Today in Sports: 4/25/17 Review

NBA:

Houston Rockets defeat Oklahoma City Thunder 105-99: The Houston Rockets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder to win this first round series 4-1. Once again, Russell Westbrook and James Harden were the game’s leading scorers with 47 points and 34 points, respectively. The Thunder were outscored by 18 points in the six minutes that Russell Westbrook sat on the bench. Although Westbrook took offense to the question a reporter asked after game four that insinuated that the Thunder were struggling with him on the bench, stats from every game prove that the reporter was correct. Westbrook tried to play “hero ball” again in the fourth quarter, and it backfired when his jump shot fell apart. He was obviously exhausted, which wasn’t surprising due to the amount of effort he exudes to help his horrible supporting cast stay afloat. James Harden struggled with his jump shot again, but was able to get to the free throw line at a high rate. He was able to rely on Nene, Patrick Beverley, and Lou Williams to help him in ways that Russell Westbrook’s teammates couldn’t. Although this was a battle between the two MVP candidates, Houston won the series because their MVP candidate had a supporting cast that helped him. The Thunder need to get Westbrook help if they want to compete for a championship next season. The Rockets will either face the San Antonio Spurs or Memphis Grizzlies in the second round of the playoffs.

San Antonio Spurs defeat Memphis Grizzlies 116-103: The San Antonio Spurs took a 3-2 series lead with a home win against the Memphis Grizzlies. Kawhi Leonard continued his impressive series with another dominating performance. He scored a game-high 28 points and was a hassle on the defensive end of the floor. The Spurs’ bench was superb again, led by a 20 point performance from Patty Mills. Manu Ginobili scored ten points on 4-6 shooting from the field, which was a pleasant surprise to Spurs fans because he hadn’t made a shot all series prior to game five. The Grizzlies had decent performances from Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, but they didn’t play with the same level of intensity as they did in games three and four in Memphis. The home team has won every game in this series, and the Grizzlies will need to continue that trend if they want to keep their season alive. These two teams will play game six on Thursday in San Antonio.

Utah Jazz defeat Los Angeles Clippers 96-92: The Utah Jazz stole game six in Los Angeles to take a 3-2 series lead over the Clippers. Gordon Hayward played like an All-Star in a game that they needed him to dominate. He missed most of game four because of food poisoning, but seemed fully recovered during this game. Rudy Gobert seems fully recovered from his knee injury that caused him to miss the first three games of this series (except the first ten seconds of game one). Chris Paul proved again that he’s still the best point guard in the NBA. He scored 28 points and played a great game defensively. He wasn’t able to overcome the loss of Blake Griffin, which has hurt them drastically in the scoring department. The Clippers need to win the last two games of this series, which is something that they probably won’t be able to do without Griffin. These two teams will play game six on Friday in Utah.

Today in Sports: 4/25/17 Preview

NBA:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets: The Rockets look to finish this series against the Thunder by winning game five at home. After losing three of the first four games of this series, the Thunder need to win three straight games to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Probable MVP Russell Westbrook has put up fantastic numbers all series, but he hasn’t gotten much help from his teammates. James Harden has also put up fantastic numbers, but he’s been able to rely on his teammates when his shot isn’t falling. The Rockets are heavy favorites to win this game and advance to the second round of the playoffs, but it seems like Russell Westbrook plays his best when his back is against the wall. This game will likely be won by whichever of the two MVP candidates that can make a greater impact for their team.

Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs: The Grizzlies and Spurs will play game five in San Antonio with both teams trying to take a commanding 3-2 lead in this series. After losing the first two games in San Antonio, few people thought the Grizzlies were going to even the series with two wins in Memphis. Although Kawhi Leonard almost singlehandedly won game four, the Grizzlies were able to survive in overtime. The Spurs are the more talented team and are still favored to win the series, but the Grizzlies have shown that they do not fear San Antonio. Even without Tony “first team all defense” Allen, the Grizzlies have played great team basketball. The winner of this game will likely win the series, so it’s crucial for both teams that they play at a high level in this pivotal game five.

