NFL: Kansas City Chiefs def Baltimore Ravens 34-20
In one of the most highly anticipated Monday Night Football games in recent memory, 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs outdueled 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. Mahomes was on fire from the get-go, ending the night with 385 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jackson, on the other hand, struggled all night, only passing for 97 yards while picking up another 83 on the ground. Jackson has made huge strides as a passer, but seemed to revert back to his rookie year form missing easy throws and reads throughout the game. Given how talented both teams are, there might be a rematch in the playoffs if these teams live up to their expectations.
NFL: Week 3 scores
NBA: Miami Heat defeat Boston Celtics 125-113 in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals – Heat win series 4-2
The Miami Heat secured their spot in the NBA Finals with a 125-113 win over the Boston Celtics in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Bam Adebayo scored a game-high 32 points, to go along with 14 rebounds and 5 assists. Jayson Tatum had a very inefficient 24 points, which was not nearly enough to keep his team’s season alive. The Heat will face off against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Game one is scheduled for Wednesday, September 30th at 6 PM PT on ABC.
UFC: UFC 253 Adesanya def Costa (Second round TKO)
Dana White’s fight of the year prediction could not have been further from the truth. Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya made easy work of contender Paulo Costa with a dominant TKO victory in the second round of their championship fight. Costa’s claim to fame has been his relentless aggression and lack of fear, but he seemed to overthink things playing into the hands of Adesanya. Instead of being aggressive, Costa was overly cautious and decided to fight Adesanya, a former kickboxing star, at his own game allowing Adesanya to pick him apart with timely leg kicks and jabs. Costa’s biggest issue in the past has been his gas tank, so it was understandable that he wouldn’t be overly aggressive in order to preserve energy in his first five round fight. But he took that strategy too far, spending more time mocking Adesanya than throwing his powerful overhand right. Still a relatively young fighter, Costa will still be a middleweight contender for years to come. Adesanya is climbing the ranks of all time greats with another dominant performance. He’ll likely face the winner of Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier for his next title defense. In all likelihood, the loser of that fight will face Costa with a championship opportunity on the line.
I will be taking a break from the “Today in Sports” column of my blog. I will occasionally post a “Today in Sports” preview and review article when there is an important sporting event happening. But now that the NBA and NHL playoffs have concluded, I will not be posting a “Today in Sports” column every day.
Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120: The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers to win the 2017 NBA championship. This is the first championship for Finals MVP Kevin Durant. Although this helps his legacy, it’s hard to overlook that he joined the best team in NBA history (a team that he lost to in the playoffs) to win the title. Durant was fantastic in these finals, scoring 30 or more points in all five games. He finished this game with 39 points on 14-20 shooting from the field. Stephen Curry added 34 points of his own. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson didn’t consistently put up points, but they were fantastic on the defensive end of the floor all series. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love picked a bad day to struggle. Although Irving’s 26 points seems impressive, he struggled down the stretch when his team needed him most. Kevin Love finished the game with only 6 points. That’s not even close to good enough. J.R. Smith backed up his “Cavs in 7” tweet with a fantastic game, scoring 26 points on 9-11 shooting from the field. He shot 7-8 from three-point range. LeBron James was the best player in this series. He became the first player in NBA Finals history to average a triple-double. He’s now 3-5 in his 8 Finals appearances, but it’s hard to blame him. He’s been the underdog in six of the 8 Finals matchups. LeBron finished game five with 41 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists. Congrats to the Golden State Warriors!
Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Nashville Predators 6-0: In what was an embarrassing beatdown for the Predators, the Penguins took a commanding 3-2 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Penguins scored three goals in the first and second periods. For some reason, Pekka Rinne has been great at home and terrible on the road in the Stanley Cup Finals. Once again, he let his team down. But Rinne’s teammates didn’t do him any favors. They were not able to score a single goal. With the home team winning the first five games of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Predators will be favored in game six at home. They’ll have to win to keep their season alive. These two teams will play game six on Sunday in Nashville.
Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 118-113: The Warriors stole game three from the Cavaliers to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Warriors were losing after three quarters, but outscored the Cavaliers 29-19 in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. The Warriors would score the game’s final 11 points. LeBron James had a fantastic game, but seemed to run out of gas down the stretch. He hasn’t gotten enough help from his teammates. LeBron’s stat line of 39 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists shows how much of the burden he had to take offensively. Kevin Durant has been better in this series, but he’s had a lot more help than LeBron. Durant finished the game with 31 points and 8 rebounds. Klay Thompson has found his stroke after a disappointing first game. He finished with 30 points and played stellar defense once again. Stephen Curry had 26 points and a staggering 13 rebounds. Kyrie Irving finished with 38 points, but his “hero ball” mentality at the end of the game cost the Cavaliers. Kevin Love only had 9 points, which was a major disappointment for Cleveland. Irving and Love haven’t been able to both put together great games in the same game. LeBron needs them both to play at an extremely high level to beat the Warriors. But for all intents and purposes, this series is over. These two teams will play game four on Friday in Cleveland.
Washington Nationals defeat Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1: The Nationals won 2-1 to complete a series victory over the Dodgers. They’ve won the first two games of the series, with game three coming tomorrow in another stellar pitching matchup between Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw. The Nationals and Dodgers would both score a run in the first inning. Max Scherzer would strike out 9 batters in the first three innings (a batter would advance to first on one of the strikeouts because the ball got past the catcher). Brandon McCarthy was also impressive, but was outdueled by Scherzer. The Nationals would score the game’s final run in the fourth inning on a Daniel Murphy sacrifice fly. These two teams will play the third and final game of the series tomorrow in Los Angeles.
Nashville Predators defeat Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1: The Predators defeated the Penguins 4-1 to even the Stanley Cup Finals at two games apiece. Through four games, both teams have won their two home games. Pekka Rinne looks like a different goalie in Nashville, after struggling during his two games in Pittsburgh. He made a number of unbelievable saves that were key in this game four victory. The Predators started the scoring with a goal late in the first period. Pittsburgh would answer a minute later with a goal by Sidney Crosby. Nashville would respond by scoring twice in the second period. Late in the third period, the Penguins would pull their goalie and allow a fourth and final goal. These two teams will play game five on Thursday in Pittsburgh.
Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 132-113: The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals. With the Warriors holding serve at home, both teams will fly to Cleveland to play games three and four of the series. The game was close at halftime, but the Warriors took over in the second half. LeBron James had a great performance, but was outplayed again by Kevin Durant. James has a lot less to work with, so it takes more out of him to outplay Durant than vice versa. LeBron had a triple-double, scoring 29 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds. James was in attack mode in the first half, which was both effective and impressive to watch. He was in facilitator mode in the second half, which was somewhat impressive and extremely ineffective. LeBron didn’t seem to have the energy to attack the entire game due to the hectic up-and-down pace both teams were playing at. Kevin Love had an impressive game, scoring 27 points on 12-23 shooting from the field. Kyrie Irving had an awful night, scoring 19 points but shooting an abysmal 8-23 from the field. Durant scored a game-high 33 points on 13-22 shooting from the field. Curry almost matched his total with 32 points. Draymond Green had a nice all-around game. Klay Thompson broke out of his shooting woes and dominated on both ends of the floor. He scored 22 points on 8-12 shooting from the field, including making four of his seven three-point attempts. Neither bench was extremely productive, but the Warriors got more out of their bench than the Cavaliers did. J.R. Smith was terrible once again. He scored zero points, and has more turnovers than points in this series. Iman Shumpert didn’t shoot well, but played his usual tenacious defense. He should probably start in game three instead of Smith. These two teams will play game three of the Finals on Wednesday in Cleveland.
