Today in Sports: 5/25/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Cavaliers in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals. With a 3-1 series lead, the Cavaliers have a chance of finishing the series and clinching their third straight trip to the NBA Finals. With star point guard Isaiah Thomas sidelined for the remainder of the postseason, the Cavaliers will be heavy favorites to win this game. If the Cavaliers do win the game, they’ll play the Warriors for the third straight year in the NBA Finals. This is a must-win game for the Celtics to keep their season alive.

NHL:

Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins host the Senators in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. There are no two words more exciting in sports than game seven. Although the Penguins are favorites to win the game, anything can happen in a game seven. This is what makes sports exciting. The winner of the game will face the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/23/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers host the Celtics in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals. After dominating the first two games in Boston, the Cavaliers returned home for game three as heavy favorites to complete their third straight series sweep. The Celtics ruled out star Isaiah Thomas for the rest of the season, so it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Cavaliers would easily win. However, the Celtics showed their resilience and defeated the Cavaliers on a game winning three-point shot by Avery Bradley. They were down by 21 points in the third quarter, but didn’t quit fighting. LeBron James had his worst playoff performance in years. He looked tentative the whole game. This should be a wake-up call for King James and company. They’ll be heavy favorites to win this game too, but cannot be complacent against the desperate Celtics. This is a pivotal game for both teams.

Today in Sports: 5/22/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 129-115: The Warriors completed their third consecutive series sweep to return to the NBA Finals for the third straight year. The Spurs weren’t the same team in the last 3.5 games without superstar Kawhi Leonard. Gregg Popovich is a genius, but he wasn’t able to come up with a game plan to defeat the Warriors without his star. LaMarcus Aldridge had another terrible performance, scoring just 8 points in 22 minutes. He’s been a major disappointment since joining San Antonio. Manu Ginobli scored 15 points in possibly the final game of his illustrious career. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant scored 36 points and 29 points, respectively. They’ve both been dominant throughout the playoffs. The Warriors will face the Cleveland Cavaliers or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/22/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs host the Warriors in game four of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are looking to sweep their third straight series. This will be Golden State’s third straight NBA Finals appearance. Kawhi Leonard is not expected to play, which is detrimental to San Antonio’s chances of extending the series. LaMarcus Aldridge will need to step up in Leonard’s absence, which is something that he’s been unable to do during the playoffs. The Warriors are heavy favorites to finish the sweep. This is a must-win game for the Spurs.

Today in Sports: 5/21/17 Review

NBA:

Boston Celtics defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 111-108: The Celtics shocked the Cavaliers in Cleveland to win their first game of the Eastern Conference Finals. They won the game without their All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas. Marcus Smart stepped up in his absence and scored a team-high 27 points on 7-10 shooting from beyond the three-point line. The Cavaliers had a 21 point lead in the third quarter before collapsing down the stretch. LeBron James had his worst playoff performance in years, scoring 11 points on 13 shots. Avery Bradley hit the game winning three-point shot with 0.1 seconds remaining. Celtics coach Brad Stevens drew up a great play to get Bradley open. The last two threes by Boston were made because of defensive miscues by J.R. Smith. He continuously makes boneheaded decisions and has lapses in judgment during key moments of games, especially on the defensive end of the floor. It’s shocking that Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue continues to keep Smith in the game in key moments. He shot the ball well, but has been a defensive liability throughout his career. The Cavaliers are still favored to win the series, but losing this game in the manner that they did seems like something a championship caliber team wouldn’t do. These two teams will play game four on Tuesday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 5/21/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers host the Celtics in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals. After two dominating performances in Boston, the Cavaliers return home to play in front of their home crowd. Boston’s star point guard Isaiah Thomas has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Boston’s chances of defeating the defending champions were already decimated when they got embarrassed in game two, but now it seems like a foregone conclusion that the Cavaliers will be playing in their third straight NBA Finals. This game will give the Celtics an opportunity to show what they’re made of. They’ll have to find a way to slow down LeBron James. He’s had ten straight fantastic games, and seems to be using the playoffs as an opportunity to remind the world that he’s the best player in the NBA. This is a must-win game for the Celtics.

Today in Sports: 5/20/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 120-108: The Warriors defeated the Spurs to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs were playing without their superstar Kawhi Leonard for the second consecutive game. They weren’t able to win the game, but they put forth an impressive effort without their leader. The Spurs were counting on LaMarcus Aldridge to bounce back from his pitiful game two performance. He led the Spurs with 18 points, but wasn’t effective enough to help lead San Antonio to victory. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were dominant, scoring 33 points and 21 points, respectively. The Warriors look poised to advance to their third straight NBA Finals. These two teams will play game four on Monday in San Antonio.

Today in Sports: 5/20/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs host the Warriors in game three of the Western Conference Finals. After losing the first two games, the Spurs need to win this game to keep their NBA Finals hopes alive. Kawhi Leonard will not play in this game, which seriously cripples the Spurs’ chances of defeating the heavily favored Warriors. The Spurs need LaMarcus Aldridge to step up in Leonard’s absence. Golden State hasn’t lost a game in the playoffs, and looks like a team on a mission to redeem themselves from last year’s collapse in the NBA Finals. In all likelihood, the Warriors are going to win and it won’t be close. Hopefully the Spurs can keep the game close, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Today in Sports: 5/19/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Boston Celtics 130-86: WOW! The Cavaliers are a team on a mission. This game was over at halftime. Actually, this game was over before either team arrived to the arena. LeBron James decided that they would win by a lot, so King James made it happen. He proved again that he’s the best player in the world and it’s not even close. The Cavaliers led 72-31 at halftime, which was the biggest halftime lead in NBA playoff history. This was embarrassing for the Celtics and boring for casual fans. We should skip the rest of the Conference Finals because we are all tired of these boring games. The Cavaliers are going to play the Warriors for the NBA championship, let’s just get it on right now. Unfortunately, these two teams will play game three on Sunday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 5/19/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Cavaliers in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals. After getting dismantled in game one, the Celtics need to rebound and even the series. They cannot afford to lose the first two games at home in this series. They were able to win their first round series after losing the first two games at home, but this Cavaliers team is a lot more talented than the Chicago Bulls. LeBron James has increased his intensity during the postseason. He is showing everyone that he’s still the best player in the world. He’s been dominant in all nine games this postseason. Boston will need to find a way to limit his impact. This is a must-win game for the Celtics.

Today in Sports: 5/18/17 Review

NHL:

Anaheim Ducks defeat Nashville Predators 3-2 (OT): The Ducks defeated the Predators in Nashville to even the series at two games apiece. This was a crucial win for the Ducks to help keep alive their chances of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. The Ducks took a 2-0 lead with goals in each of the first two periods. The Predators responded by scoring two goals late in the third period. The tying goal was scored with less than a minute remaining. The Ducks were able to respond in overtime by scoring the game winning goal. This game was extremely exciting, which has been a common theme during the playoffs. These two teams will play game five on Saturday in Anaheim.

Today in Sports: 5/18/17 Preview

NHL:

Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators: The Predators host the Ducks in game four of the Western Conference Finals. The Predators have a chance of taking a commanding 3-1 series lead. After losing the opening game in this series, the Ducks were able to even the series at one game apiece. The Ducks lost the third game of the series on Tuesday, and will need to bounce back once again and even the series if they want to avoid three consecutive must-win games. This isn’t a must-win game for the Ducks, but losing this game would seriously cripple their chances of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/17/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Boston Celtics 117-104: The Cavaliers dominated the Celtics in Boston to take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavaliers had this game won by halftime. The Celtics were outscored by eleven points in each of the first two quarters. LeBron James and Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with 38 points and 32 points, respectively. Isaiah Thomas struggled in this game, scoring 17 points on 7-19 shooting from the field. Avery Bradley scored 21 points and was gritty on defense, but didn’t get enough help from his teammates to help get the Celtics back in the game after a horrible first quarter. The Cavaliers didn’t care about getting the number one seed. After this game, it seems like they made the right decision to rest their starters during the final games of the regular season. The Cavaliers now have the home-court advantage in this series. The Celtics cannot afford to lose game two. These two teams will play game two on Friday in Boston.

Today in Sports: 5/17/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Cavaliers in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. After conceding the number one seed by resting their starters in the final games of the regular season, the Cavaliers have to go on the road to Boston to start this series. The Cavaliers cared more about resting their starters than owning home-court advantage over the Celtics. The last time these two teams played in Boston, the Cavaliers won in convincing fashion. The Cavaliers haven’t lost a game yet in the playoffs and are heavy favorites to win the series, but they’re facing their toughest challenge yet this season. The Celtics have been called the worst number one seed in NBA history by many NBA experts. They will definitely use this as motivation. The Celtics are one of the deepest teams in the NBA, and have multiple wing defenders that they can put on LeBron James. If they want to win this series, they’ll have to find a way to limit King James’ impact. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game can set the tone for the rest of the series.

Today in Sports: 5/16/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 136-100: The Warriors dominated the Spurs to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. The Spurs have looked shell shocked after their superstar Kawhi Leonard re-injured his ankle in the first game of the series. Jonathon Simmons was the only player that stepped up for the Spurs, leading the team with 22 points. LaMarcus Aldridge only scored 8 points. He’s been a major disappointment since joining the Spurs. He looked timid all game. He’s the best player on the Spurs now that Kawhi Leonard is injured. His lackluster performances this postseason are inexcusable. The Warriors dominated the game from the start. The game was over before halftime. The Spurs will need to step up their intensity in game three if they want to keep their season alive. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in San Antonio.

Draft Lottery:

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Los Angeles Lakers
  3. Philadelphia 76ers
  4. Phoenix Suns
  5. Sacramento Kings
  6. Orlando Magic
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves
  8. New York Knicks
  9. Dallas Mavericks
  10. Sacramento Kings
  11. Charlotte Hornets
  12. Detroit Pistons
  13. Denver Nuggets
  14. Miami Heat

Today in Sports: 5/16/17 Preview

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Spurs in game two of the Western Conference Finals. After a controversial game one, the Warriors look to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. The Spurs will be playing without superstar Kawhi Leonard because of an ankle injury that he re-aggravated in game one. Zaza Pachulia injured Leonard on a questionable play that many people (including myself) think was dirty and intentional. Given Pachulia’s history, he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. The Warriors were being dominated before Leonard’s injury. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were fantastic in game one, and will have a better chance of dominating again without Leonard’s presence on defense. This should be an easy win for the Warriors.

Draft Lottery: The NBA Draft Lottery will determine the draft order for the 2017 NBA Draft. The Miles Files will have all of your NBA Draft needs covered.

Today in Sports: 5/15/17 Review

NBA:

Boston Celtics defeat Washington Wizards 115-105: The Celtics eliminated the Wizards in game seven to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. John Wall had his worst game of the series when it mattered most, but the Wizards would’ve been swept without him. Bradley Beal put up 38 points on 12-22 shooting from the field. He had a great game, but wasn’t enough to overcome Isaiah Thomas and Kelly Olynyk. Thomas was his usual self, leading the Celtics with 29 points. Olynyk had the game of his life in the most important game of his life. He scored 26 points on 10-14 shooting. The Celtics’ bench combined for 48 points, which was the deciding factor in the game. The Wizards’ bench has been terrible all season. Their starters played more minutes than any starting unit during the regular season because of their horrible bench. Washington’s bench only scored five points in the most important game of their season. They’ll need to improve their bench next season. The Celtics will face the Cavaliers in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 5/15/17 Preview

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Wizards in game seven of this second round series. The home team has won the first six games of this series. Although the Celtics are favored to win this game, anything can happen in game seven. The Wizards’ bench has struggled throughout the playoffs, especially in the three games in Boston. John Wall has been the best player in the series, but he cannot win this game by himself. The Wizards need to keep the game close when their second unit is on the floor. The Celtics’ backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley has played at a high level in this series. If they are able to outplay the Wizards’ backcourt, they will win the series. The winner of this game will face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 5/14/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 113-111: The Warriors defeated the Spurs in game one of the Western Conference Finals. Down by more than twenty points, the Warriors outscored the Spurs by 22 points in the second half to steal the game from the San Antonio. Kawhi Leonard re-injured his ankle in the third quarter when Zaza Pachulia contested his jump shot. With the way that Leonard was dominating, it seems curious that Pachulia’s foot ended up under Leonard’s foot. Although Pachulia and Leonard both claim it was an accident, the move by Pachulia didn’t seem natural or accidental. The Warriors dominated the Spurs once Leonard was ruled out for the remainder of the game. Hopefully Leonard will be able to return for game two. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant scored 40 points and 34 points, respectively. The Spurs will need to limit their impact in the series if they want to pull off the upset. These two teams will play game two on Tuesday in Oakland.

