The Pacers made it clear at the very beginning of the game that the Celtics’s sweeping them wouldn’t be simple. The Celtics opened play withe the Pacers quickly responded with the 13-0 race of their own. This offensive firepower didn’t last long, although; both defenses rapidly established themselves, and the rest of this period was reminiscent of the Celtics’ awkward 84-74 victory in Game 1 — low-scoring and physical. The Celtics hit only 36 percent from the ground and committed five turnovers, but the Pacers did only 32 percent in their own place and headed by only two leading into the second. But, unfortunately for the Pacers, they did not make the same halftime adjustments as Coach Stevens did for the Celtics.
Which resulted in a sweep. Any team with a roster and depth like the Celtics can be a contender, but I don’t think they can be better down the postseason stretch than the Raptors and Bucks, who are also getting Brogdon back after a clean sweep over the Detroit Pistons.
“I’m gonna hold. As on right now, I think it’s still on paper,” Talib said. “I’d like to see it with my own eyes, on the field, on tv or something- more than just on paper. As of right now, they had a losing record last season, so I gotta hold and see it with my own eyes, then I”ll buy it.”
That is not a bad take from the Rams CB, and we certainly can’t dismiss how people are beginning to overhype the new Browns roster. With that being said, After adding OBJ and Oliver Vernon to a solid young core that already consists of Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, and Nick Chubb. The talent is absolutely there, but like Talib said, it’s still on paper.
The season doesn’t even start until September, so we need to calm down with all of this hype. Ultimately, if the team on paper can perform to its full capability of the football field, the Browns could make one of the greatest comebacks in sports history and be AFC title contenders.
“Could the Duke Blue Devils be even better in 2019-20?!”
College basketball was an absolute joyride this season. Every team
has their story, and while the Virginia Cavaliers finally won a
national title, teams like Duke and Michigan State have their eyes
set on next year’s NCAA tournament. The Blue Devils knew
coming into the 2018-19 season that anything less than a national
championship would be a failure to meet expectations and reach
their full potential. As we all know since most of you were
probably celebrating, the Blue Devils fell short to Michigan State
in this year’s Elite Eight 68-67. This of course was an enormous
heartbreak to coaches, players, and fans. The loss was even worse
for Duke Point Guard, Tre Jones, who was born and raised in
Minneapolis, and was fighting for the opportunity to win a
championship in front of his mother as she is currently battling
breast cancer. But what will the Blue Devils look like coming into
next season after losing the services of Zion Williamson, RJ
Barrett, and Cam Reddish? Duke’s 2019-20 roster is shaping up with
the return of Point Guard, Tre Jones, and the potential signing of
(#6 SG) Cassius Stanley:
With this being said, here is a look at a projection of next years lineup:
G: Tre Jones
G: Alex O’Connell
G: Jordan Goldwire
CG: Boogie Ellis
SG: Cassius Stanley
G/F: Wendell Moore
F: Matthew Hurt
F: Joey Baker
F: Jack White
F: Javin DeLaurier
F: Justin Robinson
C: Vernon Carey
C: Marques Bolden
What stands out the most when evaluating this roster is the depth
that Duke will have at the guard position. Not only that, but Tre
Jones, Jordan Goldwire, and Alex O’Connell have all seen
meaningful minutes at the college level, bringing experience to the
table as well. Coach K’s team won’t possess as much raw talent as
the 2018-19 roster, but there is talent, and a lot of key players are
returning to Durham next season. Guard play and experience are
crucial in order to hang a banner, and the Blue Devils can expect
just that when the college basketball season rolls around. With
Vernon Carey, Matthew Hurt, Wendell Moore, Boogie Ellis, and
potentially Cassius Stanley joining next year’s squad, it’ll be
interesting to see if the Blue Devils can claim title number six.
The Atlanta Braves are a young, exciting, offensive team that consists of young stars such as Ronald Acuna, Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, and older veterans like Freeman, Markakis and fan favorite Brian McCann who returned to Atlanta this season. Although Atlanta has multiple players who can consistently hit the ball and put runs on the board, their bullpen is 25th in baseball in ERA. The last couple of games have become disasters at the end. Tuesday, the Atlanta Braves relievers allowed 7 earned runs in 3 innings against the Diamondbacks and adding injury to insult, the Braves lost “to-be” closer Adrodys Vizcaino to a season ending shoulder surgery. Tuesday night, after Max Fried exited the game in the sixth, the Braves used 6 pitchers. The primary offenders were Sobotka and Biddle who teamed up to blow the 6-2 lead Fried handed off to them, making the score 6-6. Luke Jackson and Shane Carle stopped the bleeding and managed to keep the game tied at 6. After Carle exited, Minter came into the game for the hold, but he got rocked by the Diamondbacks who rallied off 3 runs in the 9th before recent arrival Jacob Webb came in to close the game.
As we all knew, the bullpen is going to be the weak link for the Bravos all season. It’s doubtful that bullpen help is on the way since ownership knew in the off season that the relief corps was going to struggle and still resisted adding any new arms. Rumors are coming out from The Athletic that Craig Kimbrel, who remains unsigned but has lowered his contract asking price, would be a great fit to return to the back of Atlanta’s bullpen. Not even going to mention Johnny Venters, he has been a straight disappointment this year. Darren O’Day isn’t coming back anytime soon either.
