Archive - May 2015

1
Golden State Warriors Head to the 2015 NBA Finals
2
The Fanatics Authentic Sports Spectacular Returns to Boston
3
Only the Strongest Remain in the 2015 NHL Playoffs
4
Wizards Take the Postseason By Storm
5
Stephen Curry Named 2015 NBA MVP

Golden State Warriors Head to the 2015 NBA Finals

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On a night where the Golden State Warriors really struggled to find any kind of rhythm on offense, small forward Harrison Barnes came up big in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals for a trip to the championship. Courtesy of Barnes’s spectacular 24 points, the Warriors are heading to the NBA Finals for the first time in 40 years for the chance to take home the coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy.

During the regular season, Harrison Barnes averaged just a little over 10 points per game but truly shined during his postseason performance when the Warriors needed it most in Game 5 of the Conference Finals. Despite facing a difficult time landing his shot against the Rockets and shooting just 7 for 21 from the field, league MVP Stephen Curry still posted 26 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. Unfortunately, Golden State shooting guard Klay Thompson was only able to log 22 minutes due to foul trouble and a flying knee by Houston Rockets small forward Trevor Ariza. With 9 minutes and 31 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Thompson got Ariza to bite on a pump fake, and while Ariza was still up in the air, Thompson made a move right into his knee. It appeared to be unintentional but Klay Thompson went down hard. Luckily, there is a week before the NBA Finals begin on June 4th, giving Klay Thompson a week to rest up and prepare to battle for the league title.

In addition to falling short of the big game, Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden broke a record during the Conference Finals that isn’t one to be particularly proud of. Prior to Game 5, the previous record for the most turnovers by one player in a playoff game was held by John Williamson with 11; Harden surpassed that number and finished the game with 13 turnovers. The Golden State Warriors defense also seriously limited his shooting abilities, allowing Harden just 2 for 11 from the field. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr went on to praise Andre Iguodala’s defensive effort on James Harden, which was accompanied by 28 outstanding minutes from backup center Festus Ezeli. Normally, Ezeli does not see the court for too long but the Warriors needed a big body to defend Dwight Howard. Only one rebound shy of a double-double, Festus Ezeli’s efforts helped lift the Golden State Warriors over the Houston Rockets by a score of 104 to 90.

The Warriors haven’t won an NBA Championship since 1975 and the franchise hopes to change history next week. After sweeping the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers will meet the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for Game 1 on June 4th. The two Finals participants match up well against one another, making the outlook for this series very close. The championship will feature arguably the two best players in the NBA between LeBron James and Stephen Curry. It will be very interesting to see if the Cavaliers defense can slow down Curry and the Warriors, while Golden State’s ability to stop King James will be put to the test. Without the services of power forward Kevin Love to accompany Kyrie Irving, Cleveland might suffer when it comes to matching up against the high scoring tempo in Golden State. Clear your schedule sports fans because this is going to be one of the most exciting NBA Finals in recent basketball history.

The Fanatics Authentic Sports Spectacular Returns to Boston

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Fanatics Authentic is heading back to Boston, Massachusetts on June 5th for the second time and will bring over 40 prominent athletes along for three days of events. At the Fanatics Authentic Sports Spectacular in Boston, the Royal Plaza Trade Center is scheduled to host a variety of New England sports icons and the biggest names from all major leagues to provide fans with the rare chance to meet some of their favorite athletes.

From Friday June 5th until Sunday June 7th, the Fanatics Authentic Sports Spectacular will give Boston area sports fans a weekend of family fun that includes autograph sessions with future superstars, champions, and Hall of Famers. In addition to headliners, David Ortiz, Dan Marino, Malcolm Butler, and Pedro Martinez, the Boston show features an impressive lineup of athletes from the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. In honor of the show opening, there will be roll back pricing for “Today’s Stars at Yesterday’s Prices” with discounts on autographs from  Steve Grogan and Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd on Friday night. On Saturday, June 6th, Fanatics Authentic will honor the 40th Anniversary of the 1975 Red Sox with appearances by more than 15 former Boston stars, including Carlton Fisk, Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, and more. Fans of all loyalties can get closer than ever to some of their most idolized athletes, ranging from the second overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft Marcus Mariota to the legendary Bo Jackson, at the Fanatics Authentic show courtesy of many exclusive signing sessions and photo opportunities all weekend long.

