By: Robert Bishop
Back again, and the Los Angeles Lakers were able to take a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Denver Nuggets behind a strong game from Anthony Davis, clutch defense late in the game, and a game-wide dominance of the offensive glass. The Nuggets put forth a better offensive performance than the Lakers on Thursday night. However, it was Los Angeles’s ability to grab an offensive rebound on a whopping 40% of their missed shots that proved to be the difference. Davis led the way for L.A. with 34 points on 15 shots. Denver now finds itself in a familiar position: needing to win three straight games. The Nuggets pulled off the improbable feat in the opening round against the Jazz and in the second round against the Clippers. Denver will look to kickstart another historic comeback on Saturday night.
In the East, the Miami Heat surged to a 3-1 advantage over the Boston Celtics behind an unlikely hero: rookie sharp-shooter Tyler Herro. Against the Celtics in Game 4, Herro erupted for 37 points, helping his team overcome a team-wide off night from beyond the arc. Miami continues to prove to be a well-coached, unselfish team. Herro took over the scoring load, while the supporting cast committed to ball-hawking defense, hustle play after hustle play, and crashing the boards. For Boston, 19 turnovers and a scoreless first half from Jayson Tatum proved to be too much to overcome. The Celtics will look to stave off elimination in a must-win Game 5 tonight.
Thursday night saw Week 3 of the NFL season kick-off with a clash between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins. After two weeks to open the season in which the Jaguars looked surprisingly competent, the team’s anticipated version was on full display. The offensive line was dreadful. Quarterback Gardner Minshew’s lack of arm strength doomed the offense’s ability to push things downfield. The defense routinely missed tackles and failed to generate pass rush. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick—who looked cooked through two games—earned another start with a vintage performance. Fans hoping for a glimpse of rookie Tua Tagovailoa will have to wait for another week.
Major League Baseball’s abbreviated season is rounding third and heading for home this week as Sunday represents the regular season’s final day. The playoff field in the American League is almost locked in, with only the second-place seed in the American League West up for grabs. The Houston Astros hold a firm lead over the Los Angeles Angels, but three wins for the Angels and three losses for the Astros would change things in the standings. The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s have clinched their respective divisions, while the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox continue to fight for the AL Central’s top spot. The Yankees, Indians, and Blue Jays round out the AL field.
In the National League, the Dodgers sit alone atop the overall standings with an MLB-best 40 wins. The Atlanta Braves sit in second place and have clinched the NL East. The National League Central remains up for grabs as the Cubs need a win to clinch things from the surging Cardinals and Reds. San Diego has sewed up a spot in the playoff as the second-place team in the NL West. Otherwise, plenty remains undecided. Five overall playoff spots are in play heading into the weekend, and things won’t be decided until play ends on Sunday.
Entering the weekend, the Cardinals, Marlins, Reds, and Giants control a playoff spot. However, the Phillies, Brewers, Mets, and Rockies remain alive. Specifically, the Brewers and Phillies are threats to pounce on a playoff berth. Unfortunately for Milwaukee, the Brewers will be facing the motivated Cardinals, while Philadelphia gets the already-clinched Rays. Things are situated to be pretty exciting during the final weekend before a wild postseason.