The way the Braves bullpen has performed is certainly not surprising and definitely not pretty. A glance at the members of the bullpen and their stats will show you all you need to know, and until Brian Snitker can get his full squad back from all the injuries, the bullpen is going to be a work in progress.
The Braves have a chance to be a very good team this year. The team’s offense is stacked. The starting pitching has been better. Max Fried and Toussaint’s performances have been encouraging. Folty is coming back after one more rehab start this weekend. The Braves fate will fall in the hands of its bullpen, and you know what they say, “defense wins championships”
The National League playoff race will be a wild ride. In the NL East, the Braves, Nationals, Mets and Phillies, are all very capable of winning the division title crown. In the NL Central, the Cubs (who have started off slow but it is early), the Brewers, and possibly the Cardinals are talented enough to make a World Series push. So that’s seven playoff-worthy teams fighting for, at most, four postseason spots (two titles, two wild-cards). Then you have the Dodgers as the West favorites. Although the Rockies have brought most of their primary pieces from last year’s NL wild-card club, they have underachieved as they have a 7-12 record and are dead last in the NL West. So that’s eight worthy teams vying for six spots, and teams like the Reds and Padres could/should be significantly better this year. The AL, on the other hand, isn’t quite as compelling. Barring preseason catastrophic injury issues. The Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros feel like playoff locks With that being said The only real question is which team will jump up to 91-ish wins and grabs the second wild-card spot. The Red Sox were one of the favorites to win the World Series, but their season has been a complete disaster, as they are last in the AL East at 6-13. It is a very long season, but if the Sox don’t get it together before the end of May, their season will be over before it even really began.
After the Nets defeated the 76ers in game 2 to tie up the series at 1-1, Jared Dudley made some comments that sure did seem to backfire, as Simmons had a career night from the field with 31 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds (surprising), 2 steals and 3 blocks in 38 minutes. He had a career high 31 playoff points and his career high in general is 32. The Brooklyn fans also had a role in making the wrong guy mad. Flyers were posted throughout the city that claimed Ben Simmons jumper was “missing” and that he was described as being “average”.
That took beef to a whole new level. Greg Monroe started for the in place of superstar Joel Embiid because of a knee injury, and he didn’t do so great to say the least. Boban had some big moments and made some plays, but this game was all about Simmons. If he can play this good when Embiid comes back, the 76ers will be the legit contenders we all believed they would be in the East. Ultimately, it will all come down to on how Joel Embiid’s injury impacts his game and his minutes when he returns because the 76ers do not stand a chance to win the East without Embiid, who said this of his injury, “It’s tough. That’s what tendinitis is all about,” Embiid said of his injury, “And some days you got your days and some other days is different. So even in the games that I play I just try to go out there and try to play for these guys. I try to help us win the series and eliminate them. So whatever, whatever I can do. But it’s hard. I just got to keep pushing it and see how I do.” Obviously, this injury is day-to-day so it could definitely be worse, but it is essential for the 76ers to keep their star big man healthy. As of now, 76ers fans should clearly be satisfied with their chances of winning the East because if Ben Simmons keeps playing this way and Joel Embiid comes back himself, the league better be on watch.
Spring has sprung and the 2019 MLB season is underway!
Every new season holds its own amount of uncertainty with new faces in new places and a clean slate of 162 games of America’s National Pastime. However, that “new season smell” can become sour very quickly.
The Chicago Cubs have gotten off to a rough start and fans are restless, even though we’re only 10 games into a very long season. The Cubs woes are not for a lack of offense but rather struggles from the mound.
The Cubs are swinging big bats to start the year with 13 different players posting multi-hit games for the Northsiders. Javy Baez leads the team with 5 multi-hit outtings on the season; Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, and Daniel Descalso each have 3 multi-hit games. As a team the Cubs are batting .289, second in the league at the time of writing. Chicago is also hitting the long-ball well with 8 different players going yard at least once this season. Javy Baez leads the team with 4 home runs; Contreras, Heyward, and Schwarber (3); first baseman Anthony Rizzo has two homers so far this season; Bryant, Caratini, and Descalso each have one. The Cubs are seventh in the league in total team home runs at the time of writing.
The success the Cubs have had at the plate has not translated to the work done on the mound. Other than ace Jon Lester, the Chicago pitching rotation has struggled, as well as the bullpen. Unfortunately, Lester was pulled after just three innings on Monday, in the Cubs first game at Wrigley Field for the 2019 season, with a hamstring injury and has been placed on the IL. The Cubs big signing ahead of the 2018 campaign, Yu Darvish, has failed to make a mark on the Chicago squad, dealing with injuries and an inconsistency that dates back to his pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. Whether its a mechanics issue or a lack of confidence, Darvish has left much of the Chicago fan base asking “Who are Yu?” Where starting pitching has faltered, the Cubs bullpen has continued to fall. Relievers Carl Edwards Jr and Mike Montgomery struggled in the appearances early in the season; Edwards Jr was sent to the Iowa Cubs in hopes that he’ll be more prepared when he does pitch in an MLB game again. Montgomery was placed on the 10-day IL and will be available again on April 15.
While the Cubs have struggled, they did manage to scratch a 10 run shutout victory over the Pirates in the first game at Wrigley in 2019. It is the largest shutout victory in a home opener in Cubs franchise history, and Cubs fans hope this is a sign of things to come.
The Cubs and Pirates resume action on Wednesday April 10 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Darvish and Lyles will take the mound for their respective clubs.