While you were out celebrating Mother’s Day with all the important mothers in your lives, you may have missed several things this weekend. Not only are we focusing on Sunday and the wild set of Game 7’s in the NBA, but we will look at some NFL news from Thursday and beyond.
There will also be a full recap on the NHL playoffs as they head into the Conference Finals, and then we have the return of our Soccer and Cricket selection by Aman Huda.
Things like the UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals 2nd leg that was worth watching. Now I know that’s not something that happened over the weekend, but it’s still something that should be talked about.
In the second leg, Liverpool needed four goals to advance to the Finals. Those goals don’t come easy against a team like Barcelona who had a 3-0 aggregate led after the 1st leg. But that didn’t stop Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi as they both scored two goals each to take a 4-0 led in the second leg and 4-3 aggregate. Liverpool held on to win and will advance to the Champions League Finals against Tottenham Spurs.
But how the Spurs got there was even more remarkable. After being down 1-0 after the 1st leg against Ajax, Tottenham was looking to bounce back. Ajax came out strong scoring two first halftime goals to go up 3-0 on aggregate. It looked like Ajax was going to go to the Finals until Lucas Moura went crazy. Lucas got a hat trick to help bring Tottenham back in the game and tie the aggregate 3-3. The third goal came with seconds to go in the extra time. The Champions League Final will be played on Saturday, June 1 at 3:00 PM EST, so stay tuned to what happens three weeks from now.
Until then, we will continue to focus on the NBA and NHL playoffs.
Bucks destroy the Celtics and Kyrie’s hopes:
Milwaukee Bucks took their game one blow out and the comments of former Boston Celtics player, Paul Pierce, to heart. After a bad loss in Milwaukee by the Bucks, they turned around and won four straight games and proved why they are the No. 1 team in the league. Bucks’ MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 28.4 points as the Bucks went 4-1 in their series against the Boston Celtics. What does that mean for Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, who now entering the free agency list.
The Bucks will look even strong with G Malcolm Brogdon likely to return. They will be without Center Pau Gasol for the rest of playoffs due to foot surgery, but continue to see Brook Lopez, Ersan Ilyasova, and Nikola Mirotic minutes increase as they look to make it back to the finals for the first time since 1973-1974. They are also hoping to win it for the second time ever (1970-1971).
Warriors are a problem for Houston:
Golden State Warriors battled through Kevin Durant’s injury and Draymond Green fouling out to hold off the Houston Rockets in game 5 behind the tough shots of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. They continued those tough shots Friday night as the Warriors weren’t let the Rockets comeback after blowing the lead. The Rockets had the led all night in a close game, at one point it was a seven point lead for James Harden and the Rockets. Like the champs they are the Warriors battled back with Durant and took the series in six games with a 118-113 win. The Warriors are now four more wins away from making it to their 5th straight NBA Finals winning three of four.
Leonard, Raptors beat the Sixers at the buzzer.
As expected, the Raptors and Sixers battled through a seven game series that saw the Raptors come up big in the win. It was a back and forth series that saw Kyle Lowry be no help to Kawhi Leonard with ZERO points in game one. Leonard helped himself in this series. We also continue to see Joel Embiid get flagrant foul after flagrant as he looks to return to form to force a game seven with a big lift from Jimmy Butler. But when I say Leonard helped himself, I mean he dropped 41 points in game 7 including the game-winner with a tied game to win 92-90 and advance to the conference finals against the Bucks.
McCollum and lack of 3’s hurt the Nuggets
These are two teams I didn’t think would be playing for a chance to play in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. It has been a back and forth series as well. And it has been one for the ages as each team has taken turns winning games. And the Blazers had to defend their home court to force a 7th game with a 119-108 win.
In Game 7, the Blazers came back from 17 down in the first half to take a 100-96 win and the Nuggets didn’t help themselves as they missed 17 straight three point shoots. We can also thank C.J. McCollum for his 37 point effort that brought the Blazers back in the game. In fact, this whole series was McCollum’s series to shine as Damian Lillard struggled in several games this series, but do C.J. and Dame have what it takes to knock out the champs after making it to the conference finals for the first time since 2000.
Lakers search continue:
So last week, we thought a deal with Tyrone Lue was working to be finalized and the Lakers would now focus on the draft. However, Lue and the Lakers will not be together. The Lakers have now agreed in terms with Frank Vogel and will bring Jason Kidd on as an assistant coach.
Vogel had success coaching in Indiana when he took the Pacers to two back to back conference finals and led them to 50 + wins in four of the five seasons he coached there. Hopefully he could help the Lakers make the playoffs, but I still think there’s better options.
