Golden State's Klay Thompson lets one fly from behind the arc over Kevin Durant in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference finals.  Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

May 28 in sports history: Making a splash from deep

On this date in history, a star of the hardcourt hit from deep and stars of the diamond went deep. Let's go deep. 


2016: When it comes to three-point shooting, few are better than the Warriors' Klay Thompson, who torched the Thunder with a playoff-record 11 three-pointers in a 108-101 win that forced Game 7 in the Western Conference finals.

Thompson, who scored 19 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter, said he was pumped by words of encouragement from teammate and fellow "Splash Brother" Steph Curry. 

“Steph told me before I went out in the fourth, ‘This is your time,’ ” Thompson said. “ ‘You know, put on a show out there and have fun.’ I took those words to heart, and I just tried to be aggressive.”

As a team, the defending champions made an astonishing 21-of-44 (48 percent) from deep; OKC made only 3-of-23.  "About time we had a stretch in this building where we imposed our will," said Curry of the win in Oklahoma City.

Golden State won Game 7, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit, but went on to lose the NBA Finals to LeBron James' Cavaliers in seven games.

HOME RUN KINGS

1951: He hit 660 dingers in his 22-year MLB career, but the first one was special for Willie Mays. The Giants' 20-year-old rookie had been hitless in 12 at-bats in his first three games when he went yard against Warren Spahn in a 4-1 loss to the Boston Braves.

Giants manager Leo Durocher was confident Mays would snap out of his mini-slump. "Good? Of course he's good," he told a Boston Globe reporter about Mays before the game. "I admit the kid hasn't got himself a hit yet, but he's shown me enough to warrant his staying in the lineup."

Mays finished his rookie season with 20 HRs, 68 RBI and a .274 average.

1956:  Dale Long's major league career didn't come close to measuring up to Mays', but he finished with an accomplishment "The Say Hey Kid" never matched. On this date, the Pirates first baseman homered in his eighth consecutive game — a major league record since matched by Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey Jr.

In the record-setting game, Long received a thunderous ovation from the crowd of 32,221 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh when he homered off the Dodgers' Carl Erskine in the Pirates' 3-2 win.

"I still feel chills all over when I think of the way the fans cheered me," Long told reporters afterward, "but don't forget the rest of the team."

Long's streak ended the next day.

2006: Fifty-five years after Mays' first homer, his godson, Barry Bonds, hit his 715th dinger, passing Babe Ruth for No. 2 on the all-time MLB list. 

Count columnist Linda Robinson of the Miami Herald among those who were unimpressed with Bonds, who was enmeshed in baseball's steroids scandal:  

"Bonds now stands higher than the Babe on a statistical list. But he will never approach Ruth’s stature. What does 715 mean anyway? In baseball, where numbers are sacred and absolute, this one is ambiguous, tainted and open to debate. It deserves an asterisk: ' * — Set during the Steroid Era.' Achieved by a drug cheat, it’s a meaningless milestone."

Bonds was jacked to pass Ruth, but he set his sights on bigger goals.

"If you keep playing long enough, anything is possible," he said, wearing a new 715 shirt and cap. "I'd like to win a World Series and be home run king. I'd like to do both. I would take a World Series first." 

Bonds never won a World Series, but he surpassed Hank Aaron on the all-time home run list in 2007.

Eight years earlier on this date, Arizona manager Buck Showalter demonstrated his respect for Bonds' long-ball prowess. He intentionally walked the Giants' slugger with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth in the Diamondbacks' 8-7 win. The next hitter, Brent Mayne, lined out to right field to end the game.

"Bucky got lucky," Mayne said.

MAJOR NEWS IN THE BIG LEAGUES

1968: Although the National League said it intended to forge ahead with a 12-team league, the American League announced it would split into two divisions. The East division would consist of Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, New York and Washington. California, Chicago, Kansas City, Minnesota, Oakland and Seattle made up the West. 

The AL planned to play 156 games, with a best-of-five playoffs between the division champs determining the pennant winner. According to The Associated Press, the NL said it probably would play a 162-game schedule, with a possible limit of 165 games depending on the schedule makers.

AL president Joe Cronin said teams in his league unanimously supported the new setup. "You can't sell a 12th place club," said Cronin. "Who wants a lot of second division clubs? The commissioner's job is to have both leagues ready to start the World Series at his discretion, and we will be ready."

Eventually, the NL also split into two divisions. Each league kept the 162-game season and played with the new division format in 1969.

BASEBALL WEIRDNESS

1918: Sometimes you just have to do it all by yourself. In a 1-0 win over the White Sox, Boston's Joe Bush tossed a one-hitter and drove in the winning run.

1939: George Selkirk had the number of A's pitcher Robert Joyce on consecutive days. A day after smacking two homers against the right-hander, Selkirk hit two more against him in the Yankees' 9-5 win.

1986:  Right-hander Joe Cowley of the White Sox became the first 20th-century pitcher to strike out the first seven batters he faced. In the 6-3 loss to the Rangers, he lasted 4.2 innings. 

2003: In its 15-3 win over the Reds, Atlanta became the second team in major league history to start a game with three straight homers. Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa and Gary Sheffield went yard against Jeff Austin in the bottom of the first. The Padres were the first team to do it, against the Giants in 1987.

DON'T BET AGAINST 'EM

2018: In a Game 1 thriller in the Stanley Cup Finals, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights beat the Capitals, 6-4. Fourth-line forward Tomas Nosek scored the winner midway through the third period. Washington went on to win the Cup in five games — its first NHL title.

YOU'RE OUT! 

2017: In losing to 40th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, Germany's Angelique Kerber became the first women’s No. 1 seed to lose in the French Open’s first round in the Open era.  "... I think I have to find myself again," Kerber said.


Jerry West (right), "The Logo," here with former Knicks star Walt Frazier, turns 82. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Happy birthday...

  • Jerry West, L.A. Lakers guard whose silhouette served as the inspiration for the NBA logo. The 14-time All-Star won a championship with the Lakers, was named the MVP of the NBA Finals in 1969 and once led the NBA in points and assists. As GM of the Lakers, he helped the team to six NBA championships. (82)
  • Kirk Gibson, former MLB outfielder who was the 1988 NL MVP with the Dodgers. Who can forget his pinch-hit, walk-off homer in the '88 World Series against the A's and his fist-pumping jog around the bases? (63)
  • Craig Kimbrel, 2011 Rookie of the Year with Atlanta who set a rookie record for saves with 46. Kimbrel went on to Boston, where he helped the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series. He now plays for the Cubs.  (32)
  • Michael Oher, former NFL tackle whose story inspired the movie, “The Blind Side.” Oher was picked by the Ravens in the first round of the 2009 draft and went on to also play for the Titans and Panthers. (34)

R.I.P.

2007: Marquise Hill, defensive end for the Patriots. A 2004 second-round draft pick, he also was a member of the 2003 LSU championship team. He died in a jet ski accident at the age of 24.


May 27: 'Blown' call? You be the judge


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