Fear the Deer
The GIST: The NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals tipped off last night with the Milwaukee Bucks taking the first game 108–100 over the Toronto Raptors.
The deets: The Raps almost won this one. They came out strong with a 15-0 run in the first quarter (they scored 15 points without the Bucks scoring any), but they ended the game poorly, missing their last nine shots.
The positive? Kawhi Leonard had a big 31-point game and Kyle Lowry drained a playoff career-high seven three-pointers on his way to 30 points.
On the Bucks’ side, it was big man Giannis Antetokounmpo Brook Lopez (no relation to JLo) who led the team with 29 points. If you don’t recognize the name, that might be because Lopez scored a grand total of zero points last game (averaging only eight points per game these playoffs). Now that’s how you rebound.
Takeaways: It’s all good. The Raps played well. No need to panic. It’s just one loss. Next game the Raps will need to have Danny Green and Marc Gasol contribute more points.
Let’s talk Western Conference Finals: The Portland Trail Blazers are down one game after losing 116–94 to the reigning champs, the Golden State Warriors, in Game 1 on Tuesday.
What might be most impressive about the Warriors’ dominant win is that they did it all without leading scorer and reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, who remains sidelined with a calf injury.
But our favourite storyline from this series is Warriors’ Stephen Curry vs. Blazers’ Seth Curry (yes, there’s another Curry in the NBA), the first brother vs. brother conference finals battle. Parents Sonya and Dell Curry literally flipped a coin to decide who would cheer for who in the Curry Bowl. Tough life.
FYI: 78% of the teams that win the first game of a playoff series go on to win the entire shebang. Welp.
The real question is… if you were the Curry parents, who would you cheer for? How would you decide: a coin flip, a magic eight ball, a roll of the dice?
Lotto Max, NBA Style
The GIST: With a reaction like this, you might think the New Orleans Pelicans just won the NBA championship. But, what they actually won was Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, earning the right to draft first overall and the opportunity to pick up the best player available, Duke University’s Zion Williamson.
The Pelicans had just a 6% chance of winning the lottery, so this win is big. And the addition of Zion might just mean the Pelicans will be able to keep superstar Anthony Davis from abandoning ship.
The next three teams to draft will be the Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. These three teams will likely be looking to take Canadian R.J. Barrett or Murray State’s Ja Morant. More on the NBA Draft here.
Any questions about the NBA Draft Lottery? We want to hear them! Email us or ask below.
They Blew It
The GIST: Over in the NHL, the Boston Bruins have a stranglehold 3-0 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final while the San Jose Sharks have a 2-1 lead over the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final after a dramatic 5–4 overtime win last night.
You said drama?: You bet we did. Sharks’ Erik Karlsson ended this game with a very controversial overtime goal. Why so controversial? Because moments before the goal the referees missed a hand-pass call (a no-no in the NHL). If the refs made the proper call, the play would have been whistled down and Karlsson wouldn’t have scored.
And unfortunately hand-passes are not a reviewable play so the Blues had no chance to challenge the call. This is not how a team should lose. The refs absolutely blew it. Our hearts hurt for the Blues.
The bright side? This botched call will likely lead to some much needed updates to the NHL rulebook. Still, we hate to see this happen.
Boston: Yes, the team that everyone loves to hate is likely going to make it to the Stanley Cup Final, leaving Toronto Maple Leafs fans everywhere with either one of these two thoughts: “Well, at least we lost against the best team in the East,” or “I’m rattled. That could have been us.” *sigh*
Meanwhile, in Slovakia: The round robin of the World Hockey Championship is almost done, with Canada sitting in fourth in Group A with a 2-1 record.
The round robin wraps up next Tuesday with the top four teams in each group moving on to the quarterfinals, so Canada better hang in there.
Must see moments? This behind-the-back save from Italian goaltender Andreas Bernard and this last second game-winner from ex–Ottawa Senator Mark Stone to give Canada a 6–5 win over host Slovakia on Monday. What a finish.
How do you feel about the Bruins going for the sweep? We especially want to hear from you, Leafs fans.
Things to say to Niall Horan…
The GIST: Baby you’re perfect. Pop-music star Niall Horan announced on Tuesday that his golf management company, Modest Golf, will help turn the Northern Irish Open, a European Challenge Tour event, into a tournament for both men and women.
But wait. It gets better. The $500k purse will be split equally between the men’s and women’s tournament. Looks like golf is headed in the right direction.
Speaking of golf...: The season’s second major, the PGA Championship, tee’d off (literally) this morning in Farmingdale, NY. If it feels like this major snuck up on you, that’s because it did. Last year, the tournament was in August. Here’s why they changed it.
You probably remember Tiger Woods winning the first major of the season, The Masters, in epic fashion back in April. He hasn’t played a competitive round since The Masters due to some back issues, but there’s a chance all of that rest could pay off… that’s if he isn’t too distracted by his issues off the course.
What do you think? Will Tiger roar to a victory again?
Over in the WNBA: Yesterday, the NBA announced that Deloitte US CEO and former college basketball captain, Cathy Engelbert, as the first-ever WNBA commissioner. The prior leaders of the WNBA had been known as president.
Engelbert became the first female CEO of the four major accounting firms ever in 2015 so you better believe that being the ‘first’ is nothing new to this superstar.
Double Double, Toil and Trouble
The GIST: On Tuesday, Toronto Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finally got the MLB home run monkey off his back by hitting not only one, but two home runs. His homer in the first inning was a ridiculous 113.7MPH blast for the hardest-hit home run for the Jays this season. And, at 20 years, 59 days, Vladdy is the youngest Jay to ever hit it out of the park. Damn, Vladdy!