"The Stack" 6-9-16

The Cleveland Cavaliers thumped the Golden State Warriors 120-90 to get back into the series. They trail now 2-1, but looked like a completely different team in game three. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Cavaliers thumped the Golden State Warriors 120-90 to get back into the series. They trail now 2-1, but looked like a completely different team in game three.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Maria Sharapova has been suspended two years by the International Tennis Federation for her positive test for banned substance meldonium.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are maybe back in this series?  The Stack is back with reaction to their game three win and more so let’s get right to it and see what’s in “the stack” for today, Thursday, June 9th:


Cavs rout Warriors


The Cleveland Cavaliers flipped the switch when they came back home for game three of the NBA Finals.  They started the game fast and played some pretty good defense to boot as they crushed the Golden State Warriors 120-90 to cut the series deficit in half 2-1.  Kevin Love did not play in this game and Richard Jefferson started in his place.  Based on how the Cavs looked without Love in the lineup, you have to wonder if will keep this lineup in game four even if Love is cleared to play when he passes the concussion protocol.  The Cavaliers looked like a different team.  They played so much better.  Part of that certainly was coming home and playing in front of their fans.  Part of it was redeeming themselves from the embarrassing performance in game two.  LeBron James and Kyrie Irving both scored 30 plus points (James had 32) and J.R. Smith came back from the dead after a couple of horrific games in Oakland and scored 20 points.  When Smith is hitting threes, it makes the Cavs very dangerous.


The Warriors couldn’t overcome their slow start in the first quarter and maybe we should have seen this coming.  I mentioned yesterday how dating back to last year’s NBA Finals they were 0-4 in game threes.  Make it 0-5 right now.  Klay Thompson and Steph Curry got off to very slow starts and couldn’t get going at all.  Curry had only 19 points while Thompson scored a measly ten points.  Curry has now been held under 20 points in each of the first three games of this series.  That’s not how an MVP plays.  Now granted he is injured, but we still expect more.  We’ll see just how the Warriors respond in game five tomorrow, Friday, June 10th at 9 PM ET on ABC.


Maria Sharapova suspended two years


Maria Sharapova’s career very well could be over after the International Tennis Federation suspended her for two years on Wednesday after she tested positive for meldonium, a recently added banned substance.  Sharapova has taken meldonium for years for a heart condition.  The ITF three person independent panel ruled that Sharapova didn’t intend to cheat, but she ultimately had “sole responsibility” for the positive test.  Sharapova’s excuse that she didn’t know meldonium was added to the list of banned substances is just that, an excuse.  It’s ignorance.  This was sent to her and all other players in an email.  And she has enough coaches and trainers I’m sure that someone would have let her know about this.  I believe Sharapova didn’t cheat on purpose and the two year ban does seem a little harsh, but at the end of the day she needed to reach out to the ITF about her use of meldonium and to her doctors to see if there was an alternate drug that wasn’t banned that she could use.  I think a year ban would be sufficient enough and we’ll see if Sharapova appeals if she can lessen the sentence.


Penguins can wrap up the cup tonight


The Pittsburgh Penguins can become the first Pittsburgh franchise since 1960 to win a championship in the city’s limits tonight when they take on the San Jose Sharks in game five of the Stanley Cup Final.  My math tells me that that means they are up 3-1 in the series if they clinch the series tonight.  The Sharks were the best road team in the regular season and they will need a huge effort tonight to force a game six back in San Jose.  They have to start out faster in the first period and at some point have to take a lead and force the Penguins to come back from behind.  The Sharks have not led at all this series.  Now would be a good time to change that.  Unfortunately, I do not think that will happen.  Taking the Penguins tonight to win and hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.


Coming up Friday: Stanley Cup game 5 recap plus NBA Finals game four pick.