Last Week in Sports (5/7 – 5/13)
Unless your mom is an NBA fan, you probably weren’t watching LeBron play one of the worst games of his playoff career this Mother’s Day. No worries! We’ve got all you need to know about last week in sports.
Celtic’s Defense Too Much for Cavs
In an astonishing showing from the Boston Celtics at home yesterday, LeBron James and the Cavaliers lost the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals 108-83, accruing a deficit of 21 points in the very first quarter. LeBron finished the game with 15 points and drove to the basket only four times in 36 minutes of play. The Celtics picked apart the Cavaliers’ offense by keeping the paint packed at all times yet using their athleticism to close out on long-range shooters. In turn, Cleveland shot only 15% from 3-point range, which then allowed defenders to back off and favor protection in the key. Marcus Morris, assigned to guard LeBron James, held the King to only 5 points on 24 touches. To sum up the afternoon, Celtics’ rookie Jayson Tatum was a +27, while LeBron was a -32. The two teams will meet again in Boston on Tuesday.
The Coaching Carousel Comes to Canada
Dwayne Casey, Raptors head coach over the last seven seasons, was fired last week after a 59-win season that ended in a sweep at the hands of the perennial Eastern Conference champs. LeBron James had nearly as many points over the series as Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined in the Cavs’ demolishing of the Raptors. That troubling disparity in superstar play was thought to originate from problems with the coaching staff, even though Casey is currently a Coach of the Year candidate.
There seems to be little doubt that Casey will have another job in the NBA shortly, but it certainly speaks to the insecurity of the coaching profession that such a talented leader would be canned for losing to one of the greatest players of all time. For the Toronto job, former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse’s name has been dropped by analysts as a major contender, as well as ex-Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.
Capitals Steal Two in Tampa Bay
The Washington Capitals won 6-2 yesterday to take a 2-0 lead in the series over the Lightning. Holtby’s goaltending was extremely solid for Washington, notching 33 saves on a .943 save percentage. In the 3rd period, Ovechkin buried a shot on a pass from Kuznetsov that insured the victory at a 5-2 lead. The Caps go back home to Washington having won both games on the road, with Tampa Bay on the metaphorical playoff ropes.
In the Jets/Golden Knights series, Winnipeg leads 1-0 after defeating Vegas by a margin of 4-2 on Saturday.
Putin Scores Five Goals in “Legends” Match
In what’s become a yearly tradition in Sochi, several ex-NHL players suited up alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin for a game of hockey known as the “Legends” match. The 65-year-old President’s team won the match against mostly amateurs with a final score of 12-7 behind Putin’s five goals. Putin’s scoring is down this year, however, after recording 8 goals in 2015 and 7 last year.
After the match, Putin thanked the amateur hockey players, saying, “thanks to you, millions of people make a choice in favor of a healthy lifestyle.”
The Players Comes to a Close
Even on the first day of The Players tournament in Florida, it was clear that Webb Simpson was not going to be out-golfed. He was in the lead by so far come Sunday that he won by 4 shots despite double bogeying the 18th hole and finishing Sunday’s round at a +1. Simpson, known for winning the 2012 US Open, referenced the loss of his father in November and described the win as a “little beacon of light for [his] mom.”
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, barely made the cut through Friday’s round before playing like an absolute champion on Saturday and Sunday. Over the final two rounds, Tiger tied the best score of his career at The Players with a -10. Woods finished with a 69, tied for 11th place.
Freddie Peralta’s Epic Debut
Milwaukee Brewers’ rookie pitcher Freddie Peralta had one of the most impressive debut games in Major League history when he recorded 13 strikeouts and allowed only one hit yesterday – the only pitcher in the Modern Era to do this in a debut. He lost his no-hit bid with one out in the 6th inning, but still delivered a performance like a shot heard ‘round the league. Peralta’s mother was in attendance and was seen embracing her son in tears after the 7-3 Mother’s Day win for Milwaukee.