It’s tough to ask for much more from sports than what fans across the country received this weekend. NBA Game 7s and drama? Check. The Kentucky Derby? Check. Overtime NHL playoff games? Check. Money Mayweather? Check.
Basketball fans were in for a treat all weekend, but the best moment of the weekend occurred on Friday night. Trailing 98-96 with less than a second left, the Portland Trail Blazers looked like they were headed back to Houston to take on the Rockets for Game 7. With just 0.9 seconds left in the game, Portland inbounded the ball to guard Damian Lillard, who promptly made the biggest shot of his life, draining a three-pointer as time expired, sending the Trail Blazers to the second round — and sending the Rockets home for the offseason.
Portland has to put the thrilling win behind them, as the Blazers are now tasked with taking on the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals. The Spurs dispatched the Dallas Mavericks with relative ease in Game 7 on Sunday, defeating the Mavs, 119-96.
Saturday was an historic day in the NBA, with three Game 7s held on the same day — the first time that has ever happened in NBA history. The top-seeded Indiana Pacers avoided disaster, defeating the Atlanta Hawks, 92-80. Likewise, the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder ousted the Memphis Grizzles, while the Los Angeles edged the Golden State Warriors, 126-121.
The NBA’s second round gets underway Monday night, when the Pacers host the Washington Wizards, before the Thunder host the Clippers.
There might not be a more intense postseason than hockey’s, and that intensity was put on display throughout the weekend. The Montreal Canadiens kicked off the second round with a thrilling double overtime win over the Boston Bruins, breaking home ice. Montreal had a chance to take a commanding 2-0 series lead, but the Bruins scored four third-period goals to take Game 2, 5-3.
Not to be outdone, the New York Rangers broke home ice in Game 1, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory. Pittsburgh bounced back in Game 2, sending the series back to Madison Square Garden at a game a piece.
Elsewhere in the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks currently lead the Minnesota Wild 2-0, while the Los Angeles Kings won their fifth straight game, to take a 1-0 series advantage over the Anaheim Ducks.
The Run for the Roses
If you blinked, you may have missed it. The fastest two minutes in sports came and went on Saturday, and the odds-on favorite California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby with relative ease — despite a strong effort from Commanding Curve down the stretch. California Chrome entered the race with 2-1 odds — by far the best odds of any horse in this year’s Run for the Roses.
Next up for California Chrome is the Preakness Stakes, held in Baltimore, on Saturday, May 17. We’ll see then if California Chrome has a chance to become a triple crown winner — or if the Belmont Stakes will be met with tepid anticipation.
Money Remains Undefeated
It wasn’t his most dominating fight, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. remained undefeated on Saturday night, and retained his WBC Welterweight title, while improving to an astonishing 46-0. Mayweather defeated Marcos Maidana in a majority decision, as 12 rounds weren’t enough for either boxer to knock the other out.
What’s next for Mayweather? Time will tell — and we all know boxing fans everywhere want to see Mayweather take on Manny Pacquiao, including the great Muhammad Ali. While it’s unlikely the two superstar boxers will square off this year, it’s certainly on the mind of boxing fans everywhere.
The Week Ahead
The NBA and NHL playoffs will continue second-round action, while baseball’s regular season enters its second month. The Cincinnati Reds will take a rare trip to Fenway Park this week to take on the Boston Red Sox, while the Los Angeles Dodgers will host their archrivals this weekend — the San Francisco Giants, as two NL West titans clash.
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