Playoff Power Hour


By: Jeff Yoder

Welcome Back 

It’s playoff time. Are you ready? Game 1s in the NBA stole the show this weekend, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs drop the puck tonight. Two months of non-stop postseason action is about to take over. Get your popcorn ready. 

Letter Rip!


Game 1 Rewinds

Photo: Stacy Revere / Getty Images

Lakers & Heat Pull Biggest Upsets in Game 1s of NBA Playoffs

The NBA postseason is officially underway after every Game 1 of the opening-round series hit the court this weekend. De’Aaron Fox (38), Kawhi Leonard (38), and Jimmy Butler (35) had the best individual performances of the postseason tip-offs, and we’re gearing up for a full week of nightly hoops on the horizon. Here’s what went down this weekend.

Eastern Conference

#8 Heat def. #1 Bucks (130-117)

The biggest upset of the opening round went down in Milwaukee where the Heat throttled the Bucks in the first half (68-55) and cruised to a Game 1 victory. Jimmy Butler led Miami with 35 points, 11 assists, and five rebounds while the Bucks lost Giannis Antetokounmpo to a lower back injury in the first quarter. He’s day-to-day and could return for Game 2, but the Heat stole the opener on the road.

#2 Celtics def. #7 Hawks (112-99)

Sweep alert in Boston. The Celtics defense stifled the Hawks and held Atlanta to just 17.2 percent from 3-point land, including 1-for-5 from Trae Young. Boston did most of their work in the first half (74-44) before letting off the gas. The Boston trio of Jaylen Brown (29), Jayson Tatum (25), and Derrick White (24) combined for 78, and things look bleak for Atlanta.

#3 76ers def. #6 Nets (121-101)

Joel Embiid (26) and James Harden (23) led Philly to a Game 1 win over the Nets thanks to a fourth-quarter runaway. Mikal Bridges dropped 30 for Brooklyn, but Philly was lights-out from 3-point range (21-for-43, 48.8%), including seven 3s from Harden. The opening-round series looks like a tough task for the Nets.

#5 Knicks def. #4 Cavaliers (101-97)

One of the most even series of the first round is taking shape as expected. The Knicks held off a late push from the Cavs down the stretch. Jalen Brunson (27) led New York as the Knicks survived a 38-point outburst from Donovan Mitchell. Both teams split two quarters apiece, and the East’s 4-5 matchup could be the most exciting to watch.

Western Conference

#1 Nuggets def. #8 Timberwolves (109-80)

A no-doubter for the West’s top seed. Denver absolutely pummeled Minnesota in the final game of the weekend, blowing the doors off the T-Wolves with a 28-point advantage in the 3rd quarter. Nikola Jokic (13-14-6) didn’t need to score much for the Nuggets. Jamal Murray (24 points) had the hot hand, and the Timberwolves looked overwhelmed.

#7 Lakers def. #2 Grizzlies (128-112)

The Lakers outscored the Grizzlies by 22 in the second half to pull the upset in Memphis on Sunday. Three L.A. starters went for 20-plus — Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Austin Reaves — but it was Rui Hachimura off the bench (29) who stop the show (5-for-6, 3pt). Memphis didn’t play poorly, but the Lakers seemed to find the solution to the Grizzlies’ defense.

#3 Kings def. #6 Warriors (126-123)

Light the beam! The Kings hosted a playoff game for the first time in 17 years, and a record crowd showed up in Sacramento. The Warriors surrendered the lead in the third quarter before some late-game drama. De’Aaron Fox scored 38 points in his playoff debut, including 29 in the second half before hitting the go-ahead 3 to give the Kings the lead late in the 4th. Steph Curry had 30 to lead Golden State, but the defending champs are in an 0-1 hole.

#5 Clippers def. #4 Suns (115-110)

A doozy in the desert! The Clippers and Suns traded blows for 46 minutes on Sunday before Kawhi Leonard (38) got the last laugh. The Phoenix starters were downright unstoppable on the offensive end, including a 27-11-9 performance from Kevin Durant, but the Clippers hit back-to-back 3s in the final two minutes to ice Game 1 on the road.

Tonight’s Schedule

Game 2: Nets at 76ers (7:30 pm ET)

Game 2: Warriors at Kings (10:00 pm ET)

Additional Storylines

ESPN: Bucks to Monitor Giannis’ Lower Back Injury After Early Exit

CBS Sports: How Warriors Adjust to Match Kings in Game 2

Yahoo! Sports: Kawhi Turns Back Clock & Russ Comes Up Clutch as Clippers Steal Game 1



MLB Power Rankings

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Blue Jays Halt Rays Win Streak as MLB Hierarchy Takes Shape

A full weekend on the diamond produced too many highlights to corral into a short form. Instead, we’re taking a full swing at early-season power rankings. The Rays saw their win streak come to an end at the hands of the Blue Jays. Toronto actually won two out of three in their weekend series. And it’s those two teams, plus the Braves riding a six-game win streak, who round out the top-3 in our power rankings entering the third week of the season.

MLB Power Rankings

1. Rays (14-2)

2. Braves (12-4)

3. Blue Jays (10-6)

4. Yankees (10-6)

5. Mets (10-6)

6. Brewers (11-5)

7. Twins (10-6)

8. Rangers (9-6)

9. Dodgers (8-8)

10. Diamondbacks (9-7)

11-20: 11. Padres (8-9), 12. Mariners (8-8), 13. Guardians (9-7), 14. Orioles (9-7), 15. Astros (7-9), 16. Cubs (8-6), 17. Giants (5-9), 18. Marlins (8-8), 19. Pirates (9-7), 20. Red Sox (8-8)

21-30: 21. Cardinals (7-9), 22. Angels (7-8), 23. Reds (6-9), 24. Phillies (6-10), 25. White Sox (6-10), 26. Tigers (5-9), 27. Nationals (5-11), 28. Royals (4-12), 29. Rockies (5-11), 30. Athletics (3-13)

MLB Quick-Hitters

Braves Sweep Royals

Bryson Stott Extends 16-Game Hit Streak

Marcus Semien Hits Grand Slam in Rangers Win



Stanley Cup Playoff Storylines

Photo: Dave Sandford / Getty Images

Bracket, Matchups & Storylines as the Stanley Cup Playoffs Begin Tonight

It’s showtime in the NHL! The Stanley Cup Playoffs drop the puck tonight and tomorrow with Game 1s. We saw some movement on the final day of the season, and the first-round matchups are locked and ready. It’s a two-month marathon to lift the Stanley Cup, so let’s get it started.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Game 1s


Islanders at Hurricanes (7:00 pm ET)

Panthers at Bruins (7:30 pm ET)

Wild at Stars (9:30 pm ET)

Kings at Oilers (10:00 pm ET)


Rangers at Devils (7:00 pm ET)

Lightning at Maple Leafs (7:30 pm ET)

Jets at Golden Knights (9:30 pm ET)

Kraken at Avalanche (10:00 pm ET)

Additional Storylines

NHL: 16 Storylines for 1st Round of Playoffs

Yahoo!: Blue Jackets & Ducks Fire Coaches After Woeful Seasons

ESPN: Stanley Cup Playoffs: Breaking Down All 16 Teams for 2023

Yahoo! Sports: Hottest & Coldest Teams Heading Into NHL Playoffs



 PGA: Fitzpatrick Tops Spieth in RBC Heritage

Big names filled the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage on Sunday, but it came down to two stars in a sudden-death playoff. Matt Fitzpatrick (-17) outlasted Jordan Spieth (-17) for his second career PGA Tour victory.

 SOCCER: Vela Fuels LAFC in El Trafico

A full slate of weekend soccer had plenty from the MLS and across the pond, but El Trafico was in store in Los Angeles. LAFC kept their throne in the City of Angels with a 3-2 win over LA Galaxy courtesy of Carlos Vela’s brace.



 The Commanders $6 Billion Sale

The Washington Commanders have tentatively accepted a bid for the franchise. The NFL team is on track to be sold for a record figure to a group led by Josh Harris, as investigations into sexual harassment claims and the team’s finances continue. (NY Times)

 Projecting NFL QB Prospect Careers

The 2023 NFL draft quarterback class is led by the highly touted Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and Will Levis — and it is considerably more exciting than the class of 2022. How will their careers pan out? (ESPN+)

 Ranking NBA Playoff Underdogs

The 2023 NBA playoff bracket is set with some tantalizing matchups, including a few series with real upset potential. While some series could be over quickly (hello, Celtics-Hawks) others seem destined to go the distance. (Bleacher Report)