Today in Sports: 5/14/17 Preview

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Spurs in game one of the Western Conference Finals. After missing game six of their last series, Kawhi Leonard should be healthy enough to play in this game without any limitations. The Warriors swept their first two series, and are heavy favorites to advance to the NBA Finals. The Spurs have Gregg Popovich, arguably the best coach in NBA history. Although they have the coaching advantage, the Warriors have the personnel advantage. If the Spurs are going to win this series, they’ll need to steal a few games in Oakland. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game can set the tone for the rest of the series.

Today in Sports: 5/13/17 Review

NHL:

Ottawa Senators defeat Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 (OT): The Senators stole game one against the Penguins to take the lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Senators’ Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored late in the first period to take a 1-0 lead. Evgeni Malkin scored with a few minutes remaining in the third period to even the score. In overtime, Bobby Ryan sent Pittsburgh fans home with a bitter taste in their mouths by scoring the game winning goal. He was able to race down the ice after a steal and get the puck past Mar-Andre Fleury. The Senators and Penguins will play game two on Monday in Pittsburgh.

Today in Sports: 5/13/17 Preview

NHL:

Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins will host the Senators in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games in the first round of the playoffs. In the second round, the Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals in seven games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Senators defeated the Boston Bruins in six games in the first round of the playoffs. Ottawa needed six games in the second round to defeat the New York Rangers. This should be a competitive series between two championship contenders.

Today in Sports: 5/12/17 Review

NBA:

Washington Wizards defeat Boston Celtics 92-91: The Wizards won game six at home to force a game seven against the Celtics in Boston. John Wall hit a clutch three-point shot with three seconds remaining to win the game. Wall has never been a great jump shooter, but he confidently made the biggest shot of his life to keep Washington’s season alive. Wall struggled in the first quarter, but ended up with 26 points and 8 assists. Bradley Beal scored a game-high 33 points. Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley both scored 27 points. Bradley had a much more efficient night shooting the basketball, and played at a high level on the defensive end of the floor. He was the Celtics’ best player all game. The last minute of the game was back and forth with both teams hitting clutch shots. Most playoff games have been blowouts this postseason, so it was nice to see a competitive game come down to the last shot. Hopefully game seven is as exciting as game six was. These two teams will play game seven on Monday in Boston.

Today in Sports: 5/12/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards: The Wizards look to keep their season alive in this must-win home game. The home team has won the first five games of this series, which is a trend that the Wizards must continue if they want to avoid being eliminated from the playoffs. John Wall has been the best player in this series. He had his first poor playoff performance in game five, but has been dominant in every playoff home game. Wall will likely play at a high level in game six, but will need help from his teammates to force a game seven. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter are the second and third best players on the Wizards. They’ve been inconsistent throughout the playoffs. When they have a good game, the Wizards are hard to beat. With Washington’s terrible bench consistently struggling, the starters will need to play at a high level. Isaiah Thomas has been the star for the Celtics this postseason. Thomas doesn’t have a sidekick that he can consistently depend on, but he has multiple role players that have stepped up at key moments throughout the playoffs. Avery Bradley played like a superstar in game five. Al Horford and Jae Crowder have played like stars during key moments of games. Boston’s depth has been a major key to their success. Thomas is the engine that keeps them going, but he has a lot more help than John Wall does. Although Boston will be favorites in game seven if Washington wins this game, the Celtics cannot get complacent. Both teams will be fighting for their playoff lives in this pivotal game six.

Today in Sports: 5/11/17 Review

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs defeat Houston Rockets 114-75: What an embarrassing way to end your season! The Houston Rockets got humiliated at home by the Spurs. With Tony Parker out for the season and superstar Kawhi Leonard sidelined with an ankle injury, the Rockets should’ve won this game easily. LaMarcus Aldridge looked like the star that San Antonio thought he’d be when they signed him. He’s struggled with consistency since joining the Spurs, but he scored 34 points and had 12 rebounds in this blowout victory. Dejounte Murray was the best point guard in the game. His stat line of 11 points, 10 rebounds, 5assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 24 minutes was more impressive than MVP candidate James Harden’s stat line. Harden was horrible all game. I can excuse his bad performance if he seemed like he was trying, but he looked defeated before the game started. He only shot the ball twice in the first half. You’re supposed to be a superstar. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON! Harden finished with 10 points on 2-11 shooting and reverted back to playing pathetic defense. He should be embarrassed by this performance. This choke job was worse than his 2012 NBA Finals appearance. The Spurs will face the Golden State Warriors in game one of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday in Oakland.

Today in Sports: 5/11/17 Preview

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets: The Rockets look to keep their season alive at home in a must-win game against the Spurs. Facing a 3-2 series deficit, the Rockets need to win the last two games of the series to advance to the Western Conference Finals to face the Golden State Warriors. In overtime of game five, James Harden single-handedly cost the Rockets the game by forcing up terrible shots and having costly turnovers. Kawhi Leonard was too injured to play in overtime, and the Rockets still lost the game. Harden will have to play like an MVP candidate in the next two games. Kawhi Leonard is questionable for game six. He said that he would play after game five ended, but coach Popovich isn’t as sure. If Leonard isn’t able to play, the Rockets shouldn’t have any issues forcing a game seven.

Today in Sports: 5/10/17 Review

NBA:

Boston Celtics defeat Washington Wizards 123-101: The Celtics defeated the Wizards at home to take a commanding 3-2 series lead. Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 29 points on 12-19 shooting from the field. Al Horford scored 19 points and both Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder scored 18 points. The Celtics defeated the Wizards in the first two games in the series largely due to their bench, but this game was won by their starters. John Wall scored 21 points and only had 4 assists. This was by far his worst game of the series. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter had decent games, but they didn’t play well enough to help pull off the upset. The Wizards have struggled in Boston, but will now have to win game seven on the road if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. But they’ll have to win game six at home to force a game seven. These two teams will play game six on Friday in Washington.

Today in Sports: 5/10/17 Preview

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Wizards in a pivotal game five. With the home team winning the first four games, the Celtics are favorites to win game five in Boston. But John Wall has been the best player in this series. In the two games that Washington won in this series, the other starters have helped Wall lead the Wizards to victory. The key to this game will be the other four starters on the Wizards. The Celtics are one of the best defensive teams in the league. They don’t have an answer for John Wall, but they do have the talent to slow down Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat. The Wizards’ bench has been terrible all season, so it’ll be up to the starters to win this game. Isaiah Thomas has been fantastic throughout the playoffs. The Celtics has one of the deepest benches in the league that should be able to feast on Washington’s putrid bench. Washington’s starters have outplayed Boston’s starters in this series, but they haven’t always been able to overcome the runs Boston goes on when both team’s second units are on the floor. With these contrasting styles of play, it’ll be interesting to see which team will step up and play at a higher level than usual. With the series tied at two games apiece, the winner of this game will be overwhelming favorites to head to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Today in Sports: 5/9/17 Review

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs defeat Houston Rockets 110-107 (OT): In the best game of the series, the Spurs defeated the Rockets in overtime to take a commanding 3-2 series lead. With Tony Parker sidelined for the remainder of the postseason, Patty Mills stepped up and scored 20 points in 43 minutes in his absence. Danny Green and LaMarcus Aldridge both played their best games of the series. Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points, but was too injured to play in overtime. With Leonard sidelined in overtime, the Rockets had a phenomenal opportunity to steal the game and take a 3-2 series lead back home to Houston. Although James Harden scored 33 points, he choked in overtime. He had multiple costly turnovers and was bricking shots left and right. The Rockets play their best ball when they are pushing the pace. But for some reason, Harden dribbled the ball 30 feet away from the hoop until there were five seconds left in the shot clock on multiple overtime possessions. He’d then try and make a quick move before launching up a contested three point shot. The Rockets deserved to lose the game because of their pathetic overtime offense. They’ll have to regroup and win the next two games if they want to advance to the Western Conference Finals. These two teams will play game six on Thursday in Houston.

Today in Sports: 5/9/17 Preview

NBA:

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs: The Rockets and Spurs will play a pivotal game five in San Antonio. With the series tied at two games apiece, the winner of this game will be overwhelming favorites to advance to the Western Conference Finals to face the Golden State Warriors. Although the Spurs are the home team, the Rockets proved in game one that they can win on the road. With Tony Parker out for the remainder of the postseason, the Rockets have a good chance of pulling off another road victory. James Harden hasn’t been shooting as consistently as he did during the regular season. Kawhi Leonard has done a fantastic job on the defensive end making Harden take difficult and contested shots. The Rockets typically win when they are making three pointers. The Spurs will need to limit the amount of uncontested three point shots Houston takes if they want to hold serve at home.

Today in Sports: 5/8/17 Review

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 121-95:  The Warriors completed a four game sweep of the Jazz to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The Jazz were playing without point guard George Hill for the third straight game. Shelvin Mack scored 18 points in his absence, but wasn’t able to provide the leadership that Hill does when he’s on the floor. Gordon Hayward scored 25 points in potentially his final game as a member of the Jazz. Although he had a decent game offensively, his team was outscored by 32 points with him on the floor. Hayward is set to become a free agent. Getting swept by the Warriors doesn’t help Utah’s chances of signing him to a long-term contract. Draymond Green had another fantastic game on both ends of the floor. He registered a triple-double and only had one turnover. The “splash bros” backcourt of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson scored 30 points and 21 points, respectively. If the Warriors’ starters continue playing at a high level, they’ll likely coast to the championship. The Warriors will face the San Antonio Spurs or Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/8/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz: The Warriors look to sweep the Jazz in Utah. The Jazz have dealt with injuries all season, and have missed their point guard George Hill in the last two games. He may return for this game, but it’s too late to make much of a difference. No team has ever won a seven game series after losing the first three games. It’s hard to imagine that the Jazz will pull off this feat against the heavily favored Warriors. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert have played at a high level during this series, but they haven’t gotten enough help from the Jazz’s role players to win any of the first three games. The Warriors haven’t been consistent in this series, but they have enough stars on their team to overcome these inconsistencies. This is a must-win game for the Jazz if they want to keep their season alive.

Today in Sports: 5/7/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Toronto Raptors 109-102: The Cavaliers completed a four game sweep of the Raptors to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Kyle Lowry missed the game due to an ankle sprain. His backcourt mate DeMar DeRozan was dominant in his absence. DeRozan, Serge Ibaka, and Corey Joseph all scored at least twenty points. P.J. Tucker scored 14 points and competed at a high level on the defensive end of the floor against LeBron James. The starters played well enough to win, but they didn’t get enough help from their bench. The Raptors’ bench scored a combined 15 points. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving scored 35 points and 27 points, respectively. Kevin Love only scored 5 points, but the Cavaliers didn’t need him to contribute in this game. They were the dominant team all series. Cleveland has won their first eight playoff games. They look poised to return to the NBA Finals, but have one more team standing in their way. The Cavaliers will either play the Boston Celtics or Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Washington Wizards defeat Boston Celtics 121-102: The Wizards held serve at home against the Celtics to tie the series at two games apiece. John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter led the way with 27 points, 29 points, and 18 points, respectively. If they all play well, the Wizards are nearly impossible to beat. John Wall has been fantastic all postseason. He’s been scoring at will and gets double-digit assists on a regular basis. Markieff Morris battled through an ankle sprain to score 16 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. The Wizards’ bench struggled again, but their starters dominated the Celtics’ starters. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 19 points. The rest of the starters scored eleven points or fewer. Boston’s bench played well, but not well enough to overcome the starters’ lackluster performance. These two teams will play game five on Wednesday in Boston.

