The Viral Roundup – Keepin’ It Beal Edition
Happy Monday! We trust you survived the weekend alright. (Kudos to those of you who got drafted to an NFL squad, by the way.) Welcome to The Viral Roundup. We’re your one-stop shop for all the big news, big buzz and big developments percolating in the world of sports. In today’s edition: The Wizards open up Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs in style, the Hawks aim for a 2-0 lead and Manny Pacquiao claims he wasn’t 100% at the opening bell.
Did You Hear?
Hot on the heels of an incredible Clippers/Spurs Game 7 to close out Round 1, Round 2 opened up with two Eastern Conference squads going toe-to-toe. The Wizards drew first blood in ATL, topping the Hawks 104-98 and remaining undefeated in the postseason. A sprained ankle wasn’t enough to keep Washington guard Bradley Beal off the court, as he scored 28 points in 40 minutes on the hardwood. #3′s shutdown job on Kyle Korver’s three point attack was nothing to sneeze at either. The Hawks weren’t exactly a vision of accuracy in the loss, exemplified by a hideous 5-for-28 shotting tally in the 4th quarter. Yuck! The Hawks will aim to split the series tomorrow night at home.
Did You See?
This moment happened all the way back in the ancient days of Friday, but it’s too amazing to not trot out again. The NFL Draft’s most emotional moment came courtesy of the appearance of Bills great Jim Kelly to announce the football club’s second round draft pick. The Hall of Fame pivot’s valiant battle against cancer and MRSA has been well documented and seeing Kelly at the draft prompted a well-deserved standing ovation. Buffalo used the pick (50th overall) to select Florida State cornerback Ronald Darby in case you were too distracted by the lump in your throat or dust in your eyes.
Did You Know?
- This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but the Golden State Warriors still look scary good. Steph Curry knocked down 22 points and provided 7 assists as Golden State (a 10 point home favourite) cruised to a 101-86 win over Memphis in Oakland. The first victory of the series also marks the 21st straight W for the Warriors on their home court. The Grizzlies are still awaiting the return of star point guard Mike Conley as he continues to recover from a facial injury. Game 2 takes place on Tuesday at Oracle Arena.
- Elsewhere in Warriors news, Steph Curry will be named NBA MVP. Boasting a 28.3 point/7.7 assist per game average for a superb Golden State team, the Splash Brother has been selected to over fellow stellar candidates James Harden of Houston and Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City. It’s the first Most Valuable Player honour awarded to Curry and the first for a Warrior since Wilt Chamberlain’s 1960 win during the Philly days of the franchise.
- The Habs are leaving the Bell Centre with a 0-2 series deficit hanging over their heads. The Bolts absolutely battered the Canadiens 6-2 in Montreal and Steven Stamkos was shaken alive in the process. Tampa’s franchise player scored his first goal of the playoffs and notched two helpers in the victory while Nikita Kucherov lit the lamp twice. Hart/Vezina frontrunner Carey Price was between the pipes for each Lightning marker. Game 3 goes down on Wednesday night in the Sunshine State.
- Reruns suit the Blackhawks fine. Chicago bounced Minnesota in the Conference Semifinals last year and they now find themselves up 2-0 on the Wild in 2015. Patrick Kane scored twice in the 4-1 win with markers also coming from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. Corey Crawford made 30 saves for the Hawks while Devan Dubnyk stopped 27 shots in a losing cause. The actions shifts to St. Paul for Game 3.
- The Ducks remain undefeated in this year’s edition of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Ducks blanked the Flames 3-0 on Sunday night and now hold a 2-0 series advantage over another Canadian foe. Anaheim starter Frederik Anderson made 30 saves in the victory and collected the first postseason shutout of his career. The positive news for the Flames was that Game 2 was far more competitive than Game 1 and Jiri Hudler was back in the lineup after an early exit on Thursday. Game 3 goes down in Calgary tomorrow night.
- The Astros continue to play big and break the opposition’s hearts in the process. Houston racked up its 10th straight victory, edging out their AL West rivals (still sounds weird, eh?) from Seattle to the tune of 7-6. Knotted up at six in the bottom of the 8th, the Astros pulled ahead courtesy of a solo bomb from DH Evan Gattis. Houston now improves to an American League topping 18-7 record and will look to improve that total tonight against the visiting Texas Rangers.
- Six innings of perfect pitching from Anibal Sanchez and key runs in the 4th and 5th frames equaled the formula needed for Detroit (a -117 moneyline favourite) to bump of Kansas City. Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera went 3-4 with a dinger in the 6-4 triumph and the four game series ends in a 2-2 draw. Detroit heads to the Second City to face the White Sox today, while Kansas City starts a home set against Cleveland.
- We hope you took the under for yesterday’s Nats/Mets NL East tilt. Washington 1B Ryan Zimmerman knocked in the game’s only run when he sent LF Jayson Werth home with an RBI single to make the game 1-0 for the Nationals. Led by starter Doug Fister’s strong start, Washington held the Mets to only 5 hits over 9 innings. New York’s stumbled since their impressive early 11 game win streak was snapped, going 3-7 of late.
- Speaking of low scoring showdowns, the Dodgers ended 13 innings of 0-0 action with a walkoff jack over the center wall off the bat of pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal. Los Angeles defeated Arizona 1-0 in the bonus frame battle, marking the fourth straight win for the Dodgers baseball club. Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig is expected to be back in the lineup next weekend after some minor league conditioning.
- After taking things deep into extra innings, the Cardinals were able to exit their home ballpark with a walkoff win. St. Louis (a -144 moneyline favourite) nudged past Pittsburgh in the bottom of the 14th thanks to a solo shot from 2B Kolten Wong off of Pirates reliever Radhames Liz. The division leading Cards swept the three game NL Central series and will look to add to their six game winning streak when they host Chicago tonight.
- The Brewers have axed their manager after an ugly opening 25 games. Ron Roenicke guided Milwaukee to a Majors worst 7-18 record in 2015 and ends his tenure with a resume of 341-331 with a 2011 NLCS appearance. A replacement for Roenicke will be announced sometime today.
- Manny Pacquaio says you didn’t see him at 100% on Saturday night. The Filipino pugilist/congressman claims a shoulder injury prevented him from fighting at full strength during his highly watched and heavily panned bout with Floyd Mayweather. The Pac Man, who noted that he didn’t want to make an excuse of it, also said that the Nevada Athletic Commission refused to grant him an anti-inflammatory shot before the fight. Will this be the wrinkle that spurs on another lucrative rematch? Who knows?
- There were no colossal upsets on Sunday at the IIHF World Hockey Championship, so let’s talk about Canada’s massive blowout win, shall we? The Canadian national squad pummeled Germany 10-0 with Taylor Hall collecting a hat trick in the victory. The squad faces their first real test (sorry Latvia) this afternoon versus Jaromir Jagr and the Czech Republic.
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