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers: The Jazz and Clippers will play game five in Los Angeles with both teams trying to take a commanding 3-2 lead in this series. These teams have been two of the unluckiest teams in the NBA with all the injuries that they’ve suffered, but both still have a good chance of advancing to the second round of the playoffs. The Clippers are playing without star Blake Griffin for the rest of the playoffs, but have a lot of experience over the last few years of playing without the oft-injured Griffin. Rudy Gobert returned from injury to play in game four, which helped the Jazz overcome the loss of Gordon Hayward to food poisoning. Hayward should be able to return for game five, and they’ll need him healthy to pull off the road win against this desperate Clippers team. The winner of this game will likely win the series, so it’s crucial for both teams that they play at a high level in this pivotal game five.

Today in Sports: 4/23/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Indiana Pacers 106-102: The Cavaliers completed the sweep against the Pacers in what might be Paul George’s last game in Indiana. If this was George’s last game in Indiana, it was a terrible way to conclude a great Pacers career. George shot 5-21 from the field and ended up with 15 points. Myles Turner and Lance Stephenson scored 20 points and 22 points respectively. Both Turner and Stephenson were criticized by George in the media, and both outplayed their teammate in this must-win game. LeBron James had another fantastic game leading the Cavaliers with 33 points. Kevin Love struggled again scoring just five points on 2-13 shooting from the field. The Cavaliers had the ball up by three points in the final seconds when J.R. Smith went full J.R. Smith and tried an extremely stupid behind-the-back pass that resulted in a turnover. Paul George would get off a three pointer with a few seconds remaining that would’ve tied the game, but he missed wide right which ended the Pacers’ season. The Cavaliers will face the Toronto Raptors or Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs.

Houston Rockets defeat Oklahoma City Thunder 113-109: The Houston Rockets got an impressive contribution from their bench to help win game four and take a 3-1 series lead against the Thunder. The Rockets played three bench players, and they happened to be the team’s three leading scorers. Nene scored a team-high 28 points on 12-12 shooting from the field. Eric Gordon and Lou Williams both contributed 18 points to help pick up the struggling starters. James Harden shot 0-7 from three-point range and made only six free throws. His 16 point performance was way below his average, but he was able to depend on his teammates to help him in ways that Russell Westbrook’s teammates couldn’t. Westbrook scored a game-high 35 points and had a triple-double at halftime. Steven Adams had a solid game, but they didn’t get any contribution from their bench. Andre Roberson played great defense, but he shot 2-12 from the free throw line. The Thunder need to win three straight games to win the series, but don’t have any chance if they don’t get a contribution from their bench. These two teams will play game five on Tuesday in Houston.

Boston Celtics defeat Chicago Bulls 104-95: The Celtics defeated the Bulls in Chicago to even the series at two games apiece. Without Rajon Rondo, the Bulls have struggled to keep the momentum that they obtained after winning the first two games in Boston. Jerami Grant and Michael Carter-Williams took Rondo’s place at point guard and combined to score as many points as I did in this game. Yes, the two point guards for Chicago couldn’t manage to score a single point. Michael Carter-Williams has been a terrible basketball player since his first game of his career when he almost registered a quadruple-double, but he and Grant need to at least score a few points if they want to have a chance in this series. They won’t be able to match Rondo’s level of production, but they can’t afford to play as terribly as they did in this game. Jimmy Butler was fantastic again, but he can’t carry the team by himself. Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green led the Celtics with 33 points and 18 points, respectively. These two teams will play game five on Wednesday in Boston.

