Breven’s Sports Blog: An Introduction

Here on this sports blog, you will see articles from different sports at different levels throughout the summer. I have a wide range of sports knowledge from our sports here at SDSU to the pros.

Summer 2019 at San Diego State is in full swing. I hope all of you had a great Memorial Day weekend. There will be at least one blog per week that could discuss SDSU’s Men’s basketball team to even the San Diego Padres.

Some topics include NBA Free Agency: Who will leave the Golden State Warriors? In addition, I may analyze the NBA Awards and the rest of the playoffs. Will the Warriors be the first team since the Lakers to three-peat?

In addition to the playoffs and the awards, the NBA Draft has developed major storylines. Everyone knows about Duke’s Zion Williamson and Marquette’s Ja Morant, but there is also San Diego State’s Jalen McDaniels looking to hear his name be called in the draft.

Besides basketball, some Major League Baseball blogs might be seen here, especially with the San Diego Padres playing .500 baseball right now. In their 50th Anniversary since the first MLB Padres’ team was assembled in 1969 (hey, that’s when KCR began at SDSU), a lot has happened. You could also see some blogs on the Padres’ history as well.

July is filled with big things for baseball such as the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland, hosted by the Indians. At the end of month, it is the MLB Trade Deadline. Who will go and help that team make a playoff push into October? Which team will decide 2019 is the year to rebuild by trading some their biggest stars, similar to what the Baltimore Orioles did last year by trading Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop?  

As the calendar turns to fall, our SDSU Football team will be getting ready for the 2019 season. They have some big opponents coming to SDSU, including the rivalry game against Fresno State here at SDCCU Stadium on national television.

Speaking of the stadium, Measure G was passed last November, which means SDSU will have a new home for Aztec football. Stay here for updates on the new stadium and what is next to come from SDSU Athletic Director, John David Wicker.

Last but not least, golf could make an appearance. Former Aztec and San Diego-product Xander Schauffele is playing on the PGA Tour and will compete in tournaments this summer.

All of that and more so stay tuned!

Written by: Breven Honda

Breven’s Sports Blog: NBA Finals Preview

Thus far, the NBA Playoffs has been pretty predictable, but still very exciting. Tomorrow, the NBA Finals begins with the back-to-back champions, the Golden State Warriors looking to go for a three-peat against the Toronto Raptors.

Let’s take a look back at how these two teams got to the Finals; The top-seeded Golden State Warriors were able to get past the Los Angeles Clippers in six games, despite losing center Demarcus Cousins to injury. Warriors’ forward Kevin Durant got past the Clippers and was one point shy of recording an NBA-record for most points scored in the first half of  playoff game. He did this in game six by tallying 38 points. Durant would finish with 50 points in the Warriors’ close-out game. Although Durant could not quite make history, one of his teammates did.

The two-time Most Valuable Player and Warriors’ Captain, Stephen Curry passed Ray Allen for made 3-pointers in the playoffs in game one, which he finished with 38 points and made eight shots from beyond the arc.

The Toronto Raptors entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and was able to hold off the No. 7 Orlando Magic in five games. The Magic was able to pull off a game one upset win in Toronto, but the Raptors would win the next four.

The Raptors have been on the rise. They were the best team in the Eastern Conference last year and lost to the Cavaliers in Round two. After trading a star (DeMar DeRozan) for another star (Kawhi Leonard), it elevates a franchise to win more. Even though the Raptors have former SDSU Men’s Basketball player, Leonard, the difference maker is Kyle Lowry.

In the loss to the Magic in the first game, he did not score and was 0-6 beyond the 3-point line. But in game two, Lowry would give the Raptors 22 points in the 111-82 blowout at home.

Not saying that Leonard is not good (I mean he is one of the best players in the NBA), but it is Lowry who was drafted by the Raptors and been a part of the organization for seven years while getting the Raptors over the ‘hump’ against teams. He knows the fans, the fans know who he is and when a player becomes a franchise player, like Curry, like Kobe Bryant, and like Dwyane Wade (in Miami), they step up and change the culture of the franchise.

Conference Semifinals

Round two of the playoffs featured a rematch between the Warriors and the No. 4 Houston Rockets. Both teams were able to hold home-field advantage from one another through the first five games.

However in game six, the Warriors lost their superstar, Kevin Durant to a right calf strain, but the Splash Brothers of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined to score 60 points and overpowered the Rockets’ backcourt of Chris Paul and James Harden, winning 118-113 on the road.

