Wednesday night was about staying alive for the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors and Toronto Maple Leafs as each team avoided elimination and lived to fight another day.
Next up are the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Devils who need to channel the Bee Gees and keep their season going on Thursday night.
It was an eventful week leading up to the Kentucky Derby and instead of looking ahead at the Preakness Stakes, we're looking into the deaths of seven horses at Churchill Downs, which prompted an investigation and an uproar from animal rights activists.
The Phoenix Suns evened the series at 2-2 in Game 4 against the Denver Nuggets, but the biggest storyline from the game was an incident between Nikola Jokic and Suns owner Mat Ishbia. During the game, the basketball bounced out of bounds and into the hands of Ishbia, who held onto the ball. Jokic came running over and ripped the ball from his hands and seemed to shove the Suns owner back into his seat. Jokic received a technical foul for the incident, but Ishbia said Monday that he has a lot of respect for Jokic and doesn't think the incident warrants additional discipline. Jokic was fined for the incident but not suspended, and it's a good thing for Denver that he wasn't because his game-high 29 points in Game 5 led the Nuggets to a 3-2 series advantage heading into Phoenix.
"Playoff Jimmy" is back, but Sunday night was all about "Big Game James." After dropping 45 points in Game 1 against the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden went cold in games two and three. But he found his form in a big Game 4 victory with a game-tying floater to send the game into overtime and then a game-winning 3-pointer to even the series. Harden was solid in Game 5, but it was NBA MVP Joel Embiid who led the team in scoring with 33 points and Philly guard Tyrese Maxey who brought his A-game with 30 points. The 76ers have the chance to finish the Celtics off at home in Game 6 on Thursday night.
The New York Knicks fought back to defeat the Miami Heat and avoid elimination Wednesday night after falling behind in the series 3-1. The trio of Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett and Julius Randle combined for 88 of the Knicks' 112 points in Game 5 and New York was able to erase a 10-point deficit at the end of the first quarter, but the Knicks have a lot of work to do if they want to advance to the East finals. While Jimmy Butler's hot hand was the main storyline in the first round of the playoffs, it's been a team effort for Miami in their second-round matchup with the Knicks. The Heat played phenomenal defense in Game 3, holding New York to just 86 points, the second-lowest point total the Knicks have put up this entire season. And they did it on a night where both teams combined to shoot 15 for 72 on 3-pointers. In Game 4, the Heat brought the hustle and out-rebounded the Knicks 44-35, including seven offensive boards in the fourth quarter of a much closer game.
The Golden State Warriors brought it when they needed to on Wednesday night to survive another night and climb back into the series. The Warriors received an all-around solid effort from their starting five and held a double-digit lead for the majority of the fourth quarter to close out the win. After LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers dominated the Golden State Warriors 127-97 in Game 3, LA had to fight to go up 3-1 in the series in a gritty Game 4 victory. James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves all had 20-plus points, but it was all about Lonnie Walker IV, who came off the bench and scored 15 points, all in the fourth quarter.
In other news:
- Kevin Durant gets technical for shoving Jokic
- NBA names Mike Krzyzewski as special adviser to basketball operations
- JJ Redick reportedly interviews for Raptors' coaching job
The Seattle Kraken and Dallas Stars are scoring goals left and right. The series is tied 2-2 and the combined score of the four games is 17-16 in favor of the Kraken. Seattle piled it on in Game 3 after scoring five goals in the second period alone and going on to win 7-2 to take the series lead. But Dallas responded in Game 4 with a respectable four-goal second period to cool the Kraken off and nab a 6-3 victory. Stars center Joe Pavelski scored his 6th goal of the series on Tuesday. The series continues in Dallas with Game 5 on Thursday night.
The Toronto Maple Leafs can celebrate a small victory as they avoided the sweep and won Game 4 against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night. The 2-1 victory brings the series back to Toronto for Game 5 on Friday. It's been all Panthers up until Wednesday, as Florida took the first three games of the series but only by a combined total of four goals. The Maple Leafs, who haven't been swept in a playoff series since 1980, will need to secure three straight victories to avoid the upset in the second round of the playoffs.
