They won’t all be sweeps in the NBA and NHL conference finals. We’re heading back to Boston for Game 5 in the NBA. In the NHL, Stars fans found a new way to show their disgust. Today’s mid-week edition hits the playoffs and a lengthy list of early-season highlights in MLB, MLS, and WNBA, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t take the time to feature the star of the sports world before his next appearance on the PGA Tour.
The Block Party continues in today’s Underdog special.
Back to Boston
Celtics Clap Back, Stay Alive Against Heat With Game 4 Survival-Mode Performance (116-99)
Marcus Smart posted the bulletin-board material before Game 4 between the Celtics and Heat: “Don’t let us get one.” The mentality was simple. A change in momentum could easily remind the Celtics how much firepower they have on the roster, and Game 4 proved it. Miami controlled the first half of Game 4 with a series sweep on the line at home, but the Celtics outscored the Heat by 23 in the second half. After an abysmal shooting performance in Game 3, the Celtics shot above 50 percent in Game 4, including 40 percent from deep. Five players hit three or more 3s, and Jayson Tatum was back to his old self (33 points). The Heat didn’t shoot it well — just 25 percent from beyond the arc — and the difference in Game 4 was as simple as that. All signs still point to a Heat-Nuggets NBA Finals, but the Celtics “got one”…
Reminder: No team has ever won a series when trailing 3-0, but two of the final three Eastern Conference Finals games will be in Boston.
Tatum in Time: The Celtics’ superstar finally came through with another clutch performance — 33 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal. It was his sixth 30-10-5 game of the postseason.
Eastern Conference Finals
Gm 4: Celtics def. Heat (116-99) | MIA Leads (3-1)
Tonight: No NBA Playoff Games
CBS Sports: Celtics Come Alive, Force Game 5 in East Finals
Trash Response: Stars Fans Have Seen Enough
3 Of A Kind: Golden Knights Cruise in Game 3 (4-0), Stars Fans Shower Ice With Debris & Boos
The Western Conference Finals are coming up aces for Vegas, and Stars fans have had enough. The Golden Knights buried the Stars in Game 3 (4-0) with three goals in the first seven minutes, effectively ripping out the hearts of Dallas. Four different skaters scored goals, but Ivan Barbashev (1 goal, 2 assists) was the lead point-getter. Jonathan Marchessault and William Carrier also scored in the first period, and Alex Pietrangelo put the icing on the cake in the second. That’s when Stars fans officially lost it. Game 3 was so disappointing that officials had to end the second period 22 seconds early when fans started throwing things on the ice. The third period was a scoreless and lifeless free skate to Game 4. Vegas goaltender Adin Hill made 34 saves in his first postseason shutout, and things are getting ugly out west.
Putting the West to Rest: The Stars have had a magical run through the postseason, but Vegas continues to make Western Conference opponents look foolish. The Golden Knights are 11-3 in the playoffs, and Tuesday marked their fifth postseason win by three goals or more. Could we see a double sweep in the NHL Conference finals?
Western Conference Finals
Gm 3: Golden Knights def. Stars (4-0) | VGK Leads (3-0)
Tonight (Eastern Conference Finals
Gm 4: Hurricanes at Panthers (8:00 pm ET) | FLA Leads (3-0)
MLS US Open Cup
Will LeBron James actually walk away from the NBA after getting swept by the Nuggets? Probably not. So why did he say he might? Here are four possible reasons. (The Ringer)
The league is prioritizing its TV partners and playing us all for idiots. The NFL should at least be honest about its reasons for allowing Thursday Night Football flex. (Sports Illustrated)
The 2023 MLB season is nearly two months old, and team projections look a lot different than they did for Opening Day. Biggest surprises? Biggest disappointments? (FOX Sports)
Tonight’s Must-Watch List
Gm 4: Hurricanes at Panthers (8:00 pm ET) | FLA Leads (3-0)
Rangers at Pirates (12:35 pm ET)
Cardinals at Reds (6:40 pm ET)
Orioles at Yankees (7:05 pm ET)
Coppa Italia Final: Inter vs. Fiorentina (3:00 pm ET)
US Open Cup: 4 MLS Matches
The Athlete You’d Want to Play With…
After Michael Block’s dream weekend at the PGA Championship, we asked: If you could play any sport with any athlete, who would you play with? Here are some of our favorite responses and a list of the most mentioned athletes. Thanks to the hundreds of readers who sent us your picks.
