Who To Watch (May 24 – May 30)

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The Golden State Warriors swept the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday to advance to the NBA Finals for the 5th straight season (Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/AP)

Welcome back to Who To Watch!

We apologize for not being able to post last week (forgive us, we are very busy college students!) but we are back and better than ever this week!

Since we last met, we have seen three teams advance to the championship round of their respective sport: the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, and Golden State Warriors. This is nothing new for the Warriors, who are going to the NBA Finals for the 5th straight season. The Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time this decade (first time since 2013). The Blue… the last time the Blues went to the Stanley Cup Finals was back in 1970… against the Boston Bruins (you might remember a very famous picture of Bobby Orr flying through the air from that series).

In terms of teams still playing, we just saw Toronto beat the Bucks to take a 3-2 series lead. For a team that looked like they might be down for the punch after last Friday, the Raptors were able to prevail in double OT in Game 3, win with ease in Game 4, and pull out a victory in Game 5; are we on the verge of seeing a Canadian franchise in the NBA Finals for the first time in the history of basketball?

Well, we’ll find out on next week’s edition of Who To Watch!

Now to Buy/Sell

Buy

Kerm: Kyle Lowry

I’ve spent much of these playoffs selling as much Kyle Lowry stock as possible, but I’ve gotta give credit where credit is do. Lowry is averaging 19.6 PPG in the Eastern Conference Finals thus far. They may not always be the sexiest points, with 8 or more free throw attempts in three of the five games, but he’s at least been slightly more effective this series than he was against Orlando and Philadelphia.

I would much rather see Lowry face Steph Curry than this next player I’m going to talk about, so I’ll at least give Lowry some credit.

When to Watch: 

Game 6: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors (5/25, 8:30 PM)

Game 7: Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks (5/27, 8:30 PM)*

*if nececcary

Mike: Josh Bell

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At the age of 26, Josh Bell is having a breakout season (Credit: Matt York/AP)

Josh Bell is one of the most exciting hitters in baseball right now. Just this month, Bell has hit 2 home runs into the Allegheny River, making him the first player to put multiple baseballs there since 2001 when PNC Park opened. Bell is smashing dingers frequently as well as far with 16 homers on the season, which is tied for 3rd most in the MLB. Not only have Bell’s displays of power been impressive, he currently owns the 3rd best batting average in all of baseball with a mark of .339. Bell is putting together a fantastic year, and the past 15 games have been a showcase of his talent. Over that stretch, Bell has a .441 BA, 8 HRs, 22 RBIs, and an absurd OPS of 1.407. If the Pirates can improve upon their 25-22 record and Bell keeps up this excellent level of play, he could be a legitimate MVP candidate by the end of the year. At any rate, if your favorite team is playing the Pirates (or your favorite team is the Pirates), tune in to watch Bell’s at-bats, they’ll be worth your while.

When to Watch:

Los Angles Dodges vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (5/24, 7:05 PM)

Los Angles Dodges vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (5/25, 7:15 PM)

Los Angles Dodges vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (5/26, 1:35 PM)

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds (5/27, 1:10 PM)

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds (5/27, 7:10 PM)

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds (5/28, 6:40 PM)

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds (5/29, 12:35 PM)

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (5/30, 7:05 PM)

Nick: Steph Curry

What a series from Steph Curry, huh? Here’s how many points he scored in each game: 36, 37, 36, 37. Pretty consistent. He made 23 three pointers in just 4 games, and truly led the Warriors in their steam-rolling of the Portland Trail Blazers. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green each had a great series as well, but Steph is the straw that stirs the drink, and that’s been a reality since Day 1 of this dynasty. The team is at their best with Kevin Durant healthy, but if Steph is playing like this… it really looks like they could win a title in spite of KD; how many teams could even be in a position to say that… certainly not the Thunder.

When to Watch: 

Game 1: Golden State Warriors vs. Toronto Raptors/Milwaukee Bucks (5/30, 9:00 PM)


Sell

Kerm: Eric Bledsoe

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The First Team All-Defensive guard has struggled most of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Raptors (Credit: Sports Illustrated)

Don’t let last night’s 20-point performance fool you, Eric Bledsoe has been struggling in this year’s playoffs. I’m not even sure if it’s Bledsoe’s fault or just a sign of where the league has been trending.

This postseason has seen plenty of elite point guards struggle. Westbrook didn’t have a great first round; Lillard had quite the fall off after the first round; Kyrie Irving struggled against the Bucks; even Steph Curry has had some games that would make you scratch your head.

Another common trend of the 2019 playoffs has been the blatant disrespect of below average shooters (take Al-Farouq Aminu or Pascal Siakam for example).

Eric Bledsoe happens to be both a point guard and below average shooter, making it that much tougher for him. Last night’s performance was his first game shooting above 40% this series and his three point shooting has been virtually nonexistent all playoffs. Sure he had 20 last night, but the best move might still be benching him for Goerge Hill.

When to Watch: 

Game 6: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors (5/25, 8:30 PM)

Game 7: Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks (5/27, 8:30 PM)*

*if nececcary

Mike: The Baltimore Orioles Pitching Staff

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The Baltimore Orioles S-T-I-N-K (Credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Let’s face it, the Baltimore Orioles suck. They are not a good baseball team. Now this isn’t a surprise to anyone except maybe the most hopeful of Orioles fans, but boy have the results been hard to watch. They have the worst record in the league as they sit at a dismal 15-35. There are plenty of factors as to why the O’s are so bad, but the most glaring issue has been their pitching. They have a league-worst ERA of 5.77, which is over half a run more than the second-to-last Royals. One of the craziest numbers to take away from this is that the Orioles have already given up 107 home runs only 50 games into the season. That means opponents are averaging over 2 dingers a game when playing Baltimore. Last season the Orioles let up 234 homers all year (which was worst in the MLB), and they’re almost halfway to that mark not even a third into this year. Baltimore owned the MLB’s worst record last season, and they are well on their way to going back-to-back.

When to Watch: 

Baltimore Orioles vs. Colorado Rockies (5/24, 8:40 PM)

Baltimore Orioles vs. Colorado Rockies (5/25, 9:10 PM)

Baltimore Orioles vs. Colorado Rockies (5/26, 3:10 PM)

Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles (5/27, 1:05 PM)

Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles (5/28, 7:05 PM)

Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles (5/29, 7:05 PM)

Nick: Danny Green

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Danny Green has played in 117 playoff games during his career, but has most recent stretch put him in jeopardy of being benched? (Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

Where has Danny Green been? I truly enjoy Green, he’s a great role player and I’ve wanted him on the Celtics for years (I always get him on my team in 2K when I have the chance).  However, following Game 5 against the Sixers, he has scored just 31 points. In that same amount of time, Kawhi Leonard has scored 31 or more points in 5 separate occasions. Green is shooting 23.1% from the field, and 21.4% from three during this stretch. Green only played 16 minutes in Game 5, a sign that unless he turns things around, he’ll be unplayable moving forward. If the Raptors want any chance of winning a championship, they’ll need the veteran to snap out of it.

When to Watch: 

Game 6: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors (5/25, 8:30 PM)

Game 7: Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks (5/27, 8:30 PM)*

*if nececcary


The “Who to Watch” series drops every Friday, via Hold My Drink Sports

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