Nashville Predators defeat Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1: The Nashville Predators kept serve at home to win their first game of the series. After losing the first two games in Pittsburgh, the Predators needed to win this game to avoid falling behind by an insurmountable three games to zero. The Penguins got on the board first early in the first period. The Predators would respond by scoring the next five goals in the second and third periods. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne would have his first solid performance of the Stanley Cup Finals in his team’s most important game of the season. These two teams will play game four of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday in Nashville.
Houston Astros defeat Texas Rangers 7-1: The Astros defeated the Rangers in game one of this three-game set. Dallas Keuchel got the win, improving his record to 9-0 on the season. He’s been the best pitcher in baseball on the best team in baseball all season long. Carlos Correa started the scoring with a three-run home run in the fifth inning off of Rangers starter Yu Darvish. These would be the only three runs that Darvish would allow all game. The Astros would tack on four more runs in the eighth inning off of Rangers reliever Dillon Gee. Keuchel didn’t allow a run in his six innings pitched. He lowered his ERA to an astounding 1.67 for the season. Adrian Beltre would hit a solo home run for the Rangers in the ninth inning, but it was too little, too late. These two teams will play game two of the series tomorrow in Arlington, Texas.
Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91: The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals. Although the first half of the game was relatively close, the Warriors took over in the third quarter and never looked back. LeBron James’ stat line of 28 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists looks impressive, but they don’t coincide with the performance he put out on the court. James was responsible for 8 of Cleveland’s 20 turnovers and struggled on the defensive end of the floor. On the contrary, Kevin Durant had 0 turnovers in 38 minutes of play. His impressive stat line of 38 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists matched what I saw during the game. He was clearly the best player on the court. In order for the Cavaliers to win, LeBron needs to be the best player on the court. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson struggled with their shots, but played stellar defense all game long. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love had solid games, but nobody for Cleveland stepped up besides their big three. The Cavaliers will need a bigger contribution from their other two starters and bench players. These two teams will play game two on Sunday in Oakland.
Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Nashville Predators 4-1: The Penguins defeated the Predators to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Predators scored the first goal in the first period, but it was all downhill for Nashville from there. The Penguins would respond four minutes later with a goal that should’ve been stopped by Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. He’s had a terrible first two games of the series. The score remained tied heading into the third period until the Penguins scored ten seconds after the second intermission. They would add two more goals three minutes later. Those two goals were just fifteen seconds apart. Rinne will have to step up his game in Nashville if the Predators are going to make this series competitive. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in Nashville.
Washington Nationals defeat San Francisco Giants 6-3: The Nationals defeated the Giants to win the second game of this three-game set. The Nationals have claimed the series after winning both of the first two games. Washington got off to a hot start by scoring three runs in the first two innings. The Giants responded in the second inning with two runs of their own. But the Nationals would score another three runs in the fifth inning. San Francisco would score a run in the seventh, but weren’t able to complete the comeback and defeat the Nationals. These two teams will play the third and final game of this series tomorrow in San Francisco.
Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Nashville Predators 5-3: In an exciting first game of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Penguins defeated the Predators to take a 1-0 series lead. The Predators scored the first goal of the game before it was controversially overturned because of an offsides call. There didn’t seem to be conclusive video evidence to overturn the call, but the refs decided to take away the goal anyways. This would play a huge role in the outcome of the game. The Penguins would score the first three goals of the game late in the first period. Nashville would finally get on the board in the second period on a power play goal. Nashville would score twice in the third period to tie the game. The Penguins would go a Stanley Cup record 37 minutes without a shot on goal before scoring the game-winning goal late in the third period. If the bogus offsides call wasn’t made, the game would’ve been tied at four. Pittsburgh added a fifth goal with a minute remaining after Nashville pulled their goalie. It’s unfortunate that a fantastic game will be remembered because of the bad call that cost Nashville a shot of winning in overtime. These two teams will play game two on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Los Angeles Dodgers defeat Chicago Cubs 9-4: The Dodgers defeated the Cubs to complete the three-game series sweep over the defending World Series champions. Jon Lester struggled for the Cubs, giving up six runs in 3.1 innings. He is now 3-3 on the season with a 3.86 ERA. His ERA isn’t too bad, but his 3-3 record is surprising for a pitcher of his caliber. Clayton Kershaw also struggled, giving up four runs and eleven hits in 4.1 innings. He was not the pitcher of record for the Dodgers. Josh Fields came on in relief and got the victory. He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings without giving up a hit. All thirteen combined runs were scored via the long ball. In what was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel, this game was full of offense.
