Apr. 23, 2018
4/16/18 - Weekend Recap
Rise and grind. It's Monday morning, and I've spent way too much time watching basketball this weekend. I can't remember being this excited for the first round of the NBA Playoffs in a long time. Apparently, basketball fans everywhere agree with me. The ratings for the opening Saturday of the NBA Playoffs were up 17% and were the highest in five years.
Quite the start to the playoffs for the NBA. I know other stuff happened in the world of sports this weekend, but the NBA truly dominated the headlines. I don't really watch hockey as a basketball guy here, so I can't tell you much about what happened on the ice. There were some notable baseball stories though. Here's a little "in case you missed it" for April 13-15:
The Raptors Win Their First Game One In Franchise History
After ten consecutive game one losses, the Raptors have finally done it. On Saturday, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards 114-106. A win over an eight-seed might not seem like that big of a deal, but it really is. the Raptors are fighting the "pretenders" stigma around the franchise and trying to prove they can win in the postseason. This win was just a step towards that goal. This is by far the best team in the Raptors' franchise history. Some people may still have their doubts about how far this team can go in the East, which is understandable considering you have to go through LeBron James. But watch out for this Raptors team here. Their home fans are electric, their roster is deep, and they have arguably one of the best backcourts in the NBA with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.
Kawhi Leonard is Still Not Back
Real big surprise here. The ongoing Kawhi Leonard saga has pretty much finally hit the point of "he's not coming back for the playoffs." One minute you hear he's cleared to play. The next minute you hear he's not cleared to play. Then you hear he's clear to play by team doctors, but not by personal doctors. Then you hear he just doesn't want to play. Whatever the hell it is, he's not coming back this postseason. The Spurs would probably still lose to the Warriors regardless, and Leonard's future with the organization remains a topic of discussion. The Spurs lost 113-92 to a Curry-less Warriors team without Leonard, and I don't think he'd make up that difference at this point and in this situation.
The Cavaliers Get Demolished in Home Playoff Opener
This Cavs team is definitely the worst team LeBron James has played on in years. Even with that being said, it's hard to find an excuse for such an embarrassing home loss to start off the playoffs. 98-80, the Indiana Pacers dominated behind Victor Oladipo's 32 points. This Cavs team looked like the same inconsistent and stagnant team that we saw during the regular season. All this being said, I still think the Cavs will get it together and win this series, but Sunday's performance has to be a little bit concerning to Cavs fans.
The Celtics Can Still Win Without Their Best Players
It seems like the Celtics are the popular pick for "team most likely to lose to a lower seed in the first round." Well, they are working to prove that narrative wrong. They played a whole season without Gordon Hayward, and still managed to be the two-seed in the East. They played without Hayward and Kyrie Irving on Sunday, and it still didn't matter. The Celtics won 113-107 in an overtime thriller against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Finding offense wasn't much of a problem for the Celtics with two of their stars out as five Celtics scored 19 points or more in the victory. These guys are no easy-out.
My Timberwolves Lose to the Rockets in Heartbreaking Fashion
James Harden flexed on my Wolves, but still gave us a chance at the end. Down by three with eight seconds left, Butler brings the ball up the court. The Wolves best three-point shooter, Karl-Anthony Towns, trails the play. Instead of making a pass to him, Butler turns and does some sort of spin move heave at the three-point line with P.J. Tucker guarding him skin tight and air-balls the shot. I didn't expect the Wolves to win this game, but the fact that we had played the top seed in the West this close on the road and barely came up short is heartbreaking. Rockets defeat the Wolves 104-101.
Bartolo Colon Can Still Pitch at Age 44, Throws a Perfect Game into 8th inning
How can you not love Bartolo Colon? The fact that this guy is still pitching in the Major Leagues at age 44 is incredible itself. Then he goes and throws a perfect game against the defending world champions up until the eighth inning. If anyone had doubts that this guy wouldn't be able to get the job done, they probably don't think that way anymore. My goodness, what a performance. The perfect game bid ended with a lead-off walk to start the eighth inning, then a double by Josh Reddick ended Colon's no-hit bid. Although he didn't quite get the perfect game, the Rangers still beat the Astros 3-1 behind his incredible performance.