"The Stack" 4-23-18
Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans completed the sweep of the Portland Trailblazers with their 131-123 win on Saturday. The fact that they won isn't the most surprising thing. Sweeping the #3 seed though is.
The Stack is back on this Monday and I believe Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants is still at the plate against the Los Angeles Angels. Man, what a wild 21 pitch at-bat he had yesterday. That was the first time in MLB history, an at-bat has gone 21 pitches. Pretty wild. We are super stoked for the NFL Draft this week and will have a mock draft (or drafts) coming up on Thursday and on the podcast, “The Sports Block” so definitely pay attention for that. Now though, let’s get to some playoff reaction from the weekend in “the stack” for today, Monday, April 23rd:
NBA weekend playoff reaction
Just one series is over. The other seven are still going on with no end in site, especially out east. The series that is over is in the western conference where the New Orleans Pelicans swept the Portland Trailblazers 4-0 following their 131-123 victory on Saturday. Anthony Davis scored 47 points. 47! Amazing. It’s not too surprising that the Pelicans won, but sweeping the Trailblazers?! Definitely a statement!
Earlier on Saturday, the Philadelphia 76ers came fighting back in the fourth quarter to beat the Miami Heat 106-102 to take a 3-1 series lead. J.J. Redick was great for the 76ers scoring a team-high 24 points. Dwyane Wade did all he could for the Heat scoring 25 points, but they lost and now face an elimination game in Philadelphia in game five coming up here on Tuesday.
The Minnesota Timberwolves won their first playoff game in over a decade with a 121-105 win over the Houston Rockets. Karl Anthony-Towns scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. The entire team played really well. We’ll see if they can duplicate that performance tonight. I’m not liking their chances, but it was nice to see that effort Saturday night.
The final game on Saturday, Oklahoma City versus Utah, saw Ricky Rubio record his first career playoff triple-double (26 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) as the Jazz came roaring back from an early double-digit deficit in the second quarter to take down the Thunder 115-102 and take a 2-1 series lead. After the game, Russell Westbrook vowed that Rubio will not have that type of performance in game four. We’ll see if that indeed happens.
The first game on Sunday was a dandy. After playing terrible in the first half, the Boston Celtics climbed all the way back and tied the game up 102-102, but the Greek Freak would not be denied and scored the game-winning basket on a tip-in with five seconds left to lift the Milwaukee Bucks to a 104-102 victory to even the series up 2-2. This series has seven games going the entire way.
The San Antonio Spurs were able to stave off elimination and avoid a sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors thanks to a 103-90 win in game four. Kevin Durant scored 34 points for the Warriors, but he was the only one who came to play apparently. I fully expect this team to win game five and end the season for the Spurs.
The Toronto Raptors are playing playoff basketball like, well, the Toronto Raptors. After having an eleven point halftime lead on the road against Washington, the saw the Wizards come back to tie the game entering the fourth quarter and made enough plays down the stretch to win 106-98 to even the series up 2-2. Bradley Beal and John Wall combined for 58 points for the Wizards.
The Raptors need to snap out of it. Don’t know what this team needs to do to get that accomplished.
Finally, the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to even their series with the Indiana Pacers up 2-2 following their 104-100 win. The Cavs had a 17 point first half lead only to see the Pacers claw away at it and eventually take the lead in the fourth quarter, but cold shooting down the stretch doomed the Pacers in this one. There was a questionable foul call on Lance Stephenson late in the game in which he was called for a foul before a jump ball was called. Whether that was the right decision or not, I’m not sure, but it sure didn’t help Indiana complete the comeback. LeBron James and company are back in the driver’s seat in this series.
Monday’s NBA Playoff games
Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves 8 PM ET TNT (Rockets lead series 2-1)
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Utah Jazz 10:30 PM ET TNT (Jazz lead series 2-1)
NHL Playoff weekend action
Let’s just get the disgusting display of hockey that the Minnesota Wild put forth in a must-win game five against the Winnipeg Jets Friday night. They stunk. The Jets scored early and often in route to a 5-0 win. This Jets team is for real and embarrassed the Wild. They will take on the Nashville Predators who emerged victorious on Sunday 5-0 over the Colorado Avalanche. The win in Denver came on the heels of the Avalanche scoring two goals in the final five minutes Friday night to lift the Avs to a 2-1 win over the Predators. The Predators scored two goals in each of the first two periods and Viktor Arvidsson added a power play goal in the third period for good measure. The Predators were clearly the better team Sunday night, but give the Avs credit for the fight they displayed in the series.
On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated the New Jersey Devils #AsExpected with a 3-1 win. Cory Schneider did what he could in net for the Devils stopping 35 shots, but Lightning goalie Andrei Vasileskiy was better allowing only one goal on 27 shots faced. The Devils gave the Lightning all they could handle, but the Lightning’s depth down the stretch just proved to be too much in the series.
The Washington Capitals have now won the last three games in their series with the Columbus Blue Jackets following the fourth overtime in five games. The Blue Jackets scored the first goal of the game for the first time in the series, but Washington answered quickly. They would have a 3-2 lead thanks to a power play goal by T.J. Oshie in the second, but Columbus tied it up minutes into the third period. It would stay that way going into overtime before a little over halfway through the extra frame Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-winning goal to lift the Capitals to a 4-3 win and a 3-2 series lead. It is the first win that either team has won on their home ice.
The Boston Bruins had a chance to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs, but failed to do it Saturday night, losing 4-3. They still hold a 3-2 series lead. Toronto scored four of the first five goals sending Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask to the bench. The Bruins rallied, but the rally fell short. I still expect Boston to win this series.
The only other game on Sunday besides Predators-Avalanche was Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers had a 4-2 lead only to see the Penguins rattle off five straight goals including four straight by Jake Guentzel in route to the 8-5 victory. That was quite the hat trick for Guentzel. He played exceptional in the game. The Penguins will take on the winner of Capitals-Blue Jackets.
Monday’s NHL games
Boston Bruins @ Toronto Maple Leafs 7 PM ET NBCSN (Bruins lead series 3-2)
Washington Capitals @ Columbus Blue Jackets 7:30 PM ET CNBC (Capitals lead series 3-2)
Coming up Tuesday: NBA and NHL Playoff reaction plus other headlines from the world of sports