Houston Rockets defeat San Antonio Spurs 125-104: The Rockets dominated the Spurs to even the series at two games apiece. After a poor performance in game three, the Rockets rebounded by shooting 44.2 percent from three point range. Since they shoot so many three point shots, the outcome of their games usually depends on how well they shoot. The Rockets did a great job of penetrating the Spurs’ defense and kicking the ball out to open shooters. This was their recipe for success in game one, but they got away from this strategy in games two and three. James Harden led the Rockets with 28 points and did a fantastic job of getting his teammates involved.  The Spurs struggled without Tony Parker, even though his backups did a solid job replacing him in this game. They could’ve used his veteran leadership in the second half when they were struggling. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 16 points. The Spurs needed a greater contribution from their two best players. These two teams will play game five on Tuesday in San Antonio.

Today in Sports: 5/7/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors: The Cavaliers look to sweep the Raptors in Toronto. Raptors’ All-Star Kyle Lowry will miss this game with a left ankle sprain. Without Lowry, DeMar DeRozan will have to pick up the slack. He’s been inconsistent throughout these playoffs. The Raptors traded for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline to try and knock off Cleveland in the playoffs. So far this plan has backfired. Ibaka and Tucker are both free agents after the season, so they may have wasted their one opportunity. LeBron James has played at an extremely high level in all seven postseason games. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have been inconsistent, but have shown flashes of brilliance. They’ll need to be more consistent if they want to repeat as NBA champions. This is a must-win game for Toronto, but even they know the series is over.

Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards: The Wizards will attempt to hold serve at home and even the series at two games apiece. After losing the first two games in Boston, the Wizards dominated the Celtics in game three to keep their chances of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals alive. They cannot afford to lose game four at home. Although it’s possible to win a series after falling behind 3-1 (Warriors blew a 3-1 lead!), the Wizards are not talented enough to pull off that feat. John Wall has been fantastic throughout the playoffs, and will need another fantastic performance to help even the series. Wall’s teammates have been inconsistent during the playoffs. They cannot afford another poor performance. Isaiah Thomas has elevated his game in these playoffs, which has been an amazing feat because of the tragic loss of his sister before game one of their first round series. Thomas and the Celtics have an opportunity to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. This is the most important game for the Wizards this season.

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets: The Rockets look to rebound after a game three loss at home to even the series at two games apiece. After losing Tony Parker in game two, the Spurs pulled off a shocking upset in game three on the road. The Rockets have struggled from behind the three point line in the last two games. They’ll have to make these open shots if they want to advance to the Western Conference Finals. After game one, coach Gregg Popovich decided to put Kawhi Leonard on James Harden. Leonard has done a fantastic job of limiting Harden’s impact. Harden has struggled with his shot in the last two games, but he’s had a tough time finding open looks. He’s getting to the hoop but is having trouble finishing over the Spurs’ bigs. Harden will need to do a better job of putting the ball in the hoop when he gets near the basket. His teammates will have to help him by knocking down open threes. The winner of this game will be favorites to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/6/17 Review

Horse Racing – The Kentucky Derby:

Always Dreaming was the winner of the 143rd Kentucky Derby. This is the fifth straight year that the favorite has won the Kentucky Derby. The results from the Derby are as follows:

  1. Always Dreaming
  2. Lookin At Lee
  3. Battle of Midway
  4. Classic Empire
  5. Practical Joke
  6. Tapwrit
  7. Gunnevera
  8. McCracken
  9. Gormley
  10. Irish War Cry
  11. Hence
  12. Untrapped
  13. Girvin
  14. Patch
  15. J Boys Echo
  16. Sonneteer
  17. Fast and Accurate
  18. Irap
  19. State of Honor
  20. Thunder Snow

 

NBA:

Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 102-91: The Warriors took a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Jazz in Utah. Kevin Durant was the most dominant player on the floor. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson struggled all game, so Durant picked up the slack and led the Warriors to victory. Steph Curry scored 23 points, but he had an off-night shooting the ball. He shot 6-20 from the field and 3-11 from behind the three point line. The Jazz really missed George Hill in this game. They kept the game close until the fourth quarter, but Durant and Curry were too much to overcome. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert scored 29 points and 21 points, respectively, but that wasn’t enough to overcome Durant’s performance. The Jazz’s bench only scored 10 points in this game. Utah will try to become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit. These two teams will play game four on Monday in Utah.

Today in Sports: 5/6/17 Preview

Horse Racing – The Kentucky Derby:

The most exciting two minutes in sports will be held at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby has been run every year since 1875. It’s the first leg of the American Triple Crown. The Miles Files will have all of the Kentucky Derby analysis that you’ll ever want!

 

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz: The Jazz host the Warriors in a must-win game for Utah. Although they are at home, they’ll be underdogs against the NBA’s best team. The Jazz had flashes of brilliance in the first two games of the series, but they weren’t able to limit Golden State’s runs. There are multiple times in every game that the Warriors go on crazy runs full of three pointers and fast break dunks. Their high-octane offense is hard to stop, so it’ll be a challenge for Utah to slow them down. George Hill missed game two and should be returning for game three. They don’t have any chance of winning this game without him. The Warriors haven’t lost a game this postseason, so Utah will need multiple players to step up. Gordon Hayward is extremely talented, but he cannot win this game by himself. If the Warriors win this game, they’ll have a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Jazz need to play their best game of the season if they want to keep their championship aspirations alive.

Today in Sports: 5/5/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Toronto Raptors 115-94: The Cavaliers took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Raptors. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers had a two point lead. Cleveland outscored Toronto 36-17 in the fourth quarter to essentially end the series. Although Toronto isn’t eliminated yet, they would have to become the first team in NBA history to win a playoff series after losing the first three games if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto added P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka at the trade deadline in an attempt to knock off Cleveland. With both players becoming free agents after the season, it seems like these trades will end up being a waste. Kyle Lowry didn’t play due to an injury, but his “trash bro” backcourt mate DeMar DeRozan picked up the slack by scoring 37 points. But he didn’t get enough help from his teammates to overcome LeBron James’ fantastic performance. LeBron has increased his level of play in the playoffs on both ends of the floor. He scored 35 points on 16 shots and played fantastic defense throughout the game. These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Toronto.

San Antonio Spurs defeat Houston Rockets 103-92: Without the services of Tony Parker, the Spurs were able to pull off the road upset of the Rockets in Houston. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge both scored 26 points. Rookie point guard Dejounte Murray started in Parker’s place, scoring only two points and looking lost at times. Although he didn’t always seem to know what he was doing, his team outscored Houston by 11 points when he was on the floor. He gained valuable experience and played at a high enough level to help his team win. James Harden struggled in the first half, but was able to rebound in the second half and help keep the game close. He finished with 43 points but his team was outscored by 14 points when he was on the floor. Harden didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates. Houston’s bench scored 10 points, which isn’t nearly enough to help win the game. They’ll have to play better in game four if they want to even the series at two games apiece. These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Houston.

Today in Sports: 5/5/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors: The Cavaliers look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in Toronto against the Raptors. This is a must-win game for the Raptors, not only to keep their season alive but to validate the moves they made at the trade deadline. They traded for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker to help them defeat the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Both of these players are free agents after the season, so it’ll seem like a waste if they don’t give the Cavaliers a challenge. The “trash bros” backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan need to play at a high level. They’ve been inconsistent throughout the playoffs, which has been their Achilles heel. LeBron James has been fantastic all postseason on both ends of the floor. The Raptors will need to find a way to limit his impact if they want to win their first game in this series.

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets: Both the Rockets and Spurs are trying to take a 2-1 series lead in Houston. After losing the home-court advantage and point guard Tony Parker to a season-ending injury, the Spurs are facing adversity that they haven’t faced all season. They have veterans on their roster with championship experience, but that may not be enough to beat the Rockets. After dominating the Spurs from the three point line in game one, the Rockets were missing three point shots at a high rate in game two. The outcome of this game will depend on Houston’s ability to make three point shots. James Harden was fantastic in game one but struggled in game two. Kawhi Leonard struggled in game one but was fantastic in game two. The superstar that plays at a higher level in game three will likely lead his team to victory. This is a pivotal game for both teams.

Today in Sports: 5/4/17 Review

NBA:

Washington Wizards defeat Boston Celtics 116-89: The Wizards defeated the Celtics in a must-win home game to win their first game of this series. After losing the first two games in Boston, the Wizards needed to fight back (I see you Kelly Oubre) against the heavily favored Celtics. All five Wizards starters scored in double figures, led by John Wall’s 24 points. The Wizards’ starters needed some help from their bench, and Bojan Bogdanovic stepped up to the challenge. He scored 19 points on 4-7 shooting from behind the three point line. Isaiah Thomas struggled all game after scoring 53 points in game two. Thomas scored just 13 points on 8 shots. He’ll have to put up more shots in game four if they want to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Washington will need another strong performance to even the series at two games apiece. These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Washington.

Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 115-104: The Warriors defeated the George Hill-less Jazz to take a 2-0 series lead. Draymond Green played another fantastic game, scoring 21 points to go along with his 7 rebounds, six assists, four steals, and stellar defensive effort. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson all played at a high level, but none of them dominated on both ends of the floor like Green. Gordon Hayward bounced back from a disappointing game one to score 33 points on 11-21 shooting from the field. Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 16 rebounds to go along with his stellar defensive play. Utah missed their floor general George Hill in this game, and will need him going forward if they are going to pull off this monumental upset. After a terrible first quarter, the Jazz outscored the Warriors by seven points in the final three quarters. They showed that they can play with the Warriors if they limit their fast break offense. But that’s much easier said than done. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in Utah.

Today in Sports: 5/4/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards: The Celtics look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Wizards. Since no NBA team has ever won a seven game series after losing the first three games, this is a must-win game for the Wizards. John Wall has been fantastic in the first two games, but he hasn’t gotten much help. He’ll need his backcourt mate Bradley Beal to be more consistent for the rest of this series if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Wizards have one of the worst benches in the NBA, so they’ll have to play above their talent level to defeat the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas has been fantastic all postseason, which has been extremely impressive to watch due to the difficult circumstances affecting his personal life. Thomas has gotten help from him teammates in ways that John Wall hasn’t, which is why the Celtics have a 2-0 series lead. The Wizards need to defend their home court to keep their chances alive of advancing the Eastern Conference Finals.

Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Jazz. Both teams had poor performances in game one, but the Warriors still won the game comfortably. The only chance that the Jazz have of winning against this stacked Warriors team is by playing at a high level during an off night for Golden State. If both teams play at a high level, the Warriors will win convincingly. If both teams struggle, the Warriors will win convincingly. The Jazz have the personnel to give the Warriors fits, but cannot win if Gordon Hayward has another poor performance. George Hill is arguably their most underrated player, and he won’t play because of a toe injury. This is a huge blow to the Jazz. They have enough problems trying to beat Golden State when healthy, so losing a key starter will make this a nearly impossible task. If they are able to even the series without Hill, they should be confident going into game three. If Utah struggles again, Golden State might put the game away in the first half.

Today in Sports: 5/3/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Toronto Raptors 125-103: The Cavaliers held serve at home to take a 2-0 series lead over the Raptors. Toronto’s “trash bros” backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan haven’t played up to their potential so far this postseason. They’ve made a habit of underachieving in the playoffs, which happened again in this game. Although Lowry scored 20 points on 7-12 shooting from the field, his Raptors were outscored by 22 points when he was on the floor. DeRozan had a horrible performance all game. He scored five points on 2-11 shooting and was a major defensive liability. If the Raptors are going to win the series, they’ll need dominating performances in every game from their backcourt. LeBron James was the best player on the floor in this game (and every game), scoring 39 points on 14 shots. He’s increased his defensive effort in the postseason, which has helped the Cavaliers win all six of their postseason games. He’ll have to continue this dominating level of play if they are going to repeat as NBA champions. These two teams will play game three on Friday in Toronto.

San Antonio Spurs defeat Houston Rockets 121-96:   The Spurs bounced back from a humiliating defeat in game one to dominate the Rockets in the second game of this series. This game proves that the NBA is a make or miss league. In game one, Houston was knocking down threes at an extremely high rate. In game two, Houston was missing the same three point shots that they were making in the first game. James Harden dominated in game one, but struggled in this game by scoring 13 points on 3-17 shooting from the field. Kawhi Leonard struggled in game one, but was dominant in game two on both ends of the floor. He scored a game-high 34 points and was a big reason for James Harden’s offensive woes. The Spurs lost point guard Tony Parker to a devastating quadriceps injury. He’ll need surgery and will miss the remainder of the postseason. Although the Rockets lost this game, they own the home-court advantage in this series after winning game one in San Antonio. These two teams will play game three on Friday in Houston.