Utah Jazz defeat Los Angeles Clippers 105-98: The Jazz evened the series at two games apiece with a home win against the Clippers. The Jazz were able to win without a contribution from their star player. Gordon Hayward was struggling with food poisoning, and was only able to play nine minutes in the game. “Iso” Joe Johnson was able to pick up the slack, scoring a game-high 28 points off the bench. He was very mamba-esque in the fourth quarter hitting clutch shot after clutch shot. Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 27 points and 25 points respectively, but they didn’t get much of a contribution from the rest of their team. These two teams will play game five on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Today in Sports: 4/23/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers: The Cleveland Cavaliers will attempt to pull off a four game sweep of the Pacers in Indiana. LeBron James and Paul George have been dominant throughout the series. George has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Pacers, but hasn’t gotten consistent help from his teammates. Although Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love haven’t been consistent, they’ve had enough flashes to help the Cavaliers win each of the first three games. The Pacers will try to become the first team in NBA history to win a seven game series after falling behind 3-0. They can’t win all four games at once, so they’ll have to start by winning this game at home.

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder look to even the series at 2-2 at home against the Rockets. After an exciting game three, both teams have a chance to make their mark on the series in game four. The Thunder need to keep pace with the Rockets by winning their second straight home game. If they lose, the Rockets will take a commanding 3-1 series lead and look to finish off the Thunder in game five at home. This is a pivotal game for both teams.

Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls: The Boston Celtics will look to even the series at two games apiece with a road win against the Bulls. After losing the first two games at home, the Celtics rebounded with a dominating road win. The Bulls lost point guard Rajon Rondo to an injury suffered in game two, which was a major reason why they lost game three. Rondo will likely miss the rest of the series (and playoffs), so they’ll have to find a way to win without him. Jimmy Butler is the best player in this series, so he’ll have to put the Bulls on his back if they want to advance to the second round. The Celtics can regain the home-court advantage with a win, which will put them in the driver’s seat to move on to the second round. The winner of this game will be huge favorites to win the series.

Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz: The Jazz look to even the series at two games apiece against the Clippers in Utah. These two teams can beat anyone when healthy, but both have suffered a key injury during this series. They’re both used to playing with adversity due to the plethora of injuries both teams suffered during the regular season. Jazz star Rudy Gobert got injured ten seconds into the first game of the series, and is questionable to return in game three. His injury looked worse than it was, but he still might not be able to return in this series. Clippers star Blake Griffin injured his toe and will miss the rest of the postseason. This is a huge blow to the Clippers, which they were able to overcome in game three because of the brilliance of Chris Paul. The winner of this game will likely win the series, so it’s extremely important for both teams that they play their best basketball.

Today in Sports: 4/21/17 Review

NBA:

Boston Celtics defeat Chicago Bulls 104-87: The Boston Celtics won a must-win game in Chicago against the Bulls to avoid going down 0-3 in this series. The top seeded Celtics finally looked like a championship contender. They outscored Chicago 33-15 in the first quarter and never looked back. Their Tacoma, Washington backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley were fantastic all game. Al Horford bounced back after a pitiful game two to lead the Celtics with 18 points. The Bulls were clearly missing starting point guard Rajon Rondo, who broke his thumb during the last game and may miss the rest of the playoffs. Jerami Grant and Michael Carter-Williams played in his place, and both had awful games. Jimmy Butler struggled with his shot all game, only scoring 14 points on 7-21 shooting from the field. These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Chicago.

Oklahoma City Thunder defeat Houston Rockets 115-113: The Thunder were finally able to hold on to a fourth quarter lead to win their first game of the series. Russell Westbrook had another triple double, but was much more efficient than in game two. He got his teammates involved instead of resorting to “hero ball.” Westbrook missed two key free throws in the final minute of the game, which almost cost them the game when Harden missed the potential game-winning shot. Down by two points with less than ten seconds remaining, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni decided not to call a timeout and let James Harden make a play. Although Harden missed the game-winning shot, this was the right decision by D’Antoni. Harden and Westbrook have put up amazing stats in all three games, but have struggled with their shooting during the last two games. Whichever of these two MVP candidates finds their shooting stroke first will give their team a huge advantage in the rest of the series. These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Los Angeles Clippers defeat Utah Jazz 111-106: The Clippers defeated the Jazz on the road to regain the home-court advantage in this series. The Jazz had a comfortable lead in the second half before collapsing down the stretch. Clippers star Blake Griffin injured his toe before halftime and did not return to the game. Unfortunately for the injury-prone Griffin, this injury is serious enough that he will miss the rest of the postseason. This is a huge blow to the Clippers, but it evens up the injury score because of the injury to Jazz star Rudy Gobert. Both the Clippers and Jazz suffered a plethora of injuries during the season, and it’s unfortunate that these two teams will not play each other at full-strength. The Clippers won the game because their star came up bigger than the Jazz’s star in the key moments of the fourth quarter. Chris Paul put the Clippers on his back during the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 34 points and 10 assists. Gordon Hayward scored a game-high 40 points, but he shied away from the pressure moments towards the end of the game. These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Utah.

