Finals Thoughts: Warriors-Raptors; Stanford Basketball Blues; Pence Update

Has there ever been another sports team that lost two great players in two straight games to two devastating injuries?

In the Championship Finals, no less.

The Warriors’ may be in unprecedented territory here.

Superstars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson left the arenas on crutches after games 5 and 6, Durant with a ruptured Achilles, Thompson with a torn ACL. Both men face at least nine months of rehab, leaving their status for next season in doubt.

More on that in a minute.

Despite not having Durant or Thompson, the Warriors stayed in it right til the end, with a chance to win Game 6 and force Game 7 in Toronto on a Steph Curry three-point attempt with 8 seconds left. But Curry, who’d been bumped, jostled, held, tripped, double and triple-teamed all night, was playing on fumes at that point and missed.

And for the record, anyone who criticizes Curry doesn’t know anything about basketball, heart, endurance, or class.

A few other thoughts.

Killer Turnovers: One angle that hasn’t gotten much attention. Draymond Green was outstanding, with 19 rebounds and 13 assists, but his eight turnovers were one of the big reasons the Warriors came up short. No other player had more than three. Even with his brilliant ball distribution, Green has gotten reckless at times, particularly with his long passes. That needs to be corrected next season.

Crystal Ball: Speaking of next season, here’s a few predictions on how things will play out. Klay Thompson will sign another long-term contract with the Warriors, rehab like a madman and beat all expectations on his timetable for return. Kevin Durant will exercise his one-year option with the Warriors for $31.5 million and return in time for the last month of the season.

Bob Myers will sign a top free agent shooting guard to replace Thompson and ultimately back up Curry and Thompson when Klay returns. Andre Iguodala will have a great year. Kevon Looney will continue to improve. The Warriors will make the playoffs.

Announcers: It’s time to recognize that Doris Burke is a national treasure. She’s given new meaning to the role of sideline reporter, and her trophy presentation interviews are better than anyone other than Jim Nantz at the Masters.

On the other hand, Mark Jackson, he of the grotesque pink sports jacket, is pretty awful. How many times does Jackson simply say, “that’s great defense” or “that’s great offense.”

Thanks, Mark. We appreciate the insight.

Cardinal Blues: What's going on with Stanford basketball? Last year the Cardinal's best player, Reid Travis, transferred to Kentucky. Last week Cormac Ryan, the top player from last year's recruiting class, entered the transfer portal. With KZ Okpala turning pro after his sophomore year and Marcus Sheffield also transferring, the outlook is getting bleaker by the day.

Pence Rebirth: Former SF Giant Hunter Pence is having an All-Star caliber season with the Texas Rangers. As of today, Pence has a .293 batting average, 14 home runs and 46 RBIs, seventh best in the league.

Just for comparison, we should note that no player on the Giants is hitting above .275, has hit more than 9 home runs or driven in more than 28 runs.

Vacation Time: We’re off to Mexico Sunday. The Inside Track will return the week of June 23.

Gary Cavalli - Bowl and League co-founder, author, speaker 

Gary Cavalli, the former Sports Information Director and Associate Athletic Director at Stanford University, was co-founder and executive director of the college football bowl game played in the Bay Area, and previously was co-founder and President of the American Basketball League.

Get in touch//@cavalli49//gacavalli49@gmail.com

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