Today in Sports: 5/3/17 Preview

NBA:

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Raptors. Toronto’s trade deadline additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker were a direct response to the Cavaliers’ dominance in the Eastern Conference. To defeat the best, you need the personnel to defeat the best. Toronto was missing a rim protector and wing defender, and was able to add both in lopsided trades at the trade deadline. These two additions will not win the series for Toronto, but they can help them get over the hump if Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan play up to their potential. The “trash bros” backcourt often struggle in the playoffs, but cannot afford to take a single game off in this series if they are going to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron James has been dominant in all five games this postseason, but needs his teammates to pick up the intensity on defense. The Cavaliers have enough offensive firepower to run through the Eastern Conference, but they’ve struggled to defend all season. Toronto will need to exploit their defensive lapses if they want to even the series at one game apiece. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but the winner will have the home-court advantage in this series.

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs:  The Spurs look to rebound against the Rockets after an embarrassing defeat in the first game of this series. The Spurs were punched in the mouth early, and didn’t have the heart to respond. Their defensive effort was poor, and they seemed to give up in the second quarter. Gregg Popovich is one of the best coaches in NBA history, and he won’t let his team get away with another lethargic performance. The Rockets were moving the ball and finding open shooters all game, which is the way they need to play to defeat the Spurs. If their shots are falling, they’re nearly impossible to beat. San Antonio has the experience advantage, but they don’t have the personnel to matchup with the Rockets’ pick-and-roll action. Popovich will need to make adjustments including benching Pau Gasol and David Lee when they’re getting exposed defensively. The Spurs cannot afford to lose the first two games of this series in front of their home crowd.

Today in Sports: 5/2/17 Review

NBA:

Boston Celtics defeat Washington Wizards 129-119 (OT): The Celtics defeated the Wizards in one of the most exciting playoff games in recent memory to take a 2-0 series lead. This was the battle of the point guards, in which Isaiah Thomas and John Wall combined for 93 points. All five Wizards starters scored in double figures, which was impressive because Markieff Morris was playing with a bad ankle sprain. The Wizards were worried that he wouldn’t be able to play. Otto Porter and Bradley Beal scored 13 points and 14 points, respectively. But Wall needed more help from Porter and Bradley. John Wall scored 40 points and had 13 assists, but seemed to tire towards the end of the fourth quarter and overtime. Isaiah Thomas single-handedly led his team to victory by scoring a game-high 53 points. He played his best basketball when his team needed him most – in the fourth quarter and overtime. Thomas didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates, but they did just enough to win the game. These two teams will play game three on Thursday in Washington.

Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 106-94:  The Warriors won the first game of this series at home against the Jazz in a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggests. Neither team played a great game, but the Warriors did enough to maintain a double-digit lead throughout most of the second half. George Hill and Gordon Hayward both struggled with their jump shot. They combined to score 19 points on 7-24 shooting from the field. Rudy Gobert scored a team-high 13 points, which isn’t nearly enough to challenge the heavily favored Warriors. Steph Curry scored a game-high 22 points, but could’ve scored a lot more if the game was close. The Warriors spread out their minutes and points because they had a comfortable lead for the majority of the game. Draymond Green was the best player in the game, dominating on both ends of the floor. These two teams will play game two on Thursday in Oakland.

Today in Sports: 5/2/17 Preview

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Wizards will look to rebound after losing game one of this series in Boston. After falling behind 16-0, the Celtics were unstoppable offensively in the final three quarters. Both teams have defensive stoppers on their roster, but nobody decided to play defense in the first game. Both teams will try to make adjustments to their defensive strategies, and the team that makes the better adjustments should win game two. Isaiah Thomas was unstoppable for the Celtics, so the Wizards will need to come up with a game plan to limit his impact. Thomas is undersized, so their plan should include being physical with him. The Wizards have one of the best starting units in the NBA, but they’re a very top-heavy team. They’ll need to get more contributions from their bench if they want to pull off this upset. Markieff Morris sprained his ankle in the first game, and may not be able to play in game two. If he does play, it’s safe to assume that his mobility will be limited. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game will determine which team has the home-court advantage in this series.

Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors: The Jazz and Warriors begin their second round playoff series in Oakland. After sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, the Warriors had time to rest heading into this series. Coach Steve Kerr is still sidelined indefinitely because of complications from his back surgery, but Mike Brown has done a stellar job in his absence. Superstar Kevin Durant was injured in their first round series, but he should be fully recovered by now. The Jazz needed seven games to eliminate the Clippers in their first round series. They have dealt with injuries all season, and unfortunately those injury problems have continued in the playoffs. Rudy Gobert missed multiple games with a knee injury, and still seems a bit limited in his movements. Derrick Favors stepped up admirably in his absence, but he’s dealing with nagging injuries too. Even if the Jazz are at full strength, they’ll be heavy underdogs in this series.

Today in Sports: 5/1/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Toronto Raptors 116-105:  In a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggests, the Cavaliers defeated the Raptors at home to take a 1-0 series lead. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love combined to score 77 of Cleveland’s 116 points. Their starters dominated the Raptors’ starters, and the game wouldn’t have been this close if it wasn’t for the Raptors’ bench flourishing in garbage time. The “trash bros” backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined to score 49 points, but were dominated on the defensive end of the floor. Jonas Valanciunas continues to struggle in the playoffs. He’s had a size advantage in every playoff game (including their first round series with the Milwaukee Bucks), but hasn’t been able to dominate like a player of his size and caliber should. These two teams will play game two on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Houston Rockets defeat San Antonio Spurs 126-99: Wow! The Rockets dominated the Spurs to take a 1-0 series lead. Although the Spurs are the higher seeded team, many experts picked the Rockets to win this series. But nobody saw this beatdown coming. The Spurs were punched in the mouth early, and looked completely lethargic on the defensive end of the floor. They were shell-shocked, but that is no excuse for their putrid performance. The Rockets were 22-50 from three (44%), which wasn’t too surprising because of the open looks they were getting. James Harden is their superstar, but Trevor Ariza, Clint Capela, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and Lou Williams all had stellar performances. The Spurs didn’t have an answer for the Rockets’ offense. David Lee and Pau Gasol were getting eaten alive in the pick-and-roll, which may force coach Gregg Popovich to play them sparingly for the remainder of the series. LaMarcus Aldridge was brought to San Antonio to be Robin to Kawhi Leonard’s Batman. Aldridge hasn’t fit in with the Spurs as well as they hoped, but there’s no excuse for him being the worst player on the floor. His game worst plus-minus of minus 36 points showed how much of a liability he can be against this Rockets team if he isn’t making shots. He was defended by smaller players all game, but was hesitant to back them down and instead settled for fadeaway jump shots far too often. The Spurs will need to make some serious adjustments heading into game two. I expect Popovich to play Leonard at power forward and Aldridge at center in the next game. This would be a logical change, but it won’t be enough if they can’t stop Houston from constantly getting uncontested threes. These two teams will play game two on Wednesday in San Antonio.

Today in Sports: 5/1/17 Preview

NBA:

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Raptors and Cavaliers begin their second round series in Cleveland. After defeating the Bucks in six hard-fought games, the Raptors need to step up their game if they want to knock the king off his throne. LeBron James has been to the NBA Finals in each of the last six seasons. The Cavaliers had time to rest because of their short four game sweep of the Indiana Pacers in the first round. Although they will be the favorites in this series, they have shown a propensity for underachieving all season. The Raptors added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline in an attempt to get over their playoff woes and defeat the defending NBA champions. Tucker will be tasked with guarding LeBron James, which is something that he’s capable of doing at a higher level than most wing defenders. There isn’t a player in the NBA that can stop LeBron James, but Tucker has the ability to limit his impact. Since both teams have had highs and lows throughout the season, anything can happen in this series.

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs: The Rockets and Spurs begin their second round series in San Antonio. The Rockets defeat Russell Westbrook (not the Oklahoma City Thunder) in five games in their first round playoff series. The Spurs needed six tough games to defeat the “Grit and Grind” Memphis Grizzlies in their first round playoff series. Although the Spurs are the higher seeded team, many experts are picking the Rockets to advance to the conference finals. These teams are evenly matched, so it should be an extremely competitive series. The Spurs have the advantage of having Gregg Popovich and a championship pedigree, whereas the Rockets have MVP candidate James Harden and the most electric offense in the NBA other than the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs have the best defensive player in the NBA in Kawhi Leonard, and it will be interesting to see if coach Popovich matches him up against James Harden. As an NBA fan, I’m hoping that we get to see these teams compete for seven games.

Today in Sports: 4/30/17 Review

NBA:

Boston Celtics defeat Washington Wizards 123-111: After starting the game down 16-0, the Celtics stormed back to defeat the Wizards in game one of this second round playoff matchup. The Wizards’ backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal scored a combined 47 points, but didn’t get enough help from their bench to pull off the upset. The Wizards had a tough time on the defensive end of the floor in the last three quarters of the game. Markieff Morris rolled his ankle and missed the rest of the game. The injury looked painful, which may be a major issue going forward. Isaiah Thomas had an eventful game with 33 points and one missing tooth. He didn’t allow the missing tooth to slow him down one bit. After losing the first two games of their first round playoff series, the Celtics look like a completely different team. They’re playing like the team that finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference. These two teams will play game two on Tuesday in Boston.

Utah Jazz defeat Los Angeles Clippers 104-91: The Jazz eliminated the Clippers by winning game seven of this first round playoff series in Los Angeles. After losing game six at home, the Jazz were the underdogs heading into the series’ decisive game. A lot of teams would have folded after losing an opportunity to win the series at home, but the Jazz rebounded by winning this road game in convincing fashion. Chris Paul picked a terrible time to have his worst game of the series, scoring just 13 points on 6-19 shooting from the field. DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford were the only two Clippers that played well, but they weren’t enough to make up for their teammates’ poor performances. Paul Pierce’s career came to an ending with this defeat. I speak for everyone when I say that he was ‘The Truth’. Rudy Gobert only scored one point in 13 minutes due to foul trouble, but the Jazz were able to overcome his poor performance because of Derrick Favors stepping up in his absence. Favors isn’t a defensive presence of Gobert’s caliber, but he made up for his lack of length and agility with supreme effort on that end of the floor. He was an offensive monster too by scoring 17 points on 8-11 shooting from the field. Gordon Hayward and George Hill both had clutch performances when their team needed it most. The Jazz begin their second round series against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday in Oakland.

Today in Sports: 4/30/17 Preview

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Wizards for game one of this second round playoff series. These two teams do not like each other, so it should be a physical series. After losing the first two games to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, the Celtics found their stride and won the last four games of the series. The Wizards defeated the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs in six physical games. The Celtics are the favorites to win the series, but the Wizards aren’t afraid of playing the role of the underdog. They know they have enough talent to defeat the Celtics if they play up to their potential. This series should be fun and extremely competitive.

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers: The Jazz and Clippers will meet in Los Angeles for the right to face the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the playoffs. This game epitomizes the best two words in sports: game seven. After losing game six at home, the Jazz are now the underdogs heading into this matchup. The Clippers are without Blake Griffin for the rest of the playoffs, but have relied on superstar Chris Paul in his absence. The winner of this game will face the Warriors on Tuesday in Golden State.

Today in Sports: 4/28/17 Review

NFL:

Check out The Miles Files for my NFL Draft analysis.

 

NBA:

Washington Wizards defeat Atlanta Hawks 115-99: The Wizards eliminated the Hawks to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Wizards’ backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal scored 73 of Washington’s 115 points. Wall scored a series-high 42 points on 25 shots. Although they struggled during the first two games in Atlanta, the Wizards rebounded and ended the Hawks’ season. The Wizards’ bench struggled again, which is more proof that they are one of the most top-heavy teams in the league. Paul Millsap and Dennis Schroder were both dominant throughout this series, but they didn’t get enough help from their teammates. The Wizards will face the Boston Celtics in the second round of the playoffs.