Today in Sports: 4/21/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls: The Boston Celtics are fighting for their playoff lives in Chicago against the Bulls. Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo broke his thumb in game two, and will be out indefinitely. This is crushing news for the Bulls because Rondo was playing his best basketball in years. This means Michael Carter-Williams will be getting more minutes, which should be alarming to Bulls fans. The Celtics had the best record in the Eastern Conference this season, but few people thought they were the conference’s best team. They haven’t played like a number one seed during this series, but have a talent and health advantage going into this game. This is a must-win game for the Celtics to avoid going down 0-3 in this series.

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder travel to Houston to take on the Rockets in a must-win game. After a crippling loss in game two in which they blew a fourth quarter lead, the Thunder need to regroup and give their best effort in front of their home crowd. Westbrook put up amazing stats in game two, but he struggled shooting from the field. He’ll need to be more efficient in this game and help get his teammates involved. James Harden also struggled in game two, but he wasn’t trying to force things like Westbrook did in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City cannot afford to go down 0-3 in this series, so they’ll need to play better as a team and not allow Westbrook to try and play hero ball for 48 minutes.

Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz: The Clippers and Jazz will play game three with both teams trying to take a 2-1 series lead. Jazz center Rudy Gobert is still injured, so they’ll have to make adjustments to stop the Clippers from scoring at will in the paint. The Clippers weren’t able to make on-the-fly adjustments in game one, but smartened up before game two and decided to attack Utah’s weakness. Utah was able to win game one and keep game two close without Gobert on the road, so they should have enough firepower to win without him at home. If he was healthy, they probably would be up 2-0 in this series. Since Gobert might not return in this series, they’ll need to have role players step up in his absence. They’ve had a lot of injuries all year, so they are ready for this adversity. The winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Today in Sports: 4/19/17 Review

NBA:

Washington Wizards defeat Atlanta Hawks 109-101: The Wizards defeated the Hawks in a back-and-forth game by dominating in the finals minutes of the fourth quarter. After an evenly matched first quarter, the Wizards dominated the second quarter to take a seven point lead at halftime. The Hawks dominated the third quarter to take the lead back before getting dominated in the fourth quarter. Although the back-and-forth style of game was exciting, it was ruined by the referees. It’s a common theme in the playoffs to see refs taking over the games, and it’s so damn embarrassing to watch. It seemed like the refs were calling fouls on every possession. Nobody paid money to watch you ref, we all want to see the players decide the game on the court. Luckily, the Wizards were the better team on the court and deserved to win. John Wall and Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 32 points and 31 points, respectively. Now that the Hawks are down 0-2 in the series, they’ll need to win game three in Atlanta. Neither of these next two games are must-win games for the Hawks, but they’ll have to dig themselves out of a serious hole if they aren’t able to even the series before heading back to Washington for game five. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in Atlanta.

