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Bam! Adebayo’s block the talk of the town

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Bam! Adebayo's block the talk of the town

We got to witness two incredible playoff games on Tuesday night as the Heat took a 1-0 lead on the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Nuggets stunned the Clippers to advance to the Western Conference Finals against the Lakers. If you missed last night’s action because you were doing something fun, I’d suggest checking out Bam Adebayo’s block, Jimmy Butler’s go-ahead ‘And 1” and highlight reels from Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. What a night of bubble hoops!

Heat 117, Celtics 114 overtime – Heat lead ECF 1-0 – I’m not really sure what to even say about this game, as it was a pretty epic Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Bam Adebayo blocked Jayson Tatum’s dunk attempt with his left hand with 2.5 seconds left in overtime in what is being called one of the best blocks in NBA history. I told my son, immediately, that it was the best block I’ve ever seen, while Magic Johnson, Scott Van Pelt and Tim Legler, along with countless others, were also in agreement. The fact the right-handed Bam blocked a strong dunk attempt with his left hand is just incredible, and to see the two never even came close to making body-to-body contact was even more amazing. And when you look at Bam’s stat line of 18 points, six boards, nine assists, a steal and two blocks, he was easily the player of the game.

Jimmy Butler didn’t do much in the first half but turned it on in the fourth quarter. He hit a huge 3-pointer to give the Heat a 106-105 lead with 22 seconds left and then hit a pretty incredible ‘And 1’ over Jayson Tatum to give the Heat a 116-114 lead with 12 seconds left, which turned out to be the game-winning shot just before Bam’s amazing block. Jimmy hasn’t been a DFS dynamo, but he’s come through in the clutch for the Heat, time and time again. Butler has scored just 20, 17, 17, 30 and 13 points in his last five playoff games. And the Heat have won four of those games.

Tyler Herro hit a couple huge 3-pointers late, cutting the Celtics’ lead to three points with three minutes to go with one of them, and then cutting their lead to 105-103 with just a minute remaining with another one. Herro finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and two 3-pointers in 40 minutes off the bench, and the only disappointing thing about his line is that he didn’t get the last assist for the triple-double. Duncan Robinson started but played just 17 minutes, hitting 2-of-7 shots, so Herro stepped up and made things happen for the Heat.

Jae Crowder went off for 22 points, five rebounds, a steal, two blocks and five 3-pointers on 7-of-11 shooting. One of his 3-pointers came at a key moment and he also had a huge block on Kemba Walker that changed the game. Crowder doesn’t get a lot of love, but he’s a huge part of what the Heat are doing and looks like a fine DFS value play every night.

Goran Dragic went off for 29 points, seven boards, four assists, a block and three 3-pointers to lead the Heat in scoring and I can’t say enough about how good he’s been in these playoffs. He’s a free agent when this is over, but he’s as important to the Heat as any player right now. I play him every time the Heat are playing.

The Heat play as a true team, just like the Nuggets and the Celtics. The Clippers were upended because of chemistry issues, and the Lakers may have similar issues, but the Heat, Nuggets and Celtics are firing on all teamwork cylinders right now.

The Celtics got 30 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, three steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers from Jayson Tatum on 10-of-24 shooting, but he had an airball from downtown with the game on the line, had his game-tying dunk attempt blocked by Adebayo and missed the game-tying 3-pointer on the game’s final play. Tatum might be the best two-way player in the league right now, but he’s probably going to have to find a way to get his teammates more involved down the stretch going forward.

Marcus Smart went off for 26 points and six triples in 43 minutes as his streaky play continues. He’s been very good over his last three games, but Gordon Hayward (ankle) is close to a return, which could negatively impact Smart in DFS. Either way, Smart has been fun to use in fantasy over the last few games and I’m not really afraid to use him, even if Hayward is back.

Jaylen Brown was dealing with a groin injury, but still hit 6-of-14 shots for 17 points, five boards, two assists, a steal and three 3-pointers in the loss. He looked fine and should be ready to roll in Game 2.

