Before we begin, we want to share some news: this will be our last Who To Watch. We brought this series to you as a way to inform readers who to keep an eye on in the various leagues that were playing during a given time. However, as the NHL season could be over as early as Sunday, and the NBA season could be over by next Thursday, we feel as though it would be redundant to repeatedly write about baseball players all summer. With this in mind, this series will be taking the next few months off. You can still find other great content on our blog, which will bring fresh perspectives to you the reader, something we will continue to strive to accomplish moving forward.
We hope that you have enjoyed this series thus far (we have enjoyed sharing our talented writers and their views with you!), and that when we start up again in the coming months, you will continue to read what we have to say from this weekly post.
With that in mind, here is our last Who To Watch of the summer, featuring Fredy, Mike, and Nick.
Bit of a slow week in the office since we last met, right? Well, not exactly. We saw the Toronto Raptors cap of a comeback from being down 2-0 against the Milwaukee Bucks, winning the Eastern Conference Finals in 6 games. Oh yeah, we ALSO saw Toronto take Game 1 of the NBA Finals, their first Finals game in franchise history. Pascal Siakam looked spectacular, and Toronto did a great job limiting the potent Warriors offense; folks, I think we actually have a legitimate series here. In the NHL, the Stanley Cup Finals began, as the Boston Bruins faced off against the St. Louis Blues. Boston took Game 1, while the Blues won Game 2 in OT; this also looks like another great series in the making. We’ll continue to have championship games occur over the next week, as well as baseball, which is roughly one-third of the way through. In case you were wondering, the Minnesota Twins (you read that right) have the best record in baseball, as they currently stand at 37-18. Christian Yelich leads baseball with 21 home runs as he makes a strong case for a second straight NL MVP. Domingo German leads baseball in wins with 9.
Alright, on to what to look for during the next week, as we enter the warmth of June.
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!
What a difference a week can make. Imagine telling someone last week just how bad the Celtics would fail to finish their series against the Bucks? Truly embarrassing. The rest of the NBA has provided great playoff action. Last Friday Portland and Denver player the first quadruple overtime playoff game since the 1950s, the Rockets dug themselves out of a hole to compete in their series against Golden State, although the Warriors have a 3-2 lead. The Raptors and Sixers have swung back and forth, making you love what makes each good, while questioning their faults all at the same time, and we get a Game 7 because of it. In the NHL, we have reached the Conference Finals. The Bruins are facing the Carolina Hurricanes (and beat them 5-2 last night) out East, while the St. Louis Blues are facing the San Jose Sharks out West. We had a crazy end to the Kentucky Derby where the horse that crossed the finish line first apparently broke a rule, and after instant replay, was DQ’d, the first time this had ever happen in the history of the race. We also had a no-hitter in baseball this week, courtesy of Michael Fiers of the Oakland Athletics.
Oh, and Kerm is getting ready to protest with Lakers fans at Staples Center soon.
Folks, we have made it through 1/3 of 2019, which sounds crazy considering 2018 seems like it was just yesterday (time never slows down, does it). Anyway, this past week the intensity we saw the past 2-3 weeks let up, but now we have some truly competitive matchups taking place in the NBA and NHL. Every team except Houston has won at least one game in the second round of the NBA playoffs, while in the NHL, other than a 3-0 lead Carolina has over the Islanders, every other series is tied 2-2. In baseball… you know what, we’ll congratulate CC Sabathia for becoming the the 17th pitcher in MLB history to strike out 3,000 batters, and only the third lefty to ever do so. Other than that, eh, it’s on the back burner until the playoffs lighten up… unless you consider Nick seeing Jared Carrabis at South Station last Friday news (no, he was not able to say hello to the Rocket). In the NFL, we saw 2018 first round pick Josh Rosen get traded to Miami, ending his tenure in Arizona. Other than that, rounds 2 through 7 of the NFL Draft took place, as teams restocked with young talent (both through the draft and via undrafted free agents). Oh, and the Rockets apparently cried to the league about Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals.
We just witnessed another GREAT week in sports. In the NHL, there were three Game 7s, games in which the Bruins, Sharks, and Hurricanes advanced. Boston won 5-1; San Jose was trailing 3-0 before scoring 4 goals in less than 5 minutes to take the lead back, but Vegas tied the game to force OT, where San Jose ultimately won; in D.C., the Hurricanes beat the defending champions in double OT, another upset in a first round full of them. The NBA was not without it’s fair share of dramatics. Damian Lillard had one of the best closeout games in recent NBA history, capped off by one of the coldest buzzer beaters (and a wave OKC). Portland, as well as Boston, Milwaukee, Toronto, Philly, and Houston moved onto the second round. The Clippers forced a Game 6 on Wednesday behind a great performance from Lou Williams. The Spurs won at home to force a Game 7 in their series against the Denver Nuggets.
The Eastern Conference Semifinals will begin on tomorrow, as Toronto will host the 76ers. Game 7 of the Spurs/Nuggets series will take place after that game at 10:00 PM. The Clippers host the Warriors for Game 6 of their series tonight at 10:00 PM.
Also, congratulations to those drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Rounds 2-3 will take place starting at 7:00 PM tonight, and the remainder of the draft will be tomorrow starting at noon.
If we’re being honest, we may have just witnessed one of the best weeks in sports in a LONG time since we last met. Tiger Woods stayed in competition all weekend, and he FINALLY WON A MAJOR, over a decade since his last major championship. Congrats on number 15, Tiger! In the NBA, we have seen some great games thus far. Kyrie Irving had a great performance in Game 2 to help the Celtics take a 2-0 series lead. Damian Lillard has been phenomenal as the Trail Blazers have gone ahead 2-0 on OKC. The Clippers completed the biggest comeback in playoff history to tie their series going into Game 3, but the Warriors won last night to regain the lead. The Sixers lead Brooklyn 2 to 1, the Spurs lead Denver 2 to 1, the Rockets and Bucks are ahead 2 games to none in their respective series, and Toronto and Orlando are tied.
In the NHL, we saw one of the greatest upsets in sports history, as the Columbus Blue Jackets won their first playoff series EVER, sweeping the President Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning, the same team that tied the record for the most wins in NHL history this season. The New York Islanders advanced as well, sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins. Colorado leads Calgary three games to one (shout out to UMass defenseman Cale Makar, who joined the Avalanche this week after the Minutemen reached the NCAA championship game). The rest of the series in the league are currently competitive, with St. Louis and Las Vegas leading theirs 3 games to 2, and the remaining two series tied at 2 games apiece.
In baseball, the reigning World Series champs look awful (more on that later), and Tampa Bay seems to be taking the league by storm this season, as the currently stand at 14-5.