Well, we’ve finally made it to the NBA Finals as we near the end of the bubble experiment by the NBA. After the Nuggets managed 3-1 comebacks in both the first 2 rounds, the Lakers managed to close the series out 4-1 by winning on Saturday. After a great run, it’s hard to blame the Nuggets, you have to think fatigue might have played a role in not surmounting a 3rd 3-1 comeback. The Celtics and Heat series made it to 6 games until the red hot Heat managed to take the series at 4-2 on Sunday night. This Heat team plays a similar game to Houston in my opinion, but with a competent big man (Bam). I think this Heat v Lakers finals go at least 6 games; be on the lookout for more predictions and analysis of the upcoming Finals soon.
While the NBA is beginning the end of their playoffs, the MLB playoffs will begin on Tuesday. The MLB decided to go with an expanded playoff picture which will allow 16 teams to make the playoffs as opposed to the normal 10 teams. 8 teams make it from the AL led by Rays (1), Athletics (2), and Twins (3). The top three teams of the 8 representing the NL in the playoffs are the Dodgers, Braves, Cubs (1,2,3).
UFC 253 on Saturday night was headlined by Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa. The 3 final fights of the evening all ended before the sound of the third bell, making for some exciting finishes. Adesanya maintained his perfect 20-0 pro MMA record and his belt by KO’ing Costa in the second round. Adesanya outmatched Costa in total strikes landed 55-12. Costa survived almost 2 full rounds which are more than fighters like Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson can say. The first title fight on the card (co-main event) was Reyes vs Jan Blachowicz. Unlike the main event, neither fighter had this belt prior to the bout. Jon Jones took the belt from Reyes by decision in Reyes's previous fight. Jones then vacated the belt and is in some complicated discussions with the UFC for a potential move up in weight class in hopes to challenge Miocic for his heavyweight title. Blachowicz won the vacated belt in a similar fashion to Adesanya, with some kicks to slow his opponent down and keeping distance while striking high.
Stanley Cup finale in full swing. After the Dallas Stars grabbed game one, Tampa Bay Lightning was able to rattle off 3 straight wins to make the series 3-1. The Stars avoided elimination in game 5 to push the series to a game 6. It’s been a great back and forth series that will finish either Monday night (tonight) with a Tampa Bay victory, or we’ll get a game 7 on Wednesday for a winner take all matchup.
How amazing is it to have football back? There’s a million different things I could go into but I’ll just give you a few of my biggest takeaways from week 3:
1). The Seahawks and Green Bay are top 5 teams in the NFL. I make the other 2 the Chiefs and Ravens and you could argue a few other teams for that last spot, but this year right now those are 4 of my top 5. Maybe that’s not a super hot take and it might be more that I’m not confident in Dallas or New Orleans at this point in the season. Gun to my head I’ll take Pats as my #5, regardless of my allegiance to Boston sports.
2). What’s going on in Atlanta? Despite putting up 25, 39, and 26 points in the first three games, they remain 0-3. Some people were high on this team because of the explosive offense, but a suspect defense has allowed a couple heartbreaking comebacks. The Falcons are being outscored 74-33 in the second half in only 3 games. This to me is a reflection of the coaching staff; opposing teams are simply making better and more effective adjustments after seeing how Atlanta wants to play their game.
3) Maybe not as good as we thought? Kyler Murray can’t expect to lead this Cardinals team very far with 3 interceptions that seem to come at the worst possible times. I will say I can believe that’s just one bad performance after a couple good ones, but something to keep an eye on. Justin Herbert. Lynn came out and shed a negative light on his week 2 performance (which at the time I didn’t think was fair), but he played worse against Carolina than last week. Daniel Jones. You can’t overstate how much losing Saquon crippled New York, and it hurt Jones the most out of anybody. Gone are the days of teams stacking the box to stop Saquon; now Daniel Jones needs to beat a legitimate NFL defense and he doesn’t seem to be able to do that (at least with the mediocre weapons he has left).
Some great news for College Football this year came in the last week with SEC, Pac-12, MAC, and MWC conferences have all decided to reverse the decision to not have a season this year. I haven’t looked too in-depth regarding scheduling issues with all these teams now deciding to play for the rest of the year. I can’t imagine that’s an easy task. I also imagine the heads of those conferences realized how much money was at stake and how bad they would look if conferences like the ACC managed to pull off their seasons with only minor hiccups. Here’s to hoping we can get a semblance of normal college and NFL football seasons. After No. 3 Oklahoma was upset by fellow Big 12 school Kansas State, and Kyle Trask and the Florida Gators lit up Ole Miss for 6 passing TDs and spoiled Lane Kiffin’s return to the SEC, I’m excited to see how the rest of the seasons will play out.