With the road victory, the Warriors secured their 21st straight series win with at least one road victory. The Rockets kept saying all year long about how they were going to take down the Warriors.

The Raptors played a good Philadelphia 76ers team in the semifinals that had a starting five, similar to the Warriors, led by center Joel Embiid. In addition, they had Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris.

In seven games, the Raptors would be the team to win all four games, but it was Leonard to put the icing on the cake.

He went from the top of the key to the baseline, right in front of the Toronto bench and nail the shot at the buzzer, making him the only player in NBA history to hit a buzzer-beater to win game seven. Not only did he make the shot, but the ball bounced on the rim not once, not twice, but three times, just to make the play more intense.

Conference Finals

In the Conference Finals, the Raptors faced the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and the Warriors faced the No. 3 Portland Trailblazers. The Warriors secured home field by winning the first two games of the series. Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr called the game two victory, “a steal.”

For the first two games in Milwaukee, the Bucks were able to also hold home field over the Raptors with Bucks’ Brook Lopez hitting a key three-pointer to seal the game one victory.

When it was Portland’s turn to play in front of their home crowd in both games 3 and 4, they would get out to big leads, but would lose it in the second half of both games and get swept to the reigning champions.

The Warriors were used to being down and finding a way back to ignite a push for the win. Remember last year in the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets when they were down in game six facing elimination and came back to win. In addition, it also came in the following game in a game seven, where the Warriors had to do the same thing, but on the road to win the game and the series.

Warriors’ guard Stephen Curry, who averaged 36.5 points in the series, and Portland’s Seth Curry became the first brothers to play each other in a Conference finals series.

The Eastern Conference Finals series was not like the Warriors sweeping Trailblazers in the West. After being down 2-0 in the series, the Raptors were able to win game three in two overtimes with Leonard keeping them in the game playing 52 minutes, the most he’s ever played in a game. The Raptors would take over for the rest of the series. They overpowered the Bucks and would win a total of four straight games, en route to winning its first Eastern Conference Finals series in franchise history.

The Finals

Now it is time to see who will heist the Larry O’Brien trophy. It all comes down to this series between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors to determine will be named the 2018-19 NBA Champions. The Warriors, who have made it to the NBA Finals for a fifth straight year, look to win the title and bring another championship back to the bay area and in the final season of Oracle Arena. Will the Warriors be able to defend the title for a third consecutive year and be the first team to three-peat since the 2001-02 Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal? Or will the Raptors win their first championship since joining the NBA and overthrow Dub Nation’s reign?

Here’s my prediction: Warriors in 6 games;

Finals MVP: Stephen Curry

With or without Durant, the Warriors have the experience with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguoudala and Shaun Livingston. The Warriors, whether they are the favorites or not have the ability to win. This is the final year at Oracle Arena, home of Dub Nation for the past 47 and they will send Oracle the right way: a championship in the final game, game six.

Written by: Breven Honda

San Diego Strike Force falls again to Arizona Rattlers by 84-63

In week 13 of the Indoor Football League, San Diego Strike Force lost 84-63 to the Arizona Rattlers. This marks the third consecutive Strike Force loss to Arizona this season.

San Diego entered Sunday’s matchup as the IFL’s third ranked passing offense accumulating 165 yards per game, while Arizona began the night as the league’s best pass defense allowing only 135 yards per game. The Strike Force now sits at 1-10 with three games left in their inaugural season. San Diego has lost to Arizona by a combined 92 points in their first three matchups.

On Sunday, the Strike Force scored the most points in franchise history with 63 total points. Quarterback Jihad Vercher threw six touchdowns and two interceptions for the Strike Force, continuing a string of strong offensive performances.

Last week the Strike Force lost 65-48 to the Tucson Sugar Skulls, but the Strike Force quarterback completed 11-17 throws for 160 yards and three touchdowns.

“I might’ve been sacked once maybe twice [tonight], but when you get sacked once or twice in a game you can’t expect not to put up points. I give all the credit to the offensive line, the receivers went and made plays today…to say I led the way I was a small part of it.”

Jihad Vercher

It was a tale of two halves, as the Strike Force played the Rattlers closely until the third quarter. The first half saw 77 points and six lead changes between the two teams. The Rattlers closed the first half up 42-35, they also were 100% on third down.

In the first half of tonight’s game San Diego’s defense was led by defensive back Omar Cook, who had four solo tackles at halftime. For the Rattlers, quarterback Drew Powell threw three touchdowns on just seven attempts.