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The Boston show caters to a wide range of sports fans and collectors by offering a diverse assortment of ticket options. General admission is free of charge for the entire weekend and every person in attendance will receive a raffle ticket to enter to win a deluxe framed Tom Brady jersey with a value of $1,500. For serious collectors and the most die-hard fans, there is an all-inclusive $99 VIP package, which includes an express line pass to cut autograph lines, early admission that allows entry 30 minutes before the show each day, tickets for an autograph and inscription from Gaylord Perry, one random autograph ticket, and raffle tickets. Tickets for athlete autographs, special inscriptions, and photo-ops are available for athletes in attendance and can be purchased at different price points depending on each player. For $10 each, items signed at the Boston show can also be certified authentic by the Fanatics Authentic and will be fully backed by our authenticity guarantee.

For more information regarding the Fanatics Authentic Sports Spectacular in June, visit the show website, here.

Only the Strongest Remain in the 2015 NHL Playoffs

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The 2015 NHL Postseason began on Wednesday, April 15th and since the race to the Stanley Cup got underway, hockey fans have witness shocking upsets as well as the complete domination of teams. In the first round of the playoffs, two exciting match-ups went to seven games while only the Anaheim Ducks were able to blowout the Winnipeg Jets. Forget the entertainment provided during the regular season because the best has yet to come as the NHL playoffs wrap up the second round and enters the Conference Finals.

The Anaheim Ducks finished with the number one seed in the Western Conference Pacific for a first round match-up against the Winnipeg Jets, the five seed in the Central division. Unfortunately for the Jets, the Ducks continued on their spree of dominance and eliminated Winnipeg with a series win of four games to none. Led by right wing Corey Perry and centerman Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim is nearly unstoppable, especially with these two players leading the postseason in total points scored with 14 points and 12 points respectively. The other three first round match-ups in the Western Conference all ended in six games and featured some exciting performances. Pitting fellow foes from the Pacific region against each other, Vancouver faced off against Calgary, but despite the Canucks higher record coming into the playoffs, the Flames came out victorious. The Minnesota Wild finished fourth in the Central division during the regular season but put on a very impressive performance and took down the St. Louis Blues who were ranked number one in the same division. Chicago finished just under the Nashville Predators in the Central division but that didn’t stop the Blackhawks from advancing to round two. Led by All-Star Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks are an extremely dangerous team that is in search of their second Stanley Cup in three seasons and secured another trip to the Western Conference Final to face off against the Anaheim Ducks.

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Meanwhile in the Eastern Conference, both match-up featuring the Tampa Bay Lightning versus the Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals against the New York Islanders took the first round to seven games. Although center Tyler Johnson for Tampa Bay had a terrific series, Braydon Coburn and Anton Stralman recorded one goal each in the final game to give the Lightning a 2 to 0 victory for a trip to the second round. The New York Islanders haven’t won a first round playoff match-up in the last 22 years, but the Washington Capitals were merciless as their opponents faced what seemed to be an inevitable fate. Game 7 was tied 1 to 1 in the third period but Evgeny Kuznetsov came up clutch and scored the game winning goal with seven minutes and 18 seconds remaining to keep the Capitals postseason hopes alive. As for the rest of the East, the Montreal Canadiens outlasted the Ottawa Senators in six games and the New York Rangers easily eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in five. Centerman Derick Brassard and left wing Rick Nash both came up with big performances for the Rangers to help them advance to the second round.

Round 2 of the NHL Playoffs is coming to a close with the two Western Conference contenders set and two Eastern Conference teams on the verge of victory. With the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks easily advancing to the Conference Championship, hockey fans are in for a real treat with a match-up between two dominant contenders, while the Tampa Bay Lightning hopes to keep its lead alive entering Game 6 against the Montreal Canadiens and a Game 7 tie-breaker will leave either the New York Rangers or the Washington Capitals a Stanley Cup hopeful and crush championship dreams of the other. All four teams that will advance to the semifinals will be comprised of the best and most talented athletes on the ice, so the competition in the NHL is going to get even hotter as the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals rapidly approach.

Wizards Take the Postseason By Storm

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The Washington Wizards finished out the NBA regular season with a record of 46-36 to take the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and were matched up to face the fourth seeded Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. Entering the series, the majority of NBA fans thought that it would be the closest and most entertaining first round match-up in the East, but instead the Wizards shocked the basketball world.

