Some sports days are better than others. Thursday ranked pretty high on my personal list. First the Phillies topped the Brewers to climb above .500 for the first time since they were 81-80 a season ago, and then my least favorite figure in sports, LeBron James, dropped Game One of the NBA Finals.
The Phillies got the night jump started by picking up in Milwaukee right where they left off in Philadelphia. They won their fourth straight thanks to a Delmon Young homer and 6.2 scoreless frames from starting pitcher Tyler Cloyd.
Young now has five dingers in his last 15 games. It may not be Dom Brown pace or anything, but it has been significant contribution from a position the Phillies had previous gotten none from. Speaking of Brown, he scored yet another run in the third and Ryan Howard plated a score on a sacrifice fly.
All of a sudden the Phillies are getting across the board production on offense. They have scored five or more runs in five straight games for the first time in more than two years. The huge holes that existed in their lineup as recently as a couple of weeks ago have appeared to disappear.
If this keeps up they can absolutely be a playoff team. At the worst, they will be in the race deep into September. That's not too shabby for a team that looked like it might be dead near the end of last month.
If that was not sweet enough though, the Heat giving the opener of the NBA Finals away in the fashion they did was the proverbial cherry on top of the sundae. Miami led every second for almost three full quarters. San Antonio's run did not come until late, but the veteran Spurs knew how to slow Miami's offense down in crunch time. Unable to get out in transition in the fourth quarter, the "Big Three" took turns not coming through when it mattered most.
Sloppy turnovers fueled San Antonio's momentum, as the Heat kept giving the ball away at inopportune times. Miami also missed a ton of makable shots. James had a triple-double but he missed nine of his 16 field goal attempts. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh was barely any better, missing a combined 18 of 31 shots from the field.
Meanwhile, Tony Parker simply wore the Heat out. The point guard had 21 points and made countless big shots down the stretch.
Can the Spurs count on that recipe for success three more times in this series? Probably not. But they stole Game One and now have home-court advantage in the series. They are also likely to play better than they did on Thursday in the rest of the series.
Coming in I picked the Spurs in six and nothing I saw on Thursday has dissuaded me from my prediction. That's fine by me. I can't stand the Heat.
Nights like Thursday are what make being a sports fan fun.