Hasn’t the last few months felt like all of us sports fans were being punished for something? Sports, for the most part, were removed from us in March. It kind of felt like a teenager coming home at 2 AM hoping to be unseen. But it was not to be. There was dad sitting on the couch with that look on his face. We just knew that life as we knew it was over.
The car keys were taken away, our freedom removed and certainly, no television or recreation of any kind. The punishment lasted almost five months. Life was like a punch in the mouth. But glory be, that wounded feeling in our spirit is gone! Our privileges were returned! The last of July and the first few days of August brought us live sports’ glorious return. You should be smiling as you read this. Take a journey with me as we rewind the past few wondrous, sensational days.
The NBA takes center stage
Just in case we might have forgotten, the NBA proved beyond any reasonable doubt that they know how to put on a show. The first game out of the gate was the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans. It was a game the Pelicans led big at one time, but Utah made a surge to tie the game. Jazz center Rudy Gobert, whose positive test was the first domino that shut down the NBA, won the game with two free throws as Utah beat New Orleans 106-104. Glorious, right?
But, that was only the teaser. Next, the NBA gave us the Los Angeles boys as the Lakers and Clippers squared off. These are the teams expected by many to reach the Western Conference Finals. For them to meet on the opening night was a masterstroke. The game itself didn’t disappoint, either. This was flat out entertainment at its finest.
In a back and forth battle of wills, the game came down to (who could have guessed this?) LeBron James. James’ shot was lacking until the end, but he followed up his own miss to give the Lakers a 103-101 lead with seconds to spare. Paul George missed a last-second three-point shot and the Lakers prevailed. And with that, we witnessed live sports glorious return.
The Raptors aren’t going down without a fight
For those predicting the NBA championship will end up in LA or Milwaukee when this grand bubble experiment ends, the Raptors have a message for you. A team is going to have to pry that trophy out of the defending champion’s cold, dead hands before they will give it up. Toronto took the court against the mighty Lakers and put on an absolute exhibition on how to play the game of basketball.
Kyle Lowry led the way with 33 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists as Toronto hammered LeBron and the rest 107-92. The win practically secures the number two seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors can play whatever basketball they want until the postseason. Then we will see if the Greek Freak and the Bucks can put a stop to Toronto’s beating heart. The Raptors showed that won’t be easy and the prediction is that the best basketball is yet to come.
The WNBA brings on the power
Those unfortunate souls that believe that the WNBA isn’t real basketball are certainly missing out big. The women are putting on a clinic of their own inside their bubble in Bradenton, Florida. Just witness Saturday’s game between the Washington Mystics and the Chicago Sky. It was a game that matched any the NBA could put on. The Mystics were the last undefeated WNBA team and what a battle royale it was!
It was a fierce game that was tight throughout. In the end, the Sky put the defensive clamps down on the Mystic’s last possession and came away with an 88-86 win. This game was glorious from the opening tip. Chicago had five players in double figures, led by forward Cheyenne Parker with 16. And just in case you are thinking the WNBA can’t play an offensive game of basketball, just stop it. Exhibit one is the Phoenix Mercury’s 102-95 win over Las Vegas. These ladies can ball and you owe it to yourself to check it out.
Hockey is back, baby!
Don’t look now, but the NHL is back as well. And unlike their NBA counterparts, hockey decided they didn’t need any stinking regular-season games to restart. They went straight to their playoffs. The four teams in each conference with the best winning percentage are automatically in the playoffs. They will play each other for the one through four seeds. That alone should ensure that no teams take it easy in any of those games.
While that is going on, the 5 through 12 seeds in each conference will pair off to see who faces those top four teams. Those games began on Saturday and boy, did we miss the ice! Of the four games, two were decided by a single goal and a third by two goals. The top game without question was the Montreal Canadians having to go to overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2.
Montreal is the last seeded team in the Eastern Conference. This game just proves right out of the gate everyone better strap in tight. I’m going to predict right now this hockey playoffs are going to be most intense ever. It also proves that we can say thanks to this live sports glorious return.
Baseball Isn’t Dead Yet
Despite the Miami Marlins’ attempt to blow the car’s engine before it is even out of the garage, baseball rolls on down the highway. The sport is entering its second week and there has been some breathtaking action. We’ve witnessed game-winning homers, runners thrown out at third, and elite pitching performances. If the game can just keep it on the road, who knows what we will see next? It’s just another step in live sports glorious return!
That’s all for now! August is just underway. Pro football is coming! The other sports will surely give us thrills a minute. Just make sure you are home on time from now on so sports won’t be taken away again. I know that I don’t have to be told twice.
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