John Wall and Bradley Beal led the Washington Wizards into the first round ready to play, regardless of home court advantage being in favor of their opponent. As the series got underway, small forward Trevor Ariza was replaced with Paul Pierce, adding another surprise to the mix because of the veteran’s his old age. Despite the critics, Pierce proved his clutch gene is still in effect and came up huge for Washington in the first round. Throughout the series, Pierce played at a very high level and showed why he deserves the nickname “The Truth”. Meanwhile, the Raptors got very little production from their All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry and the entire team just seemed lost. Although Toronto was a frightening contender during the regular season, Washington’s defense made it awfully difficult for the Raptors’ offence to produce. The Washington Wizards swept the Raptors in four games, earning the team a few needed days of rest until they would face off against the Atlanta Hawks in the second round.

Due to their size and two All-Star caliber guards, the Washington Wizards have the ability to match up well against any team in the NBA and provide a serious threat. Even though Washington will face a top-ranked Atlanta team in the second round, the Wizards have a very good chance of pulling off an upset. The Hawks came into the postseason with a record of 60-22 for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Prior to meeting the Wizards, it took the Hawks six games to knock off the eighth seeded Brooklyn Nets. Continuing on their unexpected postseason run, the Washington Wizards stole the very first game of the series in Atlanta. With John Wall sitting out in Game 2, the Hawks evened the score to put the series at 1-1. Now, the Washington Wizards have three out of five possible games at home and control their fate. If the Wizards win the best of seven series against Atlanta, they will face the winner of Chicago and Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals.

At 1-1 in the second round against the Atlanta Hawks, the Wizards aren’t going down without a fight and look to emerge as a contender for the Eastern Conference title, despite being the underdog. Check out the video below to see the recent shipment of Washington Wizards game-used collectibles arrive at Fanatics Authentic and shop the selection of Washington Wizards memorabilia to celebrate your favorite NBA stars as the 2015 NBA Playoffs competition gets even fiercer.

Stephen Curry Named 2015 NBA MVP

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The Golden State Warriors finished the 2014-2015 NBA regular season as the number one seed in the Western Conference with 67 wins. Their dominant season is largely courtesy of the strong play from point guard Stephen Curry. Curry was always one of the top players in the NBA, but this year under new head coach Steve Kerr, the two-time All-Star took his game to another level and was named 2015 NBA Most Valuable Player.

In just under 33 minutes per game, Stephen Curry averaged 23.8 points per game to go along with 7.7 assists and over 4 rebounds per game throughout the 2014-2015 regular season. The six year veteran is also recognized as arguably the best shooter in NBA history and for good reason. During the 2012-2013 NBA regular season, Curry hit 272 three pointers which broke the all-time record held by Ray Allen. He went on to break his own record this year with 286 threes and shot over 44 percent from beyond the arc while doing so. Curry also shot over 91 percent from the free throw line. The Warriors were ranked as one of the top defenses in the league and Stephen Curry even contributed to this reputation, while averaging two steals per game.

For most of the second half of the NBA regular season, it seemed like Stephen Curry was neck and neck with Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden for the MVP trophy, but by the end of the season it was clear which player was well deserving of the trophy. The Warriors won 11 more games than the Rockets and Curry ended up blowing Harden out of the water when it came down to the MVP voting. Out of the 130 first place votes, Stephen Curry received 100 of them and the Warriors have a very special team this season thanks to their All-Star point guard. Leading the Warriors into the postseason with a first round sweep, Stephen Curry is the clear MVP of the league and hopes to bring Golden State its first championship since 1975.

In addition to his unbelievable jump shot that put his name on the map, many basketball fans would say that Stephen Curry has one of the best handles in the NBA, which makes him so tough to defend against. Curry can get his shot off at will and if the defense leaves him any inch of space, chances are it’s going to be a long night chasing the 6’3 point guard around the court. Earning his first league MVP title just six seasons into his professional basketball career, Stephen Curry is already on his way to ranking among the top player of his generation and writing his name in NBA lore.

Commemorate the 2014-2015 NBA Most Valuable Player with unique basketball collectibles and shop the selection of authentic Stephen Curry memorabilia, here!

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