Toronto Blue Jays defeat Texas Rangers 3-1: The Blue Jays defeated the Rangers 3-1 in the second game of their three-game set. The Blue Jays have won each of the series’ first two games. Shin-Soo Choo started the scoring in the first inning when he hit a solo home run to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Toronto responded in the fifth inning with a home run of their own. Jose Bautista hit a three-run home run to give Toronto the lead for good. Neither team would score a run outside of their home runs. These two teams will play the third and final game of the series tomorrow in Toronto.
Atlanta Braves defeat San Francisco Giants 2-0: The Braves defeated the Giants in the first game of their three-game set. Both Jaime Garcia and Matt Cain pitched well enough to win. Garcia pitched 6.2 innings without giving up a run. The bullpen finished off the final 2.1 innings without giving up a hit. Cain gave up 2 runs in 7 innings. Garcia helped his own cause by knocking in both runs with an RBI single. The second run scored on a throwing error by left fielder Brandon Belt. These two teams will play game two of the series tomorrow in San Francisco.
Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Boston Celtics 135-102: The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals. This is the third consecutive year that the Cavaliers will face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 23 points. He’s been their most consistent player on both ends of the floor throughout the postseason. LeBron James had another stellar game, scoring a game-high 35 points on 13-18 shooting from the field. He’s proven all postseason that he’s still the best player in the world. The Cavaliers will face the Golden State Warriors in game one of the NBA Finals next Thursday in Oakland.
Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Ottawa Senators 3-2 (2OT): WOW, what a game! This is why the playoffs are exciting. There are no two words more exciting in sports than game seven, and this game was more exciting than most game sevens. The Penguins scored the first goal of the game in the second period, but the Senators responded with a goal twenty seconds later. The Penguins took the lead again in the third period with a power play goal. Once again, the Senators responded with a goal to tie the game a few minutes later. Neither team would score again in regulation, so the game would head to overtime. Neither team scored in the first overtime period, so the game headed to a second overtime. Chris Kunitz would score the game-winning goal in the second overtime, which was his second goal of the game. This goal clinched a Stanley Cup Finals berth for the Penguins. The Penguins will host the Nashville Predators in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday.
Boston Red Sox defeat Texas Rangers 9-4: The Red Sox defeated the Rangers in the second game of their three-game set. The Red Sox clinched the series by winning the series’ first two games. The Red Sox scored the first run of the game in the third inning on an RBI single by Mookie Betts. The Rangers tied the game in the fourth inning and took the lead in the fifth by scoring two runs. Boston put the game out of reach in the seventh inning by scoring seven runs. These two teams will play the final game of the series on Thursday in Boston.
St. Louis Cardinals defeat Los Angeles Dodgers 6-1: The Cardinals defeated the Dodgers in the second game of their three-game set. With each team winning a game in the series, the third game will be the rubber match. The Cardinals scored the first six runs of the game before the Dodgers answered with a run in the seventh inning. But it was too little, too late. The Cardinals were able to shut the Dodgers down in the eighth and ninth innings to claim the victory. These two teams will play the final game of the series on Thursday in Los Angeles.
Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Boston Celtics 112-99: The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics to take a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics led by 10 points at halftime, largely due to the stellar play of Avery Bradley. Bradley scored a team-high 19 point and played at a high level on the defensive end of the floor. But the second half belonged to the Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James took over the game in the third and fourth quarters. Irving and James scored 42 points and 34 points, respectively. Kevin Love tallied 17 points and 17 rebounds. This was a pivotal game for the Cavaliers’ big three. With Isaiah Thomas out for the remainder of the season, the Cavaliers will be favorites to finish the series in the next game. These two teams will play game five on Thursday in Boston.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Boston Celtics
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Phoenix Suns
- Sacramento Kings
- Orlando Magic
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- New York Knicks
- Dallas Mavericks
- Sacramento Kings
- Charlotte Hornets
- Detroit Pistons
- Denver Nuggets
- Miami Heat
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Always Dreaming
- Lookin At Lee
- Battle of Midway
- Classic Empire
- Practical Joke
- Irish War Cry
- J Boys Echo
- Fast and Accurate
- State of Honor
- Thunder Snow
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The NFL Draft concluded with rounds four through seven in Philadelphia. Check out The Miles Files for analysis from all three days of the NFL Draft.
Check out The Miles Files for my NFL Draft analysis.
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.
NFL Draft: The Miles Files has all your draft needs covered
- Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett: DE – Texas A&M
- Chicago Bears (from San Francisco 49ers) select Mitchell Trubisky: QB – North Carolina
- San Francisco 49ers (from Chicago Bears) select Solomon Thomas: DE – Stanford
- Jacksonville Jaguars select Leonard Fournette: RB – LSU
- Tennessee Titans select Corey Davis: WR – Western Michigan
- New York Jets select Jamal Adams: SS – LSU
- Los Angeles Chargers select Mike Williams: WR – Clemson
- Carolina Panthers select Christian McCaffrey: RB/WR – Stanford
- Cincinnati Bengals select John Ross: WR – Washington
- Kansas City Chiefs (from Buffalo Bills) select Patrick Mahomes: QB – Texas Tech
- New Orleans Saints select Marshon Lattimore: CB – Ohio State
- Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns) select Deshaun Watson: QB – Clemson
- Arizona Cardinals select Haason Reddick: LB – Temple
- Philadelphia Eagles select Derek Barnett: DE – Tennessee
- Indianapolis Colts select Malik Hooker: FS – Ohio State
- Baltimore Ravens select Marlon Humphrey: CB – Alabama
- Washington Redskins select Jonathan Allen: DE/DT – Alabama
- Tennessee Titans select Adoree’ Jackson: CB – USC
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers select O.J. Howard: TE – Alabama
- Denver Broncos select Garett Bolles: OT – Utah
- Detroit Lions select Jarrad Davis: LB – Florida
- Miami Dolphin select Charles Harris: DE – Missouri
- New York Giants select Evan Engram: TE – Mississippi
- Oakland Raiders select Gareon Conley: CB – Ohio State
- Cleveland Browns select Jabrill Peppers: ATH – Michigan
- Atlanta Falcons (from Seattle Seahawks) select Takkarist McKinley: DE/OLB – UCLA
- Buffalo Bills select Tre’Davious White: CB – LSU
- Dallas Cowboys select Taco Charlton: DE – Michigan
- Cleveland Brown (from Green Bay Packers) select David Njoku: TE – Miami
- Pittsburgh Steelers select T.J. Watt: OLB – Wisconsin
- San Francisco 49ers (from Seattle Seahawks from Atlanta Falcons) select Reuben Foster: LB – Alabama
- New Orleans Saints select Ryan Ramczyk: OT – Wisonsin
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
- Golden State Warriors
- San Antonio Spurs
- Houston Rockets
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Utah Jazz
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Boston Celtics
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Toronto Raptors
- Washington Wizards
- Atlanta Hawks
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Indiana Pacers
- Chicago Bulls
Atlanta Hawks defeat Charlotte Hornets 103-76: The Atlanta Hawks locked up the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a win against the Hornets. They have a one game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks and own the tiebreaker, so they may sit their starters in their season finale. The Hawks will face the Washington Wizards in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks and Wizards are trending in the opposite directions as of late, but that shouldn’t matter once the playoffs begin. Washington has struggled recently, but they have the more talented team and home-court advantage over the Hawks. The winner of this series will face the top seed in the Eastern Conference (unless the eighth seed pulls an upset), which will likely be the Boston Celtics.
