  The Penguins are 3-0 in the series when Crosby scores a goal and obviously 0-3 when he doesn’t score.  They’ll need him to score then in game seven if the Penguins want to win the series.  The Sharks can wrap up their series with the Blues tonight and clinch their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history.


St. Louis Blues @ San Jose Sharks 9 PM ET NBCSN (Sharks lead series 3-2)


Future Super Bowls announced


The NFL owners met in Charlotte for a quick set of meetings Tuesday and one of the items up for discussion was where future Super Bowls would be held.  And as expected Atlanta was awarded Super Bowl LIII in 2019 (53), Miami (OK, fine technically Miami Gardens…we’ll just call it South Florida) Super Bowl LIV in 2020 (54) and Los Angeles Super Bowl LV in 2021 (55).  All of these cities have one thing in common.  They all will have new stadiums or renovations to their current stadium.  That’s the carrot the NFL dangles at the end of the stick to get cities and states to throw in tax dollars towards new stadiums.  Minneapolis is hosting Super Bowl LII and that is only because the Minnesota Vikings are moving into a new stadium, U.S. Bank Stadium, this fall.  This is the dirty well known secret of the NFL.  If you build a new stadium, the NFL will come and host a Super Bowl in your city.  We will try to discuss the concussion situation here in the next day or two, but basically the owners think the NFL is doing a bad job in the PR department regarding concussions and explaining the stance of the owners. This comes on the heels of Congress wanting to come after the NFL and an Outside The Lines report on ESPN that the NFL pulled funding when a research firm looking at concussions.  Not good NFL. Not good.


Before we go, awesome to hear that TNTs Craig Sager will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs July 13th.  Sager has been battling leukemia and he may not live much longer.  Great to see him win this award and I’m looking forward to seeing his speech if he is able to make it.


Coming up Thursday: NBA and NHL playoff reaction plus other top stories in sports