Houston Rockets defeat Oklahoma City Thunder 115-111: The Thunder looked poised to steal this game on the road through three quarters, but weren’t able to hold on in the fourth quarter. The Rockets were able to get contributions from their role players, which is something that plagued the Thunder in this game. This was an issue partly due to Russell Westbrook’s “hero ball” that he played towards the end of the fourth quarter. He decided that he’d take over the game, but was missing a bunch of contested jumpers. His shot selection has always been an issue, and it plagued his team down the stretch when he went cold. But it’s hard to blame a guy who scored 51 points to go along with his 13 assists and 10 rebounds. This was the highest scoring triple-double in NBA playoff history. But these stats can be misleading. Westbrook shot an abysmal 17-43 from the field. Although he struggled down the stretch, the Rockets’ ability to make shots in crunch time was the most important deciding factor of this game. James Harden led the Rockets with 35 points, but he struggled shooting from the field. He scored 18 points from the free throw line. He was able to contribute in other ways and was uplifted by his teammates’ contributions. The Thunder return to Oklahoma City down 0-2, and they’ll need to win these two home games if they want to get back in the series. These two teams will play game three on Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Golden State Warriors defeat Portland Trail Blazers 110-81: In a game that the Warriors had to play without superstar Kevin Durant, the Trail Blazers came up flat when they had their best chance to steal a game on the road. If the Trail Blazers can’t win this game on the road, they don’t have any chance of winning on the road in this series. Portland was able to keep the first game competitive, so they should’ve had some confidence going into this game. Knowing that Durant wasn’t going to play should’ve made life easier, but the Trail Blazers fell flat on their faces. The star backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were incredible in game one, and they were incredibly bad in game two. They combined for 23 points, which is basically how many points each scored by halftime of game one. The Trail Blazers need to win both games at home to have a chance of winning the series, but that looks extremely unlikely. Damian Lillard’s prediction of winning the series in six games looks foolish now. They’ll probably end up getting swept. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in Portland.

Today in Sports: 4/19/17 Preview

NBA:

Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards: The Hawks and Wizards will play game two of this series in Washington before heading to Atlanta. The Wizards were able to win game one at home thanks to a dominating third quarter. The Wizards are the favorites in this series, and are the much more talented team. John Wall was the best player on the floor in game one, and should be able to dominate again against a Hawks team that doesn’t have an elite defender to slow him down. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but whatever team wins this game will have the advantage in the series before heading to Atlanta.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets: After a dominating win in game one, the Rockets will try to keep the home-court advantage in this series before heading to Oklahoma City. The Thunder were completely outclassed in the first game. Russell Westbrook was outplayed by fellow MVP candidate James Harden, and the Rockets’ supporting cast outplayed the Thunder’s supporting cast. Westbrook is the star of the Thunder, and he doesn’t have much help surrounding him. He’ll need a herculean performance if they want to even the series before heading home to Oklahoma City.

Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors look to take a 2-0 series lead before heading on the road to Portland. The Trail Blazers kept the game close through three quarters due to their backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The Trail Blazers’ stars were dominant all game, but they didn’t get any help from their supporting cast. The Warriors have a lot more depth than the Trail Blazers, and got contributions from everyone that stepped on the floor. Draymond Green was the best player in game one, dominating on both ends of the floor. Kevin Durant is probably going to miss this game, which will give the Trail Blazers a better chance of winning. But even without Durant, the Warriors are one of the best teams in the NBA. With Durant’s injury, this becomes a must-win game for the Trail Blazers. If they cannot win this game, they don’t have a chance of winning any games in Golden State (and therefore can’t win the series because they don’t have the home-court advantage). The Trail Blazers need to even up this series otherwise they’ll make Damian Lillard’s prediction of winning in six games look like a bad joke.

Today in Sports: 4/16/17 Review

NBA:

Washington Wizards defeat Atlanta Hawks 114-107: The Wizards and Hawks played a tight game until the third quarter when the Wizards pulled away. All five starters for the Wizards were in double figures, which was a common theme this year. The Wizards’ starters played more minutes than any starting unit in the NBA. Teams typically play their bench less minutes in the playoffs, which should be an advantage for the top-heavy Wizards. But they could get worn out if their bench doesn’t give them any help. John Wall was the star of the game with 32 points and 14 assists. The Hawks’ starters didn’t play well enough to give them a chance. Their bench outplayed the Wizards’ bench, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to make a big enough impact on the game. These two teams will play game two on Wednesday in Washington.

Golden State Warriors defeat Portland Trail Blazers 121-109: The Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Trail Blazers in game one at home. The game was incredibly close through three quarters because of the scoring output of the Trail Blazers’ backcourt. C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard combined for 75 of Portland’s 109 points, but that wasn’t enough to defeat the heavily favored Warriors.  Draymond Green was phenomenal on both ends of the floor. He had 19 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 blocks, and 3 steals. The Warriors have too much firepower for McCollum and Lillard to beat them singlehandedly. The Trail Blazers need other players to step up. If Jusuf Nurkic isn’t able to return during this series, the Blazers could be in serious trouble. Game two will be played on Wednesday in Golden State.

Chicago Bulls defeat Boston Celtics 106-102: The Chicago Bulls pulled off the upset on the road in game one of this series. The Bulls have the best player in the series in Jimmy Butler, who went off for thirty points. The Bulls also have two former champions in Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo who can provide valuable leadership. Bobby Portis was a major contributor off the bench with 19 points. Isaiah Thomas played a fantastic game just one day after the tragic death of his younger sister. Nobody knew if he would play going into the game, and nobody would’ve blamed him if he decided to sit the game out. Instead, he battle hard and led his team with 33 points. But the Celtics didn’t get enough of a contribution from the other starters. These two teams will play game two on Tuesday in Boston.

Houston Rockets defeat Oklahoma City Thunder 118-87: In the game that most NBA fans looked forward to more than any other playoff game, the Rockets dominated the Thunder in a game that wasn’t close after halftime. If this game was the deciding factor on who should win the MVP award (which it won’t be), James Harden would be walking away with the trophy. Russell Westbrook had a nice game with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists, but that isn’t up to the level he played at during the season. He also had 9 turnovers and was forcing up bad shots at times. James Harden scored a game-high 37 points, to go along with his 9 assists and 7 rebounds. His teammates also gave him more help than Westbrook’s teammates, which was a common theme throughout the season. Harden’s Rockets are a more talented team, which is why they are favored in this series. Russell Westbrook has to do everything for the Thunder if they want to win, which is something that he’s capable of doing at times. These teams will play game two on Wednesday in Houston.

Today in Sports: 4/16/17 Preview

NBA:

Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards: The Hawks and Wizards will meet in Washington for game one of this first round playoff series. The Hawks are one of the hottest teams in the NBA during the last few weeks of the season, which could give them confidence heading into this series. The Wizards struggled a bit during the regular season’s last month, but are the more talented team in this matchup. The Wizards played their starters more than any team in the league, which could lead to them being worn out during this postseason run. Their bench is an issue, but teams typically play their bench fewer minutes in the playoffs. They definitely have the talent advantage over the Hawks, but Atlanta has enough firepower to keep the series close. Game one will be crucial in both teams’ efforts to advance to the second round.

Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors: The Trail Blazers and Warriors will meet in Golden State for game one of this first round playoff series. The Trail Blazers are one of the hottest teams heading into the playoffs. They are led by the duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. This backcourt is as talented as any in the NBA. After the addition of center Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers started playing up to their potential. Nurkic suffered an injury and may miss the series, which could be detrimental to their chances of pulling off the upset over the heavily favored Warriors. Golden State didn’t win as many games as last season, but they are a much more talented team because of the addition of superstar Kevin Durant. Lillard predicted the Trail Blazers would win the series in six games, so he’ll need to help his team pull off the upset in game one if he wants to make his prediction come true.

