sports blog by andy shenk

Updates: Week of May 28 – June 3

In Anzhi, Cincinnati Reds, Lokomotiv-Kuban, Northfield Knights, Russian Basketball, Russian Football, San Antonio Spurs on June 2, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Author’s note: I wrote most of this update on Monday, May 28. Unfortunately, I only had time to finish it and post it today. Much of the info is outdated as a result, but I haven’t altered it. Check back on Monday, June 4 for a fresh update. 

In a Bold update, San Antonio won its ninth straight game in the playoffs on Sunday night, 101-98 over the Oklahoma City Thunder. If they stretch the win streak to twelve, I will have secured my first successful Bold prediction. Here’s a link to my post on May 1 when I predicted that the Spurs would be undefeated in the Western Conference Playoffs: Updates: Week of April 30-May 6.

It’s now time for my fourth Bold prediction: The Cincinnati Reds will win the National League pennant this season.

Bold Record: 0-2 (2 predictions pending)

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Basketball

San Antonio Spurs, 50-16, 1st place in Western Conference during regular season. 1-0, Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Western Conference Finals

San Antonio enjoyed another perfect week, 1-0, with a Game 1 victory over the Thunder in their Western Conference Finals playoff series. Despite trailing by as many as nine points in the fourth quarter, the Spurs managed to storm back and win 101-98. Their winning streak is now nineteen, with just seven more wins necessary to win the championship.

1) Tuesday, vs. Oklahoma City, 8:00 PM, TNT; 2) Thursday, at Oklahoma City, 8:00 PM, TNT; 3) Saturday, at Oklahoma City, 7:30 PM, TNT

Lokomotiv Kuban

For the fourth straight year, Lokomotiv Kuban hired a new coach in the offseason. This year, Bozhidar Malkovich, the Serbian specialist who helped bring Lokomotiv their first medal, a bronze finish in the Russian Professional Basketball League, did not receive a new contract. Negotiations broke down for undisclosed reasons and the two parties, Malkovich and Lokomotiv general manger, Andrei Vedishchev, chose to part ways. Vedishchev wasted little time finding a replacement, prying Evgenii Pashutin away from Unics Kazan and committing the 43-year-old Russian coach to a three-year contract.

Pashutin is an up-and-comer in Russian basketball, having led Unics to a quarterfinal finish in the Euroleague last season. He’s also been head coach of Spartak St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow, in addition to running the Russian U-20 national team. Big things will be expected of him in his return to his childhood home, Krasnodar. The club is determined to improve on its quarterfinal appearance in the Eurocup last season, as well as compete for medals in the competitive VTB League.

Baseball

Cincinnati Reds, 27-21, 1st place in National League Central Division

Cincinnati blew into first place in the division on Thursday night after a 6-3 win over the Braves that capped their four-game sweep of the NL East contenders. Five days later, they still have a 1/2 game lead over St. Louis, with five games this week on the road to division rivals.

The Reds grabbed first place thanks to a streak of quality starting pitching, coupled with timely hitting from the entire lineup. Throughout, the bullpen has also been outstanding. Looking ahead, the Reds primary concern will be their hitting. Based on ERA, the Reds pitching staff is 7th in baseball, while the Reds team batting average languishes in 25th. Though the Reds team OPS is 16th, the offense has undeniably been a disappointment thus far.

1) Monday, at Pittsburgh, lost 4-1; 2) Tuesday, at Pittsburgh, 6:05 PM; 3) Wednesday, at Pittsburgh, 6:05 PM; 4) Friday, at Houston, 7:05 PM; 5) Saturday, at Houston, 6:15 PM, Fox; 6) Sunday, at Houston, 1:05 PM

Northfield Knights, 2-1, 3rd place in Classic Cannon Valley League (CCVL)

The Knights won their second straight game to open the season on Sunday afternoon, knocking off Red Wing 5-4 at home. I planned to attend their Memorial Day game with nearby foes, the Dundas Dukes, but I mixed up the game’s location. By the time I’d figured out where they were actually playing, it didn’t make much sense to go. This week I’ve got the Friday night and Sunday afternoon games circled and hope to make it to at least one of the them.

I was especially disappointed yesterday, however, to miss out because I’d intended to keep score of the game. I’d looked up how to do it, had my pen and paper ready, and planned to write a nice post about the experience. Ah well, I’ll just have to wait until this weekend.

1) Monday, at Dundas Dukes, lost 4-0, CCVL; 2) Wednesday, vs. Bay City Bombers, 7:30 PM, CCVL; 3) Friday, vs. Stewartville-Racine Sharks, 7:30 PM, CCVL; 4) Sunday, vs. Hampton Cardinals, 2:00 PM, CCVL

Soccer

Anzhi Makhachkala

With Anzhi’s second-ever appearance in European cup competition less than two months away, Anzhi fans are anxiously awaiting good news from the Anzhi Arena construction site. Check out my review of the progress being made at Anzhi’s future home here. If the arena is not ready for play by the end of July, Anzhi will likely be forced to play its Europa League home matches outside of Dagestan, in an UEFA-approved stadium.


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