Eagles, 76ers, Phillies Undergoing Changes
The GIST: There’s change in the air, and it’s not just the autumn crisp. The 76ers have a new coach, the Phillies' GM stepped down, and the Eagles finally...won?
The Birds are back: We were bracing ourselves for an Eagles loss against the San Francisco 49ers last night, but then QB Carson Wentz finally found his groove. A 49ers fourth-quarter turnover sparked a Philly march down the field, which ended with this touchdown bomb from Wentz to receiver Travis Fulgham (who, BTW, just came off the practice squad last week).
- Plays later, linebacker Alex Singleton grabbed his first career pick-six to widen the Eagles’ lead. We’re thankful for that extra TD, because even with the 49ers’ late comeback attempt, the Birds won the four-quarter thriller 25–20.
Bring in a champ: The Sixers made their relationship with Doc Rivers official on Thursday when they announced him as the team’s next head coach. Rivers, a former NBA All-Star player and championship-winning coach, led the LA Clippers for the last seven seasons.
- While Rivers’ coaching career has been highly successful and he’s well-respected by players, our biggest concern is how his teams (including the Clippers this year) perform in the playoffs. Three of his teams in three different decades have blown a 3-1 lead in a playoff series, something no other coach has suffered. Here’s the thing: disappointing finishes are not something the Sixers need help with.
Rebuilding...again: On Saturday, the Phillies announced that Matt Klentak will no longer be serving as their general manager. After five years in the position and with one of the highest payrolls in the MLB, Klentak’s squad still couldn’t break the Phillies’ nine-year playoff drought. In essentially the same spot they were in five years ago, it’s time to figure out the front office and get to winning ASAP.
⚾Round 2 of MLB Playoffs Begins Today
The GIST: The next round of the MLB playoffs begins today! Eight teams will compete in four divisional best-of-five series based at neutral sites — California for the American League Divisional Series (ALDS) and Texas for the National League Divisional Series (NLDS). From bat flips to bad blood, here’s a preview of each matchup.
Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics: Ready for some drama? Get this: A’s pitcher Mike Fiers used to play for the Astros and was the whistleblower on the Astros’ infamous cheating scandal. *gasp* Drama aside, the A’s are clear favorites in this one, having won their regular season bouts 7-3. Behind the hot bat of catcher Sean Murphy, expect the Athletics to make quick work of the Astros, who (in our humble opinion) shouldn’t have even made the playoffs in the first place.
New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: The Yankees and Rays both swept their AL Wild Card series, which will make for a feisty matchup of these AL East foes. The top-seeded Rays won eight of their 10 regular-season games against the Bronx Bombers and will rely on a trio of top-notch starting pitchers to quiet a surging Yankees offense, who scored 22 (!!!) runs in their two wild card games.
Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves: After opening the season with 18 COVID-19 cases, the underdog Marlins defied all odds, sweeping their Wild Card series and earning their first NLDS appearance since 2003. The Braves also swept their Wild Card series, thanks to clutch performances from NL MVP candidate Freddie Freeman and emerging star pitcher Ian Anderson. The Marlins have a hot-handed pitcher of their own in Sixto Sánchez, but they’ll need some more magic to continue their 2020 Cinderella story postseason run. Too bad Sam’s a Dodgers fan.
San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: In true California fashion, this series is all about the starpower. The league-leading Dodgers boast MVP candidate Mookie Betts, dominant pitcher Clayton Kershaw and the best earned run average (ERA) in baseball. But don’t expect underdog Slam San Diego to go down without a fight. The Padres’ high-powered offense, complete with young superstar Fernando Tatís Jr. and the most epic bat flips in the game, will put the Dodgers’ pitching staff to the test.
🏀Miami Heat Take Game 3 Against Los Angeles Lakers
The GIST: The Miami Heat are finally showing signs of life. After a slow start to the NBA Championship Finals, the Heat are ready to compete.
