Series Wars: Hinge or Binge


By: Jeff Yoder

Welcome Back 

Two dozen playoff games from the weekend in the NBA and NHL lead us into NFL Draft week. Before we go mock draft crazy for the starving football fans, let’s get caught up. Some series will hinge on close-out games tonight and tomorrow, and others we’ll be binge-watching like a Netflix special.

Letter Rip!


The War of Attrition

Photo: Wally Skalij / Getty Images

76ers Sweep, Star Injuries Pile Up, LeBron-Brooks Feud Flares & Warriors-Kings is Series to Watch

The NBA Playoffs are at the peak of non-stop nightly action, and the weekend review leaves us little space to digest all that took place. Two superstars are down and out. Two Western Conference series are must-see TV. Only one team swept Round 1 with the 76ers blazing past the Nets to advance into Round 2. The Nuggets nearly swept the Timberwolves before Minnesota’s OT win last night.

Where They Stand: Most of the East looks lopsided with the Knicks and Celtics cruising to 3-1 leads and the 8-seed Heat on the brink of shocking the 1-seed Bucks without Giannis Antetokounmpo (lower back). The injuries don’t stop there. The Clippers are missing Kawhi Leonard (knee) and fading fast against the overpowered Suns. The most compelling two series still remaining are out west where the Lakers are proving experience over youth against the Grizzlies in a fiery game of trash talk, and the Warriors-Kings series has produced one epic finish after another in Northern California.

From Dillon Brooks smacking LeBron below the belt to Steph Curry’s ‘never-say-die’ Warriors locking down the Bay, here’s the rewind from the weekend that was.

1st-Round Series Highlights

Eastern Conference

Gm 4: 76ers def. Nets (96-88) | PHI Wins Series (4-0)

Gm 3: Heat def. Bucks (121-99) | MIA Leads Series (2-1)

Gm 4: Knicks def. Cavs (102-93) | NYK Leads Series (3-1)

Gm 4: Celtics def. Hawks (129-121) | BOS Leads Series (3-1)

Western Conference

Gm 4: T-Wolves def. Nuggets (114-108, OT) | DEN Leads Series (3-1)

Gm 4: Suns def. Clippers (1112-100) | PHX Leads Series (3-1)

Gm 3: Lakers def. Grizzlies (111-101) | LAL Leads Series (2-1)

Gm 4: Warriors def. Kings (126-125) | Series Tied (2-2)

Weekend Top Performers

J. Morant (MEM): 45 points, 9 rebounds, 13 assists

N. Jokic (DEN): 43 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists 

D. Fox (SAC): 38 points, 9 rebounds

R. Westbrook (LAC): 37 points, 6 rebounds

T. Young (ATL): 35 points, 15 assists

A. Edwards (MIN): 34 points, 6 rebounds

S. Curry (GSW): 32 points

K. Durant (PHX): 31 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists

A. Davis (LAL): 31 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks

J. Tatum (BOS): 31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists

Tonight’s Schedule

Gm 5: Bucks at Heat (7:30 pm ET) | MIA Leads (3-1)

Gm 4: Grizzlies at Lakers (10:00 pm ET) | LAL Leads (2-1)

NBA Playoff Bracket

2022-23 NBA Season Awards

As the playoffs tipped off last week, the NBA has unveiled the award-winners with one announcement each day. Here are the latest announcements with the upcoming awards schedule.

Defensive Player of the Year: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Grizzlies)

Coach of the Year: Mike Brown (Kings)

Sixth Man of the Year: Malcolm Brogdon (Celtics)

Clutch Player of the Year: De’Aaron Fox (Kings)

Most Improved Player: Tonight (7:00 pm ET, TNT)

Rookie of the Year: Tomorrow (7:00 pm ET, TNT)

MVP Finalists: Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid & Giannis Antetokounmpo

Additional Storylines

AP: Kings’ Mike Brown Becomes 1st Unanimous Coach of the Year Winner

B/R: Heat’s Victor Oladipo Out for Season With Torn Patellar Tendon Injury

USA Today: What Happens Next in Dillon Brooks-LeBron James Feud After Groin Shot?



