Two all-star events and college basketball rivalries had our attention all weekend, then the NBA trade deadline blew up. It was three years ago when the Nets signed Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant with NBA Finals expectations. Now, the stars are aligned for a new team to make a run.
This Week: It’s Super Bowl LVII (Sunday) and the NBA trade deadline (Thursday) while we track LeBron James chasing the scoring record. Don’t blink. Each day will have something special.
NBA TRADE DEADLINE
Wild West: Mavericks Make Moves
Two Days After Requesting Trade From Nets, Mavericks Land Kyrie Irving to Pair With Luka Doncic
Well, that escalated quickly. Shortly after we sent out Friday’s newsletter, Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade. With the NBA trade deadline looming (Thursday, 3:00 pm ET), he got his wish. The Mavericks acquired Irving in a package that sent two players and three picks to Brooklyn, including former Nets player Spencer Dinwiddie. Kevin Durant is now the last man standing in the Barclays Center, and Luka Doncic just found an electric co-star. Is Dallas the new favorite in the West?
Mavericks Get: G Kyrie Irving, F Markieff Morris
Nets Get: G Spencer Dinwiddie, F Dorian Finney-Smith, 1st-Round Pick (2029) & Two 2nd-Round Picks (2027, 2029)
No Faith in Brooklyn
It was three years ago when the NBA reeled at the thought of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving teaming up in Brooklyn. Then came James Harden. A super team if there ever was one. After two failures to reach the Eastern Conference Finals and a litany of off-the-court drama, from Irving’s COVID-19 vaccination stance to hard-headed media silence and controversial tweets, the Nets marriage started to break. Brooklyn traded Harden to the 76ers before canning head coach Steve Nash after a 2-5 start this season. And even after the Nets appeared to turn the 2022-23 campaign around, Irving still wanted out. Wish granted.
Kyrie is in the final year of his 4-year, $136.5 million contract and could become a free agent again this offseason. The Mavericks aren’t expected to offer him a contract extension until the rest of the season plays out.
NHL ALL-STAR GAME
Stars of the Ice ️
Atlantic Division Wins 2023 NHL All-Star Game; Panthers Forward Matthew Tkachuk Wins All-Star MVP
The 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend came and went with flash and flare on Friday and Saturday. The top 44 players in the game were broken into four teams of 11 with one team for each division. After Friday night’s skills competitions (see winners below), it was Pacific vs. Central and Atlantic vs. Metropolitan for the deciding East vs. West winners. When it was all said and done, the Atlantic Division hung 10 goals on the Metro before taking a 3-0 lead against Central in the final and hanging on for a 7-5 win. Matthew Tkachuk (Panthers) had four goals and three assists to capture the All-Star Game MVP award, and Dylan Larkin (Red Wings) led all skaters with five goals. Fans were treated to a total of 38 goals in roughly three hours.
All-Star Game Highlights
Semifinal 1: Central def. Pacific (6-4)
Semifinal 2: Atlantic def. Metropolitan (10-6)
Final: Atlantic def. Central (7-5)
Hardest Shot: Elias Pettersson (VAN): 103.2 MPH
Accuracy Shooting: Brock Nelson (NYI)
Fastest Skater: Andrei Svechnikov (CAR): 13.69 Seconds
Tendy Tandem: C. Hellebuyck (WIN) & J. Saros (NSH): 13 Points
Splash Shot: Mikko Rantanen & Cale Makar (COL)
Pitch ’n Puck: Nick Suzuki (MTL)
Breakaway: Alex Ovechkin (WSH) & Sidney Crosby (PIT)
After a short celebration in Florida, the final stretch of the 2023 NHL season starts now. View Updated NHL Standings
The Pro Bowl Upgrade
NFC Tops AFC (35-33) in NFL’s First-Ever Flag Football Pro Bowl — Which Should Be Here to Stay
In a word: Different. The NFL Pro Bowl has long been a snooze-fest with a watered-down version of football’s violent game, but that wasn’t the case this year. The league’s solution? The Pro Bowl Games — a series of events concluding with 7-on-7 flag football on a 50-yard field. The linemen got to showcase their skills in a variety of ways leading up to Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, but that’s where the league’s best skill players took over.
The NFC vs. AFC got a little extra flavor with the Manning brothers as acting head coaches. Eli Manning coached the NFC to a win over Peyton Manning and the AFC. It was a high-octane display of elite speed and great plays as the NFL’s most explosive athletes flew around a short field without the weight of pads to slow them down. Ultimately, the NFC won the game (35-33) after Kirk Cousins — who rallied for the win — took a knee to run out the clock much to Peyton’s dismay.
The stats were different. The vibe was different. Basically, everything about the Pro Bowl as we know it looked different, and I think many would agree it was an upgrade.
From Trevon Diggs intercepting Stefon Diggs to Derek Carr’s potential goodbye to Vegas, here are the best highlights and moments from a unique twist on the Pro Bowl.
Pro Bowl Games Highlights
Game 1: NFC def. AFC (33-27)
Game 2: AFC def. NFC (18-13)
Game 3: NFC def. AFC (20-12)
Aggregate Total: NFC def. AFC (35-33)
Rivalry Recaps: Hoosier Hysteria
#21 Indiana Takes Down #1 Purdue as Four Top-10 Teams Fall in Men’s College Hoops
Rivalries, aplenty! The weekend in college basketball was chock-full of the greatest rivalries in college basketball as the scheduling gods clearly got together to push start on a month-long sprint towards March Madness. Four top-10 teams lost in men’s college basketball action while a number of top-tier women’s games came down to the wire. The No. 1 team in the land went down again as Purdue fell at No. 21 Indiana. A long list of rivalries accomplished one big thing for NCAA basketball fans — it scratched the itch for Madness. Here’s what went down over the weekend before today’s newest AP Poll reveals.
NCAA Men’s Highlights
NCAA Women’s Highlights
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Five different players scored 40-or-more on Saturday alone in the NBA, including Damian Lillard (Blazers, 40), Jamal Murray (Nuggets, 41), Jalen Brunson (Knicks, 41), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Thunder, 42) and Cam Thomas (Nets, 44). With LeBron hunting the scoring record this week, the league-wide mark for 40-point games should also fall in the coming days.
The Pebble Beach Pro-Am still has some golf left to play today, but Aaron Rodgers and Ben Silverman captured the pro-am portion of the event with a one-stroke victory. As for the full tournament, Justin Rose (-15) currently leads in the final round after play was suspended yesterday.
Among the major Premier League highlights of the weekend was a 1-0 win for Tottenham over Manchester City, and that one goal was historic. Harry Kane’s lone strike for Spurs was a milestone goal that gave him 267 total in a Tottenham kit, passing Jimmy Greaves for the most in club history.
Welcome back, NASCAR! The first race of the season was the second-ever rendition of the Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles — a 37.5-mile dogfight on a short track. Martin Truex Jr. won the race in a chaotic finish. Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively.