We’ve got a winter sports check-in from nightly action in the NBA and NHL, but the weekend ahead brings playoff chaos in the NFL. We’ll load up the official NFL playoff bracket come Monday morning before previewing the CFP Championship Game. It’s the first weekend of 2022. We’re just getting started…
Barrett Goes Glass at the Garden
R.J. Barrett Banks Game-Winner in Knicks’ 25-Point Comeback Against Celtics (108-105)
Drama in Madison Square Garden! The Knicks and Celtics met Thursday in the Big Apple for an instant classic. New York took a 105-103 lead in the final minute after trailing by 25 before Jayson Tatum hit a step-back jumper for Boston to tie the game with 1.5 seconds left. On the ensuing inbounds, the Knicks gave it R.J. Barrett for a must-see 3 off the glass as time expired. Evan Fournier had 41 points on a historic shooting night (10-for-14, 3-pt), and it was his third 30-point game against his former team just this season. The thriller in MSG was capped by an unforgettable finish, and New York (19-20) has won seven of its 11 games after going 12-16 to open the year.
Take a bow, big-shot Barrett!
Other NBA Highlights
Grizzlies Grab 7th Straight: Make it seven straight wins for Memphis after a 30-point beatdown Thursday against the Pistons (118-88). Ja Morant (22-9-6) was once again the star of the show for the Grizzlies who are now 26-14.
1st Team to 30 Wins: With a Suns’ win and a Warriors’ loss, Phoenix — riding a three-game win streak — jumped Golden State in the race to be the first NBA team to 30 wins. The Suns (30-8) beat down the Clippers on Thursday (106-89).
Take Ten for the Pens
Penguins Pace Flyers (6-2) for NHL-Best 10th Straight Win
The Pittsburgh Penguins began the season 10-8-5 and sat quietly in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings. Now, they’re winners of ten in a row after a 6-2 shellacking against the Flyers thanks to two goals apiece from Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel. Pittsburgh’s 10-game streak has seen the Pens outscore opponents 45-20 while surging to 45 points (20-8-5). They’re still fourth in the loaded Metropolitan Division, but those 45 points would be good enough to top the entire Western Conference. Look out, league. The Penguins are skating high.
Watch: Penguins Win 10th Straight
Other NHL Highlights
Stars Return With S/O Win: After a 16-day break due to the increased COVID-19 pause, the Dallas Stars got back on the ice with a shootout win over the Panthers (3-2) courtesy of Denis Gurianov’s goal and two assists.
Kucherov’s Return: Nikita Kucherov made his return to the Lightning lineup on Thursday after undergoing surgery in October. He didn’t lose a step, tallying two assists in Tampa’s 4-1 win over the Flames.
The Athletic Gets Acquired
New York Times Co. Purchases ‘The Athletic’ for $550 Million
The sports news site that flipped advertising models on its head has been acquired by the New York Times for $550 million in cash. The Athletic, an ad-free sports news site launched in 2016, featured a subscription covering national and local sports of more than 200 professional teams. The media company took the sports world by storm in the last five years, amassing 1.2 million subscribers behind a team of over 400 editors and writers.
5 Years of Build-Up
The San Francisco-based brand cherry-picked sportswriters from local markets throughout the United States to build its content platform with the purest talent. In doing so, they single-handedly produced unmatchable long-form sports content for a monthly subscription. Despite its massive subscriber count, The Athletic had not reached profitability.
“We will wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing,” said Alex Mather, co-founder of The Athletic in a 2017 interview with the New York times. “We will suck them dry of their best talent at every moment. We will make business extremely difficult for them.”
The PGA Tour’s first event of the 2022 calendar is underway with the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, and Cameron Smith (-8) leads Daniel Berger (-7), Jon Rahm (-7) and Patrick Cantlay (-7) after Round 1.
NCAAM: IU Derails #13 Ohio State
Indiana ran roughshod on 13th-ranked Ohio State Thursday in Bloomington (67-51) thanks to a monster night from Trayce Jackson-Davis (27 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks).
The top team in women’s hoops used a double-double from their star player, Aliyah Boston (19 points, 18 rebounds), to avoid an upset scare from #13 LSU on Thursday (66-60).
The Atlanta Braves are World Series champions and now baseball is in the middle of its first work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike. We’re at 36 days and counting. When will it end? (CBS Sports)
The underdogs are getting ready for college football’s national championship game on Monday, battling hard to defy the odds, seeing if they can pull off an upset, attempting to upturn the predictions, aware that everything is stacked against them. (FOX Sports)
An ankle brace that acts as a seat belt, aiming to prevent or limit ankle injuries. A virtual reality training platform for NBA referees. Meet the products in the NBA’s inaugural Launchpad technologies program. (USA Today)
The Must-Watch List
NFL Week 18 (Saturday)
Chiefs at Broncos (4:30 pm)
Cowboys at Eagles (8:15 pm)
NFL Week 18 (Sunday)
Colts at Jaguars (1:00 pm)
Steelers at Ravens (1:00 pm)
Saints at Falcons (4:25 pm)
49ers at Rams (4:25 pm)
Chargers at Raiders (8:20 pm)
Bucks at Nets (Fri. 7:00 pm)
Hawks at Lakers (Fri. 10:00 pm)
Knicks at Celtics (Sat. 7:30 pm)
Heat at Suns (Sat. 9:00 pm)
Maple Leafs at Avalanche (Sat. 7:00 pm)
Bruins at Lightning (Sat. 7:00 pm)
Panthers at Hurricanes (Sat. 7:00 pm)
Sentry Tournament of Champions (Fri. — Sun.)