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Basketball

🏀NBA Conference Finals have Officially Begun

June 21, 2021
Source: NBA/Twitter
Source: NBA/Twitter

Eastern Conference: The Milwaukee Bucks overcame Brooklyn Net Kevin Durant’s 48-point performance (including this clutch shot to send things to overtime) to win Saturday’s Game 7. The Bucks will now appear in their first conference finals since 2019 and are potentially en route to ending a 47-year (!!!) finals appearance drought.

  • To get there, they’ll have to defeat the Atlanta Hawks, who eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers with yesterday’s 103–96 Game 7 win. Kevin Huerter was the difference maker, leading the Hawks with 27 points...just like we all predicted?

Western Conference: Over in the West, the Phoenix Suns jumped to an early 1-0 series lead with yesterday’s 120–114 win over the LA Clippers. Of note: both squads were missing key players, as Suns guard Chris Paul remains in COVID-19 protocol and Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury.

  • With Game 2 set for tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET, it’s still TBD whether either will return to the floor in time. Watch this space. 
🏀🏒

New York City: Islanders Look to Take Game 5 Over Lightning in Stanley Cup Playoffs

June 21, 2021
Source: Twitter.com/New York Islanders
Source: Twitter.com/New York Islanders

🏒Islanders: The Isles have grit galore, and it was on full display in their Game 4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Our boys headed into the third period with a 3–0 lead, but the Lightning struck back, quickly notching two goals and hungry for the equalizer. 

  • Enter: Ryan Pulock. In the frenzied final seconds of the game, the defenseman made this desperate save to stop a buzzer-beater and seal the win. Chills.
  • As they return to Tampa, the Isles need to keep the intensity up and build an early lead over the Lightning. Puck drops on Game 5 tonight at 8 p.m. ET. See you at The Barn

🏀Nets: The Nets’ buzzer-beater story didn’t have as happy an ending. The finalé of their series with the Milwaukee Bucks was absolutely wild, with the two heavyweights of the Eastern Conference going blow-for-blow ’til the bitter end. Kevin Durant played out of his mind, sinking an almost game-winner that instead sent the teams to OT. Our hearts are still pounding.

  • But you can only hit so many game-saving shots in one night; without much help (read: literally zero points) from his bench, KD and the squad fell 115–111 to the Milwaukee Bucks in a Game 7 heartbreaker.  
  • While we’re enjoying #hotgirlsummer, we hope the injury-plagued Nets get some desperately-needed R&R. The Big 3 barely played together, but they gave us a taste of what we hope to see next year. KD, if we catch you poolside, drinks are on us. 

🔢 Box scores: 🏀The Liberty beat the LA Sparks 76–73 in Sunday’s celebration of the W’s Inaugural Game; ⚽️Gotham FC drew the league-best Orlando Pride 1–1.  

🏀

Philadelphia: Sixers Head into the Offseason After Disappointing Game 7

June 21, 2021
Source: Twitter.com/Philadelphia 76ers
Source: Twitter.com/Philadelphia 76ers

 🏀Sixers: From Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris’ double-doubles to Hawks star Trae Young’s shooting struggles, the Wells Fargo Center was crackling with confidence last night. Though the teams were neck-and-neck through the whole game, we thought that No. 1-seed swag would help pull our Sixers through and seal them a spot in the Eastern Conference finals. 

  • But sloppy play, 17 turnovers (yeesh), an unexpectedly good game from Hawks guard Kevin Huerter and a disappointingly ineffective Ben Simmons let the Hawks steal this one 103–96
  • As the Sixers head into the offseason, Simmons may feel a trade target on his back. We think president of operations Daryl Morey will do whatever it takes to keep Embiid around — and that might mean clearing some space under that salary cap. 

🔢  Box Scores: ⚽️The Union drew 2–2 with Atlanta United FC yesterday thanks to defender Jakob Glesnes’ insane goal; ⚾️The Phillies fell 11–2 to the league-leading San Francisco Giants yesterday. 

🏀

Boston: Offseason Moves Begin for Celtics with a Trade

June 21, 2021
Source: NBC Sports
Source: NBC Sports

🏀Celtics: We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know it was coming this quickly. On Friday, former head coach and new team president Brad Stevens made his first front office move, sending Kemba Walker and two draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a 2023 draft pick, center Moses Brown and former Celtic Al Horford.

  • This will likely be the first of many offseason deals for the C’s as the team begins second round interviews with at least three head coaching candidates. Notably absent? The top women candidates. Still time to add ’em, Brad.

⚾️Red Sox: Rafael Devers’ late inning home run was a little too late, as the Sox fell 7–3 to the Kansas City Royals yesterday. Boston’s off today before heading to Tampa Bay for a key three-game series with the Rays, who are currently a half game behind the Sox in the AL East. Time to widen that gap.

And although they couldn’t get it done on the field, there was some great news off of it. Fan favorite Jerry Remy returned to the broadcast booth yesterday after leaving in the middle of a game earlier this month due to shortness of breath. Welcome back, Rem Dawg! 

🏀

Dallas: Head Coach Change Latest Offseason Move for Mavs

June 21, 2021
Source: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
Source: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

🏀Mavericks: Despite being eliminated from the playoffs, the Mavs are still shaking up the NBA. On Thursday, just one day after announcing the departure of longtime general manager Donnie Nelson, the Mavs announced the unexpected resignation of head coach Rick Carlisle, who led Dallas for 13 seasons. Damn.

  • While there’s not too much info as to who will replace Carlisle, there will be a familiar face guiding the Mavericks through the hiring process: Dirk Nowitzki, who signed on as a special adviser on Friday. In Dirk we trust.

🏀Wings: After Thursday’s loss to the Minnesota Lynx, the Wings bounced back on Saturday, snapping their two-game losing streak with a 95–77 win over Minnesota thanks to a career-high 28 points from Marina Mabrey. Girl, you have done it again. Tomorrow’s 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT tilt with the league’s second-place Connecticut Sun will be a tough test for Dallas. Bring it.

⚾️Rangers: We’re hoping you had a better weekend than the Rangers, who were swept by the Minnesota Twins after losing their sixth straight game yesterday. Yikes. Hopefully they can turn things around tonight at 8:05 p.m. ET/7:05 p.m. CT vs. the *checks notes* AL West first-place Oakland Athletics...double yikes.