And Kemba Walker was 2-of-11 for nine points through the first three quarters but woke up for the fourth and overtime to hit 4-of-8 shots for 10 points in the loss. He’ll need to play better from the start in the next one. Walker finished with 19 points, three boards, six assists, a block and a 3-pointer on 6-of-19 shooting, but the Celtics wouldn’t have been as close as they were to winning this game without his late heroics.

The Heat are now 9-1 in these playoffs and are playing with incredible team chemistry. This series is going to be a war.

Editor’s Note: Whether you want to win a 50/50 or take down a GPP, use our DFS Optimizer, customizable projections and more to create the smartest lineups. Subscribe to all four major sports for as low as $7.99/month!

Nuggets 104, Clippers 89 – Nuggets to face Lakers in Western Conference Finals – The Nuggets became the first team to ever come back from being down 3-1 in two series in the same playoffs and remarkably came back from double-digit deficits in five of their six elimination games. They’re another team that plays with incredible chemistry and Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have really stepped up in the playoffs. The Clippers are 0-8 lifetime with a chance to go to the Western Conference Finals, Doc Rivers has eight Game 7 losses to his credit, more than any other coach, and the Lakers are 6-0 in the postseason against the Nuggets. Additionally, Jamal Murray, who had 40 last night, became the second youngest player to score 40 in a Game 7 behind LeBron James. Interesting, right?

Murray had 40 points, four rebounds, five assists, a steal and six 3-pointers on 15-of-26 shooting as his dream playoffs breakout continues. He survived facing very tough defense against the Clippers and should have a field day against the Lakers. Ride him hard in DFS and look for him to be a bit overvalued heading into next season. He’s boosted his average draft position by a couple rounds with this high-profile postseason performance.

Nikola Jokic has been ridiculous and had his first triple-double in these playoffs with 16 points, 22 rebounds, 13 assists, two steals and three blocks on just 5-of-13 shooting in Tuesday’s win. The rebounds were a season high and the assists tied his season high, but he missed all four of his 3-point attempts. The Lakers haven’t really used a center much this postseason, mainly because they didn’t need to, but JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard are about to come into play against Jokic. Put them on your DFS radar.

While Jokic and Murray were all the rage on Tuesday, Jerami Grant and Gary Harris each had 14 points and the Nuggets are going to need both of them to keep stepping up against the Lakers. Michael Porter Jr. disappeared in Game 7 with two points and seven rebounds, but he’s been playing at a high level and should get back on track against the Lakers. Paul Millsap played 32 minutes but scored just six points with three rebounds on 2-of-6 shooting but should also play a bigger role against the Lakers. Any way you slice it, it was the Murray/Jokic show on Tuesday night and that’s going to continue against the Lake show.

Kawhi Leonard was 6-of-22 from the floor and Paul George was 4-of-16, including 2-of-11 from downtown. In the end, Kawhi and PG-13 were outscored and outshot by Jamal Murray to the tune of 40 to 24 and 15-of-26 shooting to 10-of-38 by Murray alone. Montrezl Harrell was really the only Clipper to show up, hitting 7-of-10 shots for 20 points and three rebounds, but the Nuggets put the Clippers away with a 19-9 run to start the third quarter and never looked back. The Nuggets came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Clippers, just like they did against the Jazz, making history in the process.

Conference Finals

There are no games on Wednesday, so sit back, play with your fantasy football rosters and watch some baseball. The Heat-Celtics series will start on Thursday and then play every other day, while the Nuggets-Lakers series will start on Friday, also playing every other day. These Conference Finals series should be fun, and I can’t wait to see what happens. I still think this is the ‘Year of the Mamba’ and have the Lakers winning it all, but the reality is that all four of these teams have a chance to win a ring in the bubble. Let’s Go!

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Ranking Yankees’ potential Wild Card opponents for 2020 MLB postseason

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Ranking Yankees' potential Wild Card opponents for 2020 MLB postseason
Aaron Boone looks on from the dugout

The Yankees have just four games left to play in the regular season before the playoffs begin next week. Their Wild Card Round opponent has not been set yet as seeded is still very close in this final stretch of games.

For those that don’t know, the three winners of each division in the two leagues will make up the 1-3 seeds. In the American League, that’s the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, and Oakland Athletics at the moment. After that, the fourth seed is the last team that gets home-field advantage — currently the Chicago White Sox — before the 5-8 seeds round out the rest of the bracket.