Los Angeles Lakers defeat New Orleans Pelicans 108-96 AND Sacramento Kings defeat Phoenix Suns 129-104: With all four of these teams out of playoff contention, these two games had teams that should have been trying to lose. The Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns were competing for the worst record in the Western Conference. Although the Brooklyn Nets have the worst record in the NBA (and their pick will go to the Boston Celtics), the Suns and Lakers were the two teams with the possibility of having the second worst record. This would give them the second highest chance of winning the NBA draft lottery. With the Suns losing and Lakers winning, the Suns locked up the second worst record in the NBA. If the Lakers pick falls outside the top three, the pick will belong to the Philadelphia 76ers. Because they could lose their pick, the Lakers should have been trying to lose every game down the stretch. But their victory over the Pelicans is their fifth straight win. The Lakers are losing by winning. They can’t even tank right. This winning streak could come back to bite them if they lose their pick to the Sixers.
Miami Heat defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 124-121 (OT): For the second straight day, the Cleveland Cavaliers blew a fourth quarter lead before losing in overtime. This game was a lot different than Sunday’s loss against the Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers were tied with the Boston Celtics with the best record in the Eastern Conference before yesterday’s game, but decided to bench LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. If they didn’t rest their stars, the Cavaliers would’ve won and would likely be the top seed. But for some reason the struggling Cavaliers thought it was more important to rest their starters than try and gain home-court advantage. They dominated the Boston Celtics in Boston the last time they played, so it seems like they don’t believe they need home-court advantage to make it to the NBA finals. The Heat had to win this game in order to stay in playoff contention after both the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls won earlier in the day. The Heat need to win their last game and have the Bulls lose to make the postseason as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Milwaukee Bucks defeat Charlotte Hornets 89-79: The Milwaukee Bucks won their last home game of the season against the Hornets behind Giannis Antetokounmpo’s triple-double. With the Hornets having nothing to play for, this was a game that the Bucks couldn’t afford to lose. The Bucks are now a half game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the fifth seed and one game ahead of the Indiana Pacers for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. The last game for Milwaukee will be against the Boston Celtics, who currently have a one game lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. This will be a pivotal game for both teams.
Los Angeles Clippers defeat Houston Rockets 125-96: In a game that meant nothing to the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers won in convincing fashion to stay in fourth place in the Western Conference. The Rockets already have the third seed locked up, so coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t play their key players their usual minutes. The Clippers were tied with the Utah Jazz heading into today’s game, but owned the tiebreaker over Utah. They will play each other in the first round of the playoffs, but the last game will decide which team will get home-court advantage.
Utah Jazz defeat Golden State Warriors 105-99: The Utah Jazz won against the NBA’s best team without their star player. Gordon Hayward didn’t play yesterday, but that didn’t stop the Jazz from pulling out the victory. Klay Thompson didn’t play for the Warriors either, but Hayward is a more important piece for the Jazz than Thompson is for the Warriors. The Warriors have already clinched the number one seed in the Western Conference, so this game was meaningless to them. With this victory, the Jazz kept pace with the Clippers after they defeated the Houston Rockets. With one game remaining for the Jazz and Clippers, Utah needs to win and have the Clippers lose in order to jump them in the standings. If both teams win or lose, then the Clippers will have home-court advantage over the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.
