Only ten total games in pro sports (NBA, NHL, and MLB) set up a would-be slow Monday night, but one team from each — all donning red uniforms — had a little comeback redemption up their sleeves. From down late (76ers) to down in the series (Devils) and down in the 9th (Red Sox), it’s the drama-filled red redemption edition.
James Harden (45) Plays Hero for Short-Handed 76ers; Nikola Jokic (39-16-5) Gives Denver 2-0 Lead
Yes, we know. LeBron James vs. Steph Curry is about to take over the second round of the NBA Playoffs with Game 1 between the Lakers-Warriors tipping off tonight. But there are other teams still hooping. Last night’s Game 1 between the 76ers and Celtics was without Joel Embiid (sprained knee), but James Harden (45 points) tied his playoff career-high to lift Philly on the road. The Celtics had a four-point lead inside two minutes before Tyrese Maxey’s and-one brought the Sixers within one, and Harden hit a clutch 3 with 8.1 seconds left to flip home-court in the series. Out west, the Nuggets rallied from down 10 in the fourth quarter thanks to another outstanding performance from Nikola Jokic (39-16-5) on a night where Jamal Murray (10 points) was ice cold. Denver outscored Phoenix 27-14 in the final frame, and the Suns — after loading up the roster with Kevin Durant at the trade deadline — find themselves in an 0-2 hole.
Conference Semifinal Highlights
Gm 1: 76ers def. Celtics (119-115) | PHI Leads (1-0)
Gm 2: Nuggets def. Suns (97-87) | DEN Leads (2-0)
J. Harden (PHI): 45 points, 6 assists, 7-for-14 (3pt)
N. Jokic (DEN): 39 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists
J. Tatum (BOS): 39 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists
D. Booker (PHX): 34 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists
Gm 2: Heat at Knicks (7:30 pm ET) | MIA Leads (1-0)
Gm 1: Lakers at Warriors (10:00 pm ET)
Sporting News: NBA Twitter Reacts to James Harden’s 45-Point Game 1
Devils in Disguise
Devils Shut Out Rangers (4-0) in Game 7 for First Playoff Series Win Since 2012
The Rangers made trade deadline moves a few months ago to go all in for 2023, and it looked like it might pay off. They led the Devils 2-0 in the opening-round series before New Jersey reeled off three straight. New York fired back in Game 6 before last night’s Game 7 — the third Game 7 of the NHL’s first round — and it was all Devils. A 0-0 first period heightened the tension before Michael McLeod and Tomas Tatar scored in a five-minute span. With the Rangers backed up against the wall, the Devils added two more late goals to seal the deal. Akira Schmid made 31 saves for New Jersey, and the Devils — disguised as a first-round exit candidate — won four out of five to earn their first playoff series victory in more than a decade (2012) and set up a date with the Hurricanes. And just like that, Round 2 is set.
1st-Round Series Highlights
Gm 7: Devils def. Rangers (4-0) | NJD Wins (4-3)
Conference Semifinals Schedule (Game 1s)
Gm 1: Panthers at Maple Leafs (Tonight, 7:00 pm ET)
Gm 1: Kraken at Stars (Tonight, 9:30 pm ET)
Gm 1: Devils at Hurricanes (Tomorrow, 7:00 pm ET)
Gm 1: Oilers at Golden Knights (Tomorrow, 9:30 pm ET)
Verdugo Strikes Again
Alex Verdugo Hits 3rd Game-Ending Walk-Off Hit for Red Sox This Season
Not one. Not two. Make it the third time this season Alex Verdugo has won a game with a walk-off hit for the Red Sox. The 26-year-old stepped to the plate last night as the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the 9th in a 5-5 game against the Blue Jays at Fenway. With a 1-1 count, he smashed a game-winning solo shot over right-center. The Red Sox (16-14) have now won three games off Verdugo’s bat, but this was the first to clear the fence. He joins Bobby Bonds (’73) and Andruw Jones (’99) as the third player with three walk-offs in the first 30 games of a season. And the Red Sox are riding a three-game win streak in the loaded AL East.
Guardians Rally to Top Yanks: The Guardians stole one from the Yankees with a three-run rally in the 9th inning (3-2) to hand New York its fourth straight loss. The Yankees (15-15) are now .500 and dead last in the AL East.
Murphy Hits Two 3-Run HRs: The Braves held off the Mets on Monday (9-8) thanks to two 3-run homers from Sean Murphy (2-for-4, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs). Spencer Strider (5 IP, 8 Ks) improved to 4-0 with the win, and Murphy now has eight HRs on the year. The Mets won Game 2 of the doubleheader (5-3).
Dodgers Roll to Top of NL West: The Dodgers pounded the Phillies (14-3) with runs scored in seven out of eight frames for their fourth straight win. Four Dodgers went yard, and Los Angeles (17-13) jumped the Diamondbacks (16-13) in the NL West standings to retake control of the division after a rough start.
The ink is barely dry on the 2023 NFL Draft, but scouts are already shifting their attention to next year’s class. Evaluating the college prospects we know are eligible for the draft is difficult enough in itself, but a few players should be locked as top-10 picks. (FOX Sports)
At some point, it will be someone else’s time. Someone will bottle up Steph Curry. Someone will poke the bear that is LeBron James and get away with it. Not yet. Let’s get ready for the fifth playoff series between Steph and LeBron. It’s going to be epic… (ESPN)
MLB’s faster pace has, understandably, made all the headlines. But it’s another effect of the new pitch clock—reduced variation in game length—that has truly changed the sport into something unseen in living memory. (The Ringer)Red Redemption