Ice Wars: No Sweeps 

Photo: David Berding / Getty Images

Overtimes Abound as No Teams Escape NHL’s 1st Round With Clean Sweep

We’re 3.5 games into the opening series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and no team is moving on to Round 2 with a first-round sweep. All 16 teams have won at least one game through less than a week of postseason play, and five out of 12 weekend games needed overtime to find a winner.

Where They Stand: Two series are tied 2-2 after the Stars and Oilers eked out tight wins on Sunday. Edmonton rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a 5-4 overtime game from the stick of Zach Hyman and even the series. The East belongs to Boston and Carolina, but the Rangers-Devils and Maple Leafs-Lightning series are packed with overtime punches back and forth. The Golden Knights are getting all they can handle from the Jets, and the Avalanche answered the call from the Kraken with back-to-back wins in Games 2 and 3.

1st-Round Series Highlights

Eastern Conference

Gm 3: Maple Leafs def. Lightning (4-3, OT) | TOR Leads (2-1)

Gm 3: Devils def. Rangers (2-1, OT) | NYR Leads (2-1)

Gm 4: Hurricanes def. Islanders (5-2) | CAR Leads (3-1)

Gm 4: Bruins def. Panthers (6-2) | BOS Leads (3-1)

Western Conference

Gm 3: Avalanche def. Kraken (6-4) | COL Leads (2-1)

Gm 3: Golden Knights def. Jets (5-4, 2OT) | VGK Leads (2-1)

Gm 4: Stars def. Wild (3-2) | Series Tied (2-2)

Gm 4: Oilers def. Kings (5-4, OT) | Series Tied (2-2)

Weekend Top Performers

T. Hall (BOS): 2 Goals, 2 Assists

M. Rantanen (COL): 2 Goals, 1 Assist

N. MacKinnon (COL): 2 Goals

S. Jarvis (CAR): 2 Goals

J. DeBrusk (BOS): 2 Goals

T. Seguin (DAL): 2 Goals

L. Draisaitl (EDM): 2 Goals

J. Eichel (VGK): 2 Goals

J. Schwartz (SEA): 2 Goals

L. Ullmark (BOS): 41 Saves

A. Schmid (NJD): 35 Saves

Tonight’s Schedule

Gm 4: Devils at Rangers (7:00 pm ET)

Gm 4: Maple Leafs at Lightning (7:30 pm ET)

Gm 4: Golden Knights at Jets (9:30 pm ET)

Gm 4: Avalanche at Kraken (10:00 pm ET)

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Additional Storylines

NHL: Avalanche Surviving But Need New Formula to Repeat as Cup Champs

ESPN: Oilers Bench Goalie Stuart Skinner After 3-Goal Period

CBS Sports: NHL Playoffs Rooting Guide: Teams You Should Hope Make Stanley Cup Run



War Room Buzz

Photo: Michael Hickey / Getty Images

NFL Draft Buzz, Latest Acquisitions & Suspensions for 5 Players

It’s NFL Draft week! The big ceremony is just three days away. With plenty of buzz and excitement, your team’s front office is stocking the fridge in the war room and watching their big board. Three days of franchise-building selections will take place Thursday-Saturday in Kansas City. Four quarterbacks could be taken in the top 10, but don’t expect running backs and receivers to go flying off the board early. Here’s the latest buzz leading up to draft day, along with some more offseason acquisitions and a handful of suspensions for players who gambled on NFL games last season.

NFL Draft Buzz (The Quarterbacks)

There’s still no definitive answer to which quarterback the Panthers will take with the No. 1 overall pick, although many suspect Alabama QB, Bryce Young. Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud is likely the second passer selected with Kentucky QB Will Levis and Florida QB Anthony Richardson on the top-10 radar. Expect them to go in that order with Stroud (Texans), Levis (Colts), and Richardson (Seahawks) as potential landing spots. In the past few days, some scouts and executives believe Levis could supplant Stroud as the No. 2 pick.