In other news:
- Devils on brink of elimination down 3-1 to Hurricanes
- Blackhawks win NHL Draft lottery
- Edmonton evens series with Golden Knights
The Oakland Athletics have reportedly struck a deal with Bally's Corporation to build a $1.5 billion stadium on the current site of the Tropicana Las Vegas casino. According to the reported deal, the Tropicana would be demolished and a new stadium seating 35,000 would be built on nine acres of land with a 1,500-room hotel and casino across from it. The A's timeline would include breaking ground sometime in 2024 and opening the stadium in 2027 or 2028, depending on construction. In April, the A's announced that they signed a "binding" agreement to build on a 49-acre site owned by Red Rock Resorts, but this new deal would reportedly undo that.
In other news:
- Decorated A's pitcher Vida Blue dies at 73
- Report: Mets, Phillies to play in London in 2024
- Royals starter Ryan Yarbrough hit in face with line drive
The NFL on Wednesday released the schedule for the league's international games in the upcoming season. The Jacksonville Jaguars will play two games overseas in 2023, the first time an NFL team has done that in a single season. The Jags and Atlanta Falcons will kick off the international games at London's Wembley Stadium on Oct. 1. Jacksonville will remain in the UK the following weekend when they play the Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Baltimore Ravens will play the Tennessee Titans the following week at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The NFL also announced two games to be played in Germany. The Miami Dolphins will take on the Kansas City Chiefs, followed by the Indianapolis Colts battling it out with the New England Patriots at Frankfurt Stadium in November.
In other news:
- Prosecutors say former Bills punter Matt Araiza wasn't present during alleged gang rape
- Jets to host Dolphins in NFL's first Black Friday game
- Giants, Dexter Lawrence reportedly agree to 4-year, $90 million contract
Bronny James, the son of NBA superstar LeBron James, officially announced his commitment to the University of Southern California on Saturday. James is the No. 21 overall player in the 2023 class, according to 247Sports. The McDonald’s All-American will be joined at USC by No. 1 Isaiah Collier and No. 46 Arrinten Page in the summer. After LeBron's Game 3 win over the Warriors, he said it was one of the best days of his life and noted that Bronny will be the first member of their family to go to college. LeBron has said in the past that before he retires he wants to play a season on the same team with his son.
West Virginia men's basketball coach Bob Huggins apologized for using an anti-gay slur multiple times during a Cincinnati sports radio show. Huggins twice referred to Xavier University fans as "f**s" during the interview with Cincinnati talk-radio host Bill Cunningham. "There are consequences for our words and actions, and I will fully accept any coming my way," Huggins said in a statement through West Virginia. "I am ashamed and embarrassed and heartbroken for those I have hurt. I must do better, and I will." Xavier, which is located in Cincinnati, is a longtime rival of the University of Cincinnati, where Huggins was head coach from 1989 to 2005. Huggins faces a three-game suspension and a $1 million salary reduction next year.
In other news:
- Georgia's football team declines White House visit
- Legendary Louisville basketball coach Denny Crum dies
- Iowa, Iowa State investigating athletes gambling
- Derby Deaths: After seven horses died in the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs officials are partnering with horseracing authorities to investigate the circumstances of the fatalities. Five of the seven horses were said to have sustained "irrecoverable" injuries during races, but two of them died under mysterious circumstances, according to Churchill Downs. Mage emerged victorious and will look to complete the triple crown.
- No Stoppin' Verstappen: Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen won his second Miami trophy at the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday, earning himself a third win in five races this year. In addition to his statement victory, Verstappen was also the recipient of boos and jeers before and after the race.
Sports Report Quiz
- The Jets will host the Dolphins this season for the NFL's first game on _____________.
- The Knicks scored just _____ points against the Heat in Game 3.
- _________________ has scored six goals for the Stars in their series with the Kraken.
- According to a reported deal between the Oakland A's and Bally's Corporation, the MLB team will build a stadium in ____________.
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) 10 2) Nolan Smith 3) 21 4) Carter Verhaeghe