How so?: Jimmy Butler and the Miami boys took home a win last night. The first two games of the best-of-seven series were easy blowouts for the expected-champion LA Lakers, but the Heat started Game 3 with a vengeance, leading almost the entire game. While the game was tight throughout, the Heat pulled ahead in the fourth quarter to post their own blowout score, 115–104.
- Butler was the star of the show, with a 40-point triple-double in his best career game (playoffs or otherwise). No one else even came close, with Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Herro each putting up 17 points. Must be all that Big Face Coffee. They’ll want to load up on more ahead of tomorrow night’s Game 4, which tips off at 9 p.m. ET.
And what’s up with the WNBA?: The Seattle Storm is a-ragin’! After taking yesterday’s Game 2 with a 104–91 win, the Storm are now up 2-0 in the best-of-five championship series against the Las Vegas Aces. The Storm have won both games by a 13-point margin, thanks to solid defense and a stacked offense.
- Former MVP Breanna Stewart scored 22 points in Game 2 while Alysha Clark and Natasha Howard each put up 21, showing the depth of talent on this team.
- The GOAT Sue Bird followed up her record-setting performance (in which she recorded 16 assists — the highest-ever in a single Finals game) with 16 points yesterday. Game 3 is set for tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET. Come for the basketball, stay for the possible championship celebration.
Lakers, Dodgers Dominate Our Wednesday Night
The GIST: Last night, we frantically flipped between watching the Lakers win Game 1 of the NBA Finals and the Dodgers take Game 1 of their Wild Card series. What do the schedulers have against LA?!
Three wins to go: The southern Californian heat may have roasted us, but the Miami Heat did not roast the Lakers in Game 1. The Purple and Gold overcame a slow start with the help of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 10 huge first-quarter points, before pulling away for an emphatic victory. We see you, KCP.
- Game 2 tips off tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Showtime, baby.
Feeling hot, hot, hot: The Dodgers got it done in last night’s 4–2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Our LA boys raced out to a quick 3–0 start, but let the Brewers back in it with a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Thankfully, our multiple relief pitchers held the Brewers at two runs, and shortstop Corey Seager tacked on an insurance run to give the Dodgers breathing room. Still, too close for comfort.
- Pitcher Clayton Kershaw and the boys in blue hope to close out the series tonight at 10:08 p.m. ET/7:08 p.m. PT. Here we go.
Say what: Spark Candace Parker, who was named Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) by the media, was left off the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, as selected by WNBA head coaches. We’re flabbergasted.
🏀WNBA, NBA Playoffs in Home Stretch
The GIST: We’re only one game into the NBA Finals, and though we’re already hoping this series goes a full seven, the LA Lakers may wrap it up a lot sooner.
Tell me everything!: With President Obama, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade sitting courtside (virtually, of course), the Miami Heat and LA Lakers kicked off the highly anticipated NBA Finals with a one-sided highlight reel. The Heat came out hot, at one point leading the Lakers 25–12, but it didn’t last long.
- The Lakers were up by 17 at the half, and thanks to unreal performances by Anthony Davis, who put up 34 points, and LeBron James, who did this, the Lakers took Game 1 with a 116–98 win. Unfortunately for the Heat, they lost the game and Goran Dragić, who left in the first half with a foot injury. Ouch. Game 2 tips off tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET.
What about the W?: League MVP A’ja Wilson led the Las Vegas Aces with 23 points in Tuesday night’s 66–63 do-or-die Game 5 win over the Connecticut Sun.
- With the win, Wilson became the fifth-straight season MVP to make it to the Finals, and all four who came before her went on to win the championship. Foreshadowing? Maybe.
- But Wilson and the Aces will be in a tough matchup against a stacked Seattle Storm squad led not only by former MVP Breanna Stewart but also WNBA legend Sue Bird, who after an injury-filled 2019 season will be looking to repeat on their 2018 WNBA title. Catch Game 1 of the five-game series tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET.