Spurs draw first blood, Franchitti at Indy, Kahne best at Charlotte, Diamond Dust + Free Plays for Monday, May 28, 2012

San Antonio rides big 4Q to 19th straight win

Down nine points to start the fourth quarter, it looked like the San Antonio Spurs 18-game winning streak was toast but ….. after scoring just 24-22-16 points in the first three quarters, San Antonio exploded for 39 points on 75% shooting in the final stanza to beat Oklahoma City 101-98. Manu Ginobli saved the Spurs bacon with 26 points off the bench including 14 in the fourth quarter. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27 points and 10 rebounds but got little help Russell Westbrook and James Harden who combined for 36 points (14 in the final 100 second after Thunder were down 10) on a whopping 38 shots. Game Two is Tuesday in Alamo City.

The Eastern Conference Final starts tonight in South Beach with the Miami Heat minus eight over the Celtics, the total bet up for an opening 177 1/2 to 179 1/2. Chris Bosh practiced lightly for the Heat but is still expected to miss most or all of the series with a lower abdominal strain. The series price is Miami -600 with the takeback on Boston +400. The format is 2-2-1-1-1 with the Heat starting with home court.

Franchitti wins third Indy 500

Dario Franchitti won the race but Sunday was really a celebration of the life of Dan Wheldon who won the race last year and was tragically killed in the series finale in October at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Franchitti won a wheel to wheel battle with Takumi Sato that saw the Japanese driver crash into the wall. Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon crossed the line second with third going to Tony Kanaan, making it a podium sweep for Wheldon’s three closest friends in the IndyCar series. Despite being a two-time winner, Franchitti was the 17/2 fifth choice in the betting behind pole-winner Ryan Brisco, Helio Castronever, Marco Andretti, and Will Power.

The Charlotte 600 goes to Kahne

Kasey Kahne led the final 42 laps of the race, 96 overall, in cruising to a win in Nascar’s longest race, the Charlotte 600. It was Kahne’s 13th career win, his 3rd Charlotte 600, and his first with red-hot Hendrick Motor Sports. It was his 300th career Sprint Cup start. Denny Hamlin finished second followed by Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, and Brad Kesolowski rounding out the top five. Biffle was dominant most of the day leading 204 laps and still leads the Chase by 10 points over Matt Kenseth and 16 better than Hamlin.

MLB Diamond Dust

The Philadelphia Phillies took another big injury hit Sunday when Roy Halladay was removed after just two innings and 36 pitches. Halladay has been experiencing shoulder pain and will be evaluated during the week. Before leaving, Halladay was touched up for a grand-slam by Yidier Molina and took the loss. Philly is 1-7 in Halladay’s last eight starts. Halladay has more no-hitters than career starts of less than two innings.

The Cubs completed an 0-6 road trip with their 12th straight loss getting hammered at Pittsburg. Blue Bear pitcher Matt Garza’s road woes continued with a five-inning five-run outing that sent his road ERA to a tick below the 8.00 mark. The losing streak is the Cubs worst since they started the season 0-14 in 1997.

Despite penalty, Johnson repeats at the Colonial

Going into the final round of the Colonial, it was apparent that it would be match play final between the two hottest golfers on tour with Jason Dufner taking on defending champion Zach Johnson. After both players limped home over the final eight holes, Johnson was a shot the best. With Dufner carting two doubles (bogeys) and a triple down the stretch, Johnson had a three-shot lead heading to the final hole. It wasn’t easy for Johnson didn’t properly remark his ball before his final putt resulting in a two-stroke penalty that resulted in the one shot margin.

RIP: Boxer Johnny Tapia dead at 45

Living the vida loca finally caught up with five-time boxing champ Johnny Tapia. The 45-year-old Albuquerque native was found dead in his house Sunday at around 7:45 PM. Police say that the death did not appear suspicious. Tapia won five championships in three weight classes, winning the WBA bantamweight title, the IBF and WBO junior bantamweight titles and the IBF featherweight belt. His tragic upbringing and his continual scrapes with the law made him the consummate underdog/outlaw and fan favorite. He last fought in June, outpointing Mauricio Pastrana in an eight-round decision. He finished with a 59-5-2 record. RIP

Free Plays

(NBA) Boston +8 over Miami

(MLB) Philadelphia (Hamels) -140 over NY Mets (Niese) 1:10 PM EST

(MLB) Tampa Bay (Moore) pick over WSox (Sale) 3:10 PM EST

(MLB) Seattle (Millwood)/Texas (Harrison) Under 9.5 -120