More NFL Draft Buzz

Alabama DE Will Anderson Jr. should be the first non-QB taken with Georgia DT Jalen Carter, Texas Tech DE Tyree Wilson, and a pair of cornerbacks — Christian Gonzales (Oregon) and Devon Witherspoon (Illinois) — in the mix. A run of linemen are likely picked in the early teens, and we can expect RB Bijan Robinson (Texas) and WR Jaxson Smith-Njigba (Ohio State) to be the first skill position players drafted. 

Latest Acquisitions

Steelers Acquire WR Allen Robinson (Rams)

Eagles Sign Free-Agent WR Olamide Zaccheus

Chiefs Sign Free-Agent QB Blaine Gabbert

Bills Re-Sign DE Shaq Lawson

5 Players Suspended for Gambling

The NFL suspended five players for violating the league’s gambling policy over the weekend. Lions WR Jameson Williams (6 games) was the biggest name on a list that included WR Stanley Berryhill (6 games), WR Quintez Cephus (indefinitely), S CJ Moore (indefinitely), and Commanders DE Shaka Toney (indefinitely). Both Moore and Cephus were released by the Lions.

Additional Storylines

CBS Sports: 5 Players Suspended for Violating League’s Gambling Policy

ESPN: Ranking the Top 100 NFL Draft Prospects Before Draft Night

NFL: NFL Burning Questions: What’s Next for Lamar Jackson? Who Should be Drafted No. 1 Overall?



MLB Quick-Hitters

Rays Stay Perfect at Home: After losing three out of four last week, the Rays swept the White Sox and they’re back on a five-game win streak. Tampa Bay (19-3) is now 13-0 this season at home — the longest season-opening home winning streak since the ’09 Dodgers.

Pirates Hit 7th Straight Win: Don’t look now, but the Pirates are 16-7 and on top of the National League. They completed a series sweep of the Reds on Sunday (2-0) thanks to a shutout gem from Vince Velasquez (7 IP, 10 Ks, 2 Hits, 0 ER).

Garcia, Rangers Pop Off on A’sThe Rangers made light work of the A’s on Saturday and Sunday, including an 18-3 mashing where Adolis Garcia had 3 home runs and 8 RBIs and a 5-2 win behind 11 Ks from Jacob deGrom. Texas (14-7) has won six of their last seven to leap Houston (12-10) for the AL West lead.

Yoshida’s 2 HRs in 1 InningThe Red Sox rang a 9-run 8th inning on the Brewers Sunday, and Masataka Yoshida played a big part. He hit the game-tying home run in his first at-bat before a grand slam later in the frame to lead Boston to a massive win (12-5).

Angels Go B2B2B: The Angels bested the Royals Sunday (4-3) thanks in large part to five minutes of madness as Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Shohei Ohtani hit back-to-back-to-back homers.



 EPL: Newcastle Embarrass Spurs in Top-4 Showdown

The Premier League battle for a spot in the top-4 featured a wild blowout between Newcastle and Tottenham on Sunday (6-1). Newcastle (59 pts) were up 5-0 in the first 21 minutes, and they’re now six points up on Spurs (53 pts).

 BOXING: Tank Davis KOs Garcia in the 7th Round

Boxing returned to Vegas on Saturday night with a catchweight bout between Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis and Ryan Garcia, and it was the former — and the favorite — with a seventh-round body shot TKO. Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) remains the premier lightweight boxer in the sport.

 RUNNING: Kiptum & Hassan Win London Marathon

An exciting stop on the running circuit brought the world’s best marathoners to London where Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum (men) and Sifan Hassan (women) made history. Kiptum finished 16 seconds shy of Eliud Kipchoge’s world record, and Hassan fought through injury and a near bicycle collision to win her marathon debut. It was also running icon Mo Farah’s last marathon.