As the game went on, the Rattlers became stronger on both sides of the ball, they finished the game 100% on third down and out-rushed the Strike Force by 78 yards.

Powell scored for four rushing touchdowns in the second half. He finished with five rushing touchdowns, 104 rushing yards, and four passing touchdowns.

A Strike Forcer player during a rush against the Rattlers. Photo: @sdstrikeforce

Strike Force running back Dominique Carson scored two touchdowns on only five catches and rushed for one touchdown on four attempts . He has set a goal for himself and the team.

“I would like to get to 25 touchdowns, I have only been playing here for two weeks, but at the same time I am just trying to win with the team so we can show San Diego what we’re about.”

Dominique Carson

Carson would have to score 21 touchdown in the final three weeks. In the team’s final three games the coaching staff and offensive coordinator Taylor Genuser want to see effort and commitment.

“We have to help our defense and put them in better situations and give them a chance to play defense with the lead instead of playing from behind. I want guys to compete. I want to see guys that want to move up to the next level, that want to play hard, that want to get in the endzone, and most importantly want to be good teammates.”

Taylor Genuser
Written by: Daniel Farr

The Seals Head to Playoffs After Loss to Buffalo

In the San Diego Seals‘ regular season finale against the Buffalo Bandits, the Seals lost 18-7, resulting in the Seals entering the playoffs as the #2 seed.

In the team’s regular season finale against the Buffalo Bandits, the San Diego Seals lost 18-7. A packed Pechanga Arena full of enthused lacrosse fans went home feeling down, but with the NLL playoffs beginning on Monday, May 6 there is room for optimism.

The Seals are set to play the Calgary Roughnecks in the western division semifinals game at 7:30 p.m on Monday at Pechanga. The Seals clinched the number two seed in the playoffs and home-field advantage on April 19.

Like the NBA, teams from the Eastern and Western conference make the postseason. Unlike the NBA, where eight teams from each conference make the playoffs, only four teams from each conference make the playoffs in box lacrosse.

On Saturday night, the Seals had an opportunity to clinch the number one seed out West. They had to beat the Bandits and the Colorado Mammoth had to beat the Saskatchewan Rush. Neither happened.

The season finale resulted in a dismal 11 point loss for the Seals. The team was held to a season low one goal in the first period and could not sustain any momentum.

San Diego cut the lead to 5-4 midway through the second quarter, but the Bandits quickly figured it out and expanded their lead 9-4 going into the break. The Seals were outshot 30 to 22 after two quarters.

Head Coach and general manager Patrick Merrill took note of his team’s lackluster play.

“In order to win games in this league you have to mentally prepare, you have to be motivated to play with a lot of heart and if you don’t these things happen.”

For the Bandits, Shawn Evans finished with six assists and two goals while his teammates Jordan Durston and Chase Fraser ended up each accomplishing the hat trick. Both finished with three goals.

San Diego found it difficult to get solid scoring opportunities in the game, turning the ball over and committing multiple shot clock violations. The Seals also committed five penalties and Buffalo took advantage of San Diego’s mistakes, going 3-3 on power plays.

Seals’ forward and captain Dan Dawson said this game will not linger on the team’s mind.

“We got to forget about this one. There was not one facet of the game where they didn’t control,” Dawson said. “When they control the game like that we can’t even compete with them.”

Dawson finished with 29 goals on the season he scored two and assisted on one against the Bandits on Saturday.

Even in a ruckus environment the Bandits found their offense early as Forwards Josh Byrne, Durston and Evans combined for five goals and four assists in the first half.

Merill has taken notice of the strong home crowd/fan base.

“It’s been a great ride so far [Playing in San Diego]” Merill said, “I wish we would’ve gave them a better game here tonight, but we plan to give them a better game next week [Against Calgary].”

The Seals are apart of the Nation Lacrosse League (NLL). The NLL has been around for 32 years and is the world’s only professional box lacrosse league. The Seals are an expansion team of the league, the NLL has 13 total teams.

The NLL ranks third in average attendance for professional indoor sports, behind the NHL and NBA.

The NLL rosters are made up of 21 players, six players including the goalie can be on the field during play. The game is made up of four 15 minute quarters, a 30 second shot clock, and a sudden death overtime. Body checks are allowed, but penalties are called for: high sticking, boarding, face masking, fighting, spearing, elbowing, holding, illegal cross-checking, slashing, and tripping.

Written by: Daniel Farr