Four Big League Championships to Take Place Over the Next Month
The GIST: For the first time in forever, we’ll be treated to four big league championships in a one-month period, and kicking it all off is the Stanley Cup Final.
Tell me everything!: After beating the New York Islanders in six games, the Tampa Bay Lightning joined the Dallas Stars in the final round of the strangest season of hockey ever.
- The Stars took Saturday’s Game 1 with a convincing 4–1 finish. Four different Stars players scored (including this beauty from Jamie Oleksiak), but 34-year-old rookie playoff starter Anton Khudobin was the real star, making 35 saves. Game 2 starts tonight at 8 p.m. ET.
What about basketball?: The NBA is getting there. After going down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Celtics bounced back in Game 3, trouncing the Miami Heat 117–106 and serving them with just their second loss of the playoffs. Game 4 isn’t until Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET.
- In the Western Conference, the LA Lakers made it 2-0 in their series against the Denver Nuggets with a 105–103 win last night. The Nuggets are used to coming back though, so don’t count them out just yet. Game 3 is tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET.
Sweet. Gimme more!: The WNBA is a round away from their finals, too...but it may take them a little longer to get there. After the Connecticut Sun absolutely demolished the Las Vegas Aces in yesterday’s semifinal Game 1, the Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm were supposed to start their series. But due to a number of Storm players’ “inconclusive” COVID-19 test results, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert decided to postpone the game until new tests can be administered. Solid leadership!
Any other playoffs?: The MLB regular season ends on Sunday (doesn’t it feel like it just started?) and playoff spots are quickly filling up. Five teams in the American League and two in the National League have clinched, and more are expected today with 11 games on deck. Check out the full playoff picture here.
🏈NFL Sunday Week 2 Rundown
- This 46-yard TD run from Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette that gave the Bucs their first win under quarterback (QB) Tom Brady.
- A one-handed grab for Dallas Cowboy Amari Cooper. The Cowboys put together a 16-point fourth quarter to come from behind and beat the Atlanta Falcons 40–39. Close one.
- And the longest TD of the still-young season: an 84-yard pass from Pittsburgh Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Chase Claypool, for the Canadian rookie’s first-ever TD. Big day for Canada!
This Week in Golf, Cycling, Tennis
Tennis: Mondays aren’t all bad. In a warm up to next week’s French Open (aka Roland-Garros) major, the Italian Open is giving us not one, but two rare Monday finals to look forward to. First up, the tournament’s top two seeds, Simona Halep and Karolína Plíšková, will face off in the women’s final at 8:30 a.m. ET.
- The men’s final will start at 11 a.m. ET and will feature Diego Schwartzman and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (pronounced JOKE-OH-VITCH), who’s found himself in hot water yet again after a verbal battle with an official during yesterday’s semifinal. Dude needs to chill.
Golf: Yesterday, Bryson DeChambeau won the U.S. Open (the second of three PGA majors this season) and in the end, it wasn’t even close. DeChambeau finished with a six-under-par score, six strokes ahead of runner-up Matthew Wolff, and was the only player to finish under par. Yeesh.
- This was the first major win for the newly jacked and quirky golfer, who uses brain-training, advanced algebra and equal length clubs to perfect his game. He also wears an ivy cap, loves Fortnite and signs his autograph backwards with his non-dominant hand, so this is a true win for the nerds.
Cycling: There were quite a few changes to this year’s iconic Tour de France. First, it was postponed from its usual July start to late August. Then they did away with the “podium girls” (damn right!). And finally, in a race usually dominated by steroids, er, we mean experience, a very fresh face was crowned the winner.
NBA and NHL Playoff News
The GIST: The NBA Conference Finals have arrived! Four teams are duking it out for conference glory and a shot at the Larry O’Brien.
Who’s made it this far?: Let’s start with the Western Conference, because this postseason, West is best (for the fans, anyway). Despite entering the playoffs as the conference’s third ranked team, the Denver Nuggets somehow found themselves taking on the underdog role, especially after they went down 3-1 in the conference semifinals against the surging No. 2 LA Clippers.
- Down but not out, the Nuggets rallied — with some major help from superstar-in-the-making Canadian Jamal Murray — to force, and then win, Tuesday night’s epic Game 7, becoming the first team in NBA history to win back-to-back series after being down 3-1. Maybe Kawhi Leonard should have stayed with the Toronto Raptors.
- Starting tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET, the Nuggets will face the West’s best, LeBron James and the LA Lakers. Yesterday, James was named an All-NBA player for a record-breaking 16th time. So, yeah, this series should be good.
And the Eastern Conference?: It’s the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. The Celtics had a tough road after taking the defending champ Raptors to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, but it’s been smooth sailing for the Heat, who’ve lost only one game this postseason.
- This series started on Tuesday with an 117–114 overtime win for the Heat (because of course). Tune in tonight as Game 2 tips off at 7 p.m. ET, or, even better, head over to ESPN Radio to hear our fave basketball analyst, Doris Burke, make history as the first woman to call the Conference and NBA Finals on a national radio broadcast. A true icon.
Sweet. Any other playoff news?: And then there were three in the NHL. On Monday night, the Dallas Stars punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals with an overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights, taking the series 4-1.
- So now we’re just waiting for the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders to decide who wants the other spot in the Finals more. Tampa’s up 3-2 in the series, which could end tonight. Puck drops at 8 p.m. ET.
🏀Shey Peddy's Buzzer Beater
The GIST: What’s the best way to get revenge on the team that cut you a month before the postseason? Hit a buzzer beater to eliminate them from the WNBA playoffs, just like Shey Peddy did on Tuesday.
Yes girl! Tell me more: In August, Peddy was dropped from the eighth place Washington Mystics and quickly picked up by the fifth place Phoenix Mercury. Thanks to some fun basketball karma, the teams faced off in Tuesday night’s first round single-elimination playoff game.
- Down by two with less than a second left, Peddy nailed a three-pointer to secure an 85–84 win over the Mystics, knocking them out of the postseason. Talk about throwing Shey-de! The Mercury will now play the Minnesota Lynx in the second round.
Love it! What about the other game?: Before that nail-biter, the No. 7 Connecticut Sun upset the No. 6 Chicago Sky in a not-so-nail-biting 94–81 win and will move on to face the LA Sparks. Reminder: the second round of the playoffs is also single-elimination. How are your nails looking?