Sweeps are too easy, so the Miami Heat opted to do things the hard way and win in seven. The result is the same. The Boston Celtics have finally been bounced from the playoffs and the Heat will take on the Denver Nuggets in what should be a thrill-filled NBA Final.
The Stanley Cup playoffs have followed a somewhat similar storyline as the NBA, with the Florida Panthers punching their finals ticket over a week ago while the Vegas Golden Knights staved off a comeback attempt from the Dallas Stars.
Despite holding the best record in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization has been entangled in controversy since it uninvited and then reinvited nonprofit organization Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to their stadium on Pride Night.
NBA fans almost witnessed history this past week as the Miami Heat just couldn't get rid of the Boston Celtics after taking a commanding 3-0 series lead. Give the Celtics credit for fighting back from the 3-0 deficit and pushing the Heat to a Game 7 for a chance to do something no other NBA team has done in the playoffs. But with a three-game winning streak, all the momentum and the chance to make history on their home court, Boston fell absolutely flat in Game 7. Celtics star Jayson Tatum rolled his ankle just seconds into the game, and he wasn't quite the same for the rest of the contest. Boston turned to Jaylen Brown, who was just not ready for the moment. He scored 19 points, but he was just 1-for-9 from 3-point range and committed eight turnovers. On the other side of the ball, "Playoff Jimmy" Butler was back and led all scorers with 28 points, but forward Caleb Martin was equally-if-not-more crucial to the game, adding 26 points and 10 rebounds with clutch 4-of-6 shooting from deep.
The NBA Finals should be fun. The Denver Nuggets, arguably the hottest team in the playoffs alongside the Heat, are making their first finals appearance and they have had plenty of rest thanks to the Celtics' improbable run. Miami can put that three-game skid against Boston behind it now as the focus turns to Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets. Jokic and Butler have been the most exciting players to watch throughout the NBA playoffs, and it's pretty safe to say that narrative will continue over the next week. What makes this matchup extra spicy is the history between the two stars. Back in November 2021, the two were involved in an altercation that resulted in a suspension for Jokic and a fine for Butler. After being fouled hard by Markieff Morris, Jokic responded by shoving him in the back, much to the dismay of Butler, who could be seen shouting at Jokic and the Nuggets bench after the incident. The Nuggets are the clear favorite, but so was every team the Heat have played in the playoffs thus far. Game 1 is Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
The Philadelphia 76ers are hiring Nick Nurse to take over coaching duties from the recently departed Doc Rivers, multiple outlets have reported. Nurse, who was also mentioned as a target for the Phoenix Suns, has a history with 76ers general manager Daryl Morey and a desire to work with NBA MVP Joel Embiid, ESPN reports. Nurse spent the past five years as head coach of the Toronto Raptors, who won the NBA title in 2019 under Nurse. He went on to win NBA Coach of the Year with the Raptors in 2020 when he led Toronto to a 53-19 record. The Sixers parted ways with Rivers after a disappointing exit from the NBA playoffs at the hands of the Celtics in Game 7 of the East semifinals, a series Philly hasn't been able to break through in recent years.
In other news:
- Joe Mazzulla, Jaylen Brown in hot seat following Celtics loss
- Bucks reportedly hiring Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin as head coach
- NBA investigating longtime referee over alleged burner account
The Vegas Golden Knights were also on the brink of being on the wrong side of history after losing back-to-back games following their 3-0 series advantage last week over the Dallas Stars. But Vegas held strong in Game 6 and pummeled the Stars in front of a silent Dallas crowd. The 6-0 rout sends Vegas to the Stanley Cup Finals against the red-hot Florida Panthers, who are coming off a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the conference finals. After squandering a sweep opportunity in overtime of Game 4 and a tough loss at home in Game 5, Vegas went all in on Monday's Game 6, scoring three goals in the first period to take the legs out from under Dallas. Vegas added three more goals on the night to win 6-0, and Golden Knights goalie Adin Hill had a clutch 23-save shutout to secure the win.
In other news:
- Nashville hiring Andrew Brunette to be next head coach
- Caps tap Leafs assistant Spencer Carbery for new coach
- Toronto names Brad Treliving next general manager
The Arizona Cardinals released wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last week after three seasons with the organization. Hopkins in a podcast last week mentioned multiple quarterbacks that he would like to play with, including Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes. The Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens are top options as both teams are looking to add depth at the wide receiver position in order to make a run for a Super Bowl. Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, Hopkins' former teammate on the Houston Texans, has hinted that he has pushed Cleveland's front office to make a play for the Pro Bowl wideout. Based on the QBs Hopkins named, it's clear that he is looking to win now and add a championship to his resume, which already includes being a three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler.