1. Tiger Woods (golf)
2. Michael Jordan (basketball)
3. Rafael Nadal (tennis)
4. Lionel Messi (soccer)
5. Tom Brady (football)
6. Wayne Gretzky (hockey)
“I’d play golf with Happy Gilmore.” — Lucas D.
“I’d want to go bowling with John Cena. You have to be a heck of an athlete to be a pro wrestler like he was for so long, and I’d love to just chat him up about his life and times in the ring, his movie career, his work with the Make-a-Wish folks, all that.” — Michael E.
“I’d play poker with the NBA on TNT crew — Charles, Shaq, Kenny, and Ernie. That would be wild. And televise it.” — Aaron K.
The Block Bandwagon
The Golfer Who Stole America’s Heart Isn’t Going Back to His Day Job Anytime Soon (By Marissa Kasch)
The spotlight was on Brooks Koepka at this year’s PGA Championship. Koepka became the first LIV golfer to win a major and secure his fifth career major victory. But an underdog emerged this weekend who stole the hearts of Americans everywhere. Sorry Brooks, you’ll have to share the spotlight. This is Michael Block’s week.
Michael Block was America’s golfer this weekend after securing a top-15 finish at teh PGA Championship and a spot in next year’s event at Valhalla. Oh, and a hole-in-one.
But who is he? As we all anticipated the PGA Championship, there were several golfers on our minds. Block wasn’t one of them.
The star of the PGA Championship, and the star of sports for the time being, is a 46-year-old club pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in California. He teaches lessons at the course, charging $125 per 45-minute lesson. After his top-15 finish, he joked that his wife would make him charge more. These are the things we knew about Block going into the weekend. What many people don’t know is that he’s played in 24 PGA Tour events so far. After last weekend, I doubt anyone will forget it.
The 2023 tournament was the fifth PGA Championship he has played in. So, needless to say, he has some experience. His performance last weekend was just the icing on the cake.
Block’s Rochester Run
Block put on a show last weekend at Oak Hill Country Club, firing three straight 70s to remain even-par through 54 holes of play. He rose to the top-10 going into the final round. At one point, he was only one shot off the lead.
The tough design and difficult conditions at Oak Hill bothered several golfers. Jon Rahm, the No. 1 golfer in the world, struggled during his first two days and barely made the cut. Defending champ Justin Thomas made the cut, but finished tied for 65th place at 2-over. Jason Day, who was in the top-20 odds to win the tournament, missed the cut completely. Block, however, was unfazed.
The Ace We’ll Never Forget
The fireworks continued for Block as he jarred a hole-in-one on the 151 yard par-3 15th. Block was baffled after his 7-iron landed straight in the hole without a hop, skip, bounce or roll. He was so baffled that when Rory McIlroy hugged him, he asked, “Rory, did it go in?”
Not only did it go in, it destroyed the cup. The ball took a chunk of the grass on the side of the hole on its descent. It was so significant that rules officials had to take a few minutes to remedy the situation for subsequent golfers.
As he approached the green to collect his ball, he was met with a roaring ovation from the crowd. His feat on hole No. 15 was the final piece needed to steal Americans’ hearts. His reaction? A sheepish shake of his head in disbelief. Make that talented and humble.
For a look at Block’s hole-in-one click here.
Everyone following golf has heard the story by now, and you know Block’s outing this weekend was special. But just how special was it? For context, of the 20 PGA professionals (not PGA Tour players) who qualified for the tournament, Block is the only one who made the cut.
His performance last weekend solidified his spot in next year’s PGA Championship, and he got the sponsor’s exemption to play this weekend at Colonial for the Charles Schwab Challenge — the next stop on the PGA Tour. No PGA pro has ever finished in the top 10 in this major. With Block’s 15th place standing, a top-10 finish is clearly not far from his reach. Next year, if he were to finish fourth, he would earn an exemption for the Master’s. If he finds his way into a two-way tie for third, he gets a temporary membership to the PGA Tour.
One thing is for sure: America wants to see a lot more of Michael Block, and they will again this weekend at Colonial.