All these issues have upset the fans and led to fans protesting, and I absolutely agree. The Lakers fans feel like “Nepotism shouldn’t be involved,” and it is what’s wrong with the Lakers right now. I’m still waiting for Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka to bring in Marc Jackson or Stan Van Gundy has the head coach like I spoke about in my previous piece.
St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks both had to battle in game seven series to advance to the Western conference finals against each other. These two teams have built a great rivalry with each other over the years and if this series is anything like game one that saw the Sharks win 6-3, we could be in for an epic conference finals. Let’s see how the Blues bounce back in game two Monday night.
The Carolina Hurricanes went from barely making the playoffs, to beating the defending champions, Washington Capitals, in the first round and sweeping the New York Islanders in second round. But the Boston Bruins aren’t looking to give up that easily. They came into the 3rd period of game one and scored four goals as the Bruins beat the Hurricanes 5-2. Game two was no different as the Bruins won 6-2 and took a commanding 2-0 series lead. Can the Hurricanes bring themselves back into the series with at least one win on Tuesday or Thursday? Let’s wait and see if they have anything left in the tank!
Another move that we might have seen coming was the Seattle Seahawks moves, especially after the way they drafted. The Seahawks cut long-time WR Doug Baldwin and Safety Kam Chancellor. They also signed ex-Lions DE Ziggy Ansah. Baldwin also announced late Sunday that he will retire!
But how about the New England Patriots’ replacement for Robert Gronkowski after he announced his retirement. The Patriots signed TE Benjamin Watson to a one-year deal. And I honestly thought they would’ve tried to trade or draft one.
More Soccer: (Aman)
Manchester City crushes Brighton, crushes Liverpool’s heart:
Half-way through the Premier League season, Liverpool actually looked like favorites to win their maiden PL title. But, eventual draws and a close 2-1 loss to Manchester City (in which a Mohamed Salah goal was disallowed by 11 millimeters) resulted in City going ahead in the PL table by one point.
Coming into the final game week, week 38, Liverpool needed to defeat Wolverhampton and Brighton needed to beat City in order for Liverpool to put their hands on the title and 27 minutes after 3 PM GMT, Glenn Murray’s goal vs City made that look like a reality. Twenty-eight minutes after 3 PM GMT, Sergio Aguero’s 21st PL goal this season gave the trophy back to City.
Despite Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Wolves, they finish second on a record 97 points, one point behind City, who’s 4-1 victory over Brighton won them their second consecutive league on 98 points. Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, along with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tied for the PL highest scorer award with 22 goals each.
Arsenal find victory at Turf Moor:
After nearly a month without a win in the PL, Arsenal brought their Europa League form over to Burnley in their 1-3 victory. After a scoreless first half, Aubameyang ensured Arsenal were to take three points after he scored his 21st & 22nd PL goals. Ashley Moore kept Burnley alive with his header-goal following a Berndt Leno save, but 18-year-old substitute Eddie Nketiah scored Arsenal’a third in the season’s ending minutes.
Pakistan lose again, but by slim margins:
After the first One-Day International in London was abandoned due to rain, the second ODI promised an exciting match. Poor bowling from Pakistan resulted in three English batsmen getting a half-century: Jason Roy 87(98), Johny Bairstow 51(45) and captain Eoin Morgan’s 71(48)*. What took England to a total of 373-3 was Jos Buttler’s record second-fastest century off 55 deliveries.
However, in the second innings, not everything went to England’s plan as Pakistani opener, Fakhar Zaman took advantage of the batting conditions, scoring 138(106). Number one ranked T20I batsmen Babar Azam and Asif Ali both scored 51 runs and wicket-keeper/captain Sarfaraz Ahmed contributed with 41(32)*.
Unfortunately, Pakistan’s efforts were short as Pakistan could only manage a score of 361-7, losing by 12 runs. England leads the five-match series 1-0, with the third ODI being on Tuesday, May 14, at Bristol.
Pakistan-Women ties match, series vs South Africa:
After demolishing the South African women in the first of a 3-match ODI series by chasing down’s South Africa’s 63 by eight wickets, South Africa returned the revenge by picking up five of Pakistan’s wickets for just one run in the following ODI. In the final over of the final ODI, Pakistan’s tail enders Sidra Nawaz and Nashra Sandhu scored 11 off the last over, including a six from Sandhu to tie the match and the series, with both teams scoring 265. As a result of this series, the trophy is shared and Pakistan ex-captain Sana Mir becomes the most successful female spinner in ODI cricket.