In other news:
- Jon Gruden visits Saints to help Derek Carr
- WR Calvin Ridley returns to action with Jags after suspension
- Le'Veon Bell says he smoked marijuana before games
The Oakland A's organization faced a small snag in their proposal to move the team to Las Vegas and build a new ballpark that seats up to 30,000 people. During a hearing this week, Nevada lawmakers raised concerns about the size and potential return on the investment of public funds, the Nevada Independent reports. The current deal proposes up to $380 million in public funding to help construct the new ballpark, which will cost up to $1.5 billion in total. Development on the stadium is expected to begin in 2024 or 2025 under the current deal, with completion expected by 2028. Last week, the Athletics released the first renderings of the stadium, which is expected to have a partially retractable roof and sit near the Las Vegas strip and Allegiant Stadium, the home of the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been the center of controversy for over a week after they invited, uninvited and reinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a satirical drag troupe, to the team’s annual Pride Night in June. LA rescinded its invitation after it was criticized by fans and conservative politicians who called the group "anti-Catholic." The Sisters, who are a charity, protest and performance group founded in San Francisco, have said they are not anti-Catholic. The Dodgers were then criticized by LGBTQ+ groups across the country for rescinding the invite, prompting the organization to extend a reinvitation to the group. MLB pitchers Trevor Williams and Clayton Kershaw, a member of the Dodgers, have publicly taken issue with the Dodgers' decision, saying that they don't agree with the group "mocking" their religion.
In other news:
- Liam Hendriks returns to mound after beating cancer
- Diamond Sports to stop broadcasting Padres games
- Anthony Bass apologizes for sharing anti-LGBTQ+ post
The Oklahoma Sooners softball team took down the Clemson Tigers 8-7 in the super regional series this weekend to win their 48th straight game, setting the record for the longest consecutive win streak in college softball. Oklahoma also punched its ticket to the Women’s College World Series in search of its third straight championship. Oklahoma is now 56-1 on the 2022-23 season and has dominated the competition in the early stages of the tournament. The Tigers provided the toughest matchup so far for the Sooners, who trailed 7-4 in the top of the seventh inning until a three-run homer by Kinzie Hansen tied the game, and a solo shot by Tiare Jennings in the top of the ninth sealed the deal. Next up for Oklahoma is Stanford on Thursday, with either Alabama or Tennessee looming after.
While the college softball tournament has dwindled down to just eight teams, the D1 Baseball Championship will get underway on Friday with its 64-team field. Wake Forest was named the No. 1 overall team in the tournament after finishing the regular season with the most wins and never losing consecutive games throughout the year. Arkansas, Clemson, Florida, Vanderbilt, LSU, Virginia and Stanford are the other national seeds in the tourney.
In other news:
- UNC transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona
- New SEC schedule debate divides coaches
- Tulane makes NCAA baseball tourney with 19-40 record
- 500 Laps Later: To no one's surprise, the final lap of the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 brought the most drama as Josef Newgarden passed 2022 winner Marcus Ericsson to steal the victory for Team Penske, extending the team's Indy 500 win record to 19.
- In With The New: The women's professional golf circuit is in for a massive shakeup when 20-year-old Rose Zhang makes her long-awaited debut as she will compete for the first time as a professional Thursday in the first round of the Mizuho Americas Open. Zhang has dominated the collegiate and amateur world over the past few years and announced last week that she was going pro.
Sports Report Quiz
- The Oakland A's current deal for a new stadium in Vegas requests $_______ in public funds.
- Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson and free agent wideout DeAndre Hopkins were teammates on the _________________.
- In Oklahoma's 48th straight win, ____________ provided the go-ahead home run in the ninth inning to send the Sooners' softball team to the Women's College World Series.
- Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jokic were involved in an altercation back in 2021 after Jokic shoved ________________ from behind.
Be sure to check out next week's edition of the Sports Report to see the correct answers!
Answers from last week's quiz: 1) Joe Staley 2) Sammy Sosa 3) 31 4) 10