Boston Celtics defeat Chicago Bulls 105-83:  The Celtics eliminated the Bulls to advance to the second round of the playoffs. All five Celtics starters scored in double figures. Avery Bradley scored a game-high 23 points and played fantastic defense. After winning the first two games, the Bulls lost point guard Rajon Rondo and didn’t win another game all series. Rondo’s backups struggled all series. Jimmy Butler was the best player on either team, but couldn’t singlehandedly win the series for Chicago. The Celtics will face the Washington Wizards in the second round of the playoffs.

Los Angeles Clippers defeat Utah Jazz 98-93:  The Clippers pulled off a shocking road win to even the series at three games apiece. With their backs against the wall and season on the line, the Clippers played one of their best games of the season. Chris Paul proved again that he’s still one of the best players in the NBA. He scored 29 points and did a stellar job of getting his teammates involved offensively. If the Clippers lost this game, there was a good chance that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin would leave in free agency. This was possibly the most important game in the history of their franchise. The Jazz had an opportunity to finish the series at home, but didn’t get any help from their bench. Gordon Hayward and George Hill scored 31 points and 22 points, respectively. These two teams will play game seven on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Today in Sports: 4/28/17 Preview

NFL:

The second and third rounds of the NFL Draft will be held in Philadelphia. The Miles Files will have all your draft needs covered.

 

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks face the Wizards at home in a must-win game. With the Wizards up 3-2 in this series, the Hawks need to win to keep their season alive. The home team has won the first five games of the series, so the Hawks will be favorites in this game. John Wall has been the best player in the series, but hasn’t gotten much help from his teammates in the two road games in Atlanta. Neither bench has been consistent during this series, so I expect the team with the better bench contribution to win. If the Hawks win this game, these two teams will play game seven on Sunday in Washington.

Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls: The Boston Celtics look to close out this series against the Bulls in Chicago. After losing the first two games of the series, the Celtics have won three straight games and look poised to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Bulls haven’t been the same team since Rajon Rondo got injured. The Bulls’ backup point guards have struggled in the last three games, which has put a lot of pressure on Jimmy Butler. Although Butler is the best player in the series, he hasn’t been able to will his team to victory singlehandedly. He’ll need help from Dwyane Wade and his teammates if they want to force a game seven. If the Bulls win this game, these two teams will play game seven on Sunday in Boston.

Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz: The Clippers look to keep their season alive in this must-win game against the Jazz. Not only is this game crucial for their season, but this could be the end of an era for this Clippers team if they lose this series. Both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul could leave in free agency after the season, which would end this Clippers team’s championship window. The Clippers haven’t been the same team since oft-injured Griffin was lost for the season, so they’ll have to rely on Chris Paul more than ever. The Jazz are the healthiest that they’ve been all season, so pulling off the upset will be a daunting task for the Clippers. If the Clippers win this game, these two teams will play game seven on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Today in Sports: 4/27/17 Review

NFL:

NFL Draft: The Miles Files has all your draft needs covered

  1. Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett: DE – Texas A&M
  2. Chicago Bears (from San Francisco 49ers) select Mitchell Trubisky: QB – North Carolina
  3. San Francisco 49ers (from Chicago Bears) select Solomon Thomas: DE – Stanford
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars select Leonard Fournette: RB – LSU
  5. Tennessee Titans select Corey Davis: WR – Western Michigan
  6. New York Jets select Jamal Adams: SS – LSU
  7. Los Angeles Chargers select Mike Williams: WR – Clemson
  8. Carolina Panthers select Christian McCaffrey: RB/WR – Stanford
  9. Cincinnati Bengals select John Ross: WR – Washington
  10. Kansas City Chiefs (from Buffalo Bills) select Patrick Mahomes: QB – Texas Tech
  11. New Orleans Saints select Marshon Lattimore: CB – Ohio State
  12. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns) select Deshaun Watson: QB – Clemson
  13. Arizona Cardinals select Haason Reddick: LB – Temple
  14. Philadelphia Eagles select Derek Barnett: DE – Tennessee
  15. Indianapolis Colts select Malik Hooker: FS – Ohio State
  16. Baltimore Ravens select Marlon Humphrey: CB – Alabama
  17. Washington Redskins select Jonathan Allen: DE/DT – Alabama
  18. Tennessee Titans select Adoree’ Jackson: CB – USC
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select O.J. Howard: TE – Alabama
  20. Denver Broncos select Garett Bolles: OT – Utah
  21. Detroit Lions select Jarrad Davis: LB – Florida
  22. Miami Dolphin select Charles Harris: DE – Missouri
  23. New York Giants select Evan Engram: TE – Mississippi
  24. Oakland Raiders select Gareon Conley: CB – Ohio State
  25. Cleveland Browns select Jabrill Peppers: ATH – Michigan
  26. Atlanta Falcons (from Seattle Seahawks) select Takkarist McKinley: DE/OLB – UCLA
  27. Buffalo Bills select Tre’Davious White: CB – LSU
  28. Dallas Cowboys select Taco Charlton: DE – Michigan
  29. Cleveland Brown (from Green Bay Packers) select David Njoku: TE – Miami
  30. Pittsburgh Steelers select T.J. Watt: OLB – Wisconsin
  31. San Francisco 49ers (from Seattle Seahawks from Atlanta Falcons) select Reuben Foster: LB – Alabama
  32. New Orleans Saints select Ryan Ramczyk: OT – Wisonsin

 

NBA:

Toronto Raptors defeat Milwaukee Bucks 92-89: The Raptors eliminated the Bucks in one of the craziest playoff games this season. After falling behind by 25 points, the Bucks went on a furious rally to take the lead with a few minutes remaining. The crowd was electric, and the Raptors looked like they were having another postseason collapse. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 34 points in 47 minutes. Both he and Khris Middleton (who was battling the flu) looked exhausted by the end of the game. The Bucks missed nine free throws in the fourth quarter, which was detrimental to their comeback attempt. Antetokounmpo had the ball with less than ten seconds left and down three points, but decided to make a dunk instead of attempting a potential game-tying three. That ended up being costly because the Bucks didn’t get another chance to tie the game. It’s hard to blame Antetokounmpo because he was the main reason that they made the comeback in the first place. With a healthy Jabari Parker next season (fingers crossed), the Bucks will be a championship contender. The Raptors will need to make drastic improvements in the second round if they want to defeat the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

San Antonio Spurs defeat Memphis Grizzlies 103-96: The Spurs eliminated the Grizzlies to advance to the second round of the playoffs. After the first five games of the series were won by the home team, the road team finally won a game in this series. Kawhi Leonard was the best player in all six games of this series. Although he won’t be the league’s MVP, he has been the most dominant player in the playoffs. With his clutch shooting and unparalleled defense, he has an argument for being the best player in the NBA. Leonard scored a game-high 29 points, and it was possibly his worst game of the series. The Grizzlies put forth a phenomenal effort, but came up just short of pushing the series to a seventh game. This may have been a different series with a healthy Tony Allen, but the Grizzlies didn’t let that become an excuse. Mike Conley finally got some notoriety, which is long overdue. The Spurs will face the Houston Rockets in the second round of the playoffs.

Today in Sports: 4/27/17 Preview

NFL:

The first round of the NFL Draft will be held in Philadelphia. The Miles Files will have all your draft needs covered.

 

NBA:

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks need to win at home against the Raptors to keep their season alive. The Bucks have shown the ability to win in Milwaukee and Toronto against this Raptors team, and they’ll have to do both again if they want to win the series. The Bucks cannot afford to look ahead to game seven before winning game six. Khris Middleton has struggled in the last few games, and he cannot afford to struggle anymore. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best player in the series, but he cannot defeat the Raptors by himself. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have played up to their potential in the last two games. If they can continue this hot streak, they’ll likely end the Bucks’ season in Milwaukee. This isn’t a must-win game for the Raptors, but they’d like to end the series and shift their focus to the defending champion Cavaliers. The Bucks will need a freakish performance from the Greek Freak to help keep their season alive.

San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies need to win at home against the Spurs to keep their season alive. With the first five games in the series going to the home team, the Grizzlies will be favorites to win this game. They need to win the next two games to win the series, but they cannot look ahead to game seven before winning game six. The Grizzlies need to get major contributions from stars Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Kawhi Leonard has been the best player all series, and will need another MVP-like performance if they want to end the series in Memphis. Although this game isn’t essential for the Spurs, they’d like to win and get some rest before the second round. The Grizzlies will need their home crowd to help them in this game like they did in games three and four. It’s crucial for both teams that they bring their A game.

Today in Sports: 4/26/17 Review

NBA:

Washington Wizards defeat Atlanta Hawks 103-99: The Wizards won a pivotal game five at home to take a 3-2 series lead over the Hawks. Dennis Schroder and Paul Millsap were phenomenal again, but they weren’t enough to overcome a lackluster performance from the Hawks’ bench. John Wall and Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 20 points and 27 points, respectively. Otto Porter Jr. had an efficient day with 17 points on 4 shots. Their bench also struggled, but the three-headed monster of Wall, Beal, and Porter Jr. were enough to seal the victory. These two teams will play game six on Friday in Atlanta.

Boston Celtics defeat Chicago Bulls 108-97: The Celtics won their third straight game in this series to take a 3-2 series lead over the Bulls. Chicago was without point guard Rajon Rondo for a third straight game, which may end up being the deciding factor in this series if Rondo isn’t able to return. Rondo was inconsistent all season, but played at an elite level in the first two games of the series. He’ll try to play in game six, but it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to return. Jimmy Butler had his first mediocre game of the series, and his teammates were not able to pick up the slack. The Tacoma, Washington backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley each scored 24 points. Chicago will need to slow down the Celtics’ backcourt if they want to win game six and keep their season alive. These two teams will play game six on Friday in Chicago.

Today in Sports: 4/26/17 Preview

NBA:

Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards: After losing the last two games in Atlanta, the Wizards return home to face the Hawks in a pivotal game five. With the series being tied at two games apiece, the winner of this game will be overwhelming favorites to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Hawks have played up to their potential for two straight games, but haven’t shown the ability to dominate the Wizards on the road. John Wall has been the best player in the series through four games, but hasn’t gotten the help from his teammates on the road that he did at home. Now that they’ve returned home to Washington, Wall will need his teammates to play at a high level if they want to win this series. The Wizards cannot afford a slip up against a less talented Hawks team. Although this game isn’t the deciding game in the series, it is crucial for both teams that they play at a high level in this pivotal game five.

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics: The Celtics return home to Boston to face the Bulls in a pivotal game five. After losing the first two games at home, the desperate Celtics evened the series by winning back-to-back road games in Chicago. Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo missed games three and four with an injury, and likely won’t be able to return in this series. The Bulls struggled without their point guard in the last two games, and will need some sort of contribution from Rondo’s replacements. With the Celtics back in the driver’s seat, they cannot afford another home loss to this injured Bulls team. Although this game isn’t the deciding game in the series, the winner will be overwhelming favorites to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

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: 4/24/17 Review

NBA:

Toronto Raptors defeat Milwaukee Bucks 118-93: The Toronto Raptors took a 3-2 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks with a dominating win in game five. The Raptors got off to a fast start and never looked back. The Raptors didn’t get much of a contribution from their bench, but all five of their starters scored in double figures. The “trash bros” backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan played their second consecutive great game, even though Lowry was playing through a back injury. The Raptors were led by Norman Powell, who scored 25 points on 8-11 shooting from the field. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 30 points on 12-19 shooting. He had a great all-around game, but didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates. Khris Middleton had another terrible game. He scored only 8 points and looked out of rhythm throughout the game. Milwaukee needs to win the last two games of the series if they want to advance to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs. These two teams will play game six on Thursday in Milwaukee.

Atlanta Hawks defeat Washington Wizards 111-101: The Hawks defeated the Wizards at home to even the series at two games apiece. Although the Wizards have the better starting unit, all five of the Hawks’ starters scored in double figures. The Hawks also got bench contributions from Kent Bazemore and Jose Calderon. The Wizards were led by their backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, but didn’t get help from the rest of their starters. After a terrible game three, Beal bounced back to lead the Wizards with 32 points. John Wall scored 22 points, but wasn’t as efficient in game four as he was in the first three games of the series. Although the Hawks won both games at home, they are still the underdogs in this series. These two teams will play game five on Wednesday in Washington.

