Matt Kenseth can’t remember a stretch of races in which he has performed so well and finished so poorly.

Let’s start by talking about NOBs. That’s short for “name on back,” which is the standard industry term for players’ names on jerseys. NOBs are nearly universal today (every MLB team wears them except the Giants at home, the Red Sox at home, and the Yankees for all games). But back in 1976, lots of teams, including the Braves, were still NNOB — that’s short for “no name on back.”

During the previous offseason, the Braves had acquired four players from the Dodgers via a trade — Jimmy Wynn, Lee Lacy, Tom Paciorek, and Jerry Royster. Those players had grown accustomed to wearing their surnames on their Dodgers jerseys and were surprised to find that the Braves were NNOB. Somebody said something, and the idea of adding names to the Braves’ jerseys was born.

“I feel like the way we’ve been running, eventually the law of averages are going to work out, you’re going to get your wins, your finishes,” Kenseth said. “It’s going to happen sooner or later. … I felt like it was a matter of time. But you can never take it for granted.”

Kenseth put himself in position to win when he restarted second on Lap 355, one that turned into an 18-car pileup when race leader Jimmie Johnson had his shifter lock between second and third gears, causing his car to stall and those behind to pile into him.

Among those collected were Kevin Harvick (117 laps led) and Martin Truex Jr. (47 laps led), two of the drivers to have stout cars, along with Johnson and Brad Keselowski (49 laps led), who already had his day ruined when he ran into the back of the lapped, wounded car of Austin Dillon.

Gibby called it “gutless” to hit Bautista at this point. “The other 29 teams out there if they’ve got an issue they come at you right away.”

— Brendan Kennedy (@BKennedyStar) May 15, 2016
I’m siding with the Blue Jays here. If you’re still upset with Bautista, you have to get back at him right away, not the seventh time if you’ve played each other since the home run. Also, the Rangers apparently had a guy pitching his second major league game, who just reached the majors at the age of 30 after a winding, troubled road to get there, do their dirty work. A guy who wasn’t even in the organization last October.

Bautista: Hard slide into second base. Code ruling: Fair play. The slide was hard and a little late, but right over the bag and he didn’t slide spikes up or do anything that indicated an intent to cause injury. And considering what just happened, second baseman Rougned Odor should have been expecting a hard slide, especially since the Rangers were up only a run at the time.

Given their record-breaking offensive season, it’s easy to forget the Warriors are also allowing the fourth-fewest points per 100 possessions and second-lowest effective field goal percentage in the NBA. In the playoffs, their defense has only improved, thanks to forcing turnovers at a higher rate and limiting high-value transition opportunities. Defense is one area where the Warriors have a clear edge over the Thunder, who rank 13th in defensive efficiency and have struggled to defend the 3-point line.

If there is one hole in Golden State’s game, however, it is on the defensive glass. Opponents are rebounding nearly a quarter of their missed shots against the Dubs, which has led to the seventh-most second-chance points per game allowed (13.9) in the league. This is particularly worrisome given the Thunder’s proficiency on the offensive glass. Oklahoma City leads the NBA in offensive rebound rate (31 percent) and second-chance points per game (15.8) this season. In three games against the Warriors, the Thunder rebounded 29 percent of their misses.

After struggling for much of the playoffs, Lowry and DeRozan were in top form for Game 7. Lowry made 11 of 20 shots, including five of seven from 3-point range, and DeRozan connected on 12 of 29 attempts. Lowry had nine assists and seven rebounds, and DeRozan had eight rebounds.

“We never doubted Kyle and DeMar,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “They’re our All-Stars, and they both played like it tonight. They both stepped up and carried us.”

DeMarre Carroll scored 14 points, and Patrick Patterson had 11 to help the Raptors become the 15th team in NBA history to win two Game 7s in one postseason. Toronto beat Indiana in the first round. Now the Raptors get ready for the Cavaliers, who swept Detroit in the first round and have been resting since May 8, when they capped a second-round sweep of Atlanta.

But one thing Parker claims is not motivating her is the fact that she isn’t on the U.S. Olympic team for the upcoming Rio Games.

“My focus is squarely on the Sparks; that’s all I have to worry about,” Parker said. “That’s what I’m getting better for. That’s kind of been done [the Olympic controversy]. We’ve kind of moved past that. I leave everybody else to talk and discuss, but our focus is on our team.”

Los Angeles fans might view not just Sunday’s game but every game this season as a chance for Parker to “prove USA Basketball wrong,” and that’s perfectly OK for them to do. Hey, you expect fans to feel that way about their team’s star player. The fact that there are two Storm players — Stewart and Sue Bird (she was the No. 1 pick in the 2002 WNBA draft) — on the U.S. Olympic team but none from the Sparks might be on the fans’ minds for a while.

Deep down, whether she’ll ever say so publicly or not, Parker might feel a little of that herself. But she also knows that as long as she’s keeping her mind on the business at hand, she’s going to get the best results.

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