Jon Fazio's Sports and Thoughts Blog
Today in Sports

NBA: The Los Angeles Lakers are your 2010 NBA Champions! This is the Lakers 16th championship in their franchise and now only one shy of the most championships in the NBA, that belonging to the Boston Celtics. Kobe Bryant, the series MVP, scored 23 points to win the Finals 83-79. However, he only shot 6-24 from the field Kobe has now won five NBA championships and is now one shy to Michael Jordan. Ron Artest added 20 points for the Lake Show, stepping it up late in the fourth quarter to give them the edge. This was a classic Game 7 in an NBA Final. This had about the same intensity as a college basketball game during March Madness, but there weren’t really any star performers in Game 7. It was a sloppy game on offense on both sides, but the defense stepped up and gave the Lakers the edge to win the championship. The Celtics did put up a fight throughout the game, holding a lead for most of the game. Paul Pierce had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the game and Kevin Garnett added 17 points, but they missed their chance twice after going back to L.A. for Games 6 and 7 to try and clinch the series. This is the third time that the Lakers beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals after meeting twelve times in their finals history together. Lakers head coach Phil Jackson won his eleventh title overall, who is the most winningest playoff coach in NBA history. He may not return to be head coach for the Lakers next season and may consider retirement after this season. But for now, he can celebrate with his team and look at his great accomplishments as a head coach in his career. He can thank his key players for that success.

MLB: The Phillies closed out a rubber-game match between the Yankees Thursday and seem to be taking the right step towards playing like the team that they were last year. Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick out-dueled Andy Pettitte, throwing seven solid innings and giving up one earned run on his way to a win by a final score of 7-1. Shane Victorino homered and the Phillies got the bats going in the ninth by providing Kendrick four runs to give him padding for his bid for a win. Kendrick only gave up four hits, which were all singles, and left with a 3-1 lead. Although there was no official save in the game, the fielders in a sense saved the game for Kendrick with some remarkable catches. In the bottom of the sixth with two outs and runners on the corners, Nick Swisher popped up down the left-field line that looked to be reaching for the seats. But Placido Polanco hustled over from third base, reached over the tarpaulin and made a great backhanded grab while reaching in the seats to prevent Swisher from seeing another pitch and end the inning. Other great defensive plays came from Jason Werth, who ran into the gap to make a diving catch on Robinson Cano’s liner into the gap that ended the fourth, and Jose Contreras, who made a behind-the-back grab on Curtis Granderson’s sharp comebacker in the eighth inning. Carlos Ruiz ended an 0-for-23 slump by doubling twice. He scored in the ninth when, after sacrificing earlier in the same spot, Wilson Valdez fooled the Yankees by swinging away for a single. Soon after Damaso Marte sailed a pitch that broke a sign on the backstop, Polanco and Ryan Howard had sacrifice flies and Raul Ibanez hit an RBI double. The Yankees now prepare for part II of the Subway Series against the Mets Friday as they kick off in the Bronx. Javier Vazquez (6-5, 5.43 ERA) goes out for the Yankees to face Hisanori Takahashi (5-2, 3.48 ERA) of the Mets, who are looking to impress the MLB after sweeping the Orioles and Indians on the road. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. on My9.

As mentioned before, the Mets took on the Indians and continued to impress as they swept them by a final score of 6-4. R.A. Dickey had the knuckleball dancing all over the plate Thursday as he went on to win his fifth straight start for the Mets, who have now won seven in a row. Dickey went six innings, allowing three runs — two earned — on seven hits and striking out seven. Jose Reyes scored twice on three hits playing with a gash on his right hand throughout the game. It clearly didn’t seem to bother him and the rest of the team, who are now 8-1 during interleague play this year. Rookie Ike Davis also drove in two runs for the Mets and Francisco Rodriguez struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his 15th save in 18 tries. Now the Mets are rolling, heading into the Bronx with only one noticeable flaw… They have yet to prove that they can consistently win against the best teams in baseball. But they will be given the chance Friday when they face Javier Vazquez of the Yankees, who dropped two-out-of-three against the Phillies in their last series. Mets fans can get their dose of play-by-play on SNY (which is probably better than My9 [it’s actually true, shhh] at 7:05 p.m.).

Fifa World Cup: Real quickly, Mexico topped France 2-0 in Group A on Thursday. Mexico’s substitutes Javier Hernandez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco each scored in the match. They now need at least a tie to advance in the next round of the World Cup.

Argentina put up four goals against South Korea as they went on to win 4-1 in Group B. With Gonzalo Higuain scoring a hat trick and Lionel Messi in the thick of the action, Argentina is on the brink of advancing in the World Cup. Argentina is alone in first place, three points ahead of both South Korea and Greece with a game left in group play.

Also in Group B, Greece defeated Nigeria by a final of 2-1. Greece claimed their first World Cup victory after Vasilis Torosidis scored on a loose ball in the 71st minute after a mistake from Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to make history for Greece, which had lost all four previous World Cup matches, including three in 1994. In order for the Greeks to advance, they must at least draw to the Argentines, who have been dominant thus far in the World Cup.

The World Cup continues Friday as the U.S. takes on Slovenia at 10 a.m. in Group C after reluctantly tying England last Saturday 1-1. Catch that game on ESPN. Germany faces Serbia in Group D at 7:30 a.m. on ESPN as well while in Group C, England plays Algeria at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2.