Sergio!!!!!! Sergio Garcia finally got the monkey off his back and won a major for the first time in his career. Although it looked as though Sergio may have once again blown his chance when he missed an easy put to win on the 18th hole, he was able to keep his composure and win on the first playoff hole against Justin Rose. Sergio had back-to-back bogies on the 10th and 11th holes and hit a terrible shot to start the 12th hole before miraculously saving par. These three holes put him two shots behind Rose, but he was able to tie him heading into the last hole after Rose bogeyed on 17. Sergio missed an easy put on 18 that would have won him his first career major, but that didn’t end up haunting him. Garcia was able to birdie the first playoff hole to win his first major. Sergio Garcia will no longer have to deal with the label of being one of the world’s greatest golfers without a major.
Atlanta Hawks defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 126-125 (OT): What a game! The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to struggle heading towards postseason play. They blew a 26 point 4th quarter lead in shocking fashion. Although there were a few questionable calls down the stretch that helped Atlanta send the game into overtime, the Cavaliers shouldn’t have let the game get that close in the first place. The Cavaliers are now tied with the Boston Celtics for the best record in the Eastern Conference with two games remaining. The Cavaliers still control their own destiny because they own the tiebreaker over Boston. The Hawks are still in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Oklahoma City Thunder defeat Denver Nuggets 106-105: Again, what a game! Russell Westbrook recorded his record breaking 42nd triple double of the season in dramatic fashion. Westbrook had 16 rebounds and 10 assists to go along with a game high 50 points. He broke the hearts of Nuggets fans by hitting a deep three at the buzzer to win the game. This loss knocked the Nuggets out of contention for the Western Conference’s last spot in the playoffs. The Portland Trail Blazers will be the eighth seed and will face the Golden State Warriors in the first round.
Third-round play at The Masters concluded with a tie at the top of the leaderboard. Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia are tied at -6 heading into Sunday’s final round. Jordan Spieth had another nice round on Saturday and is now tied for fourth place at -4. Sergio Garcia is one of the world’s most prominent golfers without a major. He’ll try and finally break that streak on Sunday.
Boston Celtics defeat Charlotte Hornets 121-114: The Boston Celtics won an important game in Charlotte against the Hornets. The Hornets have nothing to play for but pride, and made the game close after a dominating third quarter. Nicolas Batum’s 31 points and 8 rebounds led the Hornets. Isaiah Thomas led his team with 32 points in this must-win game. The Celtics are now a half game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn Nets defeat Chicago Bulls 107-106: The Chicago Bulls continue to disappoint with another baffling loss. The Bulls are in the thick of the playoff hunt, but laid an egg against the NBA’s worst team. The Nets don’t have an incentive to tank because their first round pick belongs to Boston, so they’ve continued to play hard despite being the laughingstock of the league. Dwyane Wade scored 14 points in his return and superstar Jimmy Butler put in 33 points. But that wasn’t enough as the Bulls fall to eighth place in the Eastern Conference with two games remaining. They are tied with the ninth seeded Miami Heat and are in danger of missing the playoffs.
Miami Heat defeat Washington Wizards 106-103: The Miami Heat won another impressive road game against a Washington Wizards team that is trying to get the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards are currently in fourth place, just one game behind the third seeded Toronto Raptors. With their playoff ticket already punched, they are trying to improve their seed so they can avoid the Cavaliers in the second round. On the other hand, the Miami Heat would be at home if the playoffs started today. They are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, but are tied with the eighth seeded Chicago Bulls. With the Bulls owning the tiebreaker, the Heat will have to jump ahead of them in the standings with only two games remaining.
Portland Trail Blazers defeat Utah Jazz 101-86: The Portland Trail Blazers won an important game at home against the Utah Jazz. With this loss, the Jazz fell from fourth to fifth place in the Western Conference. They’ll face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, and have two games remaining that will determine which team will get the home-court advantage. The Trail Blazers are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference. They have a 1.5 game lead over the ninth seeded Denver Nuggets. The Trail Blazers control their own destiny, and are surging at the right time with eight wins in their last ten games.