"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Friday, April 22, 2016

WEEKEND MUSINGS: NBA PLAYOFFS HEAT UP, TIGER GETS CAUGHT ON VIDEO, THE NFL DRAFT APPROACHES

Warriors Can't Pull Out a Close One: Without guard Steph Curry to take the last shot, the Golden State Warriors turned the ball over with a second left in Game 2 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series and lost by a point to a resurgent Houston Rockets team. Does this mean that the defending champs are in trouble against a team that barely showed up for two games in Oakland? Probably not, but it certainly underscores Curry's importance to the Warriors. Although they still took a late lead, Golden State didn't look particularly in sync offensively and the Rockets' James Harden had far too much room to operate against the Warriors' defense. Fortunately, Curry will have an extra day of rest for his injured foot/ankle, as Game 4 isn't scheduled until Sunday. The loss also gives us a glimpse of how fragile the Warriors' jump shooting style may be as they move forward in the playoffs. The play is rougher, less fouls get called and unlike last season, Golden State has already been affected by an injury, much like their opponents during last year's run to the title. And much like UNC's defensive lapse that allowed Villanova to get an open look at the game-winner in the NCAA championship game, Golden State allowed Harden to take the ball into the lane, push off and nail a jumper to give the Rockets the lead with 2.7 seconds left. Somehow, I get the feeling this isn't going to be 2015 all over again.

Cavaliers Look Brilliant in Game 2: After beating an inspired Pistons team by five points in Game 1, the Cleveland Cavaliers spread the ball around and eventually showed just how powerful they can be with healthy Lebron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving playing together and with purpose. I've said all season that I felt the Cavs were wrongly dismissed as a worthy contender after losing to the Warriors in six games last year. After all, Love and Irving sat out the finals and Lebron was still able to will his team to a two games to one advantage before falling short, most likely from shear fatigue. The Cavs moved the ball well in Game 2, setting up Love for easy three pointers and dribble drives by Irving. Of course, there is always the Lebron factor, as his size and talent give him the ability to almost score at will. Can someone in the East defeat the Cavaliers in a seven game series? If they stay healthy, it's unlikely. The bigger question is can someone slow them down enough to take a couple of games and wear them down a bit prior to The Finals. Once again, it's unlikely. You can join me on the Lebron, Kevin and Kyrie bandwagon anytime. You'll have about six weeks to jump on board.

Spurs Beating Up on the Diminished Grizzlies: As good as the Spurs are, it's tough to tell how well they're playing because their opponent is so physically beaten up. It's too bad, because the Grizzlies are gritty and fun to watch as they battle for wins. But it's a pretty fair bet that the Spurs will sweep the series and be well rested for the Thunder series.

Tiger's Return Imminent? After video was released showing Tiger Woods ripping drivers and stinger 2-irons at a clinic, speculation is that the former number one player will be returning to action sooner than had previously been thought. Is it possible that he could be ready to come back as soon as the Wells Fargo on May 5, in time for a tuneup for the Players the following week? If so, that would put him in great position to enter the U.S. Open at Oakmont in June. However, a few shots on a driving range are hardly an indication that Woods is ready for competitive golf at the highest level, but for those of us that would like to see him return to action, at least it's a positive sign. Even with the great young crop of players, no one generates the same buzz as Tiger Woods. I've been privileged to see him in action many times, including at major championships and the Players, and there is no one close in creating fan interest. Here's to a successful return for Tiger and the PGA Tour.

Big Trades Signal Interesting Draft: I'm not particularly interested in the NFL Draft, but the trades by the Rams and Eagles to get to the top two picks, presumably to take a couple of fairly mediocre quarterbacks, indicates that this year's version could be a bit more entertaining. Actually, it already has been. I think there might be some more jockeying for position, especially given the plethora of picks the Titans and Browns received when they traded down. The Browns in particular are interesting, as they try to turn around a dismal draft history and get past the Johnnie Manziel mistake. Heck, I might even tune in this year!

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first two, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel" and "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and SmashwordsTune into www.WPFLRADIO.com at 8:40 am EST every Friday for my Beyond the Commentary segment on "Lou in the Morning" with Lou Vickery and Jonathan McMath.