"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.

Monday, May 23, 2016

MONDAY MUSINGS: DONOVAN DESERVES MORE CREDIT AT OKC, CAVS LOOKING TO GET BACK ON TRACK IN TORONTO, PGA TOUR'S JORDAN SPIETH STILL SHAKING OFF MASTERS HANGOVER

Thunder Roll at Home: The Oklahoma City Thunder led 117 - 80...after three quarters! A 45 point third period put the Warriors away and gave the Thunder a 2 - 1 lead in their Western Conference final series. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 65 points, more than the entire Golden State starting lineup. League MVP Steph Curry was held to 24 points on just seven made field goals. Despite never setting foot on the floor, one member of the Thunder is having a far bigger impact than most observers thought possible. In his first year coaching an NBA team, Billy Donovan seems to have done a pretty good job of figuring things out. Last night he had Stephen Adams, who had actually played pretty well throughout the post-season,splitting time with Enes Kanter at center and going with a smaller lineup. The team that won 73 games in the regular season didn't seem prepared last night and Donovan made sure his squad was ready to take advantage of it. Of course the notion that former Florida coach would have difficulty adjusting to the professional game is a bit absurd to me, considering he led a basketball program at a football focused school to consecutive national championships. As a member of the Rick Pitino coaching tree, he certainly had plenty of opportunity to be advised by Pitino about the differences in the college and pro games. So with all of the talk about the Thunder lineup that includes superstars Durant and Westbrook, it should be noted that the difference between this year and last is the guy calling the shots from the sideline. The Warriors now face a must win situation in Game 4, not an unfamiliar spot for the defending champs, but it will be interesting to see if Donovan changes things up again. If he does, Golden State will need to adapt quickly, or they could find their backs against a very big wall.

Lebron and Company Need to Regroup: After suffering their first loss of the postseason, the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to regain some of their dominance over the Toronto Raptors. Cleveland appeared to lack the energy and intensity that they'd displayed in the first two games of their Eastern Conference final series. They also had two players, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, who had bad shooting nights in the same game for the first time in the playoffs. Lebron James wasn't able to compensate for them, especially with the Raptors hitting from long range and Bismack Biyombo controlling the paint with 26 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. It's unlikely that Love, Irving and Tristan Thompson will combine for 4 - 29 shooting on consecutive nights and that Biyombo will dominate the glass again, primarily because I expect better shooting and floor spacing by the Cavs tonight. Of course, it's not like the Raptors can't compete with Cleveland. The Raptors finished a lone game behind the Cavs for the best record in the conference and defeated them two out of three games in the regular season, prevailing in both games in Toronto. That means the Cavs are still in search of their first victory of the season on the Raptors' home court, so perhaps Toronto is still more dangerous than was presumed a few days ago. But virtually everything went in their favor Saturday night, and midway through the fourth period Cleveland was still within striking distance. With seven footer Jonas Valanciunas still sidelined with an injury, I predict it will be tough for Toronto to even the series. If they do, we'll get the first opportunity to see how the Cavs play as the pressure builds. But with a win, Cleveland gets to breathe easier heading home, needing just one more victory to get to the NBA Finals. Since I've been on the Cavalier bandwagon since April, I'll stick with them to win tonight and close out the series in Cleveland Wednesday night.

Spieth Staggers at the Nelson: Jordan Spieth started the day in the final group, but a series of errant tee shots eventually resulted in a closing 74 and a tie for 18th. Even though the two-time major winner insists his final round collapse in the Master's is behind him, it looks to me as if he's still dealing with whatever swing issues caused him to struggle down the stretch at Augusta. As noted on CBS' telecast yesterday, Spieth was missing fairways on both sides, not a good sign as he tries to fix whatever is wrong with his swing. With the U.S. Open beginning in a little over three weeks at Oakmont Country Club, known for it's punishing rough and multitude of bunkers, inconsistency off the tee will make it difficult for Spieth to even make it to the weekend, much less contend. The bright spot for me on Sunday was Sergio Garcia's 68 that got him into a playoff with Brooks Koepka, which the Spaniard won on the first hole with a par. It's been almost seventeen years since Garcia burst on the stage by dueling Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship, eventually won by for his second major championship. It would be hard to find anyone that watched that round and thought Garcia would still be searching for his first major title. Sergio's closest accomplishments to a major win have been a Players title and his play on several victorious European Ryder Cup teams. I'll be covering the U.S. Open on site, and it would be great for the game of golf if Sergio Garcia was holding the trophy outside the Oakmont clubhouse late in the afternoon of June 20.

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.