Heat edge Thunder, Simpson wins US Open, Euro 2012, Junior wins, Weekend Recap + Free Plays for Monday, June 18, 2012

4Q scoreless drought dooms Thunder

Up ten points midway through the third quarter, it looked like the Oklahoma City Thunder would steal Game III of the NBA finals in Miami …. and then the roof caved in. Kevin Durant went out with a fourth foul, five missed free-throws, two awful fouls on three point jump shooters, an almost five minute scoreless drought in the fourth quarter and too much Lebron James were all factors in the Heat’s 91-85 win. Miami takes a 2-1 lead in the series. Since the NBA went to the 2-3-2 format, the winner of Game III has gone on to win the series 85% of the time.

Lebron James led the way for Miami with 29 points and 14 rebounds. James is on a mission with two 30+ games and a 29 point game after never scoring more than 25 points in a game in his two previous NBA final series. Dwayne Wade has 25/7/7 and Chris Bosh had 10 points and grabbed 11 boards. Durant had 25/6 and Westbrook 19/5/4 but Thunder in reality lost the game at the foul line going 14-25 for 62% while Miami cashed 31-35 good for 88%.

Game IV is on Tuesday at American Airlines Arena. Miami opened up as a 3.5 point favorite with the total 192. Tip is at 9:00 PM EST on ABC.

Simpson’s 68-68 Sat-Sun good for US Open championship

In the end, Webb Simpson just took care of business when everyone else didn’t. Down six shots and +2 after his first five holes, the Wake Forest alum just hunkered down to shoot 68 and take the clubhouse lead at 1-over. It held up as leader after leader collapsed down the stretch as Simpson watched on the monitor. Ernie Els grabbed a piece of the lead with an eagle at No.7 but double-bogeyed No.8 and boguyed two of the last three holes. Graeme McDowell, bogeyed two of the last three holes. Jim Furyk, the tournament leader after Friday and Saturday, didn’t make a birdie all day and bogeyed three of the last five holes. With one hole to play, the final twosome of Furyk and McDowell walked to the tee of the 18th-hole down one shot. No.18 had played tough all day with just six birdies all day. With Simpson watching, both players hit tee shots into the rough. Furyk, with an impossible lie, hit his approach into a bunker and was done. McDowell dropped his to withing 25 feet of the pin but was wide with his putt giving Simpson the win. Playing in just his fourth major and second US Open, Simpson became the eighth straight first time major winner and the 11th in the last twelve. Simpson was second on the Tour in money last year so his win wasn’t entirely a fluke.

Junior snaps long winless streak

Almost four years to the day since his last win, Dale Earnhardt Jr. snapped a 143-race winless drought with a dominating win at Michigan International Speedway. Junior took over in the final 25 laps to sprint five seconds clear of Tony Stewart and take his first checkered flag since June 15, 2008 … also in Michigan. Points leader Matt Kenseth finished third with Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson rounding out the top five. Next week it is on to Sonoma where Kurt Busch is the defending champion.

MLB Diamond Dust

All five AL East teams won in MLB action on Sunday. The Yankees won their ninth straight game completing a sweep of the Nats with a 4-1 win. Ivan Nova improved to 9-2 and Curtis Granderson hit a tape-measure homer, his 21st of the season. Baltimore kept pace with their second straight 2-0 shutout of the Braves. Wi-Yin Chen and two relievers combined on the seven-hitter. The Rays blanked the Marlins 3-0 behind Anthony Cobb. BJ Upton provided all the offence that the Rays would need leading the game off with his fifth round-tripper. Tampa Bay is two games behind Baltimore and 3.5 behind New York. The Blue Jays swept the slumping Phillies with a 6-2 win north of the border. Colby Rasmus had three hits and three RBIs for Toronto. The Red Sox got back to .500 with a 7-4 win over the Cubs on the ESPN late game.

Germany and Portugal advance at Euro 2012

Portugal and Germany both moved on to quarterfinal action at Euro 2012 with 2-1 wins over The Netherlands and Denmark respectively. Germany won Group B and will face Greece in the field of eight, Portugal will face the Czech Republic. Christiano Ronaldo was the star of the day with two goals. He also hit the woodwork twice. In Group C action today, Italy is a goal-and-a-half +110 favorite over Ireland. The total is 2.5 with the Over -150. Italy must win to have any chance to advance. The Irish are 0-2 with a nasty 1-7 aggregate. Played simultaneously at 2:45 PM EST on ESPN, Spain is minus a goal -155 with high/low 2.5 and the Under -150.

Tomlinson retires as a Charger after 11 years

A press conference has been called in San Diego Monday where LaDainian Tomlinson will announce his retirement from the NFL after 11 years. Tomlinson will sign a one-day contract and retire as a Charger. Tomlinson was drafted fifth overall by the Chargers in the 2001 NFL Draft and instantly became one of the highest-impact players in the NFL. He rushed for 1,236 yards in his rookie season and that was his lowest total until he rushed for 1,110 yards in 2008. He’s currently fifth all-time in rushing yards, behind only Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith. The nine seasons that Tomlinson spent with the Chargers to begin his career, he averaged 1,388 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns per season, to go along with 59 receptions and 439 receiving yards. He twice led the league in rushing and three times led the league in touchdowns scored. He signed with the Jets as a free agent in 2010 and spent two seasons in New York before walking away from the game as one of the greatest running backs to ever play, sitting second in rushing touchdowns scored (145), third in touchdowns (162, behind only Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith), fifth in rushing yards (13,684) and fifth in attempted rushes (3,174). Tomlinson even threw for seven touchdowns.

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