Golden State Warriors defeat Portland Trail Blazers 128-103: The Warriors completed a four game sweep of the Trail Blazers with a convincing win in Portland. The Warriors got off to a fast start by scoring 45 points in the first quarter. Damian Lillard was dominant again for the Trail Blazers, but he didn’t get help from anyone besides Al Farouq Aminu. C.J. McCollum had his worst game of the series, scoring just 6 points on 2-12 shooting from the field. Although this was Kevin Durant’s return game, he only scored 10 points in 20 minutes of play. The Splash Bros picked up the slack by combining for 55 points. The Warriors were playing for coach Steve Kerr, who has missed the last few games because of complications from back surgery. Hopefully he’ll be able to return to coaching during the second round of the playoffs.

Today in Sports: 4/24/17 Preview

NBA:

Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors: The Bucks and Raptors are playing a pivotal game five in Toronto which will break the 2-2 series tie and give one of these teams an overwhelming advantage to win the series. Although the Raptors are favored to win this game and the series, the Bucks proved they can win in Toronto when they won the first game of the series. The Raptors were outplayed in each of the first three games, but were able to steal game two despite a poor performance from their backcourt. Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have lived up to their “trash bros” nickname during the playoffs, but are still in the driver’s seat to advance to the second round. They both had their first great game of the series in game four, which happened to be the first game that Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled. This game will come down to the two stars for each team. If Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton dominate, the Bucks will win game five. If Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan dominate, the Raptors will win game five. The stars for both teams will be under enormous pressure to help their team win and become overwhelming favorites to advance to the second round to face the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks: The Wizards and Hawks will play a crucial game four in Atlanta that could possibly decide the series. If the Wizards win game four, they’ll take a 3-1 series lead back to Washington. In all likelihood, the Hawks won’t win the series if they lose this game. If the Hawks win game four, they’ll even the series at two games apiece. Either way, the Wizards will still be favored to advance to the second round. John Wall has been fantastic in all three games, but didn’t get any contribution from his teammates in game three. If the Hawks are able to shut down John Wall’s teammates again, they’ll have a great chance of winning this game. If Wall and his teammates are able to play their style of basketball, they Hawks will be in serious trouble. For all intents and purposes, this is a must-win game for the Atlanta Hawks.

Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers: The Warriors look to complete the sweep of the Trail Blazers in Portland. The Warriors have dominated the series, even with superstar Kevin Durant missing games two and three. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have been dominant in two of the three games, but it ultimately hasn’t mattered because they haven’t gotten any help from their teammates. Jusuf Nurkic tried to play in game three and was ineffective. He won’t play in game four and likely won’t return later in the series (if the Trail Blazers win this game). The Splash Bros have been dominant all series, and have gotten large contributions from their teammates to win all three games. Portland will try to become the first team to win a seven game series after losing the first three games, but they probably won’t even win this game. This isn’t a must-win game for the Warriors, but they’d like to win and get some rest. Hopefully they’ll be able to get Durant and coach Steve Kerr back during the playoffs, but they probably won’t need either of them to advance past Portland to the second round.

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: 4/22/17 Review

NBA:

Toronto Raptors defeat Milwaukee Bucks 87-76: The Raptors defeated the Bucks in a defensive struggle that evened the series at two games apiece. The Raptors were able to regain the home-court advantage by shutting down Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Khris Middleton also struggled with his shot all game, which caused the Bucks to lean on their role players. Tony Snell was their best player all game, but he doesn’t have the talent of Antetokounmpo or Middleton to lead the Bucks to victory. Both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry had a great game for the Raptors. This was the first game in the series that both of their stars showed up. These two teams will play game five on Monday in Toronto.

Atlanta Hawks defeat Washington Wizards 116-98: The Hawks dominated the Wizards to win their first game of the series. They outscored the Wizards 38-20 in the first quarter and never looked back. Dennis Schroder, Paul Millsap, and Taurean Prince all had huge games for the Hawks. The Wizards were switching every pick and roll all game long, which ended up being a failed strategy. The Hawks were attacking the mismatches and scored at will. The Wizards’ starting unit struggled all game. John Wall was fantastic again, but didn’t get any help from the other four starters. Wall had the highlight of the game when he went coast-to-coast and dribbled the ball behind his back before dunking on Kent Bazemore. That was the only highlight of the game for Washington. These two teams will play game four on Monday in Atlanta.

Memphis Grizzlies defeat San Antonio Spurs 110-108 (OT): In the most exciting game of the playoffs, the Grizzlies defeated the Spurs in overtime on a last-second shot by Marc Gasol. The final few minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime were absolutely fantastic. This is what playoff basketball is all about. Kawhi Leonard was the best player on the floor and made his case for being the league’s MVP (although it is a regular season award). He hit multiple clutch shots in the final minutes to send it to overtime. A few times I caught myself calling him Kobe because his performance was mamba-esque. He led all scorers with 43 points and played fantastic defense all game long. Mike Conley played like a superstar point guard. He hit clutch shots down the stretch and helped rally his team when it seemed like Leonard was going to win the game singlehandedly. After Leonard hit a game tying shot in the final seconds of overtime, Marc Gasol put in an ugly looking game-winning shot with a second remaining. These two teams will play game five on Tuesday in San Antonio.

Golden State Warriors defeat Portland Trail Blazers 119-113: In a game that the Warriors were missing star Kevin Durant and coach Steve Kerr, Golden State took a commanding 3-0 lead in this series. The Trail Blazers got off to a fast start with a 67-54 halftime lead. But the Warriors came out in the second half and dominated to get the victory. Klay Thompson took over the third quarter by hitting multiple threes. The Warriors started getting stops defensively, which fueled their fast break offense. The Warriors have won both games without Kevin Durant, which shows how dominant of a team they are. Portland’s star backcourt put in a combined 63 points, but they were not enough to defeat the heavily favored Warriors. These two teams will play game four on Monday in Portland.

Today in Sports: 4/22/17 Preview

NBA:

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks: After a pathetic showing in game three, the Raptors will look to bounce back and even the series at two games apiece. The Raptors cannot afford to go down 3-1 in the series, even though they are the more talented team and have the potential to win three straight games against the Bucks. The problem with this Raptors team is their confidence. If they go down 3-1 in this series, they’ll have to win despite being a perennial playoff underachiever. They added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline, which will end up being a huge waste if they don’t make it out of the first round (especially if both leave in free agency). The Bucks have outplayed the Raptors in all three games of this series. With this game being in front of their home crowd, they have a good chance of taking a commanding lead in this series. The winner of this game will be huge favorites to advance to the second round.

Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks are playing the Wizards at home in a must-win game. After losing both games in Washington, the Hawks cannot afford to go down 3-0 in this series. They’ve been competitive in the first three quarters of both games, but have struggled to close in the fourth quarter. John Wall has been the best player on the floor in both games. The Hawks don’t have a player that can stop him, so they’ll have to collectively try to limit his impact. The Wizards have the much more talented starting lineup, so the Hawks will need their bench players to rise to the occasion if they want to stay competitive in this series

San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies: After a convincing win in game three, the Grizzlies can even the series at home against the Spurs. After game two, the Grizzlies’ coach was critical of the referees. Although they won game three, the Spurs still received more foul calls than the Grizzlies. But that didn’t matter, because coach David Fizdale got his point across. He wanted his team to realize that they shouldn’t change their game plan because of how the refs were calling the game. The Grizzlies are a tough and aggressive team, and they cannot afford to stray from that style of basketball because they aren’t getting calls. Fizdale moved Zach Randolph into the starting lineup, which ended up being a fantastic decision. Although this game is extremely important for the Grizzlies, the Spurs will still be the favorites to win the series no matter who wins this game.

Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers: The Trail Blazers return home to Portland in this must-win game against the heavily favored Warriors. After an embarrassing loss in game two, the Trail Blazers’ star backcourt needs to bounce back and lead their team to victory. With Kevin Durant missing game two, the Trail Blazers had their best chance to steal a road game from the Warriors. The Warriors will be heavy favorites to advance no matter what happens in this game. Durant may miss this game too, which likely won’t end up mattering. Portland needs to win four straight games to make Damian Lillard’s “Trail Blazers in 6” prediction come true. If Lillard doesn’t have a stellar game tonight, the Warriors will take a commanding 3-0 lead in this series.

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: 4/20/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Indiana Pacers 119-114: The Cavaliers defeated the Pacers in the craziest game of the postseason. After leading at halftime by 25 points, the Pacers had an unbelievable collapse that basically ended their season. Although they could still win four straight games to move on to the second round, it’s not going to happen. Paul George led the Pacers with 36 points, but struggled with his shot all game. The Cavaliers’ defense was putrid in the first half, but they were able to figure things out in the second half. Amazingly, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat on the bench for the entire fourth quarter. They were struggling and the team was making a run with them on the bench, so coach Tyronn Lue decided against putting them back in the game. LeBron James put the team on his back and singlehandedly won them the game. He scored a game-high 41 points to go with his 13 rebounds and 12 assists.  These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Indiana.

Milwaukee Bucks defeat Toronto Raptors 104-77: In a game that was a blowout from the beginning, the Milwaukee Bucks punked the Raptors to take a 2-1 series lead. The Bucks won the first quarter 32-12 and never looked back. The Raptors’ star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 21 points. DeRozan scored as many field goals as I did during the game (zero). Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo only scored 19 points, but he was extremely efficient. Greg Monroe, Michael Beasley, and Matthew Dellavedova all scored in double figures off the bench. Everyone stepped up for Milwaukee and nobody stepped up for Toronto. This was an embarrassing effort by the Raptors on the road. These two teams will play game four on Saturday in Milwaukee.

Memphis Grizzlies defeat San Antonio Spurs 105-94: The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Spurs at home in a must-win game. Grizzlies coach (take that for data!) David Fizdale decided to move Zach Randolph into the starting lineup, and Z-Bo rewarded him by scoring 21 points. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley both scored over twenty points, which was crucial for the Grizzlies. They needed their stars to step up, and that’s exactly what they did. The game was close at halftime, but got away from San Antonio in the third quarter. Coach Gregg Popovich would say after the game that they lost because of the first minutes of the second half. Popovich was so upset with his team’s effort to start the third quarter that he benched all five players after a timeout. Kawhi Leonard was not his usual self in this game. Former stars (and soon-to-be retirees) Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to score as many points as I did. This was a game that the Grizzlies needed to win, and they played dominant basketball on both sides of the court. These two teams will play game four on Saturday in Memphis.

Today in Sports: 4/20/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers: The Cavaliers head to Indiana up 2-0 in the series to face the desperate Indiana Pacers. The Pacers were able to keep both games competitive before falling apart down the stretch. Cleveland is the much more talented team, but Indiana has proven that they can win if a few breaks go their way late in the fourth quarter. With their fans cheering them on, the Pacers need to win this game to avoid going down 3-0 in the series. Paul George has been fantastic in both games, but he needs help. Usually role players play better at home in the playoffs, so they might get a much needed boost from their bench. Myles Turner has emerged as the second best player on this team, and he’ll need to play like it after an abysmal game two. George was critical of both Turner and Lance Stephenson in the media. He claimed that it was to motivate his teammates. Both Turner and Stephenson will be counted on to give George support, which will be crucial if the Pacers want to get back in this series. This is a must-win game for the Pacers.

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks: The winner of game three between the Raptors and Bucks will take a 2-1 lead in this series. After struggling in game one at home, the Raptors were able to even the series by hitting a few clutch shots late in the fourth quarter. The Bucks were playing catch-up all game, but had a chance to win late in the fourth quarter. Coach Jason Kidd played a few questionable lineups during the game that put the Bucks behind the eight ball. This was an inopportune time for his inexperience to rear its ugly head. The Raptors did a much better job of limiting superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo in game two. He wasn’t able to get to the rim as easily as he did in game one, and he had trouble finishing due to the presence of Serge Ibaka. With Milwaukee stealing the home-court advantage from the Raptors, they’ll need to win these two games at home if they want to win the series. The winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies need to defeat the Spurs to avoid going down 3-0 in this series. If Memphis doesn’t win this game, they’ll have to try to become the first team to win a seven game series after losing the first three games. “TAKE THAT FOR DATA!” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale was recently fined after criticizing the officials after game two. He was upset that Kawhi Leonard shot more free throws than his entire team. The NBA playoff officials have been so terrible for so many years that this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Right when Memphis was getting back into the game, the officials started making one-sided calls that helped the Spurs regain a double-digit lead. This was blatantly obvious to any non-biased observer. As a fan of basketball that loves playoff competition, I was furious. Now that Fizdale made his point, look for the refs to swing in the opposite direction and start making calls to benefit the Grizzlies. We all hope they start calling the game fair, but don’t get your hopes up. These are NBA playoff refs, and they take sucking at their jobs very seriously. I appreciate Fizdale standing up for his players and criticizing the terrible playoff referees, and his “take that for data” rant was so fantastic that I hope this motivates his team and the officials to do a great job for the Memphis fans.

