Sports Corner

By: Sports Corner             

Back again, and Denver’s improbable postseason run continued over the weekend with a pair of incredible come-from-behind wins. On Friday night, the Nuggets erased a late double-digit deficit to force a Game 6, and on Sunday afternoon, Denver delivered an encore showing to even the series against the Clippers at 3-3. L.A.’s collapse on Sunday included turning a 19-point lead into a 13-point loss. Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was the best player on the court during the second half, erasing the memory of a few ugly turnovers before halftime to spearhead his team’s victory. The Nuggets will look to make it three straight wins on Tuesday night in an epic Game 7 showdown.

              On Saturday night, the Houston Rockets were sent home by the Los Angeles Lakers in a rough Game 5 showing. The Rockets put forth a listless effort, with Russell Westbrook’s playoff struggles continuing through the final buzzer. Hours after the game, it was confirmed that Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni would not be returning to the franchise’s sidelines next season. As for the Lakers, L.A. jumped to an early double-digit lead and managed to maintain the advantage throughout the contest. LeBron James led the way with 29 points, 11 boards, and seven dimes. The Lakers will face the winner of tomorrow’s tilt between the Clippers and Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

              Friday night was also home to a Game 7, and in the conclusion to a combative match-up between the Celtics and Raptors, it was Boston that emerged with the win. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 50 points, 20 boards, and nine dimes to lead Boston to the decisive win over the defending champions. The continued offensive struggles from Pascal Siakam doomed Toronto’s hopes for victory. Now, Boston will move on to face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Game 1 will be on Tuesday evening.

              Moving to the NFL, among the early slate of games, perhaps the two biggest surprises came via an awful showing from the Cleveland Browns in a blowout defeat against the Baltimore Ravens and an unexpected upset win for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the playoff-hopeful Indianapolis Colts. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield continued to be unimpressive, while his counterpart, reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, was utterly dominant. For the Jaguars, Gardner Minshew was excellent while new Colts quarterback Phillip Rivers tossed a pair of picks in his team debut.

              Cam Newton made his debut with the New England Patriots, and while he wasn’t asked to do too much as a passer, the former MVP looked great as a runner. Newton had 15 carries for 75 yards—including 39 yards after contact. Newton also recorded eight first downs as a runner while finding the end zone twice. Another quarterback largely being written off is Aaron Rodgers. The Packers veteran tossed four T.D.s in a shootout win over the Vikings. It was a throwback showing from Rodgers, who looks poised to make the Packers regret spending a first-round pick on a quarterback. Newton will have a more challenging task next week against the Seahawks, while Rodgers will face the Detroit Lions in Week 2.

              Tom Brady’s debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t go well as the lack of a preseason was on full display. Brady had multiple miscommunications and a pair of ugly turnovers as Tampa Bay suffered a season-opening loss to the Saints. Meanwhile, DeAndre Hopkins’ debut with the Cardinals sparked an upset win over the San Francisco 49ers. Hopkins finished the game with 14 grabs and 151 yards. In the late-night window, Dallas’s Super Bowl quest hit a Week 1 hurdle as the team lost to the L.A. Rams and lost star linebacker Leighton Vander-Esch to a broken collarbone. Week 1’s action closes out with a pair of games tonight, including Pittsburgh versus the New York Giants and Denver versus the Tennessee Titans.