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics: The Bulls and Celtics will meet in Boston for game one of this first round playoff series. The Celtics were able to take the number one seed after the Cleveland Cavaliers stopped trying to win during the last few games of the season. The Celtics have a lot of talent on both sides of the floor. Isaiah Thomas has been one of the best players in the league all season, and could take over the series if Chicago isn’t able to limit his impact. The Bulls are one of the most confusing teams in the league. They have the best player in this series in Jimmy Butler, and have playoff veterans in Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. The Bulls have the talent to beat the Celtics, but they’ve underachieved all season. This is an interesting 1-8 matchup, and it could be closer than most first round series that include the top seed.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets: The Thunder and Rockets will meet in Houston for game one of this first round playoff series. This is a dream matchup for all fans of basketball. Not only are Russell Westbrook and James Harden competing for the MVP, but they’re facing each other in the first round of the playoffs. These two MVP candidates were once teammates, but they weren’t even the best player on that team. The Thunder have been led by Russell Westbrook’s historic season. The Rockets are one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. Coach Mike D’Antoni brought his fast-paced style of basketball to Houston, and it has been run to perfection due to James Harden’s ability to adapt. He was a shooting guard before this season, but Harden has changed his game to become a point guard in D’Antoni’s system. These two teams are led by superstars, but Houston is the favorite because they have more talent around their superstar. This series will be must-see TV.

Today in Sports: 4/9/17 Review

The Masters:

Sergio!!!!!! Sergio Garcia finally got the monkey off his back and won a major for the first time in his career. Although it looked as though Sergio may have once again blown his chance when he missed an easy put to win on the 18th hole, he was able to keep his composure and win on the first playoff hole against Justin Rose. Sergio had back-to-back bogies on the 10th and 11th holes and hit a terrible shot to start the 12th hole before miraculously saving par. These three holes put him two shots behind Rose, but he was able to tie him heading into the last hole after Rose bogeyed on 17. Sergio missed an easy put on 18 that would have won him his first career major, but that didn’t end up haunting him. Garcia was able to birdie the first playoff hole to win his first major. Sergio Garcia will no longer have to deal with the label of being one of the world’s greatest golfers without a major.

 

NBA:

Atlanta Hawks defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 126-125 (OT): What a game! The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to struggle heading towards postseason play. They blew a 26 point 4th quarter lead in shocking fashion. Although there were a few questionable calls down the stretch that helped Atlanta send the game into overtime, the Cavaliers shouldn’t have let the game get that close in the first place. The Cavaliers are now tied with the Boston Celtics for the best record in the Eastern Conference with two games remaining. The Cavaliers still control their own destiny because they own the tiebreaker over Boston. The Hawks are still in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Oklahoma City Thunder defeat Denver Nuggets 106-105: Again, what a game! Russell Westbrook recorded his record breaking 42nd triple double of the season in dramatic fashion. Westbrook had 16 rebounds and 10 assists to go along with a game high 50 points. He broke the hearts of Nuggets fans by hitting a deep three at the buzzer to win the game. This loss knocked the Nuggets out of contention for the Western Conference’s last spot in the playoffs. The Portland Trail Blazers will be the eighth seed and will face the Golden State Warriors in the first round.

Today in Sports: 4/9/17 Preview

The Masters:

Sunday’s final round at The Masters should be must-see TV. Will this finally be the major that puts Sergio Garcia over the hump? He’s been one of the world’s best golfers for years but hasn’t been able to shake the major curse. Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth are hot on his heels after both posted back-to-back solid rounds. Sunday’s action should be full of high-pressure moments, and we’ll all be on the edge of our seats wondering who will crack under the pressure.

 

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks (NBATV): This Eastern Conference battle between the Cavaliers and Hawks has major playoff implications. The Cavaliers are currently in first place with a half game lead over the Boston Celtics. The Hawks are in fifth place with a half game lead over the sixth seeded Milwaukee Bucks. With both teams’ recent struggles, the Hawks and Cavaliers want to get some momentum heading into the postseason.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets: This game is extremely important for the Denver Nuggets. The Thunder already clinched the sixth seed in the Western Conference and will face the third seeded Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. Russell Westbrook is going for his record breaking 42nd triple-double this season against a Nuggets team that needs to win. The Nuggets are in ninth place in the Western Conference with three games left on their schedule. They are 1.5 games behind the eighth seeded Portland Trail Blazers. If the Nuggets lose this game, they can kiss their playoff dreams goodbye.