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: 4/18/17 Review

NBA:

Toronto Raptors defeat Milwaukee Bucks 106-100: The Raptors were able to defeat the Bucks in this back-and-forth game to even the series at one game apiece. Kyle Lowry was able to bounce back after a horrible game one to lead the Raptors to victory. Although the Bucks kept it close, they were not able to take the lead down the stretch. This game was lost by Milwaukee due to their coach Jason Kidd. It was obvious that Spencer Hawes and Mirza Teletovic were struggling, but he refused to pull them from the game. Greg Monroe was a dominant force all game, but Kidd decided to play rookie Thon Maker down the stretch. Milwaukee fans are used to Kidd’s head scratching lineups, but this was an inopportune time to make terrible coaching decisions. Toronto deserves credit for evening the series, but the Bucks missed out on a great opportunity to take a two game lead heading to Milwaukee. These two teams will play game three on Thursday in Milwaukee.

Chicago Bulls defeat Boston Celtics 111-97: For the second consecutive game, the Bulls dominated the top seeded Celtics in Boston. Once again, Isaiah Thomas did not get enough help from his supporting cast to defeat the Bulls. Chicago has a lot of talent, but underachieved all season. They have the best player in the series in Jimmy Butler, and have two veterans in Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo with championship experience. Rondo was dominant all game, falling just one rebound shy of a triple-double. The Celtics now head on the road down 0-2 in this series, which has to be extremely disappointing. They’ll likely need to win both games in Chicago, especially game three. These two teams will play game three on Friday in Chicago.

Los Angeles Clippers defeat Utah Jazz 99-91: The Clippers were able to take advantage of a Rudy Gobert-less Jazz team to even the series at one game apiece. Although Gobert missed all but ten seconds of the first game, the Clippers weren’t able to make in-game adjustments to their game plan to attack the basket. This showed that Doc Rivers isn’t a great coach like many people think. The Clippers were able to make adjustments between games to attack the Jazz’s new weakness. Without Gobert, the Jazz don’t have a rim protector to stop the Clippers from scoring at will in the paint. This was evident all game. The Jazz fought hard to keep the game competitive, but they didn’t have enough firepower without Gobert. Hopefully he’ll be able to return during this series. These two teams will play game three on Friday in Utah.

Today in Sports: 4/18/17 Preview

NBA:

Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors: The Bucks and Raptors will play game two in Toronto after the Bucks pulled off the stunning upset in game one. This is a must-win game for the Raptors, who cannot afford to go down 2-0 in this series before it heads to Milwaukee. The Raptors didn’t have an answer for Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo in game one, so they’ll need to make adjustments to limit his impact. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was terrible in game one (which has been a playoff theme for him), so he’ll need to find a way to put the ball in the basket. His backcourt teammate DeMar DeRozan put in a decent amount of points in the first game of this series, but they were mostly from the free throw line. This backcourt cannot play like the “trash bros” again in game two. Although Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best player in this series, the Raptors are the more complete team and should be favored to even the series before heading to Milwaukee.

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics: The Bulls and Celtics will face each other for the second time in this series. The Bulls pulled off the upset in game one, which wasn’t all that surprising given the circumstances that surrounded the game. Celtics star point guard Isaiah Thomas played game one just one day after the tragic death of his younger sister. Thomas was visibly shaken up before the game, but he showed toughness by playing when many others would’ve sat out. He not only played, but he played at a high level. His teammates didn’t help him out enough, as they were outclassed by Jimmy Butler and the Bulls. Thomas is expected to play in game two, and they’ll need him in this must-win game. The Bulls are more talented than most eighth seeded teams, so the Celtics will need to bring their A game if they don’t want to head to Chicago down 2-0 in this series.

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers: This third game of the night also consists of a favored team playing at home in a must-win game. The Utah Jazz pulled off the upset with an “Iso” Joe Johnson buzzer beater to stun the fans in Los Angeles. The Jazz were able to rally after the loss of star center Rudy Gobert just ten seconds into the game. Gobert will not play in game two, and may miss the entire series (or longer if they advance). Losing Gobert is a huge loss, and should make the Clippers heavy favorites in a series that was evenly matched before the injury. The Clippers should make game plan adjustments that can attack the Jazz inside without Gobert’s presence. The Jazz have been dealing with injuries all year, so they’ll be ready for the adversity that this latest blow brings them. This should still be a competitive game, but the Clippers will have the upper hand. The Clippers need this victory, otherwise they’ll be down 2-0 in this series when it heads to Utah.

Today in Sports: 4/17/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Indiana Pacers 117-111: In another closely contested game, the Cavaliers defeated the Pacers to take a 2-0 lead in this series. Although the game wasn’t as close as the first game, the Pacers dominated the fourth quarter to make it close at the end. At the end of the day, the Pacers weren’t able to get enough out of their role players. Myles Turner struggled all game, scoring just six points in 37 minutes. Paul George played like a superstar again, scoring a team-high 32 points. George and Lance Stephenson have been the best two players for the Pacers during the first two games of the series, but they haven’t been able to lead the Pacers to victory. The Cavaliers got another dominating performance from their big three. Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 37 points, with Love and James adding 27 points and 25 points, respectively. The Pacers head home, where they hope to get a boost from their crowd and their bench. They’ve played Cleveland close on the road, but now they’ll face a lot of pressure with a couple of must-win games at home. These two teams will play game three on Thursday in Indiana.

San Antonio Spurs defeat Memphis Grizzlies 96-82: In a game that was a blowout by halftime, the Spurs defeated the Grizzlies to take a 2-0 lead in this series. The Grizzlies dominated the third quarter and early fourth quarter to make the game competitive, but the Spurs pulled away in the end to win by double digits.  Kawhi Leonard dominated again with a game-high 37 points and stellar defense. Mike Conley and Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 24 points and 18 points, respectively. Grizzlies coach David Fizdale was extremely critical of the referees after the game, correctly pointing out that Kawhi Leonard shot more free throws than the entire Grizzlies team. It was hard not to notice that the Spurs were getting a lot of ticky-tack calls in their favor late in the fourth quarter when Memphis was coming back. It was extremely frustrating to watch, especially for the Grizzlies’ head coach. Fizdale should expect a fine from the league, but it’s time the NBA holds their officials accountable for doing a terrible job in the playoffs. This is an issue every year, and it seems intentional. These two teams will play game three on Thursday in Memphis.

Today in Sports: 4/17/17 Preview

NBA:

Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Pacers and Cavaliers will face each other in game two of this first round playoff matchup. After an exciting first game of the series that featured no defense, both teams will attempt to make it more difficult for their opponent to put the ball in the basket. Stars Paul George and LeBron James were both dominant in game one, and will have to shoulder the majority of the burden in the rest of the series. Paul George was upset about not getting the last shot in game one, which could fuel him going forward. These two teams know each other extremely well, which will make it interesting to see which team will make the necessary adjustments. This game isn’t a must-win for either team, but it would be extremely helpful if the Pacers can get one game before the series heads to Indiana.

Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs: The Grizzlies will try and bounce back after a humiliating loss in the first game of this series. The Grizzlies kept the game close early, but were outclassed in the last three quarters of the game. San Antonio is the much more talented team, especially with the injury to Memphis’ defensive star Tony Allen. The Grizzlies have enough talent and playoff experience to pull off the upset, but they’ll need to make a lot of adjustments if they want to even the series before heading home to Memphis.

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: 4/15/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Indiana Pacers 109-108: In the first game of the NBA postseason, the Cavaliers squeaked out the victory against the Pacers in Cleveland. The game was back-and-forth until the final shot, which was a missed shot at the buzzer by the Pacers’ C.J. Miles. Down by one with roughly ten seconds remaining, the Pacers’ coach Nate McMillan called a timeout to set up a play. This was a crucial mistake because it allowed the Cavaliers to set up their defense and get the ball out of Paul George’s hands. George passed the ball to Miles and tried to get open to take the final shot, but it was too late and Miles was forced to take the shot. Miles got off a good shot, but it came up just short. Paul George had a fantastic game in which he scored 29 points and was 6-8 from three point range. LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 32 points and 13 assists. These two teams will play game two on Monday in Cleveland.

Milwaukee Bucks defeat Toronto Raptors 97-83: The Bucks pulled off the road upset in Toronto in the first game of this series. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a stellar game full of blocks and ferocious dunks. He blocked DeMar Derozan at the end of the game and was called for a technical foul, even though it was DeRozan who started acting like a child. Although poor officiating isn’t rare in the playoffs, it didn’t cost the Bucks in this game. The Greek Freak scored 28 points and had 8 rebounds to lead his Bucks. Rookie Thon Maker had an impactful game including three blocks in a matter of minutes. Kyle Lowry had another terrible postseason game in which he shot 2-11 from the field and scored four points.  DeRozan had a decent game, but roughly half of his 27 points came from the free throw line. The self-proclaimed “trash bros” need to step up their game in game two unless they want to head to Milwaukee down two games to none. Game two will be played on Tuesday in Toronto.

San Antonio Spurs defeat Memphis Grizzlies 111-82: In the one boring game of the day, the Spurs routed the Grizzlies in San Antonio. Although the Grizzlies won the first quarter, they would be outscored in the remaining three quarters. In a battle featuring the Gasol brother, Marc would outscore his brother 32-6. But Marc Gasol was the only player on the Grizzlies who had a good game. Kawhi Leonard would also put in 32 points and played stellar defense throughout the game. The Grizzlies clearly missed Tony “first team all defense” Allen, who got hurt in the meaningless last game of the season. He would’ve guarded Kawhi Leonard, but will likely miss the entire series. These teams will play game two on Monday in San Antonio.

Utah Jazz defeat Los Angeles Clippers 97-95: In an game that featured Jazz star Rudy Gobert injuring his knee ten second into the game, the Utah Jazz were able to defeat the Clippers on the road in the first game of this series. The Jazz could’ve easily folded after watching their big man go down with a potentially serious knee injury, but they rallied around his injury and pulled off the upset. The Jazz are used to playing with backups due to the plethora of injuries their starters have sustained this season. Both of these teams had injury issues during the regular season, but were relatively healthy heading into the playoffs. If these teams didn’t have so many injuries, they both could’ve been the two seed in the Western Conference. That’s how talented both of these teams are, and it’s why this series will likely be the best first round series in the playoffs (regardless of the status of Rudy Gobert). This game came down to the last shot, in which “Iso Joe” Joe Johnson hit the game winning floater at the buzzer to stun the crowd in Los Angeles. Jazz coach Quin Snyder elected not to call a timeout before Johnson hit the game winning shot, which was a fantastic decision. Hopefully Gobert’s knee injury isn’t as serious as it looked, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll be ready for game two. Their next game will be on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Today in Sports: 4/15/17 Preview

NBA:

Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Pacers and Cavaliers will meet in Cleveland for game one of this first round playoff series. LeBron James looks to lead the defending champion Cavaliers back to the NBA Finals. This would be LeBron’s seventh straight trip to the NBA Finals. The Indiana Pacers aren’t as good as they’ve been in past seasons, but they still have superstar Paul George leading the way. George is starting to look like the pre-injury Paul George again, which could give the Cavaliers trouble. LeBron’s teams have beaten the Pacers in multiple playoff series in the past, and shouldn’t have any problems beating this weaker Pacers team. The Cavaliers struggled towards the end of the regular season, so they’ll have to find their rhythm if they want to repeat as champions. This should make for an exciting series.

Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors: The Bucks and Raptors will meet in Toronto for game one of this first round playoff series. The Raptors are at full strength since the return of Kyle Lowry from his wrist injury. This Raptors team is more dangerous since the additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline. The Raptors traded for these players to help them during the postseason, so now we’ll see if these moves pay off. The Bucks have been a much better team since the return of Khris Middleton, even though Jabari Parker tore his ACL in the game Middleton returned. With Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way, the Bucks have enough firepower to challenge any team in the Eastern Conference. Toronto is the favorites in the series, but Milwaukee has enough talent to pull off the upset.

Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs: The Grizzlies and Spurs will meet in San Antonio for game one of this first round playoff series. The Grizzlies will likely be without Tony “first team all defense” Allen for the playoffs, so this might be a lopsided series. The Grizzlies still have a lot of playoff experience with Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph on the roster, even though their coach David Fizdale doesn’t have any playoff experience. This could be an issue going up against the great Gregg Popovich. The Spurs have a ton of playoff experience too, led by superstar MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard. Both of these teams play a slower style of basketball, which could limit the number of possessions each team gets while keeping the games close. The Spurs are heavy favorites in this series, but they better not underestimate the Grizzlies with all of their playoff experience.

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers: The Jazz and Clippers will meet in Los Angeles for game one of this first round playoff series. The Jazz and Clippers both underachieved this season largely due to the injuries both teams sustained. Now that both teams are relatively healthy, they should both be playing their best basketball at the most important time. The Jazz are one of the deepest teams in the NBA, but depth isn’t extremely important in the playoffs because starters usually get the bulk of the minutes. But the Jazz had to play a lot of their bench players in crucial minutes during the regular season because of the plethora of injuries their starters sustained. They received valuable experience that should help them during this playoff run. The Clippers also had to overcome a lot of injuries during the season. They were one of the hottest teams in the NBA during the first month of the season and then started to cool off when star players got injured. Now that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are both healthy, the Clippers have enough firepower to beat any team in the Western Conference. This may be the most exciting and competitive first round series, so winning game one will be crucial for both teams.

Today in Sports: 4/14/17 Review

NHL:

Montreal Canadiens defeat New York Rangers 4-3 (OT): The Montreal Canadiens won game two to even the series at home against the New York Rangers. The Canadiens got off to an early start with a goal in the first five minutes of the first period. The Rangers and Canadiens would each score once more before the second period. The Rangers would take a 3-2 lead by scoring twice in the second period. The Canadiens looked like they were in major trouble before Tomas Plekanec would score the tying goal with 18 seconds left in the third period. Alexander Radulov would score the game winning goal late in the first overtime period to clinch the victory. Game three will be played on Sunday in New York.

Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1: The Pittsburgh Penguins were able to take a commanding 2-0 series lead with a home victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Penguins scored the first goal when superstar Sidney Crosby got the puck past Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The Blue Jackets would tie the score in the second period, but the Penguins would once again take the lead just 51 seconds after the Blue Jackets lone goal. The Penguins would tack on two more goals in the third period. This series heads to Columbus with game three being played on Sunday.

St. Louis Blues defeat Minnesota Wild 2-1: The St. Louis Blues were able to take a commanding 2-0 series lead with another road victory against the Minnesota Wild. Both teams scored a goal in the first period, and didn’t score in the second period. The Blues were able to score the game winning goal late in the third period when Jaden Schwartz was able to get his shot past Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk. Game three will be played on Sunday in St. Louis.

Edmonton Oilers defeat San Jose Sharks 2-0: The Edmonton Oilers won the second game of the series against the San Jose Sharks. They were able to tie the series before heading on the road to San Jose. Losing this game would’ve been catastrophic for Edmonton, so having goalie Cam Talbot produce a shutout was crucial. The Oilers would score first in the first minute of the second period. They would tack on an insurance goal halfway through the third period. These teams will play game three on Sunday.

Today in Sports: 4/14/17 Preview

NHL:

New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens: The New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens will face-off in the second game of this first round playoff series. After pulling off the upset on the road in game one, the Rangers will look to take a commanding 2-0 lead before returning home to New York. The Canadiens need to win this game at home. They were the better team during the regular season, and they’ll need to prove it tonight.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins: The Columbus Blue Jackets will face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in the second game of this first round playoff series. The Penguins look to win at home again like they did in the first game of the series. The Penguins were one of the best teams all season, and will look to keep the Blue Jackets from evening the series before heading to Columbus. Although it’s not essential for the Blue Jackets to win this game, it would be extremely helpful if they could even the series before heading back home.

St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild: The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild will do battle in the second game of this first round playoff series. The Blues were able to pull off the upset on the road in the first game of this series. The Wild are the favorites to win the series, and will need to win this game to avoid going on the road down two games to none. This game isn’t crucial for the Blues, but it would make it extremely likely that they’d win the series if they can pull off another upset tonight.

San Jose Sharks at Edmonton Oilers:  The San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers will face-off in the second game of this first round playoff series. The Sharks were able to win the first game of the series in Edmonton, and will be looking to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series before heading back home to San Jose. The Oilers cannot afford to lose this game, so they’ll need to make adjustments after losing game one.

Today in Sports: 4/13/17 Review

NHL:

Washington Capitals defeat Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 (OT): In the best game of the night, the Washington Capitals defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first game of their first round playoff matchup. The final goal was scored by Tom Wilson just 5 minutes and 15 seconds into the first overtime period. The Maple Leafs started fast with two goals within the first ten minutes of the first period. The Capitals’ Justin Williams would score the last two goals in regulation to send the game to overtime. The Maple Leafs and Capitals will play game two on Saturday in Washington.

Nashville Predators defeat Chicago Blackhawks 1-0: The Nashville Predators pulled the upset in game one of this first round series against the Chicago Blackhawks. The lone goal was scored by Viktor Arvidsson less than ten minutes into the first period. The Blackhawks put more shots on goal than the Predators, but they were not able to get the puck past Pekka Rinne. Rinne had 29 saves in this stunning upset in Chicago. The Predators and Blackhawks will play game two on Saturday in Chicago.

Anaheim Ducks defeat Calgary Flames 3-2: The Anaheim Ducks won the first game of this series at home against the Calgary Flames. Ryan Getzlaf scored the first goal for Anaheim less than a minute into the first period. Calgary would answer with the next two goals scored by Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett, respectively. The Ducks would clinch the victory with the next two goals scored by Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg. These two teams will meet again for the second game of the series on Saturday in Anaheim.

Today in Sports: 4/13/17 Preview

NBA:

With the NBA regular season concluding yesterday and the playoffs starting Saturday, we’ll have to suffer through two days without NBA basketball.

 

NHL:

Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals: The Maple Leafs and Capitals will do battle in the first game of their first round playoff matchup. The Washington Capitals are the top seed in the Eastern Conference and will be heavy favorites against the Maple Leafs. Toronto snuck into the playoffs as the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference, but they have enough talent to make this series competitive.

Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks and Predators will face-off in the first game of their first round playoff series. As the top seed in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks look poised to make another postseason run. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015, it seems like they should win the title again this year. The Predators are the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference. They’ll be heavy underdogs, but they should have enough firepower to win at least one game in the series.

Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks: The Flames and Ducks play tonight in the first game of their first round playoff series. Although both the Ducks and Flames had good regular seasons, the Ducks are the heavy favorites in this matchup. The Ducks are the more talented team and should win the series if they play up to their potential. Anaheim was one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the last month of the regular season, and should be able to use that momentum to propel themselves into a long postseason run.

Today in Sports: 4/12/17 Review

NBA:

Toronto Raptors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 98-83: The Cavaliers decided a few days ago that it is more important to rest their starters before the playoffs than try and compete for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. The defending champion Cavaliers are confident that they can win a seven game series against the Celtics without home-court advantage. The last time these two teams played, the Cavaliers dominated the Celtics in Boston. It’s hard to bet against LeBron James, but the Cavaliers aren’t playing their best basketball heading into the postseason. This strategy will be questioned all offseason if the Cavaliers don’t make it back to the NBA Finals. Although this game was played by backups for both teams, this could be a potential second round playoff matchup. The Raptors are a much more dangerous team with the additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline. With the return of a healthy Kyle Lowry, this Raptors team has enough firepower to make an NBA Finals run.

Boston Celtics defeat Milwaukee Bucks 112-94: In a game that was a lot closer than the score suggests, the Boston Celtics were able to clinch the number one seed in the Eastern Conference by defeating the Bucks. This game was extremely close through three quarters before the Celtics were able to pull away in the fourth quarter. The Bucks were resting most of their starters including superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. This game shouldn’t have been close, but it seemed like the Celtics were feeling the pressure of competing for the top seed. Since the Cavaliers lost, the Celtics would’ve been the number one seed even if they lost this game. If this is how the Celtics play under pressure, they may have a disappointing showing in the playoffs.

Miami Heat defeat Washington Wizards 110-102: The Miami Heat’s improbable season came to an end after a victory over the Wizards. The Heat needed either the Indiana Pacers or Chicago Bulls to lose in order to clinch a spot in the playoffs, but both of those teams won and clinched playoff berths. The Heat had one of the greatest endings to a season for a non-playoff team in NBA history. They had a ton of injuries and had one of the worst records in the NBA halfway through the season, but they never gave up. Coach Erik Spoelstra deserves a ton of credit for the way he led his team to the precipice of the playoffs. Although they came up short, this season proves Miami has a bright future ahead of them.

Indiana Pacers defeat Atlanta Hawks 104-86: The Indiana Pacers clinched the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference with a win against the Hawks. The Pacers would’ve missed the playoffs if they lost this game. The Pacers have a great challenge ahead of them in the first round of the playoffs when they face the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Although LeBron has had the Pacers’ number in past postseason matchups, this year’s Cavaliers limped into the playoffs. The Pacers aren’t as big of a threat as they’ve been in year’s past, but they still have superstar Paul George leading the way. George looks like the pre-injury Paul George again, and that could be a major problem for the Cavaliers. The defending champions will be heavy favorites in this series, but you can’t sleep on a team with a superstar of Paul George’s caliber.

Playoff standings –

Western Conference:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. San Antonio Spurs
  3. Houston Rockets
  4. Los Angeles Clippers
  5. Utah Jazz
  6. Oklahoma City Thunder
  7. Memphis Grizzlies
  8. Portland Trail Blazers

Eastern Conference:

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Toronto Raptors
  4. Washington Wizards
  5. Atlanta Hawks
  6. Milwaukee Bucks
  7. Indiana Pacers
  8. Chicago Bulls

Today in Sports: 4/12/17 Preview

NBA:

All non-playoff teams: Fans of non-playoff teams should watch their team’s season finale. This will be the last time to watch your team until next season.

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers: Although this is an extremely important game for the Cavaliers, there is a good chance that they will rest their starters. The Cavaliers are in second place in the Eastern Conference and are just one game behind the Boston Celtics. They rested LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in their last game, which cost them the top seed in the playoffs. The Cavaliers seem to care more about resting their players than getting the top seed. The Cavaliers destroyed the Celtics in Boston the last time they played, so they might not be worried about beating the Celtics on the road in the playoffs. This strategy is extremely risky and may come back to bite them in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics: The Boston Celtics are currently one game ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. With Milwaukee already locking up the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, there’s a good chance the Bucks will rest their starters including superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. This could help the Celtics clinch home-court advantage.

Washington Wizards at Miami Heat: This game is a must-win for the Miami Heat. They are currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. They are tied with the eighth seeded Chicago Bulls, but they don’t own the tiebreaker. They are one game behind the seventh seeded Indiana Pacers, but in this case they own the tiebreaker over Indiana. If the Heat lose to the Wizards, their valiant effort to get back into postseason contention will be wasted. There are multiple scenarios that could lead to the Heat making the playoffs. If the Heat and Pacers win and Bulls lose, the Pacers and Heat will be the seventh and eighth seeds, respectively.  If the Heat and Bulls win and Pacers lose, the Bulls and Heat will be the seventh and eighth seeds, respectively. If all three teams win, the Heat will stay in ninth place and will miss the playoffs. The Heat must win and hope either the Bulls or Pacers lose.

Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers: The Indiana Pacers control their own destiny. If the Pacers beat the Hawks, they will clinch the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. If the Pacers lose, they could fall to eighth place if the Heat or Bulls win. The Pacers will miss the playoffs if they lose and both the Heat and Bulls win. If all three teams win or lose, the playoff standings will remain the same. The Hawks have already clinched the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and may decide to sit their starters. This would be an enormous help for the Pacers. Indiana cannot focus on all the potential playoff scenarios, they just need to focus on themselves and beat the Hawks to clinch a spot in the playoffs.