The Yankees are the sixth seed right now in the AL after their loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night, but that can change for better or worse in these next four games. However, we can deduce who their opponent is going to be based off the current standings. And you can bet the Yankees are strategizing based off of that as well.

So, as the Bombers look to improve their standing and aim for that fourth seed, let’s rank what team the Yankees want to face in the best-of-three Wild Card Round from best matchup to worst:

1) Minnesota Twins

The Yankees have had the Twins’ number in the last couple of times they’ve met in the postseason, especially last year in the ALDS. The Twins couldn’t handle the Yankees’ firepower at the plate, even though they had their own solid lineup, and it was a series sweep with two games at Yankee Stadium and one at Target Field.

Minnesota did add Josh Donaldson to the mix this season, but he hasn’t really done too much with a .225 average and six homers. He does have good complements in the lineup like Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, and others. However, the Yankees were able to stymie their bats in the postseason just a year ago.

In a season where the Yankees haven’t played any of the three teams that are likely to be their first opponents on the road to the World Series, the one that they have seen most recently in the Twins would be the best matchup to start with. Plus, if the Yankees can get home-field advantage by grabbing that fourth seed, it would be even better.

2. Oakland A’s

The main reason we have the A’s over the White Sox in terms of rank is because of the starting rotation. Sean Manaea is the A’s ace, but he hasn’t had the best of seasons with a 4.50 ERA over 10 starts. And his only postseason start came last season in the AL Wild Card Game against the Rays, where he allowed four runs in just two innings before getting pulled.

Rounding out the rotation is soon-to-be-23-year-old Jesus Luzardo, who came after Manaea in that Wild Card Game and threw three scoreless innings, and Chris Bassitt, who has no playoff experience.

The A’s lineup has many solid, young pieces like Matt Chapman, Marcus Siemien, Matt Olson and Mark Canha. But pitching is what’s going to determine who gets the edge in the best-of-three set. None of these pitchers match up well with Gerrit Cole, and though the bullpen is pretty solid – Joakim Soria, Jake Diekman, Yusmeiro Petit – climbing out of a deficit early because the playoff-experienced Yankees lineup got to the starter early (at least that would be the plan) wouldn’t bode well for Oakland.

Playing at Oakland Coliseum, though, is a challenge in itself and the Yankees would have to do that. These A’s know how to work the ballpark and they’re 20-8 at home this season compared to 14-13 on the road thus far.

3. Chicago White Sox

This young team has proven to be a force that will be competing for a World Series for years to come. They have just been raking all season long, owning an AL-leading +69 run differential (285 runs for vs. 216 runs against) with power bats led by Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez running up the scoreboard on a daily basis.

Lineup-wise both of these teams matchup well. The power of Abreu, Jimenez and Robert goes along with Judge, Stanton and Voit. And then there’s the top two for-average hitters in arguably all of baseball: DJ LeMahieu and Tim Anderson. LeMahieu has Anderson beat this time around in the average department by .014 points heading into Thursday, and both can hit for power, too.

When you take a look at the rotation, Cole would likely face Lucas Giolito in Game 1 of the Wild Card Round. But Giolito has been slipping lately, giving up three runs in each of his last three starts. To make up for it, though, you have Dallas Keuchel as the No. 2 that would matchup with Masahiro Tanaka. Keuchel knows that matchup well, flashing back to the 2016 Wild Card Game between the Yankees and Astros in the Bronx. Keuchel won that matchup, and with a 2.04 ERA so far this season, he’s primed to be a real challenge again.

Much like the Yankees, the White Sox have proven that they can make you pay even if runners aren’t on the base paths. That’s just an added incentive to score runs. They waste no time putting pressure on teams, and give the Yankees the hardest matchup because they have heavy hitters of their own that are looking to make a name for themselves in the playoffs.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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2020 French Open women’s draw, bracket

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2020 French Open women’s draw, bracket

If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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French Open Women’s Draw

French Open Women’s Draw

French Open Women’s Draw

French Open Women’s Draw

2020 French Open women’s draw, bracket originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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