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Quick Hits - May 20th, 2021

May 20, 2021
Source: Adam Hunger/AP Photo
Source: Adam Hunger/AP Photo

 🏀WNBA: Is it too soon to call the New York Liberty the Cinderella story of the season? After finishing dead last with only two wins in 2020, they’re currently dominating the W with three wins in three games and no chance of slowing down. 

  • Of course, the triple-double queen herself, Sabrina Ionescu (pronounced yo-NESC-ooo), may have a little (read: huge) something to do with this turnaround.

🥇Olympics: With just 64 days until the Tokyo Olympics, the Games are once again/still in jeopardy. Ahead of a three-day meeting between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Games organizers, Tokyo’s medical body published a letter yesterday calling for the Games’ cancellation.

  • Less than 2% of Japan’s residents are fully vaccinated, and Tokyo's top physicians are concerned for their already-strained health-care system. Nevertheless, the IOC is confident they can keep the Games “safe and secure.”. 

⚾️MLB: No-hitters are all the rage right now (somebody should’ve told Atlanta Braves pitcher Jacob Webb before he hit NY Met Kevin Pillar’s face). On Tuesday, Detroit Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull recorded the league’s fifth no-hitter of the season, and last night, NY Yankee Corey Kluber recorded the sixth. Hey batters, you up? 

🏒NHL North Division play begins

May 20, 2021
Source: Winnipeg Jets/Twitter
Source: Winnipeg Jets/Twitter

North Division: The Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets kicked things off last night, and it was not what we expected. A tight match tied until halfway through the third period, the Jets turned on the jets in the last 10 minutes and won Game 1 of the best-of-seven series 4–1. 

  • And tonight, it’s the one we’ve all been waiting for: the Toronto Maple Leafs (featuring Rocket Richard-winning Auston Matthews) and the Montreal Canadiens will finally start their series at 7:30 p.m. ET. Saving the best for last. 

East Division: Sidney Crosby played forward and goalie to help his Pittsburgh Penguins tie up the series 1-1 with the NY Islanders on Tuesday, while the Boston Bruins are up 2-1 over the Washington Capitals after last night’s overtime win.

West Division:The league-best Colorado Avalanche are up 2-0 over the St. Louis Blues after last night’s Game 2, and the Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild are tied up ahead of tonight’s Game 3.

Central Division: A storm’s a brewing. The Carolina Hurricanes lead the Nashville Predators 2-0, and in the most unexpectedly exciting series of the postseason — the all-Florida battle between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers — Tampa leads 2-0. 

🏀NBA play-in matches heating up

May 20, 2021
Source: Jae C. Hong/AP
Source: Jae C. Hong/AP

Play it again: In last night’s Californian play-in battle for the Western Conference’s No. 7 playoff seed, LeBron James and the Lakers came out victorious, with a 103–100 win over Golden State. The Lakers will now face the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday, while the Warriors play the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed tomorrow.

  • In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics clinched the seventh seed with a win over the Washington Wizards, who will now battle for their lives against the Indiana Pacers tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Follow along here.

Up next: After tonight and tomorrow’s remaining play-in matchups, the real playoffs start Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. Watch your inbox on Saturday for a special edition NBA playoffs newsletter from yours truly.

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Quick Hits Canada - May 17th

May 17, 2021
Source: Jimmie48/WTA
Source: Jimmie48/WTA

 🎾Tennis: After entering the event as substitutes when another duo pulled out, Canadian Sharon Fichman won the women’s doubles Italian Open title yesterday with her doubles partner Giuliana Olmos of Mexico. Molto bene! 

🏀Basketball: Back to the Basketball HOF, so we can wax poetic about Chris Bosh. The two-time NBA champ and 11-time All-Star is a Toronto Raptors legend after being drafted to the 6ix in 2003. And even though he took his talents to South Beach in 2010, he still has a special place in Raps fans hearts. 

  • On the court, he set and still holds a ton of franchise records, and off the court, he set up his own foundation in TO and his hometown of Dallas to help youth with athletics and academics. Something special.

⚽️NWSL: And while we’re talking GOATs, let’s revisit that stellar Portland Thorns win last night. Before it became wildly one-sided, Canadian legend Christine Sinclair scored the second goal of the game...and 50th NWSL goal of her career. 

  • With that, she’s now tied at second for all-time goals in the league with North Carolina Courage’s Lynn Williams, and trails Sam Kerr by 17 goals. If anyone can top that, it’s Sincy.

🏀NBA Play-In contenders set

May 17, 2021
Source: NBA/Twitter
Source: NBA/Twitter

 The play-in contenders: After finishing seventh and eighth respectively in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics will now play for the No. 7 spot in the playoffs. The No. 9 Indiana Pacers and No. 10 Charlotte Hornets will face off tomorrow, too, and the winner will play the loser of the earlier game for the playoff’s No. 8 seed.

  • In the West, it’ll be a Battle of California on Wednesday for the No. 7 seed, between the Golden State Warriors and the reigning NBA champs, the LA Lakers, while the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs will play for their lives.

The best of the rest: The Philadelphia 76ers locked up the top spot in the East, and the Utah Jazz are the best in the West. They’ll each play the winner of their conference’s No. 8 seed game. The East’s Brooklyn Nets and West’s Phoenix Suns both finished second, so they’ll square off against the earlier winners (aka No. 7 seeds).

  • Meanwhile, the third through sixth seeds already know who they’ll be facing in the first round of the postseason. Check out all of Round One’s match-ups here.

The GOATs: The end of the regular season wasn’t the only excitement this weekend — the Basketball Hall of Fame (HOF) inducted its 2020 class on Saturday. The honorees included the late Kobe Bryant (his widow Vanessa accepted the award), former Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings, former San Antonio Spur star and former coach Tim Duncan, and 15-time NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett.

  • The 2021 HOF class was also announced yesterday, and amongst the 16 inductees are the WNBA’s Yolanda Griffith and Lauren